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Full text of "A Christmas Carol"




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THE WAVERLET EBITIO^ 
OF THE WORKS OF 
CHARLES 'DICKE!X^S 






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THT- PURLISEHERS WERIl TO ACKNOW- 
LEDGE Tli£\K IN'DCRTKDNKSS TO MR. 
O, K. CHESTfTBTON FOR CONTRTBLTING 
THE PlltFATOBYNOTK TO THIS EDITION 
OF THE WORKS OV CHABLHS DICKENS 






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A CHRISTMAS CAROL 
AND OTHER TALES 

BY CHARLES DICKENS 

ILLUSTRATED BY CHARLESPEARS' CHARACTER 
STUDIES AND A COLOURED REPRODUCTION 
FROM AN ORIGINAL DRAWING liV FRED 
BARNARD: WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY 

G. K. CHES7TRTON 



^THE WAVERLEY BOOK COMPANY LIMITED 
^LONDON : SEVEN OLD BAILEY, E.G. 



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Tlirs EDITION OF THE WORKS OK 

CHARl.KS DICKENS HAS BEEN DESIGNED 

RY A\D PRINTED L'XDtR THE SUPER- 

VISroN OF CHAS- HOME MACCAIJ, 

AT THE itALLANTVNE; PRESS 

LON DON 



TT "V Tr 



INTRODUCTION TO 

A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

BY G. K. CHESTERTON 

There are elements about the position o£ Dickens in 
English literature which tend to make him not only 
heroic^ but almost legendarj'. There h his uui^j^ue 
appeal to the comparatively poor^ \^ho deal with 
stories and not story-tellers, just as children do : Pick' 
wick is more real to them than Dickens. There is the 
curious mixture in his characters of what some describe 
as unnatural^ with what all would recognise as vivid : he 
is the realist of unrealities. There is, chiefly, the fact 
that so many of his finest outbursts were concerned with 
special festivalsj notably the Christian festival ot Yule. 
It is nowonder that, instead of being regarded as a mere 
literary gentleman like Thackeray ora mere literary cad 
like Disradi, he has come to be regarded vaguely as 
something more than a gentleman and more even than 
a man : as an erratic household god like Santa Claus. 
But tliere is yet another reason for this legendary 
atmosphere clinging round one of the latest of our 
great authors. There has sprung up witliin the last 
century a very vile habit of talking about the Hour 
and the Man. It is a superstition, and not even 
a noble one. No real man appears exactly at the 
hour, except the little wooden man on the old clocks. 
Heroes seldom turn up exactly at heroic moments ; 
for punctuality is not one of the virtues of heroes. The 
great prophets (and prigs) turn up too early : the great 
magnanimous poets turn up too late. Moreover, to 
talk of " the man " is to fling all other men among the 
beasts of the iield. Goliath, who was a Philistine like 
myself, said, "Give me a man that we may fight 
together." If he had said, "Give me tlie man,'' I 
should have known that he was not a jolly and 
gigantic Philistine, but a dwarfish and depressed 
decadent. You or I, being human, ought to take the 
gLint's challenge as addressed to all of us. You ought 



vi INTRODUCT ION 

not to wait for the Man — nor for the Hour. You 
ought to titkc the nearest hour, which is the next ; and 
the nearest man» which is you. 

As a matter of fact most of the millions of sane men 
and women who have lived and died on this pbnet 
have adopted lius simple notion of self-respect ; tlicy 
have worked for %vhatever they thought worth, working 
for and fought for whatever they thought worth 
fighting for ; and they have generally perpetuated 
th^it, though not themselves. Such a thing as the 
feast of Cliristmas in Northern Europe has been kept 
up, as all old customs are kept up, by a dull democratic 
tenacity. It lias continued and continues through the 
madness of Calvinism^ the grossness of Industrialism, 
and the deepening darkness of Social Reform, Most 
of tiicse essential things have not been saved by great 
men, but rather in spite of great men. All the really 
unforgotten things we owe to the forgotten people. 
In all history I can only think of one case in which 
one might truly say that the Man appeared at the 
Hour. Napoleon, even, is not really a satisfying 
esample ; for the best part of his victories were not 
due either to the man or tlie hour, but to the curious 
circumstance that Frenchmen fight extremely weE, 
The one real case is that ol Dickens and the '' Christ- 
mas Caroh" The nineteenth-century Christnias and 
Ctiarles Dickens w'ere really the hour and the man. He 
was the hero in a hundred ways ; but chiefly in this 
very heroic quality : that he very nearly came too late. 
He came just In time to save tJie embers of the Yuie 
Log from being trampled out. It even cost him some 
trouble to kindle our newer Christian torches at so 
fading a glow: that is the explanation of the real 
intensity, almost amounting to irritation, which 
vibrates througli this famous parable and which breaks 
out like artillery in tlie more militant parable of 
"The Chimes." 
For Scrooge,- til ough not perhaps a very real character 



INTRODUCTION vii 

in fiction^ was a very real character in history- 
There really was a time when the determining mind 
of England (which was the mind, of the more ambitious 
middle class) came within an ace of admitting the 
philosophy of Scrooge^ with all its frost-bitten cfhciency 
and ungainly bustle. People did say ^* let them die 
and decrease the surplus population.'* Many of the 
followers of Maltlius said so openly : and, what is more 
important, were not Hcked ior saying it. Now that 
Malthus has intellectually disappeared (as diabolists 
always do when they have done all the harm they can) ; 
now that their successors, tlie sociologists of to-day, 
are much more frightened of population drying up 
than of it developing extravagantly^ it is really difficult 
for us to imagine how iron and enormous this economic 
argument appeared to our grandfathers. People did 
go about talking of " the fool who says ' A Merry 
Christmas * " ; similar phrases can be found in grave 
and iuRuential works of Dickens's day. Macaulay, 
though personally a man munificently charitable, 
defends faintly, and as if with a dazed respect, the 
suggestion of Makhusians that charity to the poor 
should be restricted or should cease. This horrible 
frame of mind was, of course, the product of many 
peculiar causes : chiefly of the fact that the old 
European religionj struck at so long before, had by 
this time almost bled to death. It was partly due, 
again, to that genuine and not unjust fascination that 
is always exercised on men's minds by a system that 
is very complete and clear. The old individualistic 
theory of buying and selling seemed almost unanswer- 
able by arguments^ until it began to be answered by 
facts. It was partly the quite unique commercial 
success of England : it was partly, again, a real terror of 
the revolt of the hungry masses, which made men 
otherwise humane tend to watch them like wolves. 
For one of the things we never ought to forget, 
but always do forget, is this: that our grandfachers 



F J .t j y. 



viii INTRODUCTION 

lived in perpetual expectation of the revolution ; the 
revolution wliicli (aUs I) never happened. 
In this connection Dickens's *' Christmas Carol *' is 
marked by a curious artistic convtniion as fiction. 
Scrooge, in this litrie romance, is a fantastic ^nd old- 
fashioned miser like Dancer ; a tj'pe wliich has existed 
in all ages, but wliich exists more openly perhaps in a 
simpler and ruder age. But the opinions of Scrooge 
were not merely the opinions of the old men, but of 
many of tlie young men of that epoch ; of men in 
good coats and go-ahead businesses^ who obtained 
official positions and wrote in first-class reviews. In 
real life, old Scrooge would have been quite as 
likely to be the defender of Christmas and his brisk 
young nephew its contemptuous enemy, Dickens had 
discovered this by the time he came to write about 
Gradgrind and Bounderby and Charlie Hexljam. 
But the case is even stronger. A real Dickensian, 
akin to the soul of Dickens, cannot, of course, conceive 
him otherwise than as the champion oi that cheerful 
and tender-hearted morality which is expressed in the 
mysteries and mummeries of the Christmas season. 
But looked at in a more sweeping and superficial 
way, as his own contemporaries would have looked 
at it (especially at this early stage o£ his career) there 
might well appear something hairbreadth and even acci- 
dental about his partisanship. It would seem but touch 
and go^ and he might have made fun of the formalities 
of Christmas, as of the formalities of Chancery, have 
painted the house-party of the Wardles as scornfully 
as the house-party of tlie Dedlocks, and put the praise 
of Yule not into tlic mouth of Mrs. Cratchit, but of 
JMrs. Skewton, as a gushing illusion about *^ the good 
old times." This is the final fact emphasising the 
dramatic importance of this book in history. Even 
when the champion arrived, those who knew him 
generally might well have hesitated On which side he 
would strike. But the champion did not hesitate. 



PREFACE 

THE numy^ Jp^{:e wi^Ajt? ^hiiifr it war n^cesf^ry to ct^^ifins tfj^S^ Chrtslmar 
Storiffi^ whfn ib^ Et'tTf &rigi?t^lly pjiblishid^ n^nd^^d rh^ir c^njtrimtion 
a ?^iatl£r of som^ di^culty^ n^nd almost n^^^ssit^ud tijbdt is p^iuHmr rii 
ihnr ma^hiji^ry, I ei>uid not ai{£nipl gr^at ^liiborathn (ff detail tn ihf 
z^ortij^g flwi of cb^ra^r^ z<}ilbi7v i^^h iii^titi. My ibi^f purpo^^r wfl/j 
in a u^bimjua! kind of masque zi^bicb rb^ good-hum^iir t^f th^ s^ajon 
p^tifi^dt U? azi^ak£7^ ^ome /-P^iVg ^7id forbt\iri?sg thou^btf, Ji^sr Qut of 
season in a Christian It^nd, 



A CHRISTMAS CAROL {IN PROSE] : BEING 
J GBOST STORr OF CHRISTMAS 



STAVE ONE : Marl^fj Ghost 

Maeley Wis dead ; to begin with. Thctcr is ncf dotibt whatever ^bout 
iliat. The register of his bnri^I was signed by the clergyman^ the clcrk^ 
the under laker J And the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it : and Scioogc^a 
jijime was good upon 'Change, for anything ho choice to put his hand to- 
Old Marfey was as dead as a door-nalL 

Mind ! I don^t mean [osay that 1 know, of mvownknowledgej what 
there is particularly dead about a door-naiL I might have been incline J, 
myself, :o regard a coffin-n^iil as the deadest piece of ironmongery in [he 
trade. But thti wisdom of our ancestors is tn the simile ; and my 
unhallowed hands shall not disturb it^ or the G>untry^s done far- Yon 
will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, thatMariey wasasdead 
as a door-nail. 

Scrooge knew he was dead f Of course he did* How could it be 
otherwise ? Scrooge and he were partners for I don^t tnow how many 
years. Scrooge was Kia sole executor^ his sole administraforj his sal*^ 
i assigHj hie sole residuary legatee, his sole friend and ^ote mourner. And 
' even Scro(^e was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad evcntj but that he 
J was an excellent man of business on the very d^y of the funeral, and 
J solemnised it ^ith an undoubted bargain. 

The mention of Marley^s funeral brings mebacE to the point I started 
from. There is no douht that Marley was dead. This must be dis- 
tinctly understood, or nocking wonderful can come of the story 1 am 
going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet^s 
Father died before tbe play began, there n^ould be notKing more remark- 
able in his taking a stroU at nighi, in an easterly wind, upon his own 
lamparEi^ than there would be in anv other middle-aged gcntiemaa 
rashly turning out after darl; in a breezy spot — say Saint Paul's Church- 
yard for instance — literally to astonish his son^s weak min d, 

cc. I A 



Htr b ■!■ J p I .11' 



a ACHRISTMASCAROL 

Scrooge never pjiintcd out Old Marlty^s name. There ii &too<l, ycirs 
aftcrvi^ards, above the warehouse door ; Scrooge and Marlcy^. The firm 
was Lnown as Scrooge andMarley. Sometimes people newro rht business 
called Scrooge Scrooge^ and sometimtja Marlcyj but lie answered lo both 
names: it ^'a?^U the same to him. 

Oh ! Bui he was a tight-fisttd hand at the grindstone^ Scrooge ! a 
squeezing, wrenchi]ij^, grasping, scrapings duidiinj^^ covetous^ oJd 
sinner ! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever striick 
out generous fire : secret, and self-containtd, and solitary ;is an oyster* 
The cold xviihin him fro^e hia old teaiurcs, nipped his pointed nose, 
slirivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait ; made his eyes red, his thin lips 
blue ; and spott: out shrewilly in his grating voice. A frostv rime was 
onhishcjdj and on hij eyebrow^, and hiST^iry thin. He carried his own 
low temperature always about with him ; he iced his office in ihi: dog- 
days ; and didn't tluw it one degree at Christmas, 

E:tternal heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth 
could ivarm, nor wintry weather chill him. No wind that bkw waa 
bitterer than he;, no falling snow was more intent upoii its purpose, no 
pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn^t know where to 
have him. The heaviest rain, and snow^ and haih and sleet, could bo^st 
of the adv.iniage over him m only one rcspectn They oftcrt "came 
down " handsome!)^, artd Scfooge nover did* 

Nobody ever shopped him in the street to ^^y^ with gladsome loots, 
** My dear Sttroogt:, how arc you ? When will you come to see me f " 
No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what 
it was o'cloekj no manor woman ever once in all his life inquired the w^y 
to such and sqc:h a place, of Scrooge- Even the blind men's dogs 
appeared to tnow him ; and when they saw him coming on, would tug 
tlmr owners into do<jrwap and up courts ; and tht;n would wag Their 
tails as though they said^ " No eye at all is better than an evil eye^ dark 
master i " 

Butwhaidid Scrooge care p Itwas the very thing h*^ liked. To edge 
his way along the crowded paths of life, ivaming all human sympathy 
to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call *^ outi " to 
Scrooge- 

Oncc upon a time — of alT the good days in the year^ on Christmas Eve 
— old Scloogesat busy in his counting-house. It w.i5 cold, blcak^ biting 
weather : foggy v;ithal ; and he coald licar the people in the court ouiside 
go wheezing up and down, beating their bands upon their breasts, and 
stampittjE^ their feet upon the pave me nt-s tones to warm them, TTte 
Ciiv clocks had only ju^t gone thrcu^ but it was quite dark already : 
it had not been hght all day : and candles were flaring in the windows 
of the n<=ighbouring offices^ like ruddy smeari upon the paJpabte brown 
air. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so 
dense mthout, that although the court was of the narrowestj the houses 
opposite were mere phantoms. To see the dingy cloud come drooping 



ACHRISTMASCAROL 3 

down, obscuring everything, one might have thought that Kaiure lived 
harH by, and was brewing oT a large &caie. 

The door of Scrooge's couniing-lioug^^ was open thai: he mip;hc l:eep 
his f:yc upon hii clecl:, who in a dismal litJe cell beyond, a aort of tank, 
was copviiig li^tters. Scroogfi had a veiv small fire, but the clerk's fire 
was so very much smaller that it looted like one coah But he couldn't 
replenish if» for Scrooge Vept ihe coal-bos in his own room; and so 
surely a^ the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it 
would be necessaryfor tliem to part- Wherefore the dcrt put on his 
white comforter, and tried to warm him&eU at the candle ; in which 
effort, not being a man of a strong imagination, he failed. 

*^ A merry Christmas, uncle ! God save you [ *' cried a cheerful voice* 
It was the voice of Scrooge's nephew, who came upon him so quickly that 
this was the first intimation he had of his approach, 
«Ba^ ! " S3if1 Scrooge, '• Humbug ! " 

tie had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and fro^r, rhis 
nephew of Scrooge's, that he was alf in a glow i bis face was ruddy and 
handsome ; his eyes sparkled^ and his breath smoked again. 

" Christmas a humbugi uncle ! " said Scroogc^s nephew, '* You don*t 
mean that. 1 am sure." 

'* I do*" said Scrooge. " Merry Christmas ! What right have you 
to be merry ? Wliat reason have you to be merry ? You're poor 
enough." 

" Come, then," returned the nephew gaily. " What right have you 
to be dismal I What reaun have you to be moro^ i You're rich 
enough." 

Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the monxent, 
said, *' bah 1 *' again ; and followed it up with " Humbug." 
" Don't be cross, uncle," said the nephew. 

" What else can I be." returned the uncle, " when I live in such a 
world offoolsas this ? Merry Christmas ! Out upon merrv Christmas I 
What'sChristmas time to you bat a time for paying bills without money ; 
. a lime for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer ; -j time 
S for balancing your books and having every item in 'em through a round 
I dosenofmonihsprtsenleddeadagainstyoQ ? If Icould workrny will," 
I' said Scroop, indignantly, " every idiot who goes about with ' Merry 
Chrisimai,^ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding* and 
buried with a state of hotly through his heart. He should ! " 
** Uncle I " pleaded the nephew, 

** Nephew ! " returned the uncle, sternly, " keep Christmas in your 
own way, and let me keep it in mine." 
■i- *' Keep it 1 " repeated Scrooge's nephew, " But you don't teep it.*' 
■' *' Let me leave it alone, then," said Scrooge. "Much good may it do 
v; you ! Much good it has ever done you ! " v-^-'^l 

4 '' There are many things from which I might have derived good, by 
. whidiIhav(iaotpiofiiedjIdateBi"y."reiucnedihcnephew : *' Christmas 



w 



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4 ACHRISTMASCAROL 

among the re^t. But I sm sure I have filways thought oi Christmai 
limcj wKtn ir isas come round — apjrt from the vencution due to its 
sacred name and origin, if aci^'thiiig belonging to it can be .ipan from 
ihat — as a good time : a kind, forgiiing^ charital>le, pleasant time : 
ihe only time t know of^ in the long ealcmlar of rhe yc-ir, when men and 
women &eem by one consent to open their ^hiit-up hearts frcelv^ and to 
think of pi^ople below ihera as if ihey really wcie fcllow-pas&engers to 
the grave, and not anoilier raee of crcatuted bound on other journcys- 
And therefore, imcle, though it ha3 never put a scrap of gold or silver in 
my pocket, I believe tliat it hni done me good, and sifiJl da me good ; 
and I tuyy God bk'ss it !" 

Thcciort in ilieT^nk involuntarily applauded : becoming iDimediately 
scnsibli' of the impropriety, he poked tjic firt and ezitinguished the hat 
frail spart for ever. 

'* Let me hear anuther cound from yoir" said Scrooge, " and you'll 
keep your Chri^inia? by losing your situation. You're quite a powerful 
speaker, sir»" he added, turning to hi$ nephew. " I wonder you doil't 
go into Pailiamenr." 

'* Don'r be anipryi uncle. Come ! Dine with us to-morrow," 

Scrooge said that he would sec him yes, indeed he did. He went 

ihe whole length of the espression^ and said char he would see him in 
chat exfrcmitv first, 

'' But why '? " cried Scrooge';^ nephew. " Why ? " 
*' Why did you get married ? " said Scrooge. 
" Because 1 felt in love." 

" Because you fell in love ! " gJ"owlei3 Scrooge, as if that were the only 
one thing in the world nioie ridiculous than j merry Cluistmas. ■* Good 
aftetnoofi 1 *' 

'*Nay, uncle, but jou never came to see me before that happened, 
VVliy give it as a reason for ncft coming novv i " 
" Good afternoon," said Scrooge. 

" I want nothing from you ; I ask nothing of you ; whyc^nnot wcbe 
fritnds ? '' 

" Good afiemaon^" said Scrooge, 

" T am sorry, with all my hcarc, to find you so resolute. We have 
never had any quarrel, ro which I have been a party. But I have made 
the trial in homage toChristmas, and Pll keep mv Christmas humour 
to the List. So A Merry Christmas, nncle ! " 
Good afternoon ! " sard Scrot^e, 
And a Happy New Year ! " 
Good afternoon [ " ^aid Scrooge. 
His m:phew left the room without an angry word, notwithstanding 
He stopped at the outer door to besioiv the greetings of the season on 
the clerk, who, cold as he was, was warmer than Scrooge i for he returned 
them cordially. 

There's another fellow," muttered Scrooge ; who oveiheird him : 






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[ A C H R I S T M A S C A R O L 5 

*' ray dert, ^vith fifteen shillings a week^ ant! a wife and fsmily, talting 
about a mcriy Ctiriaimj^. I'll retire to Bedlam." 

This lunatic, in letting Scrooge's nephew out^ liaJ let two other peopJe 
in. They were poTtly gentlemen, pleasant to behold, and now stood, 
witJi their hats off» in Scrooge's office They had hooks and papers in 
their handsj and bowed to him. 

" Scrooge and Marley's, I bel[eve,"saidoneof the gentlemen, referring 

to hi? li^t. " Have I the pleasure of addressing Mj. Scrooge, or Mr, 
' Marlev?" 

" ^ir. Matley has been dr:ad these seven years/^ Scrot^ replied, *' He 
died 5tven years ago, thrs very night-" 

" We have no doubt his liberality i? well represented by bis surviving 
partner," &aid the gentleman, presenting his credentials. 

It certainly was ; for they had been two Mndrtd spirits. At the 
ominous word " liberjliiy," Scrooge frowned, and shook hi^ head, and 
handed the credentials bact, 

'* At this festive season of the year, Mr, Scrooge/' said the gentleman, 
taling up a pen, " it is more than usually desirable that we should maVe 
some slight proi'ision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly 
at the present tiraCr Many thousands are in want of common neees' 
saries ; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir." 
'* Are there no prisons ? " asked Scrooge. 

^' Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laving down the pen again, 
*' And the Union worthouses f " demanded Scrooge. " Arc they still 
inopcraiaon i 

" They ire- Piillj" rcturaed the gentleman^ *^ I wlah I could 5ay they 
were not/' 

" The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then ? " said 
Scrooge. 
*^ Both very busy, sir.** 

" Oh ! I w^s afraid, from iv^at you s^id^ at first^ that something had 
- occijrrcd to atop them in their us&ful course/' said ScroogCn " Pm very 
' glad to hcur it/' 

^^ Under ihe impre&EJon that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of 
.\ mind or body to the multitude," returned the gcjitlt^nianj " a few of 
J ns are endeavouting to raises fund lo buy the Poorsome meat and drinb, 
i and means of warmth. We choose tKis time^ because it is a time, of all 
J. others, when Want h keenly felE^ and Abundance rejoiced. What shalf 
I ptit you dovvn far ? ^* 

^^ Nothing; ! ^' Scroc^e replied. 
" You wish to be anonymous I " 

" 1 wish to be left alone," said Scrooge. '* Since you a?k me what I 
^■"Wifih, genlieraenj that is my answor, I don't nial:? mt^irv mvstlf at 
^■■Christmas, and I can^E afford to make idle people merry. I help to 
^ KsuppoTt the e^ahli^hments I have mentioned ; thev cost enough : and 
3 Htho^e who are badlv off must go there.^* 



^^ 



(C 

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6 A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

'^ Many caiv^t go there ; and nii^ny would rather die/* 

" If ihcy would rather die/* &aiJ Scropge^ ^^ they had hotter do it, and 
decrease the surplus population. Besides — excuse me — I Jon't know 
that" 

But yoQ might know it," oVitcrvcJ the gentTeman. 
Ir^s not my bu^Jni^ssj" Scrooge retiamtid. ** It^s enough for a mfln 
to understand his own busincsSj and not to inteiferti with oihti people's. 
Mine occupies me eonstantlv. Good afiernoon^ gentlemen ! " 

Seeing dcady th^t it would be useless ta punue their potnt, the 
gentlemen wiihdre^v. Scrooge resumed Ins bboura ^vith an improved 
opinionof himsclEjindin morefacettous temper than was u£ual with him- 

Mean^^hile the fog and darkness LhlckLncJ soj that the people ran 
about with flaring links^ proffering their services lo go before horses in 
carriages, And conduct ihem on their wny. The ancient tower of Ji 
church, whose grutE old bell was alwuys pccpini^ shly down nil Scrooge 
out of ^ Gotlitc window in [he w^]l, became invisible, and srruck the 
hours and qu:irtcrs tn the clouds, with tremulous vibrations aftetw-ird^ 
as if its teeth n^ere chattering in its frozen hc-id up there* The cold 
hceame iniense. In [hs rnain street at the corner of the court, some 
labourers wcie repairing the gas-pipe*j and had lighted a great iiry in a 
brazierj round which a party of ragged men and boys ^vere gathered : 
warming their hands and winking their eyt-s before the blaze in rapture. 
Thewater-pltijjbecn;?lefiin5oJiiude, Jls overflowings sullenly congealed* 
and turned to misanthropic ice. The brightne^t ot the ?bops where 
holly sprigs and berrif^s crackled in tbc bmplicat of the windows^ made 
pde faces ruddy as they passed. Poulterers' andgrotcr^^ trades became a 
splendid joke ; a glorians pageant, Tvlth which it was next to impossible 
to believe that such daU principles a^ bargain and sale had anything to 
doi The Lord Mayor^ in the ^.tron^jholil of the miphty Mansion House, 
gave orders to his fifty cooks and butlers lo keep Christmas as a Lord 
Mayor's household should : and even thelitili: tailor^ whonihc had fined 
five shillings on the previous Mon<lay for being drunk and bloodthirsty 
in the strteis, stirrrd up to-morrow's pudding in ldp^;^ret^ wbile his 
lean wife and the baby sallied out to buy the beef. 

Foggier yct^ and colder! Piercings searching, hitting cold- If the 
good Saint Dunstan had hut nipped the Evil Spirti*,: nose with a touch 
of ?uch weather as that, insieadof u^ing his famiaiat weapons, then indeed 
be would have roared trt histv purpose. Tl^c owner of one stant young 
nose, gnawed and mumbled by the hungry coid as bones are gnawed by 
dogs, stooped [^own at Scrooge's keyhole to regale him with a QiristmiFi 
CJtrol : but at the first aound of 

^* G(d hiffss wuy fli^rry g^inrlfm^Tt I 
jV/t7y ?ii}tbj?ig you disPiay / " 

Scrooge seized the ruler with, such energy of aci!on, that the singer fled 
in terrofj leaving the kt?yhole lo the fog and even more congenial frost. 



ACHRISTMASCAROL 7 

At length the hour of shutting up Ehe conniing-house arrived. With 
an iU-wiil Scroo^^^ dismourttczd from hia stool, and uciily admitted the 
fict to the expectant cJcrk in the T^nkj who instantly snuffed his candle 
out^ and put on his har. 

" '^'"ou'll want all daj^ to-motroWj I suppose ? " said Scrooge- 

" If quile cojlvenientj 3ir," 

" Ir's not convenient/^ said Scrooge, ^^ and it's not fair. If I was to 
stophal£-a-ctownforit, you'd thintyourscinil-usedj V\\ be bound i " 

The clerk smiled fainil/* 

" And vet/^ said SczroogCj ^^ yon don't think mf ill-used, when I pay 
a day'i wage= for no work," 

The clerk observed that it was only once a year. 

" A poor excuse for picking a man^s pocket every twenty-fifth of 
December ! " &aid Scrooge, buttoning his ^reat-coat to die diin. *^ But 
1 suppose yon must hsvc the whole day. Be here all the earlier neit 
morning I '' 

The cJerk promised that he would ; and Scrooge walked out T^vith a 
growk Tiic office was closed in a twinkling, and the clerk, with the long 
ends of his while comforter dangling below hii waist (for he boasted no 
great-coat)^ went down a s^ide on Cornhill, at the end of a bnc of boys, 
t^venty limes, in honour of its being Christmas Eve, and then ran home 
to Camden Town as hard as he could pt^lt^ to play at l]indman*s-buff^ 

Scrooge look his melancholy dinner in his u&ual melancholy tavetn ; 
and having read all the newspapers, and beguiled the rest of ihe evening 
ivith his bqnker^s-bookj went home to bed. He lived in chambers 
which had once belonged to his deceased partner. They were a gloomy 
suite of roomSj in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so 
little business to bc^ that one could scarcely help fancying it must have 
runiherewhenitwasayounghouse, playing at hide- and -?cek with odiei 
nouseSj and hav^ fgrtjotten the "^vay out again. It was old enough now, 
and dreary enough^ for nobody lived in it but Scroopiej the other rooms 
being all let out as oilices. The yard was so dark that even Scrooge, 
who tncw its every stonc^ wjs fain lo gfope with his hands. The fog 
andfrpstsohungabout the black old gateway of the house^ that it seemed 
as if the Genius of the WeatKcr sat in mournful meditation on the 
threshold. 

Now, it is 3 factj that there was nothing at all particular shout the 
knocker on the door^ except that it was very large. It is also a fact, ihat 
Scrooge had seen ii, night .-ind morning, during his whole residence in 
tl^at place ; also that Scrooge had as little of what is called fancy about 
him as any man in the City of London^ even inchiJing — which is a bold 
word — the corporation, aldermen, and livety. Irtt it also be borne in 
mind that Scroc^e had not bestowed one thought on Marley, ?ince his 
last mention of his seven-years' dead partner that afternoon. And then 
let any man explain to me, il he can, how it happened that Scrooge^ 
having his k^j in the Jock of the door^ saw in the knocker, without its 



g ACHRISTMASCAROL 

undergoing an/ mtcrmcduEc process of change : not a knottcr, but 
Marlfiy*sfice. 

Marlcy*sfac(?. Ttwasnot in impenetrable shadow as the other objecis 
in the yard wcre^ but had a di&mal hght about ir^ like ^ bad lobster 5n a 
darl cellar* Itwasnotangr'arfeiodouSjbiulooWatScroosi^asMarle/ 
used to look : with ghostly ^pectiicles turned iip on Its ghostly forehead. 
^jpie hair was curiously stirred, as if by breatli or hot air ; and, though 
^e eyes were widt^ open, they wtjre perfectly niotionJess. lliatp and iis 
livid colotifj made it horrible ; but it^ horror seemed to be in spite of 
the face and beyond its contral, rather than a part of its own expression. 

As Scrooge looked ^edly at this phenoni^on, it was a knockec 
again. 

To say that he was not startled^ or that his blood was not conscious 
of a terrible sensation to uhich it h;id been a stranger from infancy, 
would be untrue* Butheput his hand upon the key he had relinquished, 
turned it fiturdily, walked in, and lighted his candle. 

He Jul pauFe^ with a moment's irresolution, before he shut the door ; 
and he did look cautiously behind it first, as if he half -expected to be 
terrified with the sight of Marley's pig-tail sticking out into the hall. 
But there was nothing on the back of the door, except the screws and 
nuts that heJd the knocker on ^ so lie said ^^ Pooh, pooh f " and closed it 
with 3 bang. 

The soimd resounded through the house like thunder. E^crv room 
above, and ^vefy cask in the wine-mcrcliani's ctlLirs below, appeared 
to have a separate peal of echoes of its o^vn. Scrooge was not a man to 
befrighti^ned by echoes, licfastened the door^ and walked across the hall^ 
and up the stairs : slowly too ; Trimming ]ns candle as he Wijnt* 

You may talk vaguely about driving a coach-and-six up a j^ood old 
flight of stairs, or through a bad young Act of Parliament ; but I mc:!n 
to say you might have got a bcarsc up that staircase^ and taken it broad- 
wisCj with the sphnter-bar towards the wall, and the door towards the 
balustrades ; and done it easy. There was plenty of widtli for that 
and room to spare ; which is perhaps the reason why Scrooge thought 
he saw a locomotive hearse going on before him in the gloom. Half-a- 
dozen gas-Eamps out of the street wouldn't have lighted the entry too 
wtrll, so you may suppose that h was pretty dar!^ with Scrooge's dip. 

Up Scrooge went, not caring a button for tluf : darkness is cheap, 
and Scrooge llted itn But before he shut his heavy door, he walked 
through his rooms to see that all was right. He had just enough recol- 
lection of the face to desire to do that. 

Sitting-room, bedroom, lumber-room^ Al] as they should be- 
Nobodv under t3jc tablcj nobody under the sofa ; a small fire in the 
grate; spoon and bjtsin ready ; and the little saucepan of gruel (Scrooge 
had a cold in his head) upon the liob^ Nobody under the bed ; nohodv 
in tlie closet ; nobodv in hi^ dressing-gown , which wjs hanging up in a 
suspklous attitude against tl^o wall. Lumber-room aii usual. Old fire- 



ACHRISTMASCAROL 9 

guard, old sboe^, iwo fi^li-ba skcts, waahing-stiind on three legs, and a 
poker, 

QuitE satisfied, he closed his door, and locked himself in; double^ 
locked hiinse.f in. which was not his cu$[om. Thus secured against 
surprise, he took off his cravat ; put on his dressing-gown and slippers, 
and his nightcap ; and sat down Wore the fire to take his gruel. 

ItwasayeTv low fire indeed ; nothin^on such 3 bitter night. He was 
obli|>ed to sit close to it, and brood over it, before he could extract the 
least seiiEation at warmth from such a hamlful of fuel. The fireplace 
was an old one, built hy some Dutch merchant long ago, and paved all 
round with quaint Dutch titei, designed lo illustrate the Scriptures 
There were Cains and Abels, Pharaoh's daughters, Queens of Sheba, 
Angelic messengers descending through the air on clouds like feather- 
beds, Abrahams, Bel sliazzars, Apostles putting off to sea In buUet-hoats, 
huTidredi of figures, to attract his thoughts ; and yet that face of Mailey, 
seven yeiirs dend, came like the ancient Prophet's rod, and swallowed up 
the whole. If each snioorh tile had been a blank at iirsi:, with power 
to shape some picture on its surface from the disjointed fragmcnrs of hii 
thoughts, there would have been a. cop/ of old Marley's head on everv 
one. 

" Humbug ! " said Scrooge ; and waited across the room. 

After several turns, he sat down agnln. As he ihre^v his head back in 
thcchati, his glance happened ro rest upon a bell, a disused bell, that hung 
in the room, and commuThicated for some purpose now torgotten with a 
chamber in thehigheststoreyof the building. It was with great astonish- 
ment, and wiili a Strang-', inexplicable dread, that as he looked, he saw 
thi^ bell begin to swing. It swung so softly in the outset that it scarcely 
made a sound 1 but soon it rang out loudly, and ao did every bell in the 
house. 

TTiia might have lasted half a minute, or a minute, but it seemed an 
hour. The bells ctastd as they had begun, together. They were 
succeeded by a clanking noise, deep down below ; as if &ome person 
were dragging a heavy chain over the casks in the wine-merchant's cellar. 
Scrooge then remembered to have heard that ghosts in haunted houses 
were described as dragging chains- 

Thc cellar-door flew open with a booining sound, and then he heard 
the noise much louder* on the floors below ; rhcn coming up the stairs ; 
then coming straight towards his door. 

" It's humbug still ! *' said Scrooge. " I won*t believe it." 

His colour changed though, when, without a pause, it came on 
through the heavy door, and passed into the room before his eyes. Upon 
its coming in, the dying tlame leaped up, as though it cried '* I knov/ 
him 1 MarkVs Ghosi i " and fell again. 

The same face : the very same. Marley in his pigtail, usual waistcoat, 
tights and boots ; the tassiils on the Taitcr bristling, lite his pigtail, and 
his coat-skirts, and the hair upon his head. The chain he drew was 

cc, a' 



IQ A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

chsped aboui: his middle, it wfi$ Jong, and wound about him iile a 
tail ; and it wa^ made (for Scrooge obicrvcd ii clo^tly) of t':is]i-hoxes, 
\tiyiy padlocLSj ledgerSj deeds^ and heavy purees wrought In 5tcd. His 
body WJ1& transparent; so iliat Scrooj^c, objcrving him^ and looking 
through his waistcoat, could &ec the two buttons on his toit bEhind- 

Scrooge had often heard ic said thrtt Marley had no bowcbj but he 
had ncvtjr belie-^^ed it until noWn 

Koj nor did he believe it even now. Though hd ]qo^^ the phantom 
ihroitgh and through^ and sa^v it 3t:tnding before him ; though he felt 
the: chilling influence of iu de^ith-cold eves; and marked the very 
texture of the fohied kerchief bound about its head and chin* which 
wrapper ha had nirn observed before ; he was still incredulous, and 
foLightagflin^t hii senses. 

" How now ] " said Ecroogej caustic and cold as ever* " What do you 
want with m*= ? " 

'* Much ! *^ — Marley's voice^ no doubt about if. 

''Who are you?" 

^' Ast me who X Uf^^^^ 

" WTio fvrr^ vou tlien I " said ScroogCj raising his voicCh " You're 
parliculaF — for a .^hade,*' Ht: wg^ going to say " u a shade," but 
substituted this^ as more ^ppropriaTCr 

" In life I was \^ur partner^ Jacob Marley/' 

'* Caji you — can you $it do^vn ? " asted Scrooge, looking doubtfully 
at him, 

'* I can/* 

" Do it then," 

Scrooge asVed the question^ because he didn't knowwhcthcraghost so 
transparent might find himself in a condition to take ei chair ; and felt 
that in the event of its being imposs-ible^ it might involve the necessity 
of an embarrassing explanation^ But the Ghost sal down on tlit:tjppo5ite 
side of the fireplsce, ^s if he were quite used to it* 

^^ You don't behcve in me," obw^rved the Chost- 

^^ i don*t/' £aid Scrooge. 

*^ What evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your 
senses ? ^^ 

" I don^t knows*' fijid Scrooge, 

** Why do you doubt your scn&es f *' 

'* Because^" said Scrooge, *^ a little thing affects them. A slight 
disorder of the stomach makes them chcatSn Vou may be an undigested 
bit pf beef, ablot of mn&tardj a crumb of cheese^ a fragment of an under- 
done potato. Theie^s more ol gfivy than of grave about you^ whatever 
you arc ! " 

Scrooge was not much in the habit of crackina jokes^ nor did he feel^ 
in his he^rt, by any means waggish then. The truth is, that he tried 
to be sm art, as a means of distracting hit own attentioUj and keeping down 
his terror i for the specie's voke disturbed the very marrow in his bones* 



y 



A CHRISTMAS CAROL n 

To sit, staring at thoss fixed* gLized eixs^ in silence for a njomcntj 

vi-r^uld play, Scrooge fdt, the v^ry deuce ui til him, I'hcre was something 
vety awfal^ too, in the speccre's bting provided v-^uh an infernal aEmo- 
sphercof its own. Scrooge could not feel ii himself ^ but this vvasdcarl}^ 
the cise ; lor diough the Ghost sat perfectly motiortlcss, h\ hair, jind 
Bkirts> and tai^^ls, were still agitated as by the hot "vapour from an 

oven. 

'^ You iee this toothpicl" ? " Mid Scrooge^ returning quickly to the 
chiirge, for the reason just assigned ; and vvi^hingt though it were octly 
for a second, to divert the vision^s stony gaze from lumsclf. 

'' 1 do," lepWiid the Ghosts 

" Yqu are not looking at it," said Scrooge. 

'' But I 5ce itj" E?-[d the Ghost, ** notwithstanding" 

" Well ! " returned Scrooge- " I have but to jwaJlow this, and be 
for the rest of my days pr^rsftutcd by a legion of goblins^ all of my own 
creation* Humbugs I tell you- — humbug ! ** 

At this the spirii rjiscd a frightful cry, and shook its chain witli such a 
dismal and appalling noise, that Scrooge held nn tight to his chair^ to 
^ave himself from falling in a swoon. But how much greater was Ins 
ViDrrar, when the phantom taking off the bandage round iis lit^ad, as if it 
■^vcre too warm to wcift indcwjrSj its lower jaw dropped down upon its 
breast ! 

Sciof^e fell upon his knees, and clasped his hands before his face, 

" Mercy J "he said- "Dreadfulappariiion. why do you trouble me i " 

^* Man of tike wcjildly mind I " replied ttie Ghostj *' do you bc;lievc in 
me or not } " 

" 1 doj" said Scroo£2e, *^ I m^ir^t. But why do spirits walk the carili, 
and why do they come to me t " 

'' It is required of every man/' the Ghost returned, ^^ that the spirit 
within him should watk abroad fimont' hss ft^llowmeUj and travel far and 
wide ; and if that spirit goes not forth in ^ife, ir is condemned to do so 
after death. It is doomtd to zander through the world— oh, woe 13 
me 1^ — and witness wliat it camioi share, but might have shared on earth, 
and turned to happiness ! " 

Again the spectre raised a cry, and shoot its chain^ and wrung its 
shadowy hands. 

*' You ar? fc^iicredj" said Scroogej trembling. ** TeH me why ? " 
^* i wear the chain I forged in life/' replied the Gho?i. " I made it 
lint by link, and yard by yard ; I girded it on of my own free will^ and 
of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange toydji P'^^ 
Scrooge trembled more and more. 

** Or would you know," pursued the Ghost, " the weight and length 
of the strong coll you bear yourself } It was full as heavy and as long 
as this, seven Christmas Eve3 ago. You have laboured on ic^ since. It is 
a ponderous chain ! " 

Scrooge glanced about him on the floor^ in the expectation of finding 



hV 



^^t!," 



■j1 - 



ta A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

himself surrounded by £omo hity or siitty f:ithoms of iron cable ; but he 
conld see nothing. 

** Jacob," he ?aid^ imploringly. *' Old Jacob Marfcy, tell me more- 
SpCJik comfort to me, J-icob/' 

^^ I have none to give/* the Ghost replied- " It romes from oiher 
regions, Ebeiiestcr Scrooge, and is conveyed by other ministers, to other 
kinds of men^ Nor can I tell von ^vhat I would. A very little more^ is 
all permitted to me. I cannot rcit, I cannot stay^ I c^^nnot linger 
anyv'here. My spirit never walked beyond our counting-house — mark 
me! — in life my spirit never roved beyond the narrow limits or our 
money-changing hole ; and ^veary journeys lie before me ! *' 

It was a hnbit ^^vith Scrooge, whenever he became thoughtful to put 
his hands in liis breeches pockets. Ponderin^^ on what the Ghost had 
i3^d, he did so now, bnt without lifting up hh eye^^ or gcrling off hi* 
knees. 

^* Vou must ha^'c been very slow about it^ Jacob^^^ Scrooge observ^d^ 
in a busiTiess-lil^e m^inner^ though with humiTitv and deference. 

" Slow [ '^ tttc Ghost repeated. 

^^ Seven yearsdeadj" mused Scrooge* " And trjvtzllin^ all the time ! " 

*^ Tlie whole time," said the Ghost- '^ Xo re&tj no pcaee^ Incessant 
torture o£ remorse." 

^^ You travel fast P *' said Scroogo- 

* On the wings of the wind^" replied the Ghosc. 

*^ You might h:iv£ got over a grear quantity of ground in "lei^en years/' 
said Scrooge. 

The Ghost, on hc^irmg thiSj set up another fry, and clanked its ch^tn 
so hideously in the dead silence of the nighty that the Ward would have 
bc^n justified in indicttng it for a nuisance. 

^^ Oh ! captive^ bound, and double- ironed," cried the phantoni, '^ not 
to knoWj that agea of incessant labour, by irnmortal creatures, for this 
earth must pass into eternity before th? good of which it is susceptible 13 
all developed* jNot to ^now that any Christian spirit working kindly in 
its little sphere, whatever it may be^ wjll find its morial life too short 
for its vast mtana of usefulness. Not to knou' that no space of regret 
can make amends for ojie life's opportunity misused E Yet sutiK was T I 
Oh! tnchwasi!" 

*' Butyouwerealwaysagoodmanofbusincss, Jacob/' faltered Scrooge^ 
■who now begaT^ to appJv ihh to hirrt-^elfH 

' Business i " cried the Ghost, wnn^ng its hands again. " Mankind 
was my business. The common welfare was my business ; charity, 
mercy, forbearance, and benevolence^ were, aH, my business. The 
deahngsof my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean 
of my business f " 

It held up its chain at arm^ len^thj as if (hat wer^ the cause of all its 
unavailing grief^ and flung it heavily upon tlie ground again, 

" At this time of the rolling y^arj^^ the spectre said, ** I suffer most. 



A CHRISTMAS CAROL 13 

^^Tiy did I walk through crowd? of fetlow'-bdngs wirh ray eyes turned 
down^ and nev^i raise thorn co that blusiscd Star which led the Wise 
Men ro a. poot: abode ! ^Vere there no poor homes to which its light 
would have conducted m^ / " 

Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the spectre going on at this 
rat<?* and began to qua^e exceedingly. 

** He:ir me ! '* cried th<; Ghoat- '^ My 6mi is nearly gone.*^ 

'* 1 will," said Scrooge. "* But don^t be h^rd upon me i Don't be 
flowerv, Jacob ! Fray I " 

'* How it ii cliat I ^ppi:aT before you in a shape thar yoti can s^re, I may 
Dot te!]. ] havt 5,it irtX'iiible beside you many and many a day/^ 

It was noE an agreeable idea. Scrooge shivered^ and wiped the 
perspiration fTom his brow, 

^* That is no light pan of my penance," pursued ihe Gho^t. '' I am 
here to-night lo warn you, that you have yet a chance and hope o£ 
escaping my fate. A chance and hope o£ my procuring, Ebcnezer." 

'* You were always a good friend to me/' said Scrooge. ^*Thanl:W I " 

" You ivili be haunted/^ resumed the Ghost, *' by Tliree Spiriia." 

Scrooge's countcctance ftli almost as lo^v as the Ghost's had done. 

^' Is that the chance and hope you mentioned, Jacob ? " he demanded, 
in a Ealtering voice. 

'*itis." 

" I — I think Vd raiher not," said Scrooge- 

" Without their visiis,^^ said the Ghosi, ^* you cannot hope to shun 
the path 1 tread* Ej^pect the first lo-morrow, when the bell tolls 
one." 

'^ Couldn^l I take 'cm all it once, and have ii: over^ Jacob ? ** hinted 
Scrooge. 

^^ Eipcdt the second on the n^xt n3^ht at the aarlle tour. The third 
upon the neit night when the la^c stroke of twelve has ceased to vibratci. 
Loot to see me no more ; and look that^ for yotir own saVe, you remember 
what has passed btlween us ] *^ 

When it had said these T^ords^ the spectre took its wrapper from the 
table^ and bound ir round its head, as before, Scroo^^e fcnew this, by the 
smart sound its teeth mads, when chf^ jaws uere brought together by the 
bandage. He ventured to raise his eyes again^ and found his supernatural 
visitor confronting him in aii en;ct attitude^ with its cham wound over 
and about ns arm. 

The apparition walked bacWard frorri him ; and at every step it toot, 
the windo^v raised itself a little, io that when tlie spectre reached il, it 
was wide open. It beckoned Scrooge to approach, which he did. When 
thev were within E^vo pace^ of each ulher^ Marlcjy^s GhoiC held up its 
hand, warriin^ him to come no nearer. Scroc^e stopped. 

Not so much in obedience, a* in surprise and fear * for on the raising 
of the hand- he became sensible of confused noist^s in the air ; incoherent 
bounds of lamentation and regret ; ivailings Inexpressibly sorrowful and 



14 A C H R I S T M A S C A R O L 

sdf-accu&atofy- Th<; spectre^ afttr Itstening for a momcnr, joined la 
the mournful dirge ; and Roatcd out upon tht blcjtk, dart night. 

S^^^oo!^e followcid to the window: desperate in his curiosiiy^ He 
looktd oLit, 

Thfi air wns filled with phantoms^ ^vandenng hither and thither in 
restless h^siCs and moaning as they w^^m. Every one of them wore 
chains like Marley's Ghost ; some i'^w (th^v mighi be guilty govem- 
mi:ntG.)wci"chnkc:d together ; none wt: re free. Many hflJ been personally 
known to Scrooge in their Uvea, Hl- had been quit:: familiar with one 
old ghostj In a white waistcoat, with a monsimus iron safcz attached to 
it^ ankk% whociicd pitt;ouslyiit being unable to assist a wretched woman 
with an infant, whom it sawbelow, nponadoor-siep. The misery with 
tht^n all \vas, <:k-arly, that they sought lo interfere^ for good, in human 
matters, nnd had lost the powt^i for ever 

Whctht:r these erearnres faded into mist or miit cnslironded them, 
he could not tclh iiut they ami their spirit voices faded toucher ; wnd 
the night became as \t had been wlicn he walked home. 

Scrooge dosed ihc window, and esaTniucL! tlie door by whit;h the 
Ghost had entercdn It was double-locked ^ as lie had locked it with his 
ownhand5,and [he bolts were iindisturbt^dH He tried lo say '' Humbug!" 
but Slopped at the T.rst syllable. And beine^ from the emotion he had 
undergone^ or the fatigues of the day, [>r his glimpse of the Invisible 
Worlds or the dull conversation of the Ghosts oi iht: lateness of the hour, 
much in need of repose ; went straight to bed, without undressing, and 
fell asleep upon the instant- 



STAVE TWO : Th^ First of th Thr^^ Spirisf 

When Scrooge awoke, it was so dark, that lootij^g out of bed, he could 

scarcely distinguish the transparent window from ths op:^q«e walls of 

hii chamber. He was endeavouring to pierce the darkness with Ids ferret 
tycSj when the chimes of a neigh housrini^r dmrdi struck the four quartern. 

So he l]^tcn5d for the hour. 

lo his great astonishment the heavy bell v/ent on from six to seven, 
and from seven lo eighty and regularly up to twelve ; ;bcn stopped* 
Twelve ! It was pa&t two when he went lo bed. The clock was wrong- 
An icicle m^usc have goc into the works. Twelve ! 

Heloucht^dthcspringof his repeater^ to correct this moit prtpoitcroiis 
clock, lis rapid little pul^c bcsit twt4ve : and stopped. 

^^ Why^ it isn't possibJe" s^id Scroogej " that I can have slept ilirnugU 
awhole day and far irtto another night* Itisn'tpossible that anything has 
happened to the sun, and this is twelve at noun ! '^ 

The idea being an alarming one, he scrambkJ out of bed, and groped 
hSs way [o the window- He was obliged to rub the frost off with the 
slee^x of Ids drt^sing-gown before he could sec anything ; and could see 
very little then. All he could make out was, that it was still very foggy 



A CHRISTMAS CAROL 15 

and cxrreraely cold, and that there was no noU^ of people running to and 
frOj and making a grcfit stir, as there unquestionably would have been if 
night had beaten off bright Jay, and Taken po&session of the world. This 
was i great relief J because" three days after sight of this Fitsr of Es:change 
pay to Mth Hbcnczczr Scrooge or his order/' and so Eorth, would have 
become a mere United Stat^s^ security if tlierc wereno days to count by. 

Scrooge ^vent to bed again^ and thoiightj and thought^ and thouglit 
it over and over and over^ and could make nothing of it. The more he 
thou^htj the more perplexed Siu was ; and the more he endeavoured not 
to tliink, tlie more he thought. Marley*s Ghost botherei^l him excc^jd- 
ingly. Every time he resolved within himself^ after mature inquiry, 
that it was all a dream^ his m[nd flew bacL Jgriioj like a strong spring 
released^ to its first position, and presented the same problem to be 
wotkd all ihroughj " Wa^ it a dream or not P " 

Scrooge lay in ihis state until the chimes had gont^ three quarcera 
more, when he rememberedj on a sudden^ that the Ghost had warded 
him of a visitation when the beil tolTed one. He resolved to lie awake 
until the hour was passed ; and^ considering that he could no triore go 
to sleep than to g& to Heaven^ this was perhaps the wisest resolution in 
his power. 

The quarter was so long, that he vFasi more tKan once convinced he 
must hav^ sunk into a doi^e tinconsciously^ and missed the dock. At 
length it brol^e upon his hstening car* 

^^Ding, dong!" 

*' A quarter past/* said Scraoge, counting. 

"Ding. Lions; !^ 

** Half-past 1 " s:tid Scrooge^ 

"Ding-dong!" 

" A quarter to it^" said Scrooge. 

'^Ding, dcrng!" 

" The hour itself," said Scrooge, triumphantly, ** and nothing else 1 " 

He jpoke before the hour bell sounded, which it now did with a deep^ 
dullj hoiiow, meUncholy Onf. Light flashed up in the loom upon the 
jn^tarit, and the curtains of his beJ were dra^vn, 

The curtains of his bed were drawn aside, 1 leTI you, by a hand. Not 
the cutl^in^ at his feet^ nor the curtains at his back, but those to which 
his face w;ii addressed. The curtains of his bed were drawn aside ; and 
Scrooge^ starting up into a half- recumbent attitude^ found himself face 
to face "with the utiearthlv visitor who drew them : as cloie to it as I am 
now to you, and 1 am standing in the spirit at yonr elbow. 

Ir was a strange figure— like a child : vet not so lite a child as Tike an 
old martj viewed through some supernatural medium, which gave him 
the appearance of having receded from tlie vit:w^ and being diminished 
to a chikrs proporuons. Its hair^ which hung about its neck and down 
its back, WJi white as if with age ; and yet the face had not a wrintle 
nitfc and the lenderest bloom was on die skin. The arms were verv long 



t6 A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

and muAcuhr ; the hands the samcj aa if JLS hold were of uncommon 
strength. Its legs and feet, mo&r dcUcatcly formed^ were, like tho&& 
upper memberSj barcn Ii^orc a tunic oi the purest whittj ; and round 
irs waist was bonnd a histron^ bcli^ the sheen of which w^^ bcainifith 
]i held a branch of frt&li green hollv in ii? hnnd ; and^ in singular can- 
tradiciion of that wintry embkm, had it:? dres£ trimmtid n-ith SHmn-er 
flowers* But ihe strangest thing about it wa^, that fron! the crown of 
its head ihere fprang a bright di:ar jet of lighfj by which all this w-ii 
visible ; and uhieh was donbtkss the occasion of its using, in it3 dulicr 
inonient9j s great extinguisher for a cap^ which it now held under its 
arm* 

Evcnihisj though, when Scrot^e looted at it ^ithincrea?mqftteadlness^ 
was ncf its strongest qurility. For as its bt^it sparkled and gliitt;red nyw 
in onL* part and now in another, aud "what was light one instEintj at another 
timewaidark, sc? that tlie figure itself fluctuated in its distinctness : being 
now a tbing with one arm, now with one leg, now with iwent/ legs^ now 
a pair of legs without a head, now a head without a body ; of which 
dissolving parts, no outline would be visible in the dense gloom wherein 
thty melted away. And in the \^ry wonder of this^ it would be ii^df 
again ; distinct and clear as ever, 

" Arc you ihe Spirit, sir, whose coming was foretold to me P " astcd 
Scrooge* 

^^lam!" ... 

Tlie voice was soft and gentle* Sin^larly low, as if instead of being 
to close be&ide him^ it were at a distance, 

'^ Who, and what art; you r ^^ Scrooge demanded. 

^^ ! am iht; Ghost of Chnstraas Pate." 

** Long past ? ''inquired Scrooge ; observantofits dwarfish stature. 

"No* Yourpa&t," 

Perhaps^ Scrooge could not have toid anybody why, if anybody could 
hav<; askt:d him ; but he had a special desire; to see the Spirit in his cap ; 
and begged him to be covered* 

"What ! " exclaimed theGhost^ "would you so soon put oufj with 
worldly hands, the light I give ? Is it not enough that you are one of 
those whose passions made this cap^ and force me through whole trains 
of years to wear it low upon my brow ! " 

Scrooge reverently disclaimed all intention to offendj or any know- 
ledge of having wilfully *^ bonneted " the Spirit at arty period of his 
lifen He then made bold to inquire what business brought him thefc, 

*^ Your welfare ! " said the Gho^t. 

Setftoj^e expressed himwlf much obliged, but could not help thinting 
that a night of unbroken rest would have been more conducive to that 
end- The Spirit must have heard him thinking, for it said immediately : 

** Your reclamaiion, then. Take heed I " 

It put out its strung hand as it spok(?j and clasped him gemjy b;' 
the arm. 




So'^Ggi' 




\ 



ACHRISTMASCAROL 17 

" Rise ! and walk with mc I " 

li would hjve been in vain for Scroog<^ to pJead that the weather and 
the honr were not adapted to pedestnan purpoici ; that bud was warra, 
cind the thermometers ioj^g waybe^ow fraosing ; that he was dad but 
li^htlv in hi$ slippers^ dressing-gown , and nightcap ; and that ht^ had 
a coUt upon him at rhat time- T3:e grasp^ though gentle as a woman's 
handj was not Co be resisted. He rose; but finding that the; Spirit 
made towards the window, daapcd its robe in supi^lication. 

*' I am a mortalj" Scrooge remonsrratedj ^* and liable to fall." 

^' Bear bat a touch of my hand iS^f," said the Spiritj laying it upon 
hi^ heartj ^^ and you shall be upheld in more than this [ ^' 

As the words wcie spoken, they passed through the wall, and stood 
upon an open country road^ with fields on either hand^ The cicv had 
entircfy vanished. Not a vestige of it was to be seen. The darkness 
and the mist had vanished with it, for it was a cleafj cold, winter day, 
wiih snow upon the ground. 

'* Good Htaven ! '^ said Scrooge^ clasping his hands together, as he 
lool^ed about him. " I was bred in this placCn I was a bov here ! " 

The Spirit ^^zed upon him mildly. Its gentle touchy though it had 
been liRht and in^tantaneouSj appeared still present to the old man's 
sense of fettling. He was conscious of a thousand odours floating in the 
siTj each one connected with a thousand thoughts^ and hopes, and joys^ 
and cares long, lonj; forgotten ! 

^^ Your lip 15 trembling/^ said the Ghost. " And what is that upon 
your cheek ? " 

Scrooge muttered^ with an unasual catching in his voice, that it was a 
pimple ; and begged the Ghoic to li^ad him wher<^ he would, 

*^ You recollect the way i " inquired the Spirit. 

" Remember it [ " cried Scrooge^ with fervour — ^^ 1 could walk it 
blindfold/^ 

*^ Strange to have forgotten it for so many years 1 '' observed the 
Ghost, *^ Let us go on," 

They waited along the road i Scrooge recognising every gate, and post^ 
and tree ; until a httJe market-town appeared in the distance, yAih its 
bridge, its church, and winding river. Some shaggy ponies now were 
seen trotting cowards them with boys upon their backs^ who caUed to 
other boys in country gigs and carts., driven by farmers* All these boya 
were in great spirits^ and shouted to each other, uncil the broad fields 
were so full of merry music, that the crisp air laughed to hear it, 

" These are but shadows of the things that have been," said th^ Ghost. 
^^ Tliey have no consciousness of us*" 

The jocund travellers came ou ; and as they came^ Scrooge tncw and 

named them e\'ery one* Why was he rejoiced beyond ali bounds to see 

them ? Why did his cold eye glisten, and his heart leap up as they went 

past ? Wl^y was he filled with gladness when he heard them give each 

I other Merry Christmas^ as they parted at cross-roads and by-ways^ for 



1"^ ^ 



IS A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

ihtir scverd liomeg I W^at was merry Christmas to Scrooge ? Out 

upon merry ChristmEis ! Wh^t good had it tv^i done* lo him ? 

" ^Ilie school is not quite destrredj" said the Ghost, ^* A solitaiy 
child^ neglected by hn friends^ is left there still." 

Scrooge snid he knew it. And he sobbed. 

'fhey left iltt higii-road, by a wc31- remembered ]ant, ^nd soon 
approached a mansion of dull red brick, with a little ^vcathcrcock- 
suTmoui;ted cupob^ on the roof, and a bell h,inging in it. It was a 
lar^t house, but one of broken fortunes ; for the sp;icious offices were 
little used-, their -^valls xvere damp ^nd moiiy, their -wmkWs brokct^ and 
their gales dccaytd^ Fowls clLicked and strutted in the si^iblus ; and th^ 
coach-houses and sheds were overrun with grass. Nor was it more 
reteniive of its ancient state^ within ; for entering the dreary hall^ and 
glancing through the open doors of many rooms, they found thtm poorly 
furnished, cold, and -vast* 'I'liL^re weie an eartliy savour in tlie air, a 
chilly bareness in the place^ which as?ociated itself somehow with too 
mYLch getting up by candle-[i£;ht, and not too much to cat. 

They went, the Ghoit and Scrooge^ across the hall, to a door at the 
back of the house* It opened before them^ and disclosed a long, bare^ 
melancholy room, made barer sdll bv lines of plain deal forms and des^ks. 
Ai one of these a lonely boy was reading near a feeble fire ; and Seiooge 
sat down upon a form, and wept to see his poor forgotten self jis he had 
used to be* 

Koi a Litem echo in the house, not a squeak and scufRe from the mice 
behind the panellings not a drip from the half-thawed watcc-spoiir in 
the dull yard behind, not a sigh among the leafless boughs of one despon- 
dent poplar, not the idle swin^inc^ of an empty store-house door^ no^ 
not a clicking in the fire^ but fell upon the heart of Scrooge with softening 
influence^ and gave a freer passage to his tears. 

The Spirit touched him on thu arm^ and poiaitcd to his younger self^ 
intent upon his reading- Suddenly a man, in foreign garments : wonder- 
fully real and distinct to loot at : stood outside the window, ^vith an 
ii:ce stuck in his belt, and leading an ass laden with wood by the bridle. 

*^ Whyj it's Ali Baba ! " Scrooge exclaimed in ecstasy. " It^s dear old 
honest M\ Baba ! Yes^ ycs^ 1 know ! One Christmas time^ when yonder 
solitaiy child was left here all alc^ne, he did comc^ for the first lime^ jusf 
like that. Poor boy! And Valentine," said Srrooge. *^ and his wild 
brother, Orson ; tliere ihey go ! And what's his name^ who was put 
do^vn in his drawers, asScep, at tlie Gate of Damascus ; don't you seci 
him f And the Sultan's Groom turned upside down by the Genii; 
there he 13 upon his head ! Serve him rJgfit. Vm glad of it. WTiat 
business had /;f to be married to ihe Princess ? " 

To hear Scrooge expending all the earnestness of his nature on such 
subjticts, 5n a most extraordinary voice between laughing and crying; 
and to see liis heightened and excited face ; would have been a surprise 
to his business friends in the City indeed 



A CHRISTMAS CAROL 19 

'* There's fhe Parrot!'* cried Scrooge- ^* Green boiSv^ and yellow 
tail^ wiih fi thing lite a leitucegrowingout of the lop of his head ; there 
he is \ Poor Robin Crusoe^ he called him^ when he came home ngain 
after sailing round the island- *Poor Robin Crusoe^ where kive you 
been^ Robin Cru?oe ? * The nia.Q thotight he was dreaming^ but he 
wasn't- It was tlie P^rrar, you know. There goes Friday, running for 
his lift to iKe litrle creek I Halloa i Hoop ! Halloo 1 " 

Then^ winh a rapidity of transition veij^ foreign to his usual character^ 
he saidj in pitv for his former self, ^^ Poor boy ! " and cried again, 

** I wish/^ Scrooge muttered, putrlng his hand in his pocket, and 
looking about him, after drying hi^ eyci with his cuff : " but ii^s too 
late now.'^ 

'' What h the matrcr ? ^ asfeed the Spint, 

" Noihirtg^" said Scrooge. " Nothiiig. Thore wa^ a boy singing a 
Chrisimas Carol at my door la&t night, 1 should Uke to have given him 
something: that's aU/^ 

The Ghost imilcd thonghifullyj and wa^ed its l^nd * saving as it did 
60j " Let ns sec another Christmas ! " 

Scroop's fornn:r self ijrevv larger at the ^ord^^ and the roon^ became a 
little darter and more diriv^. The panels shrank, the windows cracfcetl ; 
fragnienci of plaster fell out of the ceilings and the naked laths were 
sho^^n instead ; but ho^v all thi? was brought about, Scrooge knew no 
more than you do. He only t^^cw that it was quite correct; that 
everything had happened ^o ; that tliere lie was, alone again, when all 
the other bovs haJ gone home for the jolly holidays. 

He wa? not reading now, but walking up and down de^pairmgly. 
Scrooge looked at the Ghost, and with a roournful shaking of his head^ 
glanced anxbusly towards the door. 

It opened ; and a little girl, much younger than the bo7^ came darting 
in, snd putting het arms about his neck^ and often kissing him, addressed 
him as her " Dear, dear brother," 

*^ I have come to bring you home, dear hrorher ] " said tlie child, 
clapping her tiny handsj and bending down to laughs ^^ To bring you 
home, home, home ! ** 

Hom<:, hitk Fan ? " returned the boy- 
Yes I " said the child, brimful of gleCn ^^ Home^ for good and alL 
riome^ for ever and ever. Father es so much kinder than he used to be, 
that homers likcHeavtn ! Heppokesogently to me one dear night when 
I was going to bed, rhat I was not afraid to ask Idm ont;e more if you 
might come home ; andhesaid Yes, yon should ; and sent me in a coach 
10 bring you. And you're to be a man ! " s^iid the child^ opening her 
eyes, " and are never to come back here ; but fir>t, w:iVe to be together 
all the Christmas long^ and have the merriest time in al] iKc world." 

" You are quite a woman^ little Fan ! ^* exclaimed the boy. 

She clapped her hands and laughed, and irifd to touch his head ; but 
beiDg too little^ Uughud aguin, and stood on tiptoe to embrace liim. 






20 ACHRESTMASCAROL 

Then she btgjtn to ^r^^j hiirij in her childish cjgcrncsSj towards the doox ; 
arad Kcj nothing loth tq po. accompanied heT. 

A terrible voice in ihe ha]l critd, "Bring down iLscer Scroc^e^s 
box^ theie ! " and in the hall appc^ircd the &L'hoolma,ster himself^ who 
glared on Master Scroop wiih a ferocious rotidcscensJoi), and threw 
him into a dreadful st:ite of mind bv shaking hands with Inm* He then 
conveyed him and his sister into the vciic&t old well of a shivcrii^g 
best-parlour that ever was seen* where xh<L raaps upon the wall, and the 
celestial and terr^^^trsal globcjs in the windows, wt:re \va:\y ^vith cold- 
Here be produced a decanter of curiously Etght wine^ a-ij a blocl; of 
curiotEi^]/ hesiry cake, and adminiiiitred insiaJmcnts of those dainties lo 
the young people ; at the same time, sending out a meagre servant to 
offer a glasj of ^^ something " to ihe poitbuy, >vho auawered ihat he 
thanked the gentleman, but if it was the same tap ashe had tasted beforCj 
he had ratht^r not. Maater Scroo^ye^s trunk being b}- this lime tied on to 
the top of the ch^^ise, the children bade the ?choo3ma&ter good-bye 
right \^'i]lingly \ And getting into it, drove gaily down the ^:irden-5Weop : 
the quick wheels dashing the hoar-frost and snowfrom off the dark leaves 
of the evergreens like spray. 

" Ahvays a delicate creature^ whom a breath nlJght have withered,'^ 
said ihc Gho&t. ^' Eut slie had a large heart J ^' 

'^ So ^e hadj" cried Scrooge. ** Voii^re right, V\\ not gainsay it. 
Spirit, God forbid!'^ 
" She died a woman," said the Gho&tj ^' and had, as I think^ children.'' 
^* One childp" Scrooge returned, 
'' True," said the Ghost. " Your nephew ! '^ 
Sciooge seemed uneasy in hii raind ; and answered briefly. *" Yes.'* 
Although thtiy had bui thai mt;meni lef c ihc school behind them, they 
were now in the busy thoroughfares of a city, where shadov\')' passengers 
passed and repassed ; where shadowy carts and toatihcs battled for the 
way, and all the strife and tumult of a real city were. It was made plain 
, enough, by the dressing of the shops, that her^ too it was Christmas time; 
again ; but it was evening, and the streets were lighted up. 

Tlie Ghost stopped at a certain warehouse door, and ysked Scrooge if 
he tnew it. 

" Know it ! ** said Scrooge. " Wets I apprenuced here : " 
They went in^ At sij^lit of an old gentleman in a Welih wij^^ sitting 
behind such a high desk, that U lie had been two in[;lit:s taller he must 
have knocked his head against the ceiling, Scrooge cried in great 
excitement : 

'*Why, ii*sold Fc'/,ziwig ! Bless his heart ; i[^s Fcmsviir aiive again ! '* 
Old F^;Zj!iwrg bid do^^^l his pcn^ and looked up at die doct, whii:h 
pointed to the hour of Kveu. H^& rubbed his hands- adjusted ]]]3 
capacious waistcofit ; ]aqghcd d] over himsdf, from his shoca to his 
organ of benevolence; and called out in a comfoiiablcj oilv, rich, fat^ 
jovial voice 



- < 



A CHRIST MASCAROL ai 

" Yo ho, th^^rp I Ebencicr ! Dick ! " 

Scroogfi^s former self^ now grown a young man^ came briskly in, 
accompanied by bis fellow-'prentice. 

*' Dick Wilkirfs, to bo sure i '^ said Scrooge to the Ghost- ^Kess me, 
yes. There bfi is. He was very much attached to me, was Dick, Poor 
Dick! Dear, dear!" 

" Yo ho^ my boj's ! " said Fe^zhvig. "No more wort to-mgKt, 
Chrbcmas Evc^ Dick. Chi-istnias, Ebenczcr ! Let's have the ahiuters 
up/* cried old Fcis^i^vig, with a sharp clap of his hands, '* before a man 
can say Jack Robinson ! " 

You wouJdn^t believe how those t^vo felloe's went at it i They 
ch:i[^ed into the street with the shutters — onCj two, throe — had *em 
up in iheir places — four^ five, six — barred *eni and pinned 'era — seven, 
eightj nine^ — and came bact before you could have gof fo twelve^ 
panting Uke racehorses. 

^^ Hillt-ho i ^^ cried old Fei^iwig^ skipping down from the high desk, 
with ^vonJcrful sigility. ** Clear away, my Jads, and let^s have lots of 
room here ! Hilli'-hoj Dick ! Chirrup, Ebenezcr ! " 

Clear away [ There was nothing they wouldn^t have cleared away^ 
or couldn't h:^vc cleared away, with old FexziwiglooUngon. Ttwas done 
in a minute. Every movable was packed off, as if if were dismissed from 
public Ute for ever more ; the floor was swept and watered, the lamps 
were trinirrtedj fuel was heaped upon the fire ; and the warehouse was 
35 snugt and ivarm, and dry, and bright a ballroom, as you would desire 
lo see upon a winter's nighty 

In came a fiddler with a music-book, and went up to the lofty desk, and 
made an orchestra of it, and tuned like flfty stomach-ache^. In came Mrs, 
Fe^ziwig^ one vatt substantial smile. In came the three Miss Fei^ziwigSj 
beaming and lovable. In came the sis young foUowera whose hearts 
they broke. In came all the young men and women employed in the 
business* In came the house maid, with her cousin, the baker* In came 
the cookjwitbhei brother's particular frii;nd, the milkman. In came the 
boy from over the way, who wag suspected of not having board enough 
from his master ; tryinj; to hide himself behind the girl from next door 
but ono^whowas proved to have had her ears pulled by her mistress. In 
they all came, one after another ; 5ome shyly, ^ome boldly, some grace- 
fully, some awkwardly^ some pushing, some pulling ; in thej^ all came, 
anyhow and e^^ervhow. Away they all went, twenty couple at once, 
hands half round and back again the other way ; down the middle and 
up again ■ round and round in various stages of aff^^ctionate grouping ; 
old top couple always turning up in the wrong place ; new top connlc 
startingoft again as soon as they got there ; all top couples atlast, and nor 
a bottom one to help them. When this resu't was brought about^ old 
Fezzuvig, clapping his hands to stop thedancej cried out, *^ Well done ! '* 
and the fiddler plunged hJs hot face into a pot of porter, especially 
provided for that purpo^e^ But scorning rest upon his reappearance. 



Id 



rl 



i2 A C H R i S T M A S C A R O L 

ho fmtaml^ beg^n ^g:iin, though there were no d^incerayei, as if iJie other 
fiddler liad bcc:n tnrriod homt, tiliausted, on n shutter ; and ht were :i 
bmn-ncw iy\.\n rcsolvtd to heat htm out of si^hi:, or perish. 

Tiicrc were moie daiices^ and there were forfeits^ and more dances, 
and thtTc ivas cake, nind ihcre was nt^guft, and thtro was a great piece of 
Cold Roast, and there was a great pit^te of Cokl Boiled, and there were 
ininee-pic&y and plenty of beer. But the K^cat eifect of vhe evening 
came alter the Koa^i and Jioiled, wJiL^n the Tufdler (an -^rt^ul dog, mtnd ! 
Thr2 sari of man who b^cw his business better tlian jou or I could hav*^ 
told it him I) struck up ^^ Sir Roger de CoverSev." Then aid Fezziwi^ 
stood oiEi to dance: wtth Mrs. Fezziwsg, Top couplej too ; with a good 
stiff piece of work cnt out for them ; three or four and t^venty pair of 
partners ; people who wlTl- not to be trifled v;ith ; people who ^^r^uhf 
dance, and had no notion of walking- 

But ]f they had been Twice as many ; ah, four times : old Fe^^iwi;^ 
would have ht^en jt match for xh^^^ and ^o ^vouH Mrs* FcK^^twig. As to 
h^r, she was worthy lo be his partner in cv^^rv sensL^ of the term^ If 
that^s not high praise, tell :ne hEgheij and Til use it. A piisitive light 
appeared to i?^ne from Feiziwig'S calves. Tlicy ihone in every part of 
the danee lite moons. Vou couldn't have predicted^ st zny given tiine^ 
what would becnnic of ^em nexr^ And ivhcn old Feiiziwi^^ and Mrs, 
Fezsiivvig had gone all through the dance; advance and rctJrCj hold 
hands tvkh your partner ; bow :ind curiscv ; cork&erew ■ threaJ-uhe" 
needle^ and back again to yriur place ; Fi:zziwig *^ cut ^^--^ut so deftlv^ 
that he appeared to wink with his legs, and came upon his feet again 
without a stagger. 

When the clock sirucE: eleven^ this domestic ball broke np. Mr. 
;ind Mrs. Fezziwig took their stations, one on eiclier tide the door, and 
shaking hands witli every person individua:1v as he or she went out^ 
wished him or her a Merry Chii^imas, ^Vh^?n ever}"body had rehired 
but the two 'prcntice^j they did ihc; same to tlitni ; and thus the cheerful 
voices died away, and the lads were left to their beds ; which were under 
a counter in the back &hop. 

During the whole of this lime, Scroos^e had acted like a man out of 
his wits. His heart and ?oul were in the scent, and with his former self^ 
He corroborated everything, remembered everything, enjoved cvcry- 
thingj and underwent the strangest agitation. It was not until now, 
when the bright£ace$ofhiifotnier$elf and Dick were turned from them ^ 
that heremtjmbered thcGhost, and became consciuui that it Has looking 
full upon him, while the light upon its henid burnt very clear. 

" A small matter," said the Gho&t, " to make these ^ilEy folks so fuU of 
gratiiudf*,^* 

*^ Small 1 " echoed Scrooge. " 

The Spirit signed to him to h$ten to the two apprentices, who were 
pouring out their hearts in praise of Fep,2iwig : and when he had done so, 
said^ 



ACHRISTMASCAROL " 23 

" Why P T5 it not ? He has spent but a few pounds of your mortal 
money : three or four, perhap?. Is thai so much th^it he deserves this 

praise ? '^ 

^' It isn't that," ^aid Scrooge^ heated hy the remark, and speaking 
unconsciously like his former, not his Utter, self, *' It isn't that, 
Spirit. He has the power to render u$ happy or unhappy ; to mate our 
service light or burdensome ; a pleasure or a loil. Say that h'li power 
lies in words and lool<s ; in things so slight and insignificant that it is 
impossible to add and count 'em up : what then i The happiness he 
gj^es, is Quiie as great as iE it cost a fortune," 

He felt the Spirit's glance, and stopped. 

" What is the matter ? " asked the Ghost. 

*'Nothin:> particular/' said Scrooge, 

" Something, I think i " the Ghost insisted, 

'' No," said Scrooge, *' No, I should lil:e to b'^ able to say a word or 
two to my clerk just now 1 Thai's a]h'^ 

His former self turned down the lamps as he gave utterance to the 
ivish ; andScroogeand the Ghostagain stood side by side in the open ail. 

*^ My time grows short/' observed the Spirit. *' Quiet \ " 

This was nnt addresptd to Scrooge, or to anv one whom he cotdd see, 
but it produced an immediate eflecr. For again Scrooge saw himself. 
He was older now ; a man in the prime of life. His face !iad not the 
harsb and ri^id lines of later years ; but it had begun to wear the signs of 
care and avarice. There was an eager, greedy, restless motion in the eye, 
which showed tlie passion that had taken root, and where the shadow of 
the growing tree would fall. 

Hewasnot alone, but sat by thesideof afairyounggirlinamourning- 
ireM;; in whose eyes there were tears, which sparkled in the lighc that 
shone out of the Ghost of Chrisimas Past, 
: " It matters little," she said, softly. " To you, very little. Another 
idoi has displaced m'-- ; and ii It can cheer and comfort you in time to 
. _ come, as I would have tried to do, 1 have no just cause to grieve." 

" What Idol has displaced you ^ " he rejoined. 

'' A golden one." 
/ " This is The even-handed dealing of the world ! " he said. *' There 
■j. ifj nothing on which it is so hard as poverty; and there is nothing it 
. 2 f rofesscs to condemn with such scveritr- as the pursuit of wc:alEh [ " 

" You fear the world loo much," she answered, gently, " .^1 your 
other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of 
its sordid reproach. 1 have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by 
one, until the master-passion. Gain, engrosses you. Have I not ? '* 

" What ihen ? " he retorted. " Even if 1 have grown so much wiser 
wh:ft then t I am not changed towards you." 

She shook her bead. 

" Am I P " 

" Our contract is an old one. It was made when we were both poor 



1 1 



Al-¥|1 U^h'l 'm-*' ^L 4... 



24 ACHRISTMASCAROL 

and coDtent to be so, uniil, in good reason, we could improve our worldJ^ 
foTtuneb)- our patient industry. Yoagftf changed. When it was made, 
yoa were another m;m," 

" I WAS 3 boy.'^ he said impatiently. 

*' Your own feeling telis you that you were not ivhat you are," she 
returned, *^ 1 am. That which promised happinew when we were one 
in hearr, is fraught with misery now ihat we are two. Ho^v often and 
how keenly 1 hava thoETght of thfs, 1 wiJl not say. It is enoii.i^h that I 
imvf thought of it, and can leTca^e yon," 

" Have 1 ever nought release I " 

" In words. Wo. Never.'' 

"In what, therT c '' 

'' In a changed nature ; in an altered spirit ; in another atmosphere 
of life ; another Hope as its great end. In everything that made my 
love of any worth or vahie in vour sight. If thishad never been between 
us^" said the gitl^ looting mildly, but with steadiness, upon him ; " tell 
me, would you scot me out and try to ^vjn me now ? Ah, no ! " 

He seemed to yield to the justice of this supposition, in spite of himseW. 
But he said with a ^trugs'^j *' You think not." 

" I would gladly think othtrivj^e if I cou'd," she answered, ^' Heaven 
know^ ! When / have learned a Truth lite this, 1 know how strong 
and irresistible it must be. But if you were free to-day, to-motrow, 
yestcrdayj can even I betieve that you would choose a dowcrlcss girJ — 
you ^vho, in your very confidence with her, iielgh everything by Gain : 
or. choosing her, if for a momiznt you were false enough to your one 
guiding principle to do so, do I not knoiv that your repentance and regret 
would surely follow ? 1 do ; and I release yon. \\'ilh a full heart, for 
the love of him yon once were," 

He wa^ about to speak; but with her head fumed from him, she 
resumed. 

** You may — the memory of what is past half makes me hope you vAW — 
have pain in this, A very, very brief time, and you uHI dismiss the 
recollection of it.gladlv^asan unprofitable dri^am, from which it happened. 
Weil that you awoke, Mav you be hiippy in the life you have chosen." 

She left him, and ihcy parted, 

" Spirit [ *' said Scrot^e, '* show me no more ! Conduct me home. 
Why do you delight to torture me ? " 

" One shadow more I " exclaimed the Ghost. 

'' No more ! " cried Scrooge, " No more. I don't wish to sea it. 
Show me no more ! " 

But ilie relentless Ghost pinioned him in both his arms, and forced 
him to observe what happened nest. 

They were in another scene and place ; a room, not very large or 
handsome, hut full of comfort. Near to the winter fire sat a beautiful 
young girl; so like the last that Scrooge believed ir was the same, until 
he saw ^fr, now a comely matron, sitting opposite her daughter. The 



ACHRISTMASCAROL 3.5 

noise in this rooni was perfectly turaulfuouSj for there were more 
cliiidren there, than Scrooge tn his iigitated state of mind cauld count ■ 
and, unlike rhe celebntcd herd in the poem, thty were not forty children 
condueting themselves like one, but every child was conducting itself 
like forty. The consequences were uproarious beyond belief ; but no 
ont stemcd to care ; on the contraryj the mother and daughter laughed 
heartily, and enjoyed it very much; and th^ latter, soon beginning 
to mingle in the sports^ got pillaged by the young brigands most ruth- 
lessly. What wonlJ I not have given fo be one of them ! Though I 
never could have been &o rude* no, no 3 I wouldn^t for the wealth of 
all the world have crushed that braided hair, and torn it down ; and 
for the precious little shoe, I wouldn^c have plucked it off, God ble^s 
my soul [ to javemy life. As lo measuring her waist in sport, as they did, 
bold young brood, I couldn't have done it ; I should have expected my 
arm to have ;?rown round it for a punishment^ and never come straight 
again. And yet I should have dearly libed^ I own, to have touched het 
lips ; to have questioned her^ that she might have opened them ; fo 
have looked upon ilie lashes of her downcast eyes^ and never raised a 
bfush ; to have let loose waves of hair^ an inch of whicli would be a 
keepsake beyond price ; in short, I should have litedj I do confess, to 
have had the lightest license of a child, and yet been man enough to 
know its value. 

But now a knocking at the door was heard^ and snch a rush immediately 
ensued that she with laughingface and plundered dress was borne towards 
ii tlie centre of a flushed and boisterous group^ just in time to greet the 
father^ who came home attended by a man laden with Christmas toys 
and presents. Then the shouting and the struggling, and ilic onslaught 
that was made on the defenceless porter I The scaling hira with chairs 
for ladders to dive into his pockets, despoil hira of brown-paper parcels, 
hold on tight by his cravatj liug him round the neck, pommel his back, 
and kick his legs in irrepressible affection ! The shouts of wonder and 
delight with which the development of every package was received ! 
The terrible announcement tl-at the haby had been taken in the act of 
putting a dolFi £rying-pan into his mouth, and was more than suspected 
of havin^^ swallowed a fictitious turkey, glued on a wooden platter ! 
The immenserelief of finding this a false alarm ! The jov* and gratitude, 
and ecstasy! Thev are all indescribable alike. It is enough that by 
degrees the children and their emotions got out of the parlour^ and by 
one stair ai a time., up to the top of the house ; where they went to bed, 
and so subsided. 

And now Scrooge looked on more attentively than ever, when the 

master of the house^ having his daughter leaning fondly on him, sat down 

with her and her mother at his own liieside i and when he thought 

that such another creature, quite as graceful and as full of promise, might 

'have called him father^ snd been ;t spring-time in the haggard winter of 

[Lis life, his sight grew very dint indeed. 



riL4 - b xi 



126 ACHRISTMASCAROL 

^* Bdi," said the huiibind, turning to his wife wizli a smile^ ^* I saw an 
■old friend of yours this af lernoon-" 
'MVho wasiti" 

" How cAn I f Tut, don\ I tnow ? '* she added in the same breathy 
laughing as he laughed, '* Mr* Scrocj^e." 

" Mr- Scrooge ii was. I passed liis office window ; and as it was not 
shut up, and he had 3 candle inside, I could icarcdy help seeing him* 
His partner lies upon rhe point of death, 1 htar ; and there hu £at alone. 
Quite alone in the worlds I do bchcvc/^ 

*^ Spirit ! '' s^id Scrooge in a broken voice, *^ remove me from, this 
place." 

'^ 1 told you rhcse were s]:adir>ws of ihe things that have been^" said 
the Ghost, " That they arc v^^hat tliey arc, do not blame me ! " 

*^ Remove me ! ^' Scrooge exclaimed, " 1 cannot bear it ! " 

Be turned upon the Ghost, and seeing that it looked "upon him with a 
Face^ in which in ^ome strange way rhcre were fragments of all the faces 
it had shown hsm, wiestted mth it. 

" Leave mc ! Take rnc back. Haunt me no longer ! '' 

In the struggle, if that ean be called a struggle in which the Ghost 
with no visible resistance on its own part was undisturbed by any effort 
of irs adversa[j\ Scroogo observed that iu light xvas burning high and 
bright; and dimly conntc^ing that with its influence over him^ he 
s^zed the extinguisher- cap, and by a sudden actionpressed it down upon 
its head* 

The Spirit dropped beneath it, so that the extinguisher covered its 
■whole form ; hut though Scrooge pressed it i.Umit wirh all his forcCj hcj 
could nat liidc the lightj T.vhich streamed from under ifj in an unbroken 
flood upon the giound. 

He was conscious of bting f^h^u&tedj and oi^rCoh^e \>y an irresistible 
iTtowsine^i ; and fHrther, of being in his own bedroom. He gave the 
cap a parting Squeeze, in which his hand relaxed ; and had barely time 
to reel to bed, before he sank into a heavy ticep. 



STAVE THREE : Tlr S.^^o^d of fZr 7ir^/ Spiriij 
AwAKENC in the noddle of a prodigiously tough 5nore, and jilting up in 
bed to get his thoughts together, Scrooge had no occasion to be told 
that the bell was again upon the stroke of One, He felt that he wai 
restored to consciousness in the right nick of time, for the especial purpose 
of holding a conference with the second fiic^senger despatched to him 
thro^igh Jacob Marlcy's intervention. But* finding that he turned 
uncomfortably cold when he began to wonder which of his curtains 
this new spectre would draw back^ he put them evfiiy one aside with his 
own hands, and lying down again, established a sharp look-out all round 
the bed. For he wished to challenge the Spirit on the moment o£ 






ACHRISTMASCAROL ^f 

its appeitrancCj and did not wish to he taken by suipriit and made 
nervous. 

Gentlemen of the free-and-easy sort, who plume themselves on being 
acquainted with a niovc or two, ai^d bfiing usually equal to the lime-of- 
d^-Vj express the wide range of iheir capacity for adveitturti b^^ observing 
that they are good for anything from pitch-and-iosa to manslaughter ; 
between which oppo^itt e^Lrem^s, no doubt, there lies a tolerably wide 
and comprehensive range of subjects* Without venturing for Scrooge 
quite as hardilv as this, I don^t mind cjilTIng on you to hdieve that he 
was ready for a good broad field of strange appearances, and that nothing 
between a baby and rhinoet:ros would have astonished him very much. 

Now, being prepared for almyst anything, he wqs not by any means 
prqj^red for nothing; and, consequently^ when the Bdl struct One, 
and no shape appeared^ he was taken with a violent fit of trembling* 
Five minute^-, ten minut<?s^ a quarter of an hour went b}^ yet nothing 
Gsme* All iliis timc^ he lay upon his bed, the very core and centre of a 
bla?,e of ruddy light, which streamed upon ir^vhcn the clock procUlmed 
the hour j and which, being only light, was more alarming than a doien 
ghosts, aa he was powerless to make: out what it meant, or ^vould be at ; 
and was sometimes apprehensive thai he might be at that very moment 
an interesting case of sponMncous combusrion, without having the con- 
solation of knowing it. At last, however, he began to thint^ — as you ot 
I ^^Tfculd have thought at first ; for it is always the person not in the pie- 
dicamtn; who knows what ought to have been done in it, and would 
unquestionably have done it too — at last, I say, he began to think that 
the source and secret of this ghostly light might be in the adjoining room 
f]^m whence, on fnrthcr tracing ir, it seemed to shine. This idea taking 
fnll possession of his mind^ he got up sofrly and shuffled in his slippers to 
the door, 

I he moment Scroo^'c^s b^nd v/as on the lock, a strange voice called him 
by his name, and bade him enter. He obeyed. 

It WJE; his own Toom. There iv:ls no doubt about tiiat. But it h:fd 
undei^one a surprising transformation. 'I'hc wall? and ceiling were ao 
hang with living green, rhat it looked a perfect grove, fjom every part of 
whith^ bright glEPmiisg benies glistened. The crisp leaves of \io\\y, 
mistletoe, snd ivy reflected back the light, as if so many little mirrors 
had been scattered there ; and such a migUty hhxc went roaring up the 
chimney, a& that dull peirifacfioji of a hearth had never known in 
Scrooge's time, i>r Marley'Sj or for many and many a winter season gone. 
Heaped up on the floor, to form a kind of throne, were turkeys, geese, 
game, poultry, htawn, great joints of meat, sucking-pigs, long wieatlia 
of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot 
chestnuts, cherry- checked apples, juicy orange?, luscious pears, immense 
iwdf ih-c^kes, and seething bowls of punch, that made the chamber dim 
with their delicious steam. In easy state upon this couch, there sat a 
joUy Giant, glorious to see; who bore a glowirg torch, in shape not 



28 A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

unlil:e Plcnly'$ liorn, and held it up» higli up, to sHed tis liglit on ScroogCj 
as he- cAme peeping round the door. 

" Come in [ " e;^dainitd the Ghost. '^ Come in nnd knoivmetettefj 
mun I " 

Scroogi? entered timidly, nud htm" his he^ni before this Spirit. He was 
not the do£;jjed Scroof;e he had been ; and though the Spirit's eyes were 
clear and kind, he did not ll^e to meet them. 

"I am the Ghost of Christmas Present," said the Spirit. *' Loot 
upon me J " 

Scrooge rj^verently did so, Jr was doihed in onp simple deep grera 
robe, or mantlL-, bordered w-ith white fur, Tliis garment Imng so loose]/ 
on the figure, that its eap^eions breast i^'as bare, as if disdaining to be 
wnrded or concealed by any artifice. lis feet, ob&ervable beneath the 
ample foMs of ih* garment, were also bare ; and on its head it ivore 
no other covering^ than a holly wreath set here and there with shining 
iricle&. Its dark brown curia were long and free; free as it^ genial 
face, its sp^rlillnj; eye, its open hand, its cheery "voice, it$ unconstrained 
demeanour, and its joyful air. Girded round its middle was an antique 
scabbard ; but no sword was in it^ and the ancient sheath was eaten up 
with rust. 

" Yoji have never seen the like of me before ! " exclaimed the Spiiit, 

"Never," Scrooge madti answer to it. 

" Have ne^'er walked forth with the yoimger members of my family ; 
meaning (for I am very yoking) my elder brothers bom in these l^rer 
years f " pursued the Phantom. 

"I don't think I have,'^ said Scrooge, "T am afraid I have not. 
Have you had many brothers* Spirit 7 '^ 

" More than eighteen hundred," said the Ghost. 

*' A tremendotfs family to provide for [ " mutterctl Scrooge. 

The Ghost of Christmas Present rose, 

"Spirit,*' said Scrooge submissively, "conduct me where you will. 
I went forih ]a?t night on compulsion, and 1 learnt a lesson wliich is 
working now. To-night, if you have aught to teach me, let me profit 
by it." 

" Touch tny tobe J " 

Scrooge did as he ivas toTd, and held if fast, 

Hoflv* mistletoe, red berries, ivv, turke>"s, ^cEe, game, poultry, brawn, 
meat, pig?, sausages, oysters, pies, puddings, fruit, and punch, all vanished 
instantly. So did the room, the Eire, the ruddy glow, the hour of tu^hu 
and tliey stood in the city streets on Chrisimas morning, where {for tlie 
weather was severe) the people made a rou^h, but brist and not un- 
pleasant kind of music, in scraping the snow from the pavement in front 
of their dwellings, and from the lops of their houses : whence it ivas mad 
delipht to the bovs to see it come plumping down into the road below, 
and splitting into artificial httle snow-storms. 

The house fronts looked black enough, and the windows blacker, 



A CHRISTMAS CAROL 39 

contrasting- with the smooth white sheet of snow upon the toofs^ and 
with the dlrtiei snow upon the ground ; which last deposit had been 
ploughed up in dctp f tirrows by the hea^y wheels of carts and waggons ; 
furrows that crossed and re-cro5sed each other hundreds yf times where 
the great streets branehod off, and made intricate channels^ hard to trace, 
in the thick yellow rand and icy water. The sky was gloomy, and the 
shortest streets were choked up with a dingy mist, half thawed, half 
frozen, whose heavier particles flescended in f. shower of sooty atoms, 
as if all the chimntys in Great Britain had, by one co:i&eii[, caught fire^ 
and were blazing away to their dear hearts* content. There was nothing 
very cheerful in the climate or the town, and yet was rliere an air of 
cheerfulne^i abroad that the clearest summer air and b/ighicst summer 
sun might have endeavoured lo diffuse in vatn. 

FoTj the people who were shovelling away on the house-tops were 
jovi^il and full of glee ; calUr-g out to one anothet from the p^irapets, 
^nd now and then exchanging ^ facetious snowball — bettcr-naturcd 
missile far than many a wordy jcsi — laughing heartily if it went right 
and not less heartily if it went wrong. The pouiterera' shops were still 
half opeOj and the fruiterers' were radiant in their glory. TJ;eie were 
great, round, pot-beilied baskets of che^tnutJj shaped like the waistcoats 
of jolly old gentlemen^ lolling at the doors^ and tumbling out into the 
street in their apoplectic opulence. There were ruddy, brown-faccd 
broad-girthed Spanish Onions, shining [n the fatness of fheir growtlt 
Ii!:c Spanish Friars ; and winking from thcif shelves in wanton slyness 
at the girls as they went by, and glanced denmrely at the hung-up 
miuletoe. There weie pears and apples^ cluscercd high in blooming 
pyramids; there were bunches of grapes, made^ in the shopkeepers" 
benevolence, to dangle from conspicuous hooks^ that people^s moutha 
might water gratis as they passed ; there were piles of filberts, mossy and 
brown^ recallingj in their fragTance, ancient walks among the woods^ and 
pleasant shuBings ankle deep through Withered leaves; there were 
Norfolk BifiinSj &qnab, and swarthy, setting off the ^rdlow of die oranges 
and lemons, and, in the great compactncssof their juicy per sons^ urgently 
entrc^ating and beseeching to be carried home in paptr bags and eaten 
after dinnet. The very gold and silver fish, set fortii among these choice 
fruits in a bowl, though members of a dull and stagnant- blooded race^ 
appealed 10 know that there was something going on ; and, to a fishj 
wefir gasping round and round their Uttle world in slow and passjonlesa 
excitement. 

The Grocers^ [ oh the Grocers^ ! nearly closed^ with perhaps two 
shutters down^ or one; but through those gaps such glimpses! It 
was not alone that the scales descending on the counter made a merry 
soundj or that the twine and roller parted company so briskly, or thar 
the canisrcrs were rattled up and down like juggling tricks, or even that 
the blended scents of tea and coffee were so grateful to the nose, or even 
that the raiains were £o plentiful and rare, the almonds so extremely 



30 A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

whiECj the sticks of cinn^imon so long and straightj the other spices 30 
ddicious, ihc canjied fruha ?o e:ittid and spoUi:^ with molten sugar 15 
to TCL^kc the colde&t iooters-on feel fnint and subscqijc;nt|y bilious* 
Kor was it that the figs were moist and piitpy> or that the French plums 
blui^hed in modest tarEnt;5$ from their highfy-decorated boies, or that 
every ihing was goc^d coeacandin iis Christmas dress : but thecu^comers 
were all so hurried and so cae&r in the hopeful promise of the day^ that 
they tumbled up against each other at the door, clashing their wicter 
baskets wildly, and Itjfc their puichnses upon the counter, and came 
running b^itt tofeitih them, and tommiried hundreds of tl^e like mistatcs 
xn the best hnmour po&sibte ■ while the Grocer and his people were so 
frank and fresh ihat the poUshcd hearts wiih which they fastened their 
aprons behind migliT have been thtjir own, \%xjrn oTitsidc for general 
inspectionj and for Christmas daws to peck at if they chose. 

Bui soon the steeples called good people all^ to church and chapel^ 
and away tht^y ^amL>j floeklng through the streets in their best dotheis, 
and with their gayest faces. And at tlie same time there emerged from 
scores of by-streetSj lanes, and nameless turnings, innumerable people^ 
carrj'ing theii dinners to ihc bakers' shops. TUc si^ht of ihc&e poor 
revellers appeared to Interesi the Spirit very muchj fur he stood with 
Scrooge bestde him in a baker's doorway, and taking off the covers aa 
Their bearers passed, sprinkled incen&e on their dinners from his torch* 
And it was a very uncommon kind of torch, for once or twict: when there 
were angry words becween some dinner-carriers who had jostled with 
each other, he shed a few drops of water on them from it, and their good 
humour was re&torcd directly. For they iaid^ it was a shann; to qusirrel 
upon Christmas Day* And so it was ] God love it I so it was ] 

In rfme the bells ceased, and the bakers were shut up ; and vet there 
was a genial shadowing forth of all the^e dinners and the progress of rheir 
cooking, in the thawed blotch of wet above each baker^s oven ; where 
the pavements smoked as it iis stones were cooking too. 

^* Is there a peculiar flavour in what you sprinkle from j^our torch ? " 
asked Scrooge ^ 

"Therein, My ow^n/' 

" Would It apply to any kind of dinner on this day P " asked Scrooge. 

** To any kindly given. To a poor one most,^' 

*^ Why to a poor one most ? ^^ asked Scrooge. 

*^ Because it needs it most/^ 

*^ Spirit/^ said Scrooge^ iftcr a mementos thought, ^* I wonder you, of 
all the beings in the many worlds about u$j should desire to cramp these 
people's opportunities of innocent enjoynient.^^ 

^M!" cried the Spirit, 

"You would deprive them of ihclr mcnins of dining every seventh 
day, often the only day on which they can be said to dine at all," said. 
Scrooge. *^ Wouldn't you ? " 

*U J "cried (he Spirit, 



ACHRISTMASCAROL ^ 31 

" You seek to close these places on the Scvcniti Day ? " said Scrooge^ 

" And it comes 10 the sami: tiling." 

" I seek ! " exclaimed the Spirit. 

" Forgtve me if I am wronjj- it has been doDe in your name, or at 
Teast in that of your family," said Scrooge. 

*' There are 3ome upon this earth of yours," returned the Spirit, " who 
lay claim to tnow ns, and who do their deeds of passion, pride» ill-will, 
hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who arc as strange to. 
US and all our kith and bin, as if tliey had never lived. Remember that, 
and charge their dolngi on themselves, not us.*' 

Scrooge promised tliat he would ; and chey went on, inviiibTo, as they 
had been before, into the suburbs of the town. It was a remarkable 
quality of the Ghost (which Scrooge had observed at the baker's), that 
notwithstanding his gigantic size, he could accommodate himself to. 
any place with ease ; and that he stood beneath a low roof quite as 
graceful]/ and like a supernatural creature, as it was possible he could 
have done in any lo£ty hall. 

And perhaps it was the pleasure the good Spirit had in showing off" 
thj= power of his, or else it waji his own kind, generous, hcjirty nature, and 
his sympathy with all pool men, that led him straight to Ecroogc^s cletk's ; 
for there he went, and took Scrooge with him^ holding to his robe ; and 
on the threshold of the door the Spirit smiled, and stopped to blcsa 
Bob Cratchit*s dwelling with the sprinklings of his torch. Think of 
that ! Bob had but fifteen " Bob " a-week himself ; he pocketed on 
Saturdays but fifteen copies of his Christian name ; and yet the Ghost 
of Chiistmas Present blessed his four-roomed house ! 

Then up rose Mrs. Crauhir, Ccatchit's wife, dressed out but poorly 
in a twice-turned gown, but brave in ribbons^ which are cheap and make 
a goodly show for sixpence ; and she laid the cloth» as&i^ted by Belinda 
Cratchit, second of her daughters, also brave in ribbons ; while IVlaster 
Tcter Cratchit plunged a fork into the saucepan of potatoes, and getting 
the corners of his monstrous shirt collar (Bob's private properry^ con- 
ferred upon his son and heir in honour of the day) into his mouth, rejoiced 
to find himself yj gallantly attived, and yearned to show his linen in the 
fashionable Parks, And now two smaller Cratchits, boy and girl, came 
tearing in, scrt:aming that outside the baker's they had smelt the goose, 
and knoun it for their own; and basking in lujLurious thoughts of" 
sage-aiid-onion, these youn^^ Cratchits danced about the table, and 
exalted Masrcr Peter Cratchit to the skies, while he (not proud, 
although his collars nearly choked him) blew the lire, until the slow- 
potatoes bubbhng up, knocked loudly at the saucepan-lid to be let out 
and peeled. 

*' What has ever got your precioua father then ? " said Mrs. Cratchit,. 
; \ *'And your brother. Tiny Tim I And Martha wain^t as late last. 
'';:l^- Christmas Day by half-an-hour ! " 
i.'^ *' Here's Matitia, mother ! "said agErl, appearing as she spoke. 

' 'm' 



n 



FT^ 



3S ACHRISTMASCAROL 

" Here's Ma riha J mother! "cried the twoyoungCratchiis- ^* Hurrah I 
There's ^i^^h a gooso^ Martha 1 ^^ 

" ^VllJ', Ues3 your h^ari: a^ive, my dear, how late you are ! " said Mrs* 
Cratchit, kissing her a dozen tiDics, and taking off her ^hawl and bonnet 
for her whh officious zeaL 

*^ Wc\i a deal of ^vork lo finiih up lasr niglir/' replied tht girl, " and 
had to clear away this mornings maihcr ! " 

*^ \Yd] \ Never mind so long as you are come/' &aid Mrs. Cmtdiit, 
"Sit ye down before the fire, my dear, ftndhavL-a warmj Lord bless ye 1 " 

*^ No^ no ! There's father coming/' crii^d the two young CratchitSj 
who were everywhere at once, *^ HidCj Martha, hide 1 ^* ^ 

So Martha hid herself^ and in came ]ii[]e iSob, the father, H-ith at least 
threeftct of comforEerc-xduiiveof tlic fringe, hanging down bcfort; him i 
mid hi^ thfcadbnrc clothts darncid up and brushed, to look seasonable; 
and Tiny Tim upon his shoulder. Ab^ for Tiny Tim^ he bore a little 
crutch^ and had h]& limbs supported by an iron frame ! 

*" Why, wheie's our Martha ? " critd Bob Cratchit, looking round* 

'^ Not coming/* s:iid Mrs. Cratchit, 

"Not coming!" iaid Bob, wiih a sudden declension in his high 
spirits ■ for he had been Tim^i blood horse all the w^y from churdi, 
and had come home rampant, *^ Not coming upon Christmas Day ' " 

Marcha didn't like to stc him disappoimed, if it were only in joke ; so 
she came out premafurdy from behind the clo^t door^ and ran into his 
armSj whdcj the two youny Cratchits husvled Tiny Tim^ and bore him 
off into the ^vash-house, that he might hear the pudding singing in the 
copper. 

^* And hoiv did little Tim behave ? ^^ asked Mrs. Cratchit, when she 
had rallied Bob on his credulityj and fiob had hugged his daughter to his 
heart's content- 

"As good as gold/^ said Bob, ^* and better. Somehow he gets 
thoughifulj sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things 
you ever heard. He told me, coming home^ that he hoped the people 
saw him in the churchy because he was a cripplo, and it tnight be plea^anr 
to them to remember upon Cl^tistmas D^y^ who mydc I&mc beggars walk 
and blind men 5<ic,*^ 

Bob^s voice was tremulous when he told them this, and trembled more 
when hu said that Tiny Tim was growing strong and hearty. 

His active httlc crutch was heard upon the floofj and back came T^ny 
Tim before another word was spoken^ escorted by his brother and sisrer 
to his stool before the fire ; and while Bob^ turning up ius cuffs — as if, 
poor£dloWj they were capable of being made more shabby— compounded 
some hot mixture in a jug with gin and lemons, and stirred it round and 
round and put it on the hob to simmer ; Master Pctcc^ and the two 
ubiquitous young Cratchits went to fetch the goose, with which they soon 
returned in high procession. 

Such a bustle ensued that you might have thought a goose the rarest 



ACHRISTMASCAROL 33 

of all birda ; a feathered phenomenon^ to whfch a hUck swan wm a 
matter of courBe— and in truth it wai something -very lite it in ihat 
Kouse^ Mrs. Cr^tchit made tlie gravy (ready beforehand in a little 
saucepan) hi^^inghoi; Master Peter mashed the potatoes with incredible 
vigour; Mi^s tSelinda sweetened up the apple sauc*: ; Martha dusted 
tiie hot plates ; Uob took Tiny Tim beside him in a tiny corner at the 
table i the Lwo young Cratchits set chairs for evefybody, not forgeiting 
themselves, and mounting guard upon their posts* crammed spoon? into 
thcjr mouth?, lest they should shriek for goo^i; before their turn came to 
be helped. At last the dishes were set on, and grace was said. It was 
Bucceeded by a brcathksd pause^ as Mrs. Cratchit^ looking slowly all along 
the carving-kni£e, pjrepared to plunge it in thtf breast ; but when she did, 
and when the long expected guah of stufhng issued forth, one murmur 
of delight aro^e all round the boards and even Tiny Tim, ciicittd by the 
two young Cratchit4> beat on the table with the handle of his knife, and 
feebly citi^d Hurrah ! 

'llmre never was such a goose. Bob said he didn't believe there ever 
^vas Eueh a goose cooksd. lis lendtrness and flavour, site, and cheapness, 
were the themes of universal admiration. Eked out by the apple 
sauce and mashed potatoes, it was a sufficient dinner for the wlioli: 
family; indeed, as Mts, Craiehit said with great delight (suiTeying 
one small atom of a bone upon the dish) they hadn't ate it all at last ! 
Yet every one had had enough^ and the youngest Cratchiis in par- 
ticular were steeped in sage and onion to the eyebrovrs I But now, tlm 
plates being changed by Misa Belinda, Mrs, Cratchit left the room alone — 
loo nervous to bear witnesses — to fake the pudding up and bring it rn. 

Suppose it should not be done enough ! Suppose it should break in 
turning our ! Suppose somebody should have got over die wall of the 
backyard, and stolen it, while they were meriy with the goose— a suppo- 
sition at which the two young Cratchits became livid ! All sorts of 
horrors were supposed. 

Hallo ! A great deal of steam 1 The pudding was out of the copper, 
A small like a washing-day ! That was the cloth. A smell like an eating- 
house and a pastrycook's next door to caeh other, with a laundress's ne:tt 
door to that ! That was the pudding ] In half a mmuie Mrs. Cratchic 
entered — flushed^ but smiling proudly — with the puildzng like a speckled 
cannon-ball so hard and firm bbiing In half of half-a-quariem of ignited 
bfandy, and bedight with Christmas holfy sttick into the top. 

Oh, a wonderful pudding ! Bob Cratchit said, and calmly too, that 
he regarded it as the greatest success achie^'ed by Mrs. Cratchit since their 
marriage. Mrs. Cratchit said that now the weight was off her mind» she 
would confess she had had her doubts about the quantity of flour. 
Everybody had something to say about it, bnt nobody said or thoaghc 
it was at all a amall pudding for a Isige family. It would have been 
flat heresy to do so. Any Craichic would have blushed to hint at such a 
tiling. 



r- 



^ 



34 ACHRISTMASCAROL 

At liist ihc dinner wjs all done, ihc cloth waa ck'ared, xhc hcjrth 
swepr, and ilie fire made up. The compound in the jug b^^ing issred, and 
consider<^d perfect, apples and oranges were put upon the tifble, and a 
shovel-full of chestnuts on the fire. Then all ihe Craich it family drew 
ronnd the hearth, in what Bob Crarchtt called a circle-, meaning half a 
one ; and Lit Bob Cratchit'i elbow stood the familj' display of glass. 
Two tumblefs, and a cuslard-cup without a handlc- 

These held the hot ^tuff from the jug, however, as yjcW iis golden 
goblets would have done ; and Bob served it out with beaming loots, 
wliile the chtsrnuts on the fire sputtered aad cracked noisily. Then iiob 
proposed : 

*' A Merry Christmas to us iill, my de^rs. God ble&s us ! " 

Which all the family re-echoed. 

'* God bless us every one ! '^ said Tiny Tim, the la^t of all. 

He sar very close to hia father's side upon his little ^tool. Bob held 
his withered little hand in hi:?, as if he loved the child, and wished to keep 
him by his side, and dreaded that he might be taken from him. 

" Spirit ! '^ said Scrooge, with an interest he had never felc before, 
" tell me if Tiny Tim will hvc" 

"I &ee a vacant seat*^' replied the Ghost, "in the poor chinine}'- 
corncr, and a clutch without an owner, can^ully preserved. If these 
shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die." 

*' No, no," ^aid Scrooge. '^ Oh no, kind Spirit ! iayhewill be spared." 

" If iheic shadows remain unaltered by the Future, none other of my 
race," returned the Ghost, "will find him here. What then ? If he 
be lil:c to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population." 

Scrooge hung his head to hear hi& own words quoted by the Spirit, and 
was overcome with penitence and grief. 

"Man," said the Ghoit, "if man you be in heartj not adamant^ 
forbear rhai wicked cant until you have discovered \Vhat the surplus 
is, and Where it i&. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall 
die } It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless 
and less fit to live than millions like this poor man^s child. Oh God ! 
to hear the Insect on. the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among 
his hungry brothers in the difst ! " 

Scrooge bent before the Ghost's rebuke, and trembling cast hii eyes 
upon the giound. But he raised them speedily, on hearing liis own 
name, 

"Mr, Scrooge ! '* said Bob ; " rilgivcyouMr. Scioogf, the Founder 
of theFeani" 

" The Founder of tht Feast indeed ! " cried Mrs, Cratchii, reddening. 
" I wish I had him here, Vd give him a piece of my mind to feast upon, 
and 1 hope he*d have a good appetite for it/' 

" My dear," said Bob, *' the children I Christmas Day." 

" It shoiild be Christmas Day, I am sure," said sht, " on which one 
diints the health of such an odious, stingy, hard, unfeeling man aa Mr- 



A CHRISTMAS CAROL 35 

Scrof^e. You tnow he la, Robert ! Nobody Lnows it better than you 
dOj poor fellow ! " 

" My dear." was Bob's mild answer, " Chriatmas Day^*' 

" ril drink his heahh for youT sake and the Day^s," said Mrs. Ciatchitj 
*' not for his. Long life to him ! A Merry Christmas and a Happy 
New Year ! He'll be very merry and very happy, I have no doubi I ** 

The children drank the toatt after her. It was the first of their 
proceedings which had no heartiness in ir* Tiny Tim. drank it last of 
ailj but he didn't eare twopence for it^ Scrooge was the Ogre of the 
family. The mention of his name cast a dark shadow on the party, which 
was not dispelled for full five minutes. 

After it had passed away, they were ten times merrier than before^ 
from the mere relief of Scrooge the Baleful being done with. Bob 
Cratebit told them how he had a situation in hU <tyc for Master Peter, 
which would bring in^ 5f obtained^ full ftve-and-stTtpence weekly. The 
two young Cratchlts laughed tremendously at the idea of Peter^s being 
a man o^ business ; and Peter himself looted thoughtfuify at the fire 
from between hi^ collars, as if he were deliberating what particular 
investments he should favour when he came Into the receipt of that 
bewildering income. Martha^ who was a poor apprentice at a milUner^j, 
then to)d ^em w^at kind of work she had to do, and how many hours 
she worked at a stretch, and how she m^ant to lie abed to-morrow 
morning for a good lang rest ; to-morrow being a holiday she pa^^ed at 
home. Also how she had seen a countess and a lord some days before, 
and how the lord *^ w^as much about as tall as Peter ; " at which Peter 
pulled up his collars ^ high that you couldn't have seen his head if you 
had been there. All this time the chestnuts and the jug went round and 
round ; and by-and-bye they had a song, about a lost child travelling in 
the snow, from Tiny Tim, who had a plaintive little votce^ and sang it 
verv well indeed* 

Thtrc was nothing of high mark in this. They were not a handsome 
family ; they were not well dressed ; their shoes were far from being 
water-proof; their clothes vi^re scanty ; and Peter might have known^ 
and very likely did, the inside of a pa^vnbroker^s- But thev were happy^ 
gratefulj pleased with one another^ and contented with the time ; and 
when they fadcd^ and looked happier yet in the bright sprinklings of the 
Spirit^s torch at parting, Scrooge had his eye upon them, and especially 
on Tiny Tim^ uniil ihe last. 

By this time it was getting dark, and snowing pretty heavily ; and as 
Scrooge and the Spirit went along the streets^ the brightness of the 
roaring tirea in kitchens, parlours, and all soTls of rooms^ was wonderful. 
Hertj the flickering of the bla?:e showed preparations for a cosy dinner, 
with hot plates baking through and through before the fire, and deep red 
curtains^ ready to be drawn to shut out cold and darkness. There, all 
the children of the house were running out into the snow to meet their 
married sisters, brothers^ cousins^ uncles, aunts^ and be the first to greet 



^*v 



-f.-' 






iL .^iVri .k> j.L JL i.' I - ■l^ ri k^ ri 



36 A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

them. Here, again, wer*^ &ha<io^^ on the window-blind of guests 
asstmbiing ; and iLere 3 group of handsome girl&^ aU hooded ai>d fur- 
booted^ and all chattering at oncc^ tripped lightly oS to some nejtr 
ntighbours house; where^ woe upon tht singlt nun who jaw them enter 
— ariful witches ; well they kne^v it — in a glow ! 

Eut if you had judged from the numbers of people on their w^y to 
friendty gaiheiings, you might havs ilionght that no one "was at home 
10 f^ive them "^^'clconie wlien they got there, instead of ev^iry house 
expecting companyj and pihng up its fires h^lf-chimney high. BIcsHngs 
on iij how the Ghost exulted ! How it bared its breadth of brcjst, and 
opened its capacious pahn^ iind floated un^ citit-pouring^ "with a generous 
handj lis blight and harmless miith. on evervthing within hi roach ! 
The very Umplightcr^ who ran on before dotting the dusty strter wiih 
specks of ligliCj ^liid who was dressed to spend the evening somewhere, 
laughed out loudly as tlie Spirit passed i though little kenned the lamp- 
Itghier iKeii he had any company but Christmas i 

And now. Without a word of warning from thcGhostj they stood upon 
a bleak and dc^err moor^ where monstrous masses of rude sione were 
cast about, ^s though ic were the burial-place of giants; and water 
spread itself wheresoever it listed, or would have doixe so, but for the 
frost thai held ir prisoner ; and nothing grew but moss and furzCj and 
coarse, rank guss^ Down in the west the setting sun had left a streak 
of ^^ry ri^d^ which glared upon the desolatton for an Jn-^tant^ hte a sull*:ii 
eye, :ind frowning loiver^ lower^ lower ytt, was lost in die thick gloom, of 
darkest night - 

" What place is this : " asked Scrooge, 

'^ A place where Miners live^ who labour in the bowels of the earthy'* 
returned the Spirit, '^ But they know me. Set: ! " 

A -light shone from the window of a hutj and swiftly they advanced 
towards it. Passing through the wall of mud and stoue, they found a 
cheerful company 3ist=mblcd round a glowing fire^ An old^ old man and 
woman^ with their children and their children's children, and another 
generation beyond that, aD decked out gaily in their holiday attire. 
The old man^ in a voice that seldom rose abo^ l: the howJing of the wind 
upon the barren waste, was singing them a Christmas song ; it had been 
a very old sang when he was a boy ; and from time to time they all 
joined in the chorus. So surdy as they raised their voices, the oid man 
got quite bUthe and loud ; and so surely as they stopped^ his vigour sank 
again- 

The Spirit did not tarry herCj but bade Scrooge hold his robc^ and 
passing on above the moor^ sped whither ? Not to sea I To sea- 
To Scrooge's horror, looking hack^ he saw the last of the land, a frightful 
range of rocks, behind them. ; and hji* ears were deafened by the thun- 
dering of water, a^ it rolled, and roared, and raged among the dreadful 
caverns in had worn, and fiercely tried to undermine the earth* 

Suili upon a dismal reef of sunken locksj some League or so from shore^ 



ACHRISTMASCAROL 37 

on which the waters chnifed and dashedj the wild year through^ there 
stood a Eolitin^ lighthouse?. Great heaps of Eca^vecd clung to its ba?e^ 
and ^torm-bird& — born of the ^^ind one might suppose^ as sea-weed of 
the water — lose and fell about it, like the waves the^ skimmed. 

But even hcre^ v^o men who watched the light had made a fire, that 
through the loophofc in f!ie thick stone wall shed out a rav^ of brightness 
on the asvful sea. Joining ihcir horny hands oi^er the rongh table at 
which ihoy fat, \h^y wished Cnich other Merry Christmas in their can of 
grog ; and one of them, the elder, too^ with his face all damaged and 
scarred with hard ueathcr, as the figure-head of an old ship might be : 
struck up a sturdy song that was like a Gale in itself. 

Again the Gho;^t sped on^ above tlic black and heaving Eea — on^ on — 
nntil, being fnr away, aj he told Scrooge, from any shore^ they lighted 
on a ship. They stood beside the helmsman at the wheels the lookout 
3n the bow, the officers who had the watch ; darkj ghostly figures in 
their several stations ; but eveiy man among them hummed a Christmas 
tune, or had a Christmas thought, or spoke below his breath to his 
companion of jome bygone Christmas Day, ^viih hameT.vard hopes 
belonging to it. And every mnin on boards waking or sleeping, good 
or bad, had had a kinder word for another on that day than on any day in 
the year ; and had shared to some extent in its festivities ; and had 
remembered those he cared for an a distance^ and had known that they 
delighted to remember him* 

It was a great surprise to Sctooge, while listening to the moaning of 
the Avindj and ihinUng what a solemn thing It was to move on through 
the lonely darkness over an unknown abysa, whose depths were secrets 
as profound as Death : It ^vas a great surprise to Scrooge, wliilc thus 
engaged, to hear a hearty laugh. It w:is a much greater iurpri^e to 
Scrooge to recognise it as his own nephew's, and to find himself in a 
bright, dry, gleaming room, with the Spirit standing smiling by his side, 
and looting at that ^ame nephe^v with approving affability. 

^^Ha, ha!"]atighed Scrooge's nephew. ^^Ha, ha, ha [ '^ 

If you should happen, by any unlikely chance, to tno^^^ a man more 
blest in a laugh than Scrooge's nephe^v, all I can say is, 1 should liVe to 
fcnow him too. Introduce him to me^ and Fll cultivate his acc^ain^ 
tance* 

It is a fair, even-handed^ notle adjustment of things, that while there 
IS infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world ao 
irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour. WTien Scrooge's 
nephew laughed in this way: holding hh sides^ tolling his head, and 
twisting his face into the most extravagant contortions ; Scrooge's 
niece, by marriage, laughed as heartily as he. And their assembled 
friends being not a bit behindhandj roared out, lustily, 

"Ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha ! " 

" He said that Christma3 was a humbug, as I live 1 " cried Scrooge's 
nephev^. ^^ He believed it too ! " 



•1 



38 A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

^^ More sLame for him, Fred J " said Scrooge's nicce^ indignantly, 
l^less (hose women ; xh^y never do anything by halves. They are always 
ill carneat- 

Shft was very pretiy ; escecdingTy pretry^ With a dimpled^ surprised- 
lookingj capital fac^ ; a ripe Utile mouth, that sccmtjd made to be kissed — - 
iS no doubt it was ; all kinds of good link dots about htr chin, that 
melted into one anotlitr wh^^n sht laughed; and the sunnicsl pdr oi 
eyi:i you ever saw in any little creaiurs's head. Altogether she was 
what you would have catlod provorLing, you know ; but sattsfactorj^ too. 
Oh, pe^rfcctly satisfactory ! 

"He's a comical old fellow,*' said Scrooge^s nephew, "that's the 
truth ; and not &o pleasant as he might be. How^^ver, his offences carry 
their own punishnjent^ and 1 hqyt: nothing to s:ty against him/' 

" Vm sure he is very richj Fred," hinted Scrooge^s nicce^ *^ At least 
you always fell aw so-" 

"What of that, my doar 1 '^ said Scrooge's nephew, " Hij wcaltK 
ii of no u&c? to him. He don't do any good with it. He doci't make 
himself comfortable with it. He hasn't tl^c satisfaction of tldnking — 
ha^ ha, ha 1 — that he is ever going to benefit Us with it," 

" 1 have no patience with him," observed Scrooge's niece, Scrooge^s 
nicjce's sisters, and all the other hdk$, expressed the same opinion, 

'* Oh, 1 have [ " said Scrcjoge's nephew. ^^ I am sorry for him ; I 
couldn't be angry with him if I tried. Who suffers by hij i]l whims f 
Hiin$clfj ilway^H Hete^ he takes it into his head to dtslikc us^ and he 
won't come and dine with us* Whai's the consequence! He don^t 
lose much of a dinner " 

" Indeed, 1 think he loses a very good dinner/* mterrupted Scrooge'a 
nieee, Evi^rybody else said the same^ and rliey must be allowed to have 
been conipcrent judges, because they had jusr had dinner : and^ with 
the dessert upon the tabltj were clustered round the fire, by lamplight, 

^^ Wt^U 1 Vm very glad to heat it/^ said Scrooge's nephew, " because 
I haven't any great faith in these young housekeepers* What do yn:* 
say, Topper .* " 

Topper hnid clearly got his eye upon one of Scrooge's niece's sisters, 
for he an^ivercd that a bachelor was a wretched outcast, who had no right 
to c?:pri:3s an opinionontht subject. Whereat Scrooge's niece's sister — 
the plump one with the lace tucker: not the one wiih the roses — blushed. 

■* Do so on, Fred,'' said Scrooge*s niece, clapping her hands. '* He 
never finishes what he begins to say ! He is such a ridiculous fellow T* 

Seroogc's nephtw revelled in another laugh, and as it was impossible 
to keep the infection off ; though the pEuinp sister tried hard to do it 
with aromatic vinegar ; his example was unanimously followed, 

*" I was only going to say/' said Scrooge's nephew, *^ tl^at rhe conse- 
quence of his taking a dislike to us^ and not niaking merry with us, is, 
as I think, that he Ios<^s some pleasant moments, which could do him no 
harm^ I am &ure he loses pleasanter companions than he can find in 



ACHRISTMASCAROL 3§ 

his own (hoxightSj either in his mouldy old afficc, or Us dusty chambers- 
I mc-in to give him the Min^ chan^^e every vearj whether he lilacs it or 
uotj for I pity hitn. He may rail at Christmas till he dies^ but he can*t 
help thinking better of it— I defy htm — if he finds m*^ going thert;^ in 
good temper^ year after year, arid saying * Uncle Scrooge^ how are you ? ' 
1£ it only puts him In th*^ vein to leave his poor clerk fifty pounds, lAdi'j 
something ; and I think I shook him yesterday." 

It was their turn to laugh now at the notion of his ^h^king ScroogCn 
But being thoroughly good-natured, and not much caring what th<^y 
laughed at, so that they Jaughctl af any late^ he encouraged tlieni in 
their merrimenlj and passed the bottle joyously. 

After tea, they had some music. For they were a musical family^ 
and tnew what they were .ibout, when they sang a Glee or Catch, I c^n 
assure you : especially Topper^ who could growi away in the bass like 
a good one, and never swell the large veins in his forehead, or get red in 
the face over it. Scrooge's niece played well upon the harp ; and played 
among other tunes a simple little atr (a mere nothing : you might learn 
to whistle it in two minutt*)^ which had been familiar lo the child who 
fetched Scrooge from the boarding-schoolj as he had been reminded 
by the Ghost of Christmas Past, When this strain of music sounded, all 
the things chat Ghost had shown him, came upon hU mind ; he softened 
more and more ; and thought that if he could have listened to if often, 
years ago^ he might have cultivated the tindnesses of life for his own 
happiness with hi^ own handsj ^vithout resortirig to the seston^s spade 
that buried Jacob Marley, 

But tliey didn^t devote the whole evening to musicn After a while 
they played at forfeits; for it is good to be children sometimeB^ and 
never better than at Christmas^ when its mighty Founder w^s a child 
himself- Stop I There was first a game at blind-man's buff, 01 course 
thi^re was. And I no more believe Topper was really bhnd than 1 believe 
he had eyes in his boots. My opinion is, that it was a done thing between 
him and Scfooge^s nephew : and that the Ghost of Christmas Present 
tne^vit. The way he went after that plump sister in the lace tucker, was 
an outrage on iheeredulity of human nature. Knocking down thefire- 
ironSj tumbling over thr^ chjir^^ bumping up against the piano, smother- 
ing himself among the curtains^ whei"ever she went, there went he. He 
always knew where the plump sister was. tie wouldn^t catch anybody 
clsc^ If you had fallen up against hirOj as some of them did^ and stood 
there ; lie ivould have made a feint of endeavouring lo seize you, which 
would have been an affront to your understanding ; and w^ouid instantly 
have sidled off in the direction of the plump sister. She often cried 
out that it wasn^t fair ; anditiealjy was not. Butwhenat last, he caught 
her ■ when^ in spite of all her siltcn rustlings^ and her rapid fluttering! 
past him^ begot her into a corner whence there was no escape ; then his 
conduct was the most execrable* For his pretending not to know htr ; 
his pretending that it was necessary to touch her headdress, and further 



40 ACHRISTMASCAROL 

to assure himsdf of her idcntirv by pressing a certain ring "upon her 
finger^ :ind a certain chain about her neck ; was vile, monstTous ! Ko 
doubt she told him her opinion of it^ when^ another bhnd man being m 
office, they were so very confidcEitial together, behind the curtains. 

Scroogc^s niece wiis notone of ihe blind- msn"5 buff party^ but was niade 
comfortable with a large chair and a foorstoolj in a &nug corner^ where 
the Ghosi and Scrooge were clo^e behind her. But she joined in the 
forfeiiSj and loved her love to admiration with all the letters of the 
alphabet. Likewise at the game of HoWj When, and A^liere^ she waa 
YCiy greatj and to the Eccret joy of Ecrooge^s nephew, beat her sisters 
hollow : though they were sharp girls too, as Topper could have told 
you. There might have been twentj' people there, young and old, 
but they all played^ and so did Scrooge ; for, wholly forgetting in the 
interest he had in what was going on^ that his voire made no sound in 
their eais, he sometimes caroe out with )ita guess quite loud, and very 
often guessed quite rights too ; for the sharpest needle, be^t \\Tiitcchapel, 
warranted not to cut in the ej'e, was not sharper than Scrooge : blunt as 
he took U in his head to be. 

The Gho^t was greaily pleased to find him in this mood, and looked 
upon him with such favour^ tliat he begged lite a hoy to be allowed to 
stay until the guests departed. But this the Spirit said could not be 
done. 

^^ Here is a new game," said Scrooge. ^* One half-hour, Spirit, only 
one 1 " 

It is 3 jjame called Yes and No^ where Scrooge's nephew had to thint 
of something, and the rest must find oijt what ; he onlv answering to 
their questions yes or no. as the case was. The brifk firt" of questioning 
to which he was exposed, elicited from him thai he wai thinking of an 
animal, a live animal^ rather a disagreeable animal, a savage animal^ an 
animal that growled and grunted sometimes, and talked somctimeSj and 
lived in London, and waited about the streets^ and wasn^c made a show 
of, and vvasn^t led by anybody, and didnH live in a menagerie, and w^e 

never killed in a marl^et^ and^^s not ahorse, or an as^, or a cow, or a bull, 
or a tiger, or a dog, or a pig, or a cat^ or a bear. At every fresh question 

tliat was put to him, this nephew burst into a fresh roar of laughrer ; and 
was so inexpressibly tickled, that he was oblijjcd to get up off the sofa and 

stamp. At last the plump sister^ falltn^ into a sirnibr state^ cried out : 
" I have found it outn J know what iti^^ Fred ! I know what iris ! *' 
"^\Tiat isit ?" cried Fred- 
" It's your Uncle Scro-o-o-o-oge 1 '^ 
A^^ich it certainly was. Admiration was the universal scnttmcnt^ 

though Eonie objected that the reply to " Is it a bear p " ought to have 

been " Yes ; " inasmuch as an answer in the negative was suflteieni to 

have diverted their thoughts from Mr. Scrooge^ supposing they had 

ever had any tendency that way. 

" He has givcD us plenty of merriment^ I am sure," said Fred^ " and 



A CHRISTMAS CAROL 41 

it would be ungrateful not to drink his health. Here is a glas? of mulled 
wine ready to our hand at the moment ; and T say, ' Uncle Scrooge ! ^ " 

" Well i Uncle Sfrooge 1 " they cried. 

'* A Mctry Chri^tmaB and a Happy New Year to the old man, whatever 
hr is 1 '^ said Scrooge's nephew. *' He wouidn^x take it from, me, but 
may he have it, nevertheless. Uncle Scrooge i " 

Uncle Scrooge had imperceptibly become so gay and light of hearty 
that he would liayc pledged the unconscious company in return, and 
thaiJifd them in an inaudible speech, if the Ghost had given him time. 
But the whole scene passed off in the breath of the last word spoken by 
his nephew; and he and the Spirit were again upon their travels. 

Much they saw, and fat ihey went, 3nd many homes they visited, but 
always with a happy ^nd. The Spirit $tood beside sict-beds, and they 
were cheerful; on foreign landa, and they were dose at home ^ hv 
5trusjjling men, and they were patient in their greater hope ■ by poverty, 
and it was rich. In atm^house, hospital, and jail, in misery's every 
refuge, where vain man in his little brief authority had not made fa&t the 
door, and hatred the Spirit out, he left his blessing, and taught Scrooge 
his precepts. 

It was a long night, if it were only a night : but Scrooge had his doubts 
of this, bi?caifae the Christmas Holidays appeared to be condensed into 
the space of time they passed toj^ether. It was strange, too, that while 
Scrooge remained unaltered in his outward form, the Ghost grew older, 
clearly older. Scrooge had obser^-ed this change, but never ipoke of it, 
until they left a children's Twelfth Night partv, when, footing at the 
Spirit as ihey stood together inan open place, he noticed that itj hair was 
grey. 

" Are spiiiti* lives so short ? ** asked Scrooge. 

" My life upon this globe is very brief," replied the Ghost, " It ends 
to-night," 

" To-night [ " cried Scrooge, 

" To-night at midnight, flarlt ! The time is drawing near.'* 

The chimes were ringing the tlaree-quarterfl past eleven at tliat 
moment. 

" Forgive mc if I am not justified in what I ask," said Scrooge, boling 
'^ intenily at the Spirit's robe, *' but I see something sirangCj and not 

i belonging to yourself, protruding f);om your skirts. Is it a foot or 3 
daw ! " 

'■ If might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it,"w33 the Spirit's 
sorrowful reply. *' Look here." 

From the foldings of its tobe, it broifght two children ; wretched, 
abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. Thev hncit down at its fcet» and 
clung upon the outside of its garment. 

"Oh, Man! loot here. Look, look, down here!" eidaimed the 
Ghost. 

They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish ; 



4Z A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

but prostrate^ too, in their humiliry, Wlif^rc gr^ictftil jouih should have 
Jillc'd rhcir fe^itures out* And touched them with its freshest tints, a 
state and shrivelled hsnd, like thnt of age, h..\6 pinclied, and tivistcd 
them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels mfght have sat 
entlsrontd, devils Parted, and glared oul menacing. No change, no 
degradation, no perversion of humanitj', in ar.y grade, through all the 
mv5terics of wonderful creation, has nionfiters half so horrible and dread. 

Scrooge snarted back, appalled. Having tlicm shown to him in this 
way, he tried to say thej' were line children, but tlte wotds choked 
themselves, rather then be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude,. 

" Spicit ! are they yours f " Scrooge could say no more. 

^' They are Man^s," said the Spirit, looking down upon them. *' And 
ihey cling to me, appealii^g from their fathers. This bay is lijuorance. 
This girl is Want, llewatc them both, and sW of their degree, but most 
of all be^vare this boy, for on his bro^u I see that written which is Doom, 
unless the writing be era^td. Deny it ! " cried ihe Spirit, stretching 
out its hand t<]wnrds the city. " Slander those wlio tell ii ye ! Admit 
it for yonr factious purposes, and make Jt worse ! And bide the end ! " 

" Have the}' rto refuge or resource |- ^' ciicd Scrooge. 

" Are there no prisons I " said the Spirit, turning on him for tlie last 
lime with his own words. *' Are there no workhouses .' " 

The bell struck twelve. 

Scrooge looked about him for the Ghost, and saw it not. As the last 
stroke ceased to vibrate, he remembered the prediction of old Jacob 
Marlej', and lifting up his eyes, beheld a solemn Phantom, draped and 
hooded, coming, lite a mist along the ground, towards him. 



STA'V'E FOUR : The Last of the Spina 

Tim Phantom slowly, gravely, silently approacheil- ^^^en it came near 
him, Scrooge bent down upon his knee ; for in tbei-ery air through which 
this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mptcry. 

It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its 
face, its Eotm, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. 
But for this it would have been difficult to detach its Rgure from tlxe 
nfeht, and separate it from the darkness by which it was siitrounded. 

He felt that it was tall and stately when it came beside him, and that 
its mysterious presence filled him with a solemn dread. He knew no 
more, for the Spirit neither spoke nor moved. 

" I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come ? " 
said Scrooge. 

The Spirit answered not^ but pointed downward with its hand, 

"You arc about to show me shadows of the tilings that liai'e not 
happened, butwillhappenin the time before us,'^ Scrooge pursued. *' Is 
that so, Spirit ? " 

The upper portion of the garment was contracted £or an instant in 



A CHRISTMAS CAROL 43 

i:s folds, gsif the Spirit had inclined it& head. That was the only answer 
he rcc'-^ivcd. 

Although wdl used to ghostly company by this time^ Scrooge feared 
the sjleni shape so much that his legs ttembltd bcncaih him, and he 
found that he could hardly stand when he prepared to follow it, Tha 
Spiiic paused a monnent, as observing his condition, and giving him time 
to recovi^r. 

But Scrooge was all the worse for this. It thrilled him with a vagae 
unceriain honor, to know that behind tlie dusky shroud there were 
ghostly eyes intetitly h^cti upon him, while he, though he stretched 
hia own to ihc otmosr, could see nothing but a spectral haiid and one 
great heap of black- 

^' Ghost of the Future ! " he exclaimed, " I fear you more than any 
Spectre I have seen. Bui, as 1 know your purpose is to do mt good^ and 
as I hope to live to be another man from what I was, I am prepared to 
bear vou company, and do it with a thankful heart. Will you not speak 
to me ? " 

It gav? him no reply. The hand was pointed straight before them. 
*' Lead on J " said Scrooge. " Lead on [ The night is waning fast, 
and it is precious lime 10 me, I know. Lead on, Spirit ! *' 

The Phantom moved away as it had come towards him, Scrooge 
followed in the shadow of its drcES, which bore him up, he thought, and 
carried him along. 

They scarcely seemed to enter the city ; for the city rather seemed 
to spring up jhout them, and encompass them of its o^vn act. Biit there 
they were, in the heart of it ; on. 'Change^ amongst the merchants ; who 
hurried up and down, and chinked the money in their pocltcts, and con- 
versed in groups, and looked at rlicir watches, and trifled ihoiJ^'htfitily with 
their great gold seals ; and so forth, as Scrooge had seen them often. 

The Spirit stopped beside one little knot of business men. Observing 
that the hand was pointed to them, Scrooge advanced to listen to their 
talk. 

*'No,"5aidagteatfar man with a monstrous chin," I don^t know much 
'' about it, either wtiy. I only know he^s dead.*' 
?; '* \^'hen did he die ? " inquired another, 
i " Last night, 1 believe." 

J '^ Why, what was the matter with him ? " asked a third, taking a vast 
Z quantity of snuff out of a very large snuff-box. " 1 thought he'd never 
t die." 

God knows," said the first, with a yawn. 

What has he done with his money ? " asked a red-faced gentleman 
with 3 pendulous excrescence on die end of his nose, that shook like the 
gills of a turkey-cock. 

" I hat'cu^t heard," said the man with the brge chin, yawning again. 
" Left if to his Companv, perhaps. He hasn*t left it to wf. Tiiat's all 
||T tnow," 






** _ '/ J X 



^ ACHRISTMASCAROL 

This pleasantry ^vas received wiih a general laugh. 

^' It^s likely to be a very cheap funcra)," said the same speaker ; " for 

upon my life 1 don't know of anybody to go to ii. Suppose wc make up 
a party and volunteer ? " 

^* I don't mind going if a iun^ih is provided," observed the gx^ntleman 
with the excrescence on his nose, " But I must be fed, if 1 mate one/* 

Another laugh- 

'^ Well, 1 am the most disinterested :iJnong yaUj after all," said the 
first speaker, " for I never wear biaet gloves, and I never eat lunch. But 
Vll offer to go, if anybody else will. When I come to think of it^Pm 
not ai all snrc that I wasn't his most particular friend ; for we used to 
stop and speak ^vhenever we met. Bye^ bye I " 

SpcaUTS and listeners strolled away, and mixed with other groups, 
Scrooge t^Hi^vv the men^ and looked towards the Spirit for an explanation. 

The Phantom glided on into a street. Its Rng^r pointed to two 
persons meeting- Scrooge listened again^ tbinking that the explanation 
might lie here. 

He knew these men, also, perfectly* TTiey were men of business : 
very wealthv, and of great importance. He h^d made a point ahvays of 
standing well in their esteem : in a business point of vieWj that is ; 
strictly in a business point of view* 

" How are you ? " said one. 

** Haw are you P " returned the other- 

" Well \ " said the fitst. " Old Scratch has got his own at la^t, heyf " . 

" So I am told," retnrned the second. '* Cold, i^n't it ? *' ' 

" Seasonable for Christmas time. You're not a skater, I suppose ? ^^ 

" Nu. No- Something else to think of. Good morning " " 

Not another \vord- That was their meeting^ their conversatiouj and 
their parting, 

Scrooge \vas at first inclined to be surpiiscd that the Spirir shotild 
attach importance to conversations apparently so irisial ; but feeling 
assured that they must have some hidden purpose, he set himself to 
consider what it tvds likely to be* They could scarcely be supposed to have 
any bearing on the death of Jacob, his old partner^ for that was Past^ and : 
this Ghost's province was the Fulure. Nor could he thint of any one 
immediately connected with himself, to whom lie couM ^ppiy fhem* -- 
But nothing doubting tliat to whomsoever they applied they had some ' 
latent moral for his own improvement , he resolved lo treasure up every 
word he heard, and everj-^thing h± saw ; and especially to observe the ^_ 
shadow of himself \vhen it appeared. For he had an expectation that ; 
the conduct of his future self would give him the clue he missed^ and 
would render the solution of these riddles easy. 

He looked about in that very plaet: for hi$ own image ; but anotherj 
man stood in his accustomed corner, and though the clock pointed tol 
his usual lime of day for being there he sau^ no likeness of himself among 
the multitudes that poured in through the porch. It gave him little 



ACHRISTMASCAROL 45 

surprise, however ; for he had boen revah ing in his mind 3 change of 
life, and thought acd hoped he saw his new-born resolutions carried out 
in this. 

Qukt and dark, beside him stood thePhantom, with its outstretched 
hand. When he roused himself frnni his thoughtful quest, he fancied 
from the turn of tKc hand, and ils situation in reference to himself, that 
the Un&ef:n Eyes were looldng at him keenly. It made him shudder, and 

feel very cold. 

They Tefr the busy scene, and went into an obscure part of the tovvn^ 
where Scrooge had never penetrated before, although he recognised its 
situation, and iis bad repute. The ways were foul and narrow ; the 
shops and hou&es wretched ; the people half-nated, drunLcn, slipshod, 
ugly. Alleys and archways, Jikc io many cesspools, disgorged their 
offences of smell, and din, and life, upon the straggling streets ; and the 
whole quarter rceted with crime, with filth, and misery. 

Far in this den of infamous resort, thcrt was a low-browed, beetling 
sliop, below a pent-house roof, where iron, old rags, bottles, bones, and 
greasy oi^aJ, were brought. Upon the floor within, were piled up heaps 
of ru^ty keys, nails, chains, hinges, files, scales, weights, and refuse iron 
of all kinds Secrets that few would liki: to scrutinise vvere bred and 
hidden in mountains of unseemly rags, masBes of corrupted fat, and 
iepnlchres ot bones. Sitting inamong the wares he dealt in, by a charcoal 
stovt^ made of old bricks, was a giey-haired rascal, nearly seventy years 
of age ; who had screened himself from ihe cold air wirhoui:, by a frouzy 
curtaining of miscellaneous latters, hung upon a line ; and smoked hia 
pipe in all the !u>:nry of calm teliremcnt, 

Scrooge and the Phantom came into the presence of this man, just as 
a woman with a heavy bundle slun^i into the shop. But she had scarcely 
entered, when another woman, simibily laden, came in too ; and she 
was closely followed by a man in faded black, who was no less startled by 
the sight of them, than they had been upon the recognition of each other. 
After 3 short period of blank astonisbmenr, in which the old man with 
the pipe had joined them, they all three burst into a laugh. 

" Let the charwoman alone to be the first! "cried she who had entered 
first. " Let the laundress alone to be the second ; and let the under- 
taker's man alone to be the third. Look hoie, old Joe, here's a chance ! 
If we havener all thi-ee met here without meaning it ! " 

'' You couldn't have met in a better place," said old Joe, removing his 
ptpc from his mouth. " Come into the parlour. You were made free 
of ir long as:o, you know ; and the other ti^o an't strangers. Stop till 
I shut the door of the shop. Ah 1 How it skrecks [ There ain't such a 
rusty bit of metal in the place as its own hinges, 1 believe ; and I'm sure 
there's no such old bojies here, as mine. Ha, ha ! We're all suitable 
to our calling, we're well matched. Comi: into the parlour. Come 
into the parlour." 

The parlour wa3 the space behind tlie screen of lags. Ttie old man 



46 A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

raked the Rre together with an old stair-rod^ and hnving trimmed his 
smoky lamp (for it was nighi)^ mth t!ie stem of his pipe, put it in hia 
mouth ^gain. 

While he did thisj the woman who h:id aheady spoken threiv her 
bundle on ihe floor, ^nd sif down in a flaunting manner on a stool i 
crossing her elbows on h^^r knt;es^ and looking with a bold dtHance at the 
other two. 

"What odds thon ! Wliai odds, Mrs, Dilber ? *' said the woman. 
" Evcn^ person hiis a rtght to cake care of themselves. //^ ahvays did I " 

" Thai's truCj indeed ! " said the laundress. ** No man more 5o." 

" "Why, then, don't BiLind staring as If yon was afraid^ woman ; H"ho*3 
the wiser ? WeVe not going to pit:!: hoki in each other's coats^ I 
suppose ? ^^ 

"Mo, indeed 1 " said Mrs. Dilber and the man together. *^ We should 
hope not" 

"Very ^vd], then ! ^^ cried the woman. ^^ That's enough, WTio's 
the wor&c for the loss of a few ihings tike these } Not a dead man^ I 
suppose/* 

*^ KOj indeed/' said Mrs. Dilber^ laughing, 

^^ If lie w^anted to leep 'em after he was dead* a wit:keJ oU scieiA"/' 
pursued the woman, '* why wasn't he natural in his lifetime f Jf he 
had been^ he^d havt^ had somebody to look after him when he was 
struck w^iih Death, ins cead of lying gasping otUhis last ihertj alone by 
himself," 

^^ If s the truest word thai ever was spoke/^ said Mrs^ Dilber. ** li^s 
a judgment on him/^ 

*^ I wish it was a little header one " replied the woman ; " and it 
should have been, you may depend upon ir^ if 1 could have laid my hands 
on anything else. Open that bundle^ old Joe, and let me know the value 
of if* Speak out plain. I'm not afraid to be the first^ nor afraid for them 
to see it. We knew pretty wt:ll that we w^ere helping ourselves, before 
we met here, 1 believe. It'i no &in. Open ihe bundle, Joe." 

But the gallantry of her friends would not allow of this ; and the man 
in faded black, mounting the breach first, produced hix plunder. It was 
not extensive. A seal or two^ a pencil-case, a pair of slecve-butionSj 
and a brooch of no great value, were all. They ^vere severally examined 
and appraised by old foti, who chalked the $um^ he was disposed to ^^Jve 
for each, lapon the wallj and added them up iftto a total when he fuund 
lliere was norhing more to come. 

" That^s your account," satd Joe, " and I wouldn^t give another six- 
pence, if 1 was to be boiled for not doing it. VMio^s next ? " 

Mr*. Dilber was nest, Shecu and louch, a Kttle wearing apparel, 
two old-fashioned silver teaspoons, a pair of sugar-tongG, and a few 
hoots. Her account ^vas stated on the wall in the same manner. 

*^ I always give too much to ladies. It's ji weakness of mine, anJ that's 
the way I ruin myself/' said old Joe. "That's your account If you 



ACHRISTMASCAROL 47 

a^ked me for anotner pcany, and made it an open que&rion, I'd repent 
of being so liberal and knock o3 hjlf-a-cFown/' 

*' AdA now undo my bundiCj Joe," sjid the fir^t woman. 

Joe went dawa on his knees fof rhe greater convenience of opening it, 
and having iinfasteni:d a greac many knots^ dragged out a large and 
heaw toll of some dark gtufi. 

^* What do vou call thl? ? " s^id Joe. '' Bed-cuitains ! " 

*' Ahl" rLtifrned the woman, laughing and leaning forward on her 
crossed arm^- " Bed-eurtains J '* 

"'You don't mean to say yon took 'em down^ rings and at], with him 
lying tlieie ? " said Joe. 

" Yes I do," rephed the woman. " \Vh.y not ? " 

" You were born toraakuyourfoHune," said Jot, "and you^ll certainly 

do k." 
*' i certainly shan^t hold my hand, when I can ger anything In it by 

reaching it out, for the^akeotsucha man as He was, I promise you, Joe,'* 

returned the woman coolly. " Don't drop that ail upon the bLnkeij, 



now." 



" His blankets ?" asked Joe. 

" \Vh05e ehe*s, do you tliink ? " replied the woman. " He isn't hkely 
to take cold without 'em, J djre say." 

'* I hope he didn't die of anything catching ? Eh i " said old Joe, 
slopping in hid work, and looking up. 

" Don't you be afraid of that," ri^turncd the woman, *' 1 ain't so fond 
01 his company that I'd loiter about him for such things, if h<: did. Ah J 
you may look through that sturt till your eyes ache ; but you won't find 
a hole in it, nor a ihrcadbare place. It's tlie besr he had, and a fine 
one too. They'd have wasted il, if it hadn't been for me." 

" What do you call wasting of it ? " asked old Joe, 

" Putting it on him to be buried in, to bo sure," replied the woman 
with a laugh. " Somebody was fool cnougli to do it, but I took it off 
again. If calico ain't good enough for sucli a purpose, it isn't good 
enough for anything^ It's quite a? becoming to the body. He can't 
look ugJicr than he did in that one." 

Stiooge listened to this dialogue in horror. As they sat grouped 
about their spoil, in the scanty light afforded by the old man's lamp, he 
vieived them with a detestation and disgust, wliich could hardly have 
been greater, though they had been obscene demons, marketing tlie 
corpse ilscif. 

'* Ha, ha [ " laughed the same woman, when old Joe, producing a 
flannel baL? with money in it, loldout their several gains upon the ground. 
*'This IS the end of it, you gee ! He frij^'htencd every one awav from him 
when he was alive, to profit us when he was dead ! Ha, ha, ha ! " 

'' Spirit ! " said Scrooge, shuddering from head to foot. " 1 see, I see. 
Tlxe case of this unhappy man might be my own. My life tends that 
way, now. Merciful Heaven, what is this ! " 



A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

He recDiled In terror^ for tlic scene had changed^ and now he aimo^t 
touthed a bed : a bare uncyrtainod bed : on whichj btncath a ragg<?t[ 
siieet, there lay a something covered up^ whith, though it \v:is dumb, 
announced itself in a^vful language. 

The room was very dark, too dart to be observed v/Tth anv accuracy, 
though Scrooge gtanced round it in obedience to a secret impulse, 
an?:ious to know what l^ind of room it was. A pale lights rising in the 
outer air, fell stras^^ht upon the bed ; and on tt, plundered and berefr, 
unwatched, unwept, iincared for^ was the body of this man. 

Scroc^c glanced towards the Phantom. Its steady' hand ^^Mi pointed 
to the head* The covtr was so careVj^sly adjusted that the sh^litc^t 
raising of it, the motion of a linger upon ScTooge^s P^^rt, ^^^ould h;ive 
discToscd the face. He thought of li, felt hotv easy it would be to do, 
and longed to do it ; but had no more power to withdraiv the veil than 
to dismiss the spectre at his side. 

Oj^ tioid, eoldj rigid, dreadful Death, set up thine altar here^ and drtss 
it with such terrors as thou hast at thy command: for thi& is thy 
dominion ! But of xhe lovedj revered, and honoured head^ thou canst 
not turn one hair to ihy dread purposes, or make one feature odious. It 
is not that the i^anJ is heavy and will fail Jowq when tekascd ; ii is 
not that the heart nnd pulse are still; but that tlie hand was open, 
generous^ and true ; the heart brave, warm, and tender ; and the pulse 
a man's- Strike^ Shadow, strike i Artd ^ce his good deed^ springing 
from the wound, to sow the world with life immortal I 

No voico pronounced these words in Scrooge's ears, and yet he heard 
them when he looted upon the bed. He thotight, if this man could 
be raised up now^ ^vhat would be his foremost thoughts ^ Avarice, hard 
dealing, griping cares ? They have btonght him to a rich end, truly 1 

He lay in the dark empty house, with not a man^ a w^oman, or a child, 
to say that he was kind to me in tliis or that, and for the mcmorv of one 
kind word I will be kind to himn A cat was tearing at the door^ and 
there was a sound of gnawing rats beneath the hearth-stone. WTiat 
_fhir\' wanted in the room of death, and why tftey were so restless and 
disturbed, Scrooge did not dare to think. 

" Spirit ! ^' be said^ ^* this is a fearful oiaee, Tn leaving itj I shall not 
leave its lesson, t™sr me. Let us go ! " 

Still the Ghost pointed with an unmoved finder to the head, 
*^ I understand you/' Scrooge returned, ^" and 1 would do itj if I could. 
But I have not the power, Spirit. 1 have iiot the power.'* 
Again it seemed to loot upon him. 

*^ If there is anv person in the town^ who feels emotion caused by thia 
Tnan*a death,^* said Scrooge quite agonised, " shcAv that person to me, 
Sflrit, I beseech you ! " 

The Phantom spread its dark robe befote him for a moment, like a 
wing : and withdrawing ir^ revealed a room by daylight^ where a mother 
and her children were. 



ACHRISTjMASCAROL 4^ 

Shcwaie3:pect5r]gsomeonc^andHit}i3n-^0[.L5 eagerness ; for she w J Iked 
up and down the room ■ started at iiv^ry sound. ; looked out fron> iKe 
window ; glanced st ihe clock ; tried^ bac in vain, to work with her 
needle ■ and coutd hardlv bear the voices of rhe children in thetr play* 

At length the long-expected knock was h&ird. She hurried to the 
door. ;ind me thi^r husband; a mnn whose face was careworn and depressed 
though he was }^oting. There was a remarkabJe cxpTc^lon in it now ; A 
kind of serious delight of which he felt ashamedj and which he struggled 
to repress. 

He sat down to the dinner that had been hoarding for him b}-^ the fire ; 
and when she asked him faintly what newj (which was noc until afier a 
long silenci^)j he appeared enibaTFaES[;d how to answer^ 
*^ la it goodj" she said, " or bad f " — lo help liim, 
'* Bad," he answered. 
" We are quite mined ? ^' 
" Ko. There is hope yet, Carolina;." 

" I£ Af rc](;nts/* she said^ amaicd, ^^ there is I Nothing is past hope 
if such a miracle has happened^" 

** He is past relenting^" said her husband- " He is dead," 
She was a mild and pauent creature if her face spoke truth ; but she 
w^s thankful in her soul to hi!:ir it, and $he sjid &o, with cksped handi. 
Shfi prayed forgiveness the next nionientj and was sorry ; but ihe first 
wa$ tho emotion of her hearts 

^* WTiat the half-drunken woman whom I told yon of last nighty said 
to me^ when I tried to see him and obtain a week's delay ; and what 1 
thought was a mere excuse to avoid me ; turns out to h^ve been quit& 
true. He was not only very ill, but dyingj then." 
'* To whom will our debt be transferred ? " 

'^ i don^t know. But before that time we shall be ready with the 
money ; and even though we were not, it would be bad fortune indeed 
to find so merciless a creditor in his successor. We may sleep to-night 
with light hearts, Caroline ! " 

Yes. Soften it as they w^ouEd, their hearts were hghter. The children's 
faces, hushed, and clustered round to hear what they so httle understood j 
were brighter ; and it was a happier house for this man's death [ The 
only emotion tha.Ti the Ghosi could show him^ caused by the events was 
one of pleasure, 

*^ Let mc see some tenderness connected with a death, ^' said Scrooge ■ 
" or that dark chamber^ Spirit^ which we left just now, will be for ever 
present no m^/^ 

The Ghost conducted him through several streets familiar to his feet ; 
and as they went along, Scrooge looked here and there to find himself^ 
bnt nowhere was he to be seen* They entered poor Bob Cratchlt^s 
house; the dwelling he had visited before; and found the mother 
and the children seated ronnd the fire- 
Quiet, Very quiet. TTie noisy Utile Cratchiis were as still as statuea 



1 

1 



5^ A C H R I S T M A S C A R O L 

in one corner, and sat looking up at Peter, who h-'id a boot befori? him. 
The mother and her da tighter w^is engaged in £e\\ing. But surely they 
were very quiet ! 

" '■And He tool: a child* and set him in the midat of ihtni.* " 
Wht^ru had Scrooge heard ihoBc words f He had not dreamed them. 
The boy must have read tltem out, as he and the Spiiit crossed tlie 
threslioid. Why did he not go on ? 

The mother laid ixer work upon the cable, and pu: her l^nnd up to hrtr 
face. 

'* The colour hurts mv eyes,*^ she said. 
The colour ? Ah, poor Tinv Tim ! 

" They're better now again," said Ctatchii's \\ih- " It m/ilis ti.tm 
Wfakb/ candle ij;:ht ■ and i wouldn't show wc^k cm to yo^ir father when 
he cornea home, for the world. It nsuit be ni:ar his time." 

"Past it raihcr," Peter answered, Ehuiiing up his book, ''"But I 
think he*s walked a little slower than he u^ed, these few last e^-enings, 
mother." 

They were very quiet again. At last she said, and m a steady cheerful 
voice* that only faltered once : 

" I have known him walk with — I have known him walk with Tiny- 
Tim upon hi^ shoulder, very fast indeed." 
" And so have I," cried Peter. " Often.'' 
'* And so have I," exclaimed another. So had all. 
" But he wa5 v&y light to carry,'* she resumei;!, intent upon her work, 
" and his father loved him so, thai it ivas no croubje— ^to trouble. And 
there is your father at tlie door ! " 

She hurried out to meet him ; and little Bob in hi? comforter— he had 
need of it, poor fellow — came in. Hii tea was ready for him on the 
hob, and thty all tried who should help him to it most. Theji thu two 
young Cratchits ^ot upon his knees and laid, each child a little cheek, 
against his face, as if they said, ** Don^t mind it, father. Don't be 
grieved ! '* 

Bob was very cheerful with them, and spoke pleasantly to all the family. 
He looJiud at the work upon tht table, and praised the industry and speed 
of Mrs. CiatcKit and tixe §ir!s- They would be done long before Sunday, 
he said. 

'^ Sunday ! You went to-day then, "Ro'^erc ? " said his iv?fe. 
*' Yes, my dear/' returned Bob. " I wish you could have gone. Ir 
■would have do'ie you good to see how green a pbce ic is. But you'll see 
it often. I promised him that I would walk there on a Sundav. Mv 
little, little child ! " cried Bob. " My little child ! " 

He broke down all at once. He couldn't lielp it. If he could have 
helped it, he and his child would h^ve been faiiher apart perhap'i than 
thev were. 

He left the room, and went up stairs into ihe room abov:, ivhicli was 
lighted checrfuUy, and hung with Christmas. There waa a chair set 



ACHRISTMASCAROL 5I 

close beside the diHdj and ihcre were signs of some one having been 

there, lately. Poor Rob sat down in it, and when he had tkoughtaiitde 
and composed him^tlfj he kissed the little face. He was reconciled 
to Avhat liad happened, and wont down again quite happ^\ 

They^ drew about the firCj and Talked ; the girls and mother ivorking 
stilL Bob told them of the ^extraordinary kindness of Mr. Scroc^e^s 
nc^phtw^ whom he had scarcely seen bat once^ and who^ meeting him 
in the stceei thai day^ and seeing tliat he looked a little — *' ju^t a little 
down you know/^ said Bob, inquired what had happened to distress 
him, ** On which," said Bob, '* fot lie is tWe pleasanicst-spoken gentle- 
man you ex-'cr hcardj I told him. ' I am heartily sorry for it^ Mr. 
Cratchit/ he saidj ^ and heartily sorry for your good wife/ By-the bye, 
how he ever knew ihal^ I don't know," 

" Knew wJiat, my dear ? " 

*^ Why^ that you were a good wiffij^* replied Bob. 

■" Everybody knows ihat ! '^ said Peter. 

^' Very weD objerved^ my boy!" cried Bob. ^^ I hope they do. 
* H^-irtily sorry^* he ?a[d, ^ for your ;?ood "^vife. If J can be of service to 
you in any way,* he said, giving mc his card, ^ thnt^s whert: I live. Pray 
come to me/ Now^ it wasn't/' cried Bob^ ^*£oc the sake of anything 
he might be able to do for ns, so much as for his kind wav^ that this 
was quite delightful- It really seemed as if he had known our Tiny 
Tim J and felt with us/* 

"*^ I^m sure he*5 a good souL ! " said Mrs, Cratthit, 

'^* You would be surer of it, my dear," returned Bob, " if you saw and 
spoke to him. I shouldn't be at ail surprised, mark what I say, if he got 
Peter a better situation/' 

" Only hear that, Peicr," said Mrs, Cratchit. 

" And then," cried one of ilie girls^ " Peter will be keeping company 
with some one^ and setting up for himself/* 

** Get along with you ! '' retorted Peter, grinning. 

" It's just as likely as not/^ said Bob^ *^ one of ihe$e days ; though 
there's plenty of time for tbatj tny dear* But however and whenever 
we part from one another, I am sure we shall none of us forget poor 
Tiny Tim— shall we — or tttis first parting tJiat there was among us t *^ 

" Never, father ! " cried they ail. 

-** And I know,** said Bob, " I know, my dears, that when we recollect 
how patient and how mild he was ; although he was a htile, lie tie child ; 
we shall not t^uarrcl easily among ourselves, and forget poor Tiny Tim 
in doing it.** 

'* No, never, father \ '* they all cried a^ain. 

" I am very happy/* said little Bob, " I am verj^ happy 1 " 

Mrs, Cr^tchit kissed him, his daughters kissed him, the two young 
Cratchits kissed him. and Peier and himself shook hand?. Spirit of Tiny 
Tim, thy childisli essence was from God i 

" Spectre," said Scrooee, ^^ sumcihiiVK infoiros mc that our parting 



^^■^rf*^ 



5Z ACHRISTMASCAROL 

moment is at hand. I tnow ii^ but I know not how. Tell me what man 
thai Avas whom we saw lying dead i ^* 

Tiicr Gho&t of CbrisriTLss Yet To Come carivcyed him, a^ bcfori? — 
though ai a different time, he thought: indeed, there seemed no 
order in thes-e latter visions, save that they were in the Future — into 
the resorts of business mt n, but showed him not himsdf. Indeed, the 
Spirit did not stsy for anything^ hut went straight on^ as to the end 
just now desiredj until besought by Scrooge to tarry for a moment. 

" Thh cotETt/* faid Scrooge, " through which we hurry novv^ i? where 
my placid of oecupaiEon is, ;md ha3 been for a length of tinie. 1 sec the 
house. Let me bchotd what I shalT be, in dnys to come ! " 

The Spirit stopped ; the hand was pointed elsewhere. 

"The house is vonder," Scrooge exclaimed. *' Why do vou point 
away ? " 

The inexorable finger underwent no change. 

Scrooge hastened to ihe window of his office^ and iooteJ in. It was 
an office still, bun not his. The furniture was not the same^and the figure 
in the chair was not himself. The Phantom pointed a$ before- 

He joined it onceagain^ and wondering why and whither he had gone, 
accompanied it until they reached aw iron gate. He paused to look 
round before entering, 

A churchyard. Here, theUj the wretched man whose najnc he hjd now 
to learn^ hy underneath tho ground. It ^vas a worthy place. Walled 
in by houses ; overrun by grass and weeds, the growth of vegetation's 
death, not life i choked up with too much buiying ; fat with repleted 
appetite. A worthy place J 

The Spirit stood among the graves, and pointed down to One. He 
advanced towards ii trembiingn The Phantom was exactly as it had 
bcenj btit he dreaded that he saw new meaning in its solemn ^hape, 

'^Before I draw nearer to that Bione to which you point/' said Scrooge^ 
"answer me one question. Arc the^e the shadows of the things that 
Will be^ or are they shadows of things ihat May be, only ? " 

Still the Ghost pointed downward to the grave by which ii stood. 

*' Men's courses will foreshadow certain enda^ to whichn if persevered 
in, they must lead/' said ScroogCn *^ Gut if the courses be de- 
parted fromj the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show 
me I" " ^ - 

The Spirit was immovable as ever, 

Scrooge crept towards it^ utanbhng as he went ; and following the 
fin^^, read upon the stone of the neglected grave his awn name, 

EEtx\tZER SCROOCH, 

^^ /\m / that man who lay upon the bed ? '' he died, upon hh Lnees. 

The figLite pointed from the ^^rave to him, and back again. 

^^No, Spirit! Ohno, no!" 

The finger still was there. 

*^ Spirit ! ^^ he cried, ti^ht clutchinfi ar its robe^ " hear me ! I am not 



A CHRISTMAS CAROL 53 

the man I was. 1 will not be the man I must have been btit for this 
intercourse* Why show me ihis^ if I am past all hope ! " 

Foi" the tint time the hand appeared to shake. 

" Gpod Spirit/' ho pursued, as down upon the ground he fell befor; 
it : ^^^our nature intercedes for me^ and pities me. Assure me thai 1 
yet may chnnge these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life I " 

The kind hand trembled. 

" I will honour Christmas in my hearty and try to keep it all the year- 
I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. iTie Spints of all 
Three shall strive within mc. I will not shut out ihc lessons that ihey 
teach. Oh- tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone [ " 

Inhisa^nVj he caught the spectral hand- It sought to free itself ^ but 
he was strong in his entreaty^ and detained it. The Spirit^ stronger vet, 
r^ipulsed him. Holding up his hands in one last prayer to have his fate 
reversed, he saw an alteration in the Phantom's hood and dress, It 
shrank, collapsed, and dwindled down into a bedpost. 



STAVE FIVE : Th^ End ^f It 

Yes ! and the bedpost was his own. The bed was his own, the room was 
his own. Best and happitst of allj the Time bt;fore him was his own, to 
make amends in [ 

" I will live in the Past, the Present^ and the Futu^^2 ! " Scrooge 
repeated, as he scrambled out of bed. " The Spirits of all Three shall 
strive within me. Oh, Jacob Marley ! Heaven, and the Christmas 
Time be praised for this ! Isay it on my knees, old Jacobs on my knees 1 " 

He was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions, that his 
bro!;en voice would scarcely answer to hi^ call. He had been sobbing 
violently in his conflict with thfi Spirit, and his face w:^:^ wet with 
tears- 

■'* They arc not torn down," cried Scroo^e^ folding one of his bed- 
curtains in his arms, ^^ thev are not torn dowTip rings and aiL They are 
here ; I am here : the shadows of the things that would have been may 
be dispelled* They will be, I tnow they will ! ^^ 

His hands were busy with his garments all this time ; turning them 
inside out, putting them on upside dowti^ tearing them, mislaying them, 
making them parties to every kind of tstt^vagance. 

^^ 1 don-i know what to do I ^^ cried Scrooge^ laughing and ciying in the 
same breath ; and making a perfect Laoeoon of himself with his stockings, 
" I am as light hIS a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a 
schoolboy- 1 am as giddy as a drunken man- A Merry Christmas to 
everybodv ! A Happy New Year to all the world. Hallo here ! 
Whoop! ■ Hallo I ^' 

He had frisked into the sitting-room^ and was now standing there : 
perfectly winded. 

Therc^sthesEiucepan thatthe gruel was in I " cried Scrooge, starting 



ti 



I- .4L.^^L 



54 A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

□ffagain^ and frisking round the fireplace. ''There's the door, by which 
xKt; Ghosf of Jacob Mfirley entered ! There's the corner wlitre the 
Ghost of Christmas Pre$cnt sat [ There's ihe window wheie 1 saw the 
wandering Spirits! It's all right, it's all true, ic all hjippened. Ha, 
h., ha ! '^ ^ 

Really, for a man who had been out of practice for io in;fnv years, it 
was a splendid laugh, a mo^t illiisiiious laugh. The father of a long» long 
line of brilliant langhj 3 

*' 1 don't tnow what d^y of the n^onth it is 1 " said Scrooge. '' ItJon't 
know hoiv long T^e been amon^ the ?piriis. I don*t know anything, 
I'm quite a baby. Never mind. 1 dcjn't tjre. I'd ratht;r be a baby. 
Hallo! Whoop! Hallo here!" 

He was checked in his transports by the churches ringingout the lustiest 
peals he had ever heard. Clash, clang, hammer, ding, dong, bell. Bellj 
dong, ding^ hammer, c]ang, clasli ! Oh, gluiious, glorious ! 

Running -q xhn window^ he opened it, and put out his head. No 
fog> no mist ; clear, bright, jovial, stirring, cold ; cold, piping for the 
blood to djuce to ; golden sunlight. ; heavenly sky ; sweet fresh air ; 
merry bell^. Oh, glorious. Glorious! 

"What's ro-dayP" cried Scrooge, calling downward lo a bov in 
Sundas^ clothes, who perhap? had loitered in to lool: about him. 

" Eh ? " returned the boy. with all his might cif wonder. 

'* What's to-day, tny fine fellow ? '' said Serongc, 

" To-day ! " replied the boy, '' Why, CnBimcAs Dav.'' 

" It's Christmas Day J '* said Scrooge to himself. " I havcji'c mifseJ 
it. The Spirits have done it all in one night, Thej- can do anything 
they liVe. Of course the)' can. Of course thev can. Hallo, my fine 
fellow [ " 

*' Hallo ! " returned the boy. 

"Do you know the ponlteter^ in the next street bur one, at the 
corner ? " Scrooge inquired, 

" I should hope 1 did,'' replied the lad. 
■ " An intelligent boy ! " said Scrooge. '' A remarkable boy ! Do you 
knowivhether iheyN'esold liie prize Tur^cy that was hanging up tliere f 
Kot the little prr^e Turkey : the big one i " 

'* What, the one as big as me ? " returned the boy, 

'' What a deiightEul boy ! " said Scrooge. *' It's a pleasure to talt 
to him. Yes, my buck 1 " 

*' It's hanging there now," replied the bov, 

" Is it f " &aid Scrooge. '* Go and buy it.'' 

" \Valk-ER [ " eiclaimed the boy. 

" Ko, no," said ScroogCj '* 1 am in earnest. Go and buy it, and 
tell 'em to bring it here, that I may give them the direction where 
to take it. Come back with the man^ and PI] j;ive you a shilling. 
Comp back with him in less than five minures, and Til give ^ ou lialf-a- 



crown I '' 



A CHRISTMAS CAROL 55 

The boy wai off lite a shot* He must have h^d a steady hand jit a 
trigger who could have got a shot, off half $0 fast- 

^* ril send it to Bob Cratchu'i 1 '' whispi^r&d Stroogc^ rubbing his 
handsj and splitting mth a hugh. *■ He: shan^t know who sends it- It*s 
twice the size of Tiny Tim, Joe Miller never made stieh a jote a^ 
sending it to Bob^s will be ! " 

The hand in which he wrote the address was not a stcjdy one, but 
write it ho did, somehow^ and went down stairs to open the street door^ 
ready for the coming of the ponlfercr's man. As he stood there^ 
waiting his anivalj the knoeter caught his eye. 

"1 shall love it, as long as 1 Uv? ! " cHed Scrooge, patting ji with 
hia hand. ^^1 scarcely ever looted at it before. What an honest 
expression it has in its face! It's a wonderful knocker !— Kerens xhc 
Turkey. Hallo i Whoop ! How Jire you I Merry Christmas ! " 

It W{X,^ a Turkey ! He could never have stood upon hts icgs^ that bird. 
He would have Slapped 'em short off in a minute^ like sticks of scaling- 

^^ Why^ it's impossible to carry that to Camden To^vn^^^ said ScToogp. 
" You must have a cab-*' 

The chuckLc ^^ith which he eaid ihis^ and the chuckle with which he 
paid for tlie turkey^ and tlic chuckle with which he paid for the cab^ 
and the chuckle with which he recompensed the boy, were only to be 
exceeded by the chuckE^? with which he Eat down bieathleJJ in his chair 
againj and chuckled till he crii^d. 

Shaving was not an easy task, for liis hand continued to shake very 
mu:h ; and ?hav]ng requires attentioUj even when voa don't dance 
^vhile you are at it. But if he had cut the end of hi^ nose off^ he would 
have put a piece of sticking-plaster over it^ and been quite saiiafied, 

H<: diefSf^d himself " all in his be^t/* and at List got out into ihe 
streets. The people were bv this time pouring forth^ as he l^d seen 
them with the Ghost of Christmas Present ; and walking with his hands 
behind him^ Scrooge regarded every o-iy with a delighted smile- He 
looked so irresistibly pleasant, In a wotd^ that three or four good- 
humoured fellows said^ *" Good morning, sir ! A Merr}" Christmas to 
you i " And Scrooge said often afterwards^ that of all the blitlie 
sounds he had ever heard, those were the blithest in his ears. 

He hiidnotgonefar^ when coming on towards him he beheld the portly 
gentleman, who had walked into his counting-house the day before and 
said, " Scrooge and Marlcy's, I believe f " It sent a pang across his 
heart to think how this old gentleman would look upon him when they 
met ; but he knew \vhat path lay straight before him, and he took it* 

^' My dear sir^" said Scfoogc, quickening his pace, and taking the old 
gentleman by both his hands, ** How do you do f I hope you succeeded 
yesterday- It was veiy kind of you. A Merry Christmas to you, sir ! " 

'' Mr. Scrooge i " 

" Yes/* said Scrooge* " That is my name, and I fear it may not be 



uUK 



^'nlk \L'\L I I 



S6 A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

pleasant to you. ABow me to ast your pardon. And will you have the 
goodness *' — here Scrooge whispered in his ear- 

" Lord blesa mc/' cried the gentleman^ as if his breath were gone. 
*' My dear Mr. Scrooge, are vou serious * " 

" If you please/' said Scrooge, " Not a farthing less. A great manr 
back-payments are included in it, I assure you. VS'lll you do me that 
favour f " 

" My dear sir/* sakl the other, shading hands u'i[h him. " T don't 

Inow what to s^y to sut:h munifi ■' 

''Don't i^y anything, please/' retorted Scrooge- "Come and see 
me. Will }'ou come and see me 1 " 

" I will ! " cried the old gentleman. And it Was ckar he meant to 
doit. 

" Thanli'ee," said Scrooge. " 1 am much obliged to you. I iliank 
you fifty times, Biess you ! " 

He went to church, and walked about the streets, and watched the 
people hurrj'ing to and £fo, and patied childri:n on the head, and 
questioned beggars, and looked down into the kitchens o£ house?, and 
up To the wrtdows ; and found that everything could yield him pleasure. 
He had never dreamed that any walk— that anything — could give him so 
mnch happiness. In the afternoon, he turned his steps to^vards hia 
nephew's house. 

He passed the door a do?en times, before he had the courage to go up 
and knock- But he made a da^h, and did it : 

" Is your master at home, my dear P " said Scrooge to the girl. Nice 
girl ! Very. 

''Yes, sir.*' 

'* Where ts he, my love f *' said Scrooge. 

*' He's in the dining-room, sir, along mth mistress. I'll show you 
up stairs, if vou please." 

" Thank'ee. He knows me," said Scrooge, ^viih his hand already on 
the dining-room lock. " I'll go in here, my dear." 

He turned it gently, and sidled his face Jn, round the door. They 
were looking at the table (which was spread out in great array) ; for 
these young housekeepers are always nervous on such points, and like to 
see that everything is right, 

" Fred 1 " said Scrooge. 

Dear heart alive, how his niece by marriage started ! Scrooge had 
forgotten, for the moment, about her sitting in the corner with the 
footstool, or he wouldn't have done it, on any account, 

" Why bless my soul ! " cried Fred, '* who's that ? " 

"It's I, Your uncle Scrooge, I have come to dinner. Will you 
let nie in, Fred p ^^ 

Let him in ! It^s a mercy he didn't shake his arm off. He was at 
home in five minutes. Nothing could be heartier. His niece looked 
just the same. So did Topper when ij came. So did the plump sister, 






A CHRISTMAS CAROL 57 

■when //jf came. So dtd every one when tb^ came. Wonderful party, 
wonderful games, wonderful unanimtty, ^von-dcr-ful happiness ! 

But he was cutly at the office next morning. Oh he wa? earlv there^ 
If he could only be there ftrst, aTid cateh Bob Crfltghit coming Uie 1 
That wii& the thing he had 9ei his heart upon. 

And he did if ; ves he dtd ! Tlie clock struck nine. No Bob, A 
quarter past. No Bob. He was full eighteen minutes and a half behind 
his time- Scrooge sat with his door wide opon, that he might see him 
come into the Tank, 

His liar was off before he opened tlie door ; his comforter too. He 
was on his stool in a jiffy ; driving away with his pen^ a^ if he were trying 
to overtake nine o'clock- 

" HalTo J *' growled Scroogej in his accustomed voice as near as he 
could feign it- " ^^Tiat do you mean bv coming here at this time of 
day > " 

" I am ver7 sorry, sir," said Bob- ^' I affi behind my time," 

" Yoti are ? '^ repeated Sero^^e^ *^ Yes* I thint you are. Step this 
way, sir, if you please-" 

" It's only once a )!'ear, sir/' pleaded Bob, sppeanng from the Tant, 
** If shall not be repeated* I was makin^^ rather merry yesterday^ sir." 

" NoWj ril tell you what^ my friend," said Scrooge, " I am not going 
to stand this sort of thing any longer. And therefore/' he continued^ 
leaping from his stool, and giving Bob such 3 dig in the waistcoat that 
he staggered back into the Tant again ; ^^ and therefore I am about to 
raise your salary I ^* 

Bob trembled^ and got a little nearer to the ruler* He had a 
momentary idea of knocking Scrooge down with it ; holding him ; and 
calling 10 the people in the court for help and a strait- waistcoat. 

" A Merry Christmas^ Bob ! " iaid Scrooge, with an earnestness that 
could not be mmaVen, as he clapped him on the back. ^' A merrier 
Christmas^ Bobj my good felToWj ih^n I have given you for rciany a year J 
1*11 raise your salary^ and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and 
we will discuss your affairs this very afternoonj over a Christmas bow! of 
smoking bishop, Bob ! Make up the fires^ and buy another coal-scuttle 
before you dot another i^ Bab Cratchit ! " 

y Scrooge.^ was better than his word- He did it all, ;ind infinitely more ; 

i and 10 Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father* He became 
i as good a friend^ as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old 
city tnew, or any other good old city, town, or borough^ in the good old 
world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let 
them laughj and little heeded them ; for he wa$ wisu enough to know 
that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good^ at which some people 
did not have their fill of laughter in the outset ; and knowing that such 
as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as weU that they 
should wrinkle up their cyea in grlns^ as hav« the malady in less 



i 



SS THE CHIMES 

attractive forms. His own heart laughed : and that was quite enough 

for him- 

Hff hsid no further mtercourae with Spirit?, but lived upon the TotaT 
Ahn'mcnc^ Principle, ever afterwards ; and it was alwa}^ said of him, 
that he Incw how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the 
knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all y£ us 1 And &c^^ as Tiny 
Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One ! - -. 



THE CHIMES: J GOBLIN STORT Of SOME 
BELLS THJ7 RAiMQ AN OLD YEAR 0V1 
AND A NEW TEAR IN 



FiRST QUARTER 

TjiERE are not many people — and as it is de&irable ihal a story-teller and 
a storv-readersbould establish a mutual understanding as .^oon as possible, 
[ bcp it to be noticed that 1 confine this observntion neither to yourg 
people nor to little pt^ople^ but extend u to :ill conditions of people: 
Utrleaud big^ voung and old : yet growing up, or already growing down 
again — there are not^ I say^ many people who would care lo sleep in a 
church- I don*t mean at sermon-tin3e In warm we^ithcr (when the 
thing has actually been done, once or twice), but in the nighf and alone. 
A great multitude of persons will be violcntlv astonished, 1 know, by 
this position, in the broad boJd Day* But it applies to Night. It must 
be argued by night- And I will undertake lo maintain it successfully 
on any gu^ty winter's ni^ht appointed for the purpo^e^ wiih any one 
opponent chosen from the rest, who will meet mc singly in an old 
churchvard^ before an old church door ; and will previously empower 
me to lock him in, if needful to his satisfaction^ until morning. 

For the niqhc-wind has a dismal trick of wandering round and round 
a building of that 5ort, and moaning as it goes ; and of trying, with its 
unseen hand, the windows and the doors ; and seeking out some crevices 
by which to enter. And when it has got in ; as one not finding what it 
seeks, whatever that may be ; it waik and howls to ii^ue forih again : 
and not content wirh stalking through the aisles, and gliding jound and 
round the pillars^ and tempting the deep organ^ ^oars up to the roof, 
and strives to rend the rafters : then flings itself despairingly upon the 
atoned below^ and passes, muttering^ into the vaults. Aoon, it comes up 
stealthily, and creeps along the Walls : seeming ^o read, in whispers, the 
inscriptions sacred to the Dead- At some of these, it breaks out shrilly 
as with lau^hrcr ; and at others, moans and cries as if it were lamenting. 
It has a ghostly sound toD^ lingering within the altar ; where it seems to 



THECHIMES 59 

chant, in iis wild way, of Wrong and Murder done, and false Gods 
worshipped ; in defiance of the Tables of the La iv, which JooIl so fair and 
smooth, but ire so flawed and broken* Ugh ! Heav^^n preserve us, 
sirring snugly round the fire ! It has an awful voice, ihat wind at 
Midnight, singing in a church I 

But hjgh up in the steeple 1 There the foul blast roais snd whmles. 
High up in ihe sieepk-, where it is frex; to come apd go throagh many an 
airv^irch and loophole^ and to twist and rwineiiself about the giddy stair^ 
and twirl the groaning weaihercoekj and make the vtry tower shake and 
shiver ! High up in rhe steeple, where the beJfjy is ; and Iron rails are 
ragged with rust- and sheets of lead and copper, shrivcikd by the 
changing weather, crackle and heave beneath the unaccustomed tread, 
and birds st^iff shabby nesls into corners of oid oaken joists and beams ; 
and dust grows old and grey ; and speckfed spiders, indolent snd fat 
withlongsccurity, swing idly to and fro in the vibration of the hells, and 
never loose their hold upon rheirthreadspun castles in iheaTr^or climbup 
gailor-like in quick alarm, or drop upon the ground and ply a score of 
nimbEi^ legs to save a life ! High up in the steeple of an old church, far 
above the 'ight and murmur of the town and far bciow the flying clouds 
that shadow ir, is the wild and dreary place at night : and high up 5n 
the steeple of an old church, dw^h the Chimes 1 tell of. 

They v^ere otd Chiracs, trust m^. Centuries ago^ these Bells had been 
baptised by bishops : so mniny centuries ago, iliat the register of their 
baptism was lost long^ long before the memory of man : and no one 
knew their names. They had had their Godfathers and Godmothers^ 
these Bells (for my own pari, by the way^ I would rather incur the 
responsibility of being Godfather to a Bell than a Boy) : and had their 
silver mugs no doubt, besides. But Time had mowed down their 
sponsors, and Henry the Eighth had mched down their mugs : and they 
now hting, nameless and mugles^^ in the church tower. 

Not speechless, though. Far from it. They had ckar, loud, lusty 
sounding voice?, had these Bells ; and far and wide they might be heard 
upon the wind. Much too sturdy Chimes were they, to be dependent 
on the pleasure of the windj moreover ; for, fighting gallantly against 
it when it took an adverse whim^ they would pour their cheerful note? 
into a listening ear right royally ; ^nd bent on being heard, on stormy 
nights, by some poor rnother watching a sick ehild^ or some lone wife 
whose husband was at sea^ they had been sometimes known to beat a 
blustering Nor^-Wester ; ay, "all to fits,'' as Toby V<ick said; for 
'5 though they choic to call him Trotty Veek, his name was Toby, and 
nobody could make it anything else either (except Tobias) without a 
special Act of Parliamenr ; he having been as lawfully christened in his 
day as the Bells had been in theirs, though vv'ith not quiie so much 
solemnity or public rejoicing. 

For my parr, I confess myself of Toby Veck^s belief, for 1 am sure he 
had opportunities enough of foiming a correct one- And whatever 



1 h... 



6o T H E C H I M E S 

TobeyVecksaid, I&ay. And I i:itemyst:irid by Toby Vock, although he 
did stand jH day long (and wcury work it wa^ just otilsidc the church- 
door. Jn iaci he was a tictct-porter^ Toby Vcck, and waited there for 
jobs. 

And n breezy, jjoose-sVEnncd, bluc-noi^cd, red-cj'ed, stony-toed, tootli- 
chatttring pLice it wnt, to wait in» in the \vintcr-time, as Toby Vcck well 
knew. Ihe wind came tearing round the comer— c5pcci:il]y the east 
wiad — as if it had sallied forth, express, from tlie confines of the earth, to 
have a blow at Toby. And oftentimes it seemed to come upon him 
aooner than it had expected, for bouncing round the corner, snd parsing 
Toby, it would suddenh' wheel round again, aaif it tried " ^Vhy, here he 
15 I " Incontinently his little apron would be caught up over his head 
lite a naughty boy^s garment^^ J^nd his feeble Kttle cane would be seen 
to wrestle and struggle unavailih^Ty in his U^nd, and his legs would 
undergo tremendous agitation^ and Toby himself all aslant, and facing 
now in this direction^ now in that, would be so banged and buffeted, 
and touzfed, and worried, and hustled, and lifted off his feet, as to render 
it a state of things but one degree removed from a positive miracle, that 
he wasn't carried up bodily ii^to the air as a colony of frogs or snails or 
other very portable creatures sometimes are, and rained down again, to 
thcgrcatastonishmentof the natives, on some strange corner of the world 
where tickct-portera are unVnou-n, 

But, ^^■indy ^ve^ther, in spite of its Ei-^inj,- him so roughly, was, after all, 
a sort of holiday for Tobv^, Thai's the fact. He didn't seem to wait 
so long for a sixpence in the mnd, as at oiher times ; the having to fight 
wTih that boisterous element took off his attention, and quite freshened 
him up, when he was getting hungry and low-spirited. A hard 
frost too, or a fall of snow, ivas an Event ; and it seemed to do him 
good, Eomchow or other — it woiild have been hard to say in >vhat respect 
tliough, Toby ! So wind and frost and snow, and peihap a good stiff 
storm of hail, ^vere Toby \"eck's red-lettcr days. 

Wet weather ivas the worst: the cold, damp, clammy wet, that 
wrapped him up like a moist great-coat : the only kind of great-coat 
Toby owned, or could have added to his comfort by dispensing wiih- 
Wet days, when the rain came slowly, thickly, obstinately down ■ when 
the street's throat, \\V.c his own, waa choked with mist ; when smoking 
umbrellas passed and repassed, spinning round and round like so many 
teetotums, as they knocked against each other on the crowded footi^ay, 
throwing off a little whirlpool of uncomfortable sprinklings ; when 
gutters brawled and waterspouts were full and noisy; when the wet 
from the projecting stones and ledges of the church fell drip, drip, 
drip, on Toby, making the ivisp of straw on which he stood mere mud 
m no time; those were the d^ys that tried him. Then indeed, you 
might see Toby looHng anxiously out from his shelter in an ang}e of the 
church wall— such a meagre shelter that in summer time it never cast 
a shadow thicker than a good-si^ed walking stick upon the sunny pave- 



THECHIMES 61 

mcwt— with a disconsohte and lengthened f:ice. But coming outj a 
luinute afterwards^ to wirm himsi^lf by exErcisc ; and trotting up and 
down some do2::n times ; licwouid brighten evenihen^and go back more 

brightly to his niche. 

They called him Troity from fds pace^ which meant speed if ir didn^t 
make it* He couJd hivt: Walked faster perhaps; most likely; but 
rob him of his trot^ and Toby would have taken to his bed and died^ 
Ir bespattered him with mud in dirty wcathcc ^ it cost him u world of 
trouble ; he tonld have walked with infinitely greater case ; but that 
was one reason for his clinging to it so tenaciously, A weak, am^ll, spare 
old. man, he was a very HerculcE^ this Toby, in his good intentions- He 
loved to cjrn his moneyn He dtjlighicd to believe — Toby was very 
poor, ^nd couldn't well alTord to part with a delight — thai he was worth 
lus 5alt, With a shilUng or an eig-htecn-penny message or small parcel in 
iiand, hJs couragt^ always liigh, ro^c liigher. As l^e troited oDj he would 
call out to fisc PosEimcn ahead of hini^ to get out of the way ; devoutly 
beheving that in the natural coicrse of things he must inevitably overtake 
and run them down ; and he hjd perfect faith — not often teSLed — in 
his being ablt; to carry anything that man could lift- 
Thus^ even when he came out of his nook lo warm himself on a wet 
day^ Toby trotted- Making, with his le^iky ^Eioes, a crooked line of 
slushyfooiprinrsinihemire ; and blowing on his chilly hafids^ndf tabbing 
thi^m against each other^ poorly defended from the searching cold by 
thread-bare mufflers of grey worsted^ with i private apartment only 
for the thumb, and a common room or tap for the rest of the lingeis ; 
loby, wiih his knees bent and bis cane beneath his arm, still trotted* 
Fdliing out into the road to look up at the belfry when the Chimes 
resounded, Toby trotted siill. 

Ht;made this last excursion several times a day, for they were companj^ 
to lum ; and when he he^rd their voices, he had an interest in glancing 
ac their lodging-place, and thinking how they were moved, and what 
hammers beat upon them. Perhaps he w^ia the more curious about 
tht;ie Bells, because there were poinds of rcsemblaneci between tlvem- 
selves and him. They hung there^ in all weathers : wiih rhc wind and 
rain driving in upon them : facing only the outsides of alJ those houses j 
never getting any nearer to the bljzing fires th:tt gleamed and thone 
upon the windows, or catni; pulling out of the chimney tops; and 
incapable of participation in any of the good things that wen: constantly 
being handed, iluough the street dooia and the area raiiings, to pro- 
digious cooks, Fticc^ came and wtjnt at many windows : sometimes 
pretty faces, youthful faces^ pleasant faces: sometimes [he reverse: 
but Toby knew no more (though ht: often speculated on these triftea, 
standing idle in the streets) whence they camt^ or where thcv went, 
or whether, ivhen the lips movedj one kind word was said of kira in aU. 
the year^ than did the Chimes themaelves- 
Toby was not a casuist — that he knew of^ at least — and 1 don't mean 



^^_. -K.rix.tb' 



62 THE CHIMES 

to say that when he began lo tate to tlie Bells, and to tnii up hk first 
rough acquaintance isiih them into something of ii closer :ind moie 
delicate woof, he pa&i^ed through ihc-sc considerations one bv one, or held 
any formal review or jjrcat field-d^y in hii tlioughis. But wh^t E mean 
to s.iy, and do s^}' is, ihat as the funciions of Toby's body, liis digestive 
organs for example, did of their own cunning, and by a grvai many 
operations of which he was altogetlior ignorant, and the knovvledgt: of 
wnich would liai'i: astonished him very much, arrive at 3 certain end ; bo 
his mentai faculties, ^vitliout his privity or eoncuirence, set all these 
wheels and spriiJgs in motion, wiih a thousand others, when tliey worked 
to bring about his liking for the Bells, 

And though I had said his love, I would not have recalled t).'^ word, 
though it would starcely have expressed his compiicated fei:!inj[. For, 
being but a simple man, he invested them with a strange :md solemn 
charaeier. They were so mysterious, often heard and never seen ^ so 
high up, so far off, so full of such a deep strong melody, th:it he regarded 
them with a species of awe ; and sometimes when he looked up ^t the 
dark arched windows in the tower, he half expected to be beckoned 
to by something which was ncii a Bell, and yet was what he heard so 
often sounding in the Chimes. For all this, Toby scoirted wiih indigna- 
tion a certain flying rumour that (he Chimes were hjimccd, as implying 
the possibihty of their being connected vvith any E^-il thing. In short, 
they were very often in his cars, and very often in his thoughts, but 
always in his good opinion ; and he verj' often got such a crick in hia 
neck by siaring with hi^ mouth wide open, at the steeple where thty 
hung, that he was fain to take an esira trot or t^vo, aftcnvards, to 
cure it, ... 

The very thing he was In the act of doing one cold day, when the last 
dro^vsy sound of I'welve o^cJoct, just struct, vi^s humming \\\:c a melo- 
dious monster of a Bee, and not by any means a husy Bee, all through the 
steeple [ 

" Dinner-time, eh ! " said Tobv, trotting up and down before the 
church, ^*Ah!" 

Toby's nose was very red, and his eyelids were very red, and he ^vinked 
ver}' much, and his shoulders were very near his e:!r&, and his legs were 
very stiff ; andahogetherhewasevidently a long way upon the frosty side 
of cool- ■ 

" Dinner-time, eh I " repealed Toby, using his right-hand mufHer like 
an. infantine boxing-glove, and punishing his chest for being cold. 
^'Ah-h-h-h!" 

He took a silent trot, after that, for a minute or two. 

'* There's nothing/' said Toby, breaking forth afresh,— but here he 
stopped short in his trot, and with afaceof great interest and wme alarm, 
felt his nose carefully all the way up. It was but a httle way (not being 
much of a no^e) and he had Boon finished, 

" I thought it was gone,'' said Toby, trotting off again. '* It's all 



Hi 



THECHIMES 63 

rightp ho^vtviir. I ^m sure 1 couldn't bUmc it if it was ro go* It has 
A precious hard service of it in the biit(:r weithor^ and precious htrlc 10 
looi: forward to : for I doa*t tate snuff myscif. It^a a good deal tried, 
poot crtctur^ at tlt^^ b^&t of tiraea ; for when it do£j get hold of a ploasant 
whiff or BO (which ain*c too often), it's generally from somebody else's 
dinner^ a-comirtg home from ihe baker's-" 

The reflection. retnindt:d him of chat other reflection^ which lie had 
left unfinishiiJ* 

^* There's nothing," &aid Tobvj " mor^ regular In its corning round 

than dinner- time J and nothing less regular in its coming round than 

dinner. That^s the great difference between ^em. It's rook me a long 

time to find it out- I wonder whethi:r it would be worth any gentleman's 

white, now^ to buy that obscnvationf or the Pc-ipers ; or the Parliament i " 

Toby was onl^jokingj for he gravely shook his head in sclf-dtjpreciaiion* 

*^ Why I Lord I " said Toby^ ^* The Papers is full of obscrwarions 

AS it is ; and ao^s the Parliament. Here's last week's p^per^ now ; " 

taking a verj^ Jiny one from his pockety and holding it from him at aim's 

length; "full of obscrwarions ! Full of obserwationa ! 1 like to 

know ihe news as well as any man/' said Toby^ slowly ; folding it a 

little smalleij and putting it in his pocket iigain : '^ but it almost goes 

against tlie grain wirh me to read a paper now, Ir frightens mt silmo^t. 

I don't know what wc poor people are coming to. Lord send we may be 

coming to something better in the New Year nigh upon us 1 " 

*^ Why, tather^ father 1 *' said a peasant voicej hard by* 

But Tobyj not hearing ic^ coniinucd to trot backwards and forwards : 

musing as he went, and talking to himself- 

" It seems as if we can't go right, or do rights or be righted," said 
Toby, '^ I hadn't much sdioolingj myself^ when I was young; and 
I can^t make out whetlicr wc have any business on the face of ihe eaiih^ 
or not. Sometimes I think we must have a little; and sometimes I 
think wc must be intruding. 1 get so pus/Jed sometimes that 1 ^tn not 
cvcTi able to make up my mind wht^ther theru is any good at all in us, or 
whether wc are born bad- We seem to be dreadful things ; we seem to 
give a deal of trouble ; we are always being complained of and guarded 
against. One way or other, we fill the papers. Talk of a New Year i " 
said TobVj mournfully. " 1 can bear up as well as another man at most 
times i better than a good many, for 1 am as strong as a iion, and all 
men ain't ; but supposing it should really be that we have no right to a 

New Year — supposing we really ar£ intruding *' 

*^ Why, father, father ! " said the pleasant voice agaim 
Toby heard it this time ; started ; stopped ; and shortened his sight 
which had been directed a long way off as seekingfor enlightenment in the 
Yi:ry heart of the approaching year^ found himself fate to £acc with his 
own child^ and looking close into her eyes. 

Bright eyes they were. Eyes that would bear a world of looking in^ 
before their depth was fathomed. Dark cyes^ that reflected back the 



64 T H E C H I M E S 

eyes which acarchc^d them ; not ilashlngly, or at the owner's wjU, but 
With a d^:a^5 calm, hono^Cj piitiont radiance, cUiming kindred with thac 
light which Heaven called inro being. E>es tliat ^xtc beautiful and 
irue, and beaming with Hope, With Hope so young and fresh ; 
"uitli Hope so buo/antp vigoroiUp and bright^ despltt the twenty years 
of work and poverty on which [hey had loolred ; that they btcame a 
voice to Trotty Vcck, and said : " I think we have some business here — a 



?i 



liitle 

Trotty kissed the lips belonging to the e}^;s, and squeezed the blooming 
f Etce between his hands. 

" Why, Petj" said Trotty. *^ \^Tiat=3 to do ? I didn't expect you 
to-dayj Meg," 

*" Neither did T expect to come, father/* cried the girl, nodding her 
head and amiling as she spoke, " Btit here 1 am ! And not alone ; not 

aione ! " 

■** Why you don't mean to say/^ obstirved Trotty^ looking curiously at 
a covtred basket which she carried in her liandj " that you- ^" 

« Smell it, father dear," said Meg. ^' Only amell it ! '* 

Trotty was going to lift up theco^eraionce^inagreat hurry, when she 
gaily interposed her hand, 

'*No, no, no/* said Meg, witli the glee of a child. "Lengthen it 
out a liEile. Let me just lift up tlie corner; just the lit-tle tl-ny 
cor-ner, you know,^* iaid Mfg^ suiting the action to the word iviih the 
utmost gentleness, and spt;aking vtrry softly^ as if she were afraid of being 
overheard by something inside the basket; ** rlicre. Now, What's 
That f " 

Toby toot the shortest possible snifE at the edge of the basket, and 
cried out in a rapture ; 

'' Why, it^s hot ! " 

*' It's burning hot ! " cried Meg, '' Ha, ha, ha ! It^s tcalding hot ! '' 

** Ha, ha, ha ! " roared Toby, with a sort of kick. " It's scalding hot*^* 

"But what is it, father?" said Meg. '* Come ! You haven't 
guessed what it is. And you must guess what ir is, I can't think of 
taking it out, till you guess what it is. Don't be in such a hurry i Wait 
a minute ! A little bit more of the cover. Now guess 1 '' 

Meg was in a perfect fright lest Jie shogid guess right too soon ; shrint- 
ing away, as she held die basket towards him ; curling up her pretty 
shoulders ; stopping her ear with her hand, as if by so doing she could 
keep the right word out of Toby's lips ; and laughing softJy tlie whole 
time. 

M<:anwhile Toby, putting a hand on each knee, bent down liis nose 
ID the basket, and took a long inspiration at the lid ; the grin upon his 
"withered face expanding in die proce^j, as if he were inhaUng laughing 

**Ah! It's very nice/' said Toby ** It ain'c — J suppose ir ain'c 
Polonies r' 



1k 



■\\.-. 



', \''\V 




-^ 



(T-it^ /^*-^ 



Tr^tiy Vfck 









THE CHIMES 6s 

** No, noj no I " cried Meg^ delighted. " Notliing like Polonies ! " 

"No," said Toby^ afrer another sniff. "It's — it's mellower than 
Polonies, lt'6 very nice. It improYes eveiy moment. It^s too decided 
for Trotters. Ain't it ? " 

Meg was in an ecstasy, Heconldnothavegonewiderof fhcmarfethan 
Trotters — e:^^cept Polonie?- 

*^ LEver ? " said Toby, communing witb himself, " No. There^s a 
mildnesB about it that don't answer to liver. Pettitoes ? No. It 
ain^t faint enough for pettitoes. It wants the stringine&s of Cocts* hends^ 
And I know it ain't sausages. Til tell you what it is, It'a chittertings ! " 

" No, it ain't ! '^ died iVieg, in a bur$t of delight, " No, it ain't [ '^ 

" Why, what am 1 a-thinking of ! " said Toby, suddenly recovering a 
position as near the perpendicular as it was possible for him to assume, 
*' I shall forget my own name ne-xt. It's tripe [ '' 

Tripe it was ; and Meg, iri high ]oy^ protested he should sa/j iit half a 
minute more, it was the best tiipe ever stewed. 

** And ^," said Meg, busying herseJf exultingly with the basket, " Pll 
lay the cloth, at ontc^ father ; for I have brought the trip^ in a basin and 
tied the basin up in a pacfcct-handlit:rchief ; and if I like to hu proud for 
ontCj and spread that for a cloth, and call it a cloth^ there's no law to 
prevent me - is there, father P " 

'^ Not that 1 know of, my dear," said Toby, " But theyVe always a 
bringing up some new law or other." 

" And according to what 1 was reading you in the paper the other day, 
father ; what the judgtf suid^ you know ; we poor people are supposed 
to know them alL Ha, ha 1 Wliat a mistake f My goodness me^ how 
clever thty think us [ " 

" Yes, my dear/' cried Trotty ; " and thcyM be vciy fond of any one 
of us that did know *em alL HeM grow fat upon tlic work heM get^ that 
man, and be popular \vith tire geniiefoJks in his neighbourhood* Very 
much so 1 " 

" He'd eat his dinner with an appetite, whoever ht was, if it smelt lite 
this,^^ ?aid Meg, cheerfully, ^* Alake haste, for there^s a hot potato 
beside, and half a pint of fresh-drawn beer in a bottle, \\heie ^vill you 
dine^ father ? On the Pojt, or on th<3 Steps ? Dear^ dear, how grand 
we arq* Two places to choose from 1 " 

'^ The Steps to-day, my pet," said Trotty, '* Steps in dry weather, 
Poats in wet. There's a greater convenience u\ the Steps at all times^ 
because of the sitting down ■ hut ihcyVc rheumatic in the damp," 

" "^rhen here/' said Meg, clapping her hands, after a moment's bustle ; 
" here if h, all ready ! And beautiful it looks ! Come, father. Conie [ '^ 

Since hisdiscpvery of the contents of the baykct/frotry had been stand- 
ing looting at her — and had bc^n speaking too — in an abstracicd manner^ 
which showed that though she was the object of his thoughts and eyes, 
10 the exclusion even of tripe, he neither saw nor thought about her as 
she was at tlrar moment, but had before him some imaginary rough 

cc- e 



66 THECHIMES 

skiitch or drama of her fiilure life. Roused, now, hy her cheerful 
BuinmonSj he shoot off ^ melancholy shake of the head which was just 
coming upon him, and trcuxcd to her side. M ht was stooping to sit 
dowAj the Chimes rang. 

'^ Amen ! ^^ said TrotE^, pulling off his hat and looting up towards 
them- 

" Amen to the Bells, father ? " cried Meg. 

" Th^ broke in like a grace, my dear," said Trotly, taking his se^^n 
*" They'd say a good one, I am suie, if they eould. Many's the kind 
thing they sdy to mc." 

" The Bells do, father ! " laughed Meg, as she set the basin, and a knifo 
and fork before him. " Well J " 

*' Sctm to, my pet," said IVott)^^ falling to with great vigour- " And 
where's the difference ^ If 1 hear ^em, what does it matter whether 
they speak it or not ? Why bless you, my dear," said Toby, pointing 
at xhe toAver with hi5 fork, and becoming more animated under the 
influence of dinner, 'Miow ofien have I heard them bells say, *Toby 
Veck, Toby Veck, keep a good heart, Toby! Toby Veck^ Toby 
Veck, keep a good heart, Toby ! ^ A million times .' Moie ! " 

" WeU, 1 never i '' cried Meg. 

She had, though — over and over again. For it was Toby's constant 
topic. 

** WTien things is very bad," said Trotty ; '^ very bad indeed, 1 mean ; 
altnost at the worst ; then h'i ^ Toby Veck^ Toby Veck^ job coming 
sooHj Toby ! Toby Vec^k, Toby Vetk^ job coming soon^ ^T'oby [ ^ 
That way," 

" And it comes — at last, father,^' said Meg, with a touch of sadness in 
her pleasant voice, 

" Always," answered the unconscious Toby. ^^ Never fails." 

\\Tiile this discourse was holding, Trotty made no pause in his attack 
upon the savoury meat before him, but cut and ate, and cut and drank, 
and eut and chewed, and dodged abouijfrom tripe to hot potato, and from 
hot potato back again to tripe, with an unctuous and unllagging relisii. 
But happening now to look all round the street — in case anybody should 
be beckoning fron; any door or window, for a porter— his eyes, in coming 
bact again, encountered Meg : sitting opposite to him, with her arms 
folded. ; and only busy in watching his progress with asmileof happintss. 

^^ Why, Lord forgive me ! " said Trotty, dropping his knife and fork, 
" My dove i Meg ! why didn^t you tell mc what a beast I was ? " 

*' Father?" 

^* Sitting here," said Trotty, in penitent explanation, "cramming, 
and stuffing, and gorging myself ; and you before me there, never so 
much a^ breaking your precious fast, nor wanting to, when -" 

"But I have broken it, father," interposed his daughter, laughing^ 
** alt to bits. 1 have had my dinner." 

"Nonsense," said Trotty. ** Two dinners in one da^ ! It ain*i 



44 



THECHIMES 67 

piia&ible I You miglit as well tell me that two New Year's Days wiH come 
together, or that I have had a gold head all my lift-, and never <:hanged it," 
" I have had my dinner, fath<:r, for itll that," said Meg, coming nearer 
to him. ^* And if you'H go on with yours. Til tell you hoiv and wheie ■ 
and how yt>ur dinJiCf came to be brought; and — and something else 
besides." 

Toby $tiU appeared ijiciedulous ; but she looked into fiis face with her 
clear i^yea, and laying her hand upon his shoulder, motioned hjm to go 
on while the meat u'as hot. So Trotiy took up his knife and fork again, 
and went to work. But much more slowly tlian before^ and slialdng 
his head, as if he weie not at all pleased with himself. 

'^ I had my dinner, father," said Meg, after a little hesitation," with — 
with Richard- His dinner-time was early ; and as he brought his dinner 
with him when he came to see me^ we — we had it together, father." 

Tiotty look a little beer, and smacked his hps. Then he said ** Oh ! " 
— because she waited. 

" And Kichard sjvs, father- " Meg resumed, Tlien stopped, 

\\'hac does Richard say, Meg * " asked Toby. 

Richard says, father " Another stoppage. 

Richatd's a long time saying it," said Toby. 
** He sap then, father," Meg continued, hfting up het eyes at last, and 
speaking in a tremble, but quite plainiy ; '- another year is nearly gone, 
and where is the use of waiting on from year toyi^ar, when it is so unlikely 
we shall ever be better tilT tlian we are now f He says we arc poor now, 
father, and we shall be poor then ; but we are young now, and ycacs will 
make us old before ^ve know it. He sa^s that if we wait : people in our 
condition : until we see our way quite clearly, the way will be a narrow 
one indeed — the common way — the Grave, fathtr." 

A bolder man than Trotty Veck must needs have drawn upon his 
boldness laigely, to deny it. Trotty held his pejce. 

" And how hard, father, to grow old, and die, and think we tnight 
have cheered and helped each other ! How hard in all our lives to love 
each other ; and to grieve, apart, to sei: each other working, changing, 
growing old and grey. Even if I got the better of it, and forgot him 
(which I never couSd)^ oh father dear, how hard to have a heart so full as 
mine is now, and hve fn have it slowly drained out every drop, without 
the recollection of one happy moment of a woman^s life, to stay behind 
and comfort me, and make me better ! " 

Trotty sat quite still, Meg dried her eyes, and said more gaily : that 
h to isy^ with here a laugh, and there a sob, and here a laugh and sob 
together : 

^' So Ricliard says, father i as his work was yesterday made certain 
for some time to come, and as I love him and have loved him full three 
Y^i^ii — ah ! longer than that, if he knew it [ — will I marry him on New 
Yeat'^ Day ; the best and happitst day, he says, in the whole year, and 
one that is almost sure to bring good fortune with it. It's a short 






V 



\ 



6B THECHIMES 

notice, father^isn^r it * — baE 1 haven't my fortuna to be settled, or my 
wedding dTe55es to be made, like the great ladies, father — have I i And 
he said so much, and said it in hi? way ; so strong and earnest, and all the 
time fio kind and gentle ; that I snid I'd tonn? and talk lo you, father. 
And flS they psid the money for that work of mine thi? morning (unex- 
pectedly^ I am sure !), and aa you liave fared very poorly for a whole week» 
and as 1 couldn't help wishing tiicre should be ijomcthing lo make this 
day a sort of holiday to you 34 well as a dear and happy day to me, father, 
I made a little treat and brought it to surprise yon." 

" And see how he leaves it cooling on the step ! " said another voice. 

It was the voice of this same Richard, who had come upon them 
unobserved, and stood before the father and daughter : looking down 
upon them v\'irh a face as glou-ing as the iron on which his stout sledge- 
hammer daily rung, [A handsome, wtll-made, powerful youngster he 
was ; with eyes that sparkled like the led-hot droppings from a furnace 
fire; black hair that curled about his swarthy temples rarely; and ri 
smile — a smile that bore out Meg'i culogium on his style of convc^r^a- 
tion. 

'" Sec how he leaves it cooling on the step [ " said Richard- " Meg 
doti*r know what he likes. Not she ! " 

Troriy, all action and enthusiasm, immediately reached up his hand 
to Richard, and was going 10 address him in a great hurty, when the house- 
door opened without any warning, and a footman very nearly put his foot 
in the tripe. 

"Out of the vays here, will you! You must always go and be a 
scttin' on our steps, must you ! You can't go and give a turn to none 
of the neighbouTs never, can't you ! lyUl you ckar the road, or uon^r 
you ? " 

Strictly speaking, the last question was irrelevant, as they had already 
done it. 

"What'a the matter, what's the matter ? " said the genilpman for 
whom the door was opened : coming out of the house at that kind of 
light-heavy pace— that peculiar compromise between a wait and a jog- 
trot' — with which a gentleman upon the smooth down-hill of hfe, 
wearing creaking boots, a watch-chain, and clean linen, may come out of 
his house : not only without any abatement of his dignity, but with an 
expression of having important and wealthy engagements elsewhere. 
" What's the matter P What's the matter ? '* 

" You're always a being begged, and prayed, upon your bended knees, 
you are," sard the footman wiili great emphasis to Trotty Veck, "to 
let our door-steps be. Why don't you let 'em be f Cak^t you let 
'cm be ? " 

*' There. That'll do, iltat'll do!" s-sid the gentleman, "Halloa 
there ! Porter ! " beckoning witl^ his head to Trotty Veck. " Come 
here. What's that ? Your dinner ? " 

" Yes, sir/' said Trotter, leaving it behind him in a cornef. 



THE CHIMES 6^ 

^^ Don't leave it tlicre^^^ excbimtd tlic gcDtleman^ ^' Bring it here, 
bring it h^re- So ! This is your dinner, is it i '* 

"Yes^ sir" repealed Troity, Toolings with a fixed eye and a watery 
mouth, at the piece of tripe he had reserved for a last dehcious tit-bit ; 
which the gcndeman was now turning over and over on the end of the 

Two other gentlemen had come out with him. One was a low- 
spirited gentUiTian of middle age^ of a meagre habit, and a disconsolate 
face ; who kept his hands continually in the pockets of his scanty pepper- 
and-salt trousers^ very large and dog's-tared from that custom ; and 
was not particularly well brushed or washed. The othc^r, a full-si^ed, 
sleelj well -conditioned gentleman, in a blue coat with bright buttons, 
and a white cravat. This genilernan bad a very red face, as if an undue 
proportion of the blood in his body were squeezed up into his head ; 
which pt^baps ac^^ounted for his having also the appearance of being 
rather cold about the heart. 

Hfi who had Toby'a meat upon the fort:, called to the first one by the 
name of Filer; and they both drew near together* Mr- Filer being 
exceedingly short-sighted, wris obhged to go £o close to the remnant of 
Toby's dinner before he could male out what it was^ that Toby*s heart 
kaped up into his mouth. Eut Mr, Filer dfdn^t eat it. 

" This is a description of animal food^ Aldtrman^" said Filcr^ malting 
littlepunchesinitjwithapenciUca^e/^ commonly known to the labouring 
population of this country, by tlte name of iripe," 

The Alderman laughed^ and winted ; for he was a merry fellow, 
Alderman Cute. Oh, and a sly fellow too ! A knowing fellow. Up 
to evcryihing. Not to be impo^d upon. Deep in ihe pcople^s hearts ! 
He knew them. Cute did* I believe you ! 

*^ But who eats tripe f '^ said Mr. Filer, looting round. " Tripe is 
without an exception the least economicalj and the most wasteful 
article of consumption that the marlLcts of this country can by possi- 
bility produce. The loss upon a pound of tripe has been found to be, 
in the boiling, seven-eighths of a fifth more than the loss upon a pound 
of any other animal substance whatever. Tripe is mote expensive, 
properly understood, than the hothouse pineapple. Taking into account 
the number of animals slaughtered yearly within the bills of mortality 
alone ; and forming a low estimate of the quantity of tripe which the 
carcases of those animals^ reasonably well butfhered^ would yields 1 
find that the waste on that amount of Tripe^ if boiled, would victual a 
garrison of five hundred men for live months of thirty-one days eachj and 
a February over. The VVaste^ tlie Waste ! " 

Troity stood aghast, and his legs shook under him^ He seemed to have 
starved a garrison of five hundred men with his own hand- 

" Who eats tripe f " said Mr. Filer, warmly, *' Who eats tripe ? " 

Trotry made a miserable bow^ 

'' You do, do you ? " said Mr. Filer. '' TEten TU teU you something. 



70 THE CHIMES 

You snatch your tripe, my fiieod, out ol the inouth& of widoi^a and 

orphaua," 

'* i hope not, sir," said Trutty, faintly. " Pd sooner die of want ! " 

'' Divide thu araotrnc of tripe before mentioned, Alderman," said Mr. 
Tihr, " by the estimated nurabpt of existing widows and orphans, and 
the result will be one pennv-wcight of tripe lo each. Not a grain is Itft 
for that man. Consequently, he^a a robber." 

Troity waasoshocted^thatitgavehim no concern to see the Alderman 
finish the tripe himself. It was a itlief to get rid of it^ anyhow. 

" And what do you any ? " askei! the Alderman^ jocoselv, of the red- 
faced genilcman in the blue coat. *^ You have beard friend Filer. 
What do yajc say } " 

" What*s ii possible lo say ? " returned tlie gentleman. " What js 
to be said * Who can take any interest in a fe!]o\v like thia," meaning 
Tiotty ; ^' in such degenerate times as these .' Look at him ! What an 
object ! The good old times, the grand oTd times, the great old times I 
Tkoii were the times for a bold peasantry, and all that sort of thing. 
'Those were the times for every sort of thing, in fact. There's nothing 
now-a-days. Ah ! " &ighed the red-faced gentleman, '* The good oJd 
times, the good old times ! " 

The gentleman didn^t specify' what partitular times he aEluded to ^ 
nor did he say whether he objected to the present times, from a disin- 
terested consciou:^nc3s that they had done nothing very remarkable in 
producing him^df, 

" The good old times, the good old times," repeated the gentleman. 
*' What times they were ! They were the only times, It^s of no use 
talking about any otber times, or discussing what the people arc in ihcse 
times. You don't call these, timi:s, do you ? 1 don't. Look into 
Sciutt^s Costumes, and see what a Porter used lobe, in any of the good old 
English reigna." 

"He hadn^t, in his very best circumstances^ a shirt to his back» or a 
stocking to his foot ; and there was scarcely a vegetable in all England 
for him to put into his mouthy" said Mr. Filer. " 1 can prove it. by 
fa hie J. '' 

Bqi siill the red-faced gentleman extolled the good old times, the grand 
old times, tlie great old times. No matter what anybody else said, he 
still went turning round and round in one set form of words concerning 
them ; as a poor squirrel turns and turns in its revolting cage ; touching 
the mechanism, and trick of which, it has probably quite as distinct 

Etjrceptions, as e^-er this red-faced gentleman had of his deceased 
lillennium. 
It is possible that poor old Trotty^s faith in these very vague Old Times 
was not entirely destroyed, for he felt vague enough at that moment. 
One thing, however, was plain to Kim, in the midst of his distress ; to 
wit, that however these gentlemen might differ in details, his misgivings 
o£ tlui morning, and of many other mornings, were well founded, " No, 



THE CHIMES 71 

no. We can't go light of do righi/* thougktTroitj' in despair. " There 
k no good in us. We are born bnd ! " 

Bur Troiry h^d a father*5 heart within him ; wliicli had Fomeliow 
got imo hi^ breast in ^pite of this decrpt ; and lie could not bear that 
Meg, in the blush of hcc brief joy, should have her fortune lead by these 
wise gentlemen. " God help her»" thought poor Trolly. " She will 
know it soon enough," 

He anxiously signed, therefore, to the young smithy to take hei away. 
But he W.15 so busy, tatting to her softJy at a little distance, that he 
only became conscious of this desire, simultaneously with Alderman 
Cute. Now, the Alderman had not yci had his say, but k^ was a philo- 
sopher, ton — pr^ictical, though I Oli, very practical [ — and, as he had 
no idea of losing any portion of his audience^ he cried " Stop 1 " 

*' Now» you know," said the Alderman, addressing his two friends^^ 
with a aelf-complatent smile upon his face which was habitual to him, 
^' 1 am a plain man, and a practical man ; and I go to work in a plain 
practical way. That's my vmy. There i^ not the least mystery or 
difficulty in dealing with this sort of people if yon only understand 'em, 
andean talk lo 'em in their own manner. Now, you Porter [ Don't you 
ever tell me, or anybody else, my friend, that you haven't always enough 
to eat, and of the bi^sr ; because I know better- 1 have tasted your 
tripe, you know, and you can*l * chaff * me. You understand what 
'chaff' meana, eh? That's the right word, isn't it? Ha, ha, ha [ 
I-ord ble^s you," said the Alderman, turning to his friends again, " it's 
the easiest thing on earth to deal with this sort of people, if you under- 
stand 'em." 

Famous mati for the common people, Alderman Cute ! Never out 
of temper with them I Easy, affable, joking^ knowing gentleman ! 

"You see, my friend," pursued the Alderman, *' there's a great deal 
of nonsense talked about Want— * hard up,' you linow : that's the 
phrase, isn^t it P ha 1 ha i ha ! — and I intend to Put it Down, There's a 
certain amount of cant in vogue about Starvation, and 1 mean to Put it 
Down [ Thai's all ! Lord bless you,'^ said the Alderman, turning to 
his friends again, " you may Put Down anything among this iort of people, 
if you only tnow the way to set about it ! " 

Trotty took Meg^s hand and drew it through his arm. He didn't 
aeem to know what he was doing thought 

" Your daughter, eh ? " said the Alderman, chucking her familiarly 
under the chin. 

Always affable with the working classes, Alderman Cute! ICnew 
what pleased them ! Not a bit of pride ! 

" Whereas her mother p " asked that woTihy gentleman. 

*' Dead," said Toby. ** Pier mother got up linen j and was called to 
Heaven when She was born." 

"Not to get up hnen th^ff, 1 suppose,'* remarked the Alderman 
pleasantly. 



7z THE CHIMES 

Tohy miglit or might not have been able to separate Ki& wife in Heaven 
from her old pursQita. But querj' : If Mrs. Alderman Cute had gone to 
HeavtQj would Mr. Alderman Cxite have pictured her as Iiolding any 
state or station there ? " 

^^ And ^ou^te making love to her, are you f" said Cuie to the young 
smiih, 

^^ YeSj" returned Richard quickiyj for he was nettled by the questioiL 
" And we are going to be niarried on New Yearns Day.'^ 

" What do you mean p " cried Filer sharply. " Married ! " 

"Whyp ye3, we^rc thinking of It, master/' said Richard- "We're 
rather in a hurry, you sce^ in case it should be Put Do^vn fir^tn'* 

"Ah ! " ciied FiIctj with a groan^ " Put r/jd/ down indeed. Alderman, 
and you*ll do sowtcihing. Married i Married ! The ignorance of the 
first principles of political economy on the part of those people ; their 
improvidence; (heir wkedness j is^ by Heav<?rts ! enough to — Now look 
at that couple^ taiU you ? " 

Well ! They wert worth looting at. And marriage seemed as reason- 
able and fair a deed as they need have in contemplation, 

" A man may live to be as old as Methusalehj^' said Mr. Filer^ " and 
may labour all his life for the benefit of suth people as those ; and may 
heap up facts on figures, facts on figures, facts on figures, mountains high 
and dry ; and he can no more hope to persuade ^em that they ha"^"e no 
right or business to be married^ than he can hope to pcrtLuade 'cm that 
they have no earthly r3ght or business to be born. And that we know 
they haven^t, Wc reduced ii to a mathematical certainty long ago-" 

Aldtrman Cute was mightily diverted, and laid his ri^ht fore-finger 
on the side of his nose, as much as to say to both his friends^ '* Observe 
me^ ynll you ! Keep your e}'e on ihe practical man ! " — and Ciillcd Meg 
to him. 

" Come here, my giil ! *' said Alderman Cute. 

TTie young blood of her lover had been mountings wrathfuHvi within 
the last few minutes; and he was indisposed to let her come. But, 
setting a constraint upon himself^ he came for^^'ard with a stride as Meg 
approaclied, and stood beside her, Trotty kept her hand within his 
arm sttU, but looked from face to face 3$ wildly as a sleeper U\ a dream. 

" Now^ Tm going to give you a word cj two of good advice^ my girl/" 
said the Alderman^ in his nite easy way. ^^ It's my phce to give advice, 
you know, because Vm a Justice, You know Tm a Justice^ don^t 
you ? '' 

Meg timidiy said, '' Yes.** But everybody knew Alderman Cute was 
a Justice I Oh dear, so active a Justice always ! Who such a mote of 
brightness in the public eye^ as Cute I 

^" You are going to be married^ you say^" pursued the Alderman, 
'^ Very unbecoming and indelicate in one of your sex [ But never mind 
that. After you are married, you^ll quarrel with your husband, and come 
to be a distressed wife. You may think not : but you will^ because I tell 



fr 

o 



THE CHIMES 73 

yon so. NoWj Igiveyoufair warnings that ! have made up my mind to 
Put distressed wives Down* So^ don^t be brought before mc, You^ll 
have children^ — boys. Those boys will grow up bad oi course^ and run 
wild in the streets^ without ^hoes and Etockings. Mind^ my yornig 
fr end ! Til convict ^em summarilyi eveiry one^ for I am dcrtermincd to 
Put boys without shoes and stockings, Down. Perhaps your husband 
mil die young (most likely) and leave you with a baby. Then you'll 
be turned out of doorsj and wander up and down the streets^ Now^ 
don^t wandei near mej my dear, for I am resolved to Put all wanderin 
mothers Down. All young mothers, of all sorts and kinds^ it's my 
determination to Put Down. Don't think to plead illness as an excuse 
with me i or babies as an excuse with me ; for aU sick persons and young 
diildren (1 hope you know th.e Chtijeh Si^rvice, but Tm afraid not) I am 
determine J to Put Down. Andif you attempt, desperately^ and ungrate- 
fuUy, and impiously^ and fraudulently attempt, to dro^vn yourself, or 
hing youiaelfj I'll have no pity on you, fot I have made up my mind to 
Put all sutcidc Down. If there ia one thing," said the Alderman^ with 
hh 3elf -satisfied smile, " on which I can be said to have made up my mind 
more than on another^ it is to Put suicide down. So don't try It on. 
That's ihe phrase, isn't ir ! Ha> ha ! now we understand i^ach other,^' 

Toby Lnew not whether to be agonised or glad to see that Meg had 
turned a deadly white^ and dropped her lover's hand- 

" As for you^ you dull dog^^" Siiid the Alderman, turning with even 
increased cheerfulness and urbanity to the young smith, *' what are you 
thinking of being married for I What do you want to be married for, 
you silly fellow ? If I was a fine, young, strapping chap lite you^ I 
sliould be ashamed of being niilbop enough to pin myself to a woman's 
apron-strings 1 Why, she^ll be an old woman before you^re a middle- 
aged man ! And a pretty figure you*tl cut then, with a draggle-tailed. 
wife and a crowd of squalling children crying after you wherever you go ! " 

O, he tnew how to banter chi: coinmon people^ Alderman Cute [ 

*^ There J Go along witli you^" said the Alderman, '^ and repent. 
Don't make such a fool of yourself as to get married on New Year's Day, 
You'll thint very differently of it long before next New Year's Day ; a 
trim young fellow like you, mth aH the girh looking after you* Thcte ! 
Go along with you ! " Tlicy went along. Not arm. in arm, or hand in 
hand, or interchanging bright glances ; but she in tears, he gloomy and 
down-looking. Were these the hearts that had so lately made old 
Toby's leap up from its faintness ? No, no. I'he Alderman (a blessing 
on his head !) had Put th^m Down. 

" As you happen to he herc^" said the Alderman to Toby, '^ you shall 
cany a letter for me. Can you be quick ? You^re an old man*" 

Toby^ v^^ho had been looking ^fter Meg, quite atupidly^ made shift to 
murmur out that he was very qaickp and very strong, 
^^ How old are yon f ^* inquired the Alderman. 
" Tm over sixty, sir^" said Toby* 



S^^^^ 



74 THECHIMES 

" O I This man^s a grc^t deal past the ?veiage age» you know,'^ cried 
Mr. Filer, breaking in a? if his patience would bear some trying, but ihia 
really was carrying matters a little too far, 

" I feel I'fn intruding^ £ir»'* said Toby. ** I—l misdoubted it this 
morning. Oh dear me ! " 

The Alderman cut him short by giving him the letter from his pocket, 
Toby would have got a shilling too ; but Mr. Filer clearly showing that 
in that casehe would rob a certain given numberofpetwins of nine pence- 
halfpenny apiece, he only got sispence ; and thought himself veiy well 
off to gel thai. 

Then the Alderman g.ive an arm to each of his friends, and walked off 
in high feather ; but he imnitdiately came huriying back alone, as if he 
had forgotten something. 

" Forttr ! '' said tJie AJdermaji, 

*' Sir! "said Toby. 

** Take care of that daughter of youis. She's much too handsome," 

" Even her good looks are stolen from somebody or other I suppose," 
thought Toby, looking at the sixpence in his hand, and thinking of the 
tripe. *■ She's been and robbed five hundred ladies of a bloom a-piece, 
1 shouldn't wonder. It's very dreadful ! " 

" She's much too handsome, my jnan,'^ repeated the Alderman, *' The 
chances are^ that she'll come to no good^ Z clearly see. Observe what I 
say. Take care of her 1 " With which, he hurried off again 

" Wrong every way. Wrong evciy way ! " said Trotty, claspjng his 
hands. " Born had. No business here ! " 

The Chimes came clashing in upon hira as he said tlie words. Full, 
loud* and sounding — but with no encouragement. Ko, not a drop- 

" The tune's changed," cried the old man, as he listened, ^' There's 
not a word of all that fancy in it. Why should there be F I have no 
business with tlie New Year nor with the old one neither. Let me 
die ! " 

Still tlie Bells, pealing forth their changes, made the very air spin. 
Put 'em down. Put 'em down! Good old Times, Good old Times! 
Facts and Figures, Facts and Figures ! Put 'em down, Put 'em down ! 
If they said anything they said this, till the brain of Toby reeled. 

He pressed his bewildered head between hJs haods^ aa if to lieep it from 
splitting asunder. A well-timed action, as it happened ; for finding tlic 
letter in one of them, and being by that means reminded of his charge, 
he fell, mechanically, into his usual trot, and trotted off. 



THE SECOND QUARTER 

Th^ letter Toby had received from Alderman Cute, was addressed 
to a great man in the great district of the town. "ITie greatest disirict of 
the town. It must have been the greateii district of the town, because 

it was commonly called The World by its inhabitants. 



THE CHIMES 75 

The letter positivdy sctmed hcavieT in Toby's h^nd, than another 
Ictttr. Not becaust; the Alderman had sealed it with a very large coat 
of armband noendof wax^but betauEcof the weighty name on thcsaper- 
scripTion^ and tlie ponderous amount of gold and silver wiih which it was 
a ^EO dated. 

" How different from U3 ! " thoughtToby, in all simplicity and earnest- 
ness, 35 he looked at the direction. '■ Divide the lively turtles in the billa 
of mortalit}', by the number of gentlefolts able to buy *em ; and whose 
share does he tate but his own ! A5 to snatching tripe from anybody's 
mouth — heM scorn it [ " 

With the involuntaty homage due to &uch an pxalrcd character, 
Toby interposed a corner of his apron between T]ie letter and his 
fingers. 

" His children," said Trotty, and a mist rose before his eyes ; " his 
daughters — Gentlemen ma/ win their hearts and marty them ; they 
may be happy wives and mothers ; they may be handsome like my darling 
M-e " 

He couldn^t finish the name. The final ktter swelled in his throatj to 
The size of the whole alphabet. 

*' Never mind»" thought Trotty. ^' I know what I mean. That's 
more than enough for me." And with this consotatoiy rumination, 
trotted on. 

It was a hard frosty that day. The air nss bracing, crisp, and clear. 
The wintry sun, though powerless for warmtli, looked brightly down 
upon the ice it was too i^eak to melt, and ^et a radiant glory there. At 
other times, Trotty might have learned a poor man*i lesson from the 
wintry &un ; but he was past that now. 

'Che Year was Old that day, ITie patient Year had lived through the 
reproaches and misuses of its slanderers, and faithfully performed its 
work. Spring, summer, autumn, winter. It had laboured through the 
destined round, and now laid down its weary head to die. Shut out 
from hope, high impulse, active happiness, itself, but active messenger 
of many joys to others, it made appeal to its decline to have its toiling 
days and patient hours remembered, and to die in peace. Trottymight 
have read a poor man's allegor}' in the fading year ; btit he was past that 
now. 

And only he ? Or has the lilte appeal been ever made by seventy years 
at once upon an EngUsh bbourer^s head, and made in. vain 1 

The streets were full of motion, and the shops weic decked out gaily. 
The New Year, like an Infant Heir to the whole world, was waited for, 
with welcomes, presents, and rejoicings. There were books and toys 
for the New Year, glittering trinkets for the New Year, dresses for the 
New Year, schemes of fortune for the New Year ; new invenciona to 
beguile it. Its life was parcelled out in almanacks and pocket-books ; 
die coming of its moons, and 5tar&, and tidcs^ was known beforehand 
to the moment j all the workings of its seasons in their days and nighte, 



I.'- ■ 



V 



76 THE CHIMES 

were calculated with as mucli precision as Mr- Filer could work sums in 
men and women- 

T^ New Year, the New Ytar. EvtiyiAlipre the Ntw Year ! The 
Old Ycnir %vas already looked upon ^s dead ; and iis effects ^vere selling 
cheapj lite some drowned mariner^s aboard ship. Its patierna were 
Last Yearns and going at a sacrificcj hcfor^ its breath was gone. Its 
treasured were nierii dirt, beside the riches of ins unborn successor ! 

Trotxy lud no portion, to his thinking, in the New Year ar the Old. 

'*Put ^em down, Put 'em down! Faets and Figures, Facts and 
Figures I Good old Times, Good old Times ! Put *em down^ Put 'cm 
down 1 '^ — hia trot went to that measure, ^nd would fit itself to nothing 
else- 

But e^^en that one, melancholy a3 it wa?, brought him^ in due time^ 
to the end of his journey- To the mansionof Sir Joseph Bowiey, Member 
of Parliament- 

IT^e door was opened by a Porter. Such a Porter 1 Not of Toby's 
order. Quite another thing. His pbctt was the ticket though j not 
Toby^s, 

This Porter iinder^vcnr some hard panting before he could 5peakj- 
havmg breathed himself by coming incautiously out of his chair, without 
first taking time to think about it and compose his miiid. Utien he had 
found hia voice — which it look him some time to doj for il was :i long 
way ofF^ and hidden under a load of meat — he said in a fat whisper^ 

** Who's it from r^ 

Toby told him. 

" YouVe to lake it in, yourself," said the Porter, pointing lo a room at 
the end of a long passage, opening from the hall. '^Everyilnng goea 
straight in, on this day of the year* You*rt: not a bit loo soon^ for the 
carriage is at the door nowj and they have only come lo town for a couple 
of hoiirSj a' purpose-^* 

Toby Wiped his feet (which were quite dry already) witl: great care, 
and cook the way pointed out to him ; obseniiig as hti went that it H^as 
an awfully grand hou$ej but hushed and covered up^ as if the family were 
in the country. Knocking at the room door, he was toIJ to enter from 
within ; and doing so found himself in a spacious library^ where, at a 
table strewn with files and papers, were a stately lady in a bonnet ; and 
a not very stately gentleman in black who wrote from her dictation ; 
while another, and an older^ and a much statdier gentleman, whose hat 
and cane were on the table, walked up and down^ with one hand in his 
breast, and looked complacently from time to time at his own picture — 
full length ; a very full length^hanging over the hreplaec, 

" Wliat is this f " said the last-named genilcman. ** Mr- Fish, will 
you have the goodness to attend ? " 

Mr. Fish begged pardonj and taking the letter from Toby, handed it^ 
with great respect. 

^^ From Alderman Cute, Sir Joseph.^ 



fi 



ft 



£4 



THECHIMES 77 

Is this all ? Have you noEhing elsca Porter ? " inquired Sir Joseph, 
Toby repKed in the negative* 

'^You have no bill or demand upon me; my name is Bowley, Sir 
Joseph Bowley ; of any kind from anybodyj have you t '^ said Sir Joseph. 
" If you liave present h. There is a cheque-boot by the side of Mr- 
Fish. 1 allow nothing to be carried into the New Year. Every des- 
cription of account i$ settled in this house at ihu close of the old one. 

So that if death wnd lo — to -" 

To cut/* suggested Mr. Fishn 

To EtveT, sirs" returned Sir Joseph^ with grtat asperity^ " the eord 
of existejice— mv if!uir& would be fonnd^ 1 hope, in a state of prepara- 
tion-" 

^* My dear Sir Joseph ! " said the Udy, who v^tis greatly younger than 
the gefitleman, *' How shocking ! " 

" My Lady Bowley/* returned Sir Joseph, floundering now and then, 
as in the great depth of hi& obser^ation^P "^ at this season of the year we 
should think of — of — ourselves. We should look into our— our accounts. 
We should feel that every leiurn of so eventful a period in human Iran- 
saetionSj involves matters of deep moment between a man and his — and 
his banker." 

Sir Joseph delivered thcst! words as if he felt the full morality of what 
he v^as saying; and desired that even Trott}' should have an oppor- 
tuniij' of being improved by such dUcourse, Possibly he had iliis end 
before him in still forbearing to break the seal of the letter^ and in telling 
Trotty to wait where he was^ a minute. 

^^ You were desEring Mr. Fish to say, my lad}^/' observed Sir Joseph. 
" Mr, Fish has said that, J believe/' returned his lady, glancing at the 
leticr. '* Butj upon my word, Sir Joseph, I don^t think I can let if go 
after aU. It is so very dear." 

"What 15 dear f " inquired Sir Joseph, 

" That Charity, niylove. They only allow two votes for a subscription 
of five pounds. Really monstrous ! " 

** My Lady Bowley," returned Sir Joseph^ ^^ you surprise mc^ Is the 
luxury of feeling jn proportion to the number of votes ; or is it, to a 
rightly constituted mind^ in proportion to the number of applicants, and 
the ^^holesome state of mind to whicl: tlieir canvassing reduces them * 
Js there no excitement of the purest kind in having tu^o votes to dispose 
of among fifty people ? '* 

"Not to mcp 1 acknowledge," replied the lady. *' It bores one, 
Bcsidt:s,cine can" t oblige one^s acquaintance- But you arc the Poor Man's 
Friend, you know, Sir Joseph* You think othcrwi^." 

" 1 ^Tffi the Poor Man's Friendj" observed Sir Joseph, glancing at tht 
poor man present* " As such 1 may be taunted. As such I hav? been 
taunted. But I ask no other title." 

" Bless him for a noble gentleman 1 ^' thought Trotty* 

** I don^t agree with Cute here^ for instance/* said Sir Joseph^ holding 






78 T H E C H I M E S 

out tltc Ictrer, *' I dou*t agree with the filer parly, I don^t agree with 
any parly. My friend ihc Poor Man, has no business with anything of 
that 30ft, and nothing of that sort has any business with him. My friend 
the Poor Man, in my diatricr, is my business. No man or body of men. 
has any right lo interfere between my friend and me. That is the ground 
1 take. 1 assume a- — a paternal character towards my friend. I say, 
* My good fellow, i will treat you patetnally.^ " 

1 oby listened with great gravity, and began to feel more comfortable. 

" Your only busi[ie&&, my good fellow," pursued Sir Joseph, looking 
abstractly at Toby; "your only business in life rs with me. You 
needn't trouble yourself to think about anything. I will think £of you ; 
I know what i^ good for you ; I am your perpetual parent. Such is the 
dr$pensarion of an aU-wise Providence ! Now, tlie design of your crea- 
tion is : not that you should swill, and guzzle, and aaiiociate your 
enjoymentSj brutally, with food " — Toby thought rcmoricfully of the 
ttipe — *' but that you should feel the Dignity of Labour ; go forth 
erect into the cheerful morning aic, and— and stop there. Live hard 
and temperately, be respectful, exercise your self-denial, bring up your 
family on nc:^t to nothing, pay j'our rent as regularly as ihe clock strikes, 
be punctual in your dealings (I set you a good example ; you will find 
Mr. Fish, my confidential secretary, with a cash-box before him at all 
times) ; and you may trust mc to be your Friend and f aiher/^ 

*' Nice children, indeed. Sir Joseph [ " said the lady, with a shudder, 
*' Rheumatisms, and fevers, and crooked legs, and asthmas, and all kinds 
of horrors ! " 

** My lady," returned Sir Joseph, with solemnity, " not the less am T 
the Poor Man's Friend and Father. Not the less shall lie receive 
encouragement at my hands. Every quafter-day he will be put in 
communication with Mr. Fish. Evcrv New Year*s Day myself and 
friends will drink his health. Once eveiy yac, myself and friends will 
addre&s him witlv the deepest feeling. Once in his life, he may even 
perhaps receive ; in public, in the presence of the gentry ; a Trifle from 
d Friend. And when, upheld no more by ihese stimulants, and the 
Dignity of Labour, he sinks into his eomfortjble grave, then my lady " 
— here Sir Joseph blew liis nose—'* I '^nll be a Friend and Father — on the 
same terms — to his children." 

Toby was greatly moved, 

" Oh ! You have a thankful family, Sir Joseph I " cried hia wife. 

" My lady," said Sir Joseph, quite majesticall)', " ingratitude i^ Lnown 
to be the sin of that class. 1 expect no other return." 

'* Ah ! Born bad ! " thought Toby. " Nothing melts us." 

" What man can do, I do," pursued Sir Joseph. *' I do my duty as the 
Poor Man*s Friend and Father ; and 1 endeavour to educate his mind, 
by inculcating on all occasions the one great moral lesson which that cbis 
requires. That is, entile Dependence on myself . Theyhave no business 
wliatever wi-xh — with themselves. If wicked and designing persons tell 



i^> 



THE CHIMES 79 

them orhtrwiscj and they become impatient and discontented^ and are 
guilty of insubordinate conduct and blact-hearted ingratitude ; which ia 
undoubtedly the case; I am their Fiiend and Father siitl. It is so 
Ordained. It is the nature of things." 

Wiih that great sentiment^ he opened the Alderman^s letter; and 
read it- 

^^ Very polite and attentive^ 1 am sure ] "e^laimed Sir Joseph* " M7 
kdy^ the Alderman is so obliging us to remind me that he has had * the 
distinguished honour ^— he is very good — of meeting me at the house of 
our mutual friend Deedles^ the banker; and he does me the favour to 
inquire whether it will be agreeable fo mt to have Will Feitt put 
down-" 

^^ Mo^i agreeable!" replied my Lady Bowley. *^ The woist man. 
imong them ! He has been committing a robbejy^ I hope ? '^ 

"Why no," said Sir Joseph, referring to the ietter. "Not quite- ' 
Very near. Not quiie^ He came up to London, it seems, to look for 
employment (to better himself — that's his story), and being found at 
night asleep in a shed^ was taken into custody and carried next raorntng 
before the Aldennan. The Alderman observes (very properly) that he 
is determined to put this sort of thing down ; and that if it will be 
agreeable to me to have Will Fern put down^ he wiU be happy to begin 
with him." 

" Let him be made an example of^ by all means," returned the lady. 
** Last winter, when 1 introduced pinking and eyelet-holing among the 
men and boys in the village, as a nice evening employmciiE^ and had the 
lines, 

O Ut wj lov£ our 0!^cup/itiims^ 

Bi^^s ihf iquir^r arid hit rrt^iit>ns^ 

jC^W ^fim ™r daily t^^tions^ ^ 

j^nd d^ftfdjj km^ our prop£r stationr^ 

set to musk on the new syitem, for them to aing the while ; this very 
Fern — I see hini now— touched tliat hat of his, and said^ *I humbly 
ask your pardon, my lady, but ain^t I something different from a great 
girl t ' I expected it, of course ; who can expect anything but insolence 
and ingratitude from that class of people ! That is not to the purpose, 
however. Sir Joseph 1 Make an example of liim 1 " 

"Hem 1 " coughed Sir Joseph- " Mr. Fishj if you^li have the goodness 
to attend ^' 

Mr- Fish immediately seized his pen, and wrote from Sir Joseph's 
dictation. 

" Private. My dear air. I am very much indebted to you for your 
courtesy in the matter of the man William Fern, of whom, I regret to 
add, I can say nothing favourable. 1 have uniformly considered myself 
In the light of his Fdend and Father, but have been repaid (a common 
case I grieve to say) v^dth ingratitudej and constant opposition to my 



<V w. 



€1 



«o T H E C H I M E S 

plana. He is a turbulent and rebellious spirit. His characi<:r will not 
bear invest]g,ition- Notlung ^vill persuader hfm to be happy whtn he 
might. Under these circumstanceSj it appears to me^ 1 own^ that when 
he comes before you again (as you informed rae he promised to do 
to-morrow^ pending yx>\ir inquiries, ^nd I think he may be m far rtlied 
upon), his committal for some short term as a Vagabondj wo"u]d be a 
service to loeiet^'^ and would be a salutary example in a country ^vhcie — 
for the sake of those who arCj through good and evil report^ the Friends 
and Fc'Ethers of the Poor, st? wcH as with a vitw to that^ generaTJy speaking, 
misguided class themselves — cxaniples are greatly nccdedn And I am/' 
and so forth. 

*^ It appears/* remarked Sir Joseph when he had signed this letter^ 
and Mt^ Fish was sealing it, '* as if ihis ycarc Ordained : really. At the 
close of the year, 1 \v\ud up my account and strike my balance^ even vtith 
William Fern!" 

Trotty, who had long ago idapsed, and was very low-spirited^ steppe4 
forward with n rueful face to take ihe ItctCfH 

With my compliments and ihants/* said Sir Joseph. ^^ Stop ! ^* 
Stop ! '^ echoed Mr. Fish. 

**You have heard^ ptihaps/^ said Sir Joseph, oTaculnyly^ "certain 
remarks into which 1 have been led respecting ilia solemn period of 
time at which we have arii^^ed^ and the duty imposed upon us of settling 
our ai^aits^ and being prepared* You have observ^ed that I don^t shelier 
myself behind my superior standing in society^ but tha.t Mth Fish — that 
gentleman — has a cKcque-book at his elbow, and is in fact liL-rCj to enable 
me to turn over a perfectly new leafj and enter on the epoch before us 
with a clean account. Now, my fiiendj can you lay your hand upon 
your Keartj and say that you aho have made preparations for a New 
Year t " 

" I am afraidj sir," stammered Trotty, looking meekly at him^ " that 
I am a — a — little behindhand with the worldn*^ 

" Behindhand with ihc world [ ^^ repeated Sir Joseph Bowlty^ in a tone 
of terrible distinctness. 

*^ I am afraid^ -sir/' faltered Trottj, " that there^s a matter of ten or 
twelve shillings oving to Mrs. Chickenstalkcr." 

*^ To Mrs* Chickenstalker I ^' repeated Sir Joseph, in the same tone as 
before^ 

" A shop, sir/* exclaimed Toby, " In the general line* Also a — a Htile 
money on account of rent- A very little, sir* It oughtn't to be o^ving^ 
J know, but we have been hard put to it, indeed ! '* 

Sir Joseph looked at his lady^ and at ftir. Fish, and at Trotty^ one after 
another^ twice all round- He then made a despondent gesture with both 
hands at-once^ as if he gave the thing up alrogdher- 

" How a man, even among this improvident and impractieable race ; 
an old man ; a man grown grey ; can look a Kcxv Year in the face, with 
his affaita in this condition ^ how he can lie down on his bed at night, and 



. THE CHIMES gi 

J get up agam in the raorning, and — There 1 " he said, lurning his back 
I onTtotiy. " Take the letter. Tate the letter I " 
f "I heartily wish it was othenvi^e, sir,'^ said Trottj', an^Ioii^ to excuse^ 
'\ himself. ^' We have been tried very hard." 

■ Sir Joseph still repeating " Take the letter^ tate the letter I " and 

I Mr. Fish not only &ayij]g the same thing, but giving additional force to 

the reqtifSt hy motioning the bejier to the door, he had nothing for it 

. but to make his bow and leave the hou^e. And in the street, poor Trotty 

pulled his worn old hat down on his head, to hidt the grief he felt at 

getting no hold on the New Yi^ar, anywhere. 

Ho didn^t even lift his hat to look up at tlie Bell tower when he came 
to the old church on his return. He halted theit a moment, from habit : 
and knew that It wa^ growing dark, and that the steeple rose above him, 
indiatintt and faint, in the murky air. He knew, too, that the Chimes 
would ring immediately ; and that they sounded to hi^ fancy, at such a 
time, like voices in the clouds. But he only made the more haste to 
deliver the Alderman's letter, and get out of tht way before they began ; 
for he dreaded to hear ihem tagging " Friends and Fathers, Friends and 
Fathers,'^ to the burden they had rung out last. 

Toby diachargcd himself of his commission, therefore, with all possible 
speed, and set of! trotting homcwardr But whatwith his pace, which was 
at best an awtwaid one in the street ; and what with hia hat, which. 
didn*t improve it ; he trotted against somebody in less than no time, and 
was sent staggering out into the road. 

" I beg your pardon, I'm sure ! " said Trotty^ pulling up his hat in 
great confusion, and between the hat and the torn lining, fixing his head 
into a kind of bee-hive, '* 1 hope 1 haven*t hurt you." 

As to hurting anybody, Toby was not such an absolute Samson, but 

that he was much more likely to be hurt himself : and indeed, he had 

£own out into the road, like a shuttlecock. He had such an opinion 

■ of his own stiength, however, that he was in real concern for the other 

party: and said again, 

*' I hope 1 haven't hurt you ? " ^ 

; The man against whom he had run : a sun-btowned, sincwj-, country 
looking man, with gii^zied hair, and a rough chin ; stared at him for a 
moment, a^ if he suspected him to be in jc-st. But satisfied of his good 
faith, he answeted : 

" No, friend. You have not hurt me." 

" Nor the child, I hope ? " said Ttotty. 

" Nor the child," returned the man. " I thank you kindly." 

As he said so, he glanced at a little girt he carried in his arms, asleep ; 
and shading her face with the long end of the poor liandkerchief he woro 
about his throat, went slowly on. 

The tone in which he said " I thank you kindly," penetrated Trotty^s 
heart. He was so jadtd and foot-sore, and so soiled with travel, and 
looked about him so fotlorn and strange, that it was a comfort to him 



F^. 



Sz THE CHIMES 

to be able to thant any one ; no matter for how little. Toby stood 
gazing ^fter him jb he plodded wearily away: with the child's arm 
dinging round his neck. 

At the figure in the worn shoes — now the very sh^de and ghost of shoes 
— -rough leaiher U^gings^ common froct, and broad slouched hat, Trotty 
stood gazing: blind to the whole street. And at the child's ainij 
clinging round its neck. 

Before he merged into the diirkncsSj the traveller stopped; and 
looting rounds and seeing Trotty standing there yet^ seemed nndedded 
whether to return or go on. After doing drat the one and then the 
other, he came back ; and Trotty went half way to meet him, 

*' You can tdl mc^ perhaps,*^ said the man with a faint smile, " and 
If you can I am sure you will, and I'd rather aat you than another — 
where x^tderman Cute lives." 

** Clo^e at hand/' replied Toby, " Fll show yon his house with- 
plesistite," 

'^ I was to have gone to him elsewhere to-morrow," said the man, 
accompanying Toby, " but Vm uneasy undcf suspicion, and want to 
clear myself, and to be free to go and seek my bread — I don't know whete^ 
Soj maybe he'll forgive my going to his house to-nlght^'^ 

** It's impossible," cried Toby with a start, " that your name^s 
Fern ! " 

*' Eh 1 ^^ cried the other, turning on him in astonishment - 
Fern ! Will Fern [ " said Trotty, 
That^s my name," replied the other- 
Why then," cried Trotty, seizing him by the arm, and looking 
cautiously round, ^*for Heaven*^ sake don^t go to him! Don't go to 
him I Hell put you down as sure as ever you were born. Here 1 come 
up ihis alley, and I'll tell you what 1 mean- Don^t go lo him,*^ 

His new acquaintance looked as if he thought him mad ; but he bore 
him company nevertheless^ When tlicy were shrouded from observa- 
tion, Trotty told him what he knew, and what character he had received, 
and all about it. 

Tlic: subject of his history listened to it with a calmness that surprised 
him. He did not contradict or interrupt it, once. He nodded his head 
now and then — more in corroboradon of an old and woin-out &toTy, It 
;ippearcd, than in refutation of it ; and once or twice threw back his 
hat, and passed liis freckled hand over a brow, where every ftirrow he 
had ploughed seemed to have set its image in Utile. But he did no 






more. 



It^s tme enough in the main," he said, " master. I could sift grain 
from husk here and there^ but lee it be as 'tis. What odds ? i have 
gone against hia plana ; lo my misfortun\ I can't help it \ I should do 
the Hke to-morrow* As to characters them gentlefolts will search and 
seatchj and pry and pry, and have it as free from spot or speck in uij afore 
they*!! help ua to a diy good word ] Well] I hope they don't lose good 



J 

THE CHIMES 83 

opinion as easy a9 we do^ or thdr lives ia strict iiidecd, and hardly HXsrih 
the keeping. For m/idfj maatcrj I never took with that hand^' — 
holding ir before him — " what wasn't my own ■ and never held it back 
froni work, however hard, or poorl/ paid. Whoever can deny it, let 
him chop it off! But when work \von\ maintain me like a human 
creetur ; when my living ia so bad^ that I am Hungry^ out of doors and 
in ; whcji I see a whole working life begin that way, go on that way^ and 
end that way, without a chance or change ; then I lay to the gentlefolks 
^ Keep 3way from me I Let my cottage be* My doota ii dark enough 
witlioat your d^irkenin^ of ^em more* Don't look for me to come up 
into the Park to help ihe show when there's a Birthday, or a fine Speech- 
making, or what not. Act your Plays and Games without me, and be 
welcome to 'cm and enjoy 'em. We've nowt to do with one another. 
I'm best let alone [ ^ ^' 

Seeing that the child in his arm? had opened her eyes, and was looking 
about her in wonder, he checked himself to say a word or two of foolish 
prattle in her ear, and stand her on the ground beside him. Then 
slowly winding one of her loi^g tresses round and round his rough fore- 
finger like a ring^ while she hung about his dusty Itg, he said to Trotly^ 

" I'm not a cross-grained man by natur\ I believe ; and easy satisfied, 
I'm sure. 1 bear no iU will against none of *em : I only want to live like 
one of the ^Vlmighty^a creetnrs. I can't, I don't ; and so there^a a pit 
dug between me and them that can and do- There'^ others like mc- 
You might lell 'em off by hundreds and by thousands, sooner than by 
ones." 

Trottytnewhe spoke the Truth in this, and shook his head to signify aa 
much. 

^^ I've got a bad name this way^^^ said Fern ; " and I'm not likely^ I'm 
afeared^ to get a better, 'T^n'i lawful to be out of sorts, and I am out 
of sorts, though God knows Td sooner bear a cheerful spirit if I conld^ 
Well ! I don't know as this Alderman could hurt mt much by $ending me 
togaol; but without afriend ios[3cakawordforme,hefi]igbt dolt ■ and 
yon see — ! " pointing downward with his finger, at the child. 

'' She has a beautiful face," said Trotty* 

'^ Why yes i " replied the other in a low voice, as he gently turned 
it up wiih both his hands towards liis own^ and looked upon it stead- 
fastly, " I've thought so, many times. Tve thought so, when my 
hearth was very cold, and cupboard very baie, I thought so toother 
lught, when we were taken like two thieves. But they — they shouldn't 
try the Uttle face too often, should they, Lili^tn f That's hardly fair 
upon a man ! " 

He sank his voice so Tow, and gazed upon her with an air so stern and 
strange, tliat Toby, to divert the current of his thoughts, inquired if his 
^wife were living- 

'' ^* T never had one/' he returned, shaking his liead- *^ She's my brother's 
child ; an orphan. Nine year old, though you'd hardly think it ; but 



'^ 



\ 

THE CHIMES ; 

she's tired and worn out now. They'd have tatcn care on her, ihe ;j 
Union; eighc-and-tw<^niy mile away from "here we Uve ; between 
four walls (aJ they took care of my old faihet when he couldn't wort ro 
more, though he didn^t trouble 'em long) ■ but 1 took her instead, ira 
she's lived with me ever sinee. Her mother had ^ friend once, in London ^ 
here. We are trying to find her, find to find work too ■ but it's a large -j 
place Never mind. More room for us to walk about in, Lilly ! '* J 

Meeting the child's eyes with a smile which melted Toby more tlian 

tears, he shook him by the hand. .,.,.,. j ' 

" I don't so much as b^ow your name,'' he sflid, but 1 vc opened my 
heart free to you, for I'm thankful to you ; with good reason. 1 11 Like 

your advice, and keep c)ear of this ; 

■^Justice," suggeitcd Toby- ^ r^i.- , ■ ' 

'' All I " he ?aid. " If that's the name they give him. 1 his Justice,. . 
And to-morrow wit! try whether there's better fortun' to be met with, 
some^'herea ne^r London. Goodnight, A Happy New Year ! ^ 

" Stay 1 " cried Trotty, catching at his hand, a? he Teheed his grip. ; 
'* Stav 1 The New Year never can be happ>- to me. if wo part Hke this, . 
The New Year ne^er can be happy to me, if 1 ^e the child and you, go 
wandering; away, you don't know where, .vithout a shelter for your he.d^ ^"^ 
Come home mth me 1 I'm a poor man, living in a poor place ; but i 
can give you lo^lging for one night and never mis. .t. Come home with "i 
me I Here ! I'll take her 1 '' cried Trotty, hftir,g up the child. A 
pretty one ' I'd carry twenty times her weij^hr, and never know J d 
EOt it Tdl me if X go too quick for you. I'm very fast. 1 always 
ws I " Trottv said this, taking about six of his trotting paces to one 
stride of his fatigued companion ; and with his thin legs quivenng agam, 

beneath the load he bore. . , , - . n ■ ' 

'' \\hy she's a? light," said Trotty, trotting in hi5 speech as w-eU as m 
his t-ait ' for he couldn't bear to be thanked, and dreaded a moment s 
pause: " as light as a feather. Lighter than a Peacock sfeather^a 
™t deal Ughter. Here we are, and here we go 1 Round this hrst 
turninc to the right. Uncle Will, and past the pump, and sharp oft up 
the passage to the left, right opposite the public-hou^e. Here we are 
and here we go! Cro^s over, Uncle Will, .nd mmd the bdney pieman 
PI the corner' Here we are and here we go ! Do-^n the Mewi here - 
Uncle Will, and stop m the black door, with ' T. Veck, Ticket Forter ^ 
^vrote upon a board ; and here we are and here we go, and here we are . 
indeed, mv precious Mtg, surprising you ! " , , -i i j ^ 

With which words Trottv, in a breathless state, set the child do^vn 
before his daughter in the middle of the floor. The httlc visitor looked ^j 
oneeatMegi and doubting nothing in thatface, but trustmg everything :^ 

she saw there ; ran into her arms. , u ' 

'^ Here we are and here we go I " ciied Trolty, runmng round the . 

room, and choking audibly. " Here, Uncle Willi Here's a fire you ;; 

know Why don't you come to the fire ? Oh here we are and here we - 



F.-V^ ri-- 



I 



THE CHIMES % 

go! Meg,m7p.eciou5darHng,wl.eie'5thekmk? Here it is .nJ here 

it e(K5, and it'll bile in no time ! " ... 

Tro ty really hnd picked ap the kettle somewhere or other m th« cou^ 
ofhi^Xcarler, and now put iron the fir. : while M.g, -,>""S^,e child 
■n"w.rm corner Wit do^ on th. ground before her ™.ipnlledo2h^ 

shoes, and dried her ^^■=t fct on 3 clo.K. Ay, and ^= '^"gi'^^ " Trot^ 

ooJ=a pleasantly, io cheerfuUy, that Trotty eonld have b essed her 

where she kneeled : for he h.d seen th«, when they entered, she was 

sittiui? bv the fire in tears. -, ^- ■, t r .-'- 

"VVhy, father! "said Meg. " You'.emzy to-iught, 1 *„nk. dont 

know what the Bells would say to that. Poor ht tic feet. How cold they 
""Oh, they're wiirmer now ! " exclaimed the child. " "I hey're qnite 

'^"No,"^! no." said Meg. "We haven't rubbed 'em half enough. 
VVe're^bnsy. Sobnsy! And when they're done, well brush out the 
damp ban- ; and when thatH done, we'll bijng some co our to the poor 
pale face w^th fresh «a,er ; and when that's done, we'U be so gay, =md 

^'The"^ld> a"^.i 'of sobbing, clasped her round tiie neck ; caressed 
her fair cheek with its hand ; and said, " Oh Meg 1 oh dear Meg ! 

Toby's blessing could have done no more, ftho could do more ! 

" Why, father ! " cried Meg, after a pause. 

" Here I am and here I go, my dear," said Trotty. 

" Good Gracions me ! " cried Meg. " He ^ ="';J; '■ ^'^'^ P" ,^^= 
dear child's bonnet on the kettle, and hung the hd behmd the door . 

" I didn't go to do It, my lore," said Trotty, hastily repairmg this 

'"Mcgi»i^=^--ds'Mm Ind saw that he had elaborately stationed 
himseW behind the chair of their male visitor, where with many mysterious 
gestures he was holding up the sixpence he had earned, 

" I see, my dear," said Trotty, " as I was coming in, half an ounce of 
tea lying somewhere on the stairs ; and I'm pretty sure there was a bit of 
bacon too. As I don't remember where it was, e>:actly ; I U go mj^self 

= and trv to find 'em.^' , i ^ j 

■ With this inscrutable .rtifie., Toby wididtcxv to porch... th. vunds 
he h.d spoken of, for ready money, at Mrs. Chickenst.lter s ; and 
„ preseitUy cam<= back, pretendii^ he had not been able lo find chem, at 

I, ^'" But hcre'they ar. at la.t,'" sa^d Trotty, setting out the tea things, 
■^-sUcorrect! I was pretty sarehwa. tea, and a rusher. Soit is. Meg, 
my pet, if you^U nnt mak« the tea, while your unworthy father toasts the 
bacon, we shall be ready, immediate, li's a curious circnmstancc, said 
Trotty, proceeding in his cookery, ^^■ith the assistance of the toasting- 
fort, " cSrious, but well tnown to my friends, tiiat 1 never care, myself, 
for rashers, nor for tea- 1 like to see other people enjoy em, said 



^"1 



h' 



** 1 



86 THECHIMES 

Tiotty, spealring very loud, to impress rhe hct upon his ^lesi:, " but to 

me, as food, they're disagreeable/' 

Yet Tjroity sniffed the savour of fh? hissing ^acon—ah !— 3s if he ]ited 
it ; and when ho poured the boiling water in itic^ tea-pot, looked lovingly 
dovnTi into the depthi of tliat snug cauldron, and suffered the fragrant 
steam to curl about his nose, and wreadie his head and faet m a thick 
cloud. However, for all this, he neither atL' nor drant, except at the 
very beginning, a mere moisel for form's sato, which he appeared to 
eat with infinite relish, but declared was perfectly uninteresting to him. 

No. Trotiy's occupation was, to see Will Fern and I.iiian eat and 
drink ; and so was Meg's. And never did spectators at a city dinnei or 
court banquet find such high dclJglit in seeing others feast : although it 
were a monareh or a pope : ^s those two did, in looting on that night 
Meg smiled at Trolty, Trotty laughed at Meg. Meg shook her head, 
and made belief to clap jier hands, applaudiiig Trott)- ; Trottj- conveyed, 
in dumb-show, unintelligible narratives of how and when and where he 
had found their visitors, to Meg ; and the>' were happy, Vcr^- happy. 

" Although,'' thought Trotty, sorrowfully, as he watched i\lcg*s face ■ 
" that match is broken off, 1 sec ! " 

'' Now, rll tell you what," said Trotty after tea. " The little one, she 

sJeeps with Meg, I know," 

" With good Meg ! " cried the child, caressing her. '* With Meg " 

" That^s right," said Trotty, " And I shouldn't wonder if she kiss 
Meg*9 father, won't she ? Fm Meg's father." 

Mightily delighted I'rotty was, when the child went timidly towards 
hira, and having kissed him, fell back upon Meg again. 

" She's as sensible as Salomon," said Trolly, " Here we come and 
here we— no, we don't— I don't mean tliat— I — what was I savine Mcir 
my precious?" ^ ^ ^' 

Meg looked towards their guest, who leaned upon her chair, and with 
his face turned from her, fondled the cidld's head, half hidden in her lap 

" To be sjre,'* said Toby. " To be sure ! 1 don't ki^ow what I'm 
rambling on about, to-night. My wits are woolgathering, I think. 
Will Fern, you come along ivith me. You're tired to death, and broken 
down for want of rest. You come along with me," 

Tlie man still played with the child's curl's, still leaned upon Meg*s 
chair, still turned away hk face. He didn't speak, but in his rough coarse 
fingers, clenching and expanding in the fair hair of the child, there was a 
eloquence that said enough, 

«Yes, yes," said Trotty, answering unconsciously what he saw 
expressed in his daughter's face. " Take her with you, Meg. Get her 
to bed. There! Now, Will, I'll show you where you lie. It's not 
mucli of a place : only a lof r : but, having a loft, 1 alwaj-s say, is one of 
the great conveniences of living in a mews ; and till this coach-house 
and stable gets a better let, we live here dieap. Tlierc's plenty of sweet 
hay op thete, belonging to i neighbour ; and it's as clean as hands and 



THECHIMES 87 

Meg can make it Cheer up ! Don't give way- A new heart for a New 
Year^ always I " 

The handj released from the chJld^s hair^had fallen, tremblings into 
Trotiy's hind, So Trotty, talking wiibout intermission^ led him out 
a& tenderly and easily as if he had been a child himself 

Returning before Meg, he listened for an instant at the door o£ her 
little chamber ; an adjoining room. The child was murmuring a simple 
prayer before lying down to steep ; and when she had remembered Meg^s 
name, '^ Dearly, Dearly " — so her words ran — Trotty heaid her stop and 
ask for his. 

It was some short time before the foolish little old fellow eould com- 
pose himself to mend the fire, and draw his chair to the warm hearth* 
Bur, when he had done soj and had trimmed the ilghCj he took his 
newspaper from his pocket, and began to readn Carelessly at firsts and 
skimming up and down the columns ; but with an earnest Jind a sad 
atieriEJon, very soon. 

For this same dreaded paper re-directed Trotty's thoughts into the 
channel they had taken all that day, and which The day's events had so 
marked out and shaped. His interest in the two wanderers had set him 
on another course of thinking, and a happier one^ for the time ; but being 
alone ag^in, and reading of the crimes and vioiencts of the people, he 
relapsed into his former tratn. 

In this mood, he eame to an account (and it was not the fiist he had 
ever read) of a woman who had laid her desperate hands not only on her 
own life but on that of her young child. A crime so terrible, and so 
revolting to his soul^ dilated xvith ihe love of Meg, that he let the journal 
dropj and fell back in his chair, appalled* 

" Unnatural and cruel ! " Toby cried. " Unnatural and cruel I 
None but people who w^^re bad at heart, born bad : who had no business 
on the ^arth ; could do such deeds. It's too true, all I've heard to-day ; 
too just, too full ot proof* We*re Bad T' 

The Cliimes took up the words so suddenly — burst ont so loiidj and 
clearj and sonorous — that the Bells seemed to strike him in his chair* 
And what was that they said ? 

" Toby Vtccit Toby Veck^ waiting for you, Toby ! TobyVeck^ Toby 

Vect, waiting for you ^ Toby 1 Gjme and see us, come and see us^ 

Drag him to uSj drag him to us, Haunt and hunt him^ haunt aod hunt 

him. Break his slumbers^ break his slumbers ! Toby Veck^ Toby Vcck, 

; nkrijc open widep Toby, Toby Veck, Toby Veck, door open wide, Toby — *' 

^ then fiercely back to their impetuous strain again, and ringing in tl:e very 

i^-'bricks and plaster on the walls* 

#- Toby listened. Fancyj fancy [ His remorse for having run away 
.^ from rhem that afternoon! No, no. Nothing of the kind. Again, 
i again, and yet a dozen times againn " Haunt and hunt him, haunt and 
'; bunt him^ Drag him to us, drag him. to us 1 " Deafening the whole 
^;town ! 



A. 



^^ 



I 



THE CHIMES 



''Meg," said Troxty softly: tapping at her door. "Do you hear 

anyiTimg ?" .1 

" I licar die Bells, father. Surely they're very loud to-night," :, 

" Is she asleep ? ^' said Toby, making qn excuse for peq>ing in. 

'^ So peacefully and happily ! 1 can^t leave her yet though^ father. 
Look how she holds my hand I " 

'' Meg," xvhispor<^d Trotty, " Listen to the BeUs ! " 1 

She lisKned, with litr face toward* him all the time. But it under^ j 
went no change. She didn^t understand them* h ^ 

Trotty withdrew, resHitied his 5e*^f by tht iire^ and once more listened 
by himself- He lemained here a little time- -^j 

It was impossible to bear it i their energy was dreadful. J 

'^ If the tovvcr-door is rcalh' opcn,^^ said Toby^ hastily laying a^ide his 
apron, b\Jt never thinking of his hat^ *^ what's to hinder me fiom going j 
up into the steeple and satisfying myself f If it^s shntj 1 don't want any ^^ 
other satisfaction. That's enough,'' 

He was prtTty certain as he slipped out quietly into the street that he ^ 
should find it shut and Locked^ for he tncw the door well, and had so 
rarely seen it open, that he couldn^t reckon above three times in alL It 
was a low arched portal^ outside the church, in a dark nook behind a 
column ; and had such great iron hinges, and such a monstrous lock, ' 
tlut there wjs more hinge and lock ^han door- j 

But what was his astonishment ^vhen, coming bareheaded to ilie 
church ; and putting his hand into this dark nookj witli a certain 
misgiving that it might bt; unc^tpectcdly seized, and a shivering pro- rr 
pensity to draw it bact again ; he found that the door^ which opened i 
ouiwardsj actually stood ajar ! 

He thought, on the first surprise, of going back ■ or of getting a lights 
of a companion ; but his courage aided him immediately^ and he deter- 
mined to ascend alone, 

'' What have I to f<^ar ? " said Trotty, " It's a church ! Be^dea, the ^ 
ringers may be there^ and have forgotten to shut tl^e door," ] 

So he went in ; feeling his way as he went, like a blind man ; for it 
was very dark. And very quiet, for the Chimes ^vere silent. 

The dust from the street had blown into the recess ; and lying there, . 
heaped up, made it so soft and velvet-like to the foot^ tliai there waa 
something startling even in that- The narrow stair was so close to the 
door, too, that he stumbted at the very first ; and shutting the door upoo. I 
himself, by striking it with Ids foot, and causing it to rebound bacfc 
heavily., he couldn't open it again. 

This was another reason, however^ for going on. Trotty groped his 
way, and u^ent on. Up, up, upj and round and round i and up, up, up ; 
higher^ higher, higher up ! 

^' It was a disagreeable staircase for thai groping work ; so low and 
OACraw^ that his groping hand was always touching something ; and it 
o^en felt so like a man or ghostly figure standing up erect and making 



.^" 



THECHIMES S9 

room for him to pass without discoveiy, thfit he woiitd rub the smooth 
Will upward searching for its f^ce, and downward searching for its fctt, 
while a chill tingliag crcpE all over him. Twice or chrict, a door or niche 
broke the monotonous surface ; ^nd thtn it sctmcd a gap as wide a3 the 
whole churcK ; and he felt on the brink of an abyss^ and going to tumble 
headlong down 5 until he found the wall again. 

Still up, up, up ; and lound and round ; and up^ up^ up 1 highcTj 
higher, higher up. 

At length, the dull and stifling atmosphere began to freshen ; presently 
to feel quite windy : presently it blew so strong, that he could hardly 
keep his legs. But he got to an arched ^vindow in the lower, breast high, 
and holding tight, looked down upon the housetopSj^on the smoking 
chimneys, on the blurr and blotch of lights (towards the place where Meg 
was wondering where he was and calling to him perhaps-)^ all kneaded up 
together in a leaven of mist and darkness. 

This was the belfry^ where the ringers came. He had caught hold 
of one of the frayed ropes which hung down through apertures in the 
oaken roof- At first he started, thinking it was hair ; then trembled at 
the very thought of waking the deep Bell. I^c Bi:lls themselves were 
higher. Higher^ Trotty^ in his fascinationj or in working out the spell 
upon him, groped his way. By ladders now, and toilsomely, for ir waa 
steep, and not too certain holding for the feet* 

Upj up, up ; and climb and clamber ; up, upj up ; higher, higher, 
higher up ! 

Untilj ascending through the floor, and pausing with his head just 
raised above its beamSj he came among the Bells, Ic was barely possible 
to make out their great shapes in the gloomy but there they were. 
Shadowy, and dark, and dumb. 

A heavy sense of dread and loneliness fell instantly upon him, as he 
climbed into this airy nest of stone and metah His head went round and 
round, Ht; listened^ and then raised a wild *^ Holloa." 

Holloa ! was mournfully protracted by the echoes. 

Giddy, confused, and out of bteathj and frightened, Toby looted 
about him vacantly, and sank down in a swoonn 



i THIRD QUARTER 

f ^LACX are the brooding clouds and troubled the deep waters, ^vhen the 
i' Sea of Thought, first heaving from a calm, gives up its Dead. Monsters 
uncouth and wild, an&c in premature, imperfect resurreclion ; tlie 
several par^s and shapes of different things are joined and miied by 
chance; and when, and how^ and by what wonderful degrees, each 
separates from each, and every sense and object of the mind resumes its 
b usual form and lives again, no man — though every man is every day the 
.casket of this type of ihe Great My&tcjy — can lelL 

So, when and how the darkness of the night-black steeple changed to 



iK- 



go THECHIMES 

shining Hght j when and how the solitary- tower v^^ peopled with a 
myriad figures ; wlien and how tlie whispered " Haant and hnnt liim," 
breathing monotonousl}^ through his sleep or swoon, became a voice 
tsclaiming in the waking ears of Trotiy, ^"^ ISrcak his slumbers ; '^ when 
and how he ceased lo have a sluggish and confused idea that such things 
wtrCj companioning a host ot others that wcte not ^ there are no dates 
or means to telj. Bnt ; awake and standing on his feet upon the boards 
where he had btefy lain : he saw this Goblin Sight* 

He saw tlie towcr^ whither his charmed fnot^teps had brought him^ 
Bwarming with dwarf phantoms^ spirits, ellin creatures of the Bolls* 
He saw them leaping^ flyi"g^ ^™PP^"g3 pouring from the Bells without a 
pause. He saw chem^ round him on the ground \ above hinij in the 
iir ; clambering from him, by the ropes below ; looking down upon 
him, from, the massive iron-girded beams ; peeping in upon him, 
through the chinks and loopholes in the walU ; $preading away and away 
from him in enlarging circle^^ aa ihe water-ripples give place to a 
liuge stone ihat suddenly comes splashing in among them^ He ?aw 
them^ of ctU a5pt;cts and all shapes. He saw them ugly, handsome, 
crippleJ, exquisitcl)^ formedn He saw them young, he saw tl\em old, 
he saw them kind, he saw ihem cruel, he saw ihem merry, he saw 
them grim ; he saw them dan ce^ and heard them sing; he saw them 
tear ihetr hair, and heard them howL He saw the air thick with them. 
He saw them come and go, incessantly- He saw them riding downward, 
soaring upward, sailing oft afar^ perching near at hand, all rcitless and all 
violently active. Stone, and brick, and slate, and tile^ became trans- 
parent to him as to them* He saw ihem mj the houses, busy at the 
^leepers^ beds. He saw them soothing ptoplc in their dreams ; he saw^ 
them beating them wirh knotted whips ^ he saw them yelling in their 
ears , he saw them playing softest music on their pillov^'s ; he saw them 
cheering some T.vith the songs of birds and the perfume Ol ftoweis ; he 
saw them flai:hing awful faces on the troubled rest of others, from 
enchanted mirrors which they carried in their hands. 
■ He saw these croatureSj not only among sleeping men but waking 
also, active in pursuits irreconciUUe T^ith on^ another, and possessing 
or assuming natures the most opposite. He saw one buckling on innu- 
merable wings to increase hi? speed ; another loading himself ^Hth chains 
and weights to retard his. He saw some putting the hand? of clocks 
forward, some putting the liands of clocks backward, some endeavouring 
to stop the clock entirely- He saw them representing, here a marriage 
teremony, there a funeral ; in this chamber an election, in that a ball ; 
everywhere, restless and untiring motion. 

RciAjldercd by the host of shifting and estraordinary figures, as well 
as by the uproar of the Bells, which all this while wore ringing, Troit}- 
clung to a wooden pillar for support, and turned his white face here and 
there, in mute and stunned astonishment. 

As he gazed, the Chimes stopped. Instantaneous change 1 The whole 



r.^ 



'-' THE CHIMES 91 

sw^rm fainted ! thcic form? co]lap$i?d, their speed deserted them ; they 

sought to flv, but in the act offjlling died and melted into air- No fresh 

■ f supply succeeded them. One straggler leaped down pretty briskly from 

" ■ the surface of the Great BtM, and alighted on his teet, but he was dead 

. and gone before hi: could turn round. Some few of tbe late company 

- ' who had gambolled in the tower, remained there, spinning over and over 

a little longer ; but these became at every turn more faint, and few, and 

fi^eble, and soon went the way of the rest. The last of all was one imiH 

f_ hunchbifck, who had got into an echoing corner^ where he twirled and 

|E^ twirled, and floated by himself along time ; showing such perseverance^ 

tliat at la*t he dwindled to a leg and even to a foot^ before he finally 

i:5.' retired ; but he vanished in the end, and th?n rhe tower was silent. 

rhc:n and not before, did Trotty &ec in every Bctl a bearded figure 



^1 



-y of the bait and stature of the Bdl— incomprehensibly, a figitre and the 
j;^i Bell ii&elf. Gigantic^ grave, and dartljr watchful of him, as he stood 
^^* Tooted to the ground- 

]-^ Mysterious and awful figures [ Resting on nothing ; poised in the 
t f niglit air of the lowerj with thtir draped and hooded heads tnerged in 
jJ!? the dim roof 5 motionless andshado^\y- Shidowj" and d^tkj although he 
P i saw rbcm by some light belonging to iheniselvc& — none else was there — 
A each With its muffled hand upon its goblin moutlu 

"* He could not plunge down wildly through the opening in the noor, for 
^7 all power of motion had deserted him^ Oihen^^ise he would have done 
so — ayj would have thrown himselfj headforemost, from the steepl<^-top^ 
rather than have seen tlicm watching him with eyes that would have 
waked and watched although the pupils had been taken out. 

Agaiuj again, the dread and terror of the lonely place, and o£ the wild 
and fearful ntght that reigned there, touched him lite a spectral hand- 
Uk distance from ail help ; the long, dark^ windings ghost-beleaguered 
way th^t lay between him and the earih on which men lived; his 
being high, high, high^ up there, whert it had made him dizzy to see the 
birds fly in the day ; cut off from all good people^ who at such an hour 
were safe at liome and sleeping in their beds; all this struck coldly 
through himj not as a reflection but a bodily sensation. Meantime 
his eyes and thoughts and fears, were fi^^ed upon the watchful figufes ; 
whieh, rendered unlike any figures of this world by the deep gloom and 
shade enwrapping and enfolding them, as well as by their looks and forms 
?and supernatural hovering above the floor^ were nevertheless as plainly 
to be seen as were the stalwart oaken frames, cross-pieces^ bars and beams^ 
set up there to support the Bells. *i'hese hemmed them, in a very forest 
of hewn timber; from the entanglements, inincaeieSj and depths of 
which, as from among the boughs of a dead wood blighted for their 
phantom usc^ they kept their daibomc and unwinking watch* 

A blast of air — how cold and shrill! — came moaning through the 
lower- As it died away^ tlie Great Bell^ or the Goblin of the Great Bell^ 
spoke. 



■■/■ 



9i T H E C H I IVl E S ■ 

" W^at visitor is this ? '* it said. The voice was ]ow and deep, aad \ 
Trotcy fancied that it sounded in xhc oihcr figures as welL 

" I thought my name was catlcd hy the Chimes ! " said IVotty* raising 
his Txands in an attitude of supplicaiion. "I hardly kniyi.v why 1 am 
here^ or how I tame. I have listened to the Chimes these many years. 
They have cheered me often." 

^^And you. have ihiinkcd them ? ^* said the Bell, 

" A tliousand times I " cried Troity, 

" How i " 

" J am a poor man^" faltered Trotty, *' tind could only thank them in 
words," 

" And always so P " inquired the Gohlin of the BelL *^ Have you 
ne^'cj done us wrong in ^^iirds P " 

" No ! " cried Trotty eagerly. 

" Never done U5 foul, and false^ and wicked wrongs in words = '' 
pursu*^ iht Gobhn of the BolL 

Troiry was about to answer, ^^ Never ! *^ But he stopped, and was 
confused. 

" The voice of Time^" said the Phantom, '* cries to man^ Advance ! 
Tim[= is for his advancemeni and impiovemeni ; for his greater worth, 
his greater happiness^ his better bfe ; his pFc^ess onward lo that goal 
wiihin its knowledge and its view, and set there, in the period, whei^ 
Time and He begann Ages of darkness^ WEckedness, and violence, have 
come and gone : millions uncountable^ have suffered, livedo and died : 
to poijit the way brfore him. Who seeks to tym him bat:k or stay him 
on his course, arrests a mighryengine which will strike the meddler dead; i 
artd be the fiercer and the wilder, ever, for its momentary check I " 

" 1 never did so, to my knowledge, sir^" said Troiiy. " It was qiiite^ 
by accident if I did, I wouldn't go to do it, Tm sure." 

"Who puts inio the mouth of Time, or of its servants,'' said the 
Goblin of tht= Bell^ " a cry of lamentation for days which have had their 
trial and their failure, and have left dc^p traces of it which the blind 
tnay see — a cry that only serves the Present Time, by sliowing men 
how much it needs their help when any ears can listen to regrets for such 
a Past — who does thisj does a wrong. And you have done that wrong 
to usj the Chimes," 

TrofEy's first e?:c«s of ftar was gor^c. But he had fell tenderly and 
gratefully towards the Betls, as j'ou have seen ^ and when he heard 
himself arraigned as one who had ofTendt:d tlicm so weightily^ his heart 
was touched with penitence and grief. 

"If you hnew^" said Trotty, clasping his hands carnestlj' — ^*or 
pcrhapsyoudoknow— if you know hnwtiften you have kept me companv ; 
how often you have cheered me up \^hen I've been low ; how }'ou were 
quite the plaything of my little daughter Meg (almost the only one she 
ever had) when first her mother died, and she and me were left alone — 
you won't bear mahce for a hasty word 1 " 



THECHEMES 93 

"Who hears in us^ the Chimes, one noic bespeaking disregifd* ar 
stem regard, of any hope, or jo^, or pain, or sorrow^ of the m^nj^-sor rowed 
throng ; who htirs us make response ro ^ny creed that gauges huTuan. 
pisiiions aaid affeciionSj as it gauges the amount of miserable food on 
which humanity ma7 pine and wither; does us wrong. That wrong 
you have done u^ i ^^ said the Belh 

" I have ! '' said Trotty- '' O forgive mc 1 " 

" Wlio hears us echo the dull vermin of the earth : the Putters Do^vn 
of crushed and broken natures, formed to be raised up higher than 
such maggots of the time can crawl or can conceive," pursued the GobJin 
of the Hq]\ : ^* wiio docs &Oj docs us wrong. And you have done us 
wrong ! " 

*^ Not meaning it," said Trorty, " In my ignorance. Not meaning 
it!*' 

'* LaslTy and most of all/' pursued the BdJ. *^ Who turns his back 
upon the fallen and disfigured of hia kind ; abandorts thtm as Vile ; and 
docs not trace and track vviili pitying eyes th^; unfcnced precipice by 
whicli thev fell from Good — grasping in their fatl some tufts and shreds 
of that lost soil, and clinging to them still when bndsed and dying in the 
gulf below ; does wrong to Heaven and Man, to Time and to Eternity, 
And you have done that wrong ! " 

'^ Spare me^" cried Trotty^ falling on Iiis tnces ; "for Mercy^s 
sake ! " 

^Li^ten J ^^ said the Shadow. 

" Listen ! " cried the other ShadowSn 

**^Listen 1 " said a clear and childlike voice, which Trot^ thought he 
recognised as having heard before. 

The organ sounded faintly in the church below. Swelling by degrees, 
the melody ascended to the roof, and filled the choir and nave. E:cpand- 
ing more and rnore, it rose up^ up ; up, up ; higher, higher, higher up ; 
awakening agitated hearts within the bulfey piles of oak, the hallow bells, 
the iron-bound floors, the stairs of solid stone; until the tower walls 
WL-rc insufficient 10 contain if, and it soared Into the sky. 

No wonder that an old man's breast could not contain a sountl So vast 
and mighty. If broke from that weak prison in a rush of tears ; and 
Trotty put his hands bcfoie his face. 

*^ listen ! " said the Shadow, 

" Listen [ " said the other Shadows. 

■' Listen ! " ^aid the child's voice. 

A solemn strain of blended voices rose into the tower. 

It was a very low and mournful strain : a Dirge ; and as he listened^ 
Trotty heard hif^ child among the singers- 

*^ She is dead ! " exclaimed the old man- " Meg is dead i Her Spirit 
calls to me. I hear it ! " 

'* The Spirit of your child bewails thfi dead, and mingles with the dead 
— dead hopes, dead fancies, dead imaginings of youth," returned the 



94 THE CHIMES 

iJL'iij ^^buf sht is living. Learn from her life^ ^ living truth. Learn 
from the cre^iiure dearest to vonr liean, how bad the Bad arc born. Setr 
eveiybud and leaf pluctcd one b^ one from off the fairest stem, and 
know how bare and wretched it may be- t'yllow her ! To despera- 
tion ! " 

Each of the shadowy figures sixetched its right arm furji. and pointed 
downward, 

*^ The Spirit of the Chimes is youc companionj" said the figure. ^^ Go i 
It stands bthind you ! " 

Trotty turnedj and saw — the child ! The child \^"]11 Fern had carried 
in tlie street ; the child ^'hom Meg had watched^ but now, asleep 1 

^' I carried her myselfs to-night^" said 'i'loEty, " In these arms 1 " 

^^ Show him wh^t he calls himself^^^ said the dark figures, oner and all. 

The tower opened at his feet. He looked dowii^ and beheld his 
own form, lying at the bottom^ on the out&ide : crushed and motionless* 

*' No more a Rving man ! " ctied Ttotty. '^ Dead 1 " 

" Dead ! " said the figures all tog^ther. 

" Gracious H^^aven ! And thr New Year— — " 

" Pastj^' said the figures. 

*^ What ! ^^ he cried, shuddering. '^ I missed my way, and coming on 
the outside of thi^ tower in the darkj fell down — a year ago i " 

^' Nine years ago ! " rcphed the figures- 

As they gave the answer, they recalled their outsii'etehed hands ; and 
"where their figures had been^ there the Bells were. 

And ihey rang ; their time beSng come agam. And once again, vast 
multliudcs of phantoms sprang into e:cistcnce ; once again, were inco- 
hrently engaged, as they had betn before: ; once again^ faded on the 
stopping of the chimes ; and dwindled into nothing, 

" What are these ^ " he asked his guide. " If I am not mad, what are 
these f " 

" Spirits of the Bells* Their sound upon the air^^' Teturned the child- 
^^Tbej-- take such shapes and occupations as the hopci? and thoughls of 
mortals, and the recollections They have siored up^ E>ive them*" 

" And you," said Trotty wildly. '' What are you ? " 

" Hush, hush I " returned the child. '^ Look here i " 

In a poor^ mean room : working at thesame tind of embroidery which 
hti had oflen^ often seen before her ; Meg, his own dear daaghter, was 
presented to his vien'. He made no effort to imprint his kisses on her 
face ; he did not strive to clasp her to his loving heart ; he knew that 
such endearments were for him no more. But he held his trembling 
breath ; and brushed away ih^ blinding tears, that he might loot upon 
her i that he might only see her. 

All I Changed. Changed. The light of the clear eyejTiowdTmraed. 
The bloom, how faded from the cheet. Beautiful she was^ asshe had ever 
been, but Hope, Hope, Hope, oh where was the fresh Hope that had 
spoken to him like a voice \ 



THE CHIME S 95 

Shelook^idupffomhcrworljat a companioD. Following her eyes, ihe 
old raaD started back. 

In Khe woman gmwn, he recognised her at a glance^ In the long 
silken hair, he &aw the self-same curls; around the lipSj the child's 
expression lingering ^till- See I In the eyes, now turned inqtiiringly on 
Mtgj thefti shone the very look that scanned those features when he 
brought her home ! 
Then what was this, beside him ! 

Looking with awe into its face, he saw a something reigning there : a 
loiiy somethlngj undefined and indi&tinctj which made it hardly more 
than a remembrance oE that child — as yonder figure might be — yet it was 
the same ; tlie same ; and wore the dress. 
Hart. They were speating i 

"Meg/' said Lili^n^ hesitating, "Hovr often you raise your head 
from your work to look at me I ^^ 

" Axe my looks so altered, that they frighten you ? *' asked Meg- 
*^ Nayj dear ! But yon sniile at that, yourself 1 Why not smite, when 
you look at me, Meg ? " 

" I do 5o. Do I not ? " she answered ; smiling on her* 
" Now yog do/^ said Lilian, ** but nor usuatlyn When you think I'm 
busy, and don^t see you^ you look so anxious and so donbtful^ that I hardly 
like to raise my eyes. There 15 little cause tor smiling in this hard and 
toilsome iifcp but you were ont;e so cheerful/^ 

" Am I not now ! " eried Meg^ speaking in a toi^c of strange alarm, and 
rising to embrace her* ^* Do / make oat weary life more weary to you, 
Lilian ! '' 

" You have been the only thing that made it life," said Lilian^ fer-^ 
vently kissing her ; " sometimes the only thing that made me tare to 
live iOj Meg- Such work, such work E So many hourSj &o many days, so 
many long, long nights of hopeless^ cheerlesSj never-ending work^ — not lo 
heap up richeSj not to hve grandly or gaily^ not to hve upon cnougli, 
however coarse ; but to earn bare bread ; to scrape together just enough 
to toll upon, and want upon^ and keep alive in us the consciousness of our 
haid fate i Oh^ Meg, Meg ! " she raised her voice^ and twined her arms 
about her as she spoke^ Itke one in pain. " How can the cruel world go 
round^ and bear to look upon such hves ! " 

" Lilly ! " said Meg, soothing her, and putting back her hair from her 
wet face. " Why, Lilly ! You 1 So pretty and so young ] " 

"Oh, Meg ! " she intecruptedj holding her atarmVlength, and looking 
in her face imploringly. *^The worsi of all^ the worst of all i Strike 
me old, Meg I Wither me and shrivel me, and free me from the dreadful 
thoughts thai cempt me in my youth ! '^ 

Trotty turned to look upon his guide. But the Spirit of the child had 
taken flight. Was gone. 

Neithci did he himself remain in the same place ;for Sir Joseph Bowley 
Friend and Father of the Pcxjr, held a great festivity at Bowiev Hall^ in 



96 THECHIMES 

honour of the natal dny of Lndy Bowky ; and as Lady Bowky hjd been 
born on New Year's Day (which the local newispapets considered an 
especial pointing of the finger of Providence to number One» as Lady 
Bowlciy^s dcsiLicd figure in Crt-ation), it was on a New Year's Day that 
this festivity toot place. 

Bowley Hall was full of visitors. The red-facet! gentleman was iJicre, 
Mt, Filer was there^ the great Alderman Cute was thcrc^-Alderman Cute 
had a sympathetic feeling wiih gtcat people, and had considerably 
improved liis acquaintance wiih Sir Joseph Bowley on the strength of hl$ 
attentive letter : indeed had become quite a friend of the fantilv since 
then — and many guests were there- 'J'rotty's ghost was there, wandering 
about, poor phantom, drearily ; and looking for ics guide, 

Theic was to be a gtc^i dinner in the Great Hall. At which Sir 
Joseph Bowley, in his celebrated character of Friend 3nd Father of the 
Poor, was to make his great speech. Certain pium-puddings were to be 
eaten by his Ftiends and Children in another Hall first ; and, at a given 
signnl, Friends and Children flocking in among their Friends and Fathers, 
were to form a family assemblage, with not one manly eye therein 
unmoisiencd by emotion. 

But there was more than this to happen. Even more than this. Sir 
Joseph Bowley, Uaronet and Member of Parliament, was to play a match 
at kittles — real skittle?— with His tenants. 

■* Which quite reminds one," said Alderman Cute, '^ of the days of old 
Ring Hal, srout King Hal, bluft King Hal. Ah. Fine character 1 " 

'* Very/' ^aidMr. Filer, tlrj'ly, " For niaiTying women and murdering 
'era. Considerably more ihan tlic average number of wives by-tho- 
bye,^' 

" You^ll marry the beautiful ladies, and not murder *em, eh ? " said 
Alderman Cute to the heir of Bowley, aged twelve. '^ Swcei boy 1 We 
shall have this little gentleman in Parliament now," said the j^derman, 
holdinghimby the shoulders, and looking as reflective as he could, ^'before 
wc know where we arc. We shall hear of his successes at the poll ; his 
speeches in the House ; his overtures from Governments ; his brdliant 
achiev^^mcnis of all kinds ; ah 1 we shall make our liiile orations about 
him in the Common Councii, Til be bound ; before we have time to 
look about us ! " 

" Oh, the difference of shoe? and stockings ! *' Trotty thought. But 
his heart yearncil towards the child, for tlie love of those same shoeless 
and stockingless boys» prcdi:3fincd (by the Alderman) to turn out bad, 
who might have been the children of poor Meg, 

" Richard," moaned Trotty, roaming among the company, to and fro ; 
** where is he ? 1 can't find Richard ! Where is Richard ? " 

Not likely to be there, if still alive 1 But Trotty'a grief and solitude 
confused him ; ind he still went ivandering among the gallant company 
looking for his guide, and saying, "Where is Richards Show me 
Richard 1" 



THE CHIMES ^ 

He wJS wandering thus* when he encountered Mr. Fi^h, the confi*- 
denilal Secretary : in groat agitation. 

" Bless my heart and eh^uI ! " cried Mr. Fish. " Whereas Alderman 
Cute ? Has anybody seen the Alderman f '* 

'* Seen the Alderman f Oh dear ! W!io could ever help seeing the 
Alderman P He was ?o can^iderateT ?o affable ■ he bore $o much in. 
mind the natural desire of folks to see him ; that if he had a fault, it 
was the being constantly On View. And wherever the great people 
were, therr:^ to be sure, attracted by the kindred i}Tnpathj' between great 
90nls, waj Cute. "" ■■ 

Several voices cried that he was in the circle round Sir Joseph, Mr. 
Fish made way ihere ; found him ; and took him secretly into a window 
neat at hand. Trotty joined them. Not of his own accord. He felt 
that his steps were led in that direction. 

'* My dear Alderman Cute," said Mr, Fish. ** A little inore this way. 
The most dreadful circumstance has occurred, I have this moment 
received the intelligence. 1 think it will be best not to acquaint Sir 
Joseph witli it till the day is over. You understand Sir Joseph, and will 
give me your opinion. The most frightful and deplorable event 1 " 

■* Fi*h ! " returned the Alderman. '* Fish ! My good fellow, what 
is t\u^ matter ? Nothing revolutionary, I hope ! Ko — no attempted 
interference with the magistrates I " 

" Deedles, the banl:er." ga$pcd the Secretary. '' Decdles Brothers — 
who was to have been here to-Jay— high in office in the Goldsmiths 

Company " 

'* Not stopped 1 " exclaimed the Alderman. *' It can't be ! " 
'' Shot himself." 
"Good God r* 

" Put a double-barrelled pistol to his mouth, in his own counting- 
house," said Mr. Fish, *' and blew his brains out. No motive- IVmcely 
circumstances 1 " 

"Circumstances!" exclaimed the Alderman. *' A man of noble 
fortune. One of the most respectable of men. Suicide, Mr. Fish 1 
By his own hand [ " 

" This very morning," returned Mr. Fish. 

" Oh the brain, the brain ! " escluimcd die pious .Alderman, lifting up 
his handa. " Oil Hie nerves, the nerves ; the mystetiea of this machine 
called Man 1 Oh the little that unhinges it : poor creatures that we 
are 1 Perhaps a dinner, Mr, Fish. Perhaps the conduct of his son, who, 
1 have heard, tan very wild, and was in the habit oE drawing bills upon 
him witliont ilie least authority f A most respectable mart. One of the 
most respectable men I ever knew ! A lamentable instance, Mr. Fish, 
A pubhc calamity ! I shall make a point of ivearing the deepest mourn- 
ing. A must respectable man I But there is one above. We must 
submit, Mr. Fish. We must submit I " 

What, Alderman 1 No word of Putting Down P Remember, Justice, 
cc. n 



^<l 



98 T H E C H I M E S 

your higli moral boast and pride. Come, AldeTman I Balance thoae 
5cj1c3. Throw me into this, ihc cmptvone, No Dinner, and Nature's 
founts in some poor woman, dried by starving misery and renderod 
obdurate lo claims for wJiich her offspring hui auihoTity in holy mother 
Eve. Weigh mc the two, you Daniel going eo judgment, whc:n your 
day sliall eome ! Weigh thein. in the eye^ of suffering thousands, 
audience (not unmindful) of the grtm farcf? j-ou play! Or supposing 
that you strayed from your five wits — it's not so far to go, hut lliat it 
might be— and laid hiinds upon diat throat of yours, warning your fellows 
(if you havi: a fellow) how they croak their comfortable wickedness to 
raving heads and striebn hearts. What then f 

The words rose up in Tnjiiy's breast, as if they had been spoken by 
some odier voice within him. Alderman Cute pledged himself lo Mr. 
Fish that be would assist him in breaking the melar^choly catastrophe to 
Sir Joseph, when the day was over. Then, before they parted, wringing 
Mr. Fish's hand in bitterness of soul, he said, " The most respectable of 
mc^n I " And added that he haidly tne^v : not even he : why such. 

afflictions were allowed on earth. 

*' It's almost enough to make one ihink^if one didn't know better," 
said Alderman Cute, '* that at times some motion of a capsizing nature 
was going on in things, which affected the general economy of the social 

fabric. Decdles Brothers I " 

The skittle-playing came off with immense success. Sir Joseph 
knocked the pin? about quite stilftilly ; Master Bowley look an innings 
at a shorter distance aUo ; and everybody said that now, when a Baronet 
and the Son of a Baronet played at skittles, ihe country was coming 
round again, as fast as it could come. 

At its proper tiniL-, the Banquet was served up- Tioity involuntarily 
repaired to the Hall with the rest, for he felt himself conducted thither 
by some strongi^r impulse than his own free will. The sight was gay 
in theeitremci the ladies were very handsome ; the visitors delighted, 
cheerful, and good-tempered. ^i^Tien the lower doors were opened, 
and the people flocked in, in theit rustic dresses, the beauty of the spec- 
tacle was at its height; but Trotty only murmured more and more, 
*' Where is Richard [ He should help and comfort her 1 1 can't see 

Richard 3 " 

There had been some speeches made ; and Lady Bowley's health had 
been proposed; and Sir Joseph Bowley had returned thanb; and had 
made his great speech, showing by various pieces of evidence that he was 
thr: born Friend and Father, and so forth ; and had given as a Toast, his 
Friends and Children, and the Dignity of Labour; when a slight 
disturbance at the bottom of die Hall attracted Toby^s notice. After 
some confusion, noise, and opposition^ one man broke through the rest, 
and stood forward by himself. 

Not Richard. No, Butone whom he had thought of, and had looked 
for, maoy times. In a scantief supply of light, he might have doubted 



. ' 



T H E C H I M Z S 99 

the identity of ihat worn man, so old, and grey, ind bent ; but with a 
blaze of lamp^ upon his gnarled and knotted headj he knew VViD Fem as 
soon as he stqjptjd forth- 

" What is this ! ^' cxcUimed Sir Joseph, rising, " Who gave this man 
admitiance ? This is a crimmal from prison ! Mr, FieIi, sir, ^ill you 
have the goodness " 

" A minute 1 " said Will Fern, " A minute 1 My Lady, you was 
born on this day along with a New Year. Get me a minute*s leave to 
speak-" 

She made some intercession for him. Sir Joseph look hia seat again 
with native dignity. 

The fagged visitor — for he was miserably dressed — looked tound upon 
the compitty, and made hi& homage to them wi^h a humble bow. 

*^ Genilefolts ! *' he said. ** You've diunt the Labourer. Lock 
at me 1 " 

^^ Jutt come from jail," said Mr. Fish- 

" Just come from jail," said WilL " And neither for the Hist time, nor 
the second, nor the thirdt nor yet the fourth." 

Mr. Filer was heard to remark testily, that four times was over the 
average ; and he ought to be ashamed of himself- 

" Gentlefolks ! " repealed WiW Fern. '' Loot at me ! You see Tm 
at tho worst* Beyond all hurt or harm ; beyond your help ; for the 
time wlien your kind words or kind actions could have done me gciod," 
—he struck his hand upon his breast, and shook his head^ ^^ is gorte, with 
the scent of last year's beans or clover on the air. Let me say a word 
for thcse,'^ pointing to tlie labouring people in the Hall ; " and whea 
youVe tnet together, hear the real Truth spoke out for once." 

" There's not a man here," said the host, ^^ who would hive him for a 
spokesmiin." 

" Like enough. Sir Joseph. 1 believe it. Not the less true^ perhaps, 
is what I say. Perhaps chat's a prcof on it. Gentlefolks, Fve lived many 
a year io this place. You may see the cottage from the sunt fence over 
yonder. I've seen the hdie? draw it in their books, a hundred times. 
Itloobwellinapicter, Tveheerd say ; b^t thereain^i wea^ther inpicters^ 
and maybe 'tis fitter fot that, than for a place to live in. Well ! J 
lived there. How hard — how bitter hard, T hved there^ I won't say- 
Any day in the year^ and every day^ you can judge for your own 
selves." 

He spoke as he had spoken on the night when Trotty found him in 
the street- His voice was deeper and more husky, and had a trembling 
in it now and then j but he never raised it passionately, and seldom 
lifted if above the firm stern level of the homely facta he stated, 

"*Tis hatder than you think for, gentlefolks, to grow up decent: 
commonly decent ; in such a place* That I growcd up a man and not a 
brute, says something for me — as I was then. As I am now^ there'a 
nothing cm be said for me or done for me> Vm pa&t ic'^ 



^^^irE 



lOO THE CHIMES 

*' I am glad this man has entered " observed Sic Joseph, looking round 
serene]}-. *' Don't disturb him. It appears to he Ordained. He n an 
Example : a living csainpks 1 hope 3n,l trusi, and confidently expect, 
that it will not be lo^r upon my Friends htrc,^' 

*' 1 dragged on " said Fern, after a moment's siknce. '* Souiehow. 
Ncidiei mc nor any other man linows how ; but so hcavj-^ that I couldn't 
put a cheerful face upoiJ ir, or make bdicve citat 1 u'js anything but 
what 1 was. Noiv, gi:ntlL-mi:n — j'ou gentlemen that Bits at Sessions — 
when voH see a man iviih disconit^ni: writ on his face, you Eiiys to one 
another, 'He'5 suspicious. I has my doubts,' says you, 'about Will 
Fern, \^'ateh that fellow 1 ' 1 don't say, geiitlemi^n, it ain't quite nat'ral, 
but I say 'lis ?o ; and from that hour, wliatever Will Fern docs, or lets 
alone^all one — it goes against him.'* 

Alderman C-ite stuck his thumbs in his ivaistcoat-poctets, and leaning 
bact in his chair, and smiling, winked at a neighbouring chandelier. As 
much as to say, " Of couise ! I told you so. The common cry [ Lord 
bk'£s you, we are up to all this sort of thing— myself and human 



nature." 



'* Now'j gentlemen," said Will Fern, holding out his hands, and 
flushing for an instant in hJs haggard face, " see how yiji.r laws arc made to 
trap and hunt us when we're brought to this. 1 tries to live elstwherc. 
And I'm a vagabond. To Jail with him ! I comes back here. I' 
goes admitting in your woods, and breaks — who don't ?— a limber 
branch or two. To jail with him ! One of your keepers sees me in the 
broad day, near my own patcii of garden, with a gun. To jail with him ! 
1 has a natural angry vmtd wfth that man, when Tm free again. To jail 
with him 1 I cuts a slick. To jail with him ! 1 eats a rotten apple or a 
turnip. To jail with him f li'a twenty mile away ; and coming back, 
I begs a trifle on the road. To jail ivith him ! At last, tlie constable, 
the keeper — anybody^ — finds me an)-where, a-doing anytliing. To jail, 
with him, for he's a vagrant, and a jail-bird known ^ and the jairs the 
only homi? he's got," 

'i'iie Alderman nodded sagaciously, as who should say, " A very good 
home too ! " 

'* Do I &ay this to servo my cause ! " cried Forn, " Who can give me 
back my liberty, who can give me back my good name, who can give me 
back my innocent niece f Kot all the Lards and Ladies in wideFngland- 
But gentlemen, gentlemen, dealing with cither men like me, begin at the 
right end. Give us, in mi^rcy, better homes when we^re a-lying in our 
cradles ; give us better food ivhen we*Te a-working for our lives ; give 
US Icinder la%\'S to bring us back when we're a-poing wrong ; and don't set j 
Jail, Jail, jail, afure us, everywhere we turn. There ain^t a condescension . 
yoB can show the Labourer then, that he won't tale, as ready and as -i 
grateful as a man can be \ for he has a patient, peaceful, willing heart. ,^| 
But you must put his rightful spirit in him flrsr ; for, whether he's a " 
wreck and ruin such as me, or is Uke one of diem that stand here now, ^i 



n. 



THE CHIMES loi 

hi$ spirit is divided from you at tliis time, Bnng it back, gcntlcfolb, 
bring ii back ! Bring it hack, afore the dsy cornet when even his Bible 
changes in bis altered mind, and the words stem lo him to read, as the/ 
have 5ometinie$ r?ad in my ovm eyes — in Jail; 'Whither thou goest, 
I can Nat go ; where thou lodgeat, T do Not lodge ; thy people are Not 
my people ; Nor thy God my God 1 ' " 

A sudden &tir and agitation took place in the HalL Trotty thought 
at first, that several had risEn to eject the man ; and hence this change 
in its appearance. But another moment showed him that ihe room 
and all the company had vanished from Ids sights and that tik daughter 
was again before him, seated at her work. But in a poorer, meaner 
garret than before ; and wJth no Lilian by htr side. 

The frame at which she had worked, was pur away upon a shelf 
and covered up- The chair in which she had sat, was turned against 
the waU. a history was written in these little tliingi^ and in Meg'a 
grief-worn face. Oh 1 who could fail to read it ? 

Meg strained her e^'es upon her work until it was too dark to see the 
threads ; and when the night closed in, she hghted her feeble candic and 
worked on. Siill her old father wa$ invisible about her ; looking down 
upon her ; loving her — how dearly loving her [ — and talking to her in 
a tendervoice about the old limes, and the Bells, Though he knew, poor 
Trotty, though he knew she could not hear him. 

A great part of the evening had worn away, when a knock came at her 
door. She opened it. A man was on the threshold, A slouching, 
moody, drunken, sloven : wasted by intemperance and vice : and with 
his matted hair and unshorn beard in wild disorder: but with some 
traces on him, too, of having been a man of good proportion and good 
features in his youth. 

He stopped until he had her leave to enter ; and she, retiring a pace 
or two from the open door, silently and sorrowfully looked upon him- 
Trotty had his wish. He saw Richard. 

" May I come in, Margaret ? " 

'*Yes! Come ill. Come in i "' 

It was well that Trotty knew him before he spoke ; for with any 
doubt remaining on his mind, the harsh discordant voice would have 
persuaded him that it was not Richard but some other man, 

7*hcrewerebut tv.'o chairs in the room. She gave him hers, and stood 
at some short distance from him, waiting to hear what he had to say. 

He sat, however, stating vacantly at the floor ; with a lustreless and 
stupid smile. A spectacle: of such deep degradation, of sueh abject 
hopelessness, of such a miserable downfall, that she put her hands before 
her face, and turned away, lest he should sec how much it moved her. 

Roused by the rustling of her dress, or some such trifling sound, he 
lifted his head, and began to speak as if theie had been no pause since he 
entered, 

*' Still at work, Margaret i You woik late." 



t. 



102 THE CHIMES 



*' I generally do/' 

" And early ? " 

"And early." 

*' So she said. She Siiid vou never tired ; or never o^vned di:it you 
tared. Nor all the time you lived together, Norj^vcn when you fainted, 
between work and fasting. But I told you that, the last time I came." 

" You did/' she answered, " And I iniplorcd you to teU me nothing 
more; and you made me a solemn promise, Richard^ that you never 
would." 

*' A solemn promise/' Ke repeated, with a drivelling laugh and vacant 
stare- "A solemn promise. To be sure. A solemn promise!" 
Awatcning, as it vi-ere, after a time» in the same manner 3i before ; he 
said witli sudden animation, 

" How can 1 help it, Margaret I What am I to do ? She has been to 
mc again ! *' 

'' Again ! " cried Meg, clasping her hands, " O, doea &he think of mc 
so often f Has she been again i " 

"Twenty times again," said Richard. "Maroarcf^ she hauni^ me. 
She comes behind mc in the street, and thrusts it in my liand, I hear 
her foot upon the ashes when I'm at my -u-ork (ah, ha [ thiJtiiin'toftcn% 
and before I can turn my head, her voice is in my car, saying, * Richard, 
don*i look round. For Heaven's love, give her this 1 ' Sho brings it 
wheie I live i she sends it in letters ; she taps at the window and lays 
it on the iill. What c^n I do J Look at it 1 '^ 

He held out in his hand a Utile purse, and chinked the money it 
enclosed, 

'* Hide it." said Meg, " Hide it ! When she comes again, tcl] her, 
Richard, that I love her in my soul. Thai I never lie down to sleep, but 
I bless heCj and pray for her. niat, in my solitary work, 1 never cease 
to have her in my thoughts. That she is with me, night and day. 
That if I died to-mofrow, I would remember her tvith my last breath. 
But thiit 1 cannot look upon it I " 

He slowly recalled his hand, and crushing the purie together, said with 
a kind of drowsy thoughtfulness : ... 

" I told her so. I told her so, as plain a^ words could speak, iVe 
taken this gift back and lef r il at her door, a do/en times since then. But 
when she came at last, and stood before me, face to face, what could I 
do ! " 

" You saw her ! " exclaimed Meg. " You &aw her ! Oh, Lilian, my 
sweet girl ! Oh, Lilian, Lilian ! '^ 

nf." I snw her," he went on to say, not ajiswering, but engaged in the 
same slow puiiutt of his own thoughts. " There she stood ; trembling '. 
' How doe^ she look, Rfchard ? Does she ever speak of me i is she 
thinner 7 My old place at the table : what':? in my old place ? And 
the frame she taught me our old v^'ork on — has she burnt itj Richard '. ' 
There she was. 1 heard her say it." 



THE CHIMES 103 

Meg checked her sobs^ aad with the tears streaming from her tyes^ 
bent over him to listen. Not to lose a breath* 

Whh hiis arms resting on liis knees i and stooping forward in his chaEr^ 
35 if what he said were written on the ground in some half legible 
character, which it was hla occupation, to decipher and connect; he 
went on. 

" * Richardj I have fallen very low ; and you may guess how much 
I have suffered in having this sent back, when I can bear to bring it 
in my hand to you. But you loved her once^ even in my memoryj 
dearly. Others stepped in between you; fears, and jcalousicSj and 
doubtSj and vanities, estranged you ftom her ; but you did love her^ 
even in my memory ! * I stipposc 1 did^" he said, interrupting himself 
fot a moment, " I did ! That's neither here nor there. * O Richard, if 
you ever did ; if you have any memory for what is gotie and lost^ take it 
to her once more* Once more ! Toll her how 1 begged and prayed. 
Teil her how 1 laid my head upon your sliouldcr, where her own htiad 
might have lain, and was so humble to you, Richard. Tell her that you 
looked into my face, and saw the beauty which she usc^d to praise, alJ 
gone ; all gone : and in its place, a poor, wan, liollow cheek, that she 
would w{!ep to see. Tell her everydiing^ and Lake it back, and she will 
not refuse again. She will not have the heart I ' '* 

So he sat musings and replacing die last words, until he woke again, and 
rose, 

" You won^t take it, Margaret," 

She shook her head, and motioned an entreaty to him to leave her. 

" Good nighr, Margaret." 

"Goodnight!" 

He turned to look ijpon her ; stnick by her sorrow, and perhaps by 
the pity for himself which trembled in her voice. It was a quick and 
rapid action ; and for the moment some fl.ish of his old bearing kindled in 
his form. In the next he weni as he had come. Nor did this glimmer 
of a quenched lire seem to light him to a quieter sen$e of his debase- 
ment. 

In any mood, in any grief^ in any torture of ihe mind or body, Meg*a 
work must be done. She sat down to her tash^ and plied it^ Night, 
midnight. Still she worked. 

She had a meagre fire, the night being very cold ; and rose at intervals 
to mind it. The Chimes rang half-past twelve while she was thus 
engaged ; and when they ceai^d &he heard a gentle knocking at the door. 
Before she could so much as wonder who was there^ at that unusual 
hour, it opened. 

Oh Youth and Beauty, happy as ye should be^ looli al this ! Oh 
Youth and Beauty, blest and blc&jing all within your reachj and working 
out the ends of your Beneficent Creator^ look at this ! 

She saw the entering figure ; screamed its name ; cried " Lilian ! " 

It was swiff, and feli upon its knees before her : ciinging to her dress* 



I04 THE CHIIMES 

" Up» desr ! Up ! Lilian ! My own deareac ! " 

" Never morc^ Meg ; never more ] Here 1 Here [ Close lo you, 
holding fo you. feeling your dear breath upon my face ! " 

" Sweet Lilian ! Darling Lilinn 1 Child of my heart — no mothcf^s 
loTe can be more tender — hy your liead upon my breast ! " 

^' Never more, Meg- Never more 1 \VhcQ I firit looted into your 
face, yoii knelt before me. On my Lnce& before you, let me die. Let it 
he here ! " 

" You have come back, l^Ty Treasure ! We will live together, work 
together, hope togt-iher, die together ! " 

" Ah 1 Ki^s my lips, Meg ; fold vour arms about me ; press me to 
your boBom ; look kindly on m*; ; but don^i rai^c me. Let it be here, 
'L'iiz me see the l^st of your dear face upon my knees [ " 

Oh Youth and Beauty, happy as ye should be, look at this] Oh 
Youth and Beauty, working out the ends of your Beneficent Creator^ 
look at this ! 

" Forj^ive me, Meg ! So de-ir, so dear ! Forgive mc ! 1 know you 
do. 1 see yon do, but say so, Meg ! '* 

She said so, with her lips on Lilian's check. And with her arms 
t^vined round — ?he knew it now — a broken heart- 

. "His blessing on you, deare?it love. Kiss me once more I He suffered 
her to sit beside His feet, yi*d dry them with her hair. Oh Meg, what 
Mercy and Compassion ! " 

As she died, the Spirit of the child returning, innocent and radiant, 
touched the old man wiih its h^nd^ and beckoned him away. 



FOURTH QUARTER 

Some new remembrance of the ghostly figures in the Bell ', some faint 
impression of the ringing of the Chimes ; some giddy consciousness of 
having seen the swarm of phantoms reproduced and reproduced until 
the recollection of them lost itself in the confusion of their numbers ; 
somu hurried knowledge, how conveyed to liim he knew not, that more 
years had passed ; and Trotty, with the Spirit of the child attending him, 
stood looking on at mortal company. 

Fat company^ rosy-ehceked company, comfortable company. Tliey 
were but two, but they were red enough for ten. They sat before a 
bright fire ^vith a small low table between them ; and unless the frag- 
rance of hot tea and muffins lingered longer in that room thun in most 
others, the table had seen service very lately. Bui all ihe cups and saucers 
being clean, and in their proper pbce^ in the corner cupboard ; ^nd the 
brass toasting-fork hanging in its usual nook, and spreading its four idle 
fingers out, as if it wanted to be measured for a glove ; there remained 
no other visible tokens of the meal ju^t finished, than such as purred and 

wa&hed their whiskers in the person of the basking cat, and ghstened in the 
gracious, not to say the greasy, faces of her patrons. 



THE CHIMES 105 

This cosy coupk (married, evidently) had made a fair division of the 
fire between them, and sat looking at the glowing sparks that dropped 
into the grate ; nownoddingoff intoa dole ; nowwakingup again when 
some hor fragment, brg(^r than the rest, came rattling down, as if the fire 
were coming with ir. 

It was in no danger of sudden extinction, however; for it gleamed 
not only in the litilo loom, and on the panes of window-glass in the door, 
and on the curtain half drawn across ihem, but in the little shop beyond, 
A little shop, quite crammed and choked with the abundance oi its stock ; 
a perfecilv voraciou? litiic shop, with a maw as accommodating and full 
35 anv shark's. Cheese, butter, Rtewood, soap, pickles, matches, baeon, 
table-beer, pcg-iops, sweet meaia, boyi' kiies, bird-seed, cold ham, birch 
brooms, hearth -stones, salt, vinegar, blacking, red-herrings, stationery, 
lard, mushroom-ketchup, stay-laces, loaves of bread, shuttlecocks, eggs, 
a[>d slate pencil ; everything was fish that came to the net of this greedy 
little shop, and all these articles were in its net. How many other kinds 
of petty merchandise were liscrc, it would be difficnlt lo say ; but balls 
of packthread, topes of onions, pounds of candles, cabbage-nets, and 
brushes, hung in bunches from tlie ceiling, like extraordinary fruit; 
while various odd canisters emitting aromatic smeils, established the 
veracity of the inscription over the outer door, ^vhich informed the 
public that the keeper of this little shop ^vae a licensed dealer in tea, 
coffee, tobacco, pepper, and snuff. 

Glancing at such of these articles as were visible in the shinfng of the 
blaw, and the less cheerful radiance of two smoky lamps which burnt but 
dimly in the shop itself, as though its plethora sat heavy on their lungs ; 
and glancing, then, at one of the two faces by the pnrlour-fire ; Tiottj^ 
hiid small dlfiiculiy in recognising in the stout old lady, Mrs, Chicken- 
starker : always inclined to corpulency, even in the days when he had 
known her as established in t!ie general line, and having a small balance 
agarnst him in her books. 

The features of her companion were less easy to him. The great broad 
chin, with creases in it large enough to hide a finger in ; the astonished 
eyes, that seemed to expostulate with themselves for jinking deeper and 
deeper into the yielding fat of the soft face; the nose afflicted with 
that disordered action of Its functions which is generally termed The 
Snuffles 1 the short thick throat and labouring chest, with other beauties 
of tiic like description- though calculated to impress the memory, 
Trotty could at first allot to nobody he had ever known ; and yet he had 
some tecoUeciion of them too. At length, in Mrs. Chickens talker^s 
partner in the genera! line, and in the crooked and eccentric line of life, 
he recognised the former porter of Sir Joseph Bowley ; an apoplectic 
innocent, who had connected himself in Trotty's mind wiih Mrs. 
Chickcnstalker years ago, by giving him admission to the mansion where 
he had confessed his obligations to that lady, and drawn oa his unlucky 
head such grave reproach. 

cc. d' 



TPT 



jo6 THE CHIMES 

Trotty had little interest in a ch:tn^ like \hh, after the dianges he h^d 
seen- hut association U ver)' strong sometimes : and he looked myolun- 
taritv behind the parlour-door, where th^? acoiUtit^ of credit customers 
were usuaUy kept in chdk. There was no record of hi^ name Some 
names were thore, but tliey were strange to lum, and infinjlely fewer 
than of old : from which he augured that the porter ^y3^ an advoeate 
of ready money transaetiojis. and on coming into the bu^me^^ had looted 
pretty sharp after the Chicken^talker dcfatikers. ^ , , . 

So desolate was Trotq', and ^o mournftil for the yourh and promise 
of hb blighted child, that it was ^ sorrow lo him, even to ha\e no place 
in Mrs. Chickeii^talker^s ledger. „ . . , , ^ * 

" What sort of a night i^ it, Anne ? " mquired the former por or of 
Sir los^rh Bowky, stretching out his kgs before the fire, and mbbrng 
35 much of them a. his short arms could reach : with an air that added, 
" Here 1 am if ii's bad, and 1 don't ^^-ant to go out if Ji s good. 

" I5]o^^^T.g and sketing hard," returned his whe ; " and thrcatemng 
&now, Dar\. And veiy cold." ^ , , . 

'Tm clad to think we had muftins," said tlie former porter, 
in The tone of one who had set liia conscience at rest. - h s a sort 
of night that's meant for mulTms. Likewise cinmpet.. Also Sally 

"rhc former Dofter mentioned each successive kind of eatable a^ if he 
were musingly humming up his good action. After which he rubbed his 
fat legs as before, and jerking them at die knee, to get the fire upon the 
yet unroa^ted parts, laiighed as if somebody had tickled h.m. 
^ " You^re in spirits, Tugby, my dear." observed hi. wife. 
The firm was Tugby, late Chickenstalkei. 
" No " 'aid Tugby. *' No. Not pariicubr, Fm a httle elewated. 

■"wiT t^rr ^hXd L. h. w. b„c. i. ^. f..e ; .„d h.. so 
niacl, .do to become any oth.r colour, that hi. fat legs look the .,„ngcJt 
r>:cut.ic,n. imo the »ir. ^Kor were tb.,- reduced to .nythmg hke decorum 
until Mr.. Tugby had thumped him viokntly on the back, and shaken 

him as it he were a great bottle. , 

"Cjod gracious, goodness, b.d-a-mer=y b^ss .nd s>ve the rnan ! 

er^ed Mrs Tugbj', in great terror. " Whir's he domg " 

MrTugby wped ^is eyes, =nd faintly repeated that h.e found himself 

' "'The"f be so agam, that's a dear good ^nl," said Mr.. Tugby 
" if you don't want to frighten me to death, with your st.ugghng and 

"^^Mr" Tugby said he wouldn't, but his whole existence wa, a fight ; 
iul^ith if any judgment might be founded on the constantlj'-mcreasmg 
shorfness of his brfath, .nd^the deepening purple of h>s face, he wa, 
alwavs eetiinE the worst of it. ,11 j 

'■ Soft's blowing, and sketing, and threatening snow ; and is dark, and 



THE CHIMES 107 

very cold : is ir^ my dear ? ** said Mr. Tugbj-, looting at tho fire» and 
reveriing l:o the cream and marrow of his temporary eievafion. 

'' Hard weather indeed," returned his wife, shaking her head. 

"Ay, sy \ Years^" said Mr. Tugby, '* arc like Christian? in that 
respect- Some of *ern die hafd ; some of *em die easy. This one 
hasn't many days to Tun, and is making a fight foi it. 1 like T^^i" all the 
better- There's a customer, my love ! *' 

Attentive to the rattling door, Mrs. Tugby had already risen. 

" Now then ! " said that lady, passing out into the little shop. '' Whar'a 
wanted ? Oh ! I beg your pardon, sir, I'm sure. I didn't think it was 
you." ... - 

She made tins apology to a gentleman in black, who, with his wrist- 
bands tucked up, and his hat cocked lounginglv on one side, and his hands 
in his pockets, sat down astride on the labk-beer barrel, and nodded in 
return. 

" This is a bad business up Stairs, Mrs. Tugby," said the gentleman. 
'* The man can't live." 

" Not the back-attic can^t 1 " cried Tugby, coming out into the shop 
to join the conference. 

" The back-attic, Mr. Tugby," said the gentleman, " is coming down 
Stairs fast ; and will be below the basement very soon." 

Looking by turns at Tugby and his wife, he sounded thi? barrel with 
his knuckles for the depth of beer^ and having found it^ played a tune 
upon the empty part. 

" The back-attic, Mr, Tugby," said the gentleman : Tugby having 
stood in silent consternation for some time -. ** is Going," 

'*Then," said Tugby, turning to his wife, "lie must GOj )'ou know, 
before he's Gone," 

" 1 don'i think you Can move him," said the gentleman, shaking hzs 
head, " I wouldn't take the responsibility of saying it could be done 
myself. You had better leave him where he is. He can't live long." 

** It'3 the only 5ubji:ct," said Tugby, bringing the butier5caie down 
upon tlie countei with a crash, by vk^ghinghi&fiatonit, *' that we've ever 
had a word upon ; she and me ; and look what it comes to 1 He*s going 
to die here, after all. Going to die upofl the prtmi&cs. Gomg to die 
in our house [ " 

*' And where should be have died, Tugby ? " cried liis wife. 

"In the workhouse," he returned. *' What are workhouses made 
for i " 

'^ Not for that," said Mrs. Tugby, with great energy. " Not for that. 
Neither did I marry you for that. Don't think it, Tugby, I won't 
have it. I won't allow it. I'd be separated fitst, and never see your 
face again. When my widow's name stood over that door, as it did for 
many years : this house being known as Mrs. Chickenstalkefs far and 
wide, and never known but to itshoncst credit and its good report : when 
my widow's name stood over that doorj Tugbyi IknewhimasahandsorDe, 



. « 

■'.■ji 



loB THE CHIMES 

steftd}^^ mant^j independenr youth ; 1 knew hc?r ^s t^e swce rest-looking^ 
swe^rcsi-ttmpercd girl, eyes ever saw; I knew her father (pooT old 
creetLir^ he fell down from the steeple waiting in his sleep, and killed 
iiimself)^ for the simplystj harJest-v%'ortmg, chiUosi-hearred man^ that 
ever drLi.v the breath of life ; and when 1 turn them tjnt of house and 
home, rn[iv aneels rum me out of Heaven. As ihey would 1 And serve 
me fight ! " 

Her old face, which had been a plump jnd dimpled one before the 
changes whicli liad cgme to pasSj seemed to shine out of her as she said 
Che&e WLirds ; and when ^hc dried her eye?, and shook her head and her 
handkerchief at Tugbvj^vich an expression of firmness whkh it was quite 
clear was not to be easily resisted^ Trotty s^id//^ BJess het ! Bless her ! " 

Then ht listened, with 3 panting heart, for whar should follow. 
Knowing notliing yet, but that i:hi:y spoke of Meg. 

If Tugby had been a little elevated in the parlour, he more than 
halaneed that ficcount by being not a little depressed in the shop^ where 
he now stood storing at his wife^ without attempting a reply ; secretly 
conveyingp however — either in a fii of absiraction or as a precautionary 
measure — all the money from the till into his own pockets, as he looked 
at her. 

The gentleman upon the table-beer c^tsk, who appeared to be some 
authorised medical attendant upon the poor^ was far toy well accusromedj 
e\^dently^ to little differences of opinion between man and wife, to 
interpose any remark in this instance. He sat softly whistling, and turn- 
ing hide drops of beer out of the tap upon the ground^ until there was a 
perfect calm: when he raised his head, and said to Mrs. Tugby^ late 
Chicken stalker : 

^^There^s something interesting about the woman, even now. How 
did she come to marry him I " 

" Why that^" said Mrs- Tugby^ taking a seat near him, " is not the 
least cruel part of her story, sir. You see they kept company, she and 
Richard, many vears ago- \\''hen they weie a young and beautiful 
couple, everything was settled, and they were to have been married 
on a New Yearns Day, But, $omehow, Richnird got it into his head^ 
through what the gentlemen told him^ that he might do better^ and 
that heM soon repent it, and that she wasn^t good enough for him, and 
that a young man of spirit had no business to be tnarried- And the 
gentlemen frightened her, and made her melancholy, and timid of hig 
deserting her, and of her children coming to the gallows, and of its being 
wicked to be man and wife^ and a good d^^al more o£ it. And, in shorty 
they lingered and lingered, and thj^ir trnst in one another was broken, 
and so at last was the match. But the fniult was his. She would have 
married him, sir, joyfully. Tve seen her heart swell, many times 
afterward?, when he passed her in a proud and careless way ; and never 
did a woman grieve more truly for a man, than she for Richard when he 
first went wrong." 



THE CHIMES 109 

** Oh I he went wrongs did he f '* said ihe genileman, puUing out lie 

vent-peg of the table bc&r, and trying to peep down into the biirrel 
ilirough the holi^. 

'* Wtll, Eiij I dou^t know that he rightly understood himstlfj you see, 
I think his mind W33 troubled by their having broke with one another ; 
and ih-it but for being ashamed before the gentlemen^ and perhaps 
far being uncertain too^ how she might take it, he'd have gone through 
any suffering or trial lo have had Meg^s promise and Meg'a hand again- 
That^s my bdief He never taid so; morels ihe pity! He took to 
drinking, idling^ bad companions : all the fine resources that were to be 
so much better for him than the Home he might have hadn He lost 
his looksj hi:^ char^icter^ his healthy his strength^ his friends^ his work: 
everything 1 '' 

" He didn^ low: everything, MrSn Tugby/' returned the gentleman, 
^* because he gained, a mfc \ and I want to know how he gained her." 

" Tm coming 10 it^ sir, in a moment. This went on for years and 
years ; he sinking lower and lower ; she endurtng^ poor thing, miseTies 
enough to wear her life away. At last, he was so cast down, and cast 
ont^ that no one would employ or notice him ; and doors were shut upon 
him, go where he would^ Applying from place to plaee, and door to 
door ; and coming for the hundredth time to one gentleman who had 
often and often tried him (he was a good workman to the very end) ; 
that gentleman, who knew his history, said, ^I believe yon are incor- 
rigible; there ia only one person in the world who has a chance of 
reclaiming you ; ask me to trust you no morct until she tries to do it-' 
Something like that, in. his anger and vexation*" 

^' Ah 1 " said the gentleman, '' Weil P " 

^* Well, sir^hewent to her, and kneeled to her ; said It was so; said It 
evtr had been so ; and made a prayer to her to save him." 

'^ And she — Don^t distress yourself, Mrs. ^Fugby." 

" Shecame tome that night to ask me about|]iv[ng here. ^What he was 
once to me,* she saidj ^ is buried in a grave ; side by side with what 1 was 
to him. But I have thought of this ; and I will make the trial. In the 
hope of saving him ; for the love of the light-hearted girl (you remember 
her) who was 10 ha^^c been married on a New Year's Day ; and for the 
love of her Richard*' And she said he had come to her from Lilian, and 
Lilian had trusted to him, and she could never forget that. So they were 
married ; and when they came home here, and I saw them^ I hoped that 
such propliecies as parted them when they were young may not often 
fulfil themselves as they did in this case^ or 1 wouldn't be the makers of 
them for a Mine of Gold." 

TTte gentleman got off the cask^ and stretched himself, observing t 

^* 1 suppose he used her ill, a$ soon aa they %vere married f " 

" T don't think he ever did that,*' said Mrs. Tugby, shaking her head, 
and wiping her eyes- " He went on better for a short time ; but^ his 
habits were too old and siiong to begot tidof j he &oon fell back a little ; 



L_J _ f. AJ 



no THE CHIMES 

and was falling fast bact, when hb ilbess came so strong upon him. I 
think he has always felt for her. I am sure he has^ I have seen him, 
in his (-rying fits and tremblings, try to tiss her hand ; and I have heard 
him call her * Meg/ and say it was her nineteenth birihday. There he 
has been lying, now, the^e weeks and months. Between iiim and her baby^ 
she h^s not been able to do her old work ; and by not being able to be 
regular, she lias lost U, even if she could have done it. How they have 
lived, 1 hardly know ! '* 

" / know," muttered Mr, Tugby ; looVfng at the till, and round the 
shop, and at hts wife ; and toUii^g his !^cad with immense intelligence* 
'^ Like Fighting Cocks!" 

He was interrupted by a cry — a sonnd of lamentation^ — from the 
upper storey of the house. The gentleman moved hurriedly to the door 

*' Mv friendj" he said, looking batkj ^^ you needn't discuss wheTht:r 
he shall be removed or not. He has spared you that trouble, I believen" 

Saying 50, he r:in up stairs^ followed by Mrs, Tugby ; while Mr. Tugby 
panted and grumbled after them at leisure : being rendered more than 
commonly short-winded by the weight of the tili^ in which there had 
been an inconvenient quantity of copper. Trotty^ with the child beside 
him, fioated up the ^taircasy like mere air* 

** Follow her ! Follow her I Follow her ! " He heard the ghosily 
voice! in the Bells repeat their words as he ascended. " Learn it^ from 
the cre^'iture deare&t to your heart 1 " 

It was over* Ji was over. And this was she> her father'a pride and 
joy I This haggard, wretched woman, weeping by the bed, if it deserved 
that name^ and pressing to her breast, and hanging down her head upon, 
an infant* \Vho can tell how sparCj how bickly^ and how poor an Infant f 
Who can tell how dear ? 

'' Thank God ! " cried Trofty, holding up hiB folded hands. " Oh, 
God be thanked ! She loves her child ! " 

The gentlenian^ not othenvjse hard-hearted or indifferent to such 
scenes, than ihat he saw them every day, and knew that they were figures 
of no moment in the Filer sums — mere scratches in the working of these 
calculations — laid his hand upon the heart that beat no more, and 
listened for the breath, and said, ^' His pain is over It^s belter as it 
is ! " Mrs. Tugby tried to comfort her with kindness. Mr. Tugby 
tried philosophy. 

^* ComCp come ! " he said, with his hands in his pockets, '^ yoti mustn't 
give Vw\w^ you knoWn That won^t do. You must fight up. What 
would have become of me if / had given way when I was porter ; and we 
had as many a^ sis runaway carriage-doubles at our door in one night ! 
But I fell back upon my strength of mind, and didn't open it f " 

Again Trotty heard the voices, saying, " Follow her I " He mmed 
towards his ^uide^ and saw it rising frorn him, pa&sing through the air. 
" Follow her ! " it said. And vanished. 

He hovered round hof ^ sat down at her feet; looked up into her 



'l^ 



THE CHIMES m 

face for one trace of Ker old aelf ; listened for one nore of her old pleasant 
Toice. He flirted rourtd ihe child t so wan, so prematurely old, so 
dreadful in its giaviry, so plainnive in ii5 feeble, mournful^ miserable 
wail. He almost worshipped It- He clung to it as her only safeguard ; 
as the last unbrotcn lint that bound her to endurance. He set his 
father's hope and trust on rhe frail b.iby ; ivatched her GVi^cy look upon 
it as she held it in her arms ; and cried a thousand times, " She loves 
it 1 God be thanked, she loves it ! "" 

He saw the woman tend her in the night ; return to her when her 
grudging husband was asleep^ and all was still; encourage her^ ahed 
toars witli htr, ^et nourishment before her. He saw the day come, and 
tli£ night :igain ; the day, the night ; the time go by ; the house of 
death rciheved of death ; the room left to herself and to the child ; he 
heard ir mo.^n and cry ; he saw it harass her, and tire her out, and when 
she sIumbeTed iji exhaustion, drag her back to consciousness, and hold 
her with its little hands upon the rack ; but she was constant to it, gentle 
with it, piiient with it. Patieni ! Was iiB loving mother in her inmost 
heart and soul, and had its Being knitted up with hers as when she carried 
if unborn. 

Ail this timK, she was in want ; languishing away, in dire and pining 
want. With the baby iti her arms, &he wandered here and there, tn quest 
of occupation ; jnd with its thin face lying in her lap, and looking up 
in hers, did any ^vork for any wretched sum : a day and night of labour 
for as many farthings as there were figures on the dial. If she had 
quarrelled with it ; if she had neglected it ; If ahe had looked upon it 
with a moment*s hate ; if, in the freniy of an instant, she had struck it ! 
No. His comfort was, She loved it always. 

She told no one of her e:itremity, and wandered abroad in the day 
lest she should be questioned by her only friend : foi any help she received 
from her hands, occasioned fresh disputes between the good woman and 
her husband ; and it was new bitterness to be the daily cause of strife and 
discord, where she owed so much. 

She loved it still. She lovtd it niore and jnofe. But a change fell on 
the aspect of her love. One night. 

She was singing faintly to it in its sleep, and walking to and fro to hush 
it, wlien her door was softly opened, and a man looked in, 

'' For the last time," he said. 

" \^'illiam Fern ! " 

" For the last time." 

He listened like a man pursued ; and spoke in whispers, 

*' Margaret, my race is nearly run. I couldn't finish it, without a 
parting word witli you. Widiout one grateful word." 

" What have you done i " she asked : regarding him with terror. 

He looked at her, but gave no ans^ver. 

After a short silence, he made a gesture with hla hand, as if he set her 
question by ; as if he brushed it aside ; and said, 






112 THE CHIMES 

"It's long ago^ Margarer, now: but that nig;bt is as fresh in my 
memory as ever ^twas. We little thoiisrht, tlitn^" he -iddedj looking 
round, " that we should ever meet like this. Your child^ Muigaret ? 
Let me havt it in mv anna. Lti mt hold vour childn" 

He put his hat upon the floor, and took it. And he trembled^ as he 
took it, from head to foot. 

"hit a girl?*' 

" Vea." 

He p"uc his hand before its little face, 

*^ See how weak Vm g^rown, Mnirgatet, when I want the courage to look 
at it ! Let her be a momejit, 1 won^t hurt hern It'& long ago^ but — 
What^s her name i " 

^' Margaret^" she answeredp quickly. 

" rm glad of that/' he 5aid. " Vm gla*.1 of that." 

He stcmed to breaihe more frceEy ; and sifter p^msing for an in&tant^ 
took away his hand, and looked upon the iiifant^s hce. But covered it 
again^ immediately. 

" Margatet ! " he said ; and gave hcj back the child. " It'& Lilian's-" 

*^ Lilian's 1 " 

^^I held the fiame face in my arras when Ltiian's mother died and 
left her.'' ..... 

" \^^hen Lilian's mf>ther died and left her ! " ^he repeated, wildly, 

" How shrill you speak ! Wliy do you fii your eyes upon me so ? 
Margaret ! " 

She sank down in a ehair, and pressed the infant to her breastj and 
wept over it- Sometimes, she released it from her embrace, to look 
anxiously in its face: then strained it to her bosom a^ain. At those 
limes ; when she gashed upun it ; then it was ihat something fierce and 
terrible began to mingle with her love. Then it was that h[;r old father 
qu ailed r 

" Follow her \ ^' was sounded through the house. '^ Learn it^ from 
the creatuTt dearest to your heart [ " 

*^ Margniret," ^aid Fem^ bending over her^ and kissing her upon the 
brow : '^ 1 ihank you for the Ust timen Good night. Good bye. 
Put vour hand in mine, and tell me you^ll forget me from this hour^ and 
try 10 think the end of me was here." 

" What have you done ! " she asked again. 

^^ There^Ubea Fire to-night/* he said, removing from her. "There*!} 
be Tires this mntcr-timej to light the dark nights, Ea5t, Wrttj North, 
and South. When you see the distant sty red, they^U be blazing. When 
you see the disrant sty red^ think of me no more ; or if you do, remember 
what a liell was lighted up inside of me^ and think you $c;c its flajueg 
reflected in the clouds. Good night. Good bye I '^ 

She called tg hint ; but he was gone. She sat down stupefied, until 
her infant ro\ised her to a sense of hunger^ cold^ and darkness. She paced 
the room with it the livelong nighty hushing it and soothing it* She 



:=^ 



THE CHIME S ttj 

ssid at mtcT^'als, " Lfkc Lilian, when her mother died and left her ! " 
Why was her step so quick, her eye so wild, hec love so fierce and lerrible, 
■tt'henevtr she repealed thoso word? ? 

" But it is Love," &aid Troity. " It is Lovt. She'll never cease to 
love ir. My poor Meg ! " 

She dressed the child, next morning with unusual care— ah vain 
c>:pcndicnre of care upon such jquahd robe& ! — and once more tried to 
find Bome means of life. Itwas the last 63.y of the Old Year. She tried 
till nig^ht, and never broke her fast. She tried in vain. 

She mingled with an abject crowd, who tarried in The snow, until it 
pleased some ofhcer appointed to dispense the public charity (the lawfnl 
charitj ; not th.it once preached upon a Mount) to call them fn, and 
question them, and say to thii one, " Go to such a place," to that one, 
'' Come ne^t week ; " to make a football of another wretch, and pass him 
here and there, from hand to hand, from house to house^ until he 
ivearied and lay down to die ; or started up and robbed, and so became a 
higher sort of criminal, whose claims albwed of no delay. Here, too, she 
failed. 

She loved her child, and wished to have it lying on her breast. And 
that was quite enough. 

It was night : a bleak, dark, cutting night : when, pressing the child 
close to her for warmth, she arrived out^de tho hou:jt ihe called her home- 
She was so faint and giddy, that she saw no one standing in the dooiway 
until she wa^ close upon it, and about to enter. Tlien she recognised 
the master of the house, who had so disposed himself — ivith his person 
it v^as not difficult — as to fill up the whole entry, 
" Oh 1 " he said, softly. " You have come back ? " 
She looked at the child, and shook her head. 

" Don't you think you have lived here long enough without paj'ing 
any rent ? Don't you think that, without any money, you\'e been a 
pretty constant customer at thi* shop* now ? " said Mr. Tugby. 
She repeated the samt mute appeal. 

" Suppose you try and deal somewhere else," he said. ^' And suppose 
you provide yourself with another lodging. Come ! Don't you think 
you could manage it ? '' 

She said, in a low \'oice, that it was very laie. To-morrow, 
" Now I see what you want," said Tugby ; " and vvhat you mean. 
You know there are two parties in this house about you, and you delight 
in setting 'em by the ears. I don't want any quarrels ; I'm speaking 
softly to avoid a quarrel ; but if you don't go away, Fll speak out loud, 
and you shall cause words high enough to please you. But you shan't 
come in- That I am determined." 

She put her hair back with her hand, and looked in a sii^den manner 31 
the skj', and the dark lowering distance. 

■* This is the last night of an Old Year : and 1 won't carry ill-blood 
and quarreUings and disturbances into a New One, to please you nor 






114 THE CHIMES 

snyhody else," said Tugby, who was quite a retai] Friend and Father. 
" I wonder you ain't AShamed of yourself, to carry such praciiccs into a 
New Year. If you havener iiny business in the world, but to be always 
giving w.iy^ and always making disturbances bet^vceii man and wife, 
you'd be better out of it. Go along with you.'' 

" Follow her ! To despi^iation ! " 

Again the old man heard the voices. Looting up^ he saw the figures 
hovering in the air, and pointing where she went, down the dark 
street, 

'* She loves it ! "he extbimed, in agonised entreaty for her. " Chimes ! 
she loves it still ! " 

" Follow her 1 " The shadows swept upon the track &he had taken, 
like a cloud. 

He joined in ihe pursuit ; he kept close to her ■ hi: looked into her 
face. He saw the same iieTce and terrible expression mingling with her 
love, and kindling in her eyes. He heard her say, " Like Lilian I To be 
changed like Lilian 1 " and her speed redoubled. 

Oh, for something to awaken her. For any sight, or sound, or scentj 
to call up tender recollections in a brain on fire ! For any gentle image 
of the Past, to rise before her 1 

'* I was her father 1 I was her father ! " died the old man, stretching 
out his hands to the dart shadows flying on above. "Have mercy 
on her» and on me ! Where does she go ' Turn her back I I was 
her father!" 

But they only pointed to her, as she hurried on; and said, "To 
desperation ! Learn it from the creature dearest to your heart 1 " 

A hundred voices echoed ir. The arr was made of breath expended 
in those words. He seemed to take them in, at every gasp he dr^w- 
They were everywhere, and not to be escaped. And still she hurried 
on ; the same light in her eyes, llie same word^ in her mouth ; " Like 
Lilian i To be changed like Lilian I " 

All at once she stopped, 

"Now, turn ht:r back I " exclaimed the old man, tearing his white 
hair. " My child i Meg I Turn her back I Great Father, turn her 
back I " 

Jn her own scanty shawl, she wrapped the baby warm. With her 
fevered hands, she smoothed its limbs, composed its face, arranged its 
mean attire. In her wasted arms she folded it. as though she never 
would rL:3ign it more. And ■with her dry lips, kissed it in a final pang, and 
last long agony of Love, 

Putting its tiny hand up to her neck, and holding it there, within 
her dress : neit to her distracted heart : bKc set its sleeping face 
against [her ; closely, steadily, against her : and sped onward to the 
Krvcr. 

To the rolling River, swift and dim, where Winter Niglir sat brooding 
lite the last dark thouglits of many who had sought a refuge th'jie before 



THE CHIMES nj 

help Where scattered lights upon the banks gleamed sullen^ red, and 
dullj as torches chat were burninj^^ thtrtj to show the way to Deatli. 
Where no abode of living people cast its shadow^ on the deep, impene- 
ttible^ melancholy shade. 

To the River i To that portal of Eternity^ her desperate footsteps 
tended wi\}x the swiftness of its rapid waters running to the sea. He 
tried to tnnch her as she passed him^ going down lo iE3 dark level ; but 
the wild distempered form J the fierce and ttrrrible love, the dLSperaiion 
that had left all human check or liold behind^ swept by him like the 
wind. 

He followed her. She paused a moment on the brink, before rlie 
dreadful plunge. He fell down on his knees, and in a shiiek addressed 
the figures in the Bells now Kovcring above them. 

" I liavc learnt it ! " cried the otd man. " From the creature dearest 
to my heart I Oh, save her^ save her 1 " 

He could wind his fingErs in her dress ; could hold ic ! As the words 
escaped his lips, he felr hia sense of toudi return, and knew that he 
detained her. 

The figures looked dovm steadfastly upon him- 

" I have learnt it ! " cried the old man. ^^ Oh, have mercj' on me in 
this hour^ ifj in my love for her^ so young and good, I slandered Nature 
in the breasts of mothers rendered desperate 1 Pity my presumption, 
wiekedne^Sj and ignorance, and save her ! " 

He felt his hold relaiing. They were silent still. 

*^ Have mercy on her 1 '' he exclaimed, " as one in whom this dreadful 
crime has sprung ftom Love perverted; from the strongest, deepest 
Love we fallen creatures know 1 Thint what her misery mu$t have 
been., when such seed bears such fruit 1 Heaven meant her to be gooi 
There is no loving mother on the earth who might not come iio this, if 
such a life had gone before. Oh^ have merey on my childj who, even at 
this pas?, means mercy to her own, and dies herselfj and periU her Immortal 
Soul, to save it ! '^ 

She was in his arms* He held her now. His strength was like a 
^ant^- 

" I see the Spirit of the Chimes among you 1 " cried the old man^ 
aingling out the child, and speaking in some inspiration, which their 
looks conveyed to him, '* I know that our inheritance is held in store 
^ for us by Time. I know tlicre is a Sea of Time to rise one day, before 
= which all wlio wrong us or oppress us will be swept away like leaves. I 
I see it, on the fiow ! 1 know ihit we must trust and hope, and neither 
i doubt ourselves, nor doubt the Good in one another. I have learnt it 
J. from the creature dearest to my heart* I clasp her in my arms again. 
Oh Spirits, merciful and good, 1 take your lesson to my breast fflong with 
her ! Oh Spirits, merciful and good, 1 am grateful 1 *^ 

He might have said more, but the Bells i the old familiar Bells, hia 
own dear, constant^ steady friends^ tlie Chimes ; began to ring the joy- 



\ 

I 



ri6 THE CHIMES 

peals for a New Year ai lustily^ so meTfU/, ^o happily, so gaily, that he 
leap); upon his fcct^ and broU ilip spell that bound him, 

" And whatever you do, fatlier^" said Megj *^ don't cat iripe sg^m^ 
without asking Eome doctor wheiher it's Sikcly to agree with you ; for 
how you hdVf been going on, GcKjd graeious I ^' 

She was working with her nt:cdlc, at the httle table by the fire ; dressing 
her siinpEe gowTi with ribbaiis for her w^edding. So quieily happy, so 
blooming and youthful, ;o fuH of bt^autiful promise, that he uttered a 
great cry as if it were an Angel in his house ^ tlien flew to clasp Jier in his 
arms. 

Buthercanghthisfeetin the newspaper, which had fallen on the hearth ; 
and somebodv came rushing in bct^vt:on thenin 

" No ! " cried thi^ voice of this same somebody ; a generous and jolly 
voice it was i " Not even you. Not even you. Tlic first kiss of Mtg 
in the New Ycs^r limine;. Mine ! I have been waiting outside the house, 
this houTj to hear the Bells and claim ir, Meg, my precious pri^e, a 
happy year ! A life of happy yearSj my darling "wife 1 " 

And Richard smothered her with kisse*. 

You never in sll ^out life saw anviliing like Trotty after this, 1 don"t 
care where you have lived or whar you have seen ; you ne^er in your 
life saw anything at atl approaching him ! He sat down in his chair 
and beat his knyes and cried; he sat down in liis chair and beat his 
knees and laughed ; he sac down in his chair and beat his knees and laughed 
and cried together ; hegotoutof his chair and hugged Meg ; he got out 
of his chaiT and hugged Richard ; he got out of his chair and hugged 
them both at once ^ he kcpr running up to l^'lcg^ and squeezing her fresh 
face between his hands and kaEsing ii^ gf^ing from her backwards not to 
lose sight of it, and running up again like 3 figure in a magic lantern \ 
and whatever he did, he was tonstanily sitting himself down in this 
chair^ and never stopping in it for one single moment ; being— th^t^s the 
iruth^beside himself with joy. 

^' Andio-morfow'syour^%xddjngday, mypctT' cried Trotty. "Your 
real, happy wedding day [ " 

" To-day ! " cried Richard, shaking hands with him. " To-day. The 
Chimes are ringing in the New Year, ffear them ! *^ 

Thpy WEKie ringing ! Bless iheir sturdy hearts, they were ringing ! 
Great Bells as rhey were t melodious, deep-mouthed, noble Bells ; cast 
in no common metal ; made by no common founder ^ when had they 
ever chimed like that before ! 

^' But to-day, my Tel,'* said Trotiy. ^^ You and Richard had some 
words to-day,^* 

" Because he's such a bad fellow, father/^ said Meg. " Ain't j^u, 
Richard ? Such a headstrong, violent man 1 He'd have made no more 
of speaking his mind to that great Alderman, and putling ftm down I 

don't know where^ than he would of ** 

—Kissing Meg," suggested Richard. Doing it too ! 



i4 



I 



THE CHIMES 117 

" No. Not a bit mor<?," said M^g. " But I wouldn't let him, father. 
Where would have been the use ? " 

'* Richard, my boy ! '' cried Trotty. '' Vou was turned up Trumps 
origins Jly ; and Trumps you must be, till you die I But you were 
ciying by \h^ Rie to-night, my per, when I cime home ! Why did you 
cry by the fire P " 

" I was thinking of the years wcVc passed together, father. Only that. 
And thinking you might miss me, and be lonely." 

Trotty was backing off to th^t extraordinary chaTr agiJin, when the 
child, who bad been awakened by the noi^t, came running in half 
diessed. 

" Why here she is I " cried Trotty, catching her up. " Here's little 
Lilian ! Ha, ha, ha I Here we are and here we go ! Oh here we are 
and here we go again ! And here we aTe and here we go I and Uncle 
Will too ! " Stopping in his irot to greet him heartily. " Oh, Uncle 
Will, the vision diat IVe bad to-night, through lodging you \ Qh, 
Uncte Will, theobligationithacyou*velaid me under, by your coming, my 
good friend [ " 

B^'fore Will Fern could make the legist reply, a band of music burst 
into the room, attended bv a lot of neighbours, screaming " A Happy 
Ne^v Year, Meg ! " " A Happy Wedding i"" " Many of ^em ! '* and other 
fragrnentary good wislics of that sorr. The Drum (who was a private 
friend of Trolty*&) then stepped forward, and said : 

" Trotty Veck. my hoy ! Tt^s got about, that your daughter is going 
to be married to-morrow, Theri: ain't a soul that know!^ you that 
don^t wish you well, or That knows her and don*t wish her well- Or 
that knows you both, and don't wish you both all the happiness the 
New Year can bring. And here we are, to play it in and dance it in, 
accordingly." 

Which was received with a general shout. The Drum vvas rather 
drunk* by the bye ; but never mind, 

" What a happiness it is, Pm sure,^^ said Trotty, *' to be so esteemed ! 
How kind and neighbourly you are ! It's all along of my dear daughter. 
She deserves it ! " 

They were ready for a dance in half a second (Meg and Richard 3t the 
top) ; and the Drum was on the w^ry brink of leathering away with all 
his power ; when a combination of prodigious sounds was heard outside, 
and a good-humguicd comely woman of some hfty year^ of age, or 
thereabouts, came running in, atrendcd by a man bearing a stone 
pitcher of terrific si^e, and ctosely followed by the marrowbones and 
cleavers, and tlie belU ; not the BeUs, but a portable collection on a 
frame. 

Trotty said, " It's Mrs- Chickenstalter 1 " And sat down, and beat 
his knees again, 

" Married, and not tell me, Meg ! *' cried the good woman- " Never ! 
I couldn't rest on the bit night of the Old Year withour coming to ^vish 



\i.:. 



u8 THE CHIME S 

you ]oy. I couldn't have done it, Meg. Not if I had been be<lriddcn* 
So here? I ani ; and ^a it's New Yearns Eve, and tht Eve of your vvE;dding 
loOj my dcAFj I liad a IiTiit flip made, ^nd brought it with me." 

Mrs. ChickcTistaJker^s notion of a lEttle flip, did honotir to her character, 
l"he pitcher steamed and smoked and reeked like a volcano ; and the 
man who had carried it* was fainfn 

" Mrs, Tugby ! " said Trottj^ ^vho had bcc^n going round and round 
lier. in an ecstasy, " I iboul^ sa}^^ Chicken 5t:iltLr — Blcsi your heart and 
soul i A Happy Nt^^ Vcafj and m?tny of ^em I Mrs. Tugby^" said 
Trotty when he hc^d s^iltited her ; " 1 should say. Chicken st^'ilker — -This is 
William Fern and Lilian." 

ITie worthy dame, to hts surprise^ tittrfcd very pale and very red* 

" Not I-ihan Eern whose mother died in Dorsetslure [ " said sJic. 

Her uncle answered '^ Yes/^ and meeting hastily^ they exchanped some 
hurried wordi^ together^ of which the upshot was^ that Mrs, Chicken- 
stalker shook him bv both hands ■ saluted Trottv on his cheek again^ of 
her own free will ; and took the child to her capacious breast, 

" Will Fern ! " said Trottjj putling on his light-hand muffler- " Not 
the fritnd that you was hoping to find ? ** 

'^ Ay [ ^^ returned W'ill^ putting a hand on each of Trotty^s shoulders- 
" And like to prove almost as good a friend^ if that can bcj as one I 
found.*' 

'' Oh 1 " said Trotty. " Please to play up there. Will you liave the 
goodness ! '* 

To ilic music of the band, the bells, the rrtarrow-bonos and cleavers, 
all at once ■ and wliile the Chimes were yet in lusty operation out of 
doors I Trottj^ making Meg and Richard second couple, Ted off Mrs. 
Chicken stalker dou'n ilit: dance, and danced ii in a &Ecp unknown before 
or since ; founded on his own peculiar trot. 

Had Trotti' dreamed ? Or are his jo}S and sorrows, and the actors 
in them, but a druam ; himself a dream ; the teller of this tale a dreamc^r* 
waking bui now ? If it be so^ oh Listener, dear to him in hiII his visions, 
tiy^ to bear in mind the stern realitios from whidi thc^e shadows come ; 
and in your sphere — none is too wide^ and none too hmited for such an 
end — endeavour to correct, improve, and soften lliem. So may the 
New Year be a Happy one to You^ Happy to many more whose Happi- 
ness depends on You [ So may each year be happier than the !:isr^ and 
not the meanest of our brethren or sisterhood debarred tJ^eir rightful 
share^ in what our Great Creator formed tliem to enjoy. 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH : A FAIRT 
1ALE OF HOME 



CHIRP THE FIRST 

Tjie Kettle began it J Don^t tell me what Mr&. Peen'bingle said, I 
know beiiei. Mts. Pccrybingle may leave it on recoTd 10 the end of 
time thai she couldn^t s;iy which of them btgan it ; but, ] say the Itetilc 
did. I ought to know, I hope i The Kettle began it, full tive minutes 
by the little waxy-faced Dutch cloct in the corner before thf: Cricket 

uttered a chirp. 

As if the dock liadn'r finisfied striking^ and the convulsive iiitle 
Haj-maker at the top of it, jerking away right and left with a scythe 
in front of a Moorish Palace, hadn't mowed doivn half an acre of imagi- 
naty grass before the Cricket joined in at aD ! 

Why, I am not naturally positive. Every one knows that. I wouldix't 
set my own opinion against the opinion of Mrs, Peerybingle, nniesslwere 
quite sure, on ?ny account whatei^'ei. Nothing aliould induce mc^ 
But thj5 is a qireEiion of fact. And the fact is, that the Kettle began it, 
at least five minuted before the Cricket gave any sign of being in exis- 
tence. Contradict me : and Pli say ten. 

Let me nariarc exactly ho^v it happened. 1 should have proceeded to 
do so, in my very first word, but for this plain consideration — if I am 
to tell a atory I must begin at the beginning ; and how is 11 possible to 
begin at the beginning, witliout beginning at the Ketlle f 

It appeared as if there were a sort of match, or trial of skill, you must 
understand, between the Kettle and the Cricket. And this is what led 
to it, and how it came about. 

Mrs. Peerybingle, going oEit into the raw twilight, and clitking over 
the wet stones in a paJr of pattens that worked innumerabLe rough 
impressions of the first proposition in Euclid all about the yard — Mrs, 
Peerybingle filled the Kettle at the water-butt. Presently returning, less 
the pattens : and a good deal le^s.for they were tall and Mrs. Peerybingle 
was but short : she set the Ketlfu on the lire. In doing wliich she lost 
her temper, or mislaid it for an instant ; for, the water — being uncom- 
fortably cold, and in that slippy, slushy, sleety sort of state wherein it 
secmslopenetrate through every kind of substance, patten rings included 
— had laid hold of Mis. Peerj-bingle^s toes, and even splashed her legs. 
And when we rather plume ourselves (with reason too) upon our legs, and 
teep ourseKes panicubily neat in point of stockings, we find this, for the 
moment, hard 10 bear. 

Besides, tlie Kettle was aggravating and obstinate. It wouldn't allow 
itself to be adjusted on the top bar ■ it wouldn't hear of accommodating 
itself kindly to the knobs of coal ; it would lean forward witli a drunken 
air, and dribble, a very Idiot of a Kettle, on the hearth. It was quarrel- 

"9 



/ 



120 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

some ; and hissed and spluttered morosely at the fire. To turnup .all* the 
lid, resisting IvIts. Ptcrybingle^s fingers, first oi all turned topsy-tuny^ and 
thtn, with an ingenious perrinicity deserving of n better tauie- dived 
sideways in — ^down to the very bottom of the Kettle. And the hull of 
the Rifyal Gi^^rg^ ha? never made hitlf the monstrous rtsistarite to coming 
out of the watc^r, wliich the lid of iliat Kettle empfoycd jgjinst Mrs* 
Pt:crybjngle, before she got it up agsin. 

Itlookedfiullen and pig-lieaded enough, even then ; ca^^v^ng its handle 
with an alt of dcfianccj and cockine its spout pertly and mockingly ar 
J Mr5, Peerj'bingle^ as if it said^ ^* I won^t boU, Nothing shall induce 

meP' 

But MtSh Pceryhingle, wiih restored good humour^ dusied ]icr chubby 
liirlehandsagainsteachotherjand &at down before the Kettle : laughing. 
Meantime, the jolly blaze uprose and feih flashing and gleatning on the 
little Haymaker at the top of the Durch cloct^ until one mi^ht have 
tbotight he stood stock still before the Moorish Palace, and nothing ^vas 
in motion but the flame. 

He w^s on the movc^ however ; and liad his spasms^ iivo to the second^ 
all right and regular. But his sufferings when the cJoct was going to 
strike were frightful to bc^hold ; and when a Cuckoo looked out of a 
tiJtp-door in the Palace, and gave note ?ix times, it shook him^ each lime 
like a spectral voice — or like a something w\ry^ pUicking at his legs* 

Ir was not until a violent commotion and a whirring noise among the 
weights and ropes below him had quite subsided^ that this tt^rrilicd 
Haymaker became himself again. Nor ivas he startled without reason ; 
for these rattling^ bony skeletons t>f docb arc very disconcerting in their 
ODcraiion, and I wonder very much liow any set of raen^ but most of all 
how Dutchmen^ can have had a liking to invent ihem. For ihere is a 
popular belief that Dutchmen love broad cases and much clothing for 
thi^ir own lower selves * and they might know better than to leave their 
clocks so very lank and unprotected, surely. 

Now it wae, you observe^ that the Kettle b^gan to spend the evening- 
^ Now it waSj thac the Kettle, gromng mellotv and musical^ began to h^vs 
irrepressible gurglings in its throat, and to indulge in shori: vocal ^nortSj 
which it checked in the buJ^ as if it hadn't quite made up its mind yet, 
to be good company* Now it was^ that after two or three such vain 
attempts to stifle ]z> convivial sentiments, it threw off all moroseness, all 
reserve, and burst into a stream of song so cosy and hilarious, as never 
maudlin nightingale yet formed the least idea of- 

So plain, too ! BleH you* you might have understood it like a book — 
better than some booki you and I conld name, perhaps. With its warm 
breath gushing forth in a light cloud which merrily and gracefully 
ascended a few feet, then hung about the chimney comer as its own 
domesti<: Heaven, it trolled its song wiih that strong energy of cheerful- 
tiM3, that its iron body hummed and stirred upon the fire ; and die Jid 
itselfj the recently rebellious iJd — such is the influence of a bright example 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 121 

— -perfomied a sort of jtg^ and clattered iifcc a deaf and dumb young 
cymbal iliat had never known the use of its twin brocber- 

That ihis song of the Kettle's ^vas a song q( inviiation ^nd welcome to 
somebody out of doors; to somebody at that moment coming on^ 
towards the snug small tiome and the crisp 9lic ; iliere is no dovbt 
whatever. Mrs. Feeiybingle knew ic, perft^ctl/j as she sat musing, before 
the hearth. Wi a dart night, sang the Kettle, and the rotten leaves are 
Jying by the way ; and above^ alt is mist and darVness, and below, all is 
mire and clay ; and there's only one ^^:^licf in qH the sad and murky air i and 
I donH know thar it is one^ for it's nothing but a glare^ of deep and 
angry crimson, wlitre the sun and wind together, set a brand upon the 
clouds for being guilty of such weather ; and the widest optn country is 
a long dull streak of black ; and the ic^a boa r-f tost on the iinger-post, and 
thaw upon the track ; and tht: ice it isnH water, and the water isn't free ; 
and you conldn^t say thai anything is what it ought to be ; but hc"$ 

comings comings coming I 

And here, if you like, the Cricket i^in chime in I with a Chirrup^ 
Chirrup, Chirrup of such magnitude, by way of chorus ; with a voices 
so astoundingly disproportionate to its size^ as compared with the Kciile 
(size ! you couldn't see it !) thai if it had thc-n ami ihcrc burst itself like 
an overcharged gun ; if it had fallen a victim on the spot, and chirruped 
its little body into fifty pieces: it would have seemed a natural and 
inevitable consequence, for which it Iiad expressly laboured^ 

The Kettle had had the last of its solo performance. It persevered 
with undiminished ardour i but the Cricket xook first fiddle and kept 
it. Good HcayeUj how it chirped ! Its shrill, sharps piercing voice 
resounded through thehouse^andseemed to twinkle in the outer darkness 
like a Star. There was an indescribable little trill and tremble in it, 
at its loudest^ which suggested its being carried off it5 legs, and made to 
leap again, by its own intense enthusiasm- Yet th^^y went lery well 
together, the Cricket and the Kettle, Tlie burden of the song was stiU 
the Mme ; and louderj louderj louder stil], thty sang it in their 
emulation. 

The fair little listener — for fair she was, and young : though some- 

thitig of what is called the dumpling shape ; but 1 don^t myit-lf object 

to that — lighted a candle; glanced at the Haym^ikcr on the top of the 

clock, who wa% getting in a pretty average crop of minutes ; and looked 

out of the wit^doWj where she saw nothing, owing to the darkness, but 

her own face imaged in the glaa^. And my opiruon is (and so would 

yours have becn^ that she might have looked a long way, and seen 

i nothing half so 3gre*iablc, When she came back, and sat down in her 

I former seat, the Cricket and the Kettle were siiil keeping it up, with a 

^ perfect fury of competition. The Kettle's wcat sidt clearly being that 

¥ he didn^t know when he was beat. 

\ There was all the excitement of a race about it. Chirp, dnrp, chirp ! 
i Cricket a mile ahead. Hum, hum^ hum— m — m ! Kettle making play 



122 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

m the distjuiccp likt a gr<!at top- Chii'p^ chirp, chirp I Cricket round 
the corner. Hunij hitm, hum — m — m ! Kettle stitting to him in his 
own w^jr ; no idea of giving in. Chirp^ chirp, chirp I Cricket fresher 
than ever. Hum, hunij hum — m — m ! Kettle slow and siead}\ 
Chirpj ciurp, chirp! Cricket going in to finish himn Hum, hum, 
huna — m — ^m ! Kettle not to be finished* Until at last, nhey got so 
jumbled together, in the hurry-^kurryj helter-skelter, of the match, 
that whether the Kettle tihirpcd and the Cricket hummedj or the 
Cricket chirped and the Kettle hummed^ or they both chirped and both 
hummed^ it would have taken a clearer he:id than yonrs or mine to have 
decided witli anything like certxiinty. But of this, there is no doubt : 
that the Ketile and the Cricket^ at une and the same moment, and by 
some power ot amalgamation be&t kno^vn to themselve^^ sent^ each^ 
his fireside song of comfort streaming into i ray of the candle thai slionc 
out through the window ; and a long way down the lane* And this 
light, bursting on a certain person who, on the insrant, approached 
towards it through the gloom, expressed the whole thing to him, literally 
in a t^vinkling, and cried *^ Welcome home, old fellow I Welcome home, 
my Boy [ " 

This end attained, the Kettle^ being dead bent, boiled uver, and was 
taken off the tire. Mrs. Peerybingle then went running to the door, 
where, -^vhat With the whecU of a cart, the tramp of a horsc, the voice 
of a man^ the tearinj^^ in and out of an excited dog and the surprising 
and mysterious appearance of a BabVj there was snon the very WTiat's-his- 
name to pay, 

\\herc the Baby came from^ or how Mrs- Peerybingle got hold of it 
in that flash of timej / don't know. But a live iJaby there was, in Mrs. 
Pceryhingle^s arms ; and a pretty tolerable amounr of pride she seemed 
tohaveinit,whefiihe was drawn gently to the tire, by a sturdy figure of a 
man^ much taller and much older than herself ; who had to stoop a long 
way down, to kiss her. But she was ivorth the trouble- Six foot sis, with 
the lumbago J might have done it. 

" Oh goodness, John ! "said Mrs. P. ^^ \\Tiat astateyou'iein with the 

weather ! " . 

He was something the worse for itj undeniably. The thlct mist hung 
in clots upon his eyelashes like candied thaw ; and betu-cen the fog and 
fire together, there "were rainbows in his very whiskers. 

'^ Why, you see. Dot," John made answer, slowly, as he unrolled a 
shawl from about his throaty and warmed his hands ^ "Ic — it ain't 
exactly summer weather. So, no wonder." 

" I Avish you wouldn't call me Dot^ John. I don't like it/* said Mrs. 
Peerybingle : pouting In a way that clearly showed she did U^c it, very 
much. 

^^ Why what else are you ? " returned John, looking down upon her 
with a smilcv and giving her wjilt as light a squeeze as his huge hand and 
arm could give, '* A dot and *'-— here he glanced at the Baby—" a dot 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH iz3 

and Ciiriy — I won't s^y it, for fear 1 should spoil it; bul I was very 
ne^r a joke. I don^t know a^ ever I was ncaxcr.*^ He was often near to 
5omethii]g or other very clever, ^y liis own account: this lumbering, 
sloWj honesi: John ; xhh John so heavy^ but so light of spirii ; 50 rough. 
upon the surface, but so gentle at the core ; so d^iU without, so quick 
within ; so stolid, but so good i Oh Mother Nature, give they diitdren 
the true poetry of Heart that hid itself in this poor C^rrier*B breast — 
he was but a Ccinier by the way — and we can bear to have them talking 
Prose, and leading lives oE Prose; and bear to bless Thee for their 
company I 

It was pleasant to see Dot, with her little figiire and her Baby in her 
arms ; a vety doll of a Baby : glancing with a coquttiish ihoughtfulncss 
at the fire, and Inclining her dedicate little head just enough on one side to 
l*^it rest inancKld, half-natural, half-affected, wholly nestling and agrct:- 
ible manner, on the great rugged figure of the Carrier, It was pleasant 
to see him, mth his tender akwardness* endeavouring to adapt his rude 
support to her ^ight need, and make his burly middle-age a leaning-staff 
not inappropriate to her blooming youth. It was pleasant to observe 
how Tilly Slowboy, waiting in the background for the Baby, took special 
cognisance (though in her earliest teen^) ol this grouping ^ and stood 
with her mouth and eyes wide open, and her head thrust forward, 
taking it in as if it were air. Nor was it less agreeable to observe 
how John the Carrier, reference being made by Dot to the afore- 
said Baby, checked hii hand when on the point of to\ichiug the ii^fant, aa 
if he thought he might cratl^ it ; and bunding down^ surveyed it from a 
safe distance, with a kind of puzzled pride : such as an amiable mastiff 
might be supposed to show, if he found himseif, one day, the father of a 
young canary. 

*" Ain't he beautiful, John P Don^t he loot predous in his sleep ? " 
" Very predoua/' said John, *^ Very much so. Hegenerallyrj asleep, 
ain*the.'" 

*' Lor, John 1 Good gracious no J '^ 

" Oh," said John, pondering- " 1 tliought his eyes was generally shut. 
Halloa ! " 

" Goodness John, how you startle one ! " 

" It ain^t right foT him to turn 'era up in that way! " said the astonished 
Carrier, "^ is it I See how he*a winking with both of 'em at once i And 
look at ]iis mouth 1 why he's gasping like a gold and silver Ssh 1 *' 

^^ You don't deserve to be a father, you don't," said Dot, with ail the 
dignity of an c-\pc:rienced matron. " But how should you know what 
little complaints children are troubled with, John 1 You wouldn't so 
much as tnow their names, you stupid fellow." And when she had turned 
the Baby over on her left arm, and had slapped ils back as a restorative, 
she pinched her husband's ear, laughing, 

" No," said ]ahn, pulling off his outer coat- " It's very true^ Dot* I 
don't know much about if, 1 only know that I've been fighting pretty 



124 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

siiSlywiiTi. the Wind to-night. It's been blowing north-east, straight into 

the C3ri, ihc whole way homc/^ 

*^Pooro3dmjm,sojtha8l "cnedMrs, Pccrybingte, instantly becoming 
vnry active. '' Here ! Tate the precious darling, Tilly, wliilc 1 mate 
myself of iomc use, Blcs? it, T could smother it tvith l:issing ii, I could ! 
Hie ihcn, good dog! Hiu Boxer, boy! Only let me make the tea 
first, John; and then Til help you ^vith tlic parcels, like a busy bee. 
* How doth th<: little ' — and all the rest of it, you know, John. Did you 
ever learn * how dotli the little,' when you went to school, John f '* 

" Not to quite know it,'^ John returned. " I was vcrj' near it once. 
But 1 sliould only have spoilt it, J dare say/* 

" Ha ha ! " laughed Dot. She had the blithest little laugh you ever 
he-ird. "What a dear old darling of a dunce you are, John, to be 



sure ! " 



Not at all disputing this position, John ^vent out to set that the boy 
with tilt hntern, tvhich had been dancing to and fro before the door 
and vvindi>w, likea Will of the Wisp, took due care of the horse ; who was 
falter than you would quite believe, if I gave you hk measure, and so 
old that his birthday w.ia lost in the mists of antiquity. Boxer, feeling 
that his attentions wore due to the family in general, and ninsi. be 
impartially distributed, dashed in and out with bewildering inconstancy ,' 
now describing a circle of short barks round the horse, where he was 
being rubbed down at the stable-door; now feigning to make savage 
rushes at his mistress, and facetiouslv bringing himself to sudden stops ; 
now eliciting a shriek from TiUy Slowboy, in the bw nutiing-chair 
near the firp, by the unexpected application of his moist nose to her 
countenance ; now exhibiting an obtrusive interest in the Baby ; now 
going ronnd and round upon the hearth, and lying down as if he had 
established himself for the nighi ; now getting up again, and taking 
that nothing of a fag-end of a tail of his, out into the weather, as if he 
had ju&t remeniboted an appointment, and was off, at a round trot, to 
keep it, 

"Tliere! There's the teapot, ready on the hob 1 " said Dot; as 
brisHy busy as a child at play at keeping house. *' And fhcre^s the cold 
knuckle of ham ; and there's the butter ; and there's the crusty loaf, 
and all. Here's the clothcs-basltct for the small parcels; John, if you've 
got any there — where are you, John ; Don't Itt the dear child fall uncier 
the grate, Tilly, whatever you do." 

It may be noted of Miss Slowboy, in spite of her rejecting the caution 
with some vivacity, that slie had a rare and surprising talent for getting 
this Baby into difficulties : and had several times imperilled its short 
life, in a quiet way peculiarly her own. She was of a spare and straight 
shape, this young lady, insomuch dial her garments appeared to be in 
constant danger of &lidmg off those sharp pegs, her shoulders, on which 
they were loosely hung- Her costume was remarkable for the partial 
development, pn all possible occasLouB, of some flannel vestment of & 



-Tvr 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 125 

singular structure ; also for affording glimpseSj in the region of the bact, 
of a corscr or pair of stays in colour a dead-green. Being always in a 
otate of gaping admiration af everything^ and absorbed besides in the 
perpetual contemphtion of her mistresses perfections and the Baby's, 
Misa Slowboy, in her little errors of judgment^ may be said to h^ve done 
equal honour to her head and to her heart ; and though these did kss 
honour to th<= Baby's headj which they were the occasJona] means of 
bringing into contact with dc^l doors, dressers, atair-rails^ bedpoitSj and 
other foreign sub^tancei, still thty were the honest results of Tilly 
Slovvboy's constant astonishment at finding heracJf so kindly treated, 
and installed in snch a comfortable home^ For^ the maternal and 
paternal Slovvboy were alike unknown 10 Fame, and Tilly itad been 
bred by public charity^ a Foundling 5 which word, though only differing 
fronx Fondling by one vowel^s fcngch^ is very different in meaning, and 
expresses quite another thing. 

To have seen little Mrs, Pecrj-bEnglc come back with her husband ; 
tugging at the clathes'basketj and making the most strenuous exeriions 
fo do nothing at all (for he carried it) ; would have amused you^ almost 
as much as it amused him. It may have entertained the Cricket too, for 
anything 1 know; but certainly^ it now began to chirp again, vche^ 
mently. ... 

" Heyday I " said John, in his slow way. " It's merrier than ever 
to-night, 1 diink." 

^^And it's sure to bring us good fortune^ John ! Ir alwjys has done 
50. To have a Cricket on the Hearth, ia the luckiest tiling in all the 
wotld ! '* 

John looked at her as if he had very nearlv got the thought into his 
head^ that she was his Cdcker in chk^, and he quite agreed with her. But 
it was probably one of liis narrow escapes, for he ^aid nothing. 

^^The first time I heard its cheerful httle notej John, was on that 
night when you brought me home — when you bronghi me to my new 
home here J its little mistress. Nearly a year ago. You recplleeC> 
Johnr" ^ 

Oh yc$. John remembered, 1 should think so ! 

** Its chirp was sach a welcome to me J Ir seemed so full of promise 
and encouragement. It seemed to say, you would be kind and gentle 
with mc and would notcxptct (I had afearof that, John, tlicn) to find an 
oid head on the shoulders of your foolish htile wife." 

John thoughtfully patted one of the slionlders, and then the headj as 
though he would have said No* no i he had had no sucli expectation ; he 
had been quite conieni 10 take ihcm as they were. And really he liad 
reason. They wer^ very comely. 

^* It spoke the truth, John^ when it seemed to say ao for you have 
ever been^I am sure^ the best^" the most considerate, the most affectionate 
of husbands to me. This has been, a happy home, John; and J love the 
Cricket for its sate ! '' 



Mh.u>* 



J26THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

'' V^liy M do 1 then;^ said the Cmicr, " So do I, Dot'' 
" 1 love it for the many limes I hav^ heard ii^ and ilitr ni3.nv dioughis 
its harmless music has given me. Sometimes, in the twilight^ when I 
fe]t a little sohtaiy and down-hearttd, John — before Baby was here to 
keep me companj^ and mate the house gay — when J have thought how 
lonelv you would be if I should die ; how lonely 1 should be if I could 
know that you had lost me^ dear ; its Chirp^ Chirp, Chirp upon the 
hearth, has seem<id to tcU me of another little voicGj so iweeti so very dear 
to me, before whose coming sound my trouble vanished lite a dream. 
And when I used lo fear — 1 did fear once^ John ; I was ycry young you 
know— that ours might ptove to be an lU-as^orted marriage : I being such 
a child, and you more like my guardian than my husband : and that you 
might not, however hard you tried, be able to learn to love mcp as you 
hoped and prayed vo\i might ; its Chirp, Chirp, Chirp has cheered me 
up again, and filled me with new trust and confidence. 1 was thinking of 
these things, dear, when I sat expecting you ; and I love iho Cricket for 
their sake I " 

'* And so do I/^ repeated John, " But Dot ? I hope and pray that 
1 might learn to love you r How you talk ! I liiid Icarni; that^ long 
before 1 brought you here, to be the Cricket's little mistres^j Dot ! *' 

She laid her hand, an insiaftt^ on his arm^ and Tooled up at him with 
an agitated face, as if she would have told him something. Next moment 
she wa? down upon her knees before the ba^et ; speaking in a sprighilv 
voice, and busy with the parcels, 

^^ There ate not many of them to-night^ J^l^^^ ^^^t I saw 5ome goods 
behind the cart, jujt now ; and though they give more trouble, perhaps, 
still they pay as v^^^ll ; so wt: have no reason to grumble, have we ? 
Besides, you have been delivering^ I dare say, aa you came along ? " 
Oh yeij" John said. ^^ A good many-" 

Why^ v^'hat^s this round box ? Heait alive^ John^ it's a vvedding- 
cake ! " 

"Leave a woman alone to find oui that," said John, admiringly. 
*' Now a man would ne^'cr have thought of ic ! Whertj?, it's my belief 
that ii yoa was to pact a wcdding-cate up in a tea-chesty or a ttirn-up 
btd^tead^orapictledsalmonlcg, or any unlikely thing, a woman would be 
sure to Rnd it out directly. Yi^s j I tailed for It ar tlic pastrycook's-" 

'' .A^nd it weighs I don't know what — whole hundredweights!** 
cried Dot, mating a great demonstration of trying to lift it. " Whose is 
it^ John i Where is it going f " 

^' R<;ad the writing on xhc otlter side," said John, 
*' Why, John \ My goodness, John \ " 
" Ah I who'd have thought it ! " John returned. 
" Yon ni^ver mean to say," pursued Dot, sitting on the floor and shaking 
iter head at him, ^' that it's Gruff and Tackleton the toymaker 1 " 
John nodded, 
Mrs. Pcerj'bingle nodded also» fifty times at least. Not in assent — in 



EL 



i 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 127 

dumb and pitting am^izeraent ; screwing up kcr lips ihe while, with atl 
thtir litde force (ihey were never made for 5crewin_sj up ; 1 am clear of 
that), and looking th<? good Carrier through and through, in hor absitac- 
lion. Mis5 Slowboy, in the meantime, who had a mechanical power 
of reproducing scraps of currenr conversation for the delectation of the 
Baby, with all the sense stiuckout of them) and all the nouns changed into 
the plural number, inquired aloud of that young creature. Was it Gruffs 
and Tackleions the tovmakcrs then, and Would it call at Paatrycooki for 
ivcdding-eakes, and Did its mothers know the boKcs ^vhen its fathers 
brought them homes ; and so on. 

" And that 13 leally to come about ! "said Dot. ** Why, she and I were 
girl? at school together, John." 

Re might have been thinking of her: or nearly thinking of her, 
perhaps : a& she was in that same school time. He looked upon her with. 
a thoughtful pleasure, but he made no answer. 

" And he*s ag old ! As unlike her !^Why, how many years older that* 
you, is Gruff and Tackleton, John ? " 

" How many more cups of tea shall I drink to-night at one sitting, than 
Gruff and Tactlcton ever took in fouTj 1 wonder ! " replied John^ good- 
humoursdly, as he drew a chair to the round tabic, and began ar tlie cold 
ham, "As to eating, I eat but little ^ bui that little I enjoy, 
Dot." 

Even this ; his usual sentiment at meal times, one of his innocent 
delusions (for his appetite was always obstinate, and Hally contradicted 
him) ; awoke no smile in the face of his little wife, who stood among the 
parcels, pushing tlie cake-boi slowly from her with her feet, and never 
once looked, though her eyes were cast down too, upon the dainty shoe 
she generally was so mindful of. Absorbed in ihought, she stood there, 
heedless alike of the tea and John (although he called to her, and rapped 
the table with his knife to startle her), until he rose and touched her on 
the arm ; when she looked at him for a moment, and hurried to her place 
behind the teaboard, laughing ai her negligence. Cut not as she had 
laughed before. The manner and the music were quite dianged. 

The Cricket, too, had stopped. Somehow the room was not so cheerful 
as it had been. Nothing like it. 

" So these are all the parcels, are they, John ? " she said : breaking a 
long silence, which the honest Carrier had devoted to the practical 
illustrationof one parr of his favourite sentiment — certainly enjoying what 
he ale, if it couldn't be admitted that he ate but little, " So these ate all 
the parcels ; are they, John ? *' 

"That's all," said Jolm. '*Why— no— I— " laying down his knife 
and fotk, and tai^ng a long breath. '* I declare — I*ve dean forgotten the 
old gentleman J " 

" The old gentleman P " 

*' In the cart," said John, " He was asleep, among the ^iraw, the last 
time I saw him. Tve very nearly remembered him, twice, since I came 



128 THE CKICKET ON THE HEARTH 

in ; but he went out of ray head ag^iin. Holloa ! Yahip there 3 Rouse 
up ! Tliat^s my^ hearty ! " 

John s^iid these latter words outside the dooFj whither he had hurried 

■\^'ith the candle in his h^jnd* 

Miss SlowboVj conscious of somt mysterious reference to The Old 
GentlemaUj and connecting in her mystified imagination cerratn asso- 
ciations of 3 religioni nature wiih the phi^i^^ ^"^^ so disturbedj ihar 
hastily rising from the low chair by the fire to seek protection near the 
skirK of her miatress, ;ind coming into contact a-s ^he crossed the doorway 
with an ancient Stranger, &he Jnsticictivdy madt^ i charge or butt at him 
with the only ofFcnsive instrument within her reach, 

T-liis instrument happening to be ihe Bjby, great commotion and alaim 
ensued^ which the sag-icity of iJo^^er rather Intended to increase ; for that 
gooil dogj more thoughtful than iia master, had, it seemed, been watching 
the ohl gentleman in his sleep lest he should walk oil wfth ei few voung 
poplar trees xhat were tied up behind the cart ; and be still attended on 
him very closely j wortjing his gaiters in fact, and mailing dead sets at the 
buttons. - - 

^ You're such an undeniable good sleeper, sir/' said John, when 
tranquillity was restored ; in the mean time the old gentleman had stood, 
bareheaded and motionfesSj h\ the eentrc of [he rcKim ; '^ chat 1 have 
half a mind to ask you where tlic other six are : only that would be a joke, 
and I know i should spoil it. Very neai though/' munnured the Carrier, 
with J chuckle ^ "^ very near \ " 

The Stranger^ who had long white hair j good features, singularly 
bold and well defined for an old man ^ and dark, bright^ penciraiing 
eyes ; looked round with a smile, and saluted tlic Carrier'* wife bj^ gravely 
inclining his head. 

His garb was ^ery quaint and odd— a long^ long way behind the time- 
Its hue was brown, all over. In his hand he hrld a gfcat brown club or 
walking-stick ; and striking this upon tlieflcKjr^ it fell asunder, and became 
a chair. On which he sat down^ quite etimposedly, 

*^ Inhere ! *' said the C.irrier^ turning to his wife. ^^ That^s the way 
1 found him, sitting bv the roadside ! Upright as a milestone. And 
almost as deal." 

Sitting in rhe open air^ John ! '' 

In the open airj" replied the Carrier, "just at dusk* * Carriage 
Paid,' he said ; and gave me eighteen pence. Then he got in. And there 
he is." 

" He*s going, John. I think 1 " 
Not at all. He was onlv going to speaks 

" If you ptoe^ T was to be Icf: till called for," said ihe Stranger, mildly. 
^^ Don't mind me." 

With that, he look a pair of spectacles from one of his large pockets^ 
and a book from another^ and leisurely be^an to read. Making no more 
of Boxer tlian if lie had been a house l:tmb i 






r 



L >'. 









Mh> Tj//y Skic&oy 



f- 



_ *^ 









i 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 129 

The Carrier and h.h wife exchanged a look of perplexity. The Stranger 
raised Kis head ; and glancing from th<5 lacccr lo the former, said : 

" Your daughter, my good friend ? " 

^* Wife/' returned John, 

" Niece f " said the Siianger* 

"Wifej" roared John. 

*' Indeed ? " observed the Stranger, *' Snrcly^ ? Very )^oung ! ** 

He quietly turned over, and resumed his readings But, before he 
could have read two Unei^ he again intccrnpted himself to say : 

'*Baby,y(jms?'^ 

John gave him a gigantic nod ; equivalent to an answer in the affinn-' 
ative, delivered through a speaking-trumpet- 

*^ Girl ? " 

" Bo-o-oy ! " roared John, 

^' Also very young, eh ? ^* 

Mrs, Pecrybingle instantly sirnck in* ^*Two months jnd three 
da-ays ! Vaccinated just six weeb ago-o i Took very fine-ly [ Con- 
sidered, by the doctor, a rtmafkably beautiful chi-ild ! Equal to the 
general run of children at five months o-old 1 Tates notice, in a way 
quite won-der-fu]. May seem, impossible to you, but feels his legs 
already! " . . 

Here the breathless little mother, who had been shrieking the&e short 
sentences into the old man's car, until her pretty face was crimsoned^ 
held up the Baby before him as a stubborn nnd triumphant fact ; whik 
Tilly Blowboy^ witli j melodious cry of "^ Ketcherj Kctchcr " — which 
sounded like some unknown words^ adapted to a popular Sneeze — pizr- 
formed some cow-like gambols round that all-unconscious Innocent- 

^^ Hark f He's called for, sure enough^" said John. " Theie^s some- 
body at the door- Open it, TiUy." 

Before she could reach itj however, it was opened from without ; being 
a primitive sort of door, with a Eatch, that any one could lift if he ehose — 
and a good many people did choose, I can tell you; for all kinds of neigh- 
bours liked to have a gheerful word or rwo v/iih the Carrietj though he 
wai no grt^at talker himseif. Being opened, it gave admission to a little^ 
meagre, thoughtful^ dingy-faced man, who seemed to have made himself 
a greatcoat from the sack-doth covering of some old box ; for when he 
turned to shut the door, and keep the weather out, he disclosed upon the 
bact of tliat grtrmcnt^ the inscription G S;T in krge black capitals. Also 
the word GLASS in bold characters, 

^^ Good evenings John t" *aid the little man. " Good evening. Mum. 
Good evening, Tilly. Good evening, Unbeknown ! How^s Baby, Mum ; 
Boxer's pretty well I hope ^ " 

^^ All thriving, Caleb/' replied Dot. ^^ 1 am sure you need only look 
at the dear child^ for one, to know that.'' 

^^ And Via sure I need only look at you for another/' said Caleb. 

He didn't look at her though ; he had a wandering and thoughtful 

cc. .^^ 



4; 






230 THE CRICKET ON' THE HEARTH 

eyewhkh seemed to be always projecrirg irself into somt other lime and 
plat:e^ no m^ittcr what he ?^id ; a (tcscriprion which will etju^Hj- apply to 
his voice, 
^^ Or nt John for another," s^id Caleb- " OratTilly^asfara^ that goes- 

Or ceriainlv ^t Boxen" 

" Busy just no^v'i Cukb ? " a&tcd the Carrier 

'" W\\Vj pretty wellj John^" he retttmed, ^viih the distmughc air &f a 
man^vho was ca^tins; about for thePhiio&ophcr^&atonCjHit tcasi. " Pretty 
mucii ?o, 1*hort;'s rather a run nn Nojih*s Arks ^K prestJit. 1 could havt 
wished to improve upon t}ie Familvj but I don^c see how it's to be denied 
;tt the price. It woiiJd be a s^itisfactioii to one's iDind^ to make it dearer 
which was Shcms and Hams and which was Wives- Flies an't on tliiif 
scale neiiherj as compared with elephants von know*! Ah [ well 1 
Have you got anything in the parcel Hue for TnCj Jolin f " 

The Carrier put his hand into a pockei of the coat he had r^ken off ; 
rmd brought antj carefully preserved in mo&s and psiper^ a tinv flower- 
pot. 

"There It is ! ^^ he said^Jidjusting it vvith great care. " >^'ot £o much as 
a leaf damaged- Full of buds I " 
Caleb's dull eye brightened^ 35 he took it^ nind thanked hinin 
*^ De^r^ Cilebj" said the Carrier^ " Very dear at this season.*^ 
** Never mind that- It would be cheap to mc, whatei^er it cost," 
teturncd the little man. " Anything etae^ John ? " 
" A small box/' replied the Cairier. " Here yo\i are 1 " 
" * For Caleb Plummer/ " said the little man^ ipdling out the 
direction. " MVlth Cash.' With C^sh, John. 1 don't think it's for 



me." 



^^ \\ ichCjre/' returned the Carrier, looking over hi$ shoulder. " Where 
do vou make out cash r " 

^^'Oht To be ?ure I "said Caleb. <^ It's all right. Withcare! Yes, 

yes ; that's mine. It miglit have been with cashj ind(jed, if my dear Boy 
in the Golden South Americas had livedo John- You loved him lite s 
son 1 didn't you ? You needn't say you did. / know, of course* 
^ Caleb Flummcr. With care.' Yes, yes, it's all right. It^s a box of 
doUfi' eyes for my daughter's work, i wish it was her ow^n sfght in a box, 
John.'^ 

" I wish it was, or could be ! " cried the Carricrn 

^^ Utank^ee^" said the Htt!c mann " You speak very hearty- To think 
that site should never see the Dolls — and them a-staring at her, m boldj 
all day long i ITiai's where it cuts. W^liat's the damage^ John ? " 

" I'll damage you," &aid John^ " i^ you inquire. Dot ! Verv' near ? " 

*^ Well I it's [ike you to say so," observed the HitJe man, " it's your 
kind way. Let mt see. 1 think that's all." 

^* 1 think not.'' said the Carrier. '"iVy again." 

" Something for our Governor^ eh ? " s-ild C^flebj after pondering a 
Utile while. " To be sure* l'h3t'i v%'hat I came for j but my head's 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 131 
BO runniTig on them Arks artd things i He hasn't been htre^ has 

be r^ 

*^ Not he," retafncd the Carrier* *' He^s 100 busy, courting," 
*' He^a coining round though," said Caleb ; '* for he told me to keep 
on the near side of the road going home^ and ii was ten to one hcM take 
me lip, I had better go, hy the bye. — You conldn^t have tJie goodness 
to Itt me pinch Boxt^r^s tail, Mum, for half a moment, c"uSd you ? " 
^^ Why, Caleb ! what a question ! " ... 

" Oh never mind. Mum/* said the littie man. " Ht mi^htn^t lite it 
perhaps. Thoro^s a small order just come in, for barking dogs ; and I 
should wish to go as close to Natur' as I could, for sixpence. That's all. 
"Never mind. Mum." 

it happened opportunely, that Boxer, without receiving the proposed 
stimulus, bcj^an 10 bctrk with great zeal. But as this irfipliyd the approach 
of some new visitor, Caleb, postponing hi? stndy from the life to a more 
convenient season, shouldered the round box, and took a hurried leave- 
He might have spared himself the trouble, for he met the visitor upon 
the thftsliold. 

**0h! Voa are here, are you ? VVait a bit. Fll take you home. 
John Peerybingle, my s^^rvice to you. Mora oi my service ro ytJtir pretty 
^viEe. Handsomer every day 3 Better coo, if possible 1 And younger," 
mused rhe speaker, in a low voice ; " that^s the Dovit of it 3 '* 

^" 1 should be astonished at your paying comptiment^j Mr, TackletoDj^* 
said Dot, not with the best grace in the world ; '* but for your condition." 
** You know all about ii then i " 
^' I hav5 got myself to believe it, somehow^" said Dotn 
'* After a hard struggle^ I suppose f " 
^: Very." 

IVtkli^ton the Toy-mcrchantj pretty generally known as Gruff and 
Taeklenon— for that Wl^s the firm^ though GrufF had been bought out 
long ago ; only lea^Hng hts name, and as some said his nature, according 
to its Dictionary meanings in ihe business — Taetleton the Toi^-merehantj 
was a man whose vocation had been quite misunderstood by his Parents 
and Guardians. If thoy had made him a Money Lender, or a sharp 
Atrorney, or a Sheriff's OfficePj or a Broker, he might have sown his 
discontented oata in his youth^ and, after having had the full run of 
himsdf in ill-natured transaccioni, might have turned out amiable^ at 
lastj for the sake of a little fresJincss and novelty. But, cramped and 
chafing in the pt^aceable pursuit of toy-mating, he was a domestSc Ogrc> 
who had been living on children all his Lift:, and was tht:ir implacable 
enemy He despised all toys ; wouldn^t have bonglit one for the world ; 
deiightcd, in his malice, to insinuate grim expressions into the faces of 
brown-paper farmers who drove pigs to market, bellmen who advertised 
lost law^Tirs^ consciences, movable old ladies who darned stockings or 
carved pies ; and other like samples of his stock in trade* In appalling 
masks; hideous^ hairj, red eyed Jacks in Boxes; Vampire Kites 3 



J>' -1.1 - L 



-.^ 



132 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

demoniacal Tumblers who wouldn't lie down, and were perpetual!}' 
flymg forward, to stare infants out of couTilellance ; his ?oul perfeciiy^ 
revelled. They w^re hjs only re)icf, iinj saftiy-valve. Hp was great in 
such inventions. Anything suggestive of a Pony- nightmare, was 
delicious to liim. He hatJ even lo^i mom^v (and he tooli to that toy vei^ 
kindly) hy getting up Goblin slides for magic- lanterns, whereon the 
Powersof DarLni^ss were depicted as a sort of supernatural shell-fish, with 
human faces. In intensifying the portraiture of Giants, he had sunt 
quire a little capital ; and, though no painter himself, he could fndicaie, 
for the instruction of his artists, with a piece of chalk, a certain furtive 
leer for ihceounteninccs o£ those monsa-rj, whii:h w^s safe to destroy the 
pc^ce of mind of any younggenrieman between llie ages of six and eleven, 
for the whole Christmas or Midsummer Vacation. 

What he was in toys, he was (a^ moit men are) in all othet things. You 
nia/ easily suppose, therefore, thai wiiMn the green cape, which reached 
down to the calves of his legs, there was buttoned up to tiie chin an un- 
commonly pleasant fellow ; and that he was about as choice a spirit, and 
as agreeable a companion as ever stood in a paif of bull-headed looting 
boots with mahogany-coloured tops. 

SiiH, T^clJetnn, the Toy-merchant, was going to be married. In spite 
of all this, he was going to be married. And to a young wife too ; a 
beautiful young wife. 

He didn^t loot much like a bridegioom, as he stood In the Carrier's 
titchi^n, with a twist in his drj- face, and a screw in his body, and his hat 
jerked over the bridge of his nose, and his hands tucked down into the 
bottoms of his pockets, and hi^ whole sarcastic ill-conditioned self peering 
out of one little corner of one little eye, like the concentrated essence of 
any number of ravens. But. a Bridegroom he designed to be. 

"In three days' time. Next ''I'hursday, The last day of the first 
month in the year. That's my wedding-day/' said Tackleton. 

Did I mention that he had always one eye wide open, and one eye 
nearly shut ; and that the one eye nearly shut, was always the expressive 
■eye i I don^r think 1 did. 

'" ThaC^s my wedding-day 1 '* &aid Tackleton, rattling his money, 

" Why, it's our wedding-day too," exclaimed the Cairier. 

" Ha, ha ! " laughed Tackletcm. " Odti ! Tou're just such another 

couple. Just J " 

The indignation of Dot al this presumptuous assertion is not to be 
described. What next ? His imagination would compass the possibility 
of just such another Baby perhaps. The man was mad. 

^'I say! A word with yoo,'^ murmured 7'aclvleton, nudging the \ 
Carrier with his elbow, and taking him a htile apart, " Vou^U come to ' 
the wedding ? We're in the same boat you tnow.'^ i i 

" How in the same boat ? " inquired the Carrier. ' * 

A little disparity, you know i " said Tackleton, with another nudge. 

Come and spend an evening with us, bdorchand." 






II 






THE CRICKET ON THEHEARTH 133 

*^ WTiy ? " dtraandcd John astonished at thts pressing hospitality. 
" Why r '' returned the other* " That's a new way of receiving an 
invitation. Why^ for pkas^irc ; sociability^ vou know, and aii that J " 
" I thought ^^ou were never sociable,^' s^id John, in his pliin v^ay. 
" Tchah 1 it's of no use to be anything but free with yoa I see," said 
Tackleton, *^ Why, then^ ihe truth is you have a — what lea-drinHng 
people call a sorr of a comfortable appearance together : you and your 

wife- Wf* know better, you know^ but " 

" NOj wc doai'i know hectcrj" inierposed John. ^^\\1iat are you 
talking about f " 

^* Wcli I Wc don't know better, then,'* said TadJeion. '' We'll agree 
that wc don*t. Aa you litt ; what dees it matter ? I was going to say, 
a; you have that sort of appearances, /our company vd!l produces favour- 
able tffect on Mrs, Tsckleian that ^vill b^=. And, though I don^t think 
your good lady's ver/ friendly to me, in this matter, still she can't help 
litTsclf from falling into my viewSj for there^s a compactness and cosiness 
of appearance about her ihat always tells, even in an indifferenc cas^. 
Vou'li say you'll come ! " 

^^ We have arranged la keep out Wcdding-Day (as far as that goes) an 
home," said John. ^* We have made the promise to ourselves these sii 

months. Wc think, you see^ that home " 

" Bah ! what^s home } " cried Ta^kkton. " Four walls ^nd a ceiling 
(why don't you kill that Crictct ; / would ! I always do* I hate their 
noise). There are four walls and a ceiling at my liouse. Come to me ! *' 
"' You till your Crickets, eh ? '* said John, 

*' Scrunch 'em, sir/' returned the other, setting KTs heel heavily on tTie 
floor. ** You'll say you^ll come ? It's as much your interest as mine^ 
you know, th:tt the women should persuade each other that they're quiet 
and contented, and couldn't he belter off. I i:now their way. Whatever 
one woman says, another womaiais determined to clinch^ always. Thtre*^ 
that spirit of emulation amonj^^ *em^ sir, that if your wife says to my wife, 
^ Pm the happiest woman in the world, and mine's ihe best husband in 
the ^vorld, and I dote on him^' my wife will say tlie same to yours, or 
more^ and half believe it." 
" Do you mean to say slie don't then ? " asked the CarTier* 
" Don't [" cried Tackleton, with a short, sharp laugh. '^ Don't 
Wliat f '-' 

The Carrier had had some faint idea of adding^ ^^ dote upon vou*" 
Ri^-t happening to meet the half-dosed eye, as it twinkled upon him over 
the turned-upcolUrof thecape, which was within an ace of poking it out, 
hefelt It iuch an unlikely part and parcel of anything to be doted on^ that 
he substituted, *' that she don't believe it ! " 
. ^* Ah you doj: i You're joking^" said Tackleton, 
Bui the Carrier T though slow to understand thefulldrift of hismeaningj 
eyed him in such a serious manner, thai he was obliged to be a little more 
csplanatory. 



IMav*' 



^" n^ 'r 



134 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

'" I havp tiic humour," seiiJ *r:ickkton : holding up the fiiigcrs of his 
left hand and tapping theforefin;E;cr, to imply ^* there I ^m^TacUeion to 
ivit *^ : ^^ 1 have the humour, sir, 10 m^iry a young wife and a pr^^nv 
wik-;" here he mpped his little fin^t-r to c^pre&i the Bride; not 
sparingly, but sharply ; with a sense of power. " Tm able to gratify 
ih.\t humour and I do- It*s my whim. Bui — now IooIl there." 

He poinied to whc^re Dot was sicttng, thoughtfully, before ihe fire ; 
le-inifig h^t dimpled chin upon her hand^ and watching ihe bright bUzc* 
The Carrier looked at her, and then at him, and tJien at hcr^ and then at 
him again. 

*' She honours and obcys^ no doubt, vou tnoWj" ^aid TatlTcion : 
^* ani.1 thai, as I am not a man nf striTimc^nt, ii quite enouj^h for vh\ But 
do vou think there's anyi:hing more In It? " 

" J think/' observed the Carrier, " tliat 1 should ehuek any man out of 
wJndoWj who said there wasn't*" 

" Exactly $Oj" returned ihc other with an unusual alacriiv of assent* 
^* To be sure I Doubtless you would. Of course. Tm certain of it. 
Gcx?d night. Pleasant dreams ! " 

The good Carrier was purzled+^nd made uncnmfortgblc and uneertainj 
in spite of himself. He couldn^t help showing Itj in his manner. 

"Good nightj my dear friend!" s^id TackJeion, compassionately. 
** [^m off- We're exactly altke, in reality, I see, Yqu won*t give U5 
to-morrow evening } Well i Ne_^t day you go out visiting, 1 know^ 
rii meet you there, and bring my wife that is to bc- it1l do her good, 
YouVfi agreeable ? Thank'ce. WhatV that ! " 

Ti was a ioud cry from the Carrier's wife i a ioud^ sharp, sudden cry, 
that made the room ring, hke a Rbss vessel. She had rtji^n from her scat, 
and stood like one transfixed by icrrar and suj'prisen The Stranger had 
advanced towards the fire to warm himselfj and stood within a short 
stride of her chair* But quite stiih 

"Dol!^* cried the Carrier. " Maiy ! Darhng I What's the 
matter ? " 

Th^y were all about her in a moment. Calebs who had been dosiing 
Cpu the cake-box, in the first imperfect rccovi^rj- of his suspended presence 
of mind seized Miss Slowboy by the hair of her head^ but immediately 
apologised* 

** Mary ! " exclaimed the Carrier^ supporting htjr m his arms. ^^ At^ 
you ill i What k it f Tell me, dear ! '^ ... 

She only answered by beating her hands together, and falling into a 
wild fit of laughter. Theii^ sinting from his grasp upon the ground^ she 
covered her face with her apron, and wept bitterly. And then she 
laughed again, and then she cHed again ; and then, she said how cold it 
waSj and suffered him to lead her to the iire^whereshesat downasbcfore^ 
The old man standing, as before ; quite still. 

'' Vm better, John,'* she said. '' Vm quite well now— I " 

*^ John I " But John was on theother stdcof hcf- Why turn her face 



.t" 



;- >* 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 135 

towards the atrange old gcnileman, as if addressing hJm ! Was Tier brain 
wandering ? 

"Only a f-tincy, John dear — a kind of shock — a somediing coming 
suddenly before my eyes — I doii*! know vdiat it was. It's tjuire gone ; 



ciuUe gone/' 



I'm glad it's gone/' muricred Tacfdeton, luming ihe expressive eye 
all round the room. ** I wonder where ir's gone, and what it was. 
Hnmpli [ Calebs come here I Who's that with the grey huir i " 

*^ I don't know, sir/' returned Caleb in a whisper. " Ne^'er sea him 
before, in all my life, A beautiful figura for a nut-cracker ; quite a new 
model. With a screiv-jaw opening down into his waiitcoat, he'd be 
ioveij." 

*' Not Ugly enough/' said Tackleton, 

** Or for a Iireboi* cither," observed Caleb, in deep contemplation, 
'' what a model ] Unscrew his head to put the matches in ; turn him 
heels up'ardsfor the light ; and what a Urobosfoi a gentleman's mantel- 
shelf, jusl as he stands '. " 

" Not half ugly enough," said Tackleton. '* Nothing in him at all, 
Comt I Brinj^ thai box [ Ail right now, I hope ? " 

** Oh quire gone ! Quite gone ! " said the litde ivomau, waving him 
hurriedly away, " Good night J " 

" Good night," said Tackleton. '* Good night, John Peerybingle ! 
Take care how you carry fhJt bo-f, C.ileb. Let it fall, and I'll murder 
you ! Dark as pitch, and weather worse than ever, eh i Good night ! " 

So, witli another sharp look round the room, he went out at the door ; 
followed by Caleb ivith the wedding-cake on his head. 

The Carrier had been so much astounded by his little wife, and so 
busily engaged in soothing and tending her^ ihat he had scarcely been 
conscious of the Stranger's presence, until now, when he again stood 
tlieie, their only guest. 

^* He don't belong to them, you see," said John, " 1 must give him a 
hint to go," 

" 1 beg your pardon, frienJ," said the old gentleman, advancing to 
him ; " the more so, as i feat your wife has not been well ■ but the 
attt^ndiint whom my infirmity," he touched his ears and shook his head, 
" rentiers almost indispensable, not having arrived, I fear there must be 
some mistake. The bad night which made the shelter of your comfort- 
able cart (may I never have a worse I) so aceeptable, is still as bad a^ ever. 
Would you in your kindness, suffer me to rent a bed here f " 

"Yes, yes,'^ cried Dot. "Yes! Certainly!" 

" Oh ! " said the Carrier, surprised by the rapidity of this consent. 
" Well ! I don't object ; but still I'm not qnite sure that- " 

" Hush ] " she interrupted, " Dear Jolm ! " 

" Why, he's stone deaf," urged John. 

" I tnow he is, hut — Yea, sir, certaiidy. Yes i ccrtainlj ! I'll make 
him up a bed, directly, John," 






_bl^^ 



1^6 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

As she hurried off to do it^ the flutter of her spirits^ and the a^it^tion o£ 
her manner, were so strange^ that the Carrier stood looking aEter her, 
quite confounded. 

** Did its mothers make it up a Beds then [ " cried Miss Slowbov to the 
Baby ; " and did its liair grow brovv^n and curly^ when its caps vfiis lifted 
oSj and frighten it, a precious Pets, a s^tiing b^ the fires i " 

With that unaccountable attraction of the mind to trifle?^ xvhich is 
often incidents! to a stJitc of doubt nnd coniusion^ the C-irrier^ as he 
wiilked slowly lo and fro^ fonnd himself mentally repealing cvan these 
absurd wxkrds, many times. So man^ times that he got them by heart, 
and was stsll cormlng them over ;ind over, like a lesson, when Tilly, after 
administering as much friction to the liith^ batd head with Lor hand as she 
thought wholesome (according" to the practice of nurses), had once more 
tied the Bab/s cap on* 

" And frighten it a precious PeiSj asTttmgbv thefire. What frighten tjd 
Uot, I wonder ! " mused the Carricrp pacing to and fro. 

He scouredj from his hearty the insinuations of the Toy-merchant, and 
yet they filled him witli a vague, indefinite uneasiness ; forTackleton was 
quick and ^ly ; and he had that painful iense^ himself, of being a man of 
slow percepiiunj that a broken hint was always \v<>rrj'iug lo him. He 
certainly had no intention in his mind of linking anything that ^I'ackletoii 
had saidj with the unusual conduct of his wife ; but the two subjects of 
reflection came into his mind ttJgethcr^ and he; tould not keep thvm 
as tinder^ 

The bed was soon made ready ; and tlie visitor, declining all refresh- 
ment bur a cup of tea^ rciircd. Then Dot : quite well again, she said : 
quite well again : arranged the great chair in tlie chimney-corner for her 
husband ; filled his pipe and gave it him ; and took her usual little siool 
beside hitn on the hearth. 

She always fi^ow/t^ sit on that little stool ; 1 think she mnsr l^ave had a 
kind o£ notion that it "was a coaxing, wheedling^ litik stool- 
She waij out and out, the very best filler of a pipe, I should say, in the 
four quarters of the globe. To see her pui that chubby little hnger in 
the bowl, and then blow do\vn the pipe to cleat- the lube ; and, when she 
had done &o, al^ect to thint that there was tealiy sometlnng Jn the tube, 
and bTow a doicn times, and hold it to her eve like a telcscopej with a 
most provoking twist in her capital little face, as she looked down it ; was 
quite a brilliant thing. As to the tobacco, she wa? perfect mistress of tl^c 
subject ; and ht^r hgbting of the pipe, with a wisp of paper, when the 
Carrier had it in hi:S mouth^ — going so verj^ near his nose, and yet not 
seenching it — was Art : high Art, sir. 

And the Cricket and the Kettle, tummg up again^ acknov^l edged it ! 
The bright fire, blazing up again, acknowledged it ! The little Mower 
on the clock, in his unhtrenltd workj acknowledged it J The Carrier, in 
his smootliing forehead and expanding face, acknowledged it, the readiest 
of all- 



.JU 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 137 

And 35 he sober!/ aad thoughtfully puffed at his old pipe ; and as the 
Dutch clock ticked ; and as the red lire gleamed ; and as ihii Criclcat 
chirped ■ that Genius of his Hearth and Home (for such the Cricket was) 
came oul, in fairy shape^ into the raom, and summonczd many forms of 
Home about him. Dot? cf all ages^ and all sizes^ filled the chamber^ 
Dots who were merry children, running on before him^ gathering 
flox^^Ts, in the fields ; coy Does, half shrinking f rom^ half yielding to, the 
pleading of his own rough image i newly-married Dots^ alighting at the 
doot, and taking wondering possession of the household keys ; motherly 
little Dorsj attended by fictitious Slowboys, beating babies to be 
christened ; matronly Dota^ siill young and bloomings watching Dots of 
daughteiSp as they danced at lustic balls ; fat Dots, encircled and beset 
by troops of rosy grand-children ; withered Dots, who leaned on sticks, 
and tottered ;is ihey cicpt along. Old Carric^rs^ roOj appeared^ with blind 
old Ba:fers Ivitig at their feet ; and newer carts with younger drivers 
(" Pcerybiugle Brothers " on the tilt) ; ^nd sick old Cairiers^ tended by 
Wie gentlest hands ; and graves of di^ad and gone ofd Carriers, green in 
the churchyard* And as the Cricket showed him all these things — he 
saw them plainly, though his eyes were i^xed upon the fire — the Carrier's 
heart grew light and bappy^ and he thanked his Housthold Gods iviih all 
his might, and cared no more for Gruif and Tatkleion than you do- 

Hut what was ihat young figure of a man^ whicli the same Fair Cricket 
set so near Her &roolj and which remained thcrej singly and alone : Why 
did it linger still, so near her, with its arm upon th* chimtiey-piece, ever 
repeating ^* Married ! and not to mt ! " 

Ol: Dot [ Oh failing Dot ! I'here is no place for it in all your 
husband^s visions i why has its shadow fallen on his hearth ! 



GIHRP THE SECOND 

CvLEB Plumper and his RlinJ Daughter lived all alone by themselves, as 

the Story-hooks say — and my blessing, with yours to back it 1 hope^ on 

the Story-books, for saying anything in this ^vorkaday world i—Caltb 

PlLimnicr and his Blind Daughtc^r liv^^d ail alone by iht^rnselvcs, in a little 

cracked nutshell of a wooden house, which was, in truths no belter than 

a pimple on the prominent red-bricV no^e of GrufE and Tackleton. Tha 

premises of Gruff and Tackleton were the great feature of the street ; 

but you might have knocked down Caleb Plummer's dwelling with a 

hammer or two, and carried off the pieces in a cart. 

-p If any one had done the dwelling-house of Caleb Plumraer the honour 

\ tomias it after such an inroad^ it would have beeUj no doubt, to commend 

^ its dcmaliiion as a vast improvement. It stucl: to the premises of Gruff 

i and Tackldton^ Itke a barnacle to a ship's keel, or a snail to a door, or a 

|, little bunch of toadstools to the stem of a tree, Uut it was the germ from 

f which die full-grown trunk of GrufF and T'aekleton had sprung; and 

\ ^ 



^' 



■ ■ 'i I 



I 



I3STHE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

Under its crazjr roof , tlic Gruff bcfort hsi Jiad^ in i^ small way% matle 
toys for a gcneraiion of old boys and girls, ivho h^id pbytd with them, 
and found ihtm out^ and broken ihem^ ami gone to sleep. 

I have said iK:tt C^lcb and hi^ poor Blind Daugiiter lived here ; I 
should have s-iid that C^lcb lived here, and iiiis poor liUnd Danghier 
som<:whero eke; in an cndiantcd home of Caleb^s furnishingj where 
scarcity and shabbiness were noi^ and tionble never entered. Caleb was 
no sorcerer^ bur In the only magic ail that still rcm.ilns to us ; the magic 
of devotedj deathless love : Nature had been ih<: miicici^ of itis study ; 
and from h^;r t^aching^ all jhn wonder came. 

The Bhnd Girl never knew ihat ceilings were discoloured ; walls 
blotched and bare of plaster here and there ; high crevices unstopptrd 
and widening every day; beams mouldering and tending tiuwnward. 
The Blind Giil neier knew that iron was rusting, wood rotting, paper 
peeling off; the very si^/e, and shapc^ and true proportion of the dwellings 
witlicrictg away. The Blind Gifl never knew that ugly shsipcs of delf and 
earthenware ^vere on the board i that sorrow and fain ihcailedn ess were 
in the house ; that Caleb^i scanty hairs were turning greyer and more 
greyj before her sightless Hc<^. The Jih'ttd Girl never knew they had a 
master, cold, exacting^ and uninterested : ni:ver knew that Tdckleton 
was Tackleion in short ; but lived in the behef of an eccentric humouri&t 
who loved to h^ve his jest ^vith them ; and who while he WiS ihe 
Guardian v\ngelof their hves, disdained to hear one word ol tlianbfulness. 
And all was Caleb^s doing ; nil the doing of her simple father [ But 
he too had a Cricket on his Hearth ; and listtning sadly to its music 
wJien the motherless Blind Child was very young, tltai Spirit had inspired 
hitn with the thought that even her great deprivation might bs almost 
changed into a blessing, and the girl nude happy by these Ifttlc means. 
For all ilie Crictet Tribe are potent Spirits, e^en though the people who 
hold converse with ihem do not know it (which is trequ^ntlv ihe case), 
and there are not in the Un^ucn World, Voice$ rrtore gentle and more 
true ; that may be so impUcitly relied on^ or that arc so certain lo give 
none but tenderest counsel; as the Voices in which the Spirits of the 
Fireside and the Hearth address themselves to human ki]id. 

Caleb and his daughter ^vere at work tog^tht-r in tlicir usual working- 
room, whicii served them for their ordinary hving-room as well ; and a 
strange place it wa$. There were houses iu it^ linish<xl and iinlinished, 
for Dolls of all stations in life. Suburban tenements fur Dolls of moderate 
means ; kitchens and single fipartments for Dolls of the lower classes ; 
capital town residences for Dolls of high estate. Some of these eitablish- 
mencs were already furnished according to estimate^ with a view to the 
convenience of Dolls of limited income; oihers could be litted on the 
matt expensive scale, at a mementos notice^ from whole shelves of chairs 
and tables, sofas^ bedsteads^ and upholstery. The nobiltty and gentry 
and public in general, for whose accommodation tjicsc tenements were 
designed, lay, here and there^ in baslceii, staring straight up ar the 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH x^g 

ceiling ; but in denoting iheir degrees in socfetyj and confining them to 
their respeciivt: stations (w]iich c?Lpcrienco ^howij to be lamenfabl)^ 
difficult in real lifer), the m-ikt^rs of tliest Dolls had far impiovxd on 
Nature, wKo is often froward ^ind perverse ; far the)-, not rt&ting oa auch 
arbitrary marks ^^ s^Tin, cotton-print^ and biifi of mg^ had super-added 
striking personal diffeitncei ^vhich allowed of no mistake. TKu?, the 
Dol!-hdv of Distinction had wax limbs of perfect symmetry ; but only 
she and her compeers ; the next grade In the social scale; being made of 
leaiher ; and th*; next oi course linen siuff. As to the comtnon-peopSe, 
rhcy had just 50 manv matches out of tinder-boycs for iheir arms and 
legs, and there they were — established in their splierc at once, beyond 
the possibility ot getting out of it. 

There were various other samples of his handicraft, besides DoHs^ in 
Caleb Piummtr's room. There were Noah's Arks^ in whicih the B^rds 
and Beasts were an uncommonly tight fit^ I as&ure you ; thougfi they 
could be crammed in^ anyhow, at tlic roofj and rattled and shaken into 
the srrtallesi: compass. By a bold poetical license, mo$t of tJiese Noah's 
Arks had knockers on tiic doors; inconsistent appendages perhaps, as 
suggestive ai morning callers and a Postman, yet a pleasant finish lo thc^ 
outside of the building, H^ere were scores of mtjlancholy Utile carts 
^vhicli, when the wheels went round, performed most doleful music. 
Many small fiddles^ drums, and othc;r insiruments oi torture ; no end of 
cannon^ shield?^ swords^ £pc;arSj and guns. There were Uttle tumblers in 
red breeches, incessantly swarming up high obaiacles of red-tape^ and 
coming down^ head first, on the other side ; and there were innutnersbJe 
old gentlemen of respectable^ not to say vencrsble appearance^ insanely 
flying over horizontal pegSj inserted^ lor ihe purpose, in their own street 
doors. There were beasts of all torts ; horses, in particular^ of every 
breed, from the spotted barrel on tour pegs, with a small tippet for a 
miinc, to the thoroxigl^bred rocker on his highest mettle. As ir would 
have been hard to count the dozens upon dozens of grotesque figures that 
weri: ever ready to comnnt all sorts of absurdities on tile turning of a 
handle ; so it would have been no easy task lo mention any human folly, 
vice, or weakness, iliat had not its type, immediaEe or remote, in Caleb 
Plummer's room. And not in an c:taggerated (orm ; for very little 
handles will move men and women to as stracgc performances, as any 
Toy was ever made to undertake^ 

In the midst of all these objects, Caleb and his daugiiter sat at work. 
The Blind Girl busy as a Doll*s dressmaker ; Caleb painting and glazing 
the four pair front of a desirable family mansion* 

The care in^pflnted in the lines of Caleb^s face, and his ab&orbed and 
dreamy manner^ which would have sat well on some alchemist or 
abstruse student, were at first sight an odd contrast to his oceupation, 
and the trivialities about him. But trivial things, invenitrd and pursued 
for breads become very serious matters of fact; and^ apart from this 
consideration, 1 am not at all prepared to say, myself, that if Caleb had 



140 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

been a Lord Chamberbin^ or a Member of P^rlifimcnt, or ^ laviA^er^ or 
even fl great speculators he would have dealt in [ovs one wlitt less 
^vhtmiica! ; wliilo 1 have* a verj' greal doubt whether tJity would have 
bei^n as Iiarmiess. 

'* So you were out in tiicr rain last night, father, in your beautiful^ tiew, 
gieat-coat," said Caleb^s daughter, 

*^ In my beautiful new grear-co:it/' answered Caleb, glancing towards 
a clothi2&4inc in th<; roonij on wliicli rhc aack-tlolh garment prEviou&ly 
described, was CnirelnUy hung up to dry, 

" How ghd I aTn you bought it, father [ ** 

^^ And of audi a uilor, 100,*^ said Caleb- *^ Quite :i fashionable tallor, 
It's too good for me." 

TJic Blind Cirl rested from her w'^ik, and lauglied wiih delight, 
" Too good, father J What c^n be too ^pood for you ? " 

_** Tm h^K :i^hamcd toueri]" it though," said Caleb, watching iJie cfiect 
of what he said^ upon her brightoiiing i^ace ; ^* upon my word. When I 
hear the boys and people Eay behind me^ " Halloa 1 Hert*s a swell [ ^ I 
don't Lnow which way 10 loot. And wJien the b^gar wouldn^r go avvny 
last night ; and^ when 1 said I was a ver)" common man, faid ^ No, your 
Honour ! Ble^s your Honour, dou^t say that ! " i was quite ashamed. I 
really felt as if I hadn't a right to wear it.'^ 

Happy Blind Girl ! How merry she was, In her exuUatlon I 

" I sec yoUj E.ither/^ she saf J^ clasping her hand^^ *^ cis plainly^ as if I had 
the eyes 1 never want when you are with me. A blue coat '* 

"Bright blue/' said CifeL 

" Yes^ yes ! Bright blue ! '' exclaimed tht: girl, lurninyj up her radiant 
fao^ ; ^'' the colour I cm ju5t remember tn liie blciiscd sky : "\^ou told 
me it was blue before I A bright blue coat '* 

" Made loose to the figure," sug^csrcd Cakb. 

" Yes ! Loose to the figure J '* cried the Blind Girl, laughing heartily ; 
*^ and in it you, dear father, with j'our merry L-ye, your smiting faee^ }'our 
■ free step, and your dail: hair : looking so youn^ and handsome ! " 

" Halloa ! Halloa ! '' said ait^b. '' I shall be vain, presently-" 

" I think you are, already^" cried the Blind Girl, pointing at htnij in 
her glee, " I know you, lather ! Ha Jia ha 1 I've found you ouf^ you 
3eel" 

How different the piccnrc in her mind^ from Calcb^ as he $al observing 
her ! She had spoken of his free s-tep. She was right in that. For years 
and yearSj he never once had crossed tJiai thri^shold at his own slow pace, 
bui with a footfall counierftiied for her car ; and never had lie, wlien his 
heart was iicavicst, forgotten the Ught tread that ivas to render iier so 
cheerful and courageous i 

Heaven knows ! i3ut 1 think Caleb's vague bewfldetinent of manner 
may have half originated In his having confused himself aboui himself 
and everything around him, for the love of his Blind Daughter, How 
could tht little man be otherwise than bewildered^ after labouring for so 



* 






THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 14T 

msny y^itt$ to destroy his own idtntity, and that of all the objects tliat 
had any bc^iring on it [ 

'* There we are," ?aid Caleb, lading back a pace or two to form the 
better judijmcnf of his work ; " aa near the real thing ss ^ix-ptiin'orth of 
hsifpeiici? i& to sixpence- M'hai a pity thai the whole front ol the house 
opens ^t once ! Jf there was only a stJirc^se in if rtow, and tegular doors 
ro the rooms 10 go in at ! But that^s the wQr?t of my cjlting, I'm alwajs 
deluding myself, and swindling myself." 

'^ You are speaking qnite softly. You aie not tired, father p " 

" Tiied/^ echoed Cn!eb» with a great birr^i of animation, '^ what should 
tire me. Bertha f / was never tired. What does ii mean f " 

To give the grc^tter force 10 his wotds» he checked himself in an 
involuntary Jmitation of two half-length stretching and yawning figures 
on the mantelshelf, who weic rcprescnttd as in one eternal state of 
weariness from the waist upivards ; and Jiumtned a fragment of s aong. 
It was a Bacchanalian song, something jbout a SpatkJlng Bowl ; and he 
sang it with an assumption of a Devil-may-care voice, that made his face 
a thousj'td fime^ more meagre and more choughiful tiian ever. 

" Whail You're singings ate you ? " ^aid Tackletoa, putting his head 
in, at the door, '' Go it ! I ean't sing." 

Nobody wouJd have suspected him of it. He hadn't what Is generally 
lermed a singing face, by any rnean^. 

'^ I can't afford to sing," &aid Tactieton. *' Pm glad you can, I hope 
you can afford to work too. Hardly time for botj^, I should think ? " 

*' If you could onty see him, Bertha, how he's winLing at me 1 " 
whispered Caleb, *' Such a man to joke ! you^d think, if yi;u didn't 
know him, he was in earnest — wouldn't you now ? " 

The Blind Girl smiled, and nodded. 

*' The bird that can sing and ^von't sing, must be made to shig, they 
say/* grumbled Tackleton. '* Whar about the owl that can't sing, and 
oughtn^t to sing, and "nill sing ; is there anything that he should be made 
to do i " 

'* The extent to which he's wir^ting at this moment ! " whispered 
Caleb to his daughter. *' Oh my gracious ! " 

*' .'VUvays merry and tight-hearted with us ! " critf! the smiling Bertha, 

** Oh, you're there, are you ? " answered Tackleton. " Poor ZJint ! " 

He really did belie\'e she was an Idiot ; and he founded the belief, T 
can't say whether consciously or not, upon her being fond of him. 

"' Well ; and being there, — how are you ? " said Tacklerou in his 
grudging w,^. 

*' Oh ! weU ; quite well. And as Iiappy as even yoa can wish me to 
be. As happv as you would make tJie whole world, if vou could 1 " 

" Poor Idiot ! " muttered Tackleton, *' No gleam of reason. Not 
B gleam [ " 

The Blind Girl rook his hand and kissed it ; held it for a moment in 
her own two lianda ; and laid her cheek against it tenderly, before 



A. 



%ikj^ 



142 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

fcle^ising itn There was sudi unspcukabie affection and sudi ftjr^cnt 
gratiitide iq the act, that T*icklcionhim&<^lf was maved tosay^ in a milder 
growl than usual : 

*' M'hat's the? mattor now ? " 

" I stood ii: dose beside my piJlow whon T went to sleep Inst night, :fnd 
remembered it in my dreams. And -^hcn ihe day broke^ and the glorious 
red £un^the ffd Jun^ father ? " 

" Red in the murninj^^s Jind the evcning^j Bertha/' said poor Caleb, 
wilh a woeful glance nr 3ns employer. 

"When it rose, and the brljjht light I almost fear to strike m^-^clf 
against in walkings came intu the room^ 1 turned the liiile tree towards 
It, and blessed Hejiveii tor making things so preciou&j and bles&ed you for 
sending them to cheer me 1 " 

'* Bedlam broke loD?e : '' said Tackleton under his breath. '^ Wc £h:iSl 
arrive at ihe £tr:i]t-w:i!stcoat and mufflers soon. We're getting on ! " 

Calcbj with his hands hooked looFely in each mher, stared yac^ntly 
before him while iiis daughter spoU% as ii he really were unccnatn {i 
belitve he was) whether Tackleton had done anything to deserve her 
thanks, or not. It he could have been a perfectly free agent, at that 
momcntj ret|uired, on pain of death, to kick the Toy merchant, or fall at 
his feet, according to his merit?, I believe it wottld have been .in even 
chance which course he ^vould liave taken- Yet Caleb knew that with 
his own hands he had brought the little rose-tree home for her^ so care- 
fully ; and that with his own flp^ he had forged the innocent deception 
ivhich should help to keep her from suspecting how much, how wry 
muchj he every day tlcJ^icd himself, ihat she ml^ht be the happier- 

" Bertha 1 " said Tacklctonj assuminijj for tlie iioncCj 2. littlo cordiality, 
^^ Come here.^^ 

" Oh ! I can come straight to you i You needn't guide me f ^^ she 
rejoined- 

'' Shall I tell you a seciet, Bertha ? " 

" U you will ! " die answered^ eagerly. 

How bright the darkened face 1 How adorned with lights the 

listening head 1 

^*This ?s the day on whirh little whatVhcr-nanic, the spoilt child ; 
Feerj'bingle^s wife ; pays her regular visit to you — makes her fantastic 
Tic-Nic here ; an^t it ? " said Tackleton^ with a strong expression of 
distaste for the whole concern* 

"Yes,'^ replied Bertha, *^ This is ihe day,^' 

*^ I thought so ! " said Tacklctnn. " I should Tike to join the party/' 

" Do you hear that, father i " cried thti Blind Girl in an ecstasy. 

*^ YcSj ves, I hear it." muimureJ Caleb* uitJi the fixed look of a sleep- 
walker i " but 1 dort'r believe it. It'? one of mylies^ I've no doubin" 

"You sec 1^1 want to bring the Peenbtnglcs a little more into 
company with May Fieldingj" said Tackleton, " I am going to be 
married to Mav/^ 



r 

THE CRICKET ON THE PI EARTH 143 

" Married I '^ cried, the BHnd Girl, starting from him, 

" She's such a con-founded Idiot^" muttered Tack!eton» '* r]iat I was 
afraid shc*d never comprehend me. Ah, Berth? 1 M^irried [ Churchy 
psnojiy clerk, beadle, glass-coach, bells, brealcfasi, bridi:-cpkt, favouTs, 
marroiv- bones, cleavers, and all the rest of the tomfoolery, A wedding, 
j'ou know ■ a weddiil^. Don't vou know what a wedding is ? '* 

*' 1 know," replied the Blind Gfr), In a gentle lone, " I umleritand ! " 

"Do you?*' muttered Tiokleton. '^ It's more than 1 expected. 
Well ! On tiiat ^iccount I wane to join the party, and to bring aVI.iv and 
her mother. I'll send in a little something; 01 other, before tht nfu-rnoon. 
A cold leg of mutton, or some comforiabl-: friflc of that sort. You'll 
expect me i " 

'" Yi;^,'* ;he answered. 

She hfld drooped her head, snd turned a^vaf ; and so stood, with her 
liands croEsed, musing, 

" I don't think you will," muttered Tackleton, looting at her ; '' for 
you seem to have (orgotcen. all about it, already. Caleb 1 ** 

" I irnty venture to say Tm here, I suppose,'^ thought Caleb. " Sir 1 '' 

" Take care she don't forget what Tvc been saying to her." 

** Sfrrf never forgets," returned C^leb. '* It's one of the few things 
she an't clever in," ..... 

" Everyman thinks his o^vn geese ^wans," observed the Toy-merchant, 
with a shtu^. '* Poor devil I '^ 

Having delivered himself of which remark, widi infinite contempt, old 
GrufE and Tackleton withdrew. 

Bertha remained where he had [eft her, lose in meditation. The gaiety 
had vanished from her downcast face, and it w.is very liad. Three or four 
times* she shook her head, as if bewjiling some remembrance or some 
loss ; but her sorrowful rellections found no vent in wonls. 

It was not until Caleb lisd. been occupied, some time, in yoking a ream 
of horses to a waggon by thi: summary process of nailing the harness to 
the vital parts of their bodies, that she drew near to his ^vorking-sioo!, 
and sitting down beside him, said : 

"Father. 1 am lonely in the dsrk. I want my eyes: my patient 
willing eyes." 

" Here they are," said Caleb. " .Alway? readv. They are more yours 
than mine, Bertha, any hour in the four and twentj'". What shall your 
eye? do for you, dear i " 

'^ J.,ook round the room, father.'' 

" All right," said Caleb. " No sooner said than done. Bertha," 

"Tell me about it." 

" Ir*s much the same as usual," £aid Caleb. '^ Homely, but very snug. 
The gay colours on the walls ; the bright flowers on the plates and 
dislies ; the shining wood, where there are beams or panels ; the general 
cheerfulness and neatness of the building ; make it very pretty," 

Cheerful and neac it was wherever Bertha's hands could busy tliem- 



'^T""""^.' '-• ~~*"%- ••Of '"TJ»- — ■- '*»'■ 



^- 



144 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

selves. But nowhere else were chterfulnt^ft arid n^atne&s po&siblcj in the 
old crazy shed which Caleb's fancy so iiAnsformed^ 

** You have your working dress on^ and are not so galhnt as \\litii\ you 
wear the liandsomc coat ? " said Bt;rthaj louchitig him* 

*' Not quite so gallani/' answered Caleb. " Prctly brisk though.'^ 

" Father/^ ^aid the Blind Girlj drai.\ing close to his sid^;. and stealing 
one arm rtjund his neck. ^^ Tell mc something about May, S}ie [3 very 
fair?" 

*^ She is indeed,*' said Caleb. And she was indeed. It was quite a 
rare thing Xo Caleb, not 10 have to draw on his invention. 

" Her hair is dark^" s^id Bertlia, pensively^ " darker t!san mine. Her 
voice is sweet and musical^ I know. I have oEien loved to liear It. Her 
shape '' 

*' There's not a Do!i*s in all the room to equal it/^ said Caleb* *^ And 
her eyes ! " 

He stopped ; f^T Bertha had drawn closer round his neck ; and, from 
the arm ihat clung about him^ came a warning prcssutti which he 
"[inder&tood too well. 

He eoughed a moment, hammered for :i moment, and then fell back 
upon the song about the SparlJing Bowl i his infallible re^ourte in all 
such difficulties. 

" Our friend, father ; our benefactor. 1 am never tired }'ou tnow of 
hearing about hirrt,- — Now was It ever J " shtr said hastily- 

^' Of course not^" answeretl Caleb. " And wiih reason." 

" Ah ! With how much reason ! " cried the Blind Girl. With such 
fervency, that Caleb, though his mi>iives were so purc\ tiouU not endure 
to meet her faee ; but diopped his eyes, as if she cy aid have read in them 
his innocent dcceil. 

"Then tell nie a^ain about him, dear father,'^ said Bertha. " Many 
times again! His face is benevolentj tind, and render. Honest nnd. 
true, 1 am sure it is, TTie manly heart that tries to cloak all favours xviih 
a show of roughncis ^nd univillln^ncss^ beats in it& every look and glancc.^^ 

" And mates iE noble^" added Caleb in his quiet desperation, 

" And makes it noble ! " cried the Blind GirL *' He is older than 
May, father," 

** Ye-es/^ said Calebs reluctantly. **He's a little older than May. 
But that don^t signify." 

*^ Oh fadier, yes 1 To be hi£ patient companion hi infirmity and age^ 
to be his gentle nurse in siekness^ and his constant friend in suffering and 
sorrow ; to know no weariness in working for his sake ; to waieh hiro^ 
tend him ; sit beside his bed and talt to him, awake ; and pray for him 
asleep ; what privileges these would be ! What opportunities for 
pro^dng all her iruxh and hex devotion to him ! Would she do all this, 
dear father ? " 

'' No doubt of it," said Caleb- 

" I love her^ father ; 1 can love her from my soul I " CKclaimcd the 



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THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 145 

Blind Girl- And saving &o, she U\A her poor blind f^ice on Cakb*s 
shoulder, andsov-tptandwept, that he was almost sorry tohaviJ bfougtili 
that teaifu! happiness upon hef- 

Tn the mean time, there had been a pretcy sharp coninioiion at John 
Pccrybiiiglc's ; for litde Mrs. Peeryhingle naturaUy cou!Jn*t think of 
going anywhere mihoat the Baby i and to get the Baby under weigh, 
took lime. Not that there was much of the Baby : speaking of it as a 
thing of weight and measure : but there was a vasi deal to do about and 
about it, and it all had to be done by e^isy stages. For instance : when 
the Baby wa:j got, by hook and bj' crook, to a certain point of dressing, 
and you might have ratiunally supposed that another loifth oi two would 
ftoish him off, and turn him out a tip-top Baby challenging the world, he 
W^ unexpectedly extinguished in a flanne] cup, and hustled off to bed ; 
where he simmered (io to 5peat) between two blankets for the best part 
of an hour. From iliis state of inaction he was then recalli:d, shining 
very much and roaring violently, to partake of — well ! T would rather 
say^ if yoiT^H pemiit me to speak generally — of a slight repast. After 
which, he went to sleep again, Mrs. Peerybingle tool: advantage of this 
interval, to make herself as smart in a small way as ever you saw anybody 
in all your life; and, during the same short truce, Miss Slowboy 
insinuated herself into a spencer of a fashion so surprising and ingenious, 
that it had no connecEion witli herself^ or anytliing else in the universe, 
but was a shrunken, dog*s-eared, independent fact, pursuing its lonely 
course wiEhout the least regard to anybody- By this time, the 
Baby, being all alive again, was invested, by the united elToris of 
Mfi. Peerybingle and Miss Slowboy, with a cream-coloured mantle 
for ITS hudy, and a sort of nankeen raised-pie for its head; and so 
in course of time they all three got down to thu door^ where the old 
horse had already taken more than the full value of his dav's toU out 
of the Turnpike Trust by tearing up the road with his impatient 
autographs — and whence Boxer rnight be dimly seen in the remote 
perspective, standing lookiifg back, and tempting him to come on with- 
out orders. 

As to a ehair, or anything of that kind for helping Mrs. Peerybingle 
into the can, you know very little of John, 1 flatter myself^ if you thinfc 
tbs! was necessary. Before you could have seen him lift her from the 
gi-ound, there she was in her place, fresh and rosy, saying,*' John 1 How 
CAN you ! Think of TiUy ! '* 

If 1 might be allowed to mention a yoiing lady's legs, on any tcrms^ I 
would obsL-rve of Miss Slowboy's that tlicrt: was a fatalitj' about them 
wliich rendered them singularly liable to be graced ; and that she never 
effected the smallest ascent or descent* without recording tlie circum- 
stance upon ihem with a notch, as Robinson Crusoe marked the davs 
upon his wooden calendar. But as this might be considered ungenteel, 
I'll think of it, ^ 

'"John ^ YouV'e got the basket with tlie VeJ and Ham and Pie- 



146 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

things ; flnd the boitles 01 Beer ? " said Dot. " If you havcn-i, you 
must lurn round again, tliis vcrv minute." 

" ^'ou'r^ a nice Utile article/' retitmcd the Carrier^ *' to be tJiTiiiiig 
.ibout turning rounds after keeping lui- a full qu^itci of an hour behind 



luy timt." 



I am sorry for it, John," said t>ot in a groat bustle, " bur I really 
could not tliint of going to Beriha's — 1 v^■ol.lld not do it, John, on uny 
account — witliouf the Veal and Ham-Pic and things, and the bottle; of 
Beer. Way ! " 

Tills monoi^yllablewasaddresscd to thr horse, who didn't mind it stall. 

" Oh r/e way, John ! " Mid Mrs. Peen-bingle. " Please ! " 

" It'll be time enough to do that," returned ]ohn» " when I begin lo 
kave things behind inc. The basket's licte, safe enough." 

■* VVhat a hard-hearted monster you must be, John, not to have said 
so, at once, and savE me such a turn ! 1 declared I wouldn't go 10 
Bertha's ivithouc the Veal and Hjin-Pie and ihin-^s, and thf; bottles of 
Beer, for any money. Regularly once a fortnight ever since we have 
been married, John^ have we made our little Pic-Nic there. If anything 
was to go wrong with it, 1 should almost think wn \\i:rc never to be lucky 
a^ain." 

'^ Jt was a kind thought in the first instance," said the Carrier ; '' and 
1 honour you for it* tittle woman." 

^' My dear John," replied Dot, turning very red. " Don't talk about 
honouring me. Good Gracious ! " 

" By the bye — " observed the Carrier. " 'ITiat old gentleman," 

Again so ti^ibly, and instantly tmbiirrassed, 

*' He's an odd fish/' said the Carrier, looking straight along the road 
before them. ^' 1 ca^t't maliehim out. 1 don't believe there's any harm 
in him." 

" None at all. Tm — Pm sure there's none at all.'* 
" Yes ? " said the Carrier, with his eyes attracted to her face by the 
great eameEtness of her manner. " I am glad you fei:l so ccnain of ir, 
because it's a conliimaiioii to me. It's curious diat he should have 
taken ii inro his head to ask leave to go on lodging with us ; an't it ? 
Tilings come about so strangely." 

So very siiangtly," she rejoined in a low voice : scarcely audible. 
However, he's a Qood-natured old gentleman," said John, "and 
pnys as a gentlemari, and 1 thinl: his wurd is to be rehed upon, hki: [i 
genileman'i. I had quite a long lalk wiih him tiiis morning; he can 
hear me better already, he says, as he gets more used to my voice. He 
told me a great deal about himself, and 1 toU him a good deal about 
myself, iind a rare lot of qiif:stion3 he asked me. I gave him Information 
about my hai-ing two beats, you k[iow, in my business ; one day to tJie 
rjght from our houiC and back again ; another dav to the left from our 
house and back again (for he's a stranger and don^t know the names of 
places about here) ; and he seemed quite pleased- ' Why, then I shall 









THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 147 

be returning home to-night j^ur wiy^'^ h<i siiys, ^ when I thought youM 
be coming in an exactly opposiEe direction. That's capiiaL I may 
trnublc you for anotlier lift perhaps^ but I^il engage? not 10 fall so ftouiid 
asleep agsin/ He zc^s sound asleep^ sure-ly ! — Doi ! whfit are jou 
thinking of r " 

TliEnting of, John ? 1 — J was Jiste^jiing to yoUn" 
Oh J That*^ iiU right ! '^ said tlie honc5t C:^iTier. *^ I was afr^iid, 
ffDm ihc looit [jf ygur fact, that I had gone rambling on so long, as to set 
you chiating about something else- I was very near it, Fll be boundn'' 
" 33ot mating no reply, they jogged on, for some tittle time, in siknce. 
BiiE il^vas noi e^sy ro remain silent veiy long in ]ohn Peerybingle^s cart, 
for everybody on the roatl had something to say ; though u might only 
be " How are you I ^' and itidced it was very often noticing else, still, to 
give that back again in the right spirit of cordiality, required, not merely 
a nod and a smile, but as wholesome an actioJi of [he lungs willial^ as a 
long-windt:d ParliximontaTj' spcechn Sometimes, passengers on foot, or 
horseback, plodded on a Utile way beside the cart, for the express purpose 
ofhaiingachat ; pndthen there was a great deal to besaid^on both sides, 
1'Ktn, Boxer gave occasion to more gtHid-naiured recognitions of and 
by the Carrier, than half-a-dozen Christians could bave done [ Every- 
body knew him, all along tht road — especially the fowls and pigs, who 
w^ien tliey saw him approaching, with his body all on one side, and his 
ears pricked up inc]utsitively, and that knob of a tail making the njost of 
itself in the air, immediately withdrew into romoT:e back settlements, 
widiout Awaiting for the honour of a nearer acquaintance. He had 
business everywhere ; going down all the turnings^ looking into all the 
wc'lls, bolting in and out of all the cottages, dashing into the midst of all 
the Dame-Schools, fluti:ering all ihe pigeons^ magnifying i]:e tails of all 
the cats, and trotting into the public-houses like a regular cu^tomer^ 
Wherever he went, somebody or other might have* bt'jn heard 10 cry, 
" Halloa ! Here's Boxer ! ^' and out came that somebody forthwith 
accompanied by at least t^'o or three other somebodies^ 10 give John 
PcerybingJe and his pretty wife. Good Day. 

The packages and parcels for tht] errand cart were numerous; and 
there wiire many stoppages to take them in and pive them out ; whith 
were nor bv any means the worst patis of the jotirncy. Some people 
\\^ere so full of expectation about rlieir parcels^ and other people ivere so 
full of wonder about their parcels, and other people were so full of 
inejchaustible directions about their part;els, and John had such a lively 
intercut in a)l the parcels^ tliat it was as gooii as a play, likewise, there 
were aiijcles to carry, which required to be considert^d and discussed, and 
in reference to die adjustment and disposition of which, councils had to 
be holden by the Carrier and the senders : at which BoKer visually 
assisted^ in short fits of the closest attention, and long fits of ti:aring 
round and round the assembli^d sages and barking liimself hoarse. Of all 
these little incidents, Dot was the amused and open-e}ed spectatress 



■mv 



^+ 



148 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

from her chair iQ die cart ; and as she sat thtrt, looking on ; ndi^rnnng 
!inle portrait framed to admiration by the tilr : ihere \v:is ito bck of 
nudgings ^nd glnncings and whisperings and en^'yings among the 
younger men^ 1 prami?c you^ And this delighted John the Cflrrler. 
beyond measure; for he was prond to have his litiU wife admired; 
knn^^-ing that she didn^C mind it — that^ if anything, site rather htcJ it 
perhiips. 

The trip was a little foggy, to be sure^ in xhc Januari^ weather ; and 
was ra^vand cold. But who cared for such triflf;3 ? Nor Dor decidedly. 
Not TilTy Slowboy, for she dt:cmc:d sitting in a cartj on any tenns^ to be 
the highest point of human joys ; the crowning circumstance of earthly 
hopes. Not the Baby^ I'll be aworn ; for ii's not in Baby narnie to be 
wanner or more sound asleep^ thaitgli its capacity is great in both 
respects^ tlian ihat blessed young Peerybingle was, all tht -^vav. 

You coukin^t see y^ry far in the fog^ of coitrse ; but you could see a 
great deal, oh a j^reat deal ] h*s astonishing bo.v much you may see, in 
a thicker fog duin ih-iTj if you will only take the trouble to loot for it. 
\Miv^ even to sit ^vatching for the Fairy-rings iu the fields^ and for the 
patche? of hosit-frost still lingerln;; in the fhade^ near hedges and by irces^ 
w^^ a plcfisani occupation : to matci no mcntiott of the unexpected 
shapes in which the trees themselves came starting out of the mist, and 
glided into it again. The hedges ^vere tangled and bare, and waved a 
mulUiude of blighted garlands in the wind; but there wa^ no dia- 
couragcmtni in this. It was agreeable to contemplate ; for ii made the 
fireside warmer in possession^ and the summer greener in expectancv- 
The river looked chilly ; but it was in motion, and moving ai a good 
pace ; which was a great point. The canal was rather slow arid torpid ; 
that must be admitted. Never mind. It would free^^e the sooner when 
the frost set fairly in^ and then there would be skating^ and sliding ; and 
the liea^y old barges, fros^en up s^vmcvvhere, near a wharf, wnuld smoke 
thdr rusiy iron chimney-pipes all day^ and have a lazy time of it^ 
In one place^ ihei-e was a great mound of wcedi or stiLbbJe burning ; 
' and they watched the fire^ so while in the day time, fiaring through the 
fc^s with only here and tlicre a dash of red in it, uniilj in consequence as 
she observed of the smoke ^' getting up her note/* -Miss Slo^vboy choked- — 
she could do anything of th^t iort^ on the smallest provocation — and 
woke the Baby, who wouldn't go to sleep agniin. But Boxer, who was 
in advance some quarter of a mile or so^ ha^l already passed the outpo?ts 
of the towuj and gained the corner of tht strLel whele Caleb and hi* 
daughter lived ; anul long before they reached ihe door, he and. the 
Blind Girl were on iJie pa^^ement availing to receive them. 

Bo^er, by the way, made certain dt^hcate distinttions of his own, in hh 
Lommu nidation with 3Jt;rtha, which persuade me fully tliat lie knew her 
to be bhnd. He never sought to attract her attcniion by looking al her, 
as he often did with other people, but touched hcr^ invariably. What 
experience he could ever have had of blind people or blind JogSj I don't 



PhJ 



-;>\rf^:ver been vi; 

T sound it c-jt 
It Sad ihcrcJore 
Ivira. Peerv'bii 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 149 

know. He had never lived with a blind master ; nor had Mr^ Boxer the 

Jr eldi^r, nor Mrs, BoKer, nor ^ny of his le&pEctable iamiJ^- oq either side^ 

-;>\rf^:ver been visited with blindness, Thar I am aware oi He may have 

for himselfj perhape^ but he had gat hold of ic somehow i 
re he had hoW of Berth-i too, by the tkitt, and t:ept hold^ until 
Peerj'bingle and the Baby, and Miss Slowboy, and the baiketj were 
all got safely within doors. 

May Fiiilding wa$ already come; and so was ber mother — a little 
querulous ciiip of an old bdy with a peevisli face, who, in right of having 
preserv^cd a waist like a bedpost, was supposed lo be a most transcendent 
figure ; and ^^ho, in consequt;nce of having once b^en better off, or of 
labouring under an impression that she might have been, if something 
had happened which never did happen^ and seemed to iiave never been 
particularly likely to come to pnss — but it's aU the same — was very 
genteel and patronising indeed. Gruff and Tackleton was also there^ 
doing the agreeable, with the e^^de^t sen^tion of being as perfectly ai 
home, and as unquestionably iti his own element, a$ a fresh young salmon 
on the top of the Great Pyramid. 

" May f I^Iy dear old friend ] '* cried Dot, running up to meet her* 
" What a happiness to see you ! '^ 

Her old friend was, to the full, as hearty and as glad as she ■ and it 
reallywas, if you^ll believe me, quite a pleasant sight to see them embrace. 
TacUeton wasa manof castc^ beyond all question. May was veiy pretty, 

Yoti know sometimes, when you are used to a pretty face, how, when 
ft comes into contact and comparison with another prettj^ face^ it seems 
for the moment to be homely and fadedj and hardly to deserve the high 
opinion you have had of it. Now, this was not at all the ease, trithizr with 
Dot or May ; for May^s face set off Dot's, and Dot^s face set off May's, 
s^ naturally and agreeably^ that, aa John Pterjbfngle was very near 
saying when he came into the room, they ought to have been bora 
sisters — which was the only improvement you could have suggested- 

Tactleton had brought his leg of mutton^ and, wonderful to relate, a 
tart besides — but we don't mind a little dissipation whtjn our brides are 
in the cast: ; we don't get married every day — and in addition to these 
dafnties, there were the Veal and Ham-Pie^ and " thiu^/' ai Mrs. 
Pi:LTybing]e catled them ; which wt:re chiefly nuts and orangei^^ and 
cakesj and such small deer. When the repast was zct forth on the boards 
flanted by Caleb's contribution, which ^vas a great wooden bowl of 
smokingpotatoes (hewasproidbitedj by solemn compacEj from producing 
any other viands), Taddeton led his intended mother-in-law to the Post 
of Honour. For the bettergracingof this place at tlie high Fijslival, the 
majestic old Soul had adorned herself with a cap, eaiculated to inspire 
the thoughtless with sentinieriis of awe. She aiso wore her gloves. But 
let us be genteel, or die ! 

Caleb sat next his daughter ; Dot and her old schoolfellow were side 
by side ; the good Carrier took care of the bottom of the table* Miss 




-T f 



150 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTK 

Slowbo)' w^s ifioUtcdj for tht time beings from every ankle of ftnriiturc 
but i-he chair sKc s^t on, thai she might have nothing ch<i to tnock the 
Baby^s head against- 

As rilly itared about her at the doJIs and tay^^ iJity stared ai Kcr ain[i 
at the company, 7'he venerabJc* old pcntLmen at the street doors (^vh^ 
were all in full action) showed C5p^:dal inttjrt-^t in the parly ; pausing 
occasionally before leaping^ as if they were listening ii> ihc conversation : 
and then plunging ivildlv over and ovtr, s great many times, wifhouE 
halting for brcatl^ — as in a fr[L»tic state of ddight with the whole 
proceedings. 

Certainlj-, if these old penilemen were Inclined to hivc a fiendish joy 
in the contemplation of Tactleton't discomfiture^ they h-^d i^ood reason 
IQ bu satisfied. Tackh^ion couldi^'t get on .-it all ; and the more thoerfid 
his intended bride became in Dot^s societj-% tJ^e less ite litt^d it^ though hu 
had brougiit them together for that purpose. For he w-is -1 regular Dog 
in the ManE^er, was Tackfcton ; and when tJiev laughed^ and lie cauldn'Ej 
he took ir into his head, immediateiyj tliai ihey mgft be laughing at him. 
'^ Ah May ! '* said Dot. '' Dear de.ir, what changes i To talk of 
those merry school-days makes one young ag^in." 

"Why, you an'C particularly old, at any time; are jou ? " said 
Tackleton* 

^' I>ool: at my sober plodding husband tficre/^ returned Dot. ^' He 
adds twenty years to my age at least. Don't yow.^ jolin ? "* 
" Forty," John replied. 

" How many yojt^]] add to May^s, Fm sure I don^t tnow,'' said D0I5 
laugliing, ^^ But she can^t be much less than a hundred years of age on 
her next birthday," 

*^ Haha ! ^MaughcdTackteton, Hollow as a drum, that laugh though. 
And he looked as if he could have twisted Dot's neck : comfortably. 

'' Dear dear ! " said Dot. ^^ Only to remember how wc used to talk* 
at school^ about the huiband^ wc wguld choose, I don't know how 
youn^f, ^nd how liandsome^ and iiow gay^ and how lively, mine was not 
to be : And as to May^s — 1 Ah dear ! I don't know wliethcr to laugh 
or crv, when 1 think what silly g^th we were.^' 

May ^eerned to know wluch to do ; for tJic colour flashed into her face^ 
and tears stood in her ^yts. 

" Even the very persons themselves — real live young men — ^I'cre fised 
on someiimes,'' said Dotn ^* We little thought how things wouhl come 
about. 1 never fixed on Jolin^ Fm sure ; I never stj m^ch as tJtought of 
him. At^d if 1 had told you, you weri^ ever to be married to Mr. Tack- 
leton, why you^d have slapped me. Wouldn't you^ May ? " 

Though May dldn^t say yes, she certainly didn't say no, or express no, 
by any means^ 

Tackleron laughed — qutte shouted, he laughed so loud, John Peery- 
b^ngle laughed too^ in his ordinary good-natured and contented manner ; 
but his was a mere whimper of a laugh, to TacUeton^s- 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 151 

^'You couldn't litlp yourselves, for ^11 that* You couKin^i: resist us^ 
you sec^" s^id Tackleton, ^^ Here wc are ! Here ue are 1 Where art 
your gay young bridegrooms now ! " 

*^ Somci of dicni art dead," said Dot ; *' and ^ome of them forgotten. 
Some oi them^ if they could stand among us a; this moment, would not 
believe we were the ^am^^ ccc^^rurcs ; would not bdkve that what they 
saiv and heard wns real, and we (^ftw^J foTget thetn st>* No ! tliey would 
not believt: one ivord of it ! ^' 
" Why, Dot i " exclaimed the Carrier. '' Little woman ! " 
She had spoken witJi such earnesiness and tire^ (hat she stood in need of 
some recalling to herself^ wiiJiout doubt. Her Ixu^band^s chvi:\c wa^ very 
gentle, for he merely interiercd, as hfi supposed, to sliicld old Tackleton ; 
bnt Lr proved effeclualj for sfie stopped, and said no more. There wa$ 
an uncommon agitation^ even in her silence, whicJi the wary TacUeton^ 
who Jiad brought his half-shut oye 10 boar upon her, noted closely ; and 
remembered to some purpose too, as you will see- 
May uttered no word, good or bad, but 5at quite stilly with her eyes 
cast down ; and made no sign of inleresi in what hsd passed. The good 
l^dy her mother novv interposed ; observing^ in tlie lirst instanec, that 
girls were girls^ and bygones bygone?^ and that io lorig as yoang people 
were ygun^ and ihoushtless, they would probably eosiduct themselves 
Uleyoung and thoughtless persons; withtwoordireeoroihcr positionsof 
a no Jess sound and incontrovertible character^ She then remarked^ in 
a devout spirhj that she thanked Heaven ^c ]iad always found in her 
daughter May^ a dutiful and obedient child 5 for which sht look no 
credit to herself^ though she had every reason to believe it was entirely 
owing to her^elE. With regard to Mr, Tackleton she said^ That he was 
in a moral point of view an undeniable individual ; and Ihat he was in 
an eligible point of vit:w a son-in-law to be deijired, no one in their senses 
could doubt. (She was veiy emphatic lier^?.) Wiih regard to tht: 
family into which he was so soon about^ after some soiicttationj to be 
admitted^ ^he believed Mr. Tackleton knew that, although reduced in 
purse, it had some pretensions to gcutiHty ; and i£ certain circumstances^ 
not wholly unconnectedj she would go so far as to say, witli the Indigo 
7Vade, but lo which she wcmldnat more particularly lefer, had happened 
differently, it might perhaps have been in possession of Wealth. She 
rhen remarked ihat she would not allude to the past^ and wcruld nt>t 
mention that War daughter had for some time rejected the suit of Mr. 
Tackleton ; and that she would not say a great manyoiher ihings which 
she did say^ ai great length. Finally she Llelivered it as the gencrsJ 
result of her observation and expericncej that those marriages in which 
there was least of ivhat wa& romantically and sillily callt:d love, were 
always the happiest; and chat she anttdpated the greatest possible 
amount of bliss— not rapturous bliss ; but the soltd^ sicady-going article 
— from the approaching nuptials. She coifcluded by informing the 
company that to-morrow waa the day she had lived for^ expressly ; and 



1"* 






152 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

that when it was over, ?hc would d(f?iri^ nothing bctrcr dfan to be packed 
up and disposed of, in any gcnieel pliicc of burial. 

A^ the^c remarks were quite uniinsweriiblc ; which is the hVppy 
property of aU remarts that are sufficiently wide of the purpo&e ; they 
changed the current of the conversation, rind diverted the gener.d 
attention to the Veal and Haiii-Pie, iJie cold niuEion, iht potatoes, and 
tlie tart. In order that the bottled beer might not be flighted, John 
Peerybinjjle proposed To-morrow : the Wedding-Day ; and called upon 
rheni to tirink a bumper to it. before he proceeded on his journey. 

For you ought to know tlut he only rested there, and gave the old 
horse a b^if. He had to go &ome four or five rniles farther on ; and 
when he returned in tJje evening, hn called for Dot^ and tooL another 
rest 01 iiis way home This was the order of die day on. all the Fic-Nic 
occasions^ nud had been, ever since their institution. 

There were two persons pre^ent^ bciide the bride and bridegroom 
ektt^ who did but indifferent honour lo the toa^r. One of ihesc was 
Dot, too flushed and discomposed toad^pi herself to any siu^il occurrence 
of the moment ; the other, Beitha, who rose up hurriedly, before the 
rest, and left the table^ 

" Good-bye J " said stout John Peery hi ngle, pulling on his dreadnought 
coat. '* I &hall be back at the old time. Good-bye all 1 '^ 
'' Good-bye, John," returned Caleb. 

He seemed to say it by rote, and to wave- iiis hand in the same uncon- 
scious manner ; for he stood observing Bertha vviih aji anxious wondering 
face, that nevLT altered its expression. 

*' Good-bye, young shaver ! " said the jolly Carrier, bending down to 
kiss ihe child ; whicJi Tilly Slowboy, now intent upon ]jcr knife and fork, 
had deposited asleep (and strange to say, without damage) in a Utile cot 
of Fertha's furnishing ; ** good-bye [ Time wiJi come, 1 suppose, when 
yoa'ii turn out into the cold, my little friend, and leave your old father 
to enjoy his pine and hia rheumatics in the chimney-corner; eli ? 
Where's Dot ?"■ 

" Pm here, John ! " she said, startijig^. 

*' Come. eoniL- ! " returned the Carrier, clapping his sounding hands. 
"Where's the pipe?" 

*' I quite forgot the pipe, John." 

Forgot the pipe ! Wa^ such a wonder ever iieard of i She i Forgot 
the pipe ! 
" FH— ni fill it directly. Ith snon done." 

But it was not so soon done, cither. It luy in ihe usual place ; the 
CarrieT'$ dreadnought pocket; with the little pouch, her own work, 
from which she was used to fill it ; but Jjer iiand shook so, that she 
entangled it (and yet her liand w-as small enoui^h to ha^x'Come out easily, 
I am aurt), and bungled terribly. The filling of ihe pipe and lighting it ; 
those little offices in which I have commended her diacrtnion, if you 
recollect; wtre vilely done, from first to last. During the whole 



THE CRICKET OiN THE HEARTH 153 

proctsSj Tackteton stood looting on malicidu^ly with the half-closed 
(ycj. whtchj whenever it met hers — or caught it, for it can hardly be 
said to have ever met another ^yt : rather being a kind of trap to snatch 
it up — [lugmLSitcd her confusion in a most remarkable degree, 

^^ Whyy what a clumsy Dot you are^ this afternoon 1 ^' said John, ^^ I 
could have done it bettei" myself, I verily believe J " 

With these good-natured ^-ords, he strode away; and presently was 
hcardj in company with Boxer, and the old horse, and the cart, making 
lively music dawn the road. What time the dreamy Caleb still 
stood, watching hii Blind Daughter, with the Sitae cipresslon on his 
face. 

" Bertha i" Baid Caleb, softly. "What has happened? How 
changed yau are, my darling, in a few hours — since this morningr Tou 
silent and dull all day ! What h it > Tell me ! " 

" Oh father, father ! " cried the Blind Girl, bursting into tears. '* Oh 
my hjrd, h:[Td fate ! " 

Caleb dfcw his hand across his cye^ before he answered her, 

" But think how cheerful and htyw happy you have been, Bertha ! 
How good, and how much loved, by many people." 

"That strikes me to the heart, dear father! Always so mindful of 
me I Always so kind to me ! " 

Caleb was very much perple:ted to understand her. 

*' To be — to be blind. Bertha, my poor dear," he faltered, ** is a great 
affliction ; but " 

'* 1 have never felt it ! " cried the Blind Girl, " I have never felt it 
in its fullness. Never ! I have sotnetimes wished that I could see you, 
or could see him ; only once, dear father ; only for one Httle minute ; 
that 1 might Inow what it is I treasure up," she laid her hands upon her 
breast, " and hold here [ TJiat 1 might be sure I have it right [ And 
sometimes (but then I was a child) I have wept, in my prayers at night, 
to thint that when your images ascended from my heart to Heaven, they 
might nor be the true resemblance of yourselves. Bur I have never had 
these feelings long. They have passed away and left me tranquil and 
contented," 

'^ And the^ will again," said Caleb. 

"But father! Oh my good, gentle father, bear with me, jf 1 am 
wick'd J " said the Blind Girl. " This is not the sorrow that so weighs 
mc down ! " 

Her father could not cliuose but let his moist eyes overflow ; she was 
so earrrest and pathetic. Bui he did nin undt-rst^nd her, yei- 

" Bring her lo mc," said Berlha. " I cannot hold it closed and shut 
within myself. Bring het to mc, father ! " 

She Vnew Jie Jiesitated, and said, " May. Bring May ! ** 

May heard ihc mention of her name, and coming quietly toward? her, 
touched her on the arm. The Blind Girl turned immediately, and held 
ier by i>oth hands. 



%: 



i iP 



154 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

*' Look into mv fncc, Dear hf:iri. Sweet htart ! " said Bertha. " Read 
It with your beautiTuleves, andtdlmeif thcTruth is written on it'* 

'* Dear Bertha, Yes!" 

The Blind Girl, gtill upturning tlie Want sli^htles? f^ce, down vhich 
the ie^r& were coutiing fast, addrc^^ed her in the.^c w-orda : 

'* There is not, in my Soul, a wi;h or thought that h nntfarvour ^nd, 
briglir May ! There i^ not, in my Soul, a grateful recoliection stronger 
than the deep reme-nbrance which is stored there, of the manv times 
when* in the full pride of Sight and BCsiuty, you h;tvc Lid consideration 
for Bbnd Beiiha, even when we two were children, or when Beriha was 
as much a child a^ ever blindness can be I Every blessing on voi^r head ! 
Light upon youi h^ppy course ! Not the less, my dear May '; '* and she 
drew towards her, jn a closer grasp ; " not the less, my bird, becJuiie, 
to-day, the knowledge ihat you are to be His wffe hws wruns my he^frt 
almost to breakinR ; Father, May, M^iry ! oh forgive me that it is *o, 
for the sake of all ]ie has done to relieve the weariness ol my dark life : 
and for the sake of the belief you have in me, wlacn f call Heaven to 
witness that I could not wish him married to a wife more worthy of his 
Goodness ! " 

While speaking, she had rele:i&ed May Fielding's hands, and clasped 
her garments in an attitude of mingled supplication and love. Sinking 
lower and lower down, as she proceeded in her strange confession, she 
dropped at last at Uie feet of iter friend, and hid her blind face in the 
folds of her dress. 

" Great Power ! " exclaimed her father, smitten at one blow with the 
truth, *' have I deceived her from her cradle, but lo break her heart at 
last ! " 

It was well for all of them that Dot, that beaming, useful, busv little 
Bor — ^for such ^he was, whatr^ver faults &he had, and however you may 
learn to hate h<:r, in ^od time — it was well for alt of thein, 1 sa)', tJfat 
she was there : or where this would have ended, it were hard to tell. 
But Dot, recovering her self-po&session, interposed, before May could 
rciply, or Caleb sav .another word. 

" Come come, dear Bertlia I come away with me ! Give her vonr 
arm, May. So! How composed she is, you aee^ alreadv ; and how 
good it is of her to mind us," said the cheery little woman, kissing her 
upon the forehead. *' Come? away, dear Bertha ! Come ! and here's 
ier good fatlier will come with her j won't you, Caleb? To— be — 
sure ! ^' 

Well, well ! she was a noble little Dot in such things, and it must have 
been an obdurate nature that could have withstood her influence. 
When she had got poor Caleb and his Bertha away^ that ihcy might 
comfort and console each other, as she knew they onh' could, *he presently 
came bouncing back, — the saying is, as fresJx as any daisy ; J say fresher— 
to mount guard over that bridling little piece of consequence in the cap 
and gloves, and prevent the dear old creature from making discoveries. 






THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 155 

.% '^ So bnnsj mo the precious Baby, Tilly,^^ satd she, dra^ving a chair to 

; the firfi ; "^ and while 1 have it in my Up, here's Mr?. Fielding, Till^, will 
^ icJl me a!] about the management of Babit^s^ atid put me rigJit in iweniy 
points where Tm as wrong as can be, Won'i you^ Mrs. Fi<;lding i " 

Not even the Welsh Giant^ who according 10 the popular txprt^ssion, 
was so '^ slow '* as to perform a f^iut surj^icd operation upon himself^ in 
emulation of a juggling-trtct achieved by his arcJi-cncmy :it breakfast- 
time ; ngv even he fell half so readily into the Snare prcparcti tor him, as 
the old ijjy did into this artful Pi,tfall. The hci of Tacklcton having 
walked out ; amifurthermorej of two or three people having been talking 
together at a distance:* for t^vo minutes, leaving her to her own resoitrces ; 
^vas quite enough to have put her on her dignity, and the bewailment of 
that m}^terE0u5 convuUion in the Indigo Trade^ for four-and-twenty 
Ikours. But this becoming deference to her experience, on the part of 
the young mother, was so irresistible^ that after a short affectation of 
humility, she began to enlighten her wi:h the lest gtaee in the world ; 
a!ij sitting bolt upright before the wictcd Dotj she did^ in half an hour, 
deliver more infallible domestic recipes and precepts^ than would (if 
acted Ohh) have utterly de5tro}'ed and done up that Young Peerybingle^ 
lliough ho had been an Infant Samson, 

To change the theme^ Dot did a liiile needlework — she carried T:he 
contents of a whole ^\Tjrlbox in her pocket ; however she contrived it, / 
don*i k.now — then did a little nursing ; then a little more necdltwork ; 
tiien had a little wliispering chat with May^ while the old lady dozed ; 
and 50 in little bits of bustle^ which was quite her manner always, found 
it a very $hort afternoon. Then, as ii grew dart, and as it w^s a solemn 
part of thisInstiiutionoithcPic-Nic thai she should perform all Berfha^s 
household tasks^ she trimmed the fire, and swept the hearth^ and set the 
lea-board out^ and drew the curtain, and lighted a candle. Then, she 
playetl an air or two on a rude kind of harp, which Caleb had contrived 
ior Bertha ; and played dicm very well ; for Nature had made her 
delicate little ear as choice a one for music as it would have been for 
jewtjls, if ^he had had any to wear. By this time it w^% the established 
hour for having tea ; and Tackluton came E>ack again, to sliare the meal, 
and spend ihe evening. 
1 Caleb and Bertha had returned some time bc^fore, and Caleb had sat 

i dowji to his afcernoon^s work. But ht couldnH settle to Jij poor fellow^ 
} being anxious and remorseful for his daughter. It was touching to see 
J him iitilng idle on his working-stool, regarding her so wistfully ; and 
always saying in his face, *' Have I deceived her irom her cradte, but to 
break her heart 1 " 

When it was night, and tta ^tis done^ and Dot had nothing more to do 
in washing up the cups and saucers ; In a word — for I must come to if, 
and there is no uae in putting it off — when the lime drew nigh for 
Cjtpecting the Carriet^a return in every sound of distant uJiecls ; her 
manner changed again ; her colour tame and went ; and she was very 



T 



156 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

icstless. Not as good wives ^re, when Jistening for their husbands* No, 
no, no. 1e was anolhcr sort oE restlcssne5& from that. 

Wheels hcardr A hc>rsy"s ie<^t. The l>arl:ing of a dog^ The gradn^'d 
apjiro[ich of a]] the sounds. The scratching paw of Boxer at the door ! 

'^ Whose step is that I ^^ cried Bertha^ starting up, 

^^ Whose stop ? " returned ihc Cirrit^r, ^t-indtng in the porul, with 
hij brawn face ruddy as a winter berry from the keen night air. ^^ ^^hy. 



mine*^* 



^' The other step," ^aid Bertha, *' The man's trend behind y 01] !" 

'* She is not to be deceived/* obser^'cd tht CaTrier^ laughing. ^* Co]nc 
alongj siTh YouUl be welcome, never fear 1 "' 

He spoke in a ioud tone; and at he ipoke, the de^if old gentltjmsu 
entered. 

^^ He's not so n:iucli a stranger, that you ha^^en"! seen him once^ Caleb/' 
said the Carrier. ^* You^ll give him house-room till wc go ? *' 

"' Oh surely John ; and take it as an honour,^' 

'^ He's the best company on earth, to tallr secrets in," said John. '* I 
hive reasonable good iungs^ but he tries ^em, I can tell you. S[t down^ 
sir^ A!] friends here, and glad to see you ! '^ 

When he had imparted this as^urancOj in 3 vnice That amply corrobo- 
rated what he had taid about his lungs, he added in his natural tone, 
" A chair in tlie chimnt-y-corner^ and leave to sit quite silent and look 
pleasantly about him, is all he cares for. He's easily pk^iscd/* 

Bertha had been listenlujj intci^ilyH She called Caleb to her side, 
when he had ^<it the chair, and asked him, in a low voice^ to describe their 
visitor. When he had done so (truly now i with scrupulous fidclitj), 
she moved, for the first time since im had come in ; and sighed ; and 
seemed to have no further Enrere^t concerning him. 

The Carrier was in high spirits^ good fellow that he W2i& ; and fonder 
of his little wife than cver^ 

'' A clumsy Dot she was, this afternoon [ ^' he said, encircling her with 
his rough aim, as she stood, removed from the rest ; *' and yet I like her 
somehow. See yonder, Doi ! ^* 

He poinied m the old man. She lool^ed down. I think she trembled. 

'* He*s— ha ha ha ! — he^s fuU c>( admiration for you ! " said the Carriern 
*' Talked of nothing else, the whole way here. \\"hy, he^s a brave old 
bOy. I lite him for it 1 " 

^* I wish he had had a better subject, John ; " she said, with an uneasy 
glance about the room ; at Tactleton especially. 

*^ A better subject ! '^ cried the Jnvial John, " There's no such thing. 
Come ! off witli the great-coat^ off with the thtck shawl, off with the 
heavy wrappers ] and a cosy half-hour by the fire ! My humble acrvicej 
mi&tre,-^&, A game at crtbbage, you and I ? That^s hearty. The cards 
and board. Dot. And a glass of beer here^ if iliere's any left, small 

wife 1 " - \ . , 

His challenge was addressed to the old lady, who accepting it with 



■1 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 157 

gracious rcadincsSj ihey were soon engaged upon tlicr game. At firsts 
the Carrier looked abt^ut him sometimes^ with a smile, or now and rhcn 
called Dot to peep over iiis shoulder ^i hi& liand^ and advi&e him on some 
knotty point. But his adversary being a rigid di^ciplin^rian^ and subject 
to an occasional weakness in. respect of pt^gging niote than she was 
entitled to, required such vigilance on his part, as left him neither cyc3 
nor cars to spare. Thus, his whole attention gradually becamt= absorbed 
"upon the cards ; and he thought of noifiing else, until a hand upon hi? 
shoulder testgred him to a consciousness ol Tacklcton* 

^* I am sorry lo disturb you — but a word^ directly." 

^* Pm going to deal/' returned tlni Carrier. ^^ It't a crisis " 

^^ It 15," ^aid TackleconH '^ Come here^ man ! " 

There was that in his pale face which made the other rise immcdlacely, 
and ask hira^ in a hiirry^ what the matter was. 

^^ Hush I John Pterybinglcj" said TackUton, *^ 1 am sorry for this. 
I am indeed^ 1 have been afraid of it, 1 have suspected it from the 
firsi." 

" Wha^ is it ? " astcd the Carrier^ w[th a frightened aspect, 

" Hush ! ril show yoUj if you^ll come with mc-" 

The Carrier accompanied him^ without another word. They went 
across a yard, where the scars were shining ; and by a little side door^ into 
Tacl:leton^s own count ing-house^ where there was a glass window^ com- 
mandtng the ware-room : which wa^ closed for the night. There was 
no light in tfic counting-house itsclff bur tiiere weie Unips in tlie long 
narrow ware-room ; and consequently the window was bright* 

*^ A moment 1 " said Tackleton. '' Can you bear to look through that 
window^ do you think ? " 

" Why nor ? '^ returned the Carrier^ 

*^ A moment more/* said Tackletom ^^ Don't commit any violence. 
It^s of no U5e, It's dangerous loo. You^re a strong-made man ■ and 
you might do Murder before you tnow ir.^' 

The Carrier looked him in the face, and recoiled a step as if he Iiad 
been struck. In one stride he was :ii the window, and lie saw — 

Oh Shadow on the Hearth ! Oh truthful Criekei ! Oh perfidious 
Wife \ 

He saw her^ with the old rri^vi ; old no longer, but erect and gallant ; 
bearing in iiis iiand the false white hair that iiad won his way into iheir 
deflate and rniserable iiome. He saw her listening to him, as he bent 
his head to whisper in her ear ; and suff[;ring him xo clasp her round the 
waist, as they moved slowly down tiie dim woodt-n gallery towards the 
door by wliiclt they had entered it. He saw them stop, and taw her 
turn — ^to have the face, the face he loved so, so presented to his view I — 
aod saw her, with her own hands, adjust the Lie upon his head, laughing 
as s]ie did it, at his unsuspicious nature ! 

He clenched his strong right hand at first, as if it would have beaten 
down a lion. But opening it immediately agatn^ he spread it out before 



y. 



^ V . 



15S THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

the eyes of Tncklelon (for he was tender of her^ even then), and £0, as- 
thcv passed out, fcU down upun ^i desk, a+id wai :^i wtJ^k as an}^ inf^int* 

H.C was wrapped up to tht: cMek nnd busy wIeJi his horse snd parcehj 
when she came into ilie rooni^ prcp:tred for going home. 

^* No^' John^ dear ! Good night, Mrtj- ! Good nt^ht^ Btrrha ! " 
Could she kiss them ? Could si^t; be hlithc and cheerful in her parting ? 
Coutd ^he venture to reveal iier face to tJiem without a. blush ? Ycj&* 
T^ckTet^n observed her dosdy ; and she did all rhia, 

"filly was hushing iWc baby : .ind ^hc cro^st^d and rccrosstd T.^ck^eion, 
a dozen times^ repealing drowi^ily; 

^^ Did the tnowledge that it was to be its wifes, tlien, wring iis hearts 
alnto&t to bic?iking 1 and did its fathers deeei-^-e Jt fnjm its cradles but 10 
break its hearts at last 1 " 

^^ NoiVj Tilly, give nie the Baby. Good nighty Mr. Tactlcton. 
Where's John, for Goodne^^' sake ? " 

^^ Ht;^s g^^l":^ l-O walk^ beside the hor^t^'s hcad/^ said Tackleton ; who 
helped her to her seat. 

^^ My deal John, Walk? To-night?*^ 

ThcmuftSt:d figure o{ her husband made a hasty sign in the aHis-mativc ; 
and rhc false stranger and the little nurse being in tlieir places, tlie old 
horse moved off. Boxer, the unconscious Boxer, running on before^ 
running back^ ninnlnp round and round the cart, and barking as irium- 
phantly rtnd merrily ai ever* 

When Tnickteton h:^d gone off likewise^ escorting May and her mother 
home, poor Caleb sat down by the fire beside his daughter ; anxious and 
remorsoi^ul n the core ; and still tEiying in hi^ wisttul con temp tuition of 
her, " Have i deceived her from her criidlc, but to breat her hearc at 
last ! '' 

The toys that had been set in motion for the Baby, ]ud all stopped 
and run down, long 3^. In the faint light and siltjncLj tite imperturb- 
ably calm doUs ; the agitated rocking-horses with distended eyes and 
nostrils i the old gentlemen at the street doors, standings halt doubled 
up, upon their failing knees and anklet ; the wrj'-faced nui-cratters ; 
the very Bca&ti upon thtir way Into the Ark, in twos, like a Boarding- 
School out walkiug ; might h.ive been imagined 10 be stricken motiankss 
with faniastie wonder^ cit F-Jot being fahe^ or TadJeton bthj^ t:dj under 
any combination of clrcumstances- 



CKIRP l^E THIRD 

'^t^L Dutch clock in the comer struck Ten, when the Carrier sat do^vn 
by his fireside. So troubled and grief-worn^ thai he seemed to scaru the 
Cuckooj who, having cut his ten melodious announcements as slicjri as 
possible, plunged back into the MooriiJi Palace xigaln^ and clapped his 
Jiitle door behind him^as if the unwonted JpccV^ele were too muchfor 
his feelings. 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 159 

If ihe Utile: Ha}Tiiaker had been armed with the sharpest of &C)Thes^ 
and hnd cut at eveiy sirote into the Carrier^s heart, he never could have 
gashed and wouiiLii^d it» as Dot had done. 

It w^$ a hcari so full of loie for her ; so bound up and held together 
by innumerable threads of winning remembrance, spun from the diiily 
Working of hpr many qualities of eniJearment ■ it was a heart in which 
she had cnslirined herself so gi?ntly and so doseJy ; n heaj-i so single and 
50 earnest in its Truth : so strong in right, so weak in ^vrong : that it 
could cherish neither passion nor revenge ^t first, and had only room to 
hotd ihi: broken image of its Idol. 

But slowly, slowly; as the Carrier sat brooding on his hearth, now 
cold and dark ; other and fiercer thoughts bo^jan to rise within him, as 
an angry wind cornes rising in the nighi. The Stranger was beneath his 
outraged roof- Three steps would lake him 10 his chamber-door. One 
blow would beat it in, " You might do Murder before you know it/* 
Tiickleton had said. How could if be Murder, if he gave the Vill^iin 
time to grapple with him hand id hand ! He was the younger man. 

It was au ill-timed thought, bad for the dark mood of his mind. It 
was an flngry ihought^ goading him to some avenging act, rhat should 
ch^.nge the chEcrful house into a haunted place which lonely travellers 
would dread to pass by night ■ and where the timid would see shadows 
sirugglinf^ in the ruined windows when tlie moon was dim, and hear tvild 
noises in the stormy weather. 

He was the younger man 1 Yes, yes ; some lover who had won ihe 
lieart that he had never touched. Some lover of her early choice : of 
whom she had ihotfghi and dreamed : for whom she had pined and 
pined : when he had fancied her so happy by his side. Oh agony to 

think of it 1 

She had been above stairs ^vith thi; Baby^ getting it to bed. As he sat 
brooding on the hearth^ she came close beside him, without his know- 
ledge — in the turning of ihe rack of hi* great misery, he lost all otiier 
sounds— and put her little stool at his feet. He only knew it, when he 
fdt her hand upon his own, and isw her looking up into his face. 

Wifli wonder ? No, It iva^ !iis lirst impression, and he was fain to 

look at her again, to set it right. No, not wiih wander. With an eager 

anJ inquiring look ; but not with wonder. At first it was alarmed and 

.. serious ; then it changed into a strange, wild, dreadful smile of recoijni- 

tion of his thoughts ; then there wa^ nothing but her clasped hands on 

her brow» and her bent head, and falling hair. 

Though the power of Omnipotence had been his to wield at that 

' moment, he had too much of its Diviner property of Mercy in his breast, 

^ 10 have tunsi^d one feather's weight of it against her. But he could not 

bear to see her croucldng down upon the litTle seat where he had often 

i looked on her, witli love and pride, so innocent and gay ; and when she 

% rose and lefr him» sobbing as she went, he felt it a relief to have the 

'■> vacant place beside him rather than her so long cherished presence. This 



i - 



V*.^ " T 



ifioTHE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

ID iwelf was anguish Uencr thin aTl : rmiinding him how dc:iobEc he 
was bucomCj and how die grc^i bond of liis life was rent asunder. 

The more he felt this^ and the more he taew he coiiid have better 
borne to see hei Wing prematurely dead bi^fore him with their little child 
upon her breast, the higher and the stronger rose his wf3th again&t hia 
tnernVn He looked about him ioT a wi^apon. 

There was a Gun^ hanging on the waih He look ii do^v^J and njoved 
3 pace or Uvo towards ihe door of the perfidious Stranger's room. He 
knew (he Gtin was loaded. Som^ sh^idov^y idea that it u'as just to shoot 
tliis man lite a Wild Beast, seized him, and dilated in his mind until it 
grew into a monstrous demon in complete possession of him, casting out 
all milder thoughts and setting xip its ^individed empire. 

That phrase is uTong. Not existing out his milder thoughts^ but 
artfully transforming them. Changing tliem into scourges to drive him 
on. Turning water into blood, Love into hate, Gentleness into blind 
ferotiiy^. Her image, sorrowings humblcdj but still pleading to his 
tenderness and morcy with rcsiirless powcT^ never left his mind; but 
staying there, it urged him to the door; raided die w^^fpon to his 
EhDuIdt]r ; fitted and nerved his finger to the trigger ; and cried " KlU 
him In his bed I" 

He reversed the Gun to bc^t the atock upon the door ; he already 
held it lifted in the air ; some indisiinct design hms in his thoughts of 
calling out to him to fly, for God's sake, by the window — 

Whertj suddenly, the struggling fire illuminc^d the whole chimney with 
a glow of light ; and the Cricket on the Ht^itrth began lo chirp i 

No sound he could have heard; no human voiee, not even hers;, 
could so liave moved and softenedhimr Theartless words in which she 
had told iiim of her love for ihrs same Cricket, ^ere once more freshly 
spoken; her tremblings earnest manner at the momi:nt, was again befni"e 
him ; her pleasant voice^Oh what a voice it was, for making household 
mu&lc at the fireside of an honest man ] — thrilled through and through 
his better nature, and awoke it Into life and action. 

He recoiled from the door^ like a man WEilking in his sleep* awakened 
from a frightful dreamy and put the Gun aside. Clasping his hands 
before his face, he then sat down again buside the fire, and found relief 
in tears* 

The Cricket on the Hearth came out into the room, and stood in 
Pairy shapt: before him. . . . 

** ^ 1 love it/ " $aid the Fairy Voice, repeating wh^it he well remem- 
bered, " ^ for the many times I have heard it, and the many thoughts ita^ 
harmless tnu&ic lias given me/ " 

"She said so !^^ cried the Carrier. "True!'' 
*^Thls has been a happy Home, John; and I love tlie Cricket for 

its sake r " 

'Jt has been, Heaven knows- '^ r'^rurned the Carrier, ^^ Sht made it 

happy, alwaj^j — until now.^* 



\ THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH i6r 



/ 



tt 



I 



So gracefully sweet-tempered ; ao domestic, joyful, busif, and Ijght- 

/ 5icarted ] " ^^id the Voice. 

" Otiicrvvi«e I never could h^ve laved Ijct as I did," returned cKe 
Cairier. 

The Voice, cortcciing him, sAid " do.*' 

Tht Carrier repeated "as I did." But jiot liimly. His faltering 
tongue Teaiaied his control, and would speat in its own way, for itself 
and him. 

TJic Figure, in an attitude of Invocation, ralicd it& hand and s^id ; 

*' Upon your own hearth " 

** The hoatth she has blighted," interposed the Carrier. 

'* The hearth she hss^ — how often [ — ble&sed and brightened," s^iid the 
Cricttt : '' the hearth which, but for her, were only a few stones and 
bricks and ru&iy tars, but whidi has heeu, through her, the Altar of your 
Home; on wBeh you have nightly sacrificed some petty passion, 
scllisiiness, or caie, and offcied up die homage of a tranquil mind, a 
trusting nature, jrnd an overflowing heart ; so that the smoke from this 
poor cliimnty has gone upward with a better fragrance than the ridiest 
incense tliat is burnt before the richest shrines in all the g.^udy Temples 
of thi5 World I — Upon your own hearth; in ifa quiet sanctuary; 
surrounded by its gentle influences and associations ; fiear her ! Hear 
nwl Hear everything ihac speaks ihc language of your Jiearth and 
home ! *' 

-'^ And pleads for her f " inquired the Carrier. 

"All things that speak the language of your heatth and home, imisl 
plead for her ! " returned the Cricket. " For they speak the Truth," 

And wljile the Carrier, with his head upon hi^ hands, continued to sit 
meditating in hii chair, the Presence stood bt&idc him ', suggesting his 
reflections by its power, and presenting them before him, as in a Glass or 
Kcture. It was not a solitary Presence. From the hearth-stone, from 
the cliimney ; from the clock, the pipe, the kettle, and die cradle ; from 
the floor, the walls, the ceiling, and the stairs ; from the cart without 
and the cupboard within, and the household implements; from evt--ry 
thing and every place with which she had ever been familiar, and with. 
which she had ever entwined one recollection of herself in her unhappy 
husband's mind; Fairies came trooping forth. Not to stand beside 
him as the Cricket did, but to busy and bestir themselves. To do all 
honour to Her image. To pull him by tiie skirti, and point to it when it 
appeared. To cluster round it, and embrace it, and &Ercw flowers for it 
to tread on. To try to crown its fair head with their liny hands. To 
show that they were fond of it and loved ii ; and that there was not one 
ugly, wicked, or accusatory creature to claim knowledge of it— none but 
dieir playful and approving selves. 

His thoughts were constant to her image. It was always there. 

She sat plying her needle, before the fire, and ringing to herself. 
Such a bJiilie^ thiivingj steady little Dati The hby figures turned 
. cc. T 



\ 

162 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH j 

-iqsDn him .-ill ^t once, by one consent, with one prodigious conc^trated 
Stare ; and wemed fo sav ^^ Is this rhc light wife vou arc mourning foj: ! " 

l^iere wore sounds of gaiety outside : musical instnjmctiti, and noisv 
tocijE^ucSs ttv^d laughter. A crowd of young merry-makers came pouring 
in ; among wiiom were May Fielding and a score of pretty girls. Dot 
w:ii the fairest of them all ; as young as any of them ioOh l^liey came to 
summon her to join tlieir pany- It m3% a dance. If ever little foot 
were made foi dancing, hcr^ wsis^ surely. But she l^ughed^ and shook 
her headj and pointed to licr cookerv on ihe fire^ and her tabic ready 
spread ; ivith an exuhmg defiance that rendered her more charming 
than ihe v.as before* And so she merrily dismissed them : nodding to 
her would-be partners, one by one, as tliev passed out^ with a comical 
indifference, enough to make them go and drown themselves immediately 
if they "were her admirers—and they m^ist Jiave been &o^ more or les& ;. 
the}^ couldn^t help ii. And yet indifference u-as nor her character. Oh 
no ! For pre.^enily, there came a ceYtain Cariier to the door ; ^]:id bless 
her what a welcome &he bestowed upon him ] 

Again the staring ligurts turned upon }iim all ^t once, and seemed to 
say *^ Is this the wife who Jias forsaken you I '* 

A shadow iell upon tlic mirror or the picture ; call it what you wilL 
A great shadow of the Stronger, as he first stood underneath their roof ; 
covering ir^ anrfacCj and blotting out all other objects. lint the nimble 
Fairies worked like BL:es to clear k off again ; and Dot i^s^ain ivas there- 
Still bright and beautiful- 
Rocking hi;r little Baby in its cradle ; sSngtng to it ?oftly ; and resting 
her held upon a shoulder which had its counterpart in tite musing figure 
by which tlic Fairy Cricket stood. 

The night — 1 mean the real uEght : not going bv Fairy elocks— was 
wearing now; and in this stage of the Catrier^g thoughts, the moon 
bur&t outj and shone brightly in rhe sky. Perhaps some calm and quiet 
light had risen also, in liis mind; and he could tlnnk more soberly of 
"wliat liad happened. 

Although the shadow oi the Sirangtr fell ai intervals upon the glass — 
always distinct, and big, and thoroughly defined — if never fell so darlly 
as at firstn Whenever it appeared, the Fairies uttered a general cry of 
consternation, and plied their Uttle arm* and legs, with inconceivable 
activity^ to rub it out. And whenever they i>ot at Dot again^ and 
si^owcd her to him once more, bright and beautiful^ they cheered in the 
most inspiring manner. 

Tliey never sliDwed her, otherwise than buautifu] and bright^ for they 
were Household Sf^irits to whom Falsehood is annih])ation ; and being 
soj what Dot was there for them, but the one active, beamings pleasant 
little creature who had been the }ight and £un of the Carrier's Home 1 

The Fairies were prodtgiousiy txciied when they &howt:d her^ with the 
Baby, gossiping amon^ a knot of ^age old matrons, and affecting to be 
wondioua old and matronly herself^ and leaning in a ataidj di^muic old 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 163 

way upon her hu^band^s arnij attempting — she [ such a bud of a little 
womAn — to convey the idea of having abjured the vanities of tlic world 
in general, and of being the &ott of pi^rwn to whom it w^s no novelty at 
all to bt i mcnher ; ycr. in the same breathy tl^ey showed her, laughing 
at ihe Carrier for being awLward^ and pulling up his shirr-colUr to make 
him smartj and mincing merrily^ about that very room to teach him liow 
to dance* 

They turned, and sirred immenaely at him when they sfiowcd Iier 
wiih the Blind Girl ; for though ^he carried cheerfulness and animation 
with her, wheresoever &he went, she bore those influences into Caleb 
Plummcr^s honiCj heaped up and running over. The Blind GirPs love 
for her^ and trusi in her, and gratitude to her ; her own good busy way 
of setting Bertha's thanU asidi; ; her dexterous little arts for filling up 
e:tdi moment of tht visit in doing something useful to the house^ and 
Tc^\\y working hard while feigning to make holiday 5 her bountiful 
provision of those standing delicacies^ the Veal and Ham-Pie and the 
bottles of Beer ; her radiant Utile face iirlvSng at the door, nnd taking 
leave ; the wonderful expression in her whole self, from her neat foot to 
the crown of het head, of besn^; a pare of the establishment — ^ something 
necessary to it^ whidi it co^ddn't be without ; all this the Fairies revelled 
in^ and loved her for. And once again they looked upon him all at once^ 
appcalingly ; and seemed to say^ while some among them nestled in her 
drc&s and fondled her^ " Is thts the Wife who has betrayed your confi- 
dence ! " 

More than once^ or twice, or thricCj in the long thoughtful nfght, 
th^y showed her to him sitting on her favourite seat^ with her bent head, 
her hands clasped on her broWj her fitlllng hair. As he had seen her hist. 
And when they found her thus, they neither turnetl nor looted upon 
ianij btic gathered close round her, and comforted and kissed her : and 
pressed on one another to show sympathy and kindness to her: and 
forgot him altogether. 

Thus the ntght passed. The moon went down ; the stars grew pale ; 
the cold day broke ; the sun rose. The Catrler still $at, musing, In the 
chimney coTner. He had sat there* wiih his head upon his handsj all 
night. All night ihe faithful Cricket had been Chirp, Chirp, Chirping 
on the He:irth. All night he had listened to its voice. All nighty the 
houstihold Kalries had been busy with him. All ntght, she had been 
amiable and blaniele&s in the Glass, except when that one shadow fell 
upon it* 

He rose up when it was broad day, and washes! and dressed Jiimself* 
He couldn*r go about his customary eheerTul avocations; iie wanted 
■: spirit for them ; buiif mattered the les::. thaiit wa&Tackleton'fiwcdding- 
'j d y, and he Jiad arranged to make his rounds by proxy, lie had thought 
f to have gone merrily to church with Doc, But such plans were at an 
1 end* It was their own wedding-day too. Ah ! how little he had 
jl !oo^d for such a close to such a year 1 



i 



1.. 



164 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

The Carrier eipecfed thar Tackleton would pay him an cmly vi^it* 
and ht was right. He had not walked lo and fro before hh cwn door, 
ranny minutes, when he saw the Toy-merchant coming in his chaise 
along the road. As dm chaise dre>s' nt^ttt, he perceived that Tatt^eton 
was dresfied out sprifcely, for h]s marriage; and had decorated, his 
horse's head with iiowers and favours. 

The horse looked much more like a Bridegroom tiian Tcickleion, 
whose iiaif-ciosed e\'e was more dkagroeably exprcssi\e tJ^an e^'er. Bnt 
the Carrier took little heed of tliis. His thoughts had odier occupa- 
tion. 

'■John Peerybingle 1 " said Tackletan^ with an air of condolence, 
" My good fellow^ liow do j'ou find yourself iliis morning ? " 

"1 have had but a poor nighty Miister Tackleton^" returned tli^ 
Carrier, shaking his head : '* for I Jiave beci< a good deal disturbed in 
my mind. Buc^s it's over now ! Caci you spare me half-an-hour or so, 
for some private talk f '" 

" 1 c^me ou purpoic," returned Tackleton, all^'htin'^. '^ Never mind 
ihe horse. He'll stand quiet enough, witii Uic reins over tfiia post, if 
you'll give liini a mouihful of hay," 

The Carrier h-iving brought it from, his stable and set it before fiini. 
they turned into the house. 

*' Yoa are not manied before noon ? " he sard^ *' I think r " 

" No," answered Tactleton, " Plenty o£ time. Plenty of time,*' 

When they entered the kitche[i, Tilly Slowboy W3S rapping at the 
Stranger's door ; wliich was only removed from it by a few step&. One 
of her very red cjes (for Tilly had been crying .ill night long, because 
her misiress cried) was at the keyhole ; and she was knocking very loud ; 
and seemed frightened. 

*' IE you please 1 can'r make nobody hear," said Tilly, looking round. 
*' I hope nobody an'r gone and been and died if you please !" 

This philantliropic wish, Miss Slowboy emphasised wiiJv various iicw 
raps and kicks at the door ; which ltd to no result whatever. 

'' Shall 1 go ? " said Tackleton, " It's curious," 

The Carrier, who liad turned his face from tJie door, signed to fiim to 
go if he would. 

So Tackleton went to Tilly Slowboy's relief ; and he too kicked and 
knocked ; and lie too f-dled to get the least reply. But he iliougJit of 
trying die handle of tJie dool ; and as ii opened easily, he peeped in, 
looked in, went in ; and soon came running out again, 

" John Pcerybingle," said Tackleton, in his ear, " 1 hope there has 
been notliing — nothing rash in the night/* 

The Carrier turned upon him quickly. 

" Because he'a gone ! " said Tackleton ; " and ciie window'5 open. I 
don't see any marks— to be sure it's almost on a level with ihe garden : 
but I was afraid there nliglit have been some — some scuffle. EJi f " 

He Ticarly shut up the c^piessive eye altogether ; he looked at him so 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH i6s 

hard. And he gave hi* tye, and his face^ and hit whole person, a sharp 
twist. As if he would Itave screwed the truth out of him. 

*" Make yaursclf eas/j" said the Carrier. ^' He went into that room 
last night, without harm in word or deed from me ; and no one has 
entered it since. He is away of his own free will- Pd go out gbd!y at 
that door, and beg my bread from house to house, for life^ if I could so 
change the past that he had never come. But he has come and gone. 
And I havt done with him ! " 

'' Oh !— Well, I think he has got off jiretty easy,** said Tackleton 
taking a chair. 

The sneer was lost upon the Carrier, who sat down too : and shaded 
his face with his hand, for some little time, before proceeding. 

" You showed me last night " he said at length, ^* my wife ; my wife 
that I love; secretly- ^^ 

'^Ajid tenderly,'^ insinuated Tackleton. 

" Conniving at that man^s disguise and giving him opporiuniliea of 
meeting; her alone^ I tliint thcrt's no stght I wouldn^t have talher seen 
than that. I tliink there's no man in the world I ^tJuldn't have rather 
had to .^how it me." 

"I confess to having had my suspicions always," said Tackleton* 
'^ And that has made me objectionable here, I know^." 

^* But a^ you did show it me," piusued the Carrier, not minding him ; 
'^ and as you saw her ; my wife ; my wife that I love "^his voice^ and 
eye, and hand^ grew steadier and firmer as he repeated these words : 
evidently in pursuance of a steadfast purpose — ^*as you saw her at tJiis 
dtsadvantage, it is right and just that you should also see with my eyes 
and look into my breast, and know what my mind isj upon the subject* 
For it^s settled/^ iaid the Canier^ regarding him attentively. ** And 
nothing can shake it now." 

Tackleton muttered a few general words of assents about its being 
necessary to vindicate something or othet ; but he was oveiawed by the 
manner of his companion. Fbin and unpcjlijhed as it was, it had a 
something dignified and noble in it, which nothing but the soul oE 
generous Honour , d^velling in the man, could have imparted. 

^' 1 am a plain^ rough man/^ pursued the Catrier, " with verj^ little to 
recommend me. I am not a clever man, as you very well know. I am 
not a young miin. I loved my little Dot^ because I had seen her grow 
up, from a ciiildj in her father's house ; becaufO I knew how precious 
she was ; because slie had been my Life^ for years and years. There's 
many meiv I can'i compare with^ who never couJd have laved my little 
Dot lite me, I thint ! '* 

He paused, and softly beat the ground a short time with his foot^ 
before resuming : 

" I often thought t}iat though I w:tsn't good enough for h^t^ I should 
mate het ^ kind husband, and perhaps know htr \alue belter d>an 
another ; and in this way I reconciled it to myself^ and came to think it 



166THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

might be pos&ibie that ^c sl^oukl hti ni^rrl^d- And in the end, it came 
about^ and we H>^ff n^^rried." 

*' Hah ! " said TacHeton^ with a tijinificant ^hake of his head* 

^' T bnd studied mj^lf; 1 had lifid cxpcjtic'nco of my&elf ; I tncw how 
much I loved her^ and i^ow happy I shouid bcj^^ pursut^d the Carrier^ 
" But I had not — I feel it now — sufficiently considered herj^ 

** To be iuie/' SEiid TacU^ton. " Giddiness, frivolity^ fickleness, love 
of admiration ! Not can^idertd ! All Itfi out of sight I Hah ! ^' 

"You had best not interrupt me^" said the CaiTicr, with some 
sternness, *^ till you undersLstnd me ; and you're wide of doing so. 1 i^ 
yesterday, I'd hjive srrucfc tiiat man dowR at a blow^ who dared lo 
breathe a word against her ; to-day I*d set my foot upon hii £act-j if he 
was my brother ! " 

The Toy-merchanr gaied at him irt astonishment. He went on in a 
softer tone ; 

" Did 1 consider," said the Carrier, ^^ that I took her ; at lier age^ and 
with her bcaut}^; from h<^r young comp^ninns, and the many 5ccnes of 
whidi she was the orn;imtnt ; in wfiich she was tht; brigliti^st Hule star 
that ever shone ; to shut her up from day to day in my dtiil house, and 
keep my tedious company ? Did I con&ider how little suited I was to 
her spiigluly humour, and how wearisome a ploddmg m^n like me n^ust 
be, ro one of her quick spirit ; did I consider that it was ro merit in me 
or claim in me^ that 1 lo^ed her, when everybody must^ who knew her ? 
Never. I took advantage of her hopeful nature and her cheerful 
disposition ; and I married i^ern 1 wish I ne^er had ! For her sake i 
not for mine 1 " 

The Toy-merchant gazed at hinij without winking- Even the half- 
shut eye w^as open now. 

" Heaven bless her ! ^' Aaid the Carrier, *' for the cKeerful constancy 
with whit^h she tried to keep the knowledge of this from me J And 
Heaven help me, that^ in my slow mind, I have not found it out before ! 
Poor child f Poor Dot ] / not to find it ouf^ who have seen her eyes 
fill with icars^ when such a marriage as our own was spoken of I I, who 
have setji the secret trembling on her lips a hundred times^ and never 
suspected it^ till last night ! Poor girl ! That I could ever hope &he 
would be fond of me i That I could ever believe she was 1 " 

" She made a show of it," said Tackleton. '^ She made such a show 
of it, that to tell you the truth it was the origin of my misgivingSn" 

And here he asserted the superiority of May Fielding^ who certainly 
made no sort of sho^v of being fond of ^m^ 

" She has tried/' 5aid the poor Carrier, with greater emotion than he 
had c:Jiibitcd yet ; '* I only now begin to know how hard the has tried ; 
lo be my duiiful and zealous wife* How good she hai becji ; how much 
she ha? done ; how brave and strong a heart she has ; let the happiness 
1 have known under this roof bear witness J It will Be some help and 
comfort to me, when I am here alone." 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 167 

** Here alone ? " said TacUeton- *' Oh ! Then you. do mean to take 
some notice of this ? " 

"^ I mean," returned die Carrier^ ^* to do her the greatest tindne&s, and 
make her the best rcparatiori, in my power. I can rcle^tse her from the 
daily pain of an unequal marriage^ and the Simple to conceal ir. She 
tjiall be as free as 1 can render ]ier.'* 

" Make b^r reparation ! " eufclaimed Tackleron, rvrisnng and turning 
hig grt:aE ears with his hands. " There must be something wrong here* 
You didn't say that, of course.'* 

The Carrier sut his grip upon the collar of the Toy-merchant, and 
shook him like a reed. 

^^ Listen to me i " he said* ^* And take cjfe that you hear me right. 
Listen ro me. Do I spah plainly f " 

*' Very plainly indeed^" ansivered Tackletoru 
" A^ if 1 meant it P '' 
"* Vciy much aa if you meant ii." 

*^ I tat upon that hearih. last night, all nigh:/' eiclafmed the Carrier, 
^^ On the spot where she has often sar beside mc, with her sweet face 
Jooking into mine, I called up lier whole life^ day by day ; I had her 
dear self, in its e^e^y passage, in res^ew before me. And upon m/ soul 
she h innocentj if there is One to judge the innocent and guilty ! " 
Staunch Cricket on the Hearth ! Loyal household fairies I 
■' Pgssion ?Lnd distrust have left mc ! *■ said the Carrier ; " and nothing 
but my grief remains. In an unhappy moment some old lovcfj better 
suited to her tasted and years than I ; forsaken, perhaps, for me, against 
}i;:r will ; returned. In an unhappy moment : taken by surprise, and 
wanting time to think of what she did : she made herself a part}^ to his 
treachery, by concealing it. Last night she saw him, in the interview 
we witnessed. It was wrong. But otherwise than this, she is innocent 
if there is Truth on earth ! " 

If that h your opinion " Tackleton began^ 

Soj let her go ! '^ pursued the Carrier, *' Goj with my blessing for 
the many happy hours she ha$ given me, and my forgiveness for any pang 
she has caused me. Let her go, and have tKe peace of mind I wish hei ! 
Ehe*U never hate me, She^Il learn to like me better^ when I*m not a 
drag upon her, and she wears the chain I have ii^xted^ more lightly. 
This ]3 the d:iy on which 1 took her, with so hiile tliought fot her 
enjoyment, from her home. To-day she ^hall return to it ; and I ivill 
trouble her no more. Her father and mother will be here to-day — we 
had made a little pUn for keeping it together — and they shall take her 
home. I can trust her, ihcre^ or anywhere. She leaves me without 
blame, and she will live so I am sure. If I should die — I may perhaps 
while she is aiill young ; 1 have lost some courage in a few hours — she^ll 
find that 1 remembered her, and loved her to the last ! This is the end 
of what you showed me. Now, it's over [ " 

*^ O noj John^ not over* Do not say it's over yet I Not quite yet* 






I68THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

I have heard youT noble words. I couid not steal aw^)\ pretending tO 
be ignorant of what has affected mt with such deep gratitude. Do not 
say it^s over^ *till the clock has struck again ! " 

She had entered shortly after Tackleton ; and had remained there. 
She never looked at Tackl^itun^ but fixed hex eyes upon !ier husband. But 
she kept awfiy from him J setting as T^ide a space as possible bet^veen them ; 
and though she spoke with mo^c impassioned oamestnes&j she went no 
nearer to him even then. How difft-Teni in this, from her old self i 

*^ Ko hand can make tlie clock which will strike again for me the hours 
th^t are gone/' replied the CaTrietj with s faint smile. ^^ But let it be 
so, if you wilij my dear, Ic will strike soonn It^s of little matter what 
we say. I'd try lo please yon in a harder case than that." 

" Well [ '* muttered TacHcton. " 1 must be ofFj for when the clock 
strides agjinj it'll be necessary for inc lo be upon my way to church. 
Good mornings John Peerybingle. Vm sorry to be deprived of rhe 
pleasure of yout company. Sony for the loss, and the occasion of it 
too 1 " 

^* I have spoken plainly ? '^ said the Carrierj accompanying Kim to the 
door. 

" Oh quite 1 ** 

" And you^ll remember what I have said f '* 

^' Why, if you compel rae to makt: the observation," said Tacklcton ; 
previously taking ihc precaution of getting into his chaise ; *' I must say 
that it was so very unexpected, that I'm far from being likely to forget it. ^* 

" The better for us both^" returned the Carrier- " Good-bye* 1 
give you joy f " 

"I wUh I could give it to )?flH," said Tackleton. "As I can't" 
thank*ee* Between ourselves (as 1 told you before, eh ?) 1 don^t much 
think I shall have the less joy in my married hfe^ bcca;i?e Mity hasn^t 
been too officious about mc^ and too demonstrative. Good-bvc I Take 
tare of yourself*** 

The Carrier stood lookinj> after him until he was smaTler in the 
distance than his horse's flowers and favours near at hand; and then^ 
with a deep sigh, went strolhng like a restle??^ broken man, among some 
neighbouring elms ; unwilling to return until the cloct \va^ on the eve 
of striking. 

HiS little wife being left alone^ sobbed pUeously ; but often dried 
her eyes and checked herself, to say how gocd he was, how excellent he 
waa ! and once or twice she lax^ghed i so heartilv, triumph fin tly, and 
incoherently (still crying all the time), that T'illy was quite horrified, 

" Ow if you please don't J " said Tilly, " Jt^s enough to dead and 
buTy the Baby, so it h if you pknisc.*^ 

" Will you bring him sometinieSj to see his father, Till v." inquired her 
mistress ; drying her eyes \ " when 1 can^t live heie, and have gone to 
my old home ? " 

Ow if you please don't ! " cried Tilly^ thro^Mng back her headj 3nd 



a 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 169 

buisciTig our into a howl ■ she looted at the moment uncommonly like 
Boxer ; " Ow it yt>u please don^i ! Ow^ what has eveiybody gone and 
been and doi>c wiih everybod/j making everybody tlst to wretched 1 
Oiv-w-w-w ! '^ 

The soft-hearted STowboy trailed oJf at thf$ juncture, into sucli ^i 
depTorfible Kowl : the more tremendous from its lotig suppression : that 
she must infallibly have awakened the Baby, and frightened him into 
something K^ious (probably eonvulsionj)^ it her eyes had not encountered 
Calub Plummcij leading in his daughter^ This spectaele rci^iDting her 
to a sense of the propiieiiea^ she stoo^Efor some few moments siJeni^ with 
her mouth wide open : and then, po^tia^g off to the bed on which the 
Baby lay asleep, danced in a weird, Saint Vitus mannt^r on the floor^ ttnd 
at the same time rummaged with her face and head among the bed- 
clothes ; apparently deriving much relief from those extraordinary 
ocer:itions. 

*' Mary ! '^ said Bertha. ^^ Not at the marriage ! ^' 

'^ I told her you would not be there, munij" whispered Caleb. ^* t 
heard as much last ni^ht. But bless you/^ said the httk man^ taking 
her tenderly by both hands^ ^^ / don't care for what they say ; / don^t 
believe tliem. There ain^t much of me^ but that little should be torn 
to pieces snoneE than I'd trust a word againit you I " 

He put his arm^ about her neck and hugged her^ as a child might have 
hugged one of his own dolls. 

*^ B«Ttha couldn'r stay at home this morningj" said Caleb. ^^ She was 
afraid, I know, to hear the Bells ring : and couldn't trnst herself to be 
?o near thera on their wedding-day. So we started in gooil tmie, and 
came here. I have been thinking of what I have done/' said Cal(?b* after 
a momtnt^s pau&e ; " I have been blaming mvself till I hardly knew 
what to do nr where tu lurnj for the distress of mind I have caused her ■ 
and Tve come to the conclusion that Td belter^ if you'll stay i\ith me, 
mum, the while^ tell her tl^e irulh* You'll stay ^viih me the while f " 
he inquiredj trembling from hi:ad lo foot, *" I don't know what effect 
it may have upon her ; I don't know what she'll tliink of mc ; I don't 
knoT.v that shc^U ever care for her poor father afterwards. But it's best 
forherihat she should be undeceived ^ and Imust bear the consequences^ 
as i deserve ] " 

VMary/' said Bertha, "^vhere ia your hand! Ah f Here it is; 
here it is t " pressing it to her lips^ niih a smile, anci drawing it tlirough 
her arm. " 1 heard iheni speaking softly among ihemselveSj last night, 
of some blame against you^ They were wrong/^ 

The Carrier's Wifo wai silent. Caleb answered for hern 

** ITiey were wrong/^ Jie said* 
: " 1 knew lE i " cried Bertha, proudly- ** I rc>ld thorn So. T scorned 
^' to hear a word! Blamt^ hir with Justice]" she preyed the hand 
bet^veen her own, and the soft dieet against her face. "^ No ! I am not 
ao Blind as that." 



170 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

Her father went on one aide of her» while Dot remained upon the 
Qther: holding her hiind. 

" I know you all," $aid Brjiiha^ " better tlian yuu think. Bur none so 
well flS her. Noi evun you, father. There h nothing half so real and 
so inie about mc, as slic is. If I couU be restored to sight thiA instant, 
and not a word were spoken, I could choose her from a crowd [ iVTv 



sistel ■ " 






" Bertha, my dear 1 " stiid Calc5>j '^ I have something on my mind 1 
want To tell you, while wc three are aionfin Hear mc k(ndly j I have a 
confession to make to you, my Darling," 

" A confession, failitr ? " 

^*I have u^andcred from the Tmih and lost myselfjiny child, "said Calebs 
\vii:h a pitiable expression in hh bewildered face- *" I have wandered 
from the Tftith, inu'i^ding to hn kind in you ; and have be^n cruel." 

She turned her wonder- scrEcktn f.icc towards him, and repeated 
*^ Cruel !^' 

'^ He accuses hin^sdf too strongly. Bertha/* ?aid Dot. '^ You*]] say so, 
presently. Yon^ll be tho firsi to tell him so/^ 

He cruel to me ! " cried Bertha, with a smile of increduHtj'. 
Not meaning it, my childj'* said Caleb, '' Eui I have been, 
though i never suspt^cted if, till yesterday. My dear Blind Daughter, . 
hear me and foigivc me ! The world you live in, heart of mine, docan^r 
^xi^t a^ I have represented it- The eyes you have trusted in^ have bi^ca 
faTsc to voUh" 

She turned her wosider-siri eke n face towards him itHl ; but drcw^bacK 
and clung closer la her friend. 

^* Youi road in life was rottgh, my poor one^*' aaid Caleb, ^^ and I meant 
10 smooth it for you. I have altered obji^cts, changed the chaiacicrs of 
people, invented many things ihai never lijive been, to make you happier, 

1 have had concealmenis from vou^ put decepiions on you, God forgive 
me 1 and surrounded you with fancies." 

" But living people arc not fandcs P " she said hurriedly, and turning 
very pale, and stiU retiring from him. ^^ You can't change: ihcm." 

*^ I have done so^ Bertha/' pleaded Caleb. " There is one person 
that you know, my Dove " 

" Oh father 1 why do you say, I kncrw : '^ she answered* in a tone of 
keen reproach. *' ^Vhat and whorn do / know ! I who have no leader ! 

2 so miserably bhnd ! '^ 

In the anguish of her heart, she stretched o«t her hands, as if she were 
groping her way ; then spread them, in a manner most forlorn and sad, 

upon her face, 

" The marriage that takes place to-day," said Caleb, " is with a stem, 
sordid, grinding man, A hard master to you and nie, rny dear, for many 
years, t-^gly in his looks, and in his nature. Cold and callous always- 
Unlike what I have painted him to you in everything, my child* In 
everydiing." 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 171 

** Oh why" cried the Blind Girl, toitured, as it seemed, almost 
beyo]id endurflnce, " why did you ever do ihis I Why did you ever fill 
my hcari &o full, and then come in like Death, and tear away the objects 
of my love ! Oh Heaven, ijow blind I am ! How helpless and afoni? ! '* 
Her afRictcd father hung his head, and offered no reply bur in his 
penitence 3iid iorrow. 

She had brcn bur a short time in this passion of regjti, when the 
Cricket on the Hearth, unheard by ali but her, began to chirp. Not 
merrily, but in a low, faint, sorrowing way. It was ?o moumfni, that 
her tear> began 10 flow i and when the Preaencc which had been besida 
the Carrier all night, appeared behind her* pointing fo htr father, they 
fell down lite raiu. 

She heard tlii: Crietet-voice more plainly soon ; and wa^ conscious, 
through her blindness^ of the Presence hovering about htt father, 

"' Mary," $aid the Blind Girl, '^ tell me what my home is. What it 
truly is." 

*' It 15 a poor place^ Bertha ; very poor and bare indeed. The house 
U'ill scarcdy t:eep out wind and rain another winter, h is as roughly 
shielded from the weather, BoFtiia,^' Dot coniinued in a low^ clear voice^ 
" as your poor father in liis sackcloth coat." 

The Blind Girlj greatly agitated, rose, and led die Carrier's little 
wife aside. 

*' Those presents that I took such care of; that came almost at my 
wi^h, aud were so dearly welcome to me," she said» trembling ; " wtiere 
did they come from ? Did vou send them P " 
" No." 

*^ ^^Tio then r' 

Dot saw she knew, already ; and was silent. The Blind Girl spread 
her hands before her face again. But in quile anotlier manner iioxv, 

*' Dear Mary, a moment. One moment! More this way. Speak 
softly 10 me. You are true, I know. YouM not deceive me now; 
would you ' " 

**Ko, Bmha, indeed!" 

" No, I am sure you ivould not. Vou have too much pity for me. 
Mary, look across the room to where we were jusr now ; to where my 
father is — my father, so compassionate and loving to me — and tell mc 
what you see," 

" I &ee," said Dot, who understood her well ; " an old man sitting ■■ 
a chair, and leaning sorrowfully on the back, witli his face resting on His 
hand. As if his child should comfort him» Bertha," 
" \'es, yes. She will. Go on." 

" He is an old man, vrorn with care and work. He is a spare, dejected, 
thoughtful, grey-haiied man. I see him now, despondent and bowed 
down, and striving against nothing. But, Bertha, 1 have seen him many 
times before ; and striving hard in many ways for one great sacred 
object. And 1 honour his gisy head, and bless him J " 



172 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

The Blind Girl brott away from hrr ; and tlirnvving hefsetf upon her 
knee$ tn?fon? him, took ihe grey head lo her brci^stn 

*' It is my sight restored. It is mv sight ! '' sht^ cried. '" I have been 
blind, and no^v' my eyt;5 aro open. I ntver Lntw him [ To think ( 
might have died, and nc^-cr truly seen the father, who has bec?n so loving 
to mc ! ^' 
Tlierti wcie no words for Calcb'5 cmotionn 

"There is not a galknt figure on this c^rtli," exclaimed the lUmd 
GitT^ holding him in her embrace^ "that 1 would love so dearly, and 
would cKerish so di^votedly. :i5 tKis ! Tht greyer, and more worn^ tiie 
dearcFj father ! Never ler iKem 5[iy I am bhnd again. There's not a 
furrow in hh face, therc^s not a hair upon his head, tliar shall be for- 
gotten in my prayers and thanks to t leaven ! '^ 
Caleb manas^d 10 arcietilatc " Mv licriha ! " 

**Aiid in my Blindness, I belie\'ed Idm^" said die girl^ caressing him 
with tears ol exquisite affection, *^ to be so different i And having 
him beside mCj Jay by day, so mindful of me always^ never dreamed oE 
this ! " 

"The fresh smart father in the bhie coat, Ber'haj" said pnor Caleb* 
*' He's gone ! " 

^' Nothing; i$ goncj" slie answered- '^Dearest father^ no! Everj- 
thing is liere-^in you. The father that I loved so well ; tiie father 
that I never loved enough^ and never knew ; the Benefactor whom I first 
began to reverence and love, becanse he had such sympathy for me ; Alt 
are hure in you. Nothing is dead to me^ The Soul of all thai was most 
dear to mc is here — here, with ihe ^^^^m faee, and the grey head. A]id 
I am XOT blind, father, any longer ! '^ 

Dot's whole aitenilon had been concentrated, during this discoutse; 
npnn the father and daughter ; but looking^ now* towards the titUe 
HaymakLr in tiic Moorish meadow, she saw that the clock was within a 
few minutes of striking; and fell, immediately, into a nervous and 
excited state. 

" Father/' said Beriha, hesitating. ^' Mary.'' 
" Yes, my dear,*' returned Cakb. " Here the is/* 
*^ There is no change in /}fr. You never told nie anything of l^r tlial 
was not true i " 

" I should have done it^ my dear^ J am afraid/^ returned Calebs '"^ if 1 
could have made her better than she was. But I must have chanj;ed her 
for the worse, if 1 had cliaoged her at all. Nothing could improve her^ 
Bertha-" 

Confident as the Blind Girl had been wlien she asked the question, her 
delight and pride in the reply^ and her renewed embrace o( Etotj were 
diarming to behold. 

" More dianges than you tiiink for^ mav happen though, my dear/' 
said Dot. " Changes for the better. I mean ; cJianges for grtat joy to 
some of us. You mu&m^t let them startle you too much, il any such 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 173 

should ever happen, ^nd affect yon ! Are these wheels upon die road i 
You've a quick ear, Bertha. Are they wheels ? " 

" Yea. Coming vctv fast," 

" I — I' — know you have a quick ear," 5^fd Dot, placing her h:Lijd upon 
her heart, and evidenciy talking on, as fast as sho could to hide jib 
palpi taring state^ '* becaust: I h:rve noiEccd ir often, and because you were 
?o quick to find oun tii.it strange step last night. Thoifgh why you 
should have said, as I very well recollect you did &ay. Bertha, * Whose 
step is that ! ' atJd why you should have taken any greater observation of 
it than of any other step, I don't know. Though as I said jusc now, there 
ifte great changes in the world : great changes : and ^vc can't do better 
than prepare ourselves to be surprised at hardly anything." 

Caleb wondered what tixis meant ; perceiving thit siie spote to him, 
no less tjjan to his daughter. He saw her, with astonishment, so 
fluttered and diBtresaed that she could scarcely breathe ; and J^Eding to 
a chair, to save herselt from falling. 

" They are wJicels indeed ! " she panted. "^ Coming nearer ; Nearer ! 
Very dose) And now you hear them [stopping at the garden gate! 
And now you hear a step outside the door — the same step, Bertha, is it 
not ! — and now ! " — 

She uttered a wild cry of uncontrollable delight ; and running up to 
Caleb put her hands upon his eves, as a young man rushed into the room, 
and flinging away hi$ hat into the air, came sweeping down upon them, 

■' Is it over ? '* cried Dot. 

'' Yei ! " 

^'Happily over f " 

"■ Yes [ " 

'* Do you recollect the voice, dear Caleb ? Did you ever hear the lite 
of ir before f' " erred Dot. 

" If my boy in the Golden South Americas was alive " — said Caleb, 
trembling. 

" He is alive ! " shrieked Dot, removing her h^nds from his eyes, and 
clapping them in ecstasy ; ^' look at him ! Kee where he stands before 
yoH, healthy and strong ! Your own dear son ! Your own dear living, 
loving broiher, Bertha ! *' 

All honour to the little creature for her transports ! .All honour to 
her tears and laughter, when tile three were locked in one anoiher's 
arms ' .111 honour to the heartiness witix which she met the sunburnt 
sailor-fellow, with Isis dark streaming iiair, half way, and never turned 
her rosy li [lie mouth aside, but suffered him to kiss it, inxly, and to press 
her TO his b unding heart ! 

And honou!" to the Cuckoo too— why not ! — for bursting out of the 
trap-door in tnv Moorish Palace like a housebreaker, and hiccoughing 
twelve times on the assembled company, as if he hdd got drunk for joy 1 

Tliu Carrier, entering, st.rrted back ; and well he might: to find 
himself in such good company. ■ ' 



.'J 



174 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

wTVm"-« '^^P"^'^' <^-^ltingV, -loot here! M^ own hoy 
from the Goldon SoufA Amc^rtca. ! Myownion! Him that you fiued 
out, andscnt away yoursdf -, him that you were always .uch ,. friend to ' " 
ihc Carrier advanced to sci^e him by the h.nd ; bui recoiling, .s some 
lecture in his face awakened a remembrance of tho De:tf Man in the can, 

"Edward! Was it you ? " 

'■Nowtdlhim.l];"cnedDot, "Tellhim a]],Edw.rd ; .nd don'r 
spare me, for nothing shatfc make m^ spare myself in his ev^s, e^ei ^S^in " 
I Wijs the man," &aid Edward, " 

"And could you steal, disj-uiied, into the house of your old friend } '^^ 
rejoined the Garner. -Tlicre ^vas a fr^nk boy onco-how many yenrs 
15 It, Caleb, since we heard that iie was dead, and had it proved we 
thought ?— who never wouU have done that." 

" There was a generous friend of mine, ot^ce ; more a fatlier to me 
tUan a friend ! said Edward, - who never would have judged me or 

any other man, unheard. Vou were he. So I am certain you will hear 

me now. ' 

The Carrier, with a troubled glance at Dot, who still kepr far away 
from him, replied, " Well 1 that^s but fair. I will" 

" You must t:now that when 1 left here, a boy/' said Edward " I was 
in love : and my love was returned. She was ,1 very youn* Pirl who 
perhaps (you may tell me) didn't know her own mind But I tncw 
mine ; and I had a passion for her/' 

" Vou had [ " exclaimed the Carrier. '' You J " 

"Indeed I had," returned the otker, '* And she rctirmed it- I h^ve 
ever since believed siie did ; and now I am sure she did " 

*' Heaven help me ! *' said the Carrier. " This is woisc. than all " 
Constant Lo her,^> said Edward, " ^nd returning, full of hope, after 
many Jiardships and perils, to redeem my part of our old contract I 
heard, t^venty miies away, that she was fahe m me; that she had 
iorgoiten me ; and had bestowed herself upon another and a richer man 
1 had no nnnd to reproach her; but I wished to see her, and to prove 
beyond djspute that this was true. I hoped she might have been forced 
into it, against her own desire and recollection. It would be smaT] 
comfort, but it would be &ome, [ thought: and on I came That I 
might have the truth, the real trnlh ; observing freely for myself, and 
judging for myself, without obstruction on the one hand, or presenting 
my own mlluence (if 1 had any) before her, on the other; I dressed 
myself unljke myself— you know how; and waited on the road— yon 
know where. You had no suspicion of me; neither had—had ^he " 
pointing to Dot, " until 1 whispered in her ear ^L that fireside, ^nd she lo 
nearly betrayed me." 

il^ll^^rx'*''^" ^^^ ^"^^^ ^^^* Edward was alive, and had come back," 

sobbed Dot, nowspeaking for herself, as shehfld burned to do, all through 
tins narrative ; '* and when she knew his purpose, she advi&ed him by all 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 175 

means to ketp his secret close ; for Lis old Eriend John Pecrybingle was 
much too open in his naiQre, and too clunts)^ (n all artifice— being a 
clumsy man in general/* said Dot^ halt laugKing and KaU crying — " to 
keep it for him. And wKtrn she — th^tc's me^ John^" sobbed tfie litile 
woman — " Eold him all, and h.ow his sweetheart had believed him to be 
dead ; and how she had at last been over-persuaded by her moiher into a 
marriage which the siHy, dear M ilung called advantageous ; and when 
?]ic— that's me again^ John — told him they were not yet married (tJiough 
close upon it), and that it would be nothing but a sacrifice i£ it went on, 
for ihcre was no love on her sido ; and when Jifi ^i^nc nearly mad with 
joy to hear It; then ihe— that^s me again — said she would go between 
themj as jht had often done before in old times, John^ and would sound 
iiis sweetheart and be sure that what she — me again, John — said and 
thouf^ht was right. Ahd it was rigiit^ John ! And they wert: brought 
together, JuJin ! And they uerc married^ Jolin, an hour ago I And 
here^s the Bride ! And Gruff and Tackfeton may die a bachelor ! And 
J'ni a happy little woman, May, God bless you ! " 

Shewaann irresiatiblelitilewom^n^if that be anything to the purpose ; 
and never so completely irresistible as in her present transports. There 
never were congratulations £o endearing and delicious^ as those she 
hvished on herscrlt and on ihc Bride. 

Amid Ehe tumult of emotions in his breast, tj^e honest Carrier had 
stoodj confounded. FTying, now, towards her^ Dot stretched out her 
hand to stop him, and letreated as before. 

** Noj John^ no 1 Hear all: Don*r love me any morcj John, till 
yott've heard every word 1 have to say. It was wrong to have a secrt:r 
from you, John. I'm veiy sorry. I didn^t think it any hantij till I came 
and sat down by you on the littU -itool Ust night ; but when I knew by 
what was written in your face, that you had seen me walking in the 
gallery with Edward^ and knew what yon thought ; I felt how giddy and 
how wtorc^' it was- But oh^ dear John, how could you, could you, 
think so!". 

Little \\'omanj how she sobbed again ! John Peerybingle would have 
caught her in his atms. But no ; she wouldn^t let him, 

" Don*t love me yt^t^ please John ! Not for a long time yet ! When 
1 was sad about this intended marriage, dear, it was because I remembered 
May and Kdward such youn^ lovers ; and knew that her heart ^vas far 
away from Tackleton, You believe that^ now. Don^t }ou, John i ^^ 

John was going to make another rnsh at tlvis appeal ; but she stopped 
Jdni agam. 

" No ; keep there, please* John : Wh^n I laugh at you, as I sometimes 
do, John ; and call you clumsy, and a dear old goose, and names of that 
sortj it's because 1 love you John, so well ^ and take such pleasure in your 
ways ■ and wouldn^f seoyou altered in the least respect to have you made 
a K-ing to-morrow.'* 
" Hooroar ! " said Caleb with unusual vigour- " My opinion ! " 



k 



1/6 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

*^ And whcQ I speak of people being middle-aged, and sicady. John, 
find prelend that we -lie a luinidrum coupkj g<wnp on in :i jog-trot sort of 
way, it's only bec^^ufe I'm such a silly Utile thing, John, thut I likcj 
sometimcSj lo act a hs\d of Flay wiih Baby, and all thai : and make 
believe*" 

She saw that he was coming ; and stopped him again. But she was 
ver}' nearly too late, 

*^ No, don't love my for a^^odxer minnte or two, if yon please, John. 
\^TiaE 1 Aidant most to lell yon^ l have Vcpt to the last. My dear, gotjd, 
pencrous John ^ when we were talking t}ie oiiier night About thi; Cricket, 
J hadit onmy lips tosay, that at fitst I did not love you quite so dearly as 
1 do now; that when I firit en me home here, 1 was half afraid J mightn't 
learn to If^ve yt^u every bu ^^ Well ^^ 1 hoped and prayed 1 might— being 
5o very youngs John, But^ dear John, <^vizTy day and ho^r, 1 loved yon 
more and more. And if J could have loved you better ti^an I do^ the 
noble words I heard yon say ihis mornings would ha^e madt: nie. But T 
can't. All the affection that I had (it was a great deal., John) I gave rou^ 
as you well deserve, long^ long ago j and 1 have nomoreleft to give. Now^ 
my dear Husband^ rake me to your heart again ! Tliat's my home, 
John ; and never, never tJiink of sending me to anv other ! " 

You never will derive so much delight from seeing a glorious lirtle 
woman in the arms of a third pariy^ as yon would havt: felt if j-ou had 
seen Dot fun into tlie Carrier's cnibrace. It was the most complete, 
unmitigated, souMraughi little piece oi earnestness that ever you beheld 
in all your days. 

You may be sure the Carrier was in a state of perfect rapture ; and you 
may be sure Dot was likewise; and you may be sure they all were^ 
inclusive of Mess Slowboy^ who cried copiously for joy, jnd^ wi.^hlng to 
include her young charge in the general interdiange of congratulations, 
iianded tound the Baby to everybody in succession, as if it ^vere some- 
thing to drink. 

But now the sound of wheel* was heard again outside the door ; and 
somebody exclaimed that GrLilf and Tactic ton ^as coming back. 
Speedily that vrorthy gentleman appeared ; looking warm and flustered- 
*^Whyj what the DtviVs tht?, John Peerybingle! '^ said TacUcton. 
" Thcrc^s ?ome mistaken I :fppointcd Mrs, Tackleton to meet me at the 
cburch ; and T!! swear I passed her on the road, on her way here. Oh 1 
here she is ; I beg your pardon, sir; 1 haven\ the pleasure of knowing 
you ; but ii yoM can do me the favour to spare this young lady, she has 
rather a particular engagement this mutning-" 

■" But t can^t spare her/' leturned Edward, " 1 couldn^t tJiink of it," 
** What do you mean, vou vagabond ? "* s^id Tackleton. 
" 1 mean, that as 1 can make allo^vance for ^-our being vexed,'" reiuined 
the oiher^ with a smile, '* I am as dea£ to harsli discourse tliis mornings as 
1 was to all discourse lait night/^ 
The look that Tsctl^ton bestowed upon hinij and the start Jie gave I 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 177 

"I am sorry, slr,"^ s^id Edward, holding out May's lett hand, and 
especially the thiid finder ; " that the youny lady can't accompany you 
to church ; hut a& she has been there onct, tiiis mornings poihapa you'li 
trxCLise her/' 

Tactlcton looked hard at the third finger ; and took a little piece 

of silver paper, apparently containing a ring, from hia waistcoat 

pocket* 

'^Miss Slowboy," Sniid TacWeion. ^^Witl you have die kindnc&s to 

throw that in the fire ? Titank'ee/' 

"It was a previous tngagement : quite jn t^ld engagcmcni : that 
prt:^cnted my wife from keeping her appc^-intment with you^ I assure 
vou.^^ said Edward. 

" Mr, Ta^kUcon will do me the Justice to acknowledge that 1 revcsilcd 
it 10 bim faiihfulty 1 and that I told him, many timers, I never could 
foFgtt itj" said May, blushing. 

"^ Oh certainly J " said Tactleton, ** Oh to be sure. Oh it's all right*^ 
It's quite eorrcct- Mrs. Edward Plummer^ I infer i " 
" That's the name," returned the bridegEOom. 

'^ Ah.^ I shouldn't have known you, sir,'^ ^aid Tacklcton * scrutinising 
his face narrowly, and making a low bow- ^^ I give you joy, sir ! " 
-^Thank^ec." 

" Mrs. Peerybingle^" 5aid T:ickleion, turning suddenly to where she 
stood with her hu&b^snd ; " I am sorry. You haven't done me a very 
great kirtdnc^Sj bur, upon my life I am sorrv^ You are better than 1 
thought you. John Peerybingle, 1 am sorry. You understand me; 
that'^ enough. It's quite correct^ ladies and gentlemen all, and perfectly 
^^sisctory. Good morning I " 

Witt these words he carried it off, and carried him^elt off too : mercTv 
Gtopping at the door^ to take the flowers and favours from his horse^s head, 
and to kick ih^t animal once in ihe ribs, as a means of informing him that 
there was a screw loose in his arrangements. 

Of course it became a serious duty now, to make $uch a day of it, as 
should mark these events for a high Fe^ist and Festival in the Peerybingle 
Calcndnir for evermore. Accordingly^ Dot went to work to produce such 
an entertainment^ as should reflect undying honour on the houso and 
every one concerned ; and in a very short spaceof time* she was up to her 
dJmpUd elbows in flour^ and whitening the Cs^mcr's coat, every time he 
came near hefj by slopping him togiveiiimakiss. That good fellow washed 
The greens, and peeled the turnips^ and broke the plates, and upset iron 
pots full nf cold water on the fire, and made himself useful in all sortfi of 
ways : whJtc a couple of professional assistants, hasiily called in from 
somewhere in the neighbourhood j as on a pojnt of life or deaths ran 
^igainst each other in all the doorways and round all the corners ; and 
everybody tumbled over Tilly Slowboy and the Baby, eveiywhere. Titly 
nc^^er came out in such force before. Her ubiquity was the theme of 
general admirationn She was a stumbling-block in the passage at five- 



I7S THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

and-twenty minutes p^st two ; a man-trflp in the titchen at half-past 
two preciaely ; and a piifaU in the gariet at five-and-ivvent/ minutes to 
three. The Babj^'s head was, as it were^ a teat and touciistune for every 
doscriptlon of matter, animal, vegetable, and minerals Nothin;j w,fs in 
use thai da/ tliat didn't comc^ at some time or other, into close acquaint- 
ance with it. 

Then, there w^is a great Expedition &ci on foot to go and find out 
Mr5, Fielding; and to bo diimally ptjnEteni to iliat excellent gentle- 
woman ; and lo bring her b^ick. by force if needful, to be happy and 
forgiving. And when the Expedition first discovered her, she would 
listen 10 no terms at dl, bat said, sn unspeakable number of times, that 
ever she siiould have lived to see ilie day I and coiildn't bt; got to say 
anything else, except *' Now carry rr^e to the grave ; " ^hich seemed 
absurdj on account of her not being dead, or anyidiing at all like it. After 
a time, ahe lapsed into a srafe of dreadful calmness, and observed, that 
when that unfortunate train of cireumgtances had occurred in the Indigo 
Trade* shii had foreseen tliat she would bcexposed^ during her whole life, 
to every species of insult and contumely ; and that she wa5 glad to find it 
was tJie ease ; and begged they wouldn't trouble themselves about her, — 
for what was she ? oh, dear [ a nobody 1 — but would fo^et iliat sueh a 
being lived, and would take theii course in life wiriiout her. From ihia 
bitterly sarcastic mood, she passed into an angry one, in which she gave 
yent to the remarkable expression tliat the worm would turn it trodden 
on ; and after tlut, she yielded to a soft regret, and said, if they had only 
given her their confidence, what might she not have had it in her power 
to surest ! Taking advantage of this crisis in her feelings, the Expedi- 
tion embraced her ; and sJie very soon had her gloves on, and was on her 
way to John Peerybingle'$ in a state of unimpeachable gentility ; with a 
paper parcel at her side containing' a cap of state, almost as tall, and quite 
as stiff, a? a mitre. 

Then, there were Dot's father and mother to come, in another little 
.chaise; and they were behind their time ; and fears were entertained ^ 
and there was niuch looking out for ihem down the road ^ and Mrs. 
Fielding alwa}^ would look in ihe wrong and morally impossible dtrec- 
tion-; and being apprised thereof, hoped she might take the liberty of 
looking where she pleascdn At last they came : a chubby little conple, 
jogging :ilong in a snug and comfortable little way that quite beionged to 
the Dot family : and Dot and her mother, side by side, were wonderful 
to see. They were so like each other. 

Thenj Dot's mother had to renew her acquaintance with May's 
mother ; and May's moiiier always stood on her gentility ; and Dot's 
mother never stood on anything but her active little feeL And old Dot : 
so to call Dot's father, 1 forgot it wasn't his light name, but never mmd : 
took liberlies^and shook hands ar first sight, and seemed to think a cap 
but so much starch and muslin, and didn^t defer himself at all to tiie 
Indigo Trade, but said there was no help for it now; and, in Mr^, 



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 179 

Fie!ciing*s summing up, was a good-natured kind of man— bur coarsej 
ray dear. 

f wouldn^t have miased Dot, doing tl\c honours in her wedding-gown ; 
rciy bcnfson on hor btighi hct ! for any money- No i nor tJiG good 
Carrier, so jovial and so ruddy, at the bottom of the table. Kor the 
brown, fre^h saif or- fellow, and his handsome wife- Nor any one among 
them. To have misled the dinn^^r would have been to tnlss as Jolly and 
as stout a moiil as man need t^^t ; and 10 have missed tho overflowing cups 
in which tlicy drank The Wc^Iding-Dayj would Jiave been the greatest 
mb^ of all. 

Af^er dinner^ Caleb ^ang the song about the Sparkling Bowl! As 
l*ni a living man : hoping to ktcp so^ for a year or two : he sang it 
through . 

And, by the bye, a most unlooked-for incident occurred^ just as he 
finished the last verse- 
There was a tap at the door ; and a man came staggering in^ witliouC 
S3ying with your leave^ or by ^^ur Jca^'e, with something heavy on his 
head. Setting this down in the middle of the table^ symmetrically in the 
centre of the nuts and apple;, he said : 

" Mr, Tackleton's compliments^ and as he hasn't got no use for the 
cake himself, p'raps you^l eat if." 

And with those words^ he waited off. 

Tiierc ^as some surprise atnong ihe comp^ny^ as you may imagine, 
Mrs. Fielding, being a lady of infinite discernment^ suggested that the 
cake was poisoned^ and related i narrative of a cake, which, wiihln htr 
knowledge, had turned a seminary for young ladies^ blue. But ^e was 
overruled by acclamation ; and the cake was cut by May, with much 
ceremony and rejoicing, 

1 don't thtnk any one had tasted it, when dierc came another tap at 
the door, and the same man appeared again, liaving under his arm a vast 
brown-paper parct;l. 

" Mr. Tackleton's compliments, and he*s sent a few toys for the Babby* 
They ain't ugly." 

After the di;livery of w^hich expressions, he retired again. 

The wiiolc party would have experienced great dilEculty In finding 
words for their asioiiishment, even if they had had ample time to seek 
thena. But they had none at all ; for the messenger had scarcely shut 
the door behind him, when there tame another tap, and Tactleton 
himself v\'fllkcd in* 

" Mis. Peerjbingle ! " £a(d the Toy-merchant, hat in hand. " I'm 
sorrj. Vtn more sorry ihan I was this morning. I have had time 10 
thint of it* John Peerybinglc ! I'm sour by disptusiiion ; but i can*c 
. help being sweetened, more or less, by coming face to face with sudi a 
winan as you. Cileb ! This unconscious little nurse gave me a broken 
J hint last nightj of which 1 have found the thread. 1 bEush to think Jiow 
^.easily 1 might have bound you and your daughter to me; and what a 

I" 



:._^ .1 



iSo THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 

mi&erablc idiot I wms^ when 1 took her iot one ! Friendsj one and :iU. my 
hoTi^e is very lonely to-niehi- I Imvc not so much eis a Cricket on my 
Hearth. 1 have scared them all away. Be gracious to me ; let me join 
this happy party ! " 

He was at home m five minutct^. You never &aw such a fcllnw. What 
h^{l he been doinp with htniseif al! his liic^ nei'cr to have k]^tj>\^n5 beforCj 
Jiis sierii capacity of bein^ jovial ! Or wliai had the Fairies been doing 
with IniTLH to have effected such a change 1 

" John J youwon'tiendmehomctliiscvc^mngi will you ? "whispeicd 
Dot- 

He had been \<^ near it though 1 ^ 

There Avanted but one living creature to mate the party complete ; 
and, in the twinkling of an eyCj there he was : very thtr&ty with hard 
runnings and engaged in hopeless endeavours to squeeze his head into a 
narrow pile] a cTh He had gone with ihecart toils journey^sendj very much 
di5j^^?-ted with the absence of liis master^ and stupendously rtbeUious 
to theDeputy. After Hngering about the stable for fome little titne^ 
vainly aUi^mpttng to incite the old har^c to the mminous :ict of returning 
on his own account, he had w^alted into the tap-room and laid himself 
down before the firc^ Bat suddenly yiekling to the conviction that (he 
Deputy was a humbug, and musi be abandoned, he had got up again^ 
turned tail^ and come home. 

Tliere was a dance in the evening. With wliieh genernil mention of 
that recreation^ I should have left it alone, if 1 had not some reason to 
suppose that It ^vas quite an original dance, and on^ of a most uneonimon 
figure. It ^vas formed in an odd way h in this ivav. 

Edwardj that sailor-Etllow — a good fri:e chishmg sorr of a fellow lie 
waE — had been t^^ling them various marvels concerning parrots^ and 
n^ines, and Mexicans, and gold ditstj when all at once he took it in his 
head to jump up from his seat and propose a dance ; for Bertha^s harp 
was there, and sJje had such a hand upon it as you seldom hear. Dot (sly 
little piece of affectation when &he chose) aaid her dancing days were 
over ; / think because the Carrier was smoking his pipe, and she liked 
sitting by hinij besi. Mrs* Fielding had no choice, nf course, but to say 
her dancing days were over^ after that; and everybody said ilie ?amc, 
cj;ceptMay; May w-15 ready. 

So May and Edward get up, amid greai applause, to dance alone ; and 
Bertha plays her livttiesr tune. 

Well ! if you'll believe me. they have not been dancing fivff minutes, 
^vhen suddenly the Carrier flings his pipe aw^y, takes Dot round the 
waistj dashes out Into the room, and starts off with hcr^ loc and hcdj 
quite wonderfully, Tackleton no sooner sees this, than he skims across 
To ^lr5. Pielding, takes her round the waiat, and follows suit. Old Dot 
no sooner sees this, than up he iSj all alive, whisks off Mrs. Dot in the 
middle of the dance, and is the foremost there. Caleb no sooner sees 
thiSp than he clutches Ijlly Slowbo>" by both hands and goes olf at score ; 



h 



THEBATTLEOFLIFE iBr 

Mi^a Slowboy^ firm in the belii^ th^t divinj; hotly in among ihe oiiier 
couplcf?, and i^liecring any number of concussioris with, them, is j-our only 
princi-pli: of footing it. 

Hark ! how the Cricket join? the music \vith its Cljirp, Chicp, Chirp, 

and how the Kettle hums I 

But what IS this ! Even nslUston to them, blithdy, and tumtowardg 
Dot. for one last glimpse of a little figurt? very pkasant to me, she and the 
rest have vanished into air. and I am left alone. A Cricket sings upon 
the Hearth ; a brok.t:n child^s-to/ lies upon the ground ; and nothing 
el^e remains. 



THE BATTLE OF LIFE: ^ LO/E STORT 



PART THE FIRST 

Once upon a timc^ it matters little %s4ien^ and in stalwart England, it 
matiers Unit where, a fierce battle was fouglit. It was fought upon a 
long summer da^when the waving gra« was green. Many a nild il&wcr 
formed, hy the Almtghty Hnind to be a perfumed goblet for the dew^ felt 
its enamelled cup fiSl high with blood ihar day. and shrinking dropped* 
Mail/ an in&ect deriving its di^licatetolaui- from hannless leaves and herbs^ 
was stained anew ihat day by dying men, and marted its frightened way 
with an unnatural track. The painted butteitlv took blood into the air 
upon the edges of hi wings. The strtiam ran red. TJie trodden ground 
became a qua^mirc^ whence^ from sullen poois collt^cled in the prints of 
human feet and horses' hoofs, the one pievailing hue still lowered and 
glimmered at the Jun* 

Heaven keep u$ from a knowledge of the sights thi!= Jiioon beheld upon 
that liddj when, coming up above tJ]e black line of distant rising-ground, 
softened and blurred at the edge by trees^ she rose into the sty and looked 
upon the pUin, strewn with upturned faces that had once at mothers* 
breasts sought mothers' eyes, or shimbered happily. Heaven keep ns 
from a knowled^^e of the seeiet3 w^hispeicd afterwards upon the raintcd 
vAud that blew across the scene of that day's wort and that ni^ht^s death 
and sufTeriiig I Many a lonely moon "^vas bright upon the battli^- ground, 
and many a 9tar kept mournful \vatch upon it, and man}' a wind from 
every quarter of the earth blew over it^ before the traces of the fight were 
wo^rn away. 

They lurked and lingered for a long lime, but survived in little things, 
for Nature^ far above the evil passions of men, soon recovered. Her 
s&renityj and smiled upon the guilty batdc-ground as she had done before, 
when it was innocent. The larks sang high above it; the swallows 
ekimmed and dipped and Hittcd to and fro ; tlie shadows of the flying 



iS2 THE BATTLE OF LIFE 

clouds pursued each oiher swiftlj^^ over grass ^nd corn and turnip-field 
and wood, anJ over roof and church-spire in the nestling town amon^j the 
trees, away into tht; bright diiijincc on thi; borders of the sty and earrh^ 
where the red sunsets faded* Crops were sown, and giew up, -i»d xvcre 
gathered m ; the stream ihat had been crimsonedj tuined a water-mill ; 
men xvhisUed at the plough ; jjlcaneri snd haj^nakers were seen in quiet 
groups fit work ; sliecp and fjxtn pastured ; boys whooped and called, in 
fields, to scare away the birds ; smoke ro^t from totiage chimneys ; 
Sabbath bells rang peacefully; old people lived and died; the tinnd 
creatures of ihe ftcldj and simple flowers of the bush and garden, grew 
and withered in their destined terms ; and all upon the iierce and 
bloody battfe-gfoundj. wheie thousands upon thousands had been killed 
in the great fight. 

But there were deep green patches in the gro^ung corn at firstj that 
people looked at awfully. Year after year they re-appeared ; and it ^as 
knoT-vn that underneath tho^e fertile spots, heaps of men snd hordes ]ay 
buried, indiscriminately^ enriching ihe ground. The husbandmen who 
plou£;hcd those places^ shrank from the great wtsrms alwunding there ; 
and the sheaves they yielded, werCj for many a long year, called the Battle 
SheaveSj and set apart ; and no one ever knew a Battle Sheaf to be among 
the last load at a H[Lr^est Homo, For a long time, everj^ furrow that \iaa 
turned^ revealed some fragments ftf the fight. For a long time^ there 
were wounded trees upon the battle-ground : and scraps of hacked and 
broken fence and walJ^ where deadly siru^les had been made; and 
trampled parts where not a leaf or blade would grow^ For a long time, 
no viDage-girl would dress her hair or bosom wirh the swcetc&t flower 
from that field of death : and after many a year had come and gone, the 
berries growing there, were still believed to leave too deep a stain upon 
die hand that plucked them. 

The Seasons in their course^ however^ though they parsed as lightly as 
the summer clouds themselves, obliterated, in the lapse of time^ even 
thc^c remains of the old conflict ; and wore aw^ay such legendary traces of 
it as the neighbouring people carried in their minds, until they dwindled 
intoold wives* taleSj dimly remembered round the winter ftrCj and waning 
ei'erv year* Where the wild flowers and berries had so long remained 
upon the stem ^intouchedj gstrdens aroscj and houses were built, and 
children played ai battles on the turf- The wounded trees had long ago 
made Christmas logs^ and blamed and roared away. The deep green 
paidics were no greener now than the memory of those who lay in dust 
below. The plough-share still turned up from time to time some rusty 
bits of metal, hut ir was hard to 5ay what use they had ever served^ and 
those who found them wondered and dispiiEed. An old dinted corslet, 
and a helmet, had been hanging in the thurch so long, that the same weak 
half-bhnd old man who tried in vain to make them out above the white- 
washed arch, had marvelled at them as a baby. If the host slain upon the 
field, could have been for a moment reanimated in the fornis in which 



i 



THEBATTLEOFLTFE 183 

they fell, each upon the spot that was the bed of his untimely deaih, 
gashed and ghastljK" aoldiers would have siared m, hundreds deep, at 
household door and mndow ; and ^vonld h^vc lU^n on the hearths o£ 
quiet homes; and \vould !^ave btitn the garnered store? of barns and 
granaries; and would have started up between the cradled infant and 
its nurse; and would have floated wixh the stream, and whirled 
round on the mill^ and crowded tht^ orchard, and burdeni^d the meadow^ 
and piied the rictyard high with dying men. So altei^d was the 
bat de-ground J where thousands upon thousands had been killed in the 
great fight. 

Nowhere more alteredj perhaps, about a hundred years ago, ti^an in 
ont; littlt: ordiard attached to an old stone house with a honeysuckle 
porch : where, on a bright autumn mornings there wer^^ ^ourtd^ of music 
^nd Uiighter, and where rwo girls danced merrily together on tlie gra&s^ 
xvhile some half-doztn peasant women standing on ladders, gathering the 
apples from the irees, stopped in their work to look down, and share their 
enjoyment. It was a pleasant, lively^ natural scene ; a beautiful day, a 
retired spot ; and the two girls, quice unconstrained and carele?Sp danced 
in the very freedom and gaiety of their hearts. 

If there were no such thing as display in iJie world, my private opinion 
is, anil I hope j"ou agree with me, thai we niiglil get on a great deal better 
than we do, and might be infinitelv more agreeable company than we are. 
It was charming 10 see how thtjse girls dancedn Tliey had no spectators 
but the apple-pickers on the ladders, lltey were very glad to please 
them, but they danced to please themselves (or at least you would have 
supposed so) 1 and you could no more help admiring, than they could 
help dancing. How they did dance f 

Not Ute opera-dancers. Not at ^11. And not [ike Madame .Anybody^A 
finished pupils. Not the leasr^ It was not quadrille dancing, nor 
minuet dancing, nor even country-dance dancing. It ^vas neither in tlie 
old style, nor the new iiyle, nor the French style, nor the EngH&h &iyle ; 
though it may have beeu^ by accident^ a trifle in tht* Spanish siylt, which 
15 a free and joyous one, I am told, deriving a delightful air of ofE-hand 
insptratlon, from the chirping little castanets, As they danced among 
the orchard treeSj and down the gtoves of stems and batik again^ and 
twirled each other lightly round and round, ihe influence of tlieir airy 
motion seemed to spread and spread, in the sun-lighted scene, like an 
expanding cirde in the water* Their streamirtg hair and fluttering 
skirts, the clastic grass beneath their feet, ihc boughs that rustled in the 
morning ait — the flashing leaves, their speckled shadows on the soft green 
ground — the balray wind that swept along the landscape^ glad to turn the 
distant windmill, cheerily— everything between the two girls, and the 
man and team at plough upon the ridge of land, where they showed 
against the sky as if ilicy were the last things in the world — seemed 
dancing too. 
At last tile younger of the dninclng sisters^ out of bieath, and laughing 



^ 



i84 THEBATTLEOFLIFE 

gaiTj'^ thrtw herself upon a bench to test. The orlicr leaned ag^iin^t a 
tree hard by. The muaic, a wandering harp and fiddJe* kft oft ivith a 
floufj&h, as if ii boasted of its freshness ; t]ii:nigh, the truih i&, it had gone 
at such a pace, ,ind worked itself to such a pitch of compotiiiun with the 
dancing, that it never coutd have held on half a minute longer. The 
apple-picker? on the Itidders raided ^ hum and murmur of applause, and 
tlicri, in keeping ^vith the touiid, brj^Liiced themselves to work again, like 
bcea. 

The more actively, perhaps, because an elderly gentkfVbaffj who wa? no 
other than Doctor Jcddler him^ctf — (t wa& Doctor Jeddler^s House and 
otrhard^ you should tnow^ and tlie^e were Doctor Jeddler^s daughters — 
came bustling out to see what i''as the matti^r, and \v\\o the deuce played 
music on lii? property, before breakfast. For he was a gryat philosophf^r, 
Doctor jeddlcr, and not very musical. 

'^ Mu^ic and dancing tn-day / " said the Doctor, stopping short, and 
speaking lo himself, " t thought they dreaded to-day. But it's a woild 
of contradictions. Why, Grace ; why, Marion ! " he added, aloud, " is 
the world more mad than usual this morninj; ? '" 

" Make some allowance for ir, father, if ir be," replfed his younger 
daughter, Marion, going do^e to him, and looting into his face. " tor it's 
somebody's birthday." 

'* Somebody's birthdav, Puss," replied the Doctor. '* Don't you know 
It's always iomebody*s birthday I Did j'ou never hear how many new 
performers enter an this — ha i ha! ha! — it's impo&rible to speak gravely 
of it — on this preposterous and ridiculous busine&s called Lifc^ citiy 
minute p " 

"No, father!" 

" No, not you, of course ; you're a woman — almost."' said the Doctor. 
*' By the bye," and he looked into the pretty face, still close to his, ** I 
suppose it'? your birthday." 

" No ! Do you really, father ? " cried liis pet daughter, pursing up 
her red lips to be kissed. 

" There ! Take my love with it." said ihe Doctor, imprinting his upon 
them -y " and many happy returns of tliC' — the idea I — of the day. The 
notion of wishing happv returns in such a farce aa this," said the Doctor 
to himself, " is good ! Ha ! ha ] ha ! " 

Doctor Jeddler was, as I have said, a great philosopher ; and the heart 
and mystery of his philosophy wa?, to look upon the world as a gigantic 
practical joke : as somelhing too absurd to be considered seriously, by 
any rational man. His sv'Btem of belief had been, in the beginning, part 
and parcel of the battle-ground on which he lived ; as you shall presently 
understand. 

'* Well ! But how did you get the music?" ^fkcd the Doctor. 
^* Foultry-stealers, of course. Whore did the minsircEs come from i " 

'AlEred sent the music," said his dan^httjr Grace, adjusting a few 
simple flowers in her sister's hair, wiili which, in her admiradon of that 



fi 
(« 



THE BATTLE OF LIFE 185 

\ youihftil beautj^j she had herself :idorncd it ha!f-an-honr before, and 

which ihc dancing had disarranged. 
I ** Oh J Alfred sent the music, did he ? " rciumed the Doctor. 

'^ YcB, He met ir czoming out of tht town as he was entering earl^- 
Thenien are iravdJingon foot, and rested there last nigh i ; and as it was 
Manon^s birthday^ and he thought it would pl^^asi; her, he sent diem on, 
with a pencilled note to me^ saying that if I thouglit io too, they had 
come to serenade her." 

Ay^ ay," said the Doctor^ carekssiy, "^ he always lake^ your opinion.'' 
And my opinion being favourable," said Grace, good- humou redly ; 
and |Tausing for a moment lo admire the pretty head she decorated^ with 
htT own thrown back ; ^' and Marion being in high spirits^ and beginning 
to dancej I joined her ; and so we danced to Alfred^a mu&ic till wt were 
oijT of breath. And we thought the music all the gayer for being scni by 
Alfred- Didn't we, dear Marion i ^' 

** Oh, I don^t know, GraeCn How you tea^e me about Alfred.*^ 

*^ Tease you by mentioning your lover f " ^aid her sister* 

'^ I am sure I don't much care to have him mentioned/' said the wilful 
beautVj stripping the petals from Eome flowers she held^ and scattering 
them on the ground. '^ I am almost tired of liearing of htm ; and as to 
his biding my lover " 

** Hush ! Don't speak lighily of a true heart, whidi is ^Jl your own, 
Marion/' cried her lister, '' even in jeat. There is not a truer h<:art than 
Alfred^s in thfi world!'' ^ 

**No — noj" said Marion, raiding her eyebrows with a pbasant air of 
careless consideration^ " perhaps not. But 1 don^t know iJiat there's any 
great merit in that. I — I don*i want him to be so very true. I never 

^skcd btm. If he ejects that I . But, dear Grace, why need we 

talk of him at all^ just now ! *' 

It vfiis agreeable to see die graceful figures of the blooming sisters 
t^vined together* lingering among the irce^, conversing thus^ with 
earnestness opposed ro lightness^ yet with Jove responding tenderly to 
lovts And it was veiy curious indeed to see the vounger lister's eyes 
suffused with tears ; and something fer^-entJy and deeply felt, breaking 
through (he wilfuhiess of what she said, and sttiving with it paiiifuJly. 

7^e difference between them^ in respect of agc^ could not exceed four 
years at most; but Grace, as often happens in such castas* when no 
mother watches over both (the Docicjr's wfe was dead), seemed, in her 
gentle care of her young sister, and in tlie steadiness of her devotion to 
her, older tJ^an she was ; and more removed, in course of nature, from all 
/competition with her, or participation, other^^ise than through her 
sympathy and true affection, in her wayward fancies, than tlieir at^s 
seemed to warrant. Great character of mother, that, even in tlds 
shadow^ and faint reflection of it, purifies the heart, and raises the exalted 
jlature nearer to the angels ! 
i The Doctor*3 reflections, as he looked after them^ and heard the 



f . 



186 THE BATTLE OF LIFE 

purport o£ iheir discourse^ wcrt limircdj ac firifj to ceil^in mt^tty 
Tncditauona on the foiJy of aJf loves and likings^ and the idle imposition 
practised on rhcmsclves hy voung people^ who btlif^ed, for a moment^ 
ihat there coutd be ^nj^thing serious in such bubbles, and were ahvajs 
undeceived — always ! 

But the homc-adorningj &elf -denying qu^lkies of Grace, and her sweet 
tempcFj so gentle and rettring, yet including so much constancy and 
bravery of spirit, seemed all cxpresscjii Eo him in the contrssi between her 
quiet household figure and that of his younger and more beautiful child ; 
and he waa sorry for her ?ate— sorry for them both — thstt life should be 
such a very ridiculous business as it waSn 

The Doctor never dreamed of inquiring ^vhether his childreUj or either 
of them, helped in aiiy ^vay to mate the scheme a serious one. But then 
he WAS a Philosopher* 

A tind H-^nd generous man bv n:iiurc, be bad siumblod^ by chance, over 
ih^t common Philosopher's stone (much more easily discovered than tlie 
object of the alchemist^s researches), which sometimes trips up kind and 
generous men, and has the fatal property of turning gold to dross^ and 
every precious thing to poor account* 

" Britain ! " cried the Doctor. '' Britain ! Halloa ! " 
A small maiij with an uncommonly sour and di5c:ontcnted face, 
emerged from the house, and returned to this call the nnctremonious 
acknowledgment of ^^Now then ! "' 

" Where's the breakfast fable f " said the Doctor. 
" In tlic house/' retuined Britain. 

" Are you going to spread it out here, as yan were told last night 1 " 
said the Doctor- ^^ Don'r you know that there are gentlemen cojniog J 
That there^s business to be done this mornings before the coach comes 
by f That ttiia is a very particular occasion ? " 

*^ I couldn^t do anything. Doctor Jeddler, till the women had done 
getting in the apples^ could IP*' said Briiain, his voice rising with 
fJs reasoning, so that it was very loud at last. 

^* Weil^ have ih^y done now ? '^ returned the Doctor, looking at his 
watchj and clapping ]ii$ hand$. ^^ Cume ! make haste 1 where*s 
Clemency .'^^ 

" Here am I, Mister/^ said a voice from oi^e of the ladders^ which a pair 
of clumsy feet descended briskly^ ^^ Ii^s all dont^ now. Clear away, g^Ts^ 
Everything shall be ready for you in half a mtnute, Mister" 

With that she began to bustle about most i igorously ; presenting, aa 
she did sop an appearance suiheiently peculiar to justify a word of 
iDtroduction. 

She was about thirty years old ; and had a sufficiently plump and 
cheerful face, though it was twisted up into an odd expression of tightness 
that made it conucaT. But the extraordinary hc?melines5 of her gait and 
mannerj v^'ould have superseded any face in the world. I'o say that she 
had two left legSj and somebody else's annsj and tliaC all four limbs 



THEBATTLEOFLIFE iS? 

$i?omcd to be out of joinr^ aiid to start from perfectly wrong places when 
rhev were set in motion ; k to offer the mildest antiine of the realiLV- 
To say thii ^he was perfectly content and saiiafied with thpac armnpe- 
mcni5j and regarded tiitm as being no business of hers, and toot her arms 
and !egi a^ ihey came, and aHo^ed ihem to tiispm^i of ihem^Ivcs just as 
it happ::ned, is to render faint justice to her equanimitv^ Her dress was 
a prodig]t>u5 pair of sclf-wit]cd shoes, thac never wanted to go wJiere her 
feet went ; blue stockings ; a printed gown of many colours, and the 
most hideous pattern procurable for money ; and a "wIiItc apron. She 
alwava ^vore shori sleeves, and always had, by some accident, grazed 
e!bo\v5, in which she took so liveJy an iniereit that she wfl^ continually 
trying to turn them round artdgetimpossibTe views of them. IngeneraEj 
a little cap perched somewhere on her head ; though it was rarely to be 
met TATth in ihc place usually occupied in other subjects^ by that article of 
drt:s3 ; but from head to foot ahe was scrppulousiy clean, and maintained 
a kind of dislocated tidiness. Indeed her laudable anxiety to be tidy and 
compact in her own conscience as well as in the public eye^ gave rise to 
oneof her most startling evolutions, which was to grasp herself sometimes 
by a sort of wooden handle (part of her clothing, and familiarly called a 
busk)^ and wrestle as it were with her garments^ until they fell into a 
symmetrica! arrangement, 

SucJi, in outward form and garbj was Clemency Newcome ; who ^^as 
supposed to have unconsciously originated a corruption of hei own 
Chnsiian name, from Clementina (but nobodv knew, for the deaf old 
mother, a very phenomenon of age, whom she had supported almost frorn 
a childj n-as dead, and she had no other relation) ; who now busied 
herself in preparing the table ; and who stood^ at intervals, mth her bare 
red armth crossed, rubbing her grazed elbo^v's with opposite hands, and. 
staring at it very composedly^ until she suddenly remembered somethit^ 
elde ii wanted and jogged t>lf to fetch it, 

*^ Here are them two lai.vj^ers a-coraing. Mister ! " said Clemency, in a 
tone of no very great good-wUl. 

*^ Aha ! " cried the Docior, advancing to the gate to meet them. 
^^ Good morning, good morning 1 Grace, my dear ! Marion i Here 
are Messrs, Snirchcy and Craggs, Where's Alfred : *' 

" He^ll be back directly^ father, no doubt," said Grace. " He had so 
much to do this morning in his preparations for departure, that he was up 
and out by daybreak* Good mo^'ninj^;, gentlemen.^* 

"Ladies J'' said Mr, Snicchey, "for Self and Craggs," who bowed, 
"good morning. Miss,^^ to Marion, '* I kiss your hand.'* Which he 
did* '" And I wish you " — which he might or might not, for he didn^t 
loofcj at first sight, like a gentleman troubled with many warm outpour- 
ings of soul, in behalf of other people, ^' a hundred happy returns of this 
auspicious day." 

^* Ha ha ba ! *' laughed the Doctor thoughtfully, with his hands in hia 
pockets, " The great farce in a hundred acu 1 " 






iSS THEBATTLEOFLIFE 

^^ You wouldn't. I am sure," s:iid Mr, SnitcJie^^ standing a small pro- 
fessional blue bag against one leg of the tablt^ *^ cut the gr&at farce short 
for tliis actressj at aH events, Docior Jcddltr/* 

^^ Noj" returned the Doctor. " God forbid I May she live to laugh 
at it^ as long as she can lau^h, and thon say^ with the French wit, * The 
farce Is ended ; draw the; cnrtain.'" 

" The French wit," said Mj". Enitchey^ peeping sharply inic; hh blue 
bagj ^* was ivrong^ Doctor Jeddler ; and yonr philosophy is altogether 
wrong, depend ^ipon it^ as 1 liave often told you. Nothing serious in life [ 
What do you call law?" 

" A joke," replied the Doc(or. 

" Did you ever go to bw ? " asked Mr. Snitchey^ lool^ing out of the 
blue bag* 

" Never,'* returned the Doctor- 

"If you evcT doj" said Mr- Snitchey^ *^ perhaps you^ll alter that 
opinioD." 

CriggSj who seemed to be tepresentyd by Snitchey, and to be conscious 
of little or no separate existence or personal individuality, oiTered a 
remart of hiJ own in this place. It involved the ontv idea of which he _ 
did not stand seized and possessed in equal moieties with Sniichey ; but \ 
he had somt partners in it iimong ihe wisp men of the world* 

^^ It's made a great deal too easy/' said Mr* Craggs. 

" LaviT js ? " asked the Doctor, 

^^ Yes/* $aid Mr. CraggSj " everything is, Evervthing appears to me 
to be made coo easy, now-a-days. It's the ^"ice of these limes. If the 
world is a joke (I am not prepared to say ii isn't), it ought to be made a 
very difficult joke to cTack, It ought to be as hard a struggle, sir, as 
possible. That^s the intention* But it's being made far too easy* We 
are oihng (he gates of life, Tlicy ought toberusiy. We shall have them i 
beginning to turnj soon, wiih a smootli sound. Whereas the}^ ought to 
grate upon their hinges^ sir." 

Mr* Craggs seemed positivelv to grate upon his own hinges, as he 
delivered this opinion ; to wliich he communicated immense effect — 
being a cold^ hardj dry man^ dressed in grey and white, lite a flint ; ivith 
small twinl:ks in his eyes, as if son^ething struct spartsout of thtm. The 
three natural kingdoms^ indeed^ had eacli a fanciful representative among 
this brotherhood of disputants : for Snitchey was like a magpip or a raven 
(only not so sleek), and the Doctor hstd a streaked face like a winter- 
pippin^ witli here and there a diinple to express the peckings of the birds^ 
and a vtrv htile bit of pigtail behind, that stood for the stalk- 
As the active figure of a handsome young man^ dressed for a journey^ 
and followed by a porter, bearing several packages and ba^f^ets^ entered 
the orchard at a brisk pace, and with an air of gaiety and hope that 
accorded well with the morning, these three drew together, like the 
btotheti of the sister FateSj or like the Graces most effectually disguised , 
or like ihe three weird prophets on the heathy and greeted him* 



i4 

<4 






THE BATTLE OF LIFE 

Happ/ returnsj Alf/' said the Doctor^ lightlf . 

A hundred happy returns of ihis auspicious daj^ Mr. HeatMeld," 
Siid Snitchey, bowing low. 

Returns I ^' Cra^s murmuied in a deep voiccfj all alone. 
Why, what a battery ! *' t^tclaimtd Alfred, slipping short, ^^ and 
one — two — thrci- — all forcboders of no good, in the greaii $ca before me. 
I am glad you are not ihe first I have met this morning : I should have 
taken it for a bad omen. But Grace was the first — sweet, pleasant 
Grdce — so I defy yoa all J " 

*' If you please, mister, / was the first you know," said Clemency 
Newcome. ^* She w^s a w^Uyng out here, before sunrise, you remember. 
I was in the house*" 

" That's true ! Clemency was the first," said Alfred- '' So 1 defy 
you with Clemency," 

"tla, ha, ha!— for £df and Craggs," said Snitchcy* " Wliat a 
defiance ! " 

^^ Not 5o bad a one as it appears, may be " $Eiid Alfred, shaking hands 
heartily with, th^i Doctor^ :ind also with Snitdit^y ^nd Craggs, and then 
looking round. *^ Where are ilie— Good fieavens ! " 

With a start, productive for the moment of a closer partnership 
between Jonathan SnicchLy and Thomas Craggs than the sub&i&ting 
articles of agreement in that wise contemplated, he hastily betook himself 
to where the sisters stood together, and — Ko^\^ever, I needn^t more 
particularly explain his manner of saluting Marion hrit^ and Grace after- 
wards, than by hinting that Mr. Craggs may possibly have considered it 
" too ea?y/' 

Perhaps to change the subject, Doctor Jeddler made a hasty move 
towards the breakfast, and they all sat down at tabEcn Grace presided ; 
but so discreetly stationed henelf, as lo cut off her sister and Alfred from 
the rest of the company, Snitcfaey and Craggs sar at apposite corners, 
with the bfue bag between them for safety ; and the Doctor took his 
uaua^ portion, opposite to Grace. Clemency hovered galvanicallv about 
the tabfe, as waitress; and the melancholy Britain, at another and a 
smaller board, acted as Grand Carver of a round of beef, and a ham, 

" Meat ? '^ said Britain, approaching Mr. Snitchey, with the carving 
tnife and fork in his hands, and ihroT^vingthequcstion at him like a missile. 

^^ Certainly," returned the lawyer. 

*' l>o yoii want any ? ^* to Craggs. 

*^ Lean, and ^vell done," replied that gcntlemann 

Having execuied these orders, and TnoderateJy supplied the Doctor 
(he seemed to know that nobody else wanted anydiing to eat), he Jingered 
as near the Firm as he decently could^ watching, with an austere cye^ 
their disposition of the viands, and but once relaxing the severe eipr^s- 
Sion of his face. This was on the occasion of Mr. Craggs^ whose teeth 
' were not of the best, partially choking, when he cried out with great 
\i animation, " I thougkt he was gone i " 



f 



'w 



190 THE BATTLE OF LIFE 

*^ Now, Alfred,'^ said the Doctor, "foreword oriwoofhusinesSj while 
wc arc? yet at breakfast/* 

'* While we arc y^t at breakfast/* said Snifchey artd Cr^ass, who 
seemed Co have no prcseni ideni of leaving off. 

Although Alfred had "Ot beon broatfasting, and seemed to have quite 
enough business on Ids hands as ic was, he respectfully answered ; 
*■ It yoti plea^Cj sir." 

'^ If anything conJd be serious/* the Doctor bsgaiij ^^ in such a ** 

*' Farce as this, sir/' hinted Alfred. 

"^ Jn such a farctj as this/' observed the Doctor^ "it might be this 
recLirrmce* on the eve of separation, of a dottble birthday, which is con- 
nected with man}^ associations pleasant to us four^ and with the recollec- 
tion of a Jong and amicable intercourse. Th:tt's nor to rhe purpose." 

" Ah ! yes, yes. Doctor Jeddler/* said the younf^ man. ^' k is to the 
purpose. Much to the piirDose, as my heart bears witness thi^ morning ; 
and a^ youis does too, 1 know. If you would let it speak. I leave your 
hou^tr :o-d^y ; I cease to be your v^rd tc^day ; we pjrt with tender 
rclaiiuns sirctchinj; far behind us, that never can be exactly^ renewed, 
and vvith others dawning yet before us/' he looked down at Marion beside 
him, " fraught with such considerations as I must not trust myself to 
speak of now. Come, corae ! " he added, rallying his spirits and the 
Doctor at once, " there's a serious grain in this bi^e foolish dust-heap, 
Doctor, Let us allow to-da^\ that there is One." 

^* To-day!" cried the DoVcor- *^ Hear him f Ha, ha, ha ! Of all 
days in t]ie foolish year. Why on tliJS day, the great battle was fought 
on lbi$ grounds On tins groumi where we now sit, where 1 savi-- mv two 
girls dance thts mornings where the fruit iias just been gathered for our 
eating fi"om these treeSj the roots of which are struck in Men ^ not earthy — 
so many lives were last^ that withm my rccoUeetion, generations after- 
wards, a ehurciiyard full of bones, and dust of bones^ and chip? of cloven 
skuUs, has been dug up from underneath our feet here. Yet not a 
hundred people in ihat battle knew for what they fought, or why ; not 
a hundred of the inconsiderate rejoicers in the victory, why they rejoiced- 
Not half a hundred people were the bettor {or tlie gsisn or loss. Not 
ha]f-a-dy:^en men agreo 10 this liour on the cause or merits ; and nobody, 
in shorty ever knew anyihing distinct about it^ bnt the mourners of the 
slain. Serious^ too ! " said the Hocior^ laughing. " Such a system I " 
^* But all this seems to mc/^ said Alfred^ " to be very serious." 
*^ Serious i " cried iJie Doctor. *^ U yoc allowed such things to be 
seriouSj you must go mad, or die, or climb up to th^ top of a mountain 
and turn hermit/' 

*^ Besides — so long ago/* said Alfred, 

** I^ong aEjo I " returned the Doctor. " Do yon know what die world 
has been doi]ig, ever since f Do you know what eUe it has been doing P 
J don't ! " 

*^ Jt iias gone to law a little," obsen^ed Mr, Snicchey, stirring his tea* 



THEBATTLEOFLIFE 191 

** Although the way out has been always made too easy/* said liis 
partner. 



<c 



And you'll excuse my ^aying^ DocEor," pursued Mr. Snitchey, 
^* having been already pkit a thousand times in possession of my opinion^ 
in the course of our discussions, thatj in its Jiaviug gont: to law, and in its 
Ic^a] system aJto^tlierj I do observe a serious side— now^ realK\ a ^mc- 
thing tangible, and with a purpose and intention m it =^' 

Clemency Kewcome made an angular tumble against the table, 
ocatsiuj^inj; a sounding clatter among the cups and saucers- 

*^ Heyday 1 what's the matter there : ^' exclaimed the Doctor. 

"It's this evil-inclined blue bag," said Clemency, " dways tripping 
up snrrtcbody 1 " 

'^ With a purport and intention in it, I was saying," resumed Snitchej", 
*^that commands respectn Life a farce^ Doctor Jeddlei ? With law 
in it ? " 

The Ductor laughed^ jind looted at Alfred, 

** Granted, if you please^ that ^var is foolish," said Snitchey. ^' There 
we agree. For example, Here^s a smiling country," pointing it out 
with his fork, " once Dvctrun by soldiers — trespassers every man of ^em — 
and laid waste by fire and sword* He, he^ he ! Tiie idea of any man 
exposing himself, voluntarily, to fire and sword J Stupid, wasteful^ 
pOijLtivcly ridiculous; you laiigh at your fellow-creatures, you know, 
when you think of it ! But take this smiling country as if stands. Think 
of the laws appertaining lo real property ; to the bequest and devise of 
real property ; to tht mortgage and redemption of real prop^^rty ; to 
leasehold, freehold^ and copyhold estate ; think/' said Mr. Snitchey, with 
such great emotion that he actuallysmacked his lips, '^ of the complicated 
laws rehiiing to title and proof of tiilcj with all the contradjctory 
precedents and numerous Acts of Parliament connected with them ; 
think of the infinite number of ingenious and interminable Chancery 
sitits, to which thia pleasant prospect may give rise ; — and acknowledge^ 
Doctor Jeddler, that there is a green spot in the scheme aUjut ub I I 
believe," said Mr, Snitchey^ looking at his partner, "■* that I speak for 
Self and Cragg&r' 

Mr. Craggs having $ignified assent, Mr, Snitchey, somewhat freshened 
by his recent eloquence^ observed that he would take a little more bcef^ 
and :3nothcr cup of tea. 

*' i don*t stand up for life in ^neral," he addedj rubbing his hands and 
chuckling, " it^s full of folly ; ftill of something worse. Professions of 
trust, and confidence, and tmseljishncss, and all that. Bah, b.ih^ bah 
We see wliat they^re worth. But you mustn't laugh at life ; you've got 
a game to play; a very serious game indeed! Everybody's playing 
against yon, you know ; and yon*re playing against them. Oh ! it's a 
Tcry interesting thing, There are deep moves upon the board. You 
ymust only laugh. Doctor Jeddler, when yon win ; and then not much. 
, ^H?a he, he ! And then not much/' repealed Snitchey, rolling his head 



i„ 



192 THEBATTLEOFLIFE 

and ^vinking fiis cya ; s% if lie would Yisyc: added, " vou may do diis 
insiead ! '^ 

" Well, Alfred ! " cried the Doctor, '^ what do you say now > " 

" I&ay, sir" replied Alfred, " that thegreatcsifavoiiryou toulddonic^ 
and )^uriclf too I am inclined to chint, would be to tiy somttimes to 
forget this battle-field, and others like it, in that broader battle-field of 
Life, on which the sun look? every day," 

** Really, I'm afraid that w^mldn't soften his opinions, Mr, Alfred,*' 
said Snitchoy. *'The combatants ait very eager and lOty bitter in that 
same battle of Life. There's a great deal of culling and slashing, and 
firing into people's head$ from behind ; terrible treading down, and 
tramplinj? on ; it's rather a bnd business." 

" I believe, Mr. Snitchey," said Alfred, '* there are quiet victories and 
struggles, great sacrifices of self, and noble acts of heroism, in it — even in 
many of its .^pparetii lighlnes&es and eon tradic lions — not the less difficult 
xo achieve, because tlity liave no earthly chronicle or audience ; douc 
everyday in nooks and corners, and in Utile households, and in men's and 
women's hearts — any one of which might r[:ci;ncile the sternest m^n to 
such a world, and fill him with belief and hope in It, though tivo- fourths 
of iti penple wi^rci at war, and another fourth, at law \ and that's a bold 
word." 

Botii the sisters listened keenly. 

"Well, well ! " said the Doctor, '' I am too old to be converted, even 
by my friend Snitehey Jfcre, or my good ipinster sister, Martha jeddler ; 
who had what she calls her domestic irials age5 ago, and has led a 
sympathising life with all £DTt& of people ever since ; and who is so mitch 
of your opinion (only she's le^s reasonable and more obstinate, being 3 
woman), that we can'r agree, and seldom meet. I was born upon this 
hattle-field. I began, as a boy, to have my thought& directed to ihe real 
history of a battle-field. Sixty years Jiai'e gone over my head ; and I 
have never seen tJie Christian world, including Heaven knows ]iow nianv 
loving motJicrs and good enough girls, like mine here, anything but mad 
for a battle-field. The same contradictions prevail in everything. One 
must either laugh or cty at such stupendous inconsistencies ; and I prefer 
to laugh." 

Britain, ^vho had been paying the profoundest and most melancholy 
attention to each speaker in his turn, seemed suddenly to decide in favour 
of the same preference, if a deep sepulcJjral sound that escaped him miglit . 
be construed into a demonstration of risibilitj'. His face, however, was 
so perfectly unaffected by it, both before and afterwards, that although 
one or two of the bre:ikf.!st party looked round as being startled by a 
mysterious noise, nobody connected ihe offendej" with it. 

Except his partner in attendance. Clemency Ncwconic ; who, rousing 
him with one of those favourite joints, her elbows, inquired in a 
reproachful whimper, what he laughed at. 

*' Not you ! " said Britain. 



I. 



THEBATTLEOFLIFE 193 

"Who Chen?" 

'' Humanity-," said Britain. '* That's tfie joke,'' 

'^ What between master and them hwj'ers, ht's getting more and mote 
addle-h(^3ded every d3.y ! " cried Cli?mency. giving hini a lunge with ihe 
other elbow^ as a mental tiimiiUnt. '* Do you tnow where yon are ? 
Do you want to get ivarning ? " 

'* I don*t knoiv anything,'" said Britain, with a leaden eye and an 
immovable visage. '' I don't cate for anything, I don't mate out 
anything. I don't believe anything. And I don't want anything." 

Although thi$ forlorn summary of hia general condition may have been 
oierchargyd in an access oE despondency^ Benjamin Britain — sometimes 
called Little Britain, to distinguish him fiam Great; as we might say 
Young England, to express Old England with a difference — had defined 
liis real state more accutately than might be supposed. For serving as a 
sort of man Miles to the Doctor's Friar Bacon ; and listening day after 
day to innumerable orations addressed b^ the Doctor to various people, 
all tending to show that his very eTistence wis at best a mistake and an 
absurdity^ this unfortunate servitor had fallen, by degrees^ Into &uch an 
abyss of confused and contradictory su^estiona from within and without, 
tliat Truth at the bottom of her well, wa^ on tiie lc:vel surface as compared 
v/lth Britain in the depths of his mystification. The only point he clearly 
comprehended, was, that the new element usually brought into these 
disctissiort$ by Snitchey and Cra^, never served to mate tliem dearer^ 
and always seemed to give the Doctor a species of advantage and con^ 
firmnfion. Therefore he looked upon the Firm as one of the proximate 
causes of his state of mind, and held them in abhorrence accordingly, 

" But thi5 is not our business. Alfred," said the Doctor, " Ceasing to 
be m}- ward (as you have said) to-day ; and leaving us foil to the brim of 
such learning as the Grammar School down here was able to give you, and 
your studies in London could add to that, and such practical knowledge 
as a dull old country Doctor like myself could graft upon both ; you are 
away, now, into the world. The fir&t term of probation appointed by 
your poor father, being over, away you go now^ your own master, to fulfil 
hi$ second desire; and long before your three years' four among the 
foreign schools of medicine is finished, you'll ha^e forgotten us. Lord, 
you'll forget ua caaily in six months ! " 

'* IE I do — But you knnw better ; why sliould 1 speak to you ! " said 
Alfred, laughing. 

" I don't know anything of the sort," returned the Doctor. " What 
do you say, Marion i " 

Mjrion, trifling with her teacup seemed to ShIv— but she didn't say it— - 

that he was welcome to forget them, if he could- Grace pressed the 

blooming face against her cheek, and smlled- 

' "I haven't been^ I hope, a very unjust atew:ird in the execution of my 

i trust," pursued the Doctor; "but I am to be» at any rate, formally 

,) discharged, and released, and wliat not, this morning ; and here are our 

cc. c 




T94 THEBATTLEOFLIFE 

good fiifinds Snifchtiy and Crnggs, with, a bagful of papers, and accounts^ 
and docmnentSj for the transfer of the balance of the tmst fund to you 
(1 wi&h it was a more difficult one to dispose of, Alfred^ but you must get 
to bo 11 ^reat man and make it so), and athcr drolleries of thai sort, wlilch 
are to be signed, sealed, and delivered/* 

*'And duly mtnessed, 3,s by law required" said Snitchey, pushing 
ji"way hisplattj and taking ot:r the papers, which hfs partner proceeded to 
spread upon tJie table ; '" and Self and Craggs having been co-crusiccs 
with you, Doctorjin sofar js the fund ^vasconctmed, we shall want your 
two &er\ant5 to attest the signatures — can yoix read, Mrs. Newcomc T^ 

*^ I an't married, mister/^ said Clemency. 

^* Ohj I beg your pardon. I should Ehint not/^ chuctlcd Snitchey^ 
casting his eyes over her extraordinarj' figure, '* You rdJi read p " 

*^ A littk/* answered Clemency, 

'^The marriage service^ night and morning, eh?'' observed the 
lawyer, jocosely. 

*' No/' said Clemency. '' Too hard. I only reads a thimble." 

^* Read a thimble ! " echoed Snitdiey. '* What are you talking abouij 
young woman f " 

Clemency nodded. *^ And a nutmeg-gralcr*" 

" Why, this is a lunatic i a subject for the Lord High Chancellor ! " 
said Snitcheyj scaring ai her, 

■* Tf possessed of any property," stipulated Craggs, 

Grace, howevefp interposing^ eJ^plained that each of the articles in 
question bore an engraved motiOj and so formed the pocltet librmy of 
Clemency Newcome, who was not much given to thfi study of boots^ 

" Ohj that^s it^ is it, Miss Grace ! ^^ said Snitchey, 

"Yes, yes, Ha^ ha^ ha! I thought our friend was 3n idiotn She 
loots uncommonly lite if," he muttered^ with a superciliotis glance. 
" And what docs the ihimble say^ Mrs. Newcome ? ^' 

^^ I an't married, luister," observed Clemency^- 

'' Well, Newcome. WiU that do P '* said the lawyer. " What does 
the thimble savj Newcome f *^ 

How Clemency, before replying to this question, held one pocket open, 
and looked down into m yawning depths for the thimble which wasn^t 
ihere^ — and how she then held an opposite pocket open, and seeming to 
descry it, like a pearl of great price, at the bottom, cleared ;iVfAy such 
intervening obstacles as a handkerchief, an end of was candle, a flushed 
apple, an orange^ i lucty penny, a cramp bone^ a padloct, a pair o£ 
scissors in a sheath, more expressively describable as promising young 
shears, a handful or M of loose beads, severjil balls of cotton, a needie-casCj 
a cabinet collection of curl-papers, and a biscuitp all of which articles she ) 
entrusted individually and severally to Britain to hold, — is of no conse- ^ 
quence. Nor how, in her determination to grasp this poctet by the ^; 
diroat and keep it prisoner (for it had a tendency id swing and twist 
itself round the neatest corner), slie assumed, and calmly maintained, an 



THEBATTLEOPLIFE 195 

attuudt; apparciicly iriconsUtenf with the human ninatomy and the Ijws 
Ox gravity. If is enough that at last she triumphantly produced the 
thimble on her finger^ and tattled the nutmeg-grater ■ the literature of 
both those trinl^ets being obviously in course of wearing out and wasting 
away, throush excessive friction, 

"That*3 the thimble^ is it^ young woman?" said Mr, Snitchey, 
diverting himself at her expense, "^And what does the thimble 
say ^ " 

*' it sayg/^ replied Cli^mency^ reading slowly round it as if it were a 
towcr^ ^^ For-gei and For-give." 

Snitchey and Cra^s laughed heariilv. ^' So ne^' ! ^' said Snitchey^ 
'" So easy ! " said Craggs. " Such a tnoivlt^dge of human nature in it," 
said Sjiitchey^ ** So applicable lo the affairs of life," said Craggs, 

"^ And the nutmeg-grater ? " inquired the head of the Firm. 

" rhegratersavs/^rt^turncd Clemency, "^ Do as you — wold — be — done 
by." 

*^ ' Do^ or you^il be done brown^ you mean/ " said My. Snitchey. 

'* I don*t understand/' letorted Ckmencfj ihaking her head vaguely. 
'^ 1 an't no lawyer." 

" I :im afrafd that if she was, Doctor/^ said Mr. Snitchcy, turning to 
h^n\ suddenl/j as if to anticipate any effect that might otherwise be 
consequent on this retort, *^ she'd ftnd it to be the golden rule of half her 
cliettts* They art serious enough in that — -"whimsical as your world is — 
and lay the blame on us afterwards* We^ in our ptofession, are little else 
than mirrors after all, Mr. Alfred ; but we are generally consulted by 
ansry and quarrelsome peopJej who are not in their best looks ; and it's 
rather hard to cjuarrc! with us if we rtjflect unpleasant aspects. I ihinV* 
said Mr. Snitchey, " that I speak for Self and Craggs i " 

'' Decidedly,'^ said Craggs- 

^' And sOj if Mr^ Britain will oblige us with a motithful of int," said 
Mr Snitchey, returning to the papers, "we^il sign, seal, and deliver as 
soon as possiblej or the co&ch will be coming past before we know where 



we ate." 



If one might judge from his appearance, there was every probability of 
the coach coming past before Mr. Uritain knew where hr was ; for he 
stotK? in a stale of abstraction, menially balancing the Doctor against the 
lawyers^ and the lawyers against the Doctor^ and their clients against 
both ; and engaged in feeble attempts to make the thimble and nutmeg- 
grater (a new idea to him) square with anybody's system of philosophy ; 
andj in ihort, bewildering himself as much as ever his great namesake haa 
done with theories and schools. But Clemency^ who was his good 
Genius — though he had the meanest possible opinion of her under- 
standing, by reason of her seldom troubling herself with abstract specula- 
tions^ and being always at hand to do the tight thing at the right time — - 
having produced the ink in a twinkling, tendered him die further service 
of lecalflrtg him to himself by the application of her elbows j wich which 



dl--^'' 



ig6 THEBATTLEOFLIFE 

gentle dappers she m jogged his memory, in a more literal con^rniction of 
that phrase than uiual, that he soon btcame quite fresh and brisk. 

How he laboured undf:r an apprehension not uncommon to perions in 
his degree, to -whom the use of pen iind int is an e^'ent, thai he cotildn'r 
.ippeud his name to a document, not of hi? owii writings udthont i:om- 
mitting himself income shadowy manner, or somehow signing away ^'ague 
and enormous 3ums of riiunty' ■ and how he approached the deeds ufidcr 
protest, and by dinr of ihe Doctor's coercion^ and insisn:d on pausing to 
loot at them before writing (the cramped hand, to say nothing of tiie 
phraseology, being so much Chinese to lum)^ and also on turning them, 
round to see whether there was anything fraudulent, underneath ; and 
how, having signed his name, he became desolate as one who had parted 
iv'ith his property and rights ; I want the time to tell. AUo, how thr^ 
blue bag containing his signature, afterwards had a mysterious intermit 
for him, and he couldn^t leave it ; also, ho^v Clemency Ncivcome, in an 
ecstasy of laughter at the idea of her own importance and dignity, 
blooded over the whole table with her two elbows like a spread eagle, and 
reposed her head upon her kft arm as a preliminary to the fonnaiion of 
certain cabalistic characters, which required a deal of ink, and imaginary 
counterparts whereof she executed at the same time with her tongue. 
Also, hotv, having once tasted ink, ihe became thirsty in thai regard, as 
tigers are said to be after tasting another sort of fluid, and wanted to sign 
everything, and put her name in all binds of places. In brief, the Doctor 
was discharged of his trust and all its respon^ibilitiej ; and Alfred, taking 
jt on himself, was fairly started on the journey of life. 

"* Britain ! " said the Doctor, '' Run lo the gate, and watch for the 
£03ch. Time flies, Alfred I" 

*' Yes, sir, yes," returned the young man, hurriedly. " Dear Grace ! 
3 moment ' Marlon — so young and beautiful, so winning and so mucii 
admired, dear lo my heart as nothing else in life is — remember ! I leave 

Marion to you \ " 

" She has always been a sacred charge to me* Alfred. She is doubly so 
now. I will be faithful to my trust, believe me." 

** I do believe it, Grace, \ know it well. Who could looL upon your 
face, and hear your earnest voice, and not knoiv it [ Ah, good Grace J 
If I had your well-governed heart, and iranquil mind, haw bravely I 
would leave this place to-day ! " 

'* Would you ? " she answered, with a quiet smile. 

" And yet, Grace — Sister, seems the natural word." 

" Use it ! " she said quietly. *' I am glad to hear it, call me nothing 

else." 

'* And yet, Sister, then," said Alfred, " Marion and 1 had better have 
your true and steadfast qualities serving us here, and m;iking us both 
happier and better, i wouldn't carry ihem away, to sustain myself, if 
I could ! " 

" Coach upon the hill-top ! " eiclaimed Britain- 



^Vi 



THEBATTLEOFLIPE 197 

" Time flies, Alfred," said the Doctor, 

Marion hsd stood apart, with her eyes fixed upon the ground ; but this 

arning being given, her young lover brought hex tenderly to where her 
liisier stood, and gave her into her cmbmee. 

*' 1 have been telling Grace, dear Marion/* he said, '^ that you are her 
charge ; my precious trust at parting. And when 1 come back gnd 
reclaim you, dearest, and the bright prospect of our marrii^d life lies 
stretched before us, it shall be one of our chief pleasures 10 consult how 
we CATL male Grace happy ; how we can anticipate her wishes ; how we 
can show our gratitude and love to her ; how we can return her some- 
thing; of the debt she wiU have heaped upon us." 

The younger sisier had one hand in his ; the other rested on her sister's 
:^^:cL She looted into that sistcr^s eyes, so calm, serene, and cheerful, 
rvui\ a gaze in which affection^ admiratioHj sorrow, wonder, almost 
hcneration were blended. She looked into that 5tstcr*s face, as if it were 
the face of some bright angel Calm^ serene, and cheerful^ it looked bact 
on her and on her lover. 

"And when the time comes, as it must one day," said Alfred, 
— " I wonder it has never come yet : but Grace knows best, for Grace is 
always rightj — when sh^ will wanr a friend to open her whole heart to, 
and to be to her something of what she has been to us, — then, 
Marion, how faithful we will prove^ and what delight to us to know 
that she, our dear gocd sister, loves and is loved agaiu^ as we would have 
her I " 

Eiill the younger sister looted Into her ey^s^ anc? turned not— even 
towards him. And still those honest eyes looked back, so calm, serencj 
and cheerful, on herself and on her lover, 

" And when all that is past, and we are old, and living (as v^^ must !) 
together— close together; talUng often of old times," said Alfred — 
*' these shall be ouf favourite times among them — this day most of all ; 
and telling each other what we thought and felt, and hoped and fearedj 
at parting ; and how we couldn^t bear to say good-bye " 

*' Coach coming through the wood," cried Britain, 

*' Ve^ J I ara ready — andhow we met again, sohappiiyjinspiieof all ; 
we'll m^ke this day the happiest in all the year^ and teep it as a treble 
birihdaj". S!m11 we, dear ? " 

" Yes ! " interposed the elder sister, eagerly, and vAih a radiant smile. 
^^Yes! Alfred, don*E linger. There's no time. Say good-bye to 
Marion- And Heaven be with you I " 

He pressed t^seyounger sister to his heart. Released from hisembracej 
she again clung to her sister ; and her eyes, with the same bl^^nded look^ 
again sought those so calm, serene, and cheerful 

'' Farewell, my boy I " said the Doctorn '* To talk about any serious 

correspondence or serious affections, and engagements and so forth, in 

such a — ha ha ha J — you know what I mean — why that, of course, would 

'be sheer nonsense. All I can &ay is^ that if you and Marion should 



THE BATTLE OF LIFE 

continue in the same fooTish mrndSj I shall not object to have you for a 
son-in-law one of these diySn" 

** Over the bridge ! " cried Britain. 

" Let ii eome ! " said Alfred^ ^vringing ihe Doctor's hand stoutly. 
* Think of mesometimesj my old friend and gti^rdian^ as seriously cis you 
can ! Adieu, Mr. Enitchey ! Farewell, Mr. Craggs ! " 

^^ Comin^^ do^vn the road I '' cried Britain. 

"A kiss of Cltm(?ncy Newcome for long acquaintance' sake — sliake 
hands, Britain — Marlon, dearest heart, good-bye I Sister Grace ! 
remember ! " 

The quipt hon?ehold figure, and the face so beautiful in Its serenity, 
^vere turned towards him in reply; but Marion-s loot and attitude 
temained unchanged. 

'J^hc toach was at the gate. There was s bustle with the luggage^ 
The coach drove ^\^iy. Mayion never moved. 

"He waves his hat to you, my love^" ?uid GracSn ^^ Your chosen 
husband, darling. Loot ! " 

The younger lister raised her head, and, for a moment, turned it. 
Then turning back agaiuj and fully nieetir^^ for the first time^ tlioae cakn 
eyeSj fell sobbing on her neck, 

" Oh, Grace. God bless you f But I cannot be^ir lo sec it, Grace, 
It breaks my heart."' 



E^T THE SECOND 

SNrrcHET AND CftAGc^s had a snug lictlo office on the old baitlp-ground 
where they drove a snug little business, ^tnd fought a er*-^at man^^^ small 
pitched battles for a great many contending parlies. Though it could 
hardly be said of these conflicts that they were running lights — for in 
truth tliey generally proceeded at a snaiTs pace — the pan t]ie Finn had 
in them came so far within that gL^nerai denomination, that now they 
toot a shot at this PlaintiS, and now aimed a chop at that Defcnd::nt, 
now made a heavy charge at an estate in Chancery, and now had soma 
light skirmishing among an irregular body of small debtors, just as tlie 
occasion served, and the enemy happened to present himself. The 
Ga:<^ette was an important and profitable feature in ponie of their fields, 
i^L well as in fields of greater renown ; and in mo^t of the Actions wherein 
lliey showed their generalshipj it was afterwards observed by tine com- 
bs tanis thai tJieyhad had great difiiculry in making each otlier out, or In 
kno^Wng H-ith any degree of distinctness what they were about^ in 
consequence of the va^t amount of smote by whidi they were surrounded^ 
^ITic offices of MessrSn Snitdiey and Craggs siood convenient with an 
open door, down \wc smooth steps in the market-place; so tliat any 
angry farmer inclining towsirds hot water, might tumble into it at once. 
Their special council-ciiamber and hall of conference was an old back 
room up stairs, wkh a low dark ceilings which seemed to be knitting its 



THEBATTLEOFLIFE 199 

bro\\^ gloomily in the consideration of tingled points of law. It was 
furnished with some high-bactcd learhern diairs^ garnished with great 
goggie-e/cd bfyji naiis, of whichj eveiy here and there, two or three Kad 
fallen out ; or had been picked ouij ptrli^ps^ by the wandering thumbs 
and forefingeri of bewildered clients. There v/^s a framed print of a 
great jud^e m it^ every curl in whose dreadful wig had made a man*s hair 
siand on end. Bales of papers filled thfi dusty dasets, shelves, ^nd tables ; 
and round the ^vainscot there were tiers of boxes, padlocked and fire- 
proof, with peopic^s name^ pointed outside, which anxious visitors felt 
themselvcSj by a crnel enchantment ^ obliged to spell backwards and 
forwards, and to malLe anagiams of^ ^vliile they satj seeming to listen to 
Snitchey and Ctagg;^ without comprclicnding one wprd of what tliey 
53 id. 

Snitchey and Craggj had each, in private life as in professional exist- 
ence, a partner of his own, Snicehey and Craggs were tlte best friends in 
the worfd^ and had a real confidence in one another ; but Mrs. Snitcheyj 
by a dispensation not uncommon in the atfair^ of HJe, was^ on principlej 
su&picious of Mr. Craggs ; and Mrs. Craggs was, on principle, auspicious 
of Mr. Snitchey, '^ Your Snitcheys indeed," the latter lady would 
observe^ sometimes, to Mr. Cragg$ ; using that imaginative plural as if in 
disparagement of an objectionable pair of pantaloons^ or other articles 
not possessed of a singular number ; " I don^t see what you xvant ^vith 
your SnitcheySj for my patt. You trust a great deal too much to your 
Snitdiey?^ / thint, and I hope you may never find my wotds come true.'' 
While Mrs. Snitchey would observe to Mr. Snitchey, of Craggs, " tlut 
if ever he was led away by man he was led aivay by that man ; and that 
if ever she read a double purpose in a mortal eyCj she rtad that purpose in 
Craggs's eye*" Notwithstanding this, however^ they were all very good 
friends in general : and Mis. Snitchey and Mrs. Craggs maintained a 
close bond of alliance aj^ain&t '* the office/^ which tliey both considered a 
Blue diamb[:r, and common enemy^ full of dangerous (because unknown) 
machinations. 

Jn this officej nc^^ertheless^ Snitchey and Craggs made honey for their 
several hives. Here sometimes they would linger, of a fine evenings at 
the window of their council-chamber overlooking the old batilc-groundp 
and wonder (but that was gcaetally at assise time, when much business 
had made tkera sentimental) at the folly of mantLind, who couldn^t always 
be at peace ^vith one another, and go to h\v comfortably. Here days, 
and weeU, and mouths, and years, passed over them ; thcic calendar, the 
gradually diminishing numbcc of brass nails in the leathern chairs, and 
the increa&ing bulk of papers on the fables. Here nearly three years' 
flight had thinned the one and swelled the other, since the breai:fast in 
the orchard ; when they sat together in consultation^ at night. 

Not alone ; but with a man of tliirtyj or about tlvac limc of life, 
negligently dressed, and somewhat haggard in the face, bur well-made, 
well-attired^ and wcll-lcoking^ who sat in the arm-chair of state, with one 






200 THE BATTLE OF LITE 

bjnd in hi$ breast^ and the oihtr in his dishevdJed hiiir, pondering 
moodily. Messrs. Snitchey and Craggs Sit opposite each othcT at ^ 
neighbouring desk. One of the firc-proo/ boxes, unpadlockczd and 
opened, wat upon it ; a part of its contents lay strei^vn upon the tabJe^ 
and the rest was then in tonrse of parsing through the hands of Mr. 
Snitchey^ who brought it to the candle^j dt^umeni by document, lotikcd 
at every pniper singly^ as he produced ii, shook his hcad^ and handed it to 
Mr, Craggs, who looked it over itso, shook hi5 head^ and laid it down. 
Sometimes they would stop^ and shaking their heads in concert, lotji: 
towards the absrrs^cted client ; and the name on the box being Michael 
Warden, Esquire^we m^y conclude from the^e premises that the name 
and the bo^; were both his^ and that the affairs of Michael Warden, 
Esquire, were in a bad way, 

" That^s all^" said Mt. Snitchey, turning up the last paper- " Really 
there's no other re&ourcc. No other resource." 

" AJl lost, spent, wasted, pa^v^edJ borrowed, and sold, ch P " said the 
client^ looking up, 

" All,'' returned Mr. Snitchey, 
Nothing else to be done^ you say ? " 
Nothing at aTl." 

The chenf bit his nails^ and pondered again, 

'^ And 1 am not even personally safe jn England f You hold to that ; 
do you f ^^ 

" In no part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland/^ 
replied Ivlr. Snitchey, 

" A mere prodigal son wiih no father to go back to, no s^vine to keep, 
and no husks to share with them ? Eh .' " pursued the client, rocking 
one leg over the other, and searching the ground v.'ith his eyes- 
Mr. Snitchey coughed^ as if to deprecate the being supposed to 
participate in any figurative iUustraiion of a legal position. Mr. Craggs, 
as if toexpress that it was a partnership view of the iubject, also coughed. 

'' Ruined at ihiriy i " said the client. '^ Humph ! " 

*'Not minedj Mr. Warden/* returned Snitchey, "Not so bad as 
that. You have done a good deal lowards it, I must say, but you arc not 
ruined. A Tittle nursing " 

" A little Devil," said the client. 

*^ Mr. Craggs," said Snitcliey, " will you oblige me with a pinch of 
snufl? ThantyoujSir.^ 

As the imperturbable lawyer applied it to his nose, with great apparent 
relish and a perfect absorption of his auention in ihe proceeding, the 
client gradually broke inio a smik^ and, looting up^ said : 

" You talk of nursing. Hovlt long nursing ? " 

*' How long nursing ? " jtpeatcd Snitchey, dusting tKe snuff from 
his fingers, and making a slow calculation in his mind. " For your in- 
volved estate, sir ? In good hands ? S. and C-'s^ say ? Six or seven 
year^ 









THEBATTLEOFLIFE 201 

" To starve for ^i^ or seven years ! ^* said the client with a fretful laugh, 
and an impatient change of his position. 

** Tcnsrarvcforsii or seven years^Mfr Warden^" said Snitchey, " would, 
be very uncommon indeed. You might get another c&tate by showin 
youiaelf, the while. But we don^r think you could do it— ^pealdng t™ 
Scif and Craggi — and con^(juently don*t advise it." 
Wliai i!o you advise ? " 

Nursing, I say," repeated Snjtchey. " Some few years of nursing bj 
Self ^nd Craggg would bring it rouud. But to enabfe us to make terms, 
and hold ttrms, and you to keep terms, you must go away, you musr Jive 
abroad. As 10 starvation, we could ensure you some hundreds a ycAr lo 
starve upon, even in the beginning, I dare ssy^ Mr, Warden." 
" Hundreds/* said the chenc. '' And I have spent thousands ] " 
"That,^' retorted Mr, Snitchey, putting the papers slowly bact into 
the cast-iron box, " there is no doubt about. No doubt a— bout/' he 
repeated to himself, as he thoughtfiiiJy puTSued hi$ occupation. 

Thc lawyer ver)' lively tnew his man ; ar any rate hia drj* shrcivd, 
whimsical manner, had a favourable influence upon the client's moody 
state, and disposed him 10 he more fr<:c and unreserved. Or perhaps the 
client knew /ris man* and had elicjfcd such encouragement as he had 
received, to render some purpose he i^'as about to disclose the more 
defensible in appearance. Gradually raising his head, he sat looking at 
hh immovable adviser with a smile, w^ich presently brotc into a laugh. 
" After aU," he said, " my iron-hea<^ed friend—" 
Mr. Snitchey pointed out his partner. " Self and — eacuse me— 
Craggs." 

" I beg Mr. Craggs's pardon," said thp client, " After all, my iron- 
hesded friends," he leaned forward in h^^ chair, and dropped his voice a 
little, " you don't know half my ruin yet." 
Mr Snitchey stopped and stared at hi™- Mr. Craggs alio stared. 

" I am not only deep in debt," said the client, '' but I am deep in " 

" Not in love 1 " cried Snitchey, 

" Yes I " said the client, falling back in his chair, and surveying the 
Firm with hi$ hands in his pockets. " Deep in love,'' 
*' And not with an heiress, sir i " said Snitchey. 
" NoE with an heiress," ..- 

'' Nor a rich lady > " * 

" Nor a rich lady that I know of— e^fcept in beauty and merit." 
" A single lady, I trust ? " said Mr. Snitchey, with great expression. 
'' Certainly,'^ 

'' lt*s not one of Doctor Jeddler's daughters ? " said Snitchey, sud- 
denly squaring his elboivs on his knees, and advancing his face at least j 
yard. 

" Yes [ " returned the client, 

^' N'ot his younger daughter > '^ said Snitchey. 

" Yea 1 " returned the client. 



■J 



ir 



20S THEBATTLEOFLIFE 

^^ Mr. Cmge^j" said Snifchcj% much relieved, " will you oblige me with 
aDother pinth of snuii : Thank you- 1 am happy lo say it don't 
signify^ Mr. Waiden ; ^he'e engaged, sir, she's bespote. My partner can 
corroborate m^r We know jhc facr*^' 

^' We know rhe fact," repeated Craggs. 

^' WTiy^Eodo I perhaps/' returned the client quietly* ^^ Whai af thai ! 
arc you men of the worlds and did you never hear of a worasn changing 
her mind ? " 

^^ There cerrainlv have been actions for breach/^ said Mr. Snitchcv^ 
"brought against both spinsters and widowSj butj in th^ majority of 
cases " ^^ ^ 

*^ Cases J " interposed the client^ impaTiently. " Don^ talk to mc of 
cases. The general precedent is in a much larger voluaije than any of 
your law books. Besides^ do you tl^ink I h^ve lived six. wtjeks in the 
Doctor^E house for nothing ? " 

" 1 ihinkj ^ir/* observed Mr. Sniichey-j gravely addressing himself to 
his partner, " that of a]J the icrapes Mr, Warden\^ liorscs have brought 
him into at one lime and anoiher — and the}'^ have been pretty immerous, 
and pretty e^ensive, as none know beircr than himseff and yoii and 1— 
the worst scrape may lum out to be, if he talks in tliis way, his having 
been ever lt:ft by one of them at the Doctor^s garden walfn witfi three 
broken libs^ a snapped collaj-^bonej and tl:ie Lord knows how many 
bruises- We didn^t think so much of it^ at the rime wl^cn we knew he 
was going on well under the Doctor's hands and roof ; but it looks bad 
now, sir* Bad J It look^ very bad. Doctor Jeddlet too— our client, 
Mr. Craggs." 

"Mr. Alfred Hcathfield too— a sort of cHent, Mr, Snitdiey/' said 
Craggs. 

'^ Air, Michael Warden toO, a kind of client/* said the careless visitor^ 
" and no bad one either ; having played the fool for ten or t^velve years. 
However^ Mr. Michael Wtirdtn has so^vn his wild oats no^v^ — tliere^s their 
crop^ in that box ; and Ke means to repent and be wise. And in proof 
of it, Mr, Michael Warden jueans, if he can, to marrj- Marion, the 
Docroi-s lovely daughter, and ro carry her away with bim/* 

'^ Really, Mr. Craggs/' Snitchey began. 

'* Really, Mr, Sniichcy and Mr. Craj^^s. parrners both,'" said the client, 
interrupting him ; " you know your duly to your clients, and you know 
well cnoughj I am sure, that it is no part of it to interfere in a mere love 
affj^lr, which 1 am obliged to confide to you* J am not goin^ to carry the 
young lady off, withour her o^vn consent. There's nothing illegal in il- 
1 never was Mr. Heathfield^s bosom friend. 1 violate no confidence of 
hisi I love where he lovcSa and 1 muan to win where he woxild ^vin^ if 
I can," 

"He can^tj Mr. Craggs," said Snitchey^ evidently anxions and dis- 
cc^mfited- " He can't do it^ sir. She dotes on Mr. jUfred*" 

^^ Docs she ? " returned the client. 



THEBATTLEOFLIFE 203 

" Mr, Craggs, she dotes on him, air," persisted Snitchey. 

" 1 didn'r live sii weeks, some few mondis ^go. in Uic Doctor's honae 
for nothing; and I doubted that soon," observed the client. '* Sht 
would have doted on him, if her sisteT coold have brought it flbout ; but 
I watched them. Marion avoided his name, avoided the subject : 
shrnink from the lean allusion to it, \viih evident distress." 

" Why should she, Mr. Cra^s, you know ? V\hy ?hould she, sir ? " 
inquired Snitchey. 

*' I don't tnow why she should, though there are manv likely reasons,'* 
said the elientj smiling at the attention and perplexity expressed in 
Mr. Snitchcy's shining eye, and ^t his cautious way of carrying on the 
conversation, and mating himself informed upon ihe subject ; '^ but I 
know she does. She was very young when she made the engagement — if 
it may be called one, I am not even ^vfs of that — and has repented of it, 
perhaps. Perhaps — it seems a foppish thing to say, bur upon my soul 1 
ito'tmean iiin ihat light — she may have fallen in love witlx mc, as I have 
fallen in love with her." 

'* He, he ! Mr, ^Ufrcd, her old playfellow too, you remember Mr. 
Craggs/' said Snitchey, with a disconcerted laugh ; " knev*' her almost 
from a baby ! " 

" Which makes it the more probable diat she may be tired of his idea," 
cilmly pursued the chcnt, '* and not indisposed to exchange it for the 
newer one of another loi'cr, ;vho presents himself (or is presented by his 
horse) under romantic circumstances ; has the not unfavourable reputa- 
tion — with a country girl — of having li^'ed thoughtlessly and gaily, 
without doin^ much harm to anybody ; and who, for his youth and 
figure, and so forth^this may seem foppish again, but upon my soirl I 
don't mean it in that fight — might perhaps pas^ muster in a crowd with 
Mr, Alfred himself." 

There was no gainsaying the last clause, certainly i and Mr. Snitchey, 
glancing at him, thought so. There was sometliiiig :>aturally graceful 
and pleasant in the vcrj" carelessne&s of his air. It seemed 10 suggest, of 
his comely face and weil-knir figure, thai ihey might be greatly better if 
he chose : and that, once roused and made earnest (but he never had 
been earnest yel), he could be full of fire and purpose. " A dangerous 
soit of libertine," thought the shrewd lawyer, " to seem to catch the 
spart: he wjnts from a young lady's eyes." 

" Now, observe, Snitchey." he continued, arising snd taking him by the 
button, " and Craggs," taking him by the button also, and placing one 
partner on eithersideof him, so that neither mi^ht evade him. " 1 don't 
asfc you for any advice. You are right to keep quite aloof from all parties 
in such a matter, which is not one in which grave men lite you could 
interfere^ on any side- I am briefly going to review in half-a-doecn 
words, my position and intention, and then I shall leave it to you to do 
the best for me, in money matters, that you can : seeing, that, if I ran 
away ivith the Doctor's beautiful daugliter (aa I hope to do, and to 



1; 



204 THEBATTLEOFLIFE 

become another man under ber bright influence), it will be, for the 
moment^ more ch^irgeable than running away alone. Hut I shnll soon 
make all that up in an altered life.^' 

" I think it wiH be better not to hear this, Mr, Ctaggs ? " said Snitt:hey. 
looking at liini across the dient, 

" / ihink not," ?3id Cragga, — Both li:*tening attentively. 

" Well ! You needn't hear it,'* replied theif client. " HI mentio:: 
it, however. ! don't mean to ask the Docior^s consent, bccau&e he 
wouldn't give it mc. But I mean to do the Doctor no wrong or harm, 
because (besides there bejnjj nothint^ serious in iuch trifles, a^ he says) i 
hope to rescue hi^ child, my Marion, from what 1 see — I knotti-^h*; dreads 
and contemplate? with misery : that is, the return of tliia oH lover- if 
anything in the world is true, it is true that she dreads his return. No- 
body is injured $o far- I am so harried and worried here Just now, that 
[ lead the hfe of a flying-fish ; skuli about in the datk, am shut out of my 
own house, and ^varned off my own grounds : but that hoirsi^, and those 
grounds, and many an acie besides, will come back home one dav^ as vou 
know and sa} ; and Marion will probably be richer — on your shouing^ 
who arc never sangnine — ten yeais hence as my wife, tlian as the wife of 
Alfred Heathfield. who?e return she dreads (remember that), and in 
whom or in any man. my passion is not surpassed. \Vlio [5 injured yet ? 
It is a fair case throughouf. My right is as good as his, if she decide in 
my favour ; and I will try my right by her alone. Vou will like 10 know 
no more after this, and t will tell ^"ou no more. Now you tnow my 
purpose, and wants. Wlien must J leave here P " 

*' In a week/' said Snitchey. " Mr. Ciaggs ?- — -" 

'* In aomeihing les&» I should say," responded Craggs. 

*' In a month," said the client* after attentively watching the two 
faces, " This day month. To-day is Thursday. Succeed or fail, on 
this day month I go." 

*' It's too long a delay," said Snitchey ; " much too long. Bur let k 
be so. I thought he'd have stipulated for three," he murmured to 
himself. " Are you going f Good night, sir." 

'' Good night ! '' returned the client, shaking hands with the Firni- 
"^ You'll live to see me making a good use oE riches yet. Henceforth, the 
star of my destiny is, Mafion [ " 

" Take care of the stairs, sir," replied Snitchey ■ " for she don't shine 
there. Good night I " 

*' Good night!" 

Sothey both stood at the stair-head with a pair of office-candles, ^vaich- 
ing him down: and when he had gone away, stood looking at each other, 

'^ What do you think of all ihis^ Mr. Cra^ ? " said Snitchey. 

Mr. Craggs sliook his head. 

** [t was our opinion, on ihe day when that release was executed, that 
there was something curious in the paft'ng of that pair, I recollect," 
said Snitehe\', 



THEBATTLEOFLTFE 205 

** It waSj" said Mi. Cra^gs. 

*^ Perhaps he dt^ctives himself altoj!ether,^' pursued Mr. Snitche^, 
locking up the fireproof bos, and putting it away ; ^* or if he don*t, a 
litde bit of fickleness and perfidy is not a miracle, iVlr, Craggs, And yet 
I thought riiit pretty face was very true, 1 ihought/' said Mr. Snitchey, 
putting on his great-coat (for tht^ weather was very cold), dra\\nng on his 
gloves and snuffing out one candle^ " that 1 had even seen her character 
becoming stronger aitd more resolved of late. Wore like her sister's," 

" Mrs* Craggs was of the same opinioOj^^ returned Craggs, 

'^ rd really give a trifle to-night^" observed Mr. Sniiche/s who was a 
good-natured man, '* if I coufd believe that Mr, Warden was reckoning 
without hia host ; but light-headed, capricious, and unballasted as he is^ 
he knows something of the world and its people (he ought to, for he has 
bought what he docs know^ dear enough) ; and I can^t quite chink that. 
We hid better not interfere ; we can do nothing, Ml- Craggs, but keep 
quiet. ^^ 

" Nothing," returned Craggs, 

^" Ourfriend the Doctor makes light of such thing^/^ said Mr. Snttchfy, 
shaking his head. ^^ 1 hope he mayn^t st^nd in nt.^d of his phito:?ophy. 
Our friend Alfred talks of the batde of life^" he shook his head again, ^^ I 
hope he mayn^t be cut down early in the day. fiave vou goC your hal^ 
Air^ Craggs ? I am going to put the other candle out." 

Mr. Craggs replying in tlifi affirmative, Mr^ Snitchey suited the action 
to the ^t^jrd, and ihey groped their way out of the council-chamber : 
now as dark as the subject, or the hw in genetaL 

My story passes to a quiet httle study, where, on that same J^ight^ the 
ststci's and the hale old Doctor sat by a cheerful iireside, Grace was 
working at her needle* Marion read aloud from a book before her, 
Tht Doclot, in his dtessing-gown and slippers^ with his feet spread out 
upon tlie warm rug, leaned back in his easy-chair, and listened to the 
book, and looked upon his daughl.er$, 

Thfy -were vety beautiful to look upon* Two better faces for a fire- 
side, never made a fireside bright and sacred. Something of the differ- 
ence between them had been softened down in tbtt^j years' tirrtc ; 
and enthroned upon the clear brow of the young^^r sister, looking through 
her eves, and thrilling in her voice, was the same earnest nature that her 
own motherless youth had ripened in the elder sister long ago- But she 
stiU appeared at onc(i the lovelier and wcater of the t%vo ; still seemed to 
rest her head upon her sister^s breast, and put her trust in her, and loot 
into her eyes for counsel and leliancCp Those loving eyes^ so Cilni, 
scrcue, and cheerful, a? of old* 

*^^And being in her own home/" read Marion, from the book; 
" * her home made exquisitely dear by these remembrances, she now 
began to know that the great trial of her heart rnu^t aoon come on, and 
could not be dclaved^ Oh Home our comforter and friend when others 



s 



266 THE BATTLE OF LIFE 

fall awajj to part wit!^ whom, at sny step betaveea the ciadlc and the 



1 » 



^' Marion, my love ! *' said Grace. 
*^ Why, Puss ! " cKclaimpd her failief, " wHat*s the mjrttr ? " 
She put }ier hand upon the hand lier sister stri^tchcd toivarji hcXp 
and rtnid on. ; her voice siill faltei'in^ and trembling^ though she made 
an effort to conim:ind it whi^n thus intt^rrtipted. 

*^^ — Topariwith whom, at an vsrep between ths cradle and the gf^vy, 
isahvaji sorrowful. Oh Homej 50 true to us^ &ooftc:n sHghiedin return^ 
be lenierat to them that turn away from thee^ and do not haunt their 
eriLng footsiepa too reproachfully! Let no kind loukf, no \ictl- 
reniembercd smiles, be seen upon thy phantom fice. Let no rav of 
affection, welcome^ gentlenc$^, forbearancej cordiahty^ shlsic from thy 
white head. Let no old lovin^^ word or tone ri$e up in judgmc^nt against 
thy deserter ; but if tl^ou canst look harshly and sevtrely^ do, in mercy 
to the Penitent f " 

*^Dear Marion^ read no more to-night/* said Grace — for she was 
weeping. 

*^ I cannot," she replied, and cl^&d the boot. " The words seem all 
on fire i " 

The Doctor ^vas amu&cd at this ; and laughed as he patted her on die 
head. 

** What ! overcome by a stoir-book ! " said Doctor Jcddlt-r. " Print 
and paper ! \\c\L wel], it^$ all one. It's as rational to make a serious 
matter of print and paper as of aj^yihing else. But drj^ your ^y^^^ io\-e^ 
djy youT eyes. 1 dare say the heroine has got home agjiin long ago, and 
made it up a]l round — and if she hadn't, a real home is only four tvalls ; 
and a ficcitiou& one, mere rags and in^ \Vhat*s the matter nov^' } " 

^' it^s only me, mister,^^ said Clemency^ putting in her hc^ad at the door- 

^' And what's the matter with y<?u F " said the Doctor, 

^* Ohj bJe&syoUj nothing an't the mattcr>dih me/' returned Clemency 
— and truly too, to jud^ from her weli-soaped faee^ in which there 
gleamed as usual the very soul of good humour, which, ungainly a^ :^he 
vv^Sj made her quite engaging- Abrasions on the elbows are not generally 
understood, it Is true, to range within tliat clasa of personal charms called 
beauty-spots. But it is better^ going tl^ruugit ilie woHd, to have ih^ 
arms chafed in that narrow passage, than ihe njmper : and Clemency^s 
WJS sound and whole as any beauty^s in the latid. 

^^ Nothing ai^t the maitt:r nith mc,"^ said Clcniency, enttringj ** but — 
come a httle closer^ mister." 

Th(^ Doctor, in some astonishment, complied with thk invitation, 

"You taid 1 wasn't to give you one before thc^m, you know^^^ said 
Clemency^ 

A novice In the family might have supposed, from her extraordinary 
ogling as ahe said it- as well as from a singular rapture or ecstasy which 
pervaded her elboWi^^ as if she wete embracing herself, thai ^* one," In its 



THEBATTLEOFLTFE 207 

mosc favourable inicrprcticion, meant a chaste silute^ Indeed the 
Docror himself ^emed alarmed, for the inomeut ; but quickly regained 
Itis composure, a& Clemency, having had recourse ro both her poctecs^ 
beginning' with the right one^ going a^va^^ to the wrong one, and after- 
w.irds coming back to the right one again — produced a letter from the 
Post-office. 

^' Britain was riding by on a errand/* she chuckled, banding it to the 
D<3ctor, " and ^-^ee the ^Iail come in, and waited foe it, There^s A. H* 
in tht: corner, Mr. Alfred*3 on his journey home^ 1 bef. Wis shall have 
a wedding in the house — there was two spoons in my saucer this morning. 
Oh LucL\ how slow he opens it ! " 

Ail thii she dehvered, by way of sohioquy, gradually rismg higher and 
higher on tiptoe^ in her impatience to hear the newSj and making 3 
corkscrew of her apron^ and a bottle of her mouth. At last, arriving at a 
climax of suspense, and seeing the Doctor stiU engaged in the perusat of 
the letter, she came dou'n liat upon the soles of her feet again, and ca^t 
hflr apron, as a vcil^ over her he^d^ in a mute despair^ and inability to bear 
It any longer. 

*■ Here ! Girls i '' cried the Doctor. " I can't help ir : I never could 
keep a secret in my life- There arii not many secrets, indeedjSvorihbeinir 
ki!pt in such a— well] never mi«d tliat. Alfred's coming home^ my 
dears^ directly." 

" Directly ] " exclaimed Marlon. 

^Whit! The story-book is ioon forgotten!^' said the Doctor^ 
uinciiing her cliCLk. ^* I thought the news would dry those ttar$. Yes- 
^ Let it be a surprise,' hesays^here. But I can'tlecit be a surprise* He 
mnst have a welcome." 

*^ Directly ! " repeated Marions 

^* Why, perhaps not what your impatience calls ^ directly^' " retnrned 
tlie Doctor ; " but pretty soon coo. Let us see. Let us see. To-day 
is Tltur^day, is it not .^ Then he promises to be here, this day month/' 

"^ This day month ! " repej.tei Marion^ softly, 

" A gay day and a holidav for us/' said the cheerful voice of her sister 
Grace^ kissing her in congfatulmion. " Long looted forward to^ 
deare&tj and come at last," 

She dii&wered with a smile; a mournful smile^ but full of sisterly 
affection ; and as sht: looked in her sister's fice, and listened to the quiet 
mu&ic of her vosce^ picturing the happiness of this return^ her awn face 
glowt^d mih hope and joy. 

And with a something else: a soraethitxg sinning more and more 
through all the rest of its expression ; for which. 1 have no name. It was 
not exultatianj triumph, proud enthusiasm- Thcv are not so calmly 
shown. It was nor love and gratitude alone, chough love and gratitude 
were part of it. It emanated frc^m no sordid thought, for sordid 
thoughcs Jo not light up the broWj and hover on the lips, and move ^he 
spirit, like a fluttered li hti until the svmpathcEic fijjure trerablet 



■ II n 



2o8 THEBATTLEOFLIFE 

Doctor Jcddler, in spite of his system of philosophy— which he was 
continually contradicting and denying in pracifce, but more famous 
philosophers have done that — coutd not help having as much interest m 
the return of his otd ward and pupil, as if it had been a serious event. So 
he sat himself down in his easy-chair again, stretched out his slippered 
feet once more upon the rug, read the letter over and over a great many 
times, and talked it over more times still. 

*' Ah ) The day was," said the Doctor, ]ool:ing ar the Fire, " when 

you Jnd he, Gr^ct?, used lo trot about arm-in-arm, Jn his holiday lime^ 

lite a couple of waliing doils. You remember i '*• 

" I remember," she ans^vered, with her pleai^anf laugh, and plying her 
needle busily. 

"This day month, indeed f " mufed the Doctor. "That har% 
seems a twelvemonth ago. And where was my little Marian then ! " 

" Never far from her eistcr," Eaid Marion, cheerily, " however little, 
Grace was cverj't}iing to me, even when she «as a young child herself." 

*' True, Pjiss, true," returned the Doctor. " She was a staid little 
woman, was Grace, and a wise housekeeper, and a busy, quiet, pleaiant 
body i bearing with our humours and anticipating our wishi^s, and always 
r«ady ro forget her o^vn, e^cn in those rimes. 1 never knew you positive 
or obstinate, Gijcc. my darling, even then, on any subject hwx. one." 

"I am afraid I iuve changed sadly for the worse, since," laughed 
Gract, still busy at her wort. " Wli^t was that one, fa[her p " 

"Alfred, of course," said the Doctor, '* Nothing would serve you 
but you must be called Alfred's wife ; so we called you Alfred's wife ; 
and you liked it better, 1 believe (odd as it seem£ now), than being called 
a Duchess, if we couM have made you one.'* 
Indeed ! '* said Grace, placidly. 
Why, don't you remember ? " inquired the Doctor. 
I think J remember something of it,'' she returned, " but not much. 
It's so long ago." And as she sat ai work, she hummed the burden of an 
old song, which the Doctor liked. 

" Alfred will find a real wife soon," she said, breaking off ; " and that 
Avilj be a happy time indeed for dll of us. My three y<:sn' trust is nearly 
at an end, Marion. It has been a very easy one. i shall tell Alfred, 
when I give you back to him, that you have lo^ed him dearly all the time, 
and that he has never once needed my good services. May I ttil him 
50; love ? " 

"Tell him, dear Grace,'* replied Marion, "that there never ^vas a 
trust so generously, nobly, steadfastly discharged ; and that I have loved 
yan, all the time, dearer and dearer every day ; and Oh ! how dearly 






now ! " 



Nay/' said her cheerful sisttT, returning her embrace, '* 1 can 
scarcely cell him that ; we will leave my deserts to Alfred's imagination. 

Ir ^vill be liberal enough, dear Marion ; like your own," 

With that she resumed the work she had for a momenc laid down, when 



THEBATTLEOFLIFE 269 

her Slater spoke so ferventlj' : and with it the old song the Doctor Jiled 
to hear. And the Doctor, stiJl reposing in his ea^y-chair, with his 
slippered feet stretched out bi:forq Kim on the rug, Hatcned to the tune, 
and hc3t lime on his tnec with Alfred*s letter, and looted at his two 
daughters, and thought thai among the many trifles of the trifling worldj 
these trifles were agrecabic enough. 

Clemency Newcome, in the meantime, having accomplished her 
misEton and hngered in the room untiE she had made herself a party to 
the news, descended to the kitchen, where her coadjutor. Mt. Britain, 
ivas regaling after supper, surrounded by such a plentiful collection of 
brjghtpothd5,well-scoured saucepans, burnished dinner-covers, gleaming 
kettles, and other tokens of her industrioua habits, arranged upon the 
walls and shelves, that he sat as in the centre of a hall of miirors. The 
majority did not give forth very Battering portraits of him, certainly ; 
norwerethcy by any means unanimous in their reflections ; as some made 
him very long-faced, others very broad-faced, some tolerably well- 
looking, others vastly ill-looking ; according to their several manners of 
roflecling : which ^vere as various, in respect of one fact, as those of so 
many kinds of men. Bur they all agreed that in the midst of ihem sat, 
quite at hi* ease, an individual with a pipe in his mouth, and a jug of beet 
at his elbow, who nodded condescendingly to Clemency, when she 
stationed herself at the same table. . 

** Well. Clemmy," ?aid Britain, " how are you by this lime, and what'a 
the news * '^ 

Clemency told him the Tfcw^, which he received -very graciously, A 
giacious change had come over Benjamin from head to foot. He was 
much broader^ much redder, much more cheerful, and much jollier in all 
respects. It seemed as if his face had been tied up in a knot before, and 
was now untwisied and smoothed out. 

"Theie'll be another job for Snitchey and Craggs, I suppose," he 
observed, puffing ?3owly at his pipe. *' More witnessing for you and me, 
perhaps, Clemmy ! " 

** Lor 1 " replied his fair companion, wiili her favourite twist of her 
favourite joints, ^' 1 wish it was me, Britain I " 

" Wish what was you f " 

^' A going to be married," said Clemency. 

Benjamin took his pipe out of his mouth and laughed heartily. " Yos! 
you're a likely subject for that ! " he said. *' Poor Clem ! " Clemency 
for her part laughed as heartily as he, and seemed a$ much amused 
by the idea. " Yes," she assented, " Vm a likely subject for that ; 
an't I ? " 

'* JV^^ll never be married, you know," said Mr- Britain^ resuming his 
pipe. 

" Don't you tliink I ever shall though .' " said Qemcncy, in perfect 
good faith. 
Mr, Britain shook his Lead. *' Not a chance of it ! '^- 



210 THEBATTLEOFLIFE 

" OiJy ihink I " said Qemtnc^. " Well W suppose you mean to, 
Hritain. one of thcgp days ; don'r you * *' 

A qucation &o abrupt, upon a subject so momentous, required con- 
sideration, Afier blowing out a great doud of smoke, aud locjkina at it 
with bs head now on ihis side and now on that, as if jr were acrnajly the 
question, and he were ^urveyine it in various aspects, Mr. Brit.iiu replied 
that he wa^n r aJtog<='Jier dear abo-:t fr, but-ve-cs— he diou^hi lie 
might comi^ to tisat at last. ' 

u ^L '^? ^''^ ^^^' ^'^°^^'^''' ^^^ ^^y ^e ! " cried CTcmencv, 
Oh she'JJ have diai," said Benjamin ; " safe enough." 

" But she wouldn't have led quite such a Joyful life as she wiU i^ad. and 
^TOuldn t hate had quite suth a sociable son of husband as ^hc «ill have " 
sajd Llementy, spreading herself half over rhe tabic, and starii^^ retro- 
^pectivdy at the candle, " if It hadn'r been for-not that I »-ent to do it 
tor It ^vis accidental, I anj sure-if it hadn't been for me ^ now woLld 
she. Britajn i" 



_ Certainly not," returned Mr. Brir.-iin, hv ihii time in that high st;ite 
ol appreciation of h^3 pipe, when a mau tan open his mouth but a very 
iutie tvay iox ^peaking purposes ; and sitting lusurlousi^ immovable in 
hrs cliair, can afford to turn only his eves towards a companion and that 
very pa^suely and gravely. *' Oh ! I'm greatly b-holJen to you, you 
know, Qem." ^ / / - / 

*' Lor, how nice that is to think of ! " said Clemency. 

At the same time, bringing her thoughts as w-^U as her sighr to bear 
upon the candle-grease, and becoming abruptlv reminiscent of its 
healm^ qualities as a balsam, she anointed her left dbow with a plentiful 

application of that remedy. 

'■lou see I've mjde a good many investigations of one sort and 
another m my time,^* pursued Mr. Britain, witli ih= profundity of a sage ; 

havmg been always of an inquiring turn of mind ; and Tvs read a good 
many boolis about the general Kights of things and Wrongs of things, for 
1 went into tlie literary line myself, when 1 began life." 

*' Did you though I " cried the admiring Clemency. 

" Yes," s^Ed Mr. Britain ; " I w-as hid fnr the best p^rt of two year^ 
behind a bookslaU. ready to fly out ii anybody pocketed a volume ; and 
after that, I was light porter to a stay and mantua-maker, in which 
capacity 1 vjii^ employed to carry about, in oUstin baskets, nothing but 
deceptions— whidi soured my spirits and disturbed mv conftdence in ■. 
human nature : and after that, I heard a world of discussions in this- '- 
house, which soured my spirits fce$h ; and my opinion after all is, diat, J 
as a safe and comfortable sweetener of the same, and as a pleasant" guide 1 
throu^.h hfc, tliere^s nothing like a nutmeg-grater." 

Clemency \^-as about to offi^r a sngge^tion, but h^: stopped her hy 
antieipatiug it. 

Com -billed,'^ he added pravefy, " with a thimbie." 

Do as you wold, you know, and cttrer, eh ! " observed Clemency 






THE BATTLE OF LIFE 3ii 

fdiiiii,^ her arm? condoYinblj in her delight at this avowal, and patting 
ker dbows- '^ Such a short cut, an't it ? " 

" Vm not stirc^" said Mr. Britain, ** that it's what would he considered 
good phUoiOphy. Tve my doubts about rhac '. but it wear& well, and 
saves 3 quantity o£ snarling, t%'?tich the genuine article don'r always." 

"Sec how you used TO goon once, yourself , you tnow ! " said Clemency, 

"Ah!" said Mr. Britjin, '-Bur tlie most extraordinary thing, 
Clenin].y* is thai T sliould hve lo be brought rounds through you. That's 
tlie strange part of it. Through you J ^Vliy, I suppose }"ou haven't &o 
much as half an idea in your head," 

Clr^rrtJ^ncj', without taking the least offence, shool: it, and laughed, and 
hugged herself, and said, " No, she didn't &uppo&e &he had." 

'■ I'm pretty sure of it/* said Mr. Britain, 

** Oh ! 1 itarc: say you're right," said Clemency. " I don't pretend 
to none. I don'l want any." 

Benjamin took his pipe from his lip^, and laughed iiU the tears ran 
down his face- " What a uaiural you are, Clemmy ! " h*; said, shaking 
his head, with an infinite relish of the joke, and wiping his eyes. Clem- 
ency, without the smallest iitchnaiion to dispute it, did the hke, and 
laughed as heartily as he. 

'' liut I can't help liking you," said Mr. Britain ; " you're a regular 
good craaiure in your way ■ so shake hands, Qem- WEiatever happens, 
i'il always tate notice of voa^ and be a friend to vou." 

'' Will you ? " returned Clenaoncy- '" Well ! that's very good of 
you." 

" Yes, %'cs," said Mr. Britain, giving her his pipe to knock the ashes out 
of ; '^ ril stand by you. Hart ! That'* a curious noise ! " 

" Noise J " repeated Clemency, 

" A footstep outside. Somebody dropping from tlic wall, it sounded 
like," said Britain. *' .■ire they sW abed up stairs l " 

" Yes, all abed by this time," she replied, 

" Didn't yotx hear anything ? " 

" No/' 

Tliey both listened, but heard nothinjj. 

** I tell you wliar," said Benjamin, taking down a lantern. ** I'll have 
a look round before 1 go to bed mvself, for sjtrstaction's sate. Undo the 
door ^vhile 1 hght this, Clemmy." 

Clemency complied bristly ; bur observed as she did so, that he would 
only have his walk for his pains, that it was all his fancy, and so forth. 
Mr, Britain said '* very likely ; " but sallied out, nevertheless, armed with 
the poker, and casting the hght of the lantern far and near in all direc- 
tions, 

" It's as quiet a? a churchyard,'" said Clemency, looking after him ; 
" and almost as ghostly too 1 " 

Glancing bact into the kitcheuj she cried fearfully, as a Hght figure 
stole into her view. " What's that ! " 



H-. 



312 THEBATTLEOF LIFE 

^^ Hush ! ** said Marion^ m an agitated whisper, " You Kaie always 
loved me, have you not ! " 

" Loved yo^j child I You may be sure I have." 

" I am sure. And I may trus: you^ may 1 noi : There is no one else 
jiut now, in whom I mij trust/^ 

" Yi?Sj'' said Clemency, wiih all her heart, 

'* There is some one our there/' pointing to the door^ '^ whom I must 
5eej and speak with, to-nighE. Michael Warden, for God's sake retire J 
Not now ! " 

Ckmency starifid with surprise and Trouble as, following the direction 
of the speaker's eyes, she saw a dark figure standing in the doorway^ 

"" In another moment you may be discovered/^ said Marion. "' Not 
BOW J Wait, if you cjin^ in some conceahnenin I will con^t, presently." 
He wavtd his hand lo her, and was gone. 

"' Don't go to bed. Wait here for me [ '^ said Marion, hurriedly. *' I 
have been seeking tofipeal: toyou for an hour past* Oh, b^ true tome ! " 

Eagerly seizing her bewildered hand^ and pressing it wiih both her 
own to her breast — an action more expressive, in its passion of entreaiy, 
than the most etoquent appeal in wordsj — Marion withdrew; a£ the 
light of the returning lantem flashed into the rooni, 

^'All stil! and pcace4ible. Nobody thc:re. Fancy, I suppose/* said 
Mr. Briiain^ as he locked and barred die door. "^ One of the efiecis of 
having a lively imagination. Halloa 3 Whyj what's the matter f '* 

Clemenc/i who could not conceal the effects of her surprise and 
concern, WhIS sitiing in a chfiii ; pale^ and irembhng from head lo foot. 

'' Matter ! " she repeated, chafing her hands and elbow*, nervously, 
and looking an^^vhere but at him. ^' That*s gciod in you, Britain^ that 
is! Mit^T going and frightening one out of onc"'s life with noises, and 
lanterns, and 1 don't Jmow what all. ^-latter ! Oh, ^^es ] '^ 

*" If }on^re frightened out of your life by a lantern, CEemmy/' said 
Mr. Britain, composedly blowing it out and hanging it up a^ainj " ihat 
apparition^s very soon qot rid ofn But you're as boJd as brass in general," 
he &aidj stopping to observe her ; *' and ^vere^ after the noise and the 
lantern too. What have you taken into your head ? Not an idea, eh ? " 

But, as Clemency bade him good night very much after her usual 
fashion^ and began to bustle about with a show of going to bed herself 
immediatelyj Little Britain, after giving- uetirance to iht original remark 
that it was impossible to account for a woman^s whims, bade her good night 
in temrn, and taking up his candle strolled drowsily away to bed. 

When all was quiet, iMarion returned, 

*^ Open the door/' she said ; " and stand there close beside me, while 
I speak to him, outside/' 

Timid as her manner was, it still evinced a Tesolute and tettled 
purpose, such as Clemency could not tetist. She softly unbarred the 
door ; but before turning the key^ looked round on the young creature 
waiting to issue forth wlien she should open it. 



THEBATTLEOFLIFE His 

The face wa? nor averted or casr down^ but looking full upon her, in 
its pride of youth And beaury. Some simple sen^e oE the slighinesj of the 
barrier tban inrerpo^ed itself between the happy home and honoured love 
of the fair girJ^and whatmight be the desolation of that home, andship- 
ivrect of its dearest treasure, smote io keenly on the tender lieart of 
Clemency^ and so filled it to overflowing with sorrow and compi^sjon^ 
that, bursting inio tear&^ she threw her arms round Marion^s neck, 

^* It's little that I ktiort% my dear," cried Clemency, ^^ very httle ; but 
I know Thac this should not be. Think of whit you do ! " 

^ 1 have thought of it many timi:s." said Marion, gently. 

" Once more/^ urged Clemency, ^^ Till- to-morrow. ^^ 

Marion shook her head. 

"For Mr, Alfted'a sake/^ said Clemency, with homely earnestness. 
^' Hhn that you u^f^d to love so dearly, once ] " 

She hid her f^ce, upon the instant^ in her hands, repeating " Once 1 ^* 
35 if It rent her heirt, 

■^ Let me go out/' said Clemency, soothing her. " VI] tell him what 
you like- Don^t cro^s the door-step to-night. Pm &ute no good will 
come of it- Oh, it was an unhappy day when Mr. Warden was ever 
brought here [ Think of your gocTO father, darling : of your sister.^' 

" i have/' said Maiion, hastily raising her head. *^ You don't know 
what I do- 1 mifst speak to him. You are the be^t and truest friend in 
all the world for what you. have said to me, but 1 must take this sttp* 
Win you go with me. Clemency/' she [dssed heron her friendly face, ^' or 
shall I go alone > '* 

Sorrowing and wondering, Clemency turned the key, and opened the 
door. Into the diirk and doubtful night that laj" beyond the threshold, 
Marion passed quickly, holding by her hand. 

In the dart nighi he joined her^ and they spoke together earnestly and 
long : and the hand that held so fast by Clemency's^ now trembled, now 
lurncd deadly cold^ now clasped and closed on her?, in the strong feeling 
of the speech it emphasised unconsciously* Whc^n they returned he 
followed to the door; and pausing there a moment^ seized the other 
hand, and pressed it to his lips, Tl^en stealthily withdrew. 

The dooT was barted and looted again, and once again she stood 
beneaih her father's roof* Not bowed down by the sccrL^t that she 
brought there, though so young ; but \with that same e^ipression on her 
facCj for which I had no name before, and shining through her tears^ 

Again she thanked and thantcd her humble Friend, and tru^ttd to her, 
as she sasd, with confidence^ implicitly- Her chamber safely reached, 
she fell upon her knees; and with her secret weighing oa her heart, 
could pray ! 

Lould rise up from her praycn, so tranquil and serene^ and bending 
over her fond sister in ht;r sbmbei, look upon her face and smile : 
though sadly : murmuring as she kissed her forehead^ how that Grace 
had been a mother to her, ever, and she loved her as a child ! 



,nk3a 



214 THEBATTLEOFLIFE 

Could draw the passive ^rm about her nect when lying dcnvn to rest — 
i: seemed to cling ihcre^ of its own ^viU, proi^ctingly and tenderly even 
in sTccp— and breathe upon the parted lipSj God bless her ! 

Conld sink into a peaceful sleep^ herself ; but for ono drearn, In whicJi 
she cried out^ in her innocent and touching voice, that she was quite 
aSoQCa and rhcT had all forgotten her, 

A month K^on passes, even at its tardiest pace- The month appointed 
to elapse betw-een that night and thereiuro^ vljs quick of foot^ and went 
h\\ like a vapour, 

The day arrived. A raging ^^"inter daj-, that shook the old house, 
BoraetiraeSj aE if it shivered in the bla^t. A diiy to make home doubly 
home. To give the chimney comer nev/ delights. To shed a ruddier 
glow upon the faces gathered round the hearih ; and dra^v each fJTeiide 
group into a closer and more social league^ apainst the roaring elements 
without. Such a wild mnicr day as best f ropares the ^v^y for shui-out 
night; for curtained rooms, and cheerful IgoU ; for mi^^icj lau^jhtcr, 
dancing, light, and jovinl entertHiinment [ 

All these the Doctor hi^d in store to ^velconle Alfred back. They 
kn^w that he could not arrive till night ; and they would make the night 
air ring, he said, as he approached. All his old friends should cijngrej^afe 
about liim. He should not mi&s a face that he had known and liked^ 
^'o t Thev should every one be there ! 

SOj guests were bidden^ and musicians ivere engaged^ and tabka spread, 
and floors prepared for active fcet^ and bountiful provision made, of 
every hospitable Vind. Because it was the Christmas Jea^on, and his ejes 
weie all unused to English holly and its sturdy green, the dancing-room 
was garlanded and hung with it ; and the red berries gleamed an English 
welcome to him, peeping; from among the leaves. 

It was a busy day for all of them ; a busier day for none of them than 
Grace^ who noiselessly presided ever^^vhere^ and was the cheerful mind 
of nil the preparations. Many a time that day (as well as many a time 
within the fleeting month preceding it), did Clemency glance ansiou^ly, 
and almost fcarfuUyj at Marion. She saw her paler, perhaps^ than usual ; 
but there was a sweet composure on her face^ that made it lovelier than 
ever. 

Ac night when she was dressed^ and wore upon her head a wreath that 
Grace had proudly twined about it — its mimic Howeis were .AlfrecJ^^ 
favourites, as Grace remembered when she chose them— that old 
expression, pensive, almost sorri3T.vful, and yet so spiritu-il, high, and 
stirring, sat a^^ain upon her brow, enhanced a hnndrud-fold, 

^'The next wreath I adjust on this fair head, will be a marriage 
wreath," said Grace ; " or I am no true prophet^ dear.'* 

Her ^.ister ^mflcd^ and held her in her arms, 

*^ A moment, Grace. Don't leave me yet. Are you sure that 1 want 
nothing more i " 



THE BATTLE OF LIFE Z15 

Her care was not for ihat. It was her sister^s face she ihought of^ and 
her eyea were fibred upon it, tenJcrly- 

"MyarV said GricCj " cangonofarther^deargirl j nor your beaut j- 
I never saw yon JcHjk so beautiful as now*" 

" I never was 50 happv," she reiurned, 

'' Avj but there is greater happiness in store. In sucK ano;hcr home, 
as cheerful and as briglit as this ]ool^s now/' said Grace^ " Alfred and hi$ 
youtig wife will soon be living.^* 

She smiled again. 'Mt is a happy home, Grace, in yo\ir fancy. T can 
seo it in youi eyes, i kno^" it zaiil be happy, dear. How glad I am lo 
know if," 

^' Well/' cried the Doctor, busfhng in. ^^ Here we are, all ready tor 
Alfred, ch ? He can't be here until prett^^" late — an hour or so before 
midnight — so therell be plenty of time for making merry before he 
comes. He'll not find ns with the ice unbroken. Pile up the lire here^ 
Britain ! Let it shine upon the holly till it winks again- It's ^ world of 
nonsense, Puss ; true lover^aod ail thereat ofit — all nonsense ^ butwe'll 
be nonsensical with the rest of *em, and give our true lover a mad 
uckonie. Upon my word!*' said the old Doctor^ looking at his 
daughters proudly^ ^' Fm not cTe^r to-night^ among other absurditieSj 
but that Tm the father of t^vo handsfjme girlsn^' 

^* AH that one ot them has ever done, or may do — may do, dearest 
fatlier — to cauie you pain or grief, forgive her/' said Marion : ^* forgive 
her no^Vj when her heart is full. Sav that vou forgive her. That you 
will forgive her- That she shall always share your love^ and — j" and 
the rest was not said, for her face was hidden on the old man's shoulder. 

" Tut, tut^ tat," said the Doctor, gently. " Foigive i What have I 
to forgive ? Heydey^ if our true lovers come back to flurry us like this^ 
we must hold 'em at a di^iance ; we mujt send ejLpiesses f>ul to stop *eni 
aliort upon the road, and bring Vm on a mile or t%vo a day^ until we're 
properly prepared to meet 'em- Kiss me, Puss* Forgive ] Why^ what 
a sitly child you arcn it you had vexed and crossed me fifty times a day, 
instead of not at all, Td fo^ive you evcrythinjj, but such a supplication i 
Kiss me again, Puss. There ! Prospeciive and retrospcctive^a clear 
score bet^vten 135, Pile up the fire here i Would you freeze the people 
on this bleak December night 1 Lei ui be lights and warm, and merry, 
or I'll not forgive some of you [ " 

So gaily the old Doctor carried it ! And the fire was piled up^ and the 
lighti were bright^ and company arrived^ and a mtitmiiring of lively 
tongues began^and already ihere^vas a pleasant air of cheerful excitement 
stitring through all the house. 

Mare and more company came flocUng in. Bright eyes sparkled upon 
Marion ; smihng lips gave hei ]oy of his rc:turn ; sage motliers fanned 
themselves^ and hoped she mightn't be too youthful and inconstant for 
the quicL round 01 home ; impetumis fathers fell into disgrace for too 
much exaltation of her beauty i daughters envied her; sons envied 






2i6 THE BATTLE OF LIFE 

him ; innumerable pairs of lovers profited by the occasion ; all wer* 
intcrcatc?d, anim^ited, and t::;pectaTit. 

Mr. and Mrs. Craggi came arm in jirm^ but Mr?- Sni^Ley came alone. 
^' Why^ what^s become of hi-m ? *' inquired the Doctor* 

The f*=ather of a Bird of Paradise in Mrs. Snitchey^s turban trembled 
as if the Bird of Paiidiiic wetc alive again, when she said that: doubtless 
Mr. Craggs knew* Shj^ was never told. 

'' That nasiy office/' said Mis, Craggs, 

^^ I wish it waa burnt down," said Mrs. Sniichey. 

^* Hc^s — hc^s — thcre^s a little matter of business chat keeps my partner 
rather fare/* said Mr, Cragga, looking uneasily about him. 

" Oh — h ! Business. Don't cell mc ! ■' s^id Mrs Snitchey, 

^^ //^f knoiv what business means/' said Mrs^ Craggy. 

Bur their not knowing what ii meant, was perhaps the reason why 
Mrs. Snitchey's Bird ot Partidtse feather qutvered so portentously^ and 
all the pendant bits on Mrs, Cmggs's car-rings shook like little bells. 

'* I wonder y^u could come ^way, Mr, Craggs/' said his wife. 

" Mr. Craggs h fortunate^ Tm sure ! '' 5aid Mr^. Snirchey. 

*^ That office so engrmses *eni/' said Mrs. Craggs. 

" A person wiui asi office has no business ro be mamed at all^" said 
Mrs. Snirdiey- 

ThcHj Mrs, Snttchey said, within heticlf, thai that loot of hers had 
pierced to CraggS's soal^ and he knew it ; and Mrs. Cragga obscncd, to 
Crgggs, that *^ his Snitdicys " were deceiving him behind his bactj and 
]\c would find it out when it was too ]ate. 

StilL Mr. Craggs, without mueh heeding these remarts^ looted 
uneasily about him until his eye rented on Grace^ to ^vhom he imme- 
diately presented himself, 

^^ Good eveningj ma'am/^ said Craggs. *^ Vou look charmingly^ 
Your — Miss — your siiter, Misj Marion, is she '* 

" Oh 5he*s qtiite wetl^ Mr Craggs." 

'* Yea — I — is she here P " asked Craggs. 

^^ Here ! Don ^t you see her yonder i Going to dance ? " said Grace, 

Mih Craggs piu on his spectacles to see the better; looked at her 
through them, for some time ; couglied ; and put them^ with an air of 
wtisfaciion^ iti their sheath again^ and in his pocket. 

Now the music struct up, and th& dance commenced. The bright 
Sire cracLied and sparHcd^ rose :ind fell, as though i: jnined the dance 
itself^ in right good fellowship. Sometimes it roared as if it would make 
music too* Sometimes it flashed and beamed as it it were the eye of ihe 
old room ; it winked too^ somtJtimes, like :i knowing patriarch, upon the 
)-outhful whimperers in corners. Sometimes ir sported uith the hoily- 
bough? ; and^ shining on the leaves by fits and starts^ made thi^m look 
as if they were in the cold ^vinter night ^gain, and fluttertn "r in rhc mnd. 
Sometimes its genial humour grew obstrepeious, and passed all bounds ; 
and then it c^st into tbc room, among the twinkling feot^ with a loud 



THE BATTLE OF LIFE 217 

buRt, a shower of liarinlci! litrle spaib, 3nd in its e:<u]taiion leaped and 
boirnded, like a mad thing, up (he bro^d old chimiitj. 

AjioihCT dantc v^ss ntn iis clo&e, whi^n Mr. Snirchey touched his 
partner, who was looting on, upon the arm. 

Mr. Craggs siaTti:d, a& if his familiar had been a sptctie, 

"Is he gone,*'* he asked. 

" Hush ! He ha5 been with me," said Snitchey, " for three hours 
and more. He went over everything. He looted into all our arrange- 
ment? for him, snd was very panicular indeed. He — Humph ! " 

The dance was finished. Marion pa&std close before him, as he spoke. 
She did not observe him, or his partner ; but looked over her shoulder 
towards her sister in the distance, as she slowly made her way Into the 

crowd, and passed out of their vie^v. 
*' You see ! All safe and well," said Mr. Craggs. " He didn't recur 

to thar subject, 1 suppose ^ " 

"Not a word." 

*' And is he leaUy gone i h he ?afe away f " 

*' He keeps to his word. He drops down the river with the tide in 
that shell of a boat of his, and so goe$ out to sea on this dark night — a 
dare-devil he is — before the wind. There's no such lonely road any- 
where else. That's one thing. The tide flows, he ^ys, an hour before 
midnight about this time. Tm glad it's over," Mr. Snitdiey wiped 
his forehead, which looked hot and anxious. 

" What do you think," said Mr, Craggs, " about " 

'' Hush J " replied his cautious partner, looking straight before him, 
'' I understand you. Dcn*t mention names, and don't let us seem to 
be talking secrets. J don't know what to think ■ and to tell you the 
truth, I don^t care now. It's a great relief. His sr;lf-love deceived him, 
1 suppose. Perhaps the young lady coquetted a little. The evidence 
would &cem to point that way- Alfred not arrived ? " 

" Not yfix,^' said Mr. Craggs. " Expected every minute.*' 

" Good." Mr. Snitchey wiped his forehead again, *' It's a great 
relief. 1 haven't been so ncnous since we've been in partnership. I 
intend to spend the eveninn; now, Mr. Craggs." 

Mrs. Craggs and Mrs. Snitchey joined them as he announced this 
intention. The Bird of Paradise wai in a state of e>:rrcme vibration ; 
and the liftk bells were ringing quite audibly. 

" It has been tlie theme of general comment, Mr. Snitchey," said 
Mrs. Snitchey. " I hope the office is satisfied." 

" Satisfied with what, my dear P " asted Mr. Snitchey. 

" With the exposure of a defenceless woman to ridicule and remark," 
returned his wife. " That k quite in the way of the office, ttmt is." 

" I really, myself," said Mrs. Craggs, *' have been so long accustocoed 
to connect the office with everything opposed to domesticity, that I am 
glad to know it as the avowed enemy of my ptace. There is something 
honcit in that, at all events." 



-I 
t 



■^1 ~Tm 



2lS THE BATTLE OF LIFE 

" My dear," ui^ed Mr, Craggs, " your good opinion is invaluable, lnut 
I never avowed that the office was the enem^ of your peace." 

" No/^ said Mrs. Craggs, ringing a perfect peal upon the little bells. 
*^Nor yoiij indeed. You wouldn'r be worthy o£ the ofRce^ i£ ^u had 
the c^ndouE tOn*^ 

" As to ray having been awAv to-niglitj my dear,*' said Mc. Srkitchey, 
girirtg hor his arnij *' ihe deprivation has been mine^ I'm sure ; but, as 
Mr. Craggs knows " 

Mrs. Snitchcy cut this r^^fcrencc very short by hitching her husband 
to a distance^ and asking him. to look an that man. To do her the 
favour CO iooE: at him ! 

" At which raanj my dear ? " said Mr. Snitchey. 

*' Your chosen companion ; Pra no companion to joUj Mr, Snitchej.*' 

^^ YeSj ycSj you are^ my dear,'^ he inicipo^ed. 

'^ Noy noj Tm not/' said Mi^h Smtchej , with a majestic smile* "' I 
Imow my station. Will you loot ar your chosen companion^ Mr, 
Snitdicy ; at your referee ; at the keeper of yotir secrets ; at the man 
you trnsi ; at your olh^;^ self, in short.'^ 

The habitual association of Self wirh Cra^s, occasioned Mr. Snitchey 
to look in that direction. 

" If you can look that man in the eye tliis night/^ $aid Mrs- Snitchey, 
" and noi know that you are deluded^ practised upon ; made tlie victim 
of his arts, and bent do^vn prostrate to his ^%ill by ^ome unaccountable 
fascination which it is impossible to explain, and again&t which no 
warning of mine is of the lea^t avail : ^11 I can say is — I pity you ! '* 

At the very same moment Mrs- Craggs was oracular on the cross 
subject. Was it possible, she said, that Craggs could so blind himself to 
his Snitcheys, as not to feel his true position P Did he mean to say iliat 
he had seen his Snitcheys come into that room, and didn't plainly see 
tliat ttierc was reservation^ cunning, tieacherVj in tht: man ? Would he 
teil her that his very action, when he wiped his forehead and looked so 
stealthily about him, didn^i slioiv that thtre was someiliing weighing 
on the conscience of his precious Snitcheys (li he had a conscienc<;), that 
wouldn't bear tlie light? Did anybody but his Snitcheys come to 
festive entertainments like a burjjlar P — which, by the way^ v^is hardly 
a clear illustration of the case, as he had waited in veiy mildly at the 
door. And would he still assert to her at noonday (it being nearly 
raidnighi), that his Snitcheys were to be justified through thick and 
thin, against all facts, and teason^ and e>:ptrience ? 

Neither Snitchey nor Craggs opcnlv attempted to stem tlie current 
which h^d thus set in, but both were cont-^nt to be carried genily along 
it^ until its force abated ; which happened at about the same time as x 
general movement for a country dance i when Mr. Snitchey proposed ^ 
himself as a parmer to Mrs. Craggs, and Mr. Cra^i gallantly offered 
himself to Mr5. Snitchey ; and after some such slight evasions as *' why 
don't you ask somebody else?** and *' yon'll be gladj 1 know^ if 1 




THE BATTLE OF LIFE 219 

decline/' and. ^^ I wonder you can dance out of ihe ollice " (but t\ih 
jocoseij now)j each iady graciouily accepied^ a]id toot her place. 

It was an old custoni among them^ indeed^ to do &o, and to pair ofE, ia 
like manner^ at dinners and snppers ; for thzy were excellent friends, and 
on a footing of easy familiarity* Perhaps the false Craggy and ihe 
mctcd Snitchey were a recognised ficdon with the two wive^^ a^ Dotf 
and RoCj incessantly running up and down ballivs-icksj were with the 
two husbands: or perhaps the fadic^s had instituted^ and taken upon 
ihcrasclvciSj these two shares in the business, rather than he left out oi ir 
altc^cher. But certain it is, that each wife ^vent as gravely and steadily 
to wort in htr vocatioTi as her Jiusband did in his : and would have 
considered it almost irnpossihle for the Firm to maintain a successftd 
and respectable existence, without her laudable exertions^ 

JJut now the^ Bird of Paradise was seen to flutter down the middle ; 
and the little beUs began to bounce and jingle in poussette ; and the 
Doclor"'s rosy face spun round and round, lite an expressive pegtop 
highly varnished ; and breathless Mr. Craggs began to doubt already, 
whether country dandng had been made ^' too ejsy/^ likt the rest of 
life ; and Mr. Snitchey^ with his nimble cuts aud capers^ footed it foe 
Self and Craggs, and half-a-dozen more. 

Now too, the fire took fresh courage, favoured by the lively uind ihe 
dance awakened, and burnt clear and higk. It was die Genius of tlie 
roonij and preHeni t^veiywhere. It shone in people^s eyes, it sparlled in 
the jewels on tl^e snowy nects of giri^, k twinkled at their ear^ as if it 
whispered to them slyly, it flashed about rheir waists, it flickered on the 
ground and made it ro^y for their feel* it bloomed upon the ceiling that 
its glow might set off their bright facet, and it kindled up a general 
illumination in Mrs. Craggs^s litde belfry. 

Now toOp the Uvely air that fanned it, grew less gentle as the music 
quickened and the dance proceeded with new spirit ; and a brees^c ymse 
that made the leaves and berriea dance upon the wall, as ihcy had often 
done upon the trees \ and rustled in the room as if an invisible company 
of fairies, treading in the footsteps of the good substantial revellers, were 
whirling after them. Now too^ nu feature of the Docior^s face could be 
distinguished as he spun and spun ; and now there seemed a dozen Birds 
of Paradise in litful flight ; and now tlierc were a thousand little belh at 
work ; and now a fleet of flying skirts was ruffled by a little tcmpesr ; 
when the music gave in^ and the dance was oi^cc, 

riot and breathless as the Doctor was, it only made liim mote im- 
patient for Alfred's coming, 

" Anything been seen, Britain ? Anything bi^cn heard i " 

"Too daik to sec far, sir,' Too much noi^e iniide the Kouse to 
hear/' 

" That's right ! The gayer welcome for him. How goes the time ? ' 

" Just twelve^ sir- He can^t be W^, sir.'* 

" iitir up the fire^ and throw another log upon it," said tlie Doctor, 



^ 

■¥ 



_ \ 



220 THEBATTLEOFLIFE 

" Let him sec his welcome blading cut upon ihc night — good boy I — as 
he comes along ] '^ . . - 

He saxv it— Yes ! From the chaise he caught the liglir^ as he turned 
the corner by the oM churth. H^ knew the room from which it shone. 
He saw the wintiy branches of the old trees between ihe Ught and him^ 
He know that one of those treea rustled musical]/ in the summer time at 
the window of Marion's chamber. 

The rears ^verc in his eyes. His heatr throbbed 50 violently that he 
could hardly bear his happiness. How often he had thought of this 
time — pictured it under all circumstances — ftared that ii might never 
come — yearned, and wearied for it — far away I 

Again the light ! Distinct and ruddy ; kindled^ he tncw^ to give him 
wdcome, and to speed him home. He beckoned with liis hand^ and 
^vaved his hat, and cheered out loud, as if tht lipht were they, and they 
could sec and hear him^ as he daslied towards them through the mud 
and mire, triumphantly. 

Slop ! He knew the Doctor^ and understood what he had done. He 
would not let it be a surprise to them- But he could mate it one^ yet. 
by going forward on fooc. If the orchard gate were open, he could center 
there ; if not^ the wall was easily climbed^ as he knew of old ; and he 
would be; among them in an instant. 

He dismounted from the chaise^ and telling the dri\-er — even that was 
not ca^y in his agitation — to remain behind for a few minutes, and then 
to follow slowly^ ran on with exceedJnjj swifineK, tried the gate, scaled 
the wall, jumped down on the other side, and siood paniing in the old 
orchard. 

There was a ft05ty rime upon the trees, which^ in the faint light of tht 
clouded moon, hung upon the smaller branches like dead garlands. 
Withered leaves crackled and snapped beneath liis feet^ as he crept softly 
on totvards the house. The desolation of a winter night sat brooding 
on the earth, and in the sky. But the red Hght came cheerily towatds 
him from the windows : figures passed and repassed there : and the 
hum and murmur of voices greeted his ear sweetly^ 

Listening for hers : attempting^ as he crept on, to detach it from the 
resTj and half-believing that he heard it: he had nearly reached the 
door when it was abruptly opened^ and a figure coming out encountered 
hi^ It instantly recoiled with a half-suppressed cry. 

'* Clemency,^' he said, " don't you know me ? ** 

^* Don^t Lome in/^ she answered^ pushing him back. ^* Go away- 
Don\ ask me why. Don't come in." 

*' What is the matter ? " he exclaimed. 

" I don't know. I— I am afraid to tliink. Go back. Hark ! " 

TTtere uas a sudden tumuli in the house. She put her hands upon 
her ears* A wild scream^ such as no hands could shut out, vi^$ heard ; 
and Grace- — distraction in her loots and manner — rushed out at the dcor. 

'^ Grace ! *' Hecaughtherinhisarms. '* What is it f Is she dead J '^ 



THE BATTLE OF LIFE 221 

She disengaged herself^ as if to recognise his facCj jnd fell down ar liia 
feeE, 

A crowd o£ figures came about Ehem from the house. Among them 
wa^ her father^ with a paper in his hand. .... 

*^ What is it ! ^* cried Alfred, grasping hii hatr with hja hands^ and 
looting in an agony from tace to i^^Cj as he bone upon his Lnee? beside 
the insi^nstble girl. ^^ Will no one iook at me ? Will no one speak to 
me ? Dots no onp know me ? *s there no voice among you all, lo ceil 
me what it is ! " 

There was a murmur among tljcm. " She is gone/^ 

" Gone ! '' he echoed. 

^' riedj my dear Alfred ! " said the Doctorj in a brol^en voice^ and 
with hfs hands before his face, ^' Gone from her home and us. To- 
night ! She writes that she has made her innocent and blameless choice 
— entreats that we mil forgive her — prays that we will not forget her — 
and is gone/' 

''With whom? UTiere f " 

He started up, as if to follow in pursuit, but when they gave way to 
let him pas&^ looked wildly round upon them, staggered bact, and sank 
down in his former attitude, clasping one of Grace's cold hands in his 
own. 

Tliere was a hurried running to and f ro^ confusioTij noise, disorder^ 
and no purposen Some proceeded to disperse themselves about the 
roadij and some took horsc^ and some got iightSj and some conversed 
together^ urging tliat there was no tract; or track to follow. Some 
approached him. kindly, mth the view of offering consolation; some 
admonished him that Grace must be removed into the house, and that 
he prevented it. He never heard them^ and he never moved. 

The snow fell fast and ihict. He looked up for a moracni in the air, 
and thought that those white ashes strewn upon his hopes and misery^ 
were suited to tiiem well. He looked round an the whitening ground, 
and thought how Marion's footprints would be huslied and covered up, 
as soon as made, and even that remembrance of her blotted ouCh But 
he never felr the weather and he never stirred. 



PART THE THIRD 

The world had grown six years older since that night of the return. It 
was a warm autumn afternoon, and there had been heavy rain. The 
sun burst suddenly from among tlie clouds : and the old battle-ground, 
sparHjng brilliantly and cheerfully at tight of it in one green place, 
flashed a responsive welcome therCj which spread along tlie country side 
as if a joyful beacon had been lighted up, and answered from a thousand 
stations^ 

How beautiful the landscape kindling In the light, and rhat luxuriant 
influence passing on like a celestial presence, brightening everything! 



ii 

i 



Z22 THE BATTLE OF LIEE 

The woodj a sombre mass before, revealed its varied tinis of yellow, 
grt-^en, browrij red ; its difft-i-ent fornas of irees^ \yith raindrops glittering 
on their leaves and twji>kling e^s tU^y fell. iTit: vcrdarkt meadowUnd, 
bri^h: and glowihg, Etemed as if it had been blind a niinuLe slnre^ and 
now hid found a sense of sight wherewith to loot up at the shining ^yy% 
Corn-fields, hedgerows, fences, homesteads, the ciusterod roofs, the 
steepb of the thnrch^ th^ sircam, the wjtermill, aD sprang out of the 
gloomy dacknt^sSj smiling. Birds sang s\^"eetly^ (lowers raised their droop- 
ing headsj fresh scents aroje fron^ xhc invigorated ground ; the bJue 
expanse above, estcndc:d and diffused itself ; already the sun^s Wanting 
rays pierced mortally the sullen bank of cloiad chat lingered in its flight ; 
and a rainbow^ spirit of aH the colours that adorned the earth and sky, 
spanned the whole arch with its triumphant ^lorv. 

At such a lim^, one httle roadside Inn, snugJy sheltered behind a great 
elm-tree with a rare seat for idlerJ encircling its capacious bole^ addressed 
a cheerful front towards the travcHer, a$ a house of entertainment ought, 
and tempted him with many mute but significanr assurances of a com- 
fort:ibie wcjlcomc. The ruddy signboard perched up in tit*; tree, with 
its golden Icitc-rs winldng in the s^Uy ogled the passer-by from among the 
green IcaveSj like a jolJy face, and promised good cheer. The horse- 
trough, full of clear fresh water, and the ground below it sprinkled wiih 
droppings of fragrant hay^ made every horse that passed prtck up hia 
eari. The crimson curtains in the lower rooms^ and the pure white 
hangings in the little bedchambers above, becloned. Come in ! with 
every breath of air. Upon the bright green shutters, there weie golden 
legends about beer and ale. and neat wineSj and good beds; and an 
affecting picture of a brown jog frothing over at the top. tfpon the 
window-sills were flowering plants in bright red pots, which mjde a 
lively show against the white fiont or the house ; and in the dartnci^s 
of the doonvay there were sireats of light, whidi glanced otf from the 
surfaces of bottles and tankards. ^:- ■ 

On ilie door-step, appeared a proper figure of a Landlord, too ; for 
tKongh he ^vas a short man^ he was round and broad, and stood with his 
hands in his pockets, and his legs just wide enough apart to express a 
mind at rest upon the subject of ilie cellar^ and an easy confidence — loo 
c^ilm and virtuous to become a swagger — in the general resources of the 
Inn. 7'he superabundant moisture, trictling from eveiyihing after the 
late rain^ set him off well* Noiliing near him was thirsty. Certain top- 
heavy dahlias, looting over the palin^^ of his neat well-ordered garden, 
had swilled a? much as they could carry — perhaps a trifle more — and may 
have been the worse for liquor ; but the sweet-briar, roscs^ wall-fluwers, 
the plants at the windows^ and the leaves on the old tree, were in the 
beaming state of moderate company th^t had taken no more than was 
wholesome for them, stnd had served to develop their best qualities. 
Sprinlding de^vy drops about ihem on the ground^ they seemed profuse 
of innocent and spartling mirthj that did good where it lighted^ softening 



THE BATTLE OF LIFE 223 

neglected corneis whidi the steady rain co^d seldom reach, and hurling 
nothing. 

This TilUge Inn had n^sumcd^ on being established, an uncommon 
sign. It Wis called The Nutmeg Grater. And imdcmcaih that 
hoLisehoid word, was inscribed, up in the tree^ on the same ilaming 
bc;^rd, and in the lik^ goldi^n characters, By Benjamin Britain. At a 
second glance, and on a more minute examination of his f^ee^ you might 
have tnown that it was no other than Benjamin Biitain himself who stood 
in the doorway — reasonably changed by time, but for the better; a 
VL-rv comfortable host indeed^ 

" Mrs. B.," said Mr, Britain, looting down the road, *^ is rather late. 
It's tea-time-'* 

As rhere was no Mrs. Britain coming, he strolled leisurely out into the 
road and looked up at the house^ very much to his satisfaction. *' It's 
juit the sort of house^" said Benjamin^ " I should wish to stop at^ i£ I 
didn't keep it." 

'^rhen he strolled towards the garden palings and toot a look at the 
diihliag. They looked over at him, with a htlpless, drowsy hanging of 
tlieir heads ; which bobbed again^ as the heavy drops of wet dripped off 
them. 

*' You must be looted aficfj" ^atd Bt:njamin. "Memorandunij not 
to forget to tell her so. SheV a long time coming ! " 

Mr. Britain's better half seemed to be by ^o very much his belter haF^ 
that ids own moiety of himself was utterly cast away and helpless without 
her- 

" She hadn't niuch to do^ I think/^ ^aid Ben. "There were a few 
little matters of business after martet^ but not many. Oh ! here we are 
at last ! " 

A chaisc-cartj driven by a boy^ came clattering along the road ; and 
seated in it, in a chair^ with a large well-saturated umbrella spread out 
to dry behind her, was the plump figure of a matronly wom^n^ with her 
bare -irms folded across a basket which she carried on her knee, several 
other baskets and parcels Jying crowded around her^ and a certain bright 
good-nature in her face and contented awt^vardness in her mann&r^ 1$ 
she jogged to and fio with the motion of her carriage^ which smacked of 
old timcs^ even in the distance. Upon her nearer approach^ this relish 
of bygone days Was not diminished ; and when the care stopped at Tl;a 
Nutmeg Grater door, a pair of shoeSj aiighting from it, slipped nimbly 
through Mr. Britain's open arms^ and came dov/ti with a substantial 
weight upon the pathway, which shoes could hardly have belonged to 
any one but Clemency Newcome. 

fn fact they did belong to her, and she stood in them^ and a rosy 
comfoftable-lookijig soul she was : with as much soap on her gWsy face 
as in times of yore^ but with whole elbows now^ that had grown quite 
dimpled in her improved condition. 

^^ You^re late, Clemmy ! ^' said Mr. Britain, 






'V 



234 THEBATTLEOFLIFE 

" Why, you see, Ben, iVe had a deal to do ! " she replied, looting 
busily after the safe removal inio the house of all the pactages and 
bastct? ; " eight, nine, ten, — whereas eleven P Oh ! my basket's eleven. 
It's all right. Pur the hor^;^ up, Harry, and if he coughs again giv'e him 
a warm mash to-night, Eight, nine^ ten. Why, where'& eleven ? Oh 
1 forgot, it*s all right. Hosv's the children^ Ben f "' 

" Hearty, Clemmy, hearty.'* 

*' Bless theiT preeiaus faces I " said Mrs. Britain, unbonneting her Ort-n 
round countenaiiCL' (for she and her husband were by this lirae in the 
bar), and smoothing her hair with her open hands. " Give us a kiss, 
old man." 

Mr. Britain promptly complied, 

" I think," said Mrs. Britain, applying herself to her pockets and. 
drawing forth an immense bulk of thin books and crumpled papers, a very 
kennel of dogs^-ears ; *' I*ve done everything. Bills all settled — lumips 
sold — brewer's account looked into and paid — "oacco pipes ordered — 
seventeen pound four* paid into the Bank — Doctor ileachfield^s charge 
for little Clem — you'll guess what that is — Doctor Heath field won^t take 
nothing again, Ben.'* 

" I thought he wouldn't,'* returned Britain. 

" No. He says whatever family you v/as to havc^ Ben, he'd never put 
you to the cost of a halfpenny. Not if }'ou was to have t^^enty." 

Mr, Br!tain*s face assumed a serious expression, and he looted hard .11 
ihe wall. 

" An*r it kind of him ? *' said Clemency. 

"Very,'* returned Mi. Britain, ''it's the sort of kindness that I 
wouldn't presume upon, on any account,** 

'* No," retorted Cemency. *' Of course not. Then there^s the 
pony — he fetched eight pound two ; and that an'i bad, is it ? " 

" ll'i verv good," said Uen. 

"1% glad you're pleased!" exclaimed !iis wife, *' I thought you 
w<kuld be ; and I think that's all, and so no more at present from yours 
and cetrer, C. Britain, Ha ha ha ! There ! Take all the papers, and 
lock 'em up. Oh ! Wait a minute. Here's a pi[Titcd bill to stick on 
the walL Wet from the printer's. How nice it smells ! " 

" What^s thi$ ? " said Ben» looking fivei the document. 

*' I don^t know," replied Ills wife. *' 1 haven't read a ivord of it." 

*' ' To he sold by Auction,* '* read the host of The Nutmeg Grater, 
" * unless previously disposed of by private contract,^ *' 

"They always put thar,'^ said Qeracncy. 

*' Yes, but they don't alwaj's pur this," he returned. " Look here, 
'Mansion,' &c,—' offices,' &c., 'shrubberies,' &c., * ring fence,' Sec. 
* Me^sis. Snitchey and Craggs,' &c., ' ornamental portion of the unen- 
cumbered freehold property of Michatl Warden, Esquire, intending to 
continue to reside abroad ' ! *' 

" Intending to continue to reside abroad ! ** repeated Clemency, 



I 
I 



» 

iC 



THEBATTLEOFLIFE 225 

Here it k,'' said Bmaiti. " Loot ! " 

And it u-js only this vcrj- di)- that I heard it whispered at the old 
house^ ciiat better and plainer new? had been half promised of Ker, 
soon I " &3id Clemency, shaking htr h<:ad &orrowfull)', and parting her 
elbowd as if the recollection of old limes unconscioirsiy awakened her old 
habits. '' Dear, dear, dear ! Therein be heavy hearts, Btn, yonder." 

Mr. Britain heaved a sigh, and ^hook his head, and &aid he couldn^t 
make h out : be had left ofE trying long ago. With that remark, be 
apphcd himself 10 putting up the biil just inside the bat window ; and 
Clemency, after meditating in silence for a few moments, rouicd herself, 
cleared her thou^'htf al brow, and bustled ofl to look after the children^ 

Though the hosr of The Nutmeg Grater had a lively regard for his 
good-wife, if ^vas of the old patronising kind i and &he amused him 
mightily. Nothing v.-oM have astonished him so much, as to have 
fcno^vn for certain from any third party, that ir ivas she tvho managed the 
whole house, and made him, by her plain straighrforward thrift, good- 
humour, honesty, and industry, a thriving man. So easy it is, in any 
degree of life (as the world very often finds it)j to take those cheerful 
natures that never assert tlieir mtrir, at their own modest valuation; 
and to conecive a flippant liking of people for their outward oddities and 
eccentricities, whose iniijte ^vorth, if we would look so far, might make 
us blush in thu comparison ! 

It was tomforiablc to Mr. Britain, to think of his own condescension 
ill having married Clemency. She was a perpetual testimony to him of 
tht goodness of his heart, and the kindness of his disposition ; and he felt 
that her being an e^tcellent wife wjs an illustration of the old precept 
that virtue is its own reward. 

He had finished wafering up the bill, and had locked the vouchers for 
her day's proceedings in the cupboard — cliuckling all the time, over her 
capacity for buiine^s — when, returning with the news that the two 
Master Britains ^vere playing in the eoach-house, under the superin- 
tendence of one Betsey, and that little Gem was sleeping 'Mike a 
picture," she sat down to tea, which had awaited her arrival on a iittle 
table. It was a very neat little bar, with the usual display of bottles and 
glasses ; a sedate clock, right to the minute (it was half-past Ave) ; every- 
thing in its place, and everything furbished and polished tip to the very 
utmost, 

'* It^s the first time I've sat down quietly to-day, I declare," said Mrs. 
Britain, taking a long breath, as if she had sat down for the night ; but 
getting up a^ain immediately to hand her husband his lea, and cut him 
his bread-and-butter; "how that bill does set me thinking of old 
times ! " , 

" Ah 1 " said Me, Britain, handling his saucer like an oyster, and dig- 
posing of its contents on the same principle, 

" That same Mr. Michael Warden," ^aid Clemcncj', shaking her head 
at the notice of sale, " lost me mv old place." 

<« H 



V 



jr. 



it 



226 THEBATTLEOFLIFE 

*^ And got you your husband," satd Mr. Britain, 

'* Well I So he did/* retorted Oemency, *^ and many thanks to him." 

" Man*3 the creature of habii/' s^iid Mr* Britain^ surveying her, ovtr 
hii saucer, " I had somcho^v got nsed to you^ Ckm ; and I found I 
shouJdn^E be able to jjet on without you. So we wc^nt and got made 
man and ^vife* Ha, lia [ Vyc \ WTio'd have thi^ughi it ! " 

*^ Wlio indeed ! " cried Clemency, " It was very good of vou, Ben/* 

" No^ no^ no," replied Mr. Britjiiu, with An air o£ self-denial. " No- 
thing worth mentioning," 

'^ Oh yes it was, Ben^" said hh wife^ wiih great timpiieity ; ** Vm sure 
I [h[nk so ; and am very much obltgod to you. Ah I " looking ag:iin at 
the bill ; ** when shu was known to be gonc^ and out of reach, dear girl, 
I couldn't hdp telling — for her sake qnite as mudi as theirs— what I 
kitew, could I r' 

You told itj anyhoiv/* observed htr husband- 

And Do^;tor jeddler/' pursued Clemencv^ pulling down her lea-cup, 
and looking thoughtfully at ihe bill, ^^ in his grief and passion TE^rned me 
out of house and home ! 1 never have been so gSad of anything in all 
ray life, as that I didn^t say an angry word to him^ and hadn^t an angry 
feeling tovn^ards him, even tlien ; for he repented that tncly., after^vardfi. 
How often he has sat in this room, and told me over and over again he 
was sorry f^r it! — the last titno, only yesterday, whiin you were out- 
How often he has sat in tliis room, and talked to me, hour after hour, 
about one thing and another^ in which he made believe to be interested 1 
— but only for the sake of the days that are goriL- away, and because he 
biDWs she used to hkt me, Ben ! ^' 

'^ Why, ho^v did you ever come to catch a glimpse of that, Clem ? ^^ 
asked her husband ; asiouished that she should have a distinct perception 
of a truth which had only dimly suggested itself co his in^^uiring mind, 

" i don^t know, I^m sure," said Qemency^ blowing her tea^ to cool it. 
"Bless yoLij I couldn^t tell you if you wa? to o^er me a regard of a 
hundred ponnd." 

He might have pursued thi? metaphysical subject but for her catching , 
a gTfmpse of a substantial fact behind hirn^ in the shape of a gentleman 
aturcd in mournings and cloaked and booted like a rider on horieback^, 
who stood at the bsr-door. He teemed attentive to Jieir conversation^ 
and not at ail impatient to interrupt it. - 

Clemency hastily rose at this sight. Mr. Britain also rose and saluted 
the gnest. ** Will you pleast: to walk up stairs^ sir ? 1"here^s a veiy nice | 
room up stairs^ siin" i 

** Thank you," said the stranger^ looting earnestly at Mr, Britain's ? 
wife* '^ May 1 come in here? '* - ■ S 

"Oh, surely^ if you like^ sir,*^ returned Clemency, admitting him* ^ 
** W^iat would you please to wane, sir f " 

The bill had caught his eye, and he vi-^as reading ir, 

" EKceHent property that, sir/^ obsL-rvtd Mr. Britain, 



<4 
It 



THEBATTLEOFLIFE 227 

He made no answer ; butturning round, when he had finished reading, 
looted at Qeniencf ^^ih the snmc observant curiosity as before. ^* You 
were asking me/' he said, still booking ai her — 

'^ What you ivouW please to take, sir/* answered Clemency^ stealing a 
glance at him in return, 

*■ 3f you will let me h^ve a draught of ale," he said, moving 10 a table 
by the windowj "and will Tet me have it here, without btin£ any 
interruption loyour meal, I shall be much obligi?d to you," 

He aat down as he spoke, without any further parley, and looted out 
at the prospect. He ws^ an easy^ well-knii figure of a man in tht prime 
of life. His face, much broivned by the sun, waj< shaded by a quantity o£ 
dark hair ; and he wnre a moustache- His beet being sec before him, he 
fiTled out a glass, and drank, good-hum ouredly, to the house ; adding, as 
hi- pur the tumblet down again : 
!t*s a new house, is it not ! " 
Not particularly new, sir," replied Mr. Britain, 
Bet^^'?en five and sis years old/' said Clemency: speaking very 
distinctly, 

" I think I heard you mention Doctor Jeddler's namt, as I came In," 
inquired the stranger, " That bill reminds me of him ; for I happen to 
liTiu'v something of that story, by hearsay, and thtough certain connec- 
tions of mine. — Is the old man living ? *' 

'^ Yes, hc^s living, sir," said Clemency, 

"Much changed?" 

" Since when, sir ? " returned Clemency, with remarkable emphasis 
and expression, 

" Since his daughter— went away," 

" Yes ! he's greatly changed since then/' said Clemency, '^Ilc's grey 
and old, and haso^t the same way with him at a!3 ; bui 1 think he's happy 
no^v. He has taken on with his sister since then, and goes to see her very 
often. That did him good directly. At fiist- he was sadly broken 
down ; and it wa? enough to make one's heart bleed, To see him wander- 
ing about, railing at the world ; but a great change for the belter came 
over him after a year or twOy and then he began to like to talk about his 
lost daughter, and to praise Ker, ay and tlie world too ! and vlms never 
tired of saying, witfi the tears in his poor eyes, how beautiful and good 
she was. He had forgiven her then. That was about the samp time as 
Miss Grace's marriage. Britain, you remember i '^ 

Mr. Britain remembered very weU, 

" The sister is married then,'' returned the stranger^ He paused for 
some time before he a$ked, "To whom ? " 

Clemency narro\^'ly escaped oversetting the tea-board, in her emotion 
at this question. 

'' Did you never hear ? *' she ?ajd, 

" 1 should like to hear/^ he replied^ « he filled hi£ glass sg?Jn> and 
raised it to hJs lips. 



\-Lr'A 



2zS THEBATTLEOFLIFE 

" Ah 1 It would be a long 6ior}^^ if it vr^^ propeidy told/^ said Clem- 
ency^, resting her chin on the palm o£ her Soft hand, and supporting That 
elbow on her right hand, as she shoot her headj ind looked back through 
the intervening years, as if she were looking at a &re- *^ It would be a 
long stoiy^ I am sure." 

*^ Bui xdld as a short one," suggested the stranger. 

"Told as a short one/^ repeated Clemency In tliesame thougthfu! tone^ 
and without any apparent referc:nce to him^ or consciousness of having 
audilors/^wh^it would there be to tcl] 1 That they grieved together^ and 
remtmberedhyrtogciher, litea person dead ^ that thty wertio teuder oi 
her^ never wonldreproachher^ called her back to one another as slie used to 
he, .ind found excuses for her ? Everj^ one knows that, i'm sure / do. 
Ko one better/' added Clemency, wiping her eves with htr hand- 

** Ajid so/* suggcsicd the stranger, 

^ And sOj" said Clemency^ taking him up mechanically^ and mthoiit 
any change in heratistudcor manner, ^* they athstwere married. They 
were married on her birthday — -it eomcs round ajjain to-morroiv — very 
quietj very humble like, bui verv happy. Mr. Alfred saidj one night 
when they were walking in the orchard^ ^ Grace, &hall our wedding-day 
be Marion^s birthday ? ^ And it was.'' 

" And they have lived happily togLther ? " said the stranger, 

" Ay," said Clemency. " No two people ever more so. Thsy have 
had no sorrow but this.'' 

She raised her head as with a sudden attentiort to the circumstances 
under which slic was recalling these events, and looked quicLly at the 
stranger. Seeing that his face ^vas turned toward the window, and that 
he seemed intent upon the prospect, she made some eager si^i^s to her 
husband^ and pointed to the billj and moved her mouth as if she were 
repeating with great energy, one word or phrase to him over and over 
again. As she uttered no sound, and a^ her dumb motions like mo^i of 
her gestures weie of a very extraordinary kind, this unintelligible conduct 
reduced Mr. Biitain to the confines of despair. He stared at ihe labk^ 
ar the stranger^ at the spoonSj at his >sife — followed her pantomime w Ith 
looks of deep amazement and perplexity — asked in the same bnguage, 
was it property in daug^r^ was it he in danger, was it she — answered her 
signals with other signals expressive of the deepest dt stress and confusion 
—followed the motions of her lips — guessed half aloud " milk and warer/^ 
*^ monthly warning/' ^^ mice and walnuts '" — and couldn't approach her 
meaning. 

Ckmcncy gave it up at last, as a hopeless attempt ; and moving her 
chair by vzTy slow degrees a little nearer to the stranger, sat with her 
eyes apparently cast dou^ci but glancing sharply at him now and then, 
waiting until he should ask some other question* She had not to wait 
long ; for he saidj presently : 

" And what is the after history of the jT>ung lady who went away i 
They know ir^ 1 suppose ? ^' 



\t 



THEBATTLEOFLIFE 2I9 

Clemency shoot licr head. *' I've heard," slie said, " than Doctor 
Jeddler is thought to know mor<^ of it than he tells. Mies Gtace has hjd 
lottttB from her sister, saying that *^he was well and happy, and made 
much liappier by her being married to Mr. Alfred: and has written 
U^tteis badt- Bur there's a mystery about hei life and fortunes, alto- 
gt^thet, which nothing has cleared up to this hour, and which ^* 

She faitcFcd heie^ JiTid stopped. 

*' And which " repeated the stranger. 

^' Wliich only one other person, I believe, could explain," said 
Clemency, drawing her breath quickly. 

■^ Who may that be '. " asktd the stranger. 

" Mr. Michael Warden ! '^ answered Clemency, almost in a shriek ; 
at once conveying to her husband what she would havg had him under- 
stand before, and letting Michael Warden know that he was rect^nised. 

** You remember me, sir ? " said Clemency, trembling wixh emotion j 
" I saiv just now you did ! You remember me, that night in the garden. 
I was with her 1 " 

" Yes. You were,'* he said, 

"Yes, sir,^* returned Clemency. "Yes, to be sure. This is my 
husband, if you please. Bi?n, my dear Ben, run to Miss Grace — run to 
Mr, Alfred — lun somewhere, Ben ! Bring somebody here, directly ! " 

'* Stay [ " said Michael Warden, quietly interposing himself between 
the door and Britain, " What tTOuld you do ? " 

" Let ihcm knoiv that you are here, sir,'* answered Clemency, clapping 
her hands in sheer agitation. " Let them know that they ni.iy hear of 
her, from your owti lips ■ let them knOl^' that she is not quite lost to 
tl,i:m, but that ihc will come home again yet, to bless her father and her 
loving lister— even her old servant, even me," she striicl: herself upon 
[he breast with both harids, *' ivith a sight of her $weet face. Run, Ben, 
run ! " And itill she pressed him on towards the door, and still Mr. 
Warden stood before it, with his hand stretched out, not angrily, but 
Eurrovvfulty. 

** Or perhaps,'* said Clemencj', running past hpr husband, and catching 
in her emotion at Air. Warden's cloak, "perhaps she's here now; 
perhaps ^he's close by. I think from your manner ^he is. Let me see 
her, *ir, if you please. I waited on her when she wa^ a little child, I 
Ss^w her grow to be the pride of all this place. 1 knew her when she was 
Mr. Alfred':* promised wife. 1 tried 10 warn her ^vhen }"oii tempted her 
away. I ki^ow ivhai her oM home was when she was like the soul of it, 
and how it changed when slie v/as gone and lost. Let me speak to hctj 
' if you please ! " 

He gaitd at her with compassion, not unmi:(ed 'vith wonder : but he 
made no gesture of assent, 

" 1 don't think she can know," pursued Clemency, '* how truly they 
'. forgive her ; how they love her ; what joy it would be to them, eo see 
f lu^ once more. She -itisy be timorous of going home. Perhaps if she 



J^ 



10 

\ 
ajo THEBATTL£OFLIFE 

seea me, it may give her new heart- On^y tell me truly, Mr- WarJ^n, U 

sht with you i *' 

" She is rtot/^ he artssvered, shaking his liead. 

This answtr* attd his manner^ and his black dress, and his coming back 
so quietly, ind his announced intmtioa of cooEJiiuing to live abroad, 
expbiiicd It aJh Marion was dc^d. 

He dldd^t coniiadict her ; yes^ ihe was dead \ Clemency sat doivn, 
hid her face upon the t^blc, and cried. 

At tliat moment, a grey-headed old gentleman came running in quita 
out of breath, and panting so much that his voice was sciircely to be 
recognised as ilie voice of ft^r. Snitchey. 

^^ Good Heaxen, Mr* WarJen ! '* iaid the lawyer^ faking liim asidiij 
" what wind has blown — *' He was ao blo^\'n hiniselh that he couldn't 
gel on any further until after a pause^ when he addedj feebly, ^"^you 
here ? '* 

'^ A]] ill wind, I am afraid/^ he answered. ^" If you could luvc heard 
whai has just parsed— how 1 ha\e been besought and entreated to 
perform impossibilities — what confusion and affliction I carrj'^^vithme i " 

" I can guess it all. But why did you ever Lome liere, my good sir = '^ 
retorced Snitchey, 

^* Come ! How should I know who kept the houae f WTien 1 eent 
my servant on to you^ I strolled in here because the place waa new to me ■ 
and T had a natural curiMiry in everything new and olJ, in these old- 
scenes ; and it was outside the town. 1 wanted to communicate with 
you fiistj before appearing there. I "wanted lo know what people would 
say to me. 1 see bv your manner that you can teU me. If ii were not 
for your confounded caution^ I should have b^cn possessed of everything 
long ago* 

'^ Our caution ! ^' returned the lawyer. *^ Speaking for Self and 
Craggs — deceased^" here Mr. Snitchey, glaiicing at his hat-band^ shook 
his headj ^^ liow can you reasonably blame "us^ Mr. Warden } It was 
understood between us that the subject ^vas never to be rene^ved, and 
that it wasn't a subject on which grave and saber men like lis (I made a 
noteof your obscrvaiioE^sat the time) could interfere. Our caution too ! 
Wlien Mr, Craggs^ sir, ^venr do^^n to his respected grave in ihe full 
belief—" 

" I had given a solemn pronilse of silence until I should return^ when- 
ever that might be/^ inccrrupred Mr. Warden ; *^ and ! have kept it." 

" Wellj sir^ and 1 repeat it^" returned Mr^ Snitchey, *' \ve were bound 
to siknce too. We were bound to silence in our duty to^vards ourselves, 
and irn our duty tovt'ards a variety of clseniSj you among them, who were 
as close as wax. It "was not our place to make inquiries of you on such a 
delicate subject. I had my suspicionSj sir; bur it is not six months 
since I have known tlie truth, and been assured that you lo5t her.^* 
" By whom * " inquired his client* 
^^ By Doctor Jeddler himself, sir^ %vho at last reposed tliat confidence 



THE BATTLE OF LIFE 231 

in me volnntarilj'. He. and ofll7 he, ha^ tno^vn iW<: «'hd<: truth, veara 

and years." 

" And you know ir ? " said his client, 

" I do sir r " rc^plied Snifchey ; *' and I have also reason to tnow that 
it wiD be broken to hr:r sister fo-morroAv cvenm?. They have gi^tn her 
diat promise, in the meanrime, perhaps you'll give me the honour 0! 
vo-JT company nt my house ; being unexpected at your o^n But. not 
io run The chance of anv more such difficulties a^ you have had here, m 
case yon should bo recognised— though you're a good deal changed; I 
thi^k I might have passed you my^lE, Mr. Warden-we h.d better djne 
here and wait on in the evening. It's a very good place to dine tii, Mr. 
Warden : your ov^n property, by the bye S.1£ and Crr,ggs (d^ff) 
wok a chop here sometimes, and had it very comfortably served, Mr 
Craggs sir/' ^aid SnUchey, shutting hi^ eyes tight for an mstaut, and 
openiuR them again, "was stnicl off tlieroUoEhfe too soom 

*^ Heaven forgive me for not condoling with you," returned Michael 
Warden, passing his hand across his forehead, " bui Tm hke a man m a 
dieam at present. 1 seem to want my wits, Mr. Cra^s— yes^l am 
very sorry we have lost Mr. Ciaggs." But he looked at Clemency as he 
said it, and seemed to sympathise with Ben, consohng hct. 

" Mr Craggs, sir." observed Snitchey, " didn't find life, I regret to 
say as easy to have and tD hold as his thenrj' m:fde ir out, or he would 
have been among U5 now. It^s a great loss to me. fie v^-as my right 
arm, my right le-, my right ear, my right eye, was Mr. Craggs. I am 
paralytic withoi.t him. He bequeathed his share of the business to 
Mrs Craggs, lier eiecuiors, administrators, and assigns, iiis name 
remains in the Firm to tliis hour. I try, in a childish sort of a way, to 
make believe, sometimes, that he's ahvc. You may obser^-c that I spea^ 
for Self and Craggs— deceased, sir— deceased," said the tender-hearted 
attorney, waving his pocker-handkerchief. 

Michael Warden, who had still been observant of Clemency, turned tO 
Mr Snitchey when he ceased to speak, and whispered m his ear, 

" Ah poor thing I " s^id Snitchey, shaking his head. " Yes. She was 
always verv faithful to Marion. She was always veiy fond of her 
Pretty Marion ! Poor Marion ! Cheer up, mistress— you ^n- niairied 
now, you know, Clemency. 

Clemency only sighed, and shook her head. 

" Well, well ! Wait till to-morrow," ^aid the lawyer, kindly. 

" To-morrow e^n'c bring back the dead to life, mister/' iaid Demency, 

sobbing, ,, 

-' No. It can't do that, or it would bring back Mr. Craggs, deceased, 

returned the lawyer. " But it may brin^ some soothing circumstances i 

it may bring some comfort. Wait till to-morrow 1 " . 

So Clemency, shaking his proffered hand, said she v^-ould ; and Britain. 

who had been terribly cast down at sight of his despondent wife (wrhich 

was like the business hanging its head), said that was right ; and Mr. 



m THE BATTLE OF LIFE I 

Snitchcy and Mfch.d Warden wenr up stdrs ; and there th^y ^-orc .oon 
engaged in a convers^^tton so catitio^^sljr conducted, thai no murmur of it 
W.S .udibk abov^ th^ c].tr.r of pl.tes .nd d.fih^^ the hissing of the 
tp-'^g-pan, rh« bubbling of sdpcopans, the low monotonous waltiiie ot 
the; j^ck-^th a dr^^^dful dick ^vtij' now ^nd then .s if it had met .?ith 
some mort:^! accident to its h^ad. En n fie of giddincss-and all th^ ottier ^ 
pieparations :n the kitchen for their dinner. 

To-morrovv ms ;i bright and p^.ceful dajr; and nowhere n-ere the 
^lumn tints more beautifalJj^ aeen, than from the quiet orchard of the ' 
Doctors house The snows of many winter nights had melted from 
that ground, the mthered leaves of m^ny summer times had rustled 
there, smce^hc had fled. Th^^ honeysuckk. porch v^^s green again, the ^ 
trees cast bountEi^T and chai^ging ^bado^vs on the gr.^ss, the landscape was 
as tranttml and serene as it had ever been ; but where ^^^ she i 

Not there. xMot there. She would have been a stranger siaht in her , 
old home now, even than that home had been at Sirn. vv-ithout her But J 
a iady sat m the famihar place, from whoEie heart she had never passed 1 
away ; m who^o true memory she lived, unchanging, youthful, radiant ' 
v^ith all promise and a]J hope ; in ^vhose ^ffeciion-and it was a moihcr^s ! 
iiow : there was a chcHshed httle daughter pl:,ying bv her side-^he hi^d 

iiorival;no?Hcce3sor, upon who^^egentlehpshernamewas trembling then 

ihe spirit of ihe lost gir] looted out of ihos^ eyes. Those eyci of " 
--rrace, her sister, suling with her husband in the orchard, on their '' 
wedding-day, and his and Marion's birthday. 

He had not become a great man ; he had not grown rich ; he had not * 
lofgoiten the scenes and friends of his youtlj ; he had not fulfilfcd any r 
one of the Doctor's old predictions. But in hf^ useful, p.tient, untnown | 
visiting of poor men's homes; and in hij warchrng of sick beds ; and in ' 
his daily knowledge of the gentleness and goodness flowering the bye- 
paths of the world, not to be trodden down beneath the heaw foot of 
poverty but springing up, elastic, in its traclr, and mating its w.^ 't 
beautiful ; he had better learned ,ind proved, in each succeedins year ' 
the traih of his old faith. The manner of his life, though quiet and \ 
remote, had shown him how often men siiTl tntetia-ned angels, unawares ^ 
as m the olden time ; and how the mo^t unlikely forms— even some that 
wore mean and ugly to the vif^w, and poorly clad— became irradiated by 
the couch of sorroxv, want, and pain, and changed to nnnistering spirits 
with a glory round their heads. 

He lived to better purpose on the altered b.ittle-ground perhaps, than 
it he had contended restlessly in more ambitious lists ; and he was Siacpv 
with his \tife, dear Grace. 

And Marion. Had *f forgotten her i ^ 

The time has flown, dear Grace," ho said, '* since then ; " thev had 
been taltmg of that night ; " and yet it seems a long while ago.' We 
count by changes and events within us. Not by years." i 

5 
9. 



■ fr^ 



THEBATTLEOFLIFE 23J 

** Yet we have years 10 count hy, too, since Marlon W35 with U£,'^ 
returned Grace. " Six times^ dear liu&band, counting to-nighr as ont, 
we have gat here on Ker birthday, and spoken together o£ that happy 
return, so eagerly expected and fio Jong deferred. Ah when wiji it be ! 
When mil it be 1^' 

Hcf husband aCt<?niivtly observed her, as the tears collected in her 
eyes ; and dra'A'ing nearer, said : 

" But Marion told you. in that farewell letter which she left for ^u 
upon your table, love, and wliich you read so often, that years must pass 
away before it couiii be. Did she not ? '* 

She took a letter from her breast, and Jtissed it, and said ^* Yea," 

" That through Those intervening j'ears, however happy siie might be, 
she would look forward to the time when you would meet again, and all 
would be made clear : and prayed you, tmstfuily and hopefully to do 
the 5ame. The letter runs so, does it not, my dear 1 " 

" Yes, Alfred." 

'^ And evtry other letter she has written since : " 

" Except the lasi — some months ago — in which she spote of you, and 
what you then knew, and what I wa^ to l^arn to-night." 

He looked towards the sun, then fast declining, and said that the 
appointed time was sunset. 

*^ Alfred ! " said Grace, laying hei hand upon his shoulder earnestly, 
*' there is something in this letter — this old leiter, which you ssy I read 
so often — that I have never told you. But, to-nlghr, dear h[i$band, with 
that sunset drawing near, and ail our life i^eeming to soften and become 
hushed with the departing day, I cannot keep it secret.^' 

"Wliatisit, lover" 

^' When Marion went away, she wrote me, here, that you had once 
left her a sacred trust to me. and that now she left you, Alfred, such a 
trusi in my hands ; praying and beseeching me^ as 1 loved her, and as I 
loved yow, not to reject the affection she believed (she knew, she said) 
you would transfer to me when the new wound was healed, but to 
encourage and r^zturn it." 

" — And make me a proud, and happy man again, Grace. '* Did she 
say so i " 

'* She meant, to niate myself so blest and honoured in your love," was 
his wife's answer, as he held her in his arms, 

" Hear me, my dear ! " he said. — *' No. Hear me so ! "—and as he 
spoke, he gently laid the head she had raised, again upon his shoulder- 
" I know whj' I have never heard this passage in the letter, until now. I 
know why no trace of It ever showed itself in anv word or look of yours at 
that time, I know why Grace, although so true a friend to me, was 
hard to win to be my wife. And knowing ii^ my own ! 1 know the 
priceless value of the heart I gitd within my arms, and thank God for 
the rich possession [ " 

She wept, but not for sorrow, as he pressed hex to his heart. After a 

cc. 11' 



^A 



234 THEBATTLEOFLTFE 

brief space, ht looted down at the child, who vmt sittiDg at their feet, 
playing mth a little basket of flowers, and bsde her look how golden and 
how red the sun was. 

" Alfred^" said Grace, ralsiiig her head quickly ar these words, " The 
&UTI is going down. You have not forgotten what I am to know before 
it sets." 

"You Rre to Imow tlie truth of Marion's history, my love" he 
irnswered. 

" All the truth/* she said, imploririelv. *^ Nothing veiled frorn me, 
,iny more- That was the promise. Was it not ? " 

** It was," he answered. 

" Before the sun went dmvn on Marion's birthday. And you see it, 
Alfred ? It k sinking fast. 

He put his arm about her waist ; and, looking steadily into her eves; 
le joined, 

" That truth h not reserved so long for me to tell, dear Grace. It is 
to come from other lips." 

'^ From other lips ! " she faintly echoed. 

" Yes. I know your constant heart, I know how brave you are, I know 
that to you a word of preparation is enough. You ha^-e said, truly, that 
the time is come. It is. Tell me that you have present fortitude to 
bear a trial — a surprise — a shock ; and the messenger is waiting at the ij 

gate." 

"\^Tiat messenger?" she said- *' And what intelligence does hff 
bring r " ... 

" I am pledged,'* he answered her, preserving his steady lootj " to say 
no more. Do you thiak you understand me ? *' 

'* I am afraid to think," she said. 

There was that emotion in his face, despite its steady gaze, which 
frightened her. Again she hid her ov^ti face on his shoulder, trembling, 
and entreated him to pause — a moment, i 

" Courage, my wife 1 When you have firmness to receive the mes- ;[ 
senger, the meHengtr is waiting at tlie gate. T]ie suu is setting on 
Marion's birthday. Couragi:, courage, Grace J " 

Sh.e raised her head, and, looking at him, told Kim she was ready. As 
she stood, and looked upon him going away, her face was to like Marlon's 
as it had been in her later days at home, that it was wonderful to see. 
He Took the child with him. She caDed her back — she bore the lost. 
girFs name — and pressed her to her bosom. The little creature, being 
released again, sped after liim, and Grace was left alone. 

She knew not what ihe dreaded, or what hoped ; but remained there, 
motionless, looking at the porch by which they had disappojied. 

Ah J what wa^ that, emerging from, its shadow; standing on its 
threshold J Thit ftgure, with its white garments rustling in the evening 
air ; its head laid doT^Ti upon her father's breast, and pressed against it 
to his loving heart ! Oh, God ! was it a vision that came bursting frora^' 






THE BATTLE OF LIFE iJS 

tht old man^s arms^ and with a cry, and mih 3 waving of ira handSj and 
with a wiJd precipitation of itself upon her in its boundless love, sant 
down in h^r embr.ice ! 

*^ Oh^ Marion, Marion ! Oh, my sister ! Ohj my heari^^ denr lave ! 
Oh, jov and happiness unutierablej so to mctc a^gain J " 

It was no dream, no phantom conjured ;ip by hope and fear^ bur 
Marion, sweet Marion ! So beautiful, so happy^ so unalloyed by care 
.ind trials so elevated and exalted in her tovciine&s^ that as the setting sun 
shone brightly on her upturned face, she might have been a spirit visiiing 
the earth upon som.e healing mission. 

Clinging to her sister, who had dropped upon a seat, and bent down 
over hcE : and smiling through her tears, and kneeling, cfose before her, 
with both arms twinhig round lier, and never turning for an instant from 
her face: and with the ^lojyof the setting 5im upon her brow^ and 
with the soft tranquillity of evening gathering around them : Marion at 
length broke silence ; her voice^ so calm, iow, clear, and pleasjiit^ well- 
luncd to the time. 

^' WT;en rhh wa? my dear home^ Graee, as it will be now, again ^ 

*^ Stay, my sweet love ! A moment ! Oh Marion, to hear you speat 
again." 

She could not bear ^e voice she loved so well, at first. 

" When this was my detir home, Grace, as it will he now, again, I loved 
him from my sou!. I loved him most devotedly. I would have died for 
him, though I was so young. I never slighted his affection in my secret 
breast, for one brief instant. It was far beyond all price to me* Al^ 
though it is so long ago, and past and gone^ and everything is wholly 
changed, 1 could not bear lo think that you, who love so well, should 
think 1 did not truly love him once. 1 never loved him better^ Grace , 
than when he left (his very scene upon this verv day. I never loved him 
better, dear one, than I did that night when / left here,'^ 

Her Sister, bending over her, could only look into ht>r face, and hold 
her fa&t. 

" But he had gained^ unconsciously," said Marion, with a gentle smile, 
" another heart, before I knew that I had one to give him. That heart— 
yours, my sister — was so yielded up, in all irs other tenderness, to me j 
was so devoted, and ao noble ; that it plucked its love away, and ktpt its 
secret from all eyes but mine — Ah ! what other eyes were quickened by 
such tenderness and gratitude !^and was content to sacrifice itself to 
roc. But I l^new something of its depths. 1 i:new the struggle it had 
made, I knew its high, ine&tiinabic worth to him, and his appreciation 
of it, let him love me as he would^ I knew the debt I owed it, I had 
its great example every day before me. What you had done for me, I 
knew that I could do, Grace, if I would, for you* I never laid my head 
sdown on my pillow but I prayed with tears to do it, I never laid my 
;-Lead down on my pillow, bur I thought of Alfred's own wordsj on th& 
■day of his departure, and how truly he had said (for 1 knew that, by you) 



236 THE BATTLEOF LIFE 

that ther& were victories gained everj^ day, in struggling heart?^ ro whidi 
these fields o£ battle weie as nothing. ThinLing more and more upon 
the great endurance cheerfully sustained, and never known or cared for, 
that there musii be every d^y and hour, in that great strife of which he 
spoke^ my trial seemed to grow light and easy : and He who knows our 
hearrs, my dearest, at this moment, and who knows ihort i* no drop of 
bitterness or grief — of anything but unmixed happiness— in min^t 
enabled me to make the resolution that 1 never would be Alfred^s wife^ 
That he should be my brother, and your husband, if the course 1 took 
couTd bring that happy end to pass ; but that I nc:ver would (Grace, I 
then loved him dearly, dearly !) be his wife ! *^ 

'' Oh Marion ! Oh Marion ! '' 

^^ I had tried to seem indiiierent to him ; " and she pressed her sister's 
face against her own ; " but that was hard, and you were always his true 
ad^^ocate- 1 had fried to tell you of my reso^utionj but you ivould never 
hear me ^ you would never understand me- The time was drawing near 
for his reT^irn, I felt thai 1 must act, before the daily intereourse 
between us was renewed. 1 knew that one great pang, undergone at 
that time, would save a lengthened agony to aU of us. I knew that if 1 
went away then, chat end must follow which f^aJ followed^ and which 
has made tis both so happv^ Grace ! I wrote to good Aunt Martha, for 
a refuge in her house : I did nor then tell her all, but something of my 
story, and she freely promised it^ While I was contesting thai step with 
myseifj and with my love of you, and home, Mr. Warden, brought here 
by an accident, became, for some timer, our companion,** 

" I have sometimes feared of late years, tl^f tliis might have been^'* 
exclaimed her sister^ and her countenance was ashy pale, " You never 
loved him— and you married him in your self-sacrifice to me [ *^ 

** He was then,'* said Marion, drawing her sister closer to her^ ^^ on the 
eve of going secretly away for a long time. Rewrote to me, after leaving 
here ^ told me what hfs condition and prospects really were; and 
ollered me his hand, tie told me he had seen I was not happy in the 
prospect of Alfred's return, I believe he thought my heart had no part 
- in thai contract; perhaps thought 1 might have loved him once, and 
did not then 5 perhaps thought that when 1 tried to seem indifTerentj J 
tried to hide indifference — I cannot telh But I wished that you aliould 
feel me whoUy lost to Alfred — hopeless to him^dead. Do you under- 
stand me^ love ? " 

Her sister looted into her face, attentively. She seemed in doubt* 

** I saw Mr. Warden, and confided in his honour ; charged him with 
my secret^ oti the eve of his and my departure* He kept it. Do you 
understand me, dear i " 

Gtace looked confusedly upon her* She scarcely seemed to heat* 

^^ My love, my sister !/^said Marion* ^^ recall your thoughts a momenta 
steQ to me. Do not loot so strangely on me^ There are countries^ 
earestj where thoje who would abjure a misplaced passion^ or would 



THEBATTLEOFLIFE 337 

Strive against some cherished fecting of their heart? and conquer itj 
retire inio a hupelesi solitude, and close the world against diemselveg 
flnd worldly ]oves and hopes for ever* When women do so^ they a^ume 
thai name which is so dear to you -ind me^ and call each other Sisters* 
But ihcre may be sisi^rSj GracCj who^ in the broad world out of dDors, 
?^nd underneath its free sky^ and in its crowded places, and among its 
bii^y life, and ^tymg to assist and cheer it and to do some good, — learn 
the same lesson ■ and, with hearts still fresh and youngs and open to all 
happiness^ and means of happiness, can say the baidc i> long past^ tlie 
victo^ long won. And ^diaone am 1 1 Yo^ understand me now t " 

Still she looted fixedly upon her, and made no reply, 

" Oh GracCj dear Grace^" said Marion, clinging yet more tenderly and 
fondly to that breast from which she had been so long exiled, '^ if you 
were not a happy wife and mother — if I had no little namesake here — if 
Alfred, my tind brother^ were not your awn fond husband — from whence 
could I derive the ecstasy 1 feel to-night ! But as 1 left here, so I have 
Tetumed. My heart has known no other love^ my hand has never been 
bestowed apart from it : I am still your maiden sister^ unmarriedj 
unbeiroihed : your own old loving Marion, in whose affection you exist 
alone, and have no partner, Grace ! " 

She und<>r$tood l^er now. Her face relaxed ; sobs came to her relief ; 
and falling on her neck, slie wept and weptj and fondled her 35 if ^hc 
were a child again- 

When they were more composed, they found th^t the Doctor, and his 
sister, good Aunt Martha^ were standing near at hand^ with Alfred. 

" This is a weary day for me^" said good Aunt Martha, smiling through 
her tearSj as she embraced her nieces ; ^^ for I lose ray dear companion 
in making you ah happy ; and what can you give me in return for my 
Marion ? '' 

^* A converted brother," said the Doctor- 

" That's somerhingj to be sure^" retorted Aunt Martha, ^^ in such a 
farce as " 

" No, pray don*t," ?aTd the Doctor penitently- 

"WeD^ I won't, ^* replied Aunt Marrhan "But I consider myself 
iU-used. I don't know what's to becorae of me without my Marlon, 
afier we have lived together half-a-dozen years." 

"You must come and live here, I suppose/' replied thfi Doctor. 
" We shan^t quarrel now^ Martha.*' 

** Or get married, Aunr^" said Alfred. 

" Indeed/' returned the old lady, '* I think it might be a good specula- 
tion if I were to set my cap at Michael Warden, whoj i hear^ is come 
home much the belter for his ab^ence^ in all respects. But as I tnewhim 
when he was a boy, and I was not a very young woman then, perhaps he 
^ mightn't respond, Su Til make up my mind to go and live ^v^^h Marion, 
^ when she marries, and until then (it will not be very Eong, I dare say) to 
i live alonfi. What do you say. Brother f " 



233 THEBATTLEOFLIFE \ 

" Vvc a great mirtd to say it's a ridiculous world altogether, and there's 
notliing Sf^Tioiis in if," observed the pour old Doctor, 

" You mi^hx take twenty jflidavirs of it if you choac, Arithon7," siiid 
hk sifter ; *^ but nobody would believe you with such eyes 2$ those/* 

" Ifa a world full of hearts/' said the Doctor ; hugging his younger 
daughter, and bending across her to hug Grace — for he couldn't separate 
the aisters ; '* and a serious world, witli jII its folly- — even with mine, 
which was enough to have swamped the ivhole globe ; and a world on 
wliich the son never ri^es^ but it looLs upon a thousand bloodless battles 
that aie sonie set-off against thr^ miseries and wickedness of Battle- Fields ; 
and a world we need be careful how we libel, Heaven forgive us, for it is 
a world of sacred mTsieries. and its Creator only tnowi what lies benearh 
the surface of His lightest ima^ [ '' 

You would not be the better pleased with my rude pen, if it dissected 
and laid open to your ^-iew the transports of this family, long severed 
and now reunited. Therefore, I wi)] not follow the poor Doctor 
through his humbled recollection of the sorrow he had had, whtn 
Marion «^s lo:it to him j nor will 1 tell how serious he hjJ found that 
world to be, in which iome love deep-anchored, is tlie portion of all 
human creatures ; not how such a trifle as the absence of one little unit 
in the grf^flt absurd account, had stricken him to the ground. Nor how, 
in compassion for his distress, his lister had, long ago, revtakd the truth 
to him by slow degrees; and brought him to the knowledge of the heatt 
of his seif-banished daughter, and to that daughter's side. 

Nor how jMfred lieathfield had been told the truth, too. in tlie course 
of that then current year ; and Mjrion had seen him, a^d had promised 
him, as her brother, that on her binhday, in the ejening. Grate shoi:U 
know if from her lips at last. 

'M beg your pardon, Doctor," said Mr. Snitdiey, looting into tlte 
orchard, " but have [ liberty to come in ? " 

Without waiting for permission, he came straight to Marion, and 
kissed her hjnd, quite joyfully. 

"If Mr. Craggs had been alive, my dear Miss Marlon,"' said Mr. ■ 
Snitchey, " he would have had great interest in rhis occajion. It might \ 
have suggested to him, Mr. Alfred, that our lif<: is not too easy, perhaps ;. j 
^»at, taken altogether, k will bear any little smoothing we can give it 3 j 
but Mr. Craggs was a man who could endtrre to be convinced, sir. He '^ 
vns always open to conviction. If he were open to conviction, now, T — - ; 
this is weakness. Mrs. Snitehey, my dear,"— at his summons that hdy ^ 
appeared from behind the door, " you ate among old fiiends." \ 

Mrs. Snitchcy having deli^-ered hi:r congratulations, Eook her husband 
aside. 

'^One moment, Mr. Sniichey," said that lady. "It is not In my 

nature to rake up the asiies of the departed,^' i 

*' No, my dear," retifrned her husband. '^' 

f 






t^ 



> THE BATTLE OF LIFE 239 

i '' Mr. Craggs ii " 

; " Ye&, my dear, he is deceased," said Mr. Snitdicy. 

^* " Bur I Jik vou if you recoUect/' pursued his ^vife, " that evening ot 
the ball I OTJy aiV you thai. If you do ; and lE your memory has not 
entirety £ailed you, Mr. Snitchey ; and if you are not absolutely m your 
dotage; I asV you to connect this time with that— to remember hov/ 1 
begged and prayed you. on my knees—" 

^' Upon your knees, my dear t " said Mr. Snitchey. 
'n'es" s^id Mrs. Snitchey, conftdently, "and you know it— fo 
beware of that man— to observe hi^ eye— and now to tell me whe^er I 
nas right, and whether at that moment he knew secrete v^hich he didn t 

chooie to tell."' ^., 

** Mrs. ii^nitchey," returned her husband, in her ear, Madam. JJid 
you ever observe anytliing in my eye I " 

" No," said Mrs. Snitchey, sharply, '' Don't flatter yourself- 
''Becau^, ma'am, that nighi," he continued, tv^itdimg her by the 
sleeve " it happens that Wi: both tncw secrets which we didn't choose to 
reU a'ld both knew just the same, professionally. And so the less you 
sav about such things tlie bsttcrr, Mts- Snitchey; and take ^\^. " 
uarnlng to have wiser and more charitable eyes anotlier time. Miss 
:.Iarion, I brought a friend of youts along ^^ith me. Heie [ Mistress. 

Poor Clemr?ncy. with her apron to her eyes, came slowly in, (:^.:orted 
by her husband ; the latter doHu] with the preientiment, that if slie 
abandoned herself to grief. The Nutmeg Gtater was done for. 

" Now mistceBs," said the lawyer, checking Marion as she tan towards 
her and interposing himself between tliem, '' whai'& the matter w:th 



yuu ^ " 

'* The matter ! " ciied poor Oemency. 



iXJt lUlHL';! , HIV^ fW- ^^.— ,— -^ . . 

When looking up in wonder, and in indignant rcmonstratice, and m 
the added emotion of a great roai from Mr. Britain, and seemg rfiat 
sweet face so weU-temembered clo^e before her, she stared, ^bbed 
lauehed eried, screamed, embraced her, held her fast, released her, feU 
Du Mr Snitchey and embraced him (much to Mrs. Snitehey s indigna- 
tionl fell on the Doctor and embraced him, fell on Mr. Britain and 

' embraced him, and concluded by embracing hersr:lf, throwing her aproD 
over her head, and going into hysterics behind it. 

■ A stranger had come into the orchard, after Mr. Snitchey, and tiaa 
remained apart, near the gate, without being observed by any of the 
' group ; for they had httle spare attention to bestow, and that had been 
cionopoUsed by tlie ecstasies of Clemency. He did not appear to wish 
to be observed, but sieod alone, wirh dosvncast eyes ; and there was an 
air of dejc^euon abour him (though he was a gentleman of a gallant 
appearance) which the general happiness rendered more remarkable. 
V None but the quick eyei of Aunt Martha, however, remarked hira a t 

J, all ; but ahnost a» soon as &he espied him, she was in conversation with 

5 him. Presently, going to where Marion stood with Grace and her hctle 



■i 



24° THE BATTLEOFLIFE 

namesske^ she whispered samcthing in Marion's ear, at which she 
ST^rtcdj and appeared surprised ; bui soon recovering from her confusion^ 
she timidly approached the stranger^ in Aunt Martha's companyj and 
engaged in conYtrsation with him loo- 

** Mr, Bmain^^^ said the lawyer, putting his hand in his pocttt, and 
bringing out a iegaMooking document, wbik tliis was going on, " 1 
congiatulaie you. You are now the wholt and solt: proprietor of that 
freehold tenemenr^ at prtscnr occupied and held by yourself as a licensed 
Tavern, of house o£ piiblic enieTtainment, and commonly called or known 
by the sign of Tht Nutmeg Grater. Your wift lost one: house, through 
my client Mr- Michael Warden ; and now gains another. I shall have 
thepleasurt of canvassing you for the county^ one of the&e tine mornings," 

" Would if make any difference in the vote if the sign was altered, 
sir f '' astcd Britain. 

" Nor in the kast/* rcplitd the lawyer. 

^^ Then/' said Mr* Briiain, handing him back the conveyance^ '" just 
cbp in the words, ^ and Thimble^' will you be so ^ood ■ and 111 have 
dw two molioes painted up in the parlour, instead of my wife's portrait.'^ 

*'And let me/' iaid a voice behind them; it was the strangeA — 
Michael Warden's; *' let me claim the benefit of those inscriptions. 
Mr. Heathfield and Doctor Jeddler^ 1 might have deeply wronged you 
both. Thai 1 did nor, is no virtue of my own. I will not sny that 1 am 
sis years wiser than I was, or better. But 1 h^ive known, at any rtiie, 
that term of self- reproach. I can urge no rca^n why you should deal 
gently with me* I abi^sed the hoipitaliiy of this house and learnt my 
own demerits, "with a shame I never have forgotten, yet with some profit 
loo I would fain hope, from one/' he Er'^i^<=trci at Marlon, *' to whom 1 
made my humble supplication for foigivencss, when I knew her merit 
andmydcepunworthincss. Jn a few days 1 shall quit this place for ever. 
I entreat your pardonn Do as you would be done by I Forget and 
forgive! " 

Time — from wliom I had the latter portion of this story, and ^virh 
whom I have the pleasure of a personal acquaintance of some five-and- 
ihirty-years' duration — informed me^ leaning easily upon his scythe^ that 
Michael Warden never went away again^ and never sold his houstj but 
opened it afresh, maintained a golden mean of hospitality, and had a 
wife, the pride and lionour of that country-^ide, v/hose name was 
Marion. But as 1 have observed thai Time confuses faets occasionally^ 
1 hardly know what weight to give to his aufhoriry* 



THE HAUNTED MAN AND fHE GHOSTS 
BARGAIN 



CHAPTER I % The Gijt B^now^d 

EVEFLYBODV SHld SO- 

Far be it from me lo assert cha: what everybody says must be true- 
Eveiybod/ is, oEten, ^3 liteiy to be wrong as right. In the general 
expcriencej everybody has been wrong so often^ and it has taken, in mo3t 
instances, ^uch a weary while to find out how wrongs ihat the authority 
is proved to be fallibJe, Everybody may sometime? be right ; ^* but 
thafs no rule/^ as tht gho^t of Giles Scroggins says in the balJad. 

The dread word, GaiosTj recall? me. 

Everybody said he looked like a haunted man. The extent of my 
present claim for evexybody is, that \\\^y were so far right. He did^ 

Who could have seen his hollow cheek ; his sunken brilliant eye ; his 
black-attired figure, indefinably grim, although well-knit and well-pro- 
portioned ; his grizzkd hair hanging, like tangled sea-weed., about hia 
fact-\ — as if he had been^ throupl] his whole life, a lonely mark for the 
chafing and beating of the great deep of humanity^— but might have said 
he looked like a haunted man f 

\\^ho could have observed his manner, tsciiurnj ihoughtfulj gloomy, 
shadowed by habitiial reserve, retiring always and jocund never, with a 
distraught air of reverting to a bygone place and ume, or of listening to 
some old echoes in liis mind, but mighi have said it was the manner of a 
haunted man P 

Who could have heard his voice, slow-speaking, deep, and grave^ with 
a natural fulness and melody in it which he seemed to set himself against 
?nd stop, but might have said it ^vas the voice of a haunted man ? 

Who that had seen him in his inner charaberj part library and part 
lahoraiory, — for he was, as the world knew, fat and wide, a learned man 
in chemistrXj and a teacher on w^hose lips and hands a crowd of aspiring 
ears and eyes hiang daily^ — who that had seen him there, upon a ^vinter 
nighij alone, surrounded by his drugs and instruments and books ; the 
shadow of hi:^ shaded Ijmp a monstrous beetle on the wall, motionleEs 
among a crowd of spectral shapes raised there by the flickering of the fire 
upon the quaint objects around him; some of these phantom* (the 
reflection of glass vessels that held liquids), trembling at heart like things 
that knew his power to uncombine them^ and to give back their compo- 
nent parts to fire and vapour ; — who that had seen him then^ his work 
done, and he pondering in his chair before the rusted grate and red 
fiame, moving his thin mouth as if in speech^ but silent as the dead, 
would not have said that the man seemed haunted and the chamber too ? 

Who might not, by a very easy flight of fancy, have believed thac 
everything about him took this haunted tone and that he lived on 



Runted ground ^ 



?4l 



242 THE HAUNTED MAN 

His dwelling was 30 solitary and vault-like,— an old, retired p^irr of an 
ancient endowraent f or srudi^ntSj once a brave edifice^ planted m ^r open - 
place, but now the obsolete ^vhim oE foi^otten architecis ■ smoke-age-' 
and-wcrather-darkiini;dj squec^d on e^^try scJe by the o^^eTgrowing of the 
ijreat city, and choked^ like an old wellj wiih stones and bricks ; its Miiall 
c[uadrangle$j l>ing down in very^ pits formed by the streets and building^^ 
which, in course of timu, had been toiistiucied above its heavy chimn-jy 
stacks ; its old trccSj insulted by the neighbouring smoke, which deigj^ed 
to droop so low when it was very feeble and the weather very moody ; 
its gr^ss-plots, struggling with the mildevvi^d earth to he grass, or to win 
^ny show of compromise ; its silent pavtments, unaccustomed to the 
tread of fecTj and even to theobser\'atEonof eyes^ except when a scrayface 
looked down from the upper ^vofld, wondering what nook it was ; its 
sun^dtaE in a little bricked-up corn^^fj whi:re no sun had siraggkd far a 
hundred years^ bui where, in compensation for the sun'5 neglect, the 
snow ^vould lie for ^veeks when it l^y nowhere else, and the black east 
wind would spin like a huge humming- top, when in all othei places it wae 
silent and 5tiU, 

His dwelling, iii ics heart and core — wichni doors— ar his fireside — was 
&o lowering and old, so crazy, yet so strong, with its worm-eaten beams of 
wood in the ceiling, and its sturdy Soor sht^Sving do^^Tiward to the grcrat 
oak chimney-piece ; so cn>-^roned and hemmed in by ihe pressure of the 
town, yet so remote in fashion, age, and custom; so quiet, yet 30 
thundering with echoes when a distant voice was raised or a door was 
shut, — echoes, not conrinc:d to the; maoy lo^v passages and empty rooms, 
but rumbling and grumbling till they were stilled in the heavv air of tl^e 
forgotten Crypt where the Korman arches were half-buried in the earth- 

You should have seen him in his dwelling about twilight, in the dead 
mnter rime, 

WTien the wind was blowing, shrill and shrewd, with the going down 
of the blurred sun. %V"hen it was ju^t =0 darfcj as that the forms of tilings J 
Vi-^^e indistinct and big — but not wholly lost. When silvers by the fire jj 
began to see wild faces and figureSj mountains and abysses, ambuscadea- 
and armies, in the coals. When people in the streets bent down tlieir 
heads and ran before the weather. ^Vhen tliose who were obliged to 
meet it, were stopped at angr^" corners, stung by wandering snow-flakes 
alighting on the lashes of tlieir eyes,— which fell too sparingly, and were" 
blown away 100 quickly^ to leave a trace upon the frozen ground. When- 
windows of private houses dosed up tight and warm. When lighted gas] 
begantoburstforthinthebvisvand the quiei streets, fast blackening other-; 
wise. When stray pedestrians, shivering along the latter, looted down' 
at the glowing fires in kitchens, and sharpened their sharp appetites by] 
sniffing up the fragrance of whole miles of dinners. 

When travclleis by land were bitter coldj and looted wearily oni 
gloomy landscapes, rustling and shuddering in the blast. Wlien 
mariners at sea, outlying upon icy yards^ were tossed and swung above 



THE HAUNTED MAN 243 

cLc howling ocoan dreadful!}'. When lighthouses, on rocks and head- 
hndsj showed solitary and watchful ; and benighted seabirds breasted 
on against their ponderous lanrems^ and fell deadn When little readers 
of £tor}'"books^ by the firelight, irembled to think of Cassim Baba cut 
into quarters, hanging in rhe E.obbeis' Cavc^ or had some smail mis- 
givings ihat the fierce Ettie old woman, ^vith the crutch, who used to 
start out of the box iit the merchant Abudah's bedroom^ might, ojIc of 
these ntghtSj be found upon the siain, in the longj cold, dusk/ joutne/ 
up to bed, 

\^^icn, in nisiit places, the last glimmering of daylight dierd away from 
ihc ends of avenues ; and the trees, arching overhead^ were sullen and 
black. When, in paries and woods, the high wet fern and sodden rrtoss, 
and beds of fallen leaves^ artd tmnks of trees, were lost to ^^ew, in masses 
of intpenetrable shade. When mists arose from dyke, and few^ and river. 
\^'lien lights in old halls and in cottage windows, were a cheerful sight. 
When ilie mill stopped^ the wheelwright and the blacksmith shut [heir 
worbhops, the turnpike-gate closed^ the plough and harrow were left 
lonely in the fields, the labot^rer and team went home, and the striking 
of the church clock had a deeper sound than at noon^ and the churchyard 
wicket would be s^vurtg no more th=it night. 

^'iTien twilight ever^^where released the shadowSj prisoned up all day^ 
that now closed in and gathered lite mustering swarms of ghosts. When 
they stood lowering, in comers of rooms, and frowned out from behind 
half-opened doors^ When rhey had full possession of unoccupied apart^ 
meutS- When they danced upon the floors^ and walls, and <:cilirtgs of 
inhabited chambers, whilt the fire was low, and %%^thdrew like ebbing 
waters when it sprang into a blaze. When they fantastically mocked 
the shapes of household objectSj making the nurse an ogressj the rocking- 
horse a monster^ the w^zmdering child, half-scared and halE-amused, a. 
stranger to itself, — the very tongs upon th& hearth, a straddling giant 
wiih his arms a-kimbo, evidently smelling the blood of Englishmen^ and 
wanting to grind people^i bones to make hi^ bread. 

VVlien these shado^Vi brought into the minds of older people, other 
thoughts, and showed them different images. Wlien thev stole from 
their retreats, in the likenesses of f o:ms and f »ce& f rom the pist, from the 
grave, from ttie deep, deep gulf ^ where the things that might have been, 
and never were, are always wandering* 

When he sat, as already mentioned, gaeing at the fire. WheOp as it 
rose and fell, the shadows went and came. When he took no heed of 
them, with his bodily eyes ; but, let liieni come or let ihem go, looked 
fixedly at the &re. You should have seen him^ then, 

V^Tien the sounds that had arisen with the ^dows, and come out of 

their lurking-places at the twilight aummonSj seemed to mate a deeper 

stillness all about him. When the wind was rumbling iq the chimney, 

and Eometimea crooning, sometimes howling, in the house. When the 

^old trees outside svere so shaken and beaten, that one querulous old rook. 



..X^ ik .. 



244 THE HAUNTED MAN 

tinjible to sfeep^ protested now and then, in a fc?ble, dozy, high-np'^ 

*^ Cjw ! " When, at imervals, the window trembled, the rusty vane 
upon the turret-top ccinplamcd, the clock br^neath it recorded that 
another quarter of an hour vva^gonc^, or the fire collapsed and fell fn with 
a lattle. 

— When a tnock cani4^ at his door, in short, as he was sitting so, and 
roused him, 

" Who's that ? ■' said he, " Come in i " 

Surely there had been no figure kaning on the back of his chair ; no 
face looking over it. It is certain that no gliding footstep touched the 
floor^ as he lifted up his head, with a starts and spoke. And yet there 
was no mirror in the room on whose iuiface hisov-nform could have ca&t its 
shadow for a moment ; and Something had passed darkly and gone ! 

" Tm humbly fearful, sir," said a fresh-coloured busy man, holding 
the door open with his foot fur the admission of himself and a woodt-n 
ir:iy he carried, and letting jt go again by vc^ry gentle and careful degrees, 
wlie^i he and the tray hnd got in, Jesi it should close noisily, '' that it's a 
good bit pa^t The time to-night- But Mrs. William has been taken oG 
her logs so often— ^ — " 

*' By the wind .' Ay J I have heard it rising.'^ 

" — By thi? wind, sir — that it's a mercy she got home at all. Oh dear, 
yes. Yes. Jt was by the wind, jMr. Redla^v. By the wind," 

He had, by this time, put down the tray for dinner, and was employed 
in lighting the lamp, and spreading a cloth on the table. From this ; 
employment he desisted in n hutry, to stir and feed the fire, and then . 
resumed it ^ the lamp he had lighted, and ihi; blaze that rose under his ] 
hand, so quickly changing the appearance of the room, that ii seemed as j 
if the mere coming in of his fresh red face and active manner had made jl 
the pleasant alteration. 

" Mrs. William is of course subject at any time, sir, to be taktn ot! her 
balance by the elemE^ts. She is not formed superior to /bar." 

" No," returned Mr. Rcdlaw good-natnndTy, though abruptly. 

'' No, sir. Mrs. VVilliam may be taken off her balance by Eaith ; as 
for example, last Sunday weet, when sloppy and greasy, and she 
going out to tea uith her newest sister-in-law, and having a pride in 
herself, and wishing to appear perfectly spotless though pedestrian. 
Mts. William may be taken off her balance by Air ; as being once over- 
persuaded by a friend to tiy a swing acPccthamFair, whichacted on her 
constitution instantly like a steam-boat, Mrs. VVillJam may be taken 
ofT her balance by Fire ; as on a false alarm of engines at her mother's, 
when she went two miles in her nightcap. Mrs. William may be taken 
off her balance by Water ; as at liaitersea, when rowed into the piers by 
her young nephew, Charley Swidger junior, aged i^velve, which had no 
idea of boats whatever. But these are elements. Mrs, William must be 
taken out of elements for the strengtli of ber character to come into 

play." 



i 



1 



THE HAUNTED MAN HS 

As he Slopped for a reply, the reply was " Yes," in tKe 53me tone as 

" Yiis sir Oh dear, yes ! " said Mr. Swidgcr, BiiU proceeding with 
his preparations, and checking tht-m off aa he mad? tliera. ''That's 
where it k, sir. That's what I alwaj-* ^sy mj-self, sir. Such a many of us 
Swidg^^rs [—Pepper. Why thr:re's my father, sir, superannuated keeper 
and tustodian of iliis Institution, eigh-ty-seven year old. He's a 

Swidger !— Spoon." i v 

"True, WiUiam," was the patienr and abstracted answer, when he 

stopped again. ^. ^ 

"Yea sir " said Mr. Swidger. '' That^ what I always Say, sir. You 
may call him ihe trank of the tree [—Bread. Then you come to his 
successor, my unworthy self— Salt— and Mrs. William, Swidgers both.— 
Knife and fork. Then j-ou come to all my brothers and their families, 
Swidgers, man and woman, boy and girl. Why^ "'^at with cousms, 
uncles, aunts, and relationships of this, that, and t'other degree, and 
whai-noE-degrce, and marriages, and lyings-in, the Swidger?— Tumbler 
—might take hold of hands, and mate a ring round England 1 " 

Receiving no reply at all here, from the tiioughtful man whom he 
addressed, Mr. William approached him nearer, and made a feint of 
accidentally knocking the table with a decanter, lo rouse him. The 
moment he succeeded, he went on, as if in great alacrity of acquiescence. 

" Yes, sir J 'l^at's just what I say myself, sir. Mis. William and me 
have often said so. 'There's S^vidgers enough/ wc say, * without our 
voluntary contributions,'- Butter. In fact, sir, my father is a family m 
himself— 'Castors— to take care of ; and it happens all for the best that 
we have no child of our own, tliough it's made Mrs. William rather quiet- 
like, too. Quite ready for the fowl and mashed potatoes, sir ? Mrs. 
William said she d di^h in ten minutes when I left the Lodge.'' 

" I am quite ready/' said the other, waking as from a dieam, and walk- 
ing slowly i:o and fro, 

" Mrs. William has been at it again, sir I " said the keeper, as he stood 
warming a plate at the fire, and pleasantly shading his face xvith it, Mr. 
Redlaw stopped in his walking, and an expression of mteicst appeared m 

" What I always say mi-self, sir. She wili do it [ There's a motherly 
feeling In Mrs. William's 'breast that must and will have went ."■ 
*' What ha^ she done ?" .. 

" Why, sir, not satisfied with being a sort of mother to all the young 
gentlemen diat come up from a wariety of parts, to attend your courses 
of lectures at this ancient foundation- it's surprising how stone-ehaney 
catches the heat this frost>' weather, to be sure !" Here he turned the 
plate, and cooled his fingers, 
'' Well ?^' said Mr. Redlaw. 

"That's just what I say myself, sir," returned Mr. William, speaking 
J orer his shoulder, as if in ready and dehghted assent. " That's exactly 



i 



./ 



2^6 THE HAUNTED MAN 

where ir is, sir J TTiere ain^t one of our students but appears to regard 
Mrs- William in thai lighi. Every day^ right through the course, ihcy 
puts their heads into die iodge^ one after another^ and have all goi 
something to tell her^ or something to ask her. * Swidgc * is the appdJa- 
tion by which they speak of Mrs. William in general, among themselvcf, 
Tm told ; but that's what I say^ sir. Better he called ever so far out of 
your name, if it's done in real liUng, than have it made ever so much of, 
and not csied about ! What^s a name for ? To know a person by* If 
Mrs. William Is known by something better than her name — I allude to 
Mrs. WiJliam^s qualities and disposition — never mind her name, thoiigh 
it tj Swidger, by rig^hts. Let ^em call her Swidge, Widge^ Brid^;e — 
Lord ] London Bridge, Blackfriars^ Chelseaj Putney, WaterToOj or 
Hamroersmith Suspension — if they lite." 

The c[o5£ of thi$ tiuimphanc oration brought him and the plate to the 
tabkj upon which he half laid and half dropped it, with a lively sense of 
its being thoroughly heated^ just as the subject of his praises entered the 
room, bearing another tray and a lantern^ and followed by a venerable 
old man with, long gtey hair. 

Mrs. William^ liic Mt. Wiilianij was a simple^ innocent-looking person, 
In whose smooth checks the cheeTf^d red of her husband's official waist- 
coat wa^ y^rj pleasantly repeatedn But whereas Mr- William^s light 
hair stotxi on end all over his head^ and seemed to draw his eyes up with 
it in an excess of bustling readiness for anything, the dark brouTi hair of 
Mrs* William was carefully smoothed down^ and waved away under a 
trim tidy cap, jn the most exaci and quiet manner imaginable. Whereas 
Mr, William's v^iv trousers hitched themseh'es up at the ankles^ as if it 
were not in their iron-grey nature to rest without looking about them, 
Mrs. William's neatly- flowered skirts — red and Whn^^ like her o^vn 
pretty face — were a3 composed and orderly^ as if the v^ty wind that blew 
so hard out of doors could not disturb one of their folds* Whereas his 
coat had something of a fly-away and half-off appearance about the 
colbr and breast^ her little bodice was so placid and neat, that there 
should have been protection for her, in it^ had she needed any^ with ihe 
roughest people, Ulio could have had the heart to make ^o calm 3 
bosom swell ^^iih grief^ or throb with fear, or flutter wiih a thought of 
shame! To whom would its repose and peace have noi appealed 
against disturbance, like the innocent slumber of a child I 

" Punctnalj of course, Miily/* said her husbanJj relieving her of the 
tiay, ** or it wouldn^t be you. Here's Mrs- William^ sir! — He looks 
lonelier than ever lo-nightj" whispeiing to his wife^ as he was taking the 
tray, " and ghostlier altogether." 

Without any show of hurry or noise* or any show of herself e^en, she 
was so calm and quiet, Milly set tlie dishes she had brought upon ihe 
table^ — Mr, William, after much clattering and running about, having 
only gained possession of a butter-boat of gravy, which he stood ready 
to setve. 



« 



THEHAUNTEDMAN 247 

" ^^l>aI is that the old maa has in his arms ? " asked Mi. Redlaw^ as 
he sat down 10 his solitary meal. 

" tfollv* sir," rephed the quiet voice of Milly. 

"That's what I say myself, sir," interpos?d Mr. William, siEiting in 
viiih. the butter-boat. " Berries is so seasonable to the time of year ! — 
Brown gravy ! " 

" AnoiKer Christmas come, another year gone!" murmured the 
Chemist* with a gloomv sigh, " More figures in the lengtheinng sum of 
rt'coUection. that we work and work at to our torment, till Di:ath idiy 
jumbles all together, and rubs all ont. So Philip ! " breaking oK, and 
raising his voice aa he addre^^ed the old man, standing apart, wi^h his 
glistening burden in his arras, from which die quiet Mrs. William toot 
small branches, which she noiselessly trimmed with her scissors, and 
decorated the room with, while htr aged fathet-in-Uw looted on much 
irjtere^tcd in tJse ceremony, 

" My dutv to you, sir," returned the old man. " Should have spoke 
before, sir, but knoiv your w^ys, Mr. Redlaw— proud to say — and wait 
til] spoke to 1 Merry Chiisimas, sir, and Happy Ne\v Year, and many of 
'em. Have had a pretty many of 'em myse^ — ha, ha \ — and may take 
the liberty of mshfng 'em. Tm eighty-seven ! " 

" Have you had 50 many that were merry and happy ? " asked the 
other. 

" Ay, sir, ever so many," reiirrned the old man- 

'^ Is his memor)' impaired wiih age ? Ir is to be expected now,'* said 
Mr. Rcdlaw, turning to the son, and speaking lower. 

'^Nol a mor?el of it, sir," replied Mr. William. *' That's exactly 
what r say myself, sir. There never was such a memory as my faihcr'5. 
He's the most wonderful nian in the world. He don't knov/^ what 
forgetting means. It's the very observation I'm always making to Mrs, 
William, sir, if you'll beUeve me ! " 

Mr, Swidgcr, in his poUte desire to seem to acquiesce at all events, 
delivered this as if there were no iotj of contrsdictiDn in it, and it were 
all said Jn unbounded and um^ujlified assent. 

The Chtmist pushed hk piate away, and, rising from the table, walked 
acro^ the room to where the old man stocni looking at a little sprig of 
holly in his hand. 

" It recalls the time when many of those years were old and new, 
thee i " he said, observing him attentively, and touching him on the 
shoulder, *'DocsiTf " 

" Oh many, many ! "said Philip j lialf awaking from his reverie. " I'm 
eighty-seven 1 " 

" Merry and happy, ^vas it ? " a^led the Chemist in a low voice. 
" Merry and happy, old man .' " 

" Maybe as high as that, no higher," said the old man, holding oat his 
hand a Uttle way above the level of his tnee, and looking retrospectively 
at his questioner, '' when I 6rst remember 'em ! Cold, sunshiny day it 



/ 



/ 



24S THE HAUNTED MAN 

was, out a-walking, when some one— it was my mother as 5ure as 7011 
staad there, though I don't tnow what her bEessed f^ce was like^ for she 
looit ill find died Oiat Chris tmas-timc — told mc they were food for bSrds- 
The pretty tittle fellow thought — that's me^you understand — -thai birds^^ 
eyes were ^o brightj pcrhapSj because the berries that they lived on in the 
winter w^ie so bright* 1 recollect that. And I'm eighty-seven ! " 

*^ Merry and happy I " mused the other, tending hia dark eyes upon 
the £toopjng figure, with a smEle of conip3ss(on. '' Merry and happy — 
and remember well i " 

^' Ay, ay^ ay ! ^^ resumed the old man, catching the la?t worda. " I 
remember *Lm wcil in my school time^ year after year, and all flie merry- 
making that used to come nlong with them. I was a strong ehap then, 
Mr- Redliiw ; and, i£ you^il believe me, hndn't my match at football 
within ten mile. Whereas my son William ? HadnH my match at 
footballj William^ within fen mile ! " 

'^ That^s what I always ^ay, father ! '^ returned the son promptly^ and 
with great respect. " You are a Swidgetj i£ ever there was one of the 
family ! " 

*^ Dear ! " said the old man, shaking his head as he again lool^cd at tlie 
holly- *^ Hii mother — my soti William's my youn^st son — and 1, have 
sat among *em all, boy^ and girls, little children and babies, many a year, 
when the berries like these ^vere not shining half so bright all round tts^ 
as their bright faces. Many of ^em are gone ] she^s gone ; and my son 
George (our eldc^^c, who ^vas her ptidc more than all the re^t !) is fallen 
very low ; but I can see rhcrUj ^vhcn 1 look here, alive and healthy^ as 
iliey used to be in those days ; and 1 can see hira^ thank Godj in his' 
innocence- It's a blessed thing to me, at eighty-seven.*' 

The Veen look thai had been fixed upon him with so much earnestness, 
had gradually sought the ground. 

*^ When my circumstances got to be not so good as formerly, through 
not being honestly dealt by, and I first come here to be custodi.in/' said 
the old man, ^^ ^vhich was up^vards of fifty years ago— whereas my son 
William P More than half a century ago^ William ! " 

" Thai^s what I say, father," replied the son^ as promptly and duti-* 
fulJy as before, '* that's exactly where it is. Two times ought^s an oughtj 
and twice five ten, and there's a hundred of Vmn^' 

'' — It was quite a pleasure to know that one of oiir founders — or more 
correctly JpeaUng/' said the old man, \vith a great glory in his subject 
snd hh knowledge of it, *^ one of the learned gentlemen char helped 
endow us in Queen Elizabeth's time, for we were founded afore her day— 
left in his will, among the other bequests he made us, so much to buy 
holly, for garnishing the walls and windows come Christmas. There 
was something homely and friendly in it, Being but strange here^ thcn^ 
and coming at Christmas time, we took a liking for his very picter that 
hangs in what used to be, anciently, afore our ten poor gentlemen com- 
muted for an annual stipend in money^ our great Dinner HalL — A 



THEHAUNTEDMAN a^ 

sedate gentleman in a peaked beard, with, a mif round his nedr, and a 
scroll bdowhim, in old English loittrs^ ' Lord [ teep my memory green [ ' 
You kno^v all about him, Mr, Redlaw ? " 

*' I know ihe portrait hangs there, Philip," 

'* Yes, surt', it's the ^cond on the right, above the panqlTing. I was 
going to say — he has helped to keep my memory green, i thank him ; for 
^ing round the building every year, as Tm a doing now, and freshening 
up the bare rooms ivirh thew biandics and berries, freshens up my bare 
oid brain. One year brings back another^ and that year another, and 
thois others numbers J Ai last, it seems tome as if the birth- time of our 
Lord was the binh-time of aU I have ever had affection for, or mourned 
for, or delighted in, — and they're a pretty many, for Fm eighiy-seven ! " 

'* Merry and happy/' murmured Redlaw to himself. 

The room btgan to darken strangely, 

*' So you see, sir,'' pursued old Philip, whose hale wintry cheek had 
warmed into a ruddier glow, and whose blue eye* had brightened while 
he spoke, " i h-ivc plenty to keep, when I licep this preEent session. Now, 
Where's my quid MoEise ? Chattering's the sin of my time of hfe, and 
There's half the building to do yet, if the cold don't freeje us first, or the 
wind don't blow us away, or the darkness doa*t swallow us up," 

The quiet Mouse had brought her calm face to his side, and silently 
lakcn his arm, before he finished speaking. 

"Come away, my dear," said the old man, "Mr, Redlaw won't 
settle to his dinner, otherwise, liD it's cold as the '.vinter. I hope you'll 
e^;tuse me rambUng on, sir^ and I wish you good night, and, once again. 



a merry " 



Stay ] " said Mr. Redlaw, resuming his place at the table, more, it 
M'ould have seemed from his manner, to re-assure the old keep^^r, tlian in 
any remembrance of his own appetite. '^ Spate rnc another moment, 
Philip. William, you weie going to tell me something to your excellenc 
ivife's honour. It ^vill not be disagreeable to her to heai yon praise her. 
What was it}^ 

" Why^ that's where it Is, you see, ^r," returned M^r. William Swldgov 
looking towards his wife in considerable embarrassment- "Mrs. 
Wilham^s got her eye upon me." 

" But you're not afraid of Mrs. \Vllliara^$ eye f '' 
'^ V^liy, no, sir," returned Mt- Swidger, " that's what I say myself. Tt 
wa&n't made to be afraid of. It wouldn't have been made: so mild, if 
-.^ that was tlie intention. But 1 wouldn't like tj— Milly I — him, you know. 
'Down in the Buildings." 

j Mi. \V'ii]jam, standing behind the rable, and rummaging disconcertedly 
'famong the objects upon it, directed persuasive glances at Mts. William, 
and secret jerks of his head and thumb at Mr. Redlaw, as alluring her 
toHnrds him. 

"Him, you know, my love,'* said Mr. William, "Do^tii in the 
Buildings. Tell, ray dear ! You're the works of Shakespeare in com- 



I ft: 



//'^ 



250 THE HAUNTED MAN 

parison ^ith myself. Dowd in the Buildings, you know, my Iotc— 

Slodent," . . , . , , 

*' Student f " repeated Mr, kt-Ah^, raising his head. _ _ 

" Tlut^s tvhat I &ay, 5ir 1 " cried Mr. William, in the utmost animation 

of assent '* If i^ wasn^t thi: poor student down in the Buildings, why 

should you ^^^s^l to hear Ji from Mrs. William's iips f Mrs, William, my 

dear — BuilJi ng3 .' ' 




sir— and y^ry poor, I am afraid— vvS.o is too ill to go iiome this lioliday- * 
lime, and llve^, unknown to any one, in but a common kind oHodging ' 



for a gi^ntleman. down in JtruEakm Buildings. That's all, sir. 
'■WTivhjtvelneverhtardofhira ': "said the Chemist, rising I 






hurriodJF. 



" Why has he not made his situation known to me ? Sick !— give me my ] 

har and cloak. Pnor!-wbat house ?— what number ? " _ jj 

" Oh, 70U miisuri ^> tltere, sir,'' said MJlly, leaving hcrfather-m-law, ■■-_ 

and calmly confronting him with her collected little face and folded . 

hands. 
" Not go there ? " . 

** Oh dcnr, no!" said Miiiy, shaking her head Its at a most manifest and . 

self-evident impossibility- " It couldn't be thought of ! " ) 

" What do you mean ; Mliy not ? '' ^* 

" Whv, you see, sir," said Mr. William Swidger, pcrsuairively and con- 1 
fideruiaily, '' th.it's wliat I say. Depend upon it, the y<kung gentleman 
would never have made his situation tnnwn to one of his own icx. Mrs. j 
WiDiam has got into hi^ confidence, but that^s quite different. They all 
confide in Mrs. William ; iJicy aW trust hi-r. A man, sir, couldn't have ^ 
got a whi&per out of him; but wtjman, sir, and Mrs. William com-'-f. 

bjti(^d !" .. . , ? 

''There is good sense and dtlicacy in what you say, W'illiam/' re- ^^ 
turned Mr. Redlaw, observant of the gentle and co^npo^ud face at his ^j 
shoulder- And laying his Eingt^t on hb lip, he secretly put his purse into j 
her hand. / 

" Oh di:ar no, sir ! '' cried MiDy, giving it back again. *' \^or$e and - 

worse ! Couldn't be dreamed of [ " ^ 

Such a staid maittr-of-fact houscinfe she was, and so unruflled by the !■ 

momeniar}' haste 01 thii rejection, that, a.t insi.iut afterwards, she was ' 

tidily picking up a few leaves ^vhich had strayed from bet^vten her'^ 

BcEssors and her apron, when she h,id arranged the holly. !^ 

Finding, when she ro^e from hct stooping posture, that Mr, Redlaw'. 

WiS siiU regarding her with doubt and astonishment, &he quietly repeated J | 

—looking about, the while, fur any other fragments that might have . 

e^apcd her observation ; ^ 

" OJi dear no, sir ! He ^aid that of all the world he would not be'; 

known to you, or receive help from you — though he is a student in your 



T H E H A U N T E D M A N zp 

clais. 1 have made no terras of secrecy wirh you, but I trust to your 
honour completely-" 

'' Why did he aay so i " 

^' Indeed I can't tell, sit," said Milly, jftcr thinking a MnU, " because 
1 am not at all dcvcr, you know ; 3nd I waated to be useful to him in 
makmg things neat aad comfortable about him, and employed myself 
that way. But I know he is poor, and lonely, and i think he k somehow 
neglected too. — How dark it is ! " 

The room had darkened moic and more. There waa 4 very heavy 
gloom and shadoiv gathering behind the Chemist^s chair. 

''What more about him ^ " he asked. 

"-He is engaged to be niariied when he can afford iij'* siiid Milly, 
*' :n\d is studying, I think, to qualify himself to earn a living, 1 have ^ccn, 
a long time, that he ha^ studied hard and denied himself much. — Hovir 
very dark it is J " 

" Ir^s turned colder, too," said the old man, rubbing his hands. 
"There's a chill and dismal feeling in the room. Where's my son 
William ? WiUi^m, my boy» cuin tlie lamp, and louse tlie fire ! ** 

iVIilly^s voice resumed, like quiet music very softly played ; 

" He muttered in his brokeJ> sleep yesterday afternoon^ after talking 
lo me" (this was to herself) "about some one dead, and some great 
wron^ done thar could never be forgotten ; but whether to him or to 
another person, I don*t know. Kot fiy him, I am sure/' 

" And,in short, Mrs. William, you see— which she would -r't say herself, 
Mr. Redlaw, ifihewas lo stop here till the newyear after this next one — " 
said Mr- William, coming up to him to speal in his ear, " has done him 
worlds of good ! Ii1e$s you, worlds of good I All at home ju«t the same 
as ever — my father made as snug and comfortable — not a crumb of litter 
to be found in the hou^e, if you were to oifcr fifty pound ready money 
for it— Mrs, William apparently never out of rhe way— yet Mrs. William 
backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards, up and down, up and 
down, a mother to him ! " 

Tlia room turned darker and colder* and the gloom and shadow 
gathering behind the chair was heavier, 

•' Kot content with this, sir. Mis. William goes and finds, this very 
night, when she was coming home (ivhy it':* nnt above a couple of hours 
ago), a creature more likeayounj^'Wild beast than a young child, shivering 
upon a doorstep. What docs Mrs- Wiliianido, but brings it home to dry 
it, and feed it, and keep ir till our old Bounty of food and flannel is given 
away, on Christmas morning I If It ever felt a i:re before, it's as much as 
' ever it did ; for it^d sitting in tht: old Lodge chimney, staring at ours as if 
i its ravenous eyes would never shut again. It's sitting tliete, at least," 
said Mr. William, correcting himself, on reflection, " unless it^s bolted ! " 

" Heaven keep her happy ! " said the Chemist aloud, " and you too, 
Philip i and you, William ! I must eonsider what to do in this, i may 
Ji desire to see this student, I'll not dt^tain you longer now. Good night 1 " 



ll—J-. M^- - «^,.„ — JiJ. 



25Z THE HAUNTED MAN 

*' I rhanX^ee, &ir, 1 thant'ce ! " said the old man^ '" for Mou?e, and for 
my son William, nnd for my&clf. W'here's my son William ? William, 
j-ou take the lantern and go on first, through thorn long dail: passages^ as 
you did last y^sY nnd the year afore. Ha ha ! / remember— though I'm 
ti[^ht}'-st^vcn ! ^ Lord teep my memory green I ' It's a very good 
prayer^ Mr. RedJaw, that erf the It^arncd gentleman in the peated beard, 
with a ruf^ round hh neck — hangs up, second on the right above the 
pjnglling, in what used lo be, afore our ten poor gentlemen commuted, 
our great Dinner 5Iall. ' Lord keep my memory ^leen J ' It's very 
good and pious, sir. Amen J Amen ! " 

As ihcy passed out and shut the heavy door, which* however carefully 
■VL-ithheld, fired a long trnin of tliundering reverberations when it shut at 
lasl^ the room turned darter. 

As he fel! a muring in hi5 chjiic alone, the healthy holly withered on 
the wall, and dropped — dead brandies. 

As the gloom and shadow thickened behind him, in that plaee where It 
had been gathering io darkly^ it took* by ^low degree?, — or out of it there 
came, by some unreal, unsubstantial process—not to be frrrced hy any 
human sense, — an a^.^iul lit:eneas of himself ! 

Gha^ily and cohi, colourless in its leaden face and hands, but with his 
features^ and his bright cy^is, and hia grizzled hair, and dressed in the 
gloomy shadow of his dress, ir came into his terrible appcEiiance of exist- 
ence, motionless, without a sound. Aa Z'J le?ined his arm upon the elbow 
of his chair, ruminating before the fire, it leaned upon the chair-back, 
close above him, with its appalling copy of his face looking where his face 
looked, and bearing the expression bis face bore. 

'l"his, then, was the Somtthing thai had prisscd and gone aheady. 
This was thi: liread companion of the haunted man ! 

Ji took, for some moments, no more apparent heed of him, ihan he of 
ii. The: Christmas Waits were playing somewhere in ihe distance, and, 
through liis tlioughifuhiess, he seemed to listen to the music. It aeeracd 
to haten loo. 

At length he spoke ; ivithoui moving or lifting up his f^ce. 
■" Here again ! '* he said. 

"Here ag.iin,'' replied the Phantom. 

" I sec you in the fire.'' said the haunted man ; '* I hear you in the 
muaic, in the wind, in the dead stillness of the night " 

The Phantom moved its head, assenting. 

" Why do you come, to haunt me tltus i " 

"1 come as I am called," rtplicd the Gho^t. 

** No. Unbidden," e^ickimed the Chemist, 

*' Unbidden be it," said the Spectre. " It is enough. I am here." 

Hidierto the: light of the fire had shone on the two faces— if the dread l 
Imeaments behind the chair might be called a face— both addressed I 
towards it, as at first, and neither looking at the other. But now, the 
hau:ited man turned, suddenly, and stared upon the ChMt, The 



THE HAUNTED MAN 253 

Ghost, as sudden in its motion^ paaacd to before the chair, and stared on 
him. 

The living man, and rhe animated image of himself dead, might ?o have 
looked, ihe one upon the other. An aivful sur^'ey, in J lonely and remote 
part of an tmptj' old pile of building, on a winter night, with the loud 
wind going bj' upon its jonrne}' of mystery- — whence, or whither, no man 
knowing since the tvorid began— and the £tar$, in unimaginable millions, 
glittering through itj from eternal space, where the world's bulk is as a 
grain, and its hoary age is infancy. 

'* Look upon me ! " said the Spectre, ** T am he, neglected in my 
yourh, and miserably poor, who strove and suffered, and still strove and 
suffered, until I liewed our knowledge from the mine where it was buried, 
and made ru^ed steps thereof, for my ^vorn feet to rest and ri^t on.'^ 

" I nm that man,^* returned the Chemist, 

'* No mother's self-denying love," pursued the Phantom, '* no fadier's 
counsel, aided me^ A stranger came inro lav fatlicc^s place when I was 
but a child, and I was easily an alien from my motlier's heart. My 
parents, »t tlie best, were of that sort whose care soon ends, and whose 
duty is soon done ; who cast their offspring loose, earl)'", as birds do theirs ' 
and, if they do ^^11, claim the merit ; and, if ill, the pity." 

Ir paused, and seemed to tempt and goad him ivith its loot, and v-ith 
the manner of its speech, and ivith its smile, 

" I am be," pursued the Phantom, '* who, in this struggle upward, 
found a friend, 1 made him — won him — bound him to me ! We 
iiorked together, side by side. All the love and confidence that in my 
earlier youtli had had no outlet, and found no expression, I befitoived on 
him." 

" Not all," said Redlaw, hoarsely. 

■^ No, not all," returned the Phantom. " I had a sister.*' 

The haunted man, with his head resting on his hands, replied " I 
had ! " The Phantom, with an cviL smile, dre^v closer to the chair, and 
renting its chin upon its folded hands, its folded hands upon the back, and 
looting down into hia face with searching eyes, that seemed instinct with 
lire, went on : 

'* Suchglimpsesof the light of home as I had ever known, had streamed 
from her. How young she was, how fair, howlo^nng ! I toot hi:r to the 
first poor roof that I was master of, and made it rich. She came into the 
darkness of my life, and made it bright. — She is before me ! " 

" I saw her, in the fiic, but now. I hear her in music, in the ivind, in 
the dead stillness of the night," returned the haunted man. 

^^ Did he \o\'ii her : " said the Phantom, eciioing his contemplative 
tone. " I thint he did, once, I am sure he did. Better had she loved 
him less — less secretly, less dearly, from the shallower depths of a more 
divided heart ! " 

S* " Lee me forget It ! '^ said the Chemist, with an angiy motion of his 
hand. " Let me bloc it from my memory ! " 



:j 



I 



25+ THE HAUNTED MAN 

The Spectre, without stirring, and with its xjnwinking, cruel eyes still j 

fixed upon his i-icf, went on : 

" A dream, lib hers, &Eole upon my own life/' 

» Tt did," said Redlaw. 

*' A love, as lite hers," purE^ued tht Phantom, " a^ my inferior nature 
might cherish, arose in my own heart. I was too poor to bind its object 'j 
to mv fortune then, by any thread oE promise or entresly. I loved her -j 
inT loo well, to stsk to doit. But, more than ever I had striven in my | 
life, I strove to ulimh. Only an inch gained, brought me something '. 
nearer to the height. 1 toiled up ! In the late pauses of my labour at ^ 
thai time,— my sister {5\vcci companir>n !) still sharing with me the ^ 
expiring ember$ and the cooling health,— when day was breaking, what 
pictures of the future did I see ! ' 

■■ 1 saw them, irt die fire, but now," he murmured. *' They come m 
back to me in music, in the wind, in the dead stillness of the night, in the | 
revolving years." 5 

" — PictiTtes of my own domestic life, in after-time, with her who was "^ 
the inspiration of my toil. Pictures of my sister, made the wife of my 
dear ftlend, on equal terms — for he had some inheritance, vjc none — ,, 
pictures of our sobered ^ge and mellowed luppiness, and of the golden ? 
lints, extending bach io in^, that should bind ue^ and our children, in a ^ 
rai^nt garland," said the Phantom. | 

" Pictures," said the haunted man, ^' that were delusions. Wliy is it 3 
my doom to remember them too w'cM J " 

" Delusions," echoed the Piiafitom in its changeless voice, and glaring 
on him with its changeless eyes. '' For my friend (in whose breast my 
conKdence wis locked as in my own), passing beti^'een me and the centre j 
of the system of my hopes and struggles, won her to hiTnself, and shattered 
my frail universe. My sister, doubly dear, doubly devoted, doubly 
cheerful in my home, lived on to sec me famous, and my old ambition so 
rewarded when it? sprini; ^va3 broken, and ihen " 

" Then died," he interposed. " Died, gentle as ever ; happy ; and 
with no concern but for lier brother. Peace 1 " 

1*he Phantom watched him silently. 

*' Remembered [ ^' said the haunted man, after a pause- " Yes. So 
iveil remembered, that even now, when years have passed, and nothing is - -'- 
more idle or more visionary to me than the boyish love so long outhved, 
I think of it with s^nnpathy, as if it were a younger brother's or a son's. 
Sometimes 1 evt-n ^vonder wlien her heart first inclined to him, and how 
it had been affected towards me.— Xot lightly, once, 1 think. — But that ' ; 
is nothing. Early unhappine&s, a wound from a hand I loved and trusted, ■ ^ 
and a loss thai nothing can replace, outlive such fancies.'* 

" Thus," said the Phantom, " I bear ^vithin me a Sorrow and a Wrong. . 
Thus 1 pre>' upon myself. Thus, mcmury i^ my curse ; and, if I could 
forget my sorrow and my wrong, I would ! " 

Mocker 1 "said the Chemist, leaping up, and making, with a wrathful . 

! 

■ i 



« 



IIJ^ >■ . ■ ^lA^^ J jJrJ J ^^ 



THE HAUNTED MAN 255 

hand, jt the tUr^at of liis other self. '^ Whj have 1 always thit taunt in 
my ears f '* 

" Forbtar J " excbimcj the Spi^ctre in an awful voice. " Lay a hand 
on Me, and die J *' 

He *to}?pcd midway, as if its words had paralysed him, and stood look-- 
TfiETOnit. Ithadgiidi^J from him ; itUadiisarm raised high in warning; 
and a &mi]e passed over Its unearthJy fcaiures, as it reared its dark figure 
in triumph. 

** If I could forget my sorrow and wrong, I would," the Ghost 
repeated. ■' If I could forget my sorrow and my wrong, I would f '^ 

'* Evil spirir of myself," returned tlte haunted man, in a low, trembling 
lone, '' my life is darkened by iliai incessant whisper." 

*" It is an echo," SJid the Phantom. 

'* If it be an echo of my thoughts — as now, indeed, I know it is," 
rejoined tht? haunted man, '* why sivould I^ therefore, be tormented ,' 
It la not a selfish thought. I suffer h to range beyond m^'self. All men 
iind women have their sorrows, — must of them their wrongs i ingrati- 
tude, and sordid jealousy, and interest, besetting all degrees of life. Who 
would not forget their sorrows and thtJr wrongs 7 " 

*' Who would not, truly, and be the happier and better for it ? '* &aid 
the Phantom. 

^' These rcvohitions of years, width wl' commemorate," proceeded 
Rt]dUw, '* what do rbsy recall ! Are there any minds in which ihey Jo 
not re-flwaker some sorrow, or some trouble t What is die remembrance 
of the old man who was here to-night I A tissue of sorrow and trouble.'* 

'* But common nattire^,'* said the Phantom, ^viih its evil smile upon its 
glassy face, '* unenlightened minds and ordinary spirits, do not fetl or 
reason on these things like men of higher cultivation and profounder 
thought." 

" Tempter," answered Redlaw, " whose hollow look and voice I dread 
more than words can express, and from whom some dim foi-eshadowing 
of greater fear is stealing over me while I speak, I hear again an echo of 
my own mind." 

"Receive it as a proof that I am powerful,'' returned the Ghost, 
" Plear what i oSer ! Forget the sorrow, wrong, and trouble you have 
Inown ! " 

" Forget them ! " he repeated, 

" I have the power to cancel their remembrance — to leave but very 
faint, confused traces of them, that will die out soon," returned the 
Spectre. *' Siy [ Is it done f '? 

*' Stay 1 " cried die haunted man, arrestinjj by a terrified gesture the 
uplifted hand, " I tremble with distrust and doubt of you ; and the 

tdini fear you cast upon me deepens into a nameless horror I can hardly 
-bear. — I would not deprive myself of any kindly recollection, or anj 
; sympathy that is good for me, or others. What shall I lose, if I 
assent to this I What ehe will pass from my remembrance P " 



II 

f , 

Vl 



:\k. 



2 



2^6 THE HAUNTED MAN 

" No knowledge ; no result of study ; nothing but the intertwisted 
chain of f<;elings and associations, eacli in 'ts tmn dependent on, and 
nouri&hcd hy, the banished recoUections. Tho?e vnW go," 

" Are thcv so maTiy ? " said tho haunted man, reflecting in alarm. 

^* They have been wont to show themselves in the fire, in music, in the 
wind, in the dead stillness o£ the nighl, in the revolving years/' returned 
the P)i:intoin scornfully. 

*' In nothing else ?" 

The Phantom held ic^ pe3i:e- 

But haiH-ing stood before him, silent, for a little while, it moved 
towards the fire i then stopped. 

** Decide 3 " it said, *' before the opportumty is Ion [ 

'' A moment ! I call Heaven to witness," said the agitated man, 
*' ihat 1 h-tve never been a hater of my Icind, — niivnt morose, Indifferent, 
or hard, Co anything around me. If, living here alone, I have made too 
much of all that was and might have been, and too little of what is, the 
evil, I believe, has fallen on me, and not on others. But, if thi:re were 
poiwn in my body, should I not, possessed of antidotes and Lnowledge 
how to use them, use them ? If there be poison in my mind, and 
through this fearful shadow 1 can cast it out, shall I not cast it out i " 

*' Say," said thu Spectre, '' is ii done : '' 

" A moment longer ! '' he answered hurriedly, '' / ^okldjprgfl it if I 
fould! Have / thought lliai, alone, or has it been the thought of 
thousands upon thousands, generation after generation ? All human 
mfemoiy is fraught with sorrow and trouble. My memory is as the 
memory of other men, but other men have not this choice. Yes, 1 close 
the baigain. Yes ! I ^^'ILl forget my sorrow, wrong, and trouble ! " 

*' Say," said the Spectre, '' ii it done f " 

"Itis!" 

'^ 1 1 IS. And take this with you, man w^om T here renounce ! The 
gift thai I have given, you shall give again, go where you will. Without 
recovering voursclf the power that you have yielded up, you shall hence- 
forth desiiov its like in all ivhom you approach. Your wisdom has 
discovered that the m.emory of sorrow, wrong, and trouble is the lot of 
all mankind, and that mantind would be the happier, in its other 
memories, witliout it. Go i Be its benefactor! Freed from such 
remembrance, from this hour, carry involuntarily the blessing of such 
freedom with you. its diffusion is inscpatabte and inalienable from you. 
Go ! Be h:^ppy in the good vou hai'e woji, and in rhe good you do ! '^ 

The Phantom, which had held its bloodless hand above him while it 
spoke, as if in some unholy invocation, or some ban; iind which had 
gradually advanced its eyes so close to his that he could see how they did 
not pjrticipai.e in the terrible smile upon its face, but were a fixed, 
unalterable, steady horror ; melted before him and was gone. 

As he stood roon:d to the spot, po^&es=ed by fear and wonder, and 
imagining he heard repeated in melancholy echoes, dying avvay fainter 











r^f' B-1'inUd Miin 



i 

L 

i 



THE HAUNTED MAN 257 

arid faintcFj the words^ ^^ Destroy its Hkfi in all whom you approach I '* a 
shrill cry reached his ear$- It came, not from, the passages beyond the 
dooij but from another pait of the old building, and sounded lite the cry 
of some one in the dart who had lost the way. 

He looked confusedly upon his hands and limbs, as if to be assured of 
his identtty, and then shouted in reply^ loudly and wildly ; for there was 
a strangeness and terror upon him^ as if he too were lost. 

The cry respondingj and being nearer, he caught up the ianip, and 
raised a heavy curtain in the wall, by which he was accustomed to pass 
into and out of the theatre where he lectured^ — wlilch adjoined his room- 
Associated with youth and animation^ and a high, amphitheatre of faces 
which his entrance charmed to interest in a tnoment^ it was a ghostly 
place when all this life was faded out of it, and stared upon him like an 
emblem of Death* 

'' Halloa 1 '^ he cried. '^ Halloa ! This way ! Come to the light ! " 
WlieUj as he held the curtain with one hand^ and with the other raUed 
the lamp and tried to pierce the gloom that filled the place^ something 
rushed past him into the room like a wild-cat, and crouched down En a 
comer* 

'' What is it ? " he said, hastily. 

He might have a$i;cd " What is it ? ** even had he seen it well, as 
presently he did when he stood looting at it gathered up in its cornet. 

A bundle of tatters, held together by a hand, in size and form ahnost 
an infant's, but in its greedy, desperate little clutch, a bad old man's. A 
face rounded and smoothed by some half-do^en years, but pinched and 
u^istcd by the experiences of a lifCn Bright eyes, but not youthful. 
Naked feet, beautiful in their childish delicacyj — ugly in the blood and 
dirt that cracked upon them. A baby savage, a young monsier, a child 
whohadneverbeenachtld^acreaturc who might hvc to take the outward 
form of man, but who, widiin^ would live and perish a mere beast. 

Ustd^ already^ to be worried and hunted like a beast, the boy crouched 
do^vn as he was looked at, and looked back again, and interposed his arm 
to ward off the expected bloW- 

'' ril bite," he said, *' if you hit me I " 

The time had been, and not many minuies since^ when such a sight as 
this would have wrung the Chemist^s heart. He looked upon it now, 
coldly ; but with a heavy effort to remember something — he did not 
know what — he asked tht; boy what he did therc^ and wK<?nce he came, 

" Whereas the woman ? " he replied, " 1 want to find the woman/* 

*^Who?" 

** The woman. Her that brought me here, and set me by the large 
fire. She was so long gone^ that I went to look for her, and lost myseJi, 
I don't want you, I want the woman^" 

He made a spring, so suddenly, to get away, that the dull sound of his 
naked feet upon the floor was near the curtain, when P ^dlaw caught Lim 
by his rags. 



hn.. 



1 



258 THE HAUNTED MAN 

" Come ! yog kt me go 1 " muiitrcd the hoy, struggling, and clench- 
fne his teeth. " I've done nothing to vou. Let mc go, will you, to the 
woman ! ' 

" Th^z i& not ihi? way. There is a nearer one," said Rcdlaw, detaining 
him, in the &:inic blank effort lo ttmember some association that 
ought, of right, to beai upon this mon&tioui object. '* What is j'oui 
njme f " 

" Got none." 

'* Where do yon live r' 

"Live! What's Thai =" 

The boy shook hi* hair from his eyes to look at him for a momeni, and 
then, twisting round his legs and wrestling with him^ broke ag:iin into 
hi? repeiition of " Vou let me go, will you ? I want to find the woman." 

'i'hc Chemist hd him lo the Joor- " This ivay," he said, looking at 
him still coofuscdly, but ^^"ilh repugnance and avoidance, growing out of 
hia coldness. '' Til take yon to her." 

The sharp eyes in the child's head, wandering round the toomj lighted 
on the table where the rcmnanis of the dinner were. 

** Give mt: some of that I " he said covetously. 

^'Hjsshenotfedyou ?" 

*' I sh:il] be hungry again to-morrow, sha'itt I .' Ain't I hungry 
every day 1 " 

Finding himself released, he bounded at the table like some small 
animal of prey, and buying to hia breast bread and meat, and his own 
rag:!, all togeditr, said ; 

" There ] Now take me to the woman 1 " 

As the Chemist, with a ni:w-born di dike to touchhlm, sternly motioned 
him to follow, and was going out of the door, he trembled and stopped. 

" The gift that 1 hax-e gnen, you shall give agafn, go where you will 1 " 

The Phantom^s words were blowing in the wicwi, and the wind blew 
chill upon ]iim. 

'* ni not go there, to-night,"' he murmured Faintly- " Fll go nowhere 
to-night. Boy ! straight down this long-atched passage, and past the 
great <.{ark dour into the yard,— you see the fire shining on the window 
there." 

" The woman's fire ? " inquired the boy. 

He nodded, and the naked feet had sprung away. He came back with 
his lamp, locked Ills door hastify, and sat down in his chair, covering his 
face hke one ivito was frightened at himself. 

For now he was, indeed, alone. Alone, alone. 



CnAPTKRlI: Th.- Gijf Di^ui^d 

A SMALL man sat in a small parlour, partitioned off from a small shop by 
a smaJj ^reen, pasted all over with small scraps of newspapers. In 
company with the small mjn^ was almost any amount of small cliildren 



THE HAUNTED MAN 259 

you may please to name — &t bast U setraed so; tlicy madCj in that 
very liraked sphere of atttorij such an imposing effect^ in point of 
numbers* 

Of Ehcsc small fry^ two had^ by some strong machincrry^ bocri got into 
bed in a corner^ where they might have reposed snugly enough, in the 
tUstp of innocence, but for a constitutional propensity to keep awake, and 
aTso to scuffle in and out of bed. TJie immediate occasion of those 
predatory dashes at the wating world, was the construction of an oyster- 
shell wall in a corner, by two other youths o£ tender age ; on which 
fortifiiration the two in bed maJe harassing descents (like iliose accursed 
Picts and Scots who beleaguer the early historical studies of mosi young 
Britons), and ihen lAithdre^v to their own teriJtor}\ 

In addition to the stir attendant on these inroads, and the retorts of 
the invaded, who pursued hotly, and made funges at the bedclothes 
under whiirh the marauders took refuge, another little boy, in another 
little bed, contributedhis mite of confusion to the family stock, by casting 
his boots upon the waters ; in other worda, bylaunching these and several 
small objects^ inoffensive in themselves, though of a hard substance 
considered as missileSj at the disturbers of his repose, — who were not slow 
to return these compliments. 

Besides which, another little boy — the biggest there^ but ^till little — 
was tottering to and fro, bent on one side, and considerably affected in 
his knees by the weight of a large baby, which he was supposed by a 
fiction that obtains sometimes in sanguine families, to be hushing to 
sleep. But oh ! the inej:haustible regions of contemplation and wsktch- 
fulness into which this baby's eyes were then only beginning to compose 
themselves to stare, over his unconscious shouTdcr ! 

It was a very Moloch of a baby^ on whose insatiate altar the VL^hole 
existence of this particular young brother was offered up a daily sacrifice. 
Its personality may be said lo have consisted in its never being quiet, in 
any one place, for five consecutive minutes, and never going to sleep 
when required, '* Tetterby'a baby '*was as well known in the neighbour- 
hood 33 the postman or the pot-boy. It roved from door-step to 
door-step, in the arms of little Johnny Tetteihy, and lagged heavily at 
therear of troops of juveniles who followed the Tumblers or the Monkey, 
and ramc up, all on one side, a little too late for everything that was 
attractive, from Monday morning until Saturday ni^ht. Wherever 
childhood congregated to play, there was little Moloch mating Johnny 
fag and toih Wherevct Johnny desired to itay, liitle Moloch became 
fractious, and would not remain. Whenever Johnny v^anted to go out, 
Moloch was asleep^ and must be watched- Whenever JcJinny wanted to 
stay at home., Moloch was awake, and must be taken out- Yet Johnny 
was verily persuaded that it was a faultless baby, without its peer in the 
realm of England, and was quite content to catch meek glimpses of 
things in general from behind its skirts, ur over its limp flapping bonnet, 
and to go staggering ^bout with it like a very little porter with a very 



j« 



26o THE HAUNTED MAN 

hrge parcel, which was not directed to anybody^ and could never be 

delivered anywheie, 

'The small mjin wW &at in Jyc parlour, making fruitlcFs aitempts to 
Teid his newspaper peaceably in rhe midst of this disturbance, was the 
f jther of the family, and the chief of tlit firm describtd iri. the inscription 
over the litdc shop front, by ihcnamt and tideof A. Tetterby ajjdCo., 
Ntw^M>:>i. Indeed, stricdy speaking, he was the only personage 
answering to tliat designation, js Co. was a mere poetical abstraction, 
altogether baseless and impersonal. 

T^it£?Tby*3 wai. the corner shop in Jerusalem Buildings. There was a 
gond show of literature in the window, chiefly consisting uf picture- 
newjpapcis out of date, and serial pirates, and footpads. Walking-sticb, 
likewise, and marbles, ivere included in the stock in trade. It had once 
extended into the light confectionery Iin<: ; but it wouH seem that those 
elegancies of life were not in demand about Jerusalem Buildings, for 
nothing connecrcd ivith that branch of commerce remained in the 
window, e:^cepi a Sort of small glass lantern containing a languishing mass 
oE buirs-eyes, whicii had melted in rhe summer and congealed in the 
winter until all hope of ever getting :hem out, or of eating them without 
[rating the lantern too, Avas gone for ever. Tetterbys had tried its hand 
at several things. Ic had once juadt a feeble Uttte dart at tlu^ toy 
business ; for, in another lantern, ihere was a heap of minute wax dolls, 
all sticking together upside down, in the dJre&t confusion, witli their feet 
on one another's heads, and a precipitate of broken anns and legs at the 
bottom. It had made a move in flie millinery direction, which a few 
dry, wity bonnet-shapes remained in a corner of the \vindow to attest. 
It had fancied tliat a living might he hidden in the tobacco trade, and 
had stuck up a lepre&entation of a native of each of the three integral 
portions of the British Empire, in the act of consuming that fragrant y^ 
weed ; with a poetic legend attached, importing that united in one cause j 
they sat and Joked, one chewed tobacco, one tooksnulf, one smoked : but i 
notiiing seemed to hiive come of it — except flies, lime had been when '. 
it had put a foiloni trust in imitative jewellery, for in one pane of glass 
there was a card of cheap staU, and amjlher of pencil-cases, and a 
mysterious black amulet of inscrutable intention, labelled ninepence, 
But, to that hour Jerusalem Buildings had bought none of them. In 
short, Tetterby's had tried so hard to get a livf:lihood out of Jerusalem 
Buildings in one way or other, and appeared to liave done so indifferently 
in all, that the bestposiiior in the firm was too evidently Co.'s ; Co.^ as 
a bodiless creation, being untroubled with ihc vulgar inconveniences of 
hunger and thirst, being chargeable neither to the poor's-rates nor the 
assessed taxes, and having no young family to provide for, 

Tetterby hirnself, however, in his little parlour, as already mentioned, 
having the presence of a young family impressed upon his mind in a 
manner too clamorous to be disregarded, or to comport with the quiet 
perusal ot a newspaper, luid down hii paper, wheeled, In his diiiraction. 



THE HAUNTED MAN 261 

a ftw rtmcs roand the parlauij IWc an undecided carrier-pigeon, made an 

inejfeciuat rush ac ont or two flyiug little fi^irea in beJ-gowns that 
sfcjtnmcd past him, ^nd then^ bearing suddenly down upon the only 

unoffending member of the familj, boxed the ears of little Moloch's 

nurse. 

*^ You bad boj' i " said Mr. Tetterby, ^* baven*f you arty feeling for 
your poor father after the fjtigues and anxieties of a hard winter's day, 
since five oVlock in the mi:>rning^ but must you wither hi^ r&aCj and cor- 
rode his late&t intelligence, mth yrar wicious tricks ? Isn't it enough, 
sir, that your brother ^Dolphus is toiling and moiling in the fog and cold, 
and you rolling in the lap of luxury with a— with a baby, and everything 
j^ou can wish for," said Mr. Tetteiby, heaping this up as a great climax 
of blessings^ " but must you make a wilderness of home, and maniacs of 
your parems ? Mtist you, Johnny ? Hey ? " At each Interrogation, 
Mr, Tctferby made a feint of boxing his ears again, but thought belter 
of it, and held his hand. 

*^ Ohj father I " whimpcTtd johnny^ " when I wasn^t doing anything, 
Pm sure, but taking such care of Sally, and getting her to sleep. Ohj 
father ! '' 

^' I wish my little woman would come home ! " $aid Mr. Tetterby, 
relenting and repenting, ** I only wish my little woman would come 
home i 1 ain't fit to deal with 'em. They make my iiead go round, and 
g^t the better of me. Oh, Johnny 1 Isn't it enough that your desr 
mother has provided you with that sweet sister P " indicating Moloch ; 
" isn*f it enough that you were seven boys before, widiout a ray of gal, 
and thst your dear mother went through what she did go throughj on 
purpose that you might all of you have a little sister, but must you ?o 
behave yourself as to make my head swim ? " 

Softening more and more, as his own tender feelings and those o£ his 
injured son were worked on, Mr. Tettcrby concluded by embracing him, 
and immediately breaking away to catch one of the real delinquents. A 
reasonably good starr occurring, he succeeded, after a short but smart 
rnn, and some rather severe cross-country work under and over the bed- 
steads, and in and out among the intricacies of the chairs^ in capturing 
this infant, whom he condignly punished, and bore to bed- Thjs 
example had a powerful^ and apparently, mesmeric Influence on him of 
the boots, who instantly fell into a deep sleep, though he had been, but 
a moment before, broad awake, and in the highest possible feather. Nor 
was it lost upon the t^vo young architects^ who retired to bed, in an 
adjoining closet, with great privacy and speed. The ce-mrade of the 
Intercepted One also shrinking into his nest with similiar discretion, Mr. 
Tetterby, when he paused for breaih^ found himself unexpectedly in a 
scene of peace. 

'^ My litile woman herself/* said Mr. Tettcrby, wiping his fiushed 
face, ^^ could hardly have done it better I 1 only wish my little woman 
had had it to do, J do indeed ! *' - ■ ^^ _ 



26z 



THE HAUNTED MAN 



Mr. Teftcrby nought upon his 6cref:n for a passage appropriate to be 
impri^Bsed upon liis children's minds on the occasion, and read the 
following, 

** * It t& an undoubted fact that all remarkable men have had remark- 
able mothers, and have respected them in after life as their best friends.' 
Tiiink of your own remarkable mother, my boys," said Mr. Tetterby. 
" and know ht-r value while she is still among yon ! " 

He sat down again in his chair by the fire, and composed himself, ctoss- 
legged, over his newspaper. 

*' Let anybody, I don't care who it is, gel out of bed again," said 
Tetterby, as a general proclamation, delivered in a very soft-hearted 
manner, ^' and aatoaisliment it-ill be the portion of that respected con- 
temporary ! " — ^vhich expression Mr. Tetterby selected from his screen. 
" Johnny, my child, take care of your only sister, Sally ; for she's the 
brightest gem titat ever sparkled on your early brow." 

Johnny sai down on a little stool, and devotedly crushed himself 
beneath the weight of Moloch. 

" Ah, what a gift that baby is lo you, Johnny [ " said his father, '* and 
how thankful you ought to be ! ' It is not generally known,' Johnny," 
he was now referring to the screen again, " ' but it is a fact ascertained, 
by accutate calcul^iiojis, that the following immense percentage of 
babies never artain to two years old ; that is to say ' " 

** Oh, don't, father, please ! " ctied Johnny. '^ i can't bear it, when 
I think of Sally." 

Mr. Tetterby deaisting, Johnny, with a profounder sense of his trust, 
Wiped his eyes, and husiied his sister^ 

"Your brother 'Dolphus," said his father, poking the fire, *' is bte 
to-night, Johnny, and will come home like a lump of icti. Wliat's got 
your precious mother p " 

"Here's mother, and 'Dolphus too, father!'* exclaimed Johnny, 
^' I think." 

*' You're right!" returned his father, listening. "Yes, that's rhe 
footstep of my little woman." 

The process of induction, by which Mr. Tetterby had come to the 
conclusion that his wife was a little woman, was his own iecret. She 
would have made two editions of himself, very easily. Considered as an 
individual, she wai rather remarkable for being robust and portly ; but 
considered wiih reference to her husband, her dimensions became 
magnificent. Nor did they assume a less imposing proportion, wlien 
studied with reference to the size of her seven sons, who wete but dimin- 
uiLve. In the case of Sally, however, Mrs, Tetterby had asserted her- 
self, at last- as nobody knew better than the victim Johnny^ who 
weighed and measured that esacting idol every hour in the day. 

Mrs. Tetterby, who had been marketing, and carried a basket, threw 
back her bonnet and shawl, and sitting down, fatigued, commanded 
Johnny to bring his sweet charge to her straightway, for a kiss. Johnny 



THE HAUNTED MAN 163 

having complied, and gone back lo his sfool and again crushed himself, 
Master Adolphos Tetterb^, who had. by this lime unwound his torso 
out of a prismatic comforter^ apparerttt}-" intcrminabJej requesied the 
sam<^ favour. Johnny havii^ again complied^ and again gone back to 
his stoolj and a^ain crushed himself, Mr. Tetterby, struck by a suddtn 
thoughts preferred the same claim on his own parental pan. The satis- 
faction of this third desire completeiy exhausted the sacnfice, who had 
hardly breath enough left to get back to his stool, crush himself agiin, 
and pant at his relations, 

" Whatever you do, Johnny/* said Mrs- Tetterby, shating her head^ 
^' take care of her^ or never look yout mother in the face again," 

*^ Nor vour brother/* said Adolphus, 

** Nor your father, Johnny," added Mr. Tetterby* 

Johnny^ much afiected by this conditional renunciation of him, looted 
down at Moloch's eyes to see that they were all right, so far, and skilfully 
patted her back (which was uppermosi), and rocted her with his foot. 

*^ Are you wet, *Do!phu5, my boy t ^' said his fathei, ^' Come and take 
my chair^ and dry yourself/^ 

*^ Noj father, thank^ee,'' said Adolphus, smoothing himself down with 
his hands. ^* I ain^t very wee, I don't think. Dots my face shine muchj 
father ? " 

" Well, It dofs look v^ixy, my boy/' returned Mr, Tetterby* 

'* It^s the weather^ father/* said Adolphus, polishing his ch-^eks on the 
worn sleeve of his jacket* ^^Wliat with rain^ and sleet, and wind, and 
snow, and fog, my face gets quite brought out into a rash sometimes. 
And shines^ it does — oh, don't it^ though ! " 

Master Adolphus was also in the newspapcrlEneof life, being employed^ 
by a more thriving firm than his father and Co.^ to vend newspapers at 
a railway station, whero his chubby little person, like a shabbily-disguised 
Cupidj and his shrill little voice (he was not mtich more than ten years 
old), were as well known as the hoarse panting of the locomotives, run- 
ning in and out. His juvenility might have been at some loss for a 
harmless outlet, in this early application to traffic, but for a fortunate 
discoveiy he made of a means of entertaining himself, and of dividing the 
long day inio stages of interest, without neglecting business. This 
ingenious invention, remarkable, like many great discoveries, for its 
simplicity, consisted in varying the first vowel in the word *^ paper," 
and substituting, in its steady at different periods of the day, all the 
other vowels in grammatical succession. Thus, befoie daylight in the 
winter-time, he went to and fro^ in his little oilskin cap and cape, and 
his big comforter^ piercing the heai.y air with his cry of ^^ Morn-ing 
Pa-per f ^* which^ about an hour before noon^ chang^=d to *^ Morn-ir^ 
Pep-per ! " which at about two, changed to ^^ Morn-ing Pip-per!'* 
which, in a eouple of hours, changed to " Morn-ing Pop-peri" and 
so declined wirh the sun into ^^ Evt-ning Pup-per 1 " to the ^reat relief 
and comfort of this young gentleman's spitifs- 



264 T H E H A U N T E D M A N 

Mrs. Tcttetby, lii& l:idy-mother, who hnd been siti-ing v-irh. her 
bonntt and shawl thrown bacl:, as Eiforesaid, ihoughtfully turning her 
wtdding-ring rosind utid round upon her finser, now ro^. and divesting 
hcT&elf of her our-of-door aitite, began to Uy the cloth for supper. 

" Ah, dear me, dear mc^ dear mc 1 " said Mis. Tetterby. ^' That's 
the v:ay the world goes ! " 

*' Which is the way the world goes, my dear I " aated Mr. Teiterby, 
looking round, 

" Oh, nothing/' said Mr;;. Tcttcrby. 

Mr. Tetterby clevared hi^ eyebrow;^ folded hh newspape^r afTeih, and 
cjivjed hia eyc?s up it. and down it, and across it^ but was wandeting in 
his attention, and not reading if. 

Mrs, Tctterbyj at the same time, laid the doth, but rather as if she 
vrcTs punishing tlie table than preparing the fymily supper ; hitting it 
unnecessatitv hard vvith the knives and forks, slapping it mih the plates^ 
dinting it with llm sait-cellar» and coming heavily down upon it with 
the Iciaf 

*' Ah, dear me, dear mc, dear mC ! " said Mrs- Tetterby. " That's 
the way the world goes J " 

" My duck," returned her husband, looking round again, " you said 
that before, Wliich is the way the world goes .' " 

" Oh, nothing ! " said Mrs. Tciterby, 

" Sophia ! " remonstrated her husband, *' you said iha/ before, too." 

" Well, m sify it again if vou like," returned Mrs, Tetierhy. " Oh 
nothing — there ! And again if you lite, oh nothing — there I And again 
if you like, oh nothing — now then ! " 

Mr. Teiterby brou^'ht his eye to bear opon the partner of his bosom, 
and said, in mild asronishmeiit ; 

" lAy little woman, what has put you out ? " 

" Tm sure / don't kno^," she retorted. " Don't ask me. Who said 
I was put out at all } I never did." 

Mr, Tetterby gave up the ptm^ii! of his newspaper as a bad job, and, 
taking a slow walk across the room, with his hands behind him, and his 
. shoulders raised — his gait according perfectly with the resignation of 
his manner — addres^d him^lf to his two eldest oJTspring. 

"Your supper will be ready in a minute, 'Dolphns," said Mr. Tet- 
terby, ** Your mother has b[:en out in the u-et, to the cook's shop, to 
buy it. It was very good of your mother so to do- J'oii shall get some 
supper too, very soon, Johnny. Your mother's pleased with you, my 
man, for being so attentive to your precious sister." 

Mrs, Telterby, without any remark, but with a decided subsidence 
of her animosity towards the table, finished her preparations, and took, 
from her ample basket, a substantial slab of hot pease pudding wrapped 
in paper, and a basin covered with a saucer, which, on being uncovered, 
sent forth an odour so agreeable, that the three pir of eyes in the two 
beds opened wide and lixed themselves upon the banquet. Mr. Tetterby, 



THEHAUNTEDMAN 265 

without regarding this tacic invitation to be seated, stood repeating 
sJovvly, *' Yea, yes, your ^cippei wrJI be ready in a minute^ 'Dolpkus— 
your niother went out in tht? wet, co the cook's shop, to buy it. It was 
very good of your mother so 10 do " — until Mi9. Tf:tt«by, who had been 
exhibiting sundry totena of contrition behind liim, caught him round 
die neck, and wept. 
'' Oh. 'Dolphus ! " said Mrs. Tetterby, " how could I go and behave 

This reconciliation affected Adolphua the younger and Johnny to that 
degree, that they both, as with one accord, raised a dismal cry, which 
had the effect of immediately shutting up the round eyes in the beds, 
and utterly routing the two remaining little Tetterbys, just then stealing 
in from the adjoining cloaet to see tvhat was going on in the eating way, 

**I am sure, 'Dolphus," sobbed Mrs, Tetierby, "coining home^ [ 
had no more idea than a child unborn " 

Mc, Tetieiby seemed to dialiLe thii tiguie of speech and obseiied, 
'* Say than the baby, my dear," 

'^ — ^Had no more idea tlian the baby," said Mrs. Tetterby, — " Jolmny, 
don't loot at m*?, but loot at her, or she'll faU out of your lap and be 
killed, and then you'll die in agonies of a broken heart, ,ind serve you. 
right. — No more idea I hadn't than tliat darling, of being cross when I 

cani.ehome; but somehow, 'Dolphua " Mrs. Tetterby paused, and 

again lurned her wedding-ting round and round upon her finger, 

'■ I see 1 " said Mr. Tetterby. " I understand 1 iNIy little woman was 
put out. Hard times, and hard weather, and hard work, make it trying 
now and then. I see, bless your soul ! No wonder ! 'Dolf, ray n^n," 
continued Mr- Tetierby, exploring the basin with a fork, " here's your 
mother been and bought, ar the cook's shop, besides pease pudding, a 
whole knuckle of a lovely roast leg of pork, with lots of crackling lefr 
upon it, and with seasoning gravy and mustard quite unlimited. Hand 
in your plate^ my boy, and begin while it's simmering," 

Master Adolphus, needing no second summons, received his poriiocx 
wich eyes rendered moist by appetite, and withdrawing to hJs particular 
stool, fell upon his supper, tooth and naih Johnny was not forgotten, 
but received his rations on bread, lest he should, in a fiush of gravy, 
triet:le any on the baby. He was required, for similar reasons, to keep 
his pudding, when not on active service, in his pocket. 

There might have been more pork on the knucklebone^-which 
knucklebone the carver at the cook's shop had assuredly not forgotten 
in carving for previous customers — but there was no stint of seasoning, 
and that is an accessory dteamily suggesting pork, and pleasantly cheating 
the sense of taste. The pease pudding, too, the gravy and mustard, like 
the Eastern rose in respect of the nightingale, if they were not absolutely 
pork, had lived near it i so, upon the whole, there was the flavour of a 
middle-sized pig. It wa^ irresistible to the I'etterbya in bed, who, though 
professing to slumber peacefully, crawled out wli^n unseen, by their 

CO. Y" 



266 THE HAUNTED MAN 

parentSj and silently appoalod to ihcir broxhcrs for any ga&trouomic 
loken of fraternal affection. Thoy, not hard of hearty presenting scraps 
in retuTiij it resulted ihat a party of light sl^rmi&hcrs in nlght-gowns 
were careering about the parJour all tlirongh fuppcrj which haia&Ecd 
Mr, Tcirerby exceedingly, and once or twSce imposed upon him the 
necessity of a charge^ before which th<;se gticrilla troops retired in all 

directions and in great confusion, 

Mrs. Tetttrby did not enjoy Iter Supper, There seemed to he some- 
thing on Mrs. Telterby% mind. At one time she Taughed without reason^ 
and at another time sht: cried wiihaut reason, iind at Tast she laughed 
and cried togeihcr in a manner so very unreasonable that hei husband 
was confounded. 

" My little woman^" said Mr. Tetterby^ *^ if the world goes that way^ 
it appears lo go the ^viong way, and lu chote you." 

"Give Tue a drop of waier^" said Mrs* Teiterby, struggling with 
hcrselfj *' and don't speak to me for the present^ or take any notice of 
me. Don't do it ! " 

Mr. Tctierby having administered the water, turned suddenly on 
the unlucky Johnny (who was full of &yinpaihy)j and demanded why 
he was wallowing there^ in gluttony and idleness, instead of coming 
forward with the baby^ that the ^ight of her might revive his mother. 
Jolmny immediately approached, borne down by its weight ; but Mrs* 
Teiterby holding out her hand to signify that she w^s not in a condition 
to bear that tr^^ing appeal to her feelings^ he was interdicted from 
advancing another inch^ on p^in of perpetual hatred from all his dearest 
connections I and accordingly retired to his stool again, and crushed 
himself as before. 

After a pause, Mrs, Ttttexby said she was better now^ and began to 
laugh. 

*^ My Uttte womaUj" said her husband^ dubiouslyj ^* are you quite sure 
you*re better ? Or are you, Sophia, about to break out in a fresh direc- 
lion ? '^ 

**No, 'Dolphus, no," replied hJs wife- '*Vm quite myself." With 
thatj settling her hair^ and pressing the palms of her hands upon her 
eyes J she laughed again, 

" What a wicked fool I was^ to think so for a moment ! " said Mrs- 
Tetterby, " Come nearerj ^Dolphus^ and let me ease my mind, and tell 
you what 1 mean, Let me tell you all about it" 

Mr. Tetterby bringing his chair closer^ Mrs. Tetterby Uughed again^ 
gave him a hog^ and wiped her eyes. 

" Vou knowj *Dolphus, my dear^" said Mrs. Tetterby, " that when I 
waff single, I might have given myself away in several directions- At one 
time, four after me at once ; two of them were sons cjf Mars," 

^^ We're all sons of MaVj my dear/* said Mr, Tetterbyj " jointly with 

" I don*t mean that/^ replied his wife, ^^ I mean soldiers— sergeants," 



V. 



THE HAUNTED MAN 267 

"Oh!"saidMr. Tetterbj^. 

" WeU, ^DoJphus, I'm aurc I never thint of such things now, to regret 
them ; and I'm sure I've got ss good a husband, and would do as much 

to prove that I was fond of him, as -" 

*' As any littk woman in the world," said Mr, Tetterby. " Very good, 
Firy ^oodr" 

If Mr. Tettcrby had been ten icct high, he could not have e^ipre&sed 
a gentler con&ideraiion for Mrs, Tetterby^s fairy-like stature; and if 
Mrs. Tetterby had been two feet high, she could not have felt it more 
appropriately her due. 

*' But you &ee, 'Dolphus/' said Mrs. Tetterby^ " this being Christnigs- 
timc, when all people who can, make holiday, and when all people who 
have got money, like to spend some, I did. somehow, get a little out of 
Eons when 1 was in the streets just now. There were so many things to 
be sold — sudi dehcious things to eat, such fine things to look at, such 
delightful things to have — and there was so much calculating and calcu- 
lating necessary, before I durst lay out a sixpence for the commonest 
thing ; and the basket was so large, and wanted so much in it ; and my 
stock of money wai so small, and would go such a litde way ; — you hate 
me, don't you, 'Dolphus ? " 

*' Not quite," said Mr, Telterby, '' ss yet," 

" Well 1 m tell you the whole truth," pursued his wife, penitently, 
" and then perhaps you wilL 1 felt all this, 50 much, when I was trudging 
about in the cold, and when I saw a lot of other calculating faces and 
large baskets trudging about, too, that 1 began to think whether I 
mightn't have done better, and been happier, if — I — hadn^t — " the 
wedding-ring went round again, and Mrs. Tetterby shook her downcast 
head as she turned it. 

" 1 see," said her husband quietly ; " if you Kadn*t married at all, or 
if you had married somebody else ? " 

'' Ves," sobbed Mrs. Tetterby, " That^s really what I thought. Do 
you hate me now, 'Dolphus ? '* 

" Why no," said Mr. Tetterby, " I don't find that 1 do, as yet." 
Mrs. Tetterby gave him a thankful kiss, and went on. 
"i begin to hope you won't, now, 'Dolphus, though I am afraid I 
baven*l told you the uTirst. I can't think what came over mc, I don't 
know whether I was ill, or mad, or what 1 was, but I couldn't caD up 
anything that seemed to bind ua to each other, or to reconcile me to my 
fortune. All the pleasures and enjoyments we had ever had — they seemed 
so poor and insignificant, I hated them. I could have trodden on them. 
And I could t^nk of nothing else, except our being poor, and the 
number of mouths there were at home." 

"Well, welt, my dear," saidMr. Tetterby, shaking }ier hand encourag- 
ingly, *' that's truth, after all. We arr poor, and there ar/ a number of 
mouths at home here." 

Ah ! butj Dolf, Dolf f " cried his wife, laying her hands upon hia 



■■ 



r 

t. 



26S THE HAUNTED MAN 

nect, '* my good, tind, patient fellow, when I had been at home 2 very 
litrle while— how different ! Oh» Dulf, deai, how difEerent it was ! I 
fell as if there W3& a rush of recollection, on me, all at once, that softened 
my hard heart, and filled It up till it was bursting. Alt our struggles for 
3 liveliliood, all ouf caies and wants since we have been married, al[ the 
times of sickness, all the hours of watching, we have ever had, by one 
another, or by the children, seemed to spr?ak to me, and sa;^- that they 
had made us one, and that I never might have been, or conid have been, 
or would have been, any other ihan the wife and mother I am. Then, 
rho cheap enjoyments that I could have iTodden on so cruelly, got 10 be 
so precious to me — Oh so priceless, and dear ! — that I couldn't bear to 
thint how much I had wcongizd them; and I said, and say again a 
hundred times, how could I ever behave so, 'Dolphua, how could I ever 
have the heaii to do it I '* 

The good woman, quite carried away by her honest tenderne^ and 
remorse, was weeping mth all her heart, when she smarted up with 3 
scream, and ran behind her husband. Her cry was so terrified, that the 
children started from their sleep and from their beds, and clung about 
her. Nor did her gaze belie her voice, as she pointed to a pale man in a 
black doak who had come into the room, 

*' Look at that man! Look there! Wliat does he w^mt p " 

*'My dear," returned her husband, " I'll ask him ii you'll let me go. 
\Miat's the matter ? How you shake [ " 

^' I saw him in the street, when I was out just now. He looked H me, 
and stood near me. 1 am afraid of him." 

*' Afraid of him ! Why?" 

" 1 don^t know why — I — stop ! husband [ " for he was going towards 
the stranger. 

She had one hand pressed upon her forehead, and one upon her breast ; 
and tliere was a peculiar Buttering all over her, and a hurried unsteady 
motion of her eyes, as if she had lost something. 

" Are you ill, my dear* " 

" What is it that is going fiom me again p " she muttered, in a low 
^'oicG. " What is this that is going away I " 

Then she abruptly answered ; '* III ? No, 1 am quite well/* and stood 
looking vacantly at the floor. 

Her husband, who had not been altogether free from the infection of 
her fear at first, and whom the present strangeness of her manner did 
not tend to reassure, addressed himself to the pale visitor in the black 
cloak, who stood still, and whose eyes were bent upon the ground. 

*^ What may be your pleasure, air," he asked, " with us ? " 

" I fear that my coming in unperceived," returned tbii visitor, " has 
alarmed you ; but you were talkiiag and did not hear me." 

" My little woman says — perhaps you heard her say it," returned 
Mr. Tettetby, " that it's not the first time you have alarmed her to- 
night.^ 



Tf 



THE HAUNTED MAN 269 

" 1 am sorry for it. I remember to have observed her, for a few 
moments only, m the street. 1 had no intention of frightening her," 

As he raised his eyes in speaking, she raised her^. It was e^rtraordinary 
to see what dread she had of him, and with what dread he observed ft — 
and yei how narrowly and cToseJy. 

'^ My name," he said, " ig Redlaw, I come from the old college hard 
by. A young gentleman who is a student there, lodges in your house, 
does he not ? " 

" Mr. Denham ? '' said Tetterby. 

" Yes." 

It was a natural action, and so slight as to be hardly noticeable ; but 
the little man, before spealting again, passed his hand across his forehead 
and looted quickly round the room, as though he were sensible of some 
change m its atmosphere. The Chemist, instantly transferring to him 
the look of dread he had directed towards the wife, stepped back, and 
his face turned paler. 

''The gentleman's room," said Tetterby, *^is up stairs, sir. There's a. 
more convenient private entrance; but as you have come in here, it 
will save your going out into the cold, it you*]] t^ke this little staircase," 
showing one communicaiing directly with the parlour, " and go up to 
him that way, if you ivish to see him," 

" Yes, 1 wish to see him," said the Chemist. " Canyon spare a light i " 

The watchfulness of his haggard look, and the inexplicable distrus 
that darkened it, seemed to troublr: Mr. Tetierby. He paused- and 
looking JiJiedly at him in return, stood for a minute or so, like a man 
stupefied, or fascinated. 

At length he said, *' Til light you, sir, if you'll follow me."- 

*'No,^' replied the Chemist, " I don't wish to be attended, or an- 
nounced to him. He does not expect me, I would rather go alone. Please 
TO give me the light, if you can spare it, and TD find the way." 

In the quickness of his expression of this desire, and In taking the 
candle from the newsman, he touched him on the breast- Withdrawing 
his hand hastily, almost as though he had wounded him by accident 
(for he did not inow in what part of himself his new power resided, or 
how it was communicated, or how the manner of its reception varied 
in different persons), he turned and ascended the stair. 

But when he reached the top, he stopped and looked down. The 
wife was standing in the same place, twisting her ling round and round 
upon her finger. The husband^ with hia head bent forward on his breast, 
was musing heavily and sullenly. The children, siiU clustering about the 
mother^ gazed timidly after the visitor, and nestled together when they 
saw him looking down, 

'* Come ! " said the father, roughly, " There's enough of this. Get 
to bed here ! " 

''The place is inconvenient and small enough," the mother added, 
'^ without you. Get to bed 1 " 



%j<> THE HAUNTED MAN 

The whc^e brood, scared and sjd^ crepi awa^ ; little Johnny and the 
baby lagging last. The niother, glancing contemptuously round the 
sordid roDm, and tossing from her ilie Eragmenta ot their meal, stopped 
on the threshold of her task of deating the table, and sat down, pon- 
dering idly and dcjectcd!ly. The father betook himself to the chimney- 
corner, and impatiently raking the small Jire together, bent over it as if he 
would monopolise it all. They did not inleichange a word. 

The Chemist, paler than beforr:, stole upward like a thief; looking 
back upon the change below, and dreading equally to go on or return. 

" What have I done ! ^' he said, confusedly. ■' What am I going to 
do!" 

''To be the benefactor of mankind," h.& thought he heard a voice 
reply. 

Ha looked round, but there was nothing there; and a passage now 
shutting out the little parlour from his view, he went on, directing his 
eyes before him at the way he went, 

" It is only since last night," he muttered gloomily, *' that I have 
remained shut up, and yet all things are strange to me. I am strange to 
myself. I am here, as in a dream. What interest have I in this place, or 
in any place that I can bring to my remembrance ? My mind is going 
blind ! '* 

There wjs a door before hJm, and he knocked at it. Being invited^ by 
a voice within, to *?nter, he complied, 

*' Is that my kind nurse P " said the voice. ** But I need not ask her. 
Tlieic is no one else to come here.'^ 

It spoke cheerfully, though in a languid tone, and attracted his atten- 
tion to a young man lying on a couch, dra^vn before the chimney-piece, 
with the back towards the door. A meagre scanty stove, pinched and 
iioUowed like a sick m»n'^ cheeks, and bricted into the ceniie of a hearth 
that ii could scarcely warm, contained the fire, to which his face was 
turned. Being so near the windy house-top, it wasted quickly, and wirli 
a busy 5ound, and the burning ashes dropped down fast. 

They chink when they shoot out here," said the student, smiling, 
" so, according to the gossips, they are not coffins, bur purses, I shall 
be well and rich yet, some day, if it please God. and shall live perhaps 
to li>ve a daughter Milly, in remembrance of the kindest nature and the 
gentlest heart in the world." 

He put up his hand as if expecting her to take it, but, being v^akencd^ 
he lay still, with his face resting on his other hand, and did not turn 
round. 

The Chomiat glanced about the room; — at the student^s books and 
papers, piled upon a lablc in a corner, where they, and his ejttinguished 
reading-lamp, now prohibited and put away, told of the attentive hours 
that had gone before this illness, and peihaps caused it ; — at such signs 
of his old health and freedom, as tlie out-of-door attire that hung 
idlr; OQ the wall ; — at those remembrances of other and less solitary 



THE HAUNTED MAN 271 

scenes^ the liule miniatiires upon the chimTicy-picce, and the drawing 
of home ; — At tKat token of his emulation^ pertiaps, in some aort^ of his 
peraon:il attachment too, the framed engraving of h-imself^ the lookeE- 
oHh Tlvi time had beefij on]y yesterday, when not one of these 
objcciSj in its rtmatest a&Eocbtion of interest with the living figure 
before him, would hive been lost on RtdJaw. Now, the^ were but 
object? ; or, if an/ gUam of auch connection shot upon him.^ it 
perplexed, and not enhghiened Kim^ as he stood looking round with 
[t dull wonder. 

The student, r^aUing the thin hand which had remained so long 
uiitonched, raised himself on the couch, and turned his head^ 

** Mr- R<;dla^ ! '' he exclaimed, and started up- 

Redlaw put out his arm, 

" Don^t come nearer to me. I will sit here. Remain you, where you. 
arc ! " 

He jat down on a chair near the door^ ^nd having glanced at the 
young man standing leaning with his lund upon the couch, spoke with 
his eyes averted towards the ground. 

■* 1 heard, by an accident* by what accident is no matter, that one of 
my class was ill and solitary- I received no other description of him^ 
than that he lived in this street. Beginning my inquiries at the first 
house in it^ I have found him/* 

^"^ t have been iU^ sir^" returned the student^ not merely with a modest 
hesEtatioUj but with a kind of awe of him^ ^' but am greatly better. An 
atuck of fever — of the brain, I belicve-^has weakened mc^ but I am 
much better, I cannot say I have been solitary^ in my illnesSj or I sliouJd 
foi^er the ministering hand that has been near me.'' 

" Vou are speiting uf the tecper^s wife/* said Redlaw, 

^^ Yes," The student bent his head^ as if he rendered her some silent 
homage. 

The Chemist^ in whom there wag a cold, monotonous apathy^ which 
rendered hini more lite a marble image on the tomb of the man who 
had started from his dinner yesterday at the firstmentlon of this student's 
caje, than the breathing man himself, ghnted again at the student 
leaning with his hjnd upon th& couch^ and looked apon the ground^ and 
in the air, as if for light for his blinded m.tnd. 

"i remembered your name/^ he said^ *^ when it was mentioned to 
me down stairSp jn&t now; and I recollect your face. We have held 
but very hcrle personal communication together i ^ 

*^Very little." 

**Yoii liive retired and withdrawn From me, more than any of the 
rest, I think?" 

The student signified assent. 

^* And why ? " said the Chemist ; not with the least exprc^ion of 
interest, but with a moody, wayvrard kind of curiosity. *' Why f How 
comes it that you have sought to Leep especially from nie^ the knowledge 



LhC : 



272 THE HAUNTED MAN 

of your remaining here, at this season, when all the rest have dispersed, 
and of your being ill I 1 want to tnow why thin is ? *' 

The young man, who had heard lum with increasing agitation, raided 
his downcast eyes to hia face, and clasping his hands together, cried with 
sudden earnestness and ^vith trembling lips : 

" Mr. Redlaw ! You have discovered me. You tnow my secret I " 

'' Secret ? " said the Chemist, harshly. '' I know f " 

" Yes 3 Your manner, so different from the interest and sympatliy 
which endear you to so many hearts, your altered voice, the constraint 
there is in everything yon say, and in your loots," replied the studenr, 
" wain me that you know me. That yon would conceal it* even now, ta 
but a proof to me (God knows I need none 1) of your natural kindness 
and of the bar there is betwoi^n us." 

A vacant and conremptuoiia laugh, wa;* a]] his answer. 

** But, Mr. Redlaw," said the student, '* as a just man, and a good man, 
thint how innocent I am, except in name and descent, of participation 
in any wrong inflicted on you, or in any sorrow you have borne." 

'^Sorrow [ " said Rcdiaw, laughing. " Wrong ! What are those to 
me ?" 

" For Heaven's sake," entreated the shrinking student, " do not let 
the mere interchange of a ie\v words with me change you like this, sir ! 
Let me pass again from your tnowSedge and notice. Let me occupy my 
old reserved and distant place among those whom you mstrutt. Know 
me only by the name I have a^^umed, and not by that of Longford " 

" Longford I " exclaimed the orher. 

He clasped his head with both his hands, and for a moment turned 
upon the young man his own intelligent and thoughtful face. But the 
light passed from it, lite the sunbeam of an instant, and it clouded aa 
before. 

"The name my mother bears, sir," faltered the young man, the 
name she took, when she might, perhaps, have taken one more honoured^ 
Mr. Redlaw," hesitating, "1 believe I know that history. Where my 
information halts, my guesses at what is wanting may supply something 
not remote from the truth, J am the child of a marriage that has not 
proved itself ? well-assorted or a happy one. From infancy, I have heard 
you spoken of with honour and respect — with something that was 
almost reverence. 1 have heard of such devotion, of such fortitude and 
tenderness, of such rising up against the obstacles which press men 
down, that my fancy, since I learnt my little lesson from my mother^ 
has shed a lustre on your name. At last, a poor student myself, from 
whom could I learn but you ? " 

Redlaw, unmoved, unchanged, and looking at him with a staring frown, 
answered by no word or sign, 

" I cannot say," pursued the other, " I should try in vain to say, how 
much it has imptessed me, and affected mc» to find the gracious traces 
of the past, in that certain power of winning gratitude and confidence 



■ 1- 



THE HAUNTED MAN ^73 

^ch is ..ccbted .mong us students (.mong f^^^^^^'^^ ^ ^^^^^ 

Wm ; widi wh.t p.in and relnc..r,ce 1 have kept "'°^ J ''"'/"' ™I 

LT. fnt;.^. Mr. Redl=..," ..d the student, *-' ^.^^^^L^™ , 
have s.id, I have ..Id ill. fo. my strength is .irangc '° '"^/^ > " 'j, ^^ 
for anj-thing unworthy in this fraud of mine, forgive me, and for .11 tte 

'^ mt^ringlrL remained on lUdhW. fa.e .nd J^;^"^ ^ ^ «her 
exprc«ion until the student, w-ith these words, advanced towards h.m, =s 
if to touch his hand, when he drew back and cned to him . 

" Don't come nearer to me ! " ., _, . . 

The young man stopped, shocked hy th= «gemess of hi. ^^<"1' '^^ by 
the .^mnel of his ^pulsion ; and he passed his hand, thoughtfully, 

talks ,0 me of its traces in my life > He laves or hes ! JVhat ^^"^ / « 

that brings me here," he muttered, holding h.s head again, with both h,s 

hands. " There crai be nothing else, ="^/'^'^-7', ,.,, ;_,„ ,},{, Jim 
■;. He had tossed his purse upon the tab e. ^^ ^/.^f } °'° ™'. °f 

:i cogitation with hin,se&, the student took it up and '"^''^ ' ;"^r >,^. 

■ I ^TaVe it back, sir," he said proudly, though not ^"E"^; J -^^^ 

if you could take from me, with it, the remembrance of your «ords and 

"^y'ou do? "he retorted, with a wild light in bis eyes. "You do?" 

^e Chemist went dose to him. for the first time and took the purse, 
and turned him by the arm, and looked him m the face ^^ 

" There is sorrow and trouble in sickness, is there not i he demanded, 

with a laugh. uv ." 

The wondering student answered, >es. ;„ „£„I,v=:ra1 

■'In its unrest, in its anxiety, in its .UEpense in all its t"'" «f P''yj ^^^ 
and mental mi^rie. > " said the Chemist, with a wild unearthly exulta- 
tion, " All best forgotten, arc they not ? „nfusedlv 

■ The student did not answer, but again passed his hand. C0"f««dJy. 
.cross hi, forehead. Redlaw still held him by .he sleeve, when M.lly s 

■ ™"l :::s:rve°r; well now." *e said. " thank you, Dolf. Don't cry. 



"3 

i 



27+ THE HAUNTED MAN 

dear. Father and mother will be comfortable again, lo-morrow, and 
home will be comfortable too* A gentleman with him, is there ! '' 

Redlaw released his hold^ as he listened. 

"I have feared^ from tlie firsr raomenl," he murmured to himself, 
" to meet her. There is a steady^ quality of goodness in her, that I dread 
to influence. I may be the murderer of what la tenderest aad best 
within her bosom." 

She was knocking at the door. 

"Shall 1 dismiss it as an idle foreboding, or still avoid het f '^ he 
mutt^redj looting uneasily around- 

She was tnocting at the door again. 

*' Of all the visitors who could come here," he said^ in a hoarse alarmed - 
voice, turning to his companion, *^ this is the one I should desire most to r 
avoids Hide me 1 " ^ 

The student opened a frail door in the wall, communicating, where 
the garret-roof began to slope towards the floor, with a small inner room, ^ 
Redlaw passed in hastdyj and shut it after him* ! 

Th.<2 student then re&umed his place upon the couch^ and ciUed to her >1 
to enter. 

'^ Dear Mr. Edmund/' said Milly, looting round, " they told tne there 
was a gentleman here." 

^^ There is no one here but 1," 

" There has been some one ! " 

^^ Yes, yeSj there has been some one." 

She put her liiile basket on the table, and went up to the bact of the 
couch, as if to take the extended hand — but it waj not there. A little 
surprised, in her quiet way, she leaned over to look at his facCj and gently 
touched him on the brow* 

" Are you quite as well to-night ? Your head is not so cooT as in the 
afternoon." 

^* Tut 1 " said the student^ petulantly, ^^ very little ails me,'* 

A litilt^ more surprise, but no reproach, was expressed in her face, as 
she withdrew to the other side of the table, and took a small packet of 
needlework from her basket. But she laid it down agaiu^ on second 
thoughts, and going noiselessly about the room, set everything exactly 
H in its place, and in the nearest order ■ even to the cushions on the couch, 
which she touched mih so light a hand, that he hardly seemed to know 
itj as he lay looking at the fire. When all this was done, and she had 
swept the hearth^ she sat down, En her modest little bonnet, to h<;r wort, 
and was quietly busy on it directly- 

" It^s the new xnusfin curtain for tlie window, Mr, Edmund," sa 
^lilly, stitcliing away as she calked, " It will look very clean and ni 
though it costs very little, and will save your eyes, toOj from the Ugh 
My William says ihe room should not be too light just now, when yi 
are recovering so well, or the glare might make you gidd>^/^ 

He 5aid nothing ; but theie was something so fretful and impatient ia 





THE HAUNTED MAN ^75 

his change ol position^ that Ixer q^uick tngtrs stopped, and she looked at 
him anxiously. - - , 

"The piJiows are not comfortable/' she saidj laying down her wort 
and rising. " 1 will soon put them tight." 

^'They are very well," he answered. "Leave theni alone, pray. 
You make so much of eveiyihing." 

He raised hi$ head to say this, and looted at her so thantleasly, that, 
after he had thrown himaclf down again, she stood timidly pausing. 
However, she resumed Ket seat, and her needk, without having directed 
ev^n a murmuring looL cowards him» and was soon as busy aa before. 

''1 have been thinkings Mr. Edmund, that ymc have been often 
thinking of late, when 1 have been sitting by, Ilow true the saying is, that 
adversity is a good teacher. Health wiU be more precious lo you, after 
this illness, than it hag ever been. And yejrs hence, when this time of 
year comes round, and you remember the days when you lay here sick, 
alone, that the knowledge of your illness might not alBict those who are 
dearest to you, your home will be doubly dear and doubly blest. Now, 
ian't that a good, true thing ? " 

She was too intent upon her wort, and too earnest in what she said, 
and too composed and quiet altogether, to be on the viratch for any look 
he might direct towards her in reply; 50 the shaft of his ungrateful 
glance fell harmless, and did not wound her. 

'* Ah ! " said Milly, with her ptetty head inclining thougthfully on 
one side, as she looked down, following her busy fingers with her eyes. 
" Even on me — and I am very different from you, Mr. Edmund, for I 
have no learning, and don't tnow how to think properly — this view of 
such things has made a great impression, since you have been lying ill. 
When i have seen you so touched bv the kindness and attention of the 
pHX>r people down stairs, I have felt that you thought even that experi- 
ence some repayment for the Joss of health, and 1 have read in your face, 
as plain as if it was a book, that but for some trouble and sorrow, we should 
never know half the good there is about us." 

■ His getting up from the couch, interrupted her, or she was going on 
to say more. 

** We needn't magnify the merit, Mrs. William,'^ he rejoined slight- 
ingly. *' The people down staits will be paid in good time I dare say, 
for any little extra service they may have rendered me ; and perhaps fhey 
anticipate no less. I am much obliged to you, too.*' 

Her fingers stopped, and she looked at him. 

" I can't be made to feel the more obliged by your eia^eraring the 
case/^ he said. *' I am sensible that you have been interested in me, and 
i say I am much obliged to you. What more would you have ? " 

Het work fell on her lap, as she still looked at him walking to and fro 
with an intolerant air, and stopping now and then. 
^ *■ T say again, I am much obliged to you. Why weaken my sense of 
what is your due in obligation, by preferring enormous claims upon me ? 



] 



z-je THE HAUNTED MAN 

Trouble, sonow, affliction, adversi^ J One might suppose I had been 
dying a score of deaths here ! *' 

" Do you believe, Mr. Editiund," she asked, rising and going nearer to 
Kini, *■ that I spoke of the poor people of the house, with Av^y reference 
to myself ? To mc ? " \A:^'\Tt^ her haod upon her bosom with a simple 
and innocent smik of astonish meat. 

'* Oh ! I think nothing about it, my good creature," he returned. " I 
have had ail indisposition^ which your sohcitude — observe! I saj 
solicitude— makes a grent deal more of, than it merits ; and It's over, 
and we can't perpetuate It." 

He coldly toot a boot, and sat down at the table. 

She u-atched him for a hftle while, ueitiI her finile wis quite gone, and 
then, returning to where her basket was^ said gently : 

*^ Mr. Edmund, would you rather be alone \ " 

" There is no reason why J should detain you here," he replied. 

■' Except " said Milly, hesitating, and showing her work. 

" Oh \ the curtain," he answered, with a supercilious laugh. " That's 
not worth staying for." \ 

She made up die little packet again, and put it in her basket. Then, 
standing before him with such an air of patient entreaty that he could 
not choose but look at lier, she said : 

" If you should want me, I will come back willingly. When you did 
^vant me, 1 ^/sa% quite happy to come ; there was no merit in it. I think 
you must be afraid, that, now you are getting well, I may be troublesome 
to you ; but 1 should not have been, indeed. I should have come n& 
longer than your weakness and confinement lasted. You owe me 
nothing ; but it is right that you ^ould deal as justly by me as if I wa& 
a Jady — even the ver}' lady that you love ; and if you suspect me of 
meanly making much of the little 1 have tried to do to comfort your sick 
TCMum. you do yourself more wrong than ever you can do me. That is 
why I am sorry. That is why I am ^^^Ty sorry." 

If she had been a$ passionate as she was quiet, aj indig^nant as she was 
calm, a^ angry in her look as she was gentle, as loud of tone as she was low 
and clear, she might have left no sense of her departure in the room, 
compared with that which fell upon the lonely student when she went 
away, _ \ 

He was gazing drearilv upon the place where she had been, when 
Redlaw came out of his concealment, and came to the door. 

" \^'hen sickness lays its hand on you again," he said, looking £ercel 
back at him, ** — may it be soon ! — Die here ! Rot here ! '* 

" What have you done ? " returned the other, catching at his cloak 
" What change have you wrought in me X What curse have you brought. ^ 
upon me ? Give me back myself J " 'I 

" Give me back myself ! " exclaimed Redlaw like a madman. " I am 
irJected I I am infectious ! I am charged with poison for my own 
mJud, and the ruinds of all mankind. Where I felt interest^ compassion. 



1 



J 



^'^ 

t 



THE HAUNTED MAN 177 

ajmpathy, 1 am turning into stone, SeifisKries^ and ingratitude spring 
up in m^ blighting footsiepa, I am only so much leas base than the 
wretches whom I m^ke so, thar in the moment of their transformation I 
can hate them," 

As he spote — the young mans fill holding to his cloak — he cast him off 
and struck him ; then, wiEdly hurried out into the night air where the 
wind was blowing, the snow fallingj the cloud-cEnft sweeping on, the 
moon dimly shining ; and where, blowing in rhe wind, falling ivith the 
snowp drifting with the clouds, shining in the moonlight, and heavily 
looming in the darkness, were the Fhanlom^i words^ '* The gift that I 
have given^ you shall give again, go where you will ! '' 

Whither he went, he neither knew nor cared^ so that he avoided 
company. The change he felt within him made the hu^y streets a 
desert, and himself a desert, and the multitude around him, in their 
manifold endurances iind ways of fife, a mighty waste of sand, which 
the winds tossed into unintelligible heaps and made a ruinous con- 
fusion of. Those tracer in his broast which the Phantom had told 
him would ^* die out soonj" were not^ as yci^ so far upon their way to 
death, but that he understood enough of what he was, and what he made 
of others, to desire to be alone. 

This put it in his mind — he suddenly bethought himscif, as he was 
going along, of the boy who tiad rushed into his room. And then he 
recollected, that of thos(^ with whom he had communicgted $ince the 
Phantom^s disappearance^ that boy ilono had shown no sign of being 
changed^ 

Monstrous and oc^ous as the wild thing was to him, he determined to 
seek it ouf^ and prove if this wct<^ really so; and also to seek it with 
another intention^ which came into his thoughts at the same time* 

So, resolving with some difficulty where he was, he directed his steps 
back to the old coUege^ and to thatpartof it where the general porch was, 
and wherCj alone, the pavement was worn by the tread of the students' 
feet. 

The keeper^s house stood just within the iron gates, forming a part of 
the chief quadrangle. There was a little cloister outside, and from tliat 
sheltered place he knew he could look in at the window of their ordinary 
room, and see who was within. The iron gates were shut, but hig hand 
was familiar with the fastening, and drawing it back by thrusting in 
his wrist between the bars, he passed through softly, shut it again, 
and crept up to the window^ crumbling the thin crust of snow with his 
feet. 

The fire, to which he had directed the boy last night, shining brightly 
through the glass^ made an illuminated place upon the ground* in- 
stinctively avoiding tliis, and going round it, he looked in at the window^ 
At first, he thought that there was no one there, and that the blaze was 
rxoddening only the old beams in the ceihng snd the dark walls ; but 
peering in more narrowly he saw the object of his seaich coiled asleep 



2j% THE HAUNTED MAN 

before ir on the floor. He passed quick!)' To the door, opened it, and 
went in. 

The creaiure lay in sucli a fiery heat that, as the Chemist stooped lo 
rouse hjtn, it $torched his head. So soon as he wag touched, the boy» not 
]ialf awal:t, clutching his rags together with ihe instinct of flight upon 
him, half rolled and half ran into a di&tant corner of the room, where, 
heaped upon the grounds he struck his foot out to defend himself. 

" Get up ! *' said the Chemist. " You have not forgotten me f " 

'* Vou let me alone!" returned the boy- *' This is the woman's 
house — not yours." 

The Chemist's steady ey^ controlled him somewhat, ot inspired him 
with enough submission to be raided upon his feet, and looked at. 

" Who washed them, and put those bandages where they were bruised' 
and cracked .' " asked the Chemist, pointing lo their altered state. 

*' The woman did." 

'* And h it she who has made you cleaner in the face, too i " 

" Yes, the woman." 

Rcdlsw asked these questions to attract his eyes towards himself, and 
with the same intent now held him by the chin, and threw his wild hairj 
back, though he loathed to touch hira. The boy watched his eye* 
feeertly, as if he thought it needful to his own defence, not knowing vrhat. 
he might do nest ■ and RedUw could see well that no change came over 
him. 

" Where are they ? " he inquired. 

" The woman's out." 

" 1 know she is. Where is the old man with the white hair, and his ~ 
son ? " .. 

*' The xvoman*9 husband, d'ye mean ? " inquTred the boy. 



'* Ay. Where are tliose two ? " 

it 



Out, Something's the matter, somewhere. They were fetched out 
in a hurry, and told me to stop here." 

" Come with me," said the Chemist, " and I'll give you monej." 

" Come where ? and how much will you give \ " 

" I'll ^ive you more ihilhngs than you ever saw, and bring you back 
soon. Do you know your way to where you came from ? " 

"You let me go," returned the boy, suddenly twisting out of his grasp- 
" I'm not a going to take you there. Let me be, or I'll heave some fire 
at you ! " 

He was down before it, and ready, vinthhis savage little hand, topluct 
the burning coaU out. 

What the Chemist had felt, in observing the effect of his charmed' 
influence stealing over those with whom he came in contact, was not 
nearly equal to the cold vague terror with which he saw this baby- 
monster put it at defiance, it chilled his blood to look on the immovable 
impenetrable thing, in the likeness of a child, with its sharp malignant 
face turned up to his, and its almost infant hand» ready at Uie bars. 



THE HAUNTED MAN 279 

" Liaicn, hoy I " he said. " You shall takp me where you please, so 
that you tjke me where the people are very miserable or very wicked, 1 
want to do ihcm good, and rn:.!: to iiann ihem. Yon shall have money, 
as I have tcjld you, and I will bring you back. Get up ! Come quickly I " 
He made a hasty step towards the door^ afraid of her returning. 

'* Will you let me walk by myself, and never hold mp, nor yet touch 
mc ? " said the boy, slowly withdrawing ihc hand with which he 
threatened, and beginning to get up. 
" I will ! " 

" And let me go tff ore, behind, or anyways J lite ? " 
•' I wiU ! " 

" Give me some money first then, and 1^11 go." 

The Chemist laid a few shillings, one by one, in his extended hand. 
To count them was beyond the boy's knowledge, but he said '^ one," 
every time, and avariciously looked at each as it was given, and ac the 
donor. He had nowhere toput them, out of his hand, but in his raoutii ; 
and he put them there, 

Redlaw then wrote with his pencil on a leaf of his pocket-book, that 
the boy was with htm ; and laying it on the table, signed to him to 
follow. Keeping his rags together, as usual, the boy complied, and went 
out with his bare head and his naked feet into the ^vinler night. 

Preferring not To depart by the iron gate by which he had entered, 
where they were in danger of meeting her whom he so anj:iously avoided, 
the Chemist led the way, through some of those passages among which 
the boy had lo^t himself, and by that portion of the building where he 
lived, to a small door of which he had the key. When they got into the 
■street, he stopped to ask his guide — who instantly retreated from him — 
lif he knew where they wcre- 

The ssvag'i thing looked here and there, and at length, nodding his 

head, pointed in the direction he designed to take, Redljw going on at 

once, he followed, something less suspiciously ■ shifting his money from 

h]$ mouth into his hand, and back again into his mouth, and stealthily 

jrubbing it bright upon his shreds of dress, as he went along. 

Three times, in their progress, they were side by side. Three times 
Vhey stopped, being side by side. Three times the Chemist glanced 
liown at his face, and shuddered as it forced upon him one reflection. 

The first occasion was when they were crossing an old church-yard, 
■nd Redlaw stopped among the graves, utterly at a loss how to connect 
them with any tender, softening, or consolatory thoughts 

The second was, when the breaking forth of the moon induced him to 
iilook up at the Heavens, where he saw her in her glory, surrounded by a 
'Qost of stars he still knew by the names and hisic^ries which human 
Science has appended to them ; but where he saw nothing else he had 
oeen wont to see, felt nothing he had been wont to feel, in looking up 
jhere^ on a bright night. 

|;The third was when he stopped to listen to a plaintive strain of music, 
3 



:iSo THE HAUNTED MAN 

but could only hear a tune, made manife&i to him. by die dry mechanism 
of the instruments and his own ears ^ith no addiess to any mysteryj 
^vithin him, without a whi3pi:r in it of ihe pa^t, o£ of the future, powerless 
upon him as the aound oi l^t year's miming water, or the rushing oEj 
last year's wind. 

At each of these three times, he saw widi horror that, in spite of the' 
vast intellectual distance bccweyn them., and their being unlike each other] 
in all phpical respects, the expression on the boy^sface wai the expression 

on his own. 

They journeyed on for some time — now through such crowded places, 
that he often looked over his shoulder thinking he had lo^t his guide, bur 
generally finding him within his shadow on his other side ; now byways 
so quiet, thai he could have counted his short, quick, naked footsteps^ 
coming on behind— until they atrivtd at a ruinous collection of houses,^ 
atid the boy touched him and stopped. 

"In there!" he said, pointing out one house when: there weK 
scattered lights in the windows, and a dim lantern in die doorway, with. 
'* Lodgings for Travellers '' painted on it. ^ 

Redlaw looked about him ; from the houses, to the waste piece o£ 
ground on which the houses stood, or rather did not altogether tumble 
down, unfenced, undrained, unlighted. and bordered by a sluggish ditch j 
from that, to the sloping line of arches, pan of some neiglibouring 
viaduct or bridge with which it was surrounded, and which lessened 
gradually, towards them, until the last but one was a mere kennel for a 
dog, the last a plundered little heap of bricks ; from that, to the child, 
clo^e to him, cowering and trembling with the cold, and limping on one 
little foot, while he coikd the other round his leg to warm it, yet itaring 
at all these things with that frightful likeness of expression so apparent 
in his face, that Redlaw started from him . , ■ „ 

** In there ! " said the ho^, pointing out the house again. '* Til wait. 

" Will theylet me in ? '' asked Redlaw, ■ 

'* Say you^re a doctor;' he answered with a nod. '' There's plenty lU 

Looking back on his way to the house-door, Redlaw saw him trail 
himself upon the dust and crawl tvithin the sheltet of the smallest arch, 
as if he were a rat. He had no pity for the thing, but he was afraid of it ; 
and when it looted out of its den at him, he hurried to the house as a 

retreat, , ■ e. i a 

" Sorrow, wrong, and trouble," said the Chemist, with a painful eltort: 

at some more distinct remembrance, " at least haunt this place, darkly. 

He can do no harm, who brings forgetfulncss of such things here [ " 

With these words, he pushed the yielding door, and went m. 

There was a woman sitting on ihe stairs, either asleep oi forlorn, whose 

Head was bent down on her hands and kne-^s. As it was not easy to pass 

without ireading on her, and as she was perfectly regardless of his near 

approach, he stopped, and touched her on the shoulder. Looking up, 



I 






THE HAUNTED MAN 28T 

she ahowtd Him quht a young face, but one whose bloom and promise 
were afl swept away^ as if the haggard winter shoutd unnatutally^ kill the 
spring. 

With little or no show oi concern onTiia accoont, she movei nearer to 
the wall to leave him a wider passage. 

"What -J.K you ? ^' sad Rtdlaw, pausing^ with his hand upon the 
broltcn staEr-raiL 

'' Wliat do you thint I am f " she answered^ showing him h?r facp 
again. 

He loolicd upon the mined Temple of God, so lately made, so soon 
disfigured ; and something, which was not compassion — for the springs 
in which a true compassion for such mis^riea haa its use. were dried up in 
his breast — but which was nearer to it, for the monxcnt, than any feeling 
that had lately struggled into the darkening, but not yd wholly darkened, 
night of his mind — mingled i touch of softness with his next words. 

** I am come here to give relief, if I can/* he said. " Are you thinking 
of any wrong ? " 

Sh(? frowned at him, arid then laugh^ct ; and then her laugh prolonged 
itself into a shivering sigh, as she dropped her head again, and hid her 
fiftgers in hex hair. 

Are you thinking of a wrong ? '* he asked once more. 

T am thinking of my life," she said, with a momentary look at Itim. 

He had a perception that she was one of many, and that he saw the 
type of thousands, when he saw her, drooping at his feet, 

" What arc your parents p " he demanded. 

" 1 had a good home once. My father was a gardener, fat away, in 
the country." 

" Is he dead .' " 

"He*s dead to me. All such things arc dead to me. You a gentle- 
man, and not know that ! '* She raised her eyes again, and laughed at 
him. 

" Gir! ! '* said Redlaw, sternly, " before this death, of all such things, 
was brought about, wag there no wrong done to you ? In spite of all 
that you can do, does no remembrance of wrong cleave to you P Aie 
there not times upon times when it is misery to you ? " 

So little of what was womanly was left in her appearance^ that now, 
when she burst into tears, he stood amawd. i^ut he was mote amaxed, 
and much disquieted, to note that in her awakened recollection of this 
wrong, the first trace of her old humanity and frozen tenderness appeared 
to show itself. 

, He drew a little off, and in doing so, observed that her arms ivete black, 
her face cut, and her bosorn bruised. 
. " What brutal hand has hurt you so ? " he asked. 
_^ " My own. I did it myself J she answered qufcHy. 
J. " It is impossible." 
i " m $wear I did [ He didn't touch me. I did it to myaelf in a 

\ ■ 



- >. 



3S2 THE HAUNTED MAN 

I 

passion, and thre^v myself doivn hcic. He wasn't near me. He never 
laid a hand uuon. me 1 " 

In the white determination of her face, confronting him with this 
untruth, he saw enough of rhe last perversion and distortion of good 
surviving in that miserable breast, to be stiicken v»fith remorse that he 
had ever come near her. 

*' Sorrow^ wrong, and trouble 1 " he muttered. Turning his fearful gaze 
n«j^, " ATI that connccis her with the state from which she has fallen, 
has those roots 1 In the namt of God, let me go by ! " 

Afraid to look at her again, afraid to touch her, afraid to think of 
having sundered the last thread by which she htld upon the mercy of 
Heaven, he gathered his clojk about him, and glided swifily up the stairs. 

Oppo^te to him, on the ianding, was a door, which stood partly open, 
and which, as he ascended, a man with a candle in his hand, came forward 
from within to shut. But this man, on seeing him, drew back, with 
much emotion in his manner^ and, as if by a sudden impulse, mentioned 
his name aloud^ 

In the surprise of such a recognition there, lie stopped, endeavouring 
to recollect the wan and ^tarilud face. He had no time to consider it, 
for, to his yet greater am.i^t-menr. old Philip came out of the room, and 
rook hint by the hand, 

'^ Mr. Redlaw," siid the old man, " this is like you, this is like you, sir T 
you have heard of it, and have come after us to render any help you can. 
Ah, too laic, too late 1 " 

Redlaw, wirh a bewildered look, submitted to be led into the room. A 
man fay there, on a imckle-bed, and William Swidger stood at the 
bedside. 

*^ Too late!** murmured the old man, looking wistfully into the 
Chemist's face ; and the tears stole down his cheeks. 

'* That's what I say, father," interposed his son in a low voice. *' That's 
where it is, exactly. I'o keep as quiet as ever we can while he*s a dozing, 
is the only thing to do. You^re right, father 1 ^' 

Redlaw paused at the bedside, and looked down on the figure that was 
stfctched upon the mattress. It was that of a man, who should have 
been in the vigour of his life, but on whom it was not likely the sun 
would ever shine again. The I'ices of his forty or fifty years' career had 
50 branded him, that, in comparison with their effects upon his face, the 
heavy hand of Time upon the old man's face who watched him had been 
merciful and beautifying, 

*' Who is this ? " a&kcd the Chemist, looking round, 

" My son George, Mr. Redlaw," said the old man, wringing his handt ■ 
" My eldest son, Geo^e, who was more his moiher^s pride than all thf 
rest ! " 

Redlaw's cj-ts wandered from the old man's grey head, as he laidi; 
down upon tlie bed, to the poison who had recognised him, and who 
had kept aloof, in the remotest fornei of the room. He seemed to be 



THE HAUNTED MAN agg 

about his own age ; and although he knew no such hopeless dscsy and 
broken man ^s he Appeared lo be» tht^ro w^s something in the turn of his 
figure, as he icood with hia back towards him^ and now went out at tlie 
door, thai made him pass his hand aneasily across hi^ brow. 

" WiUiam/' he said in a gloomy whisper, " who is that man P " 

"Why you see, sir," returned Mr. William, *' that's what T say, 
myself. Why should a manevergoandgambli:, and the like of that, and 
let himself down inch by inch till he can't let himself down any lower J '* 

" Has hs done so ? '^ asked Redbw, glancing after him with t^je same 
unea&y action as before. 

"' Just exactly that, sir," returned William Swidger, " as Vm told. He 
knows a little about medicine, $ir, it seems ; and having been wayfaring 
towards London with my^ unhappy brother that you see here," Mr. 
William passed his coat-sleeve across his eyes, " and being lodging up 
stairs for the night— what I say, you seCj is that strange companions come 
together here sometimes — he looked in to attend upon him, and came 
for Qs at his request. What a mournful spectacle, sir! But tliat's 
where it is. It's enough to till my father i '' 

Redlaw looked up, at ilicse words, and, recalling where he was and 
with whom, and the spell he carried with him' — which his surprise hid 
obscured — retired a little, hurriedly, debating with himself whether to 
shun the house that moment, or remain. 

Yielding to a sullen doggedncss, which it seemed to be a part of 
his condition to struggle with, he a^ued for remaining, 

" Was it only yesterday," lie said, *' when I observed the memory <^ 
this old man to be a tissue of sorrow and trouble, and shall I be afraid 
to-night, to shake it ? Are such remembrances as I can drive away, so 
precious to this dying man that I need fear for him ? No ! TU sfaiy 
here." 

But he stayed, in fear and trembling none the less for these words ; 
and, shrouded in his black cloak with his face turned from them, stood 
away from the bedside, listening to what they said, as If he felt himself a 
demon in the place. 

^* Father I " murmured the sick man, rallying a little from his stupor. 

" My boy [ My son George J " said old Philip. 

" You spoke, just now, of my being mother's favourite, long ago. Iv's 
a dreadful thing to think now, of long ago 1 " 

" No, no, no," returni?d the old man. " Tliint of it- Don't say it^s 
dreadful. It's not dreadful to me, my son." 

'* It cuts you to the heart, father." For the old man's tears were 
falling on him. 

" Yes, yes," said Philip. '* so it does ; but it does me good. It's a 
heavy sorrow to think of that time, but it docs me good^ George. Oh. 
thirJf of it too, think of it loo, and your heart will be softened more and 
more! Where's my &on William* William, my boy, your mother 
loved him dearly to the last, and wi[h her latest breath said^ ' Tell him I 



2114- THE HAUNTED MAN 

foTga^^ hlnij blessed him, and prayed for hirnn' Tho^e were her word 
to me- 1 have never forgotten them^ and Tm cigbt)^-&eveTi [ " 

" Father ! " said the man upon the bed, '^ I am dying, I Vnow. I a 
so far gone, that I can hard!y £p(?al=T "^^r\ of what my mind moat runs on 
Is thcrp any hope for me beyond iJiis bed ? " 

" Tlicre is hope/* reiurned the old man, " for ail who are softened and " 
penitent- There is hope for all such. Oh] '^ he exclaimed, daspin^'^' 
hfs hands and looking up, " I was thankful^ only yesterday^ that I conld 
remember this unhappy son when he ^v^is an innocent child. Bnt what h 3 
a comfort it isj now^tothintihat even God himself has that remembrance, 
of him ! " * 

Redlavir spread his hands upon liis face, and shrank, like a murderer, ft 

" Ah J ^' feebly maaned the man upon the bed. ^*The waste smce^ 
then, the waste of life since then ! " ^^ 

" But lie was a child, once," said the old man. " He plavtd with 
children. Before he lay down on his bed at night, and fell into Jiis 
gaittless i"est, he said his prayers ^i his poor mother's knee. 1 have seen 
him do itj many a time ; and Ken her hy his head upon her breast, and 
l^i^s him. Sorrowful a? it was to her and me, to think of this, when he 
wt^nr so wrong, and when our Jiop^a and plans for him were all broken, 
this g3i?e him still a hold upon us, that nothing ehe could have E^ven. 
Oh, Father, so m\ich bettc^T thfin the fathers upon earth ! Oh, Father, 
so much more afflicted by the errors of Thy children ! takt this wanderer 
back ! Not as ho is^ btit as he was tlien^ let iiim ay to Thee^ as he has so 
often seemed to cry to us ! '^ 

As the old man lifted up his trembling hands, the son^ for whom he 
made the supplication, laid his sinking he^d against him for support and 
comfort, a* if he were indeed the child of whom he spote- 

When did man ever tremble, ^s Redlaw trembled, in the silence rhat 
ensued ! He knew it onast come upon ihem^ knew that it was coming 
fasr. 

>^My time is rery shoit, my breath h shorter," add the sick man, 
suppnriing himself an ont nrm. and vvith the other groping in the air, 
" and 1 ri;membcr ihcrc is something on my mind concerning the man 
who was here just now. Father and WiJiijm — wait ! — is there really 
anything in blacky out there ? '^ 

" Yes, yes, it is len]" said his aged father. 

"hit a man ?" 

■'^ What I say myself, George^" interposed his brother^ bending kindly 
over him. " It's Mr, Redlaw," 

" I thought 1 liad dreamed of him. Ask him to come here.'' 

The Cliemist^ whiter than the dying man, appeared before him. 
ObeLhcnt to the motion of his hand, he sat upon the bed. 

" It has been so ripped up, to-night, sir," said the sict n\sn, laying his 
haiul upon liis heart, with a look in whiclf the mute, imploring agony of 
his condition was concentrated^ " by the sight of my poor old father, jad 



THEHAUNTEDMAN 285 

ihc rliouglii of all the troubk I have been the cause of» and all the WfoJ^g 

und sorrow lying at my door^ diat -" 

\\':ii it ihc eMfiiniiiy ro wtiich lie had come, or wa? it ihe Ja\vning of 

'another changu* thai made him ;top? 

'' — ^that what I i^tifi do right with ray raind running on so much, 

so fast, I'll xry 10 do. '['here wa^ another man hete. Did ^ou see 

liim ? " 

Redlaw could nor mply by any word ; for when Ivc saw tliac fau! sign 

ho tnew so well now, of the wandering hand upon ilie forehead, his voice 
died at his lips. But he made some indication of assent. 

*' He is penniless, hungry, and destitute. He is completely beaten 
dtnvn, and has no teiource at all. Look ^►fter him 1 Lose no time I I 
know he has it in his mind to kill hiniaclf.'* 

It was working. It was on his face. His face ^vas changing^ hardening, 
dtapening in all its shades, and losing all iis iofrow, 

^' Don't yod rL:mcmber ? Don^t you know him ? " he pursued. 

He shut his face out for a momentj with the hand thai again wandered 
over his forelitadi and then it loivered on Redlaw, recklesSj ruffianly, and 
callous. 

"Why, d nyou !" he said, scowling round, **what have you been 

doing to me here ! I have lived bald, and I mean to die bold. To the 
Devil with you I " 

And so lay down upon his bed, and put hia arm^ up, over his head and 
?acs, as resolute from ihat time to keep out all access, and to die in his 
indifference. 

If Redlaw had been struct by lightning, it could not have struck him 
fiom the bedside with a more tremendous shock. But the old man, who 
had left tlie bed while his son was speaking to him, now retuiningj 
avoided it quickly likewise, and wich abhorrence, 

" Whereas my boy William '. " said the old man hurriedly, " William^ 
come aivay from here, We*tl go home." 

" Home, father [ " returned WJlham. " Are you going to leave your 
own son ? " 

^* Where's my own son .' " replied the old man, 

'' Where ? why, there ! " 

"That's no son of minc/^ said Pliilipj trembling ^vith resentment. 
*' Nt> such wretch as that, has any claim an me. My children are 
pleasant to look at, and they wait upon me, and get my meat and drink 
ready, and are useful to me. I've a right to ir ! Tm eighty-seven ! " 

''You're old enough to be no older,"' muttered William, looking at 

him grudgingly, with his hands in his pockets. ''1 don't kno^v ^^ihat 

good you are, myself. We could have a des! more ple-rsnre witliout 

you." 

" My son, Mr. RedUw J " said the oid man. '' Aly son, too ! The 

boy talking to me of my son ! W^y, what lias he ever done to give mc 

any pleasure, 1 should like to know ? " 



^ 



1 



386 THE HAUNTED MAN 

'* I dcn^t tno^v uhat you have ever done to give Wf any pleasure,*' sai 

William, sulkily. 

" Let me think," said the old man. " For how many Cliristma^ tim 
running, have I gat in my waim place, and never had to come out in the 
cold night air ; and have made good chttr, v/itliout being disturbed by 
any such uncomfortable, wretdicd sight as him there ? Is it twentf, 
William ? " 

^' Nigher forty, it seems,'' he muttered. *' Why, when T look at my 
father, sir^ and conrn ro ihint o£ jt," addressing RedlaWj ^viih an im- 
patience and irritation that ^vere quite ncxv, *' Tm whipped if I can see^ 
anything in him but a calendar of ever so many yeai^ of eating and 
drinlung, and making himself comfortable, over and over again." 

" 1 — I'm eighiy-seien/* said the old man, rambling on, childishJy and 
wt'atly, *' and I don*t tnow as I cicr was much put out by anything,^ 
I'm not going to begin no^v, because of ;vhaf he calls my son. He's not 
my son. I've had a ptm'er of pleasant times, I recollect once — no I ^ 
don't — no, it's broken oif. It was someihing about a game of cricket 
and a friend of mine, but it's somehow broken off, I wonder who he 
wa:— 1 suppose I tiked him ? And 1 wonder what became of him^ — I 
suppose he died ? But I don't know, .\nd I don't care, neither ; I. 
don't care a bit." 

In his drowsy chuckling, and the shakinj; of his head, he put his hands 
mto his wai&tcoat pockets. In one of ihtm he found a bit of holly (left 
there^ probably, last night), which he now took oiii, and looked at. 

" Berries, eh ? " said the old man, " All ! h's a piiy they're not 
good to ea^. I recollect, when I was a link chap abouc as high as that, 
and out a walking with — let mc see — who was I out a walking with ? — 
no, I don't remember how thai was. I don't remember as I ever walked 
with any one particular, or cared for any one, or any one for me. Berries, 
eh ? iTiere's good cheer wht-n there'* berries. WeU ; I ought fo have 
my share of it, and to be waited on» and kept waim and comfortable ; 
for I'm eighty-seven, and a poor old man. Via eigh-t}^-seven. Eigh-ty- 
seven ! " 

The drivelling, pitiable manner in which, as he lepcated this, he 
nibbled at the leaves, and spat the motsels out ; the cold, uninterested 
eye with which his youngest son (so changed) regarded him ; the 
determined apathy with which his eldest son lay hardened in his sin ;- 
impressed themselves no more on Rvdlaw's observation, — for he broke 
his way from the spot to which his feet seemed to have been fixed, and ! 
ran out of the house. I 

His guide came ciawHng forth from his place of refngc, and was ready : 
for him before he reached the arches. 

" Back to the woman's ? " he inquired. 

" Back, quickly ! " answered RedJaw. " Stop nowhere on the way I " 

For a short distance the boy went on before ; but their return waa 
more like a flight than a walk, and it was as much as his barcfeet could do, 



THE HAUNTED MAN 287 

10 keep pace with the Chcmisi's rapid siridca. Shrinking from all who 
pa&scd, ^hroudcj in his cloak, &nd keeping it droivn closely about him, 
as though ihcrc were mortal contagion in any fluitL-ring touch of hi^ 
garments, he madu no pauao until they reached the door by which they 
had come oiit. He un]cicti:d it with his key, went in, accompanied by 
the boy, and hastened through the dark passages to his own chamber. 

The boy watched him fls he made tlie door fast^ 3nd withdrew behind 
the table when he looked round- 

'" Come ! " he said. " Don't you touch me I You've not brought 
inf here 10 take my money away." 

Redlaw threw aome more upon the ground. He flung hi? body on it 
immediately, as if to hide it from him, lest the sight of tt »^hould tempt 
him to reclaim it ■ and not until he saw him seated by his lamp, with his 
face hidden in his hands, began furtively to pick It up. When he had 
done so, he crept near the fire, and sitting down in a great chair before it, 
took from his breast some broken scraps of food, and fell to munching, 
and to staring at the blaze, and now and then to glancing at his shillings, 
which he kepi clenched up in a bunch, in one hand. 

*' And this,'* said Redlaw, gazing on him ivith increased repugnance 
and fear, " is the only one companion I have left on earth ! '* 

How long it was before lie was aroused from his contemplation of this 
creature, whom he drc:fded so — whether half-an-hour, or half the nighi — - 
he knew not. But the stillness of the room was broken by the boy 
(whom he had seen lisieninp) stamrng up, and running towards the door. 

" Here's the woman coming ! " he ej^claimed. 

The Chemist stopped him on his way, at the moment when she 
knocked. 

** Let me go to her, will you ? " said the boy. 

'* Not now," retunied the Chemist "Stay here. Nobody must 
pass in or out of the room now. — Who's that i '* 

•' It's I, sir," cried Milly. '' Pray, sir, let me in ! " 

" No ! not for the world ! " he said, 

" Mr. Redlaw, Mr, Redlaw, pray, sir, let mc in." 

" What is the matter ? " he said, holding the boy, 

*' The miserable man you saw, is worse, and nothing T can say will wake 
him from his terrible infatuation. William's father has turned childish 
in a moment, William himself is changed. TTic shock has been too 
sudden for him ; I cannot understand him ; he is not like himself. Oh, 
Mr. Redlaw, pray advise mc, help me ! " 
. ''No! No! No] "he answered. 

V *' Mr. Redlaw ! Dear sir ! George has been muttering, in his doze, 
^about the man you saw there, who, he fears, will kill himself-" 
> " Better he should do it, than come near me ! " 

L" He says, in his wandering, that you know him ; that he was your 
end once, long ago ; that he is the ruined father of a student here — my 
^mind misgives me, of the young gentleman who has been ill. What 13 to 



THE HAUNTED MAN 

be done f How b he to be followed ? How is he to be saved ? Mrj 
Rcdlaw, pray, oh, pray advi&e me ! Help me ! " 

All liia time he held the bo^, who wiis half-mad to pass him^ and 

her in. 

" Phantoms ! Puni&heri of impious thoughts [ " cried Redlaw, gaiin^ 
round in anguish, " l^ook upon me ! From the darkness of my mind;] 
]l-c the glimmering of contrition that I know is there, shine up, and shov-^ 
my misery ! Tn the material world, as I have long taught, nothing cai 
be spared ; no step or atom in tht wondrous structure could be losc,i 
without a blank being made in thu great universe. I know, now, that it 
is the same with good and evil, happiness and sorrow, in the memories 
men. Pity me ! Relieve Tnc ! '' 

There was no response, but her *' Help me, help me, let me in ! " aai 

tho boy's struggHng to get to her. 

" Shadow of myself ! Spirit of my darker hours ! " cried Redlaw, ir 
distraction, " Come back, and haunt me day and night, but take this gifclj 
away! Or. if it must still rest with me, deprive me of die dreadful powef!'' 
of giving it to others. Undo what I have done. Leave me benighted, 
but restore the day to thoEc whom I have cursed. Aa I have spared this 
woman from the first, and as 1 never will go fordi again, but will die here 
\vith no hand to tend me, save this creature's who is proof against me, — 
liear me ! " 

The only replv still was, the boy struggling to get to her, while he held 
him back ; and cho cry, increasing in its energy, ^* Help 1 let me in. He 
was your friend once, how shall he be followed, how shall he be saved f 
They are all changed, there is no one else to help me, pray, pray, let mc 



in!" 



CH.\PTER HI : Ty Gift Rei;med 

Nlgeet was still heavy in the &ky. On open plains, from hiU-tops, and 
from the decks of sohtaty ships at sea, a distant low-lyiflg line, that 
promised by-and-bye to change to light, was visible in the dim horizon ; 
but its promise was remote and doubtful, and the moon was striving 
with the night- clouds busily. 

The shadows upon Rcdlaw's mind succeeded thick and fast to one 
another, and obscured its light as tht night-clouds hovered between the 
moon and earth, and kept the latter veiled in darkness. Fitful and 
untenain ag the shadows which the night-clouds cast, were their con- 
cealments from him, and imperfect revelations to him ; and, lite thfi' 
night-clouds still, if the clear light broke forth for a moment, it was only 
that they might sweep over it, and make the darkness deeper than before. 

Without, tliere was a profound and solemn hush upon the ancient pile 
of building, and its buttresses and angles made dark sliapes of mystery 
upon the ground, wldch now seemed to retire into the smooth white 
snow and now seemed to come out of ir^ as the moon^s path was more or 



THE HAUNTED MAN 289 

loss beact. Wichin, the Chemist's room was ludisiinct and murky, hy 
rhe light of the expiring lamp ; a gho&tl/ silence had succeeded to the 
knocking and the voice outside ; noihing was audible bat, now and tKen, 
a low sound among the wltittncd ashes of the fire^ as of its yielding up its 
last breath. Before it on the ground the boj' lay fast asleep. In his 
chair, the Chemist sat, as he had sat there since the calling at his door had 
ceased — like a man turned lo stone- 

At such a time, the Christmas music he had heard before, began to 
play. He listened to it at first, as he had listened in the churchyard ; 
but presently — it playing still, and being botne towjrds him on the night 
air, in a low, sweet, melancholy stiain— he rose, and stood stretching his 
hands about him, as if there weie aonie friend approaching within his 
reach, on whom his desolate touch might resr, yet do no harm. Ag he 
did this, his face became less fixed and wondering ; a gentle trembling 
came upon him ; and at last his eyes filled with tears, snd he put his 
hands before them, and bowed down his head. 

His memorvof sorrow, wiong, and trouble, had not come back to him ; 
he tnew that it was not rtstoied ; he had no passing belief or hope that 
it was. But some dumb stir within him made him capable, again, of 
bluing moved by what was hidden, afar off, in the music. If it were only 
that it told liim sorro^'fuUy the value of what he had lost, he rlianked 
Heaven for it with a fervent gratitude. 

As the last chord died upon his car, he raised hts head to listen to its 
lingering vibration. Beyond the boy, so tliat his sleeping figure lay at 
his feet, rhe Phantom stood immovable and silent, ivith its eyes upon 
him. 

Ghastly it was, as it had ever been, but not so cruel and relentless in its 
aspect — or he thought or hoped so, iis he looked upon it, trembling. It 
was not aJotte, but in its shadoi.vy hand it held another hand. 

And whose was that - Was the form that stood beside It indeed 
Milly's, or but her shade and picture ? The quiet head was bent a little, 
as her manner «"as, and her eyes were looking down, as if in pity, on the 
sleeping child. A radiant light fell on her face, but did not touch tlie 
Phantom ■ for, though close beside her, it was datk and colourless as ever. 

^' Spectre I " said the Chemist, newly troubled as he looked, '■^ I have 
not been stubborn or presumptuous in respect of her. Oh, do not 
bring her here. Spare me that ! " 

" This is but a shadow," said the Phantom ; " when the morning 
shines seek out the reality whose image I present before you." 

'' Is it my ine:<orable doom to do &o ? " cried the Chemist. 

'* It is,^* replied the Phantom. 

*' To de&troy her peace^ her goodness ; to make her what 1 am myself, 
and what I have made of oihers ! ** 

^' I have said * seek her out,' " returned the Phantom. ** I hive said 
no more-'* 

*■ Oh, tell me,*^ eiclaimed Redlaw, catching at the hope which he 



290 THEHAUNTEDMAN 

fancied might He hidden in the words, *' Can 1 undo what I have 
done f '' 

" No," returned the Phantom. 

"I do not ask for restoration to myself," said RedUw. ''What I 
abandoned, J abandoned of my oivn free will, and have juiiTy lost. But 
foi those to whom I have transferred the fatal gift ; wIjo never sought it ; 
who unknowingly receivtd a curse of which they had no warning, and 
which they had no power to &hun ; can I do nothing .' " 

** Nothing," said the Phantom. 

" If I cannot can any one .' " 

iTie Phantom, standinjj hVt: a ?i.itue, kept his gaie upon him for a 
■while ; then turned its head suddenly, and looted upon the shadow at 
its side. 

" Ah ! Can she ! " cried Redlaw, still looting upon the shade. 

The Phantom reloiistd the hand it had retained till now, and softly 
raised its own with a gesture of dismi^al. Upon that, her shadow, still 
preserving the same attitude, began to move or rnelt away. 

" Stay," cried Redlaw with an earnestness to which he could not give 
enough expression. " For a moment ! As an ac^ of mercy ! 1 know 
that some diange fell upon me, when those sounds were in the air just 
now. Tell mc, have I lost the power of harming her ? May I go near 
her without dread '. Oh, let her give me any sign of hope ! " 

The Phantom looted upon the shade ^is he did — not at him — and gave 
no answer. 

*^At least, say this— has she, henceforth^ the consdousness of any 
power to set right ivhat 1 have done P " 

" She has not," the Phantom answered, 

" Has she tlie power bestowed on her without the consciousness ? " 

The Phantom answered : " Seek her out," And her shadow ilowly 
vanislied. 

They were face to face again, and looking on each other, as intently 
and awfully as at the time of the bestowal of the gift, across the hoy who 
sii|] lay on the ground between them, at the Phantom*s feet. 

*' Tenible instructor," said the Cherrfisc, sinking on his knee before it, 
in an attitude of supplication, " by whom I was renounced, but hy 
whom I am revisited (in which, and in whose milder aspect, I would fain 
believe I have a gleam of hope), 1 wiJ] obey withoi:t inquiry, praying that 
the cry I have sent up in the anguish of my soul has been, or will be, 
heard, in behalf of those whom I have injured beyond human reparaiion^ 
But thi:re is one thing " 

"You speak to me of what is lying Jiere," the Piianiom interposed, 
and pointed wJrh its finger to the boy, 

''■ " I do," returned the Chemist. " You know what I would ask, \Miy 
has this child alone been proof against my influence, and why, why, have 
I detected in its thoughts a terrible companionship with mine i " 

** This," said the Pliantom, pointing to the boy, " is the lastj com- 






THEHAUNTEDMAN 391 

plettst illustration of a huDi^n creature, utterly bereft of Buch remem- 
brances as you have yidded up. No softening mcmoiy of sorrow, 
wroiJg, or trouble enters h.ere» because thia wretched morial fiom his 
birth has been abandoned to a worse condition than the beasts, and has^ 
within his knowledge^ no one contrast, no humanising touch, to mate 
a grain of such a memory spring up in his hardened breast. All within 
t]us desolatf? creature ia barren wilderness. All witliin the man bereft 
of what you have resigned, is the same banen wiideinesa. Woe to 
5in:h a man ! Woe, tenfold, to the nation that shall count its monsters 
such as this, lying here, by hundreds and by thousands [ '' 
Redlaw sttrant, appalled^ from what he heard. 

■* There is not," said the Phantom^ "one of these — not one— but 
sows a harvest thai mankind must reap. Froni every seed of evil in thfs 
boy, a field of grain is grown that shall be gathered in» and garnered 
■upj and sown again in man^ plates in the world, until regions are over- 
spread with wickedness enough 10 raise the waters of another Deluge. 
Open and unpunished murder in a city's streets would be iess guilty 
in its daily toleration, than one ^uch ^ptciacle as this." 

It seemed to look down upon the boy in his sleep. Redlaw, too, 
looked down upon him with a new emotion. 

"There is not a father," said the Phantom, '* by whose side in his 
daily or his nightly wait, these creatures pass; there is not a mother 
among all the ranks of loving mothers in thia land; there is no one 
risen from the state of childhood, but shall be responsible in his or her 
^degree for this enormity. 'Inhere is not a country ihtoughoui the earth 
on which it uould not bring a curse. There is no religion upon earth 
ttiat it would not deny y there is no people upon earth it would not 
put to shame." 

The Chemist clasped his hands, and looked, with tremblmg fear and 
pity, from die sleeping boy to the Phantom, standing above ^int with 
its finger pointing down. 

" Behold, I say," pursued the spectre, *' the perfect type of what it 
was your choice to be. Your influence is powerless here, because from 
this child's bosom you can banish nothing. His thoughts have been 
In ' terrible companionship ' with yours, because you have gone down 
to his unnatural leveT. He is the growth of man^s indifference ; you 
are the growth of man's presumption. The beneficent design of Heaven 
is, in each case, overthroiA-n, and from the two poles of the immaterial 
world you come together." 

The Chemist stooped upon the ground beside the boy, and, with 
the same kind of compassion for him that he now felt for himself, 
covered him as he slept, and no longer shrank from him with abhorrence 
or indifference. 

Soon, now, the distant line on the horizon brightened, the darkness 
faded, the sun rose red and glorious, and tlie chimney stacks and gables 
of the ancient building gleamed in the dear air, which turned the 



^92 THEHAUNTEDMAN 

smoke and vapour of the cit^ Into a cloud of gold. The very sundial 
in his shady corner, where the wind was used to spin with such unwind^ 
constancy, shook off the finer particles of snow that had accumuiated 
on his dull oJd face in the nighty and looted out at the little while 
wreaths eddying round and round him. Doubtless some blind groping 
of the morning made its way down into the forgotten crypt so cold 
and earthy, where the Norman arches were half buried in the ground* 
and stirred the dull sap in the i-ii)' vegetation hanging to the walls, and 
quickened the slow principle of life within the little world of wonderful 
and delicate creation wluch existed there, with some faint knowledge 
that the sun was up. 

The Tetterb)'3 were up, and doing, Mr. Tetterby took down the 
shutters of the shop, and, strip by strip^ revealed the treasures of the 
window to the eyes, si> proof against their seductions, of Jerusalem 
Buildings, Adotphus ttad been out so long already, that he was half way 
on to " IVIorning Pepper." Five small Tetterbys, whose ten round eyes 
were much inflamed by soap and friction, were En the tortures of a cool 
w-aah in the back kitchen i Mrs. Teiterby piesiding. Johnny, who was 
pushed and hustled through his toilet with great rapidity when Moloclt 
chanced to he in an exacting frame of mind (which was always the case), 
staggered up and dovsTl with his charge before the shop door, under 
greater difficulties than usual ; the weight of Moloch being much 
incieaacd by a complication of defences against the cold, composed of 
knitted worsted-work, and forming a complete suit of chain-armoutj 
with a head-piece and blue gaiters. 

It was a peculiarity of this baby to be always cutting teeth. Whether 
they never came, or whether thcj^ came and vi-eni away again, is not in 
evidence; but it had certainly cut enough, on the showing of Mrs. 
Tetterby, to mate a handsome dental provision for the sign of the Bull 
and Mouth, Alt sorts of objects were impressed for the tubbing of its 
gums, notwitlvstanding that It alv^iys carried, dangling at its waist 
(which was immediately under its chin), a bone ring, large enough to 
have represented the rosary of a ynung nun. Knife-h^ndles, umbrella- 
tops, the heads of walking-sticks selected from the stock, the fingers of 
the family in general, but especially of Johnny, nutmeg-graters, crusts, 
the handles of doors, and the cool knobs on the tops of pokers, were 
among the commonest instruments indiscriminately applied for this 
baby's relief- The amount of electricity that must have been rubbed out 
of it in a week, is not to be calculated. Still Mis. Tetterby always said 
" it was coming tluough, and then the child would be herself " ; and 
still it never did come through, and the child continued to be somebody 
else. 

The tempers of the little Tetterbys had sadly changed with a few 
hours. Mr, and Mrs. Tetterby themselves were not more altered than 
their offspring. Usually tliey were an unselfish, good-natured, yielding 
htile race, sharing short commons when it happened (which was pretty 



THE HAUNTED MAN 293 

often) contentedly and even generouslyj and taking a great deal of enjoy- 
ment out of a very little meat. But thty were fighting now, not cmly 
for t!ie soap and water^ but even for the breakfast which was yet in per- 
spective, T}je hand of every little Teiterby was against the other little 
Tetterbys ; and evt^n Johnny's hand^ — the patient, much-enduring, and 
devoted Johnny — rose against the baby ] Yes, Mrs, Tetterby, going 
to the door by mere accident, saw him viciously pict out a weak place 
in the suit of armour where a slap would tell, and dap that bles&ed 
child, 

Mrs. Tetterby had him into the parlour hy the collar, inrhatsame 
flash of time, and repaid him the sisanlt wiili usury thereto. 

'' You brute, yoa murdering little hoy," said Mrs. Teiterby, " Had 
you the heart to do it P " 

'' Why don*t her teeth come through, then,** retorted Johnny, in a 
loud rebellious voice, " instead of bothering me p How vrould you like 
ii yourself P " 

" Like it. Sir ! " ^aid Mrs. Tetterby, relieving him of Tiis dishononrcd 
load. 

'' Yes, like it," said Johnny. " How would you ? Not at all. If you 
was me, youM go for a soldier. I will, too. There aEn*t no babies in 
the Army.'* 

iVlr. Tetterby, who had arrived upon the scene of action, rubbed his 
chin thoughtfully, instead of correcting the rebel, and seemed, rather 
struck by this viuvj of a mihtaty life, 

'^ I wish 1 was in the Array ray^elf, if the child^s in the right," said Mrs. 
Tetterby, looking at her husband, " for I have no peace of my life here. 
l*ra a slave — a Virginia slave : '^ some indistinct association with their 
weak descent on the tobacco trade perhaps suggested this aggravated 
expression to Mrs, Tetterby. " 1 never have a hoUday, or any pleasure 
ar all, from yearns end to year's end ! Why, Lord bles? and save the 
child," said Mrs. Tetterby, sliaking the baby with an irritability hardly 
suited to so pious an aspiration, ^^ what's the matter wE^h her now P " 

Not being able to discover, and not rendering the subject much 
clearer by shaking it, Mrs. Tetterby put the baby sv/^y in a cradle, and 
folding her arms, sal rocking it angrily with her foot. 

" How you stand there, 'Dolphus," said Mrs, Tcttetby to her husband, 
" Why don't you do something ? " 

*' Because 1 don't caie about doing anything," Mr. Tetterby replied. 

*' 1 am sure / don't," said Mrs. Tetterby, 

'" ni take my oath / don't," said Mr, Tetterby, - 

A Aversion arose here among Johnny and his five younger brothers, 
who, in preparing the family breakfast table, had fallen to skimaishing 
for the temporary possession of the loaf, and were bufleting one another 
with great heartiness ; the smaUestboy of all, with precocious discretion, 
hovering outside the knot of combatants, and harassing their legs. Into 
the midst of this fray, Mr. and Mrs. Tetterby both precipitated them- 



294 THE HAUNTED MAN 

a&lves wjtK great ardour, as if such ground were? the only ground on 
which they could now agree ; aad havii^j with no visible remains of 
their bre sofc-heartednesjj laid about them without any lenit}^^ and done 
much execuiionp resumed their former relative positionSn 

" You had better read your paper than do nothing ai: all^" said Mrs. 
Tetterby, 

^^ What's there to read in a paper f " returned Mr. Tetterb^^ with 

dcessive discontent* 
" What ? " said Mrs. Tetterby, '' PoUce,*' 

*^ It^s nodding to me/' said Telterby. *^ What do I care whaf people 
do, or are done to ? " 

"Suicides," suggested Mrs. Tctterby. 

^^ No business of mine," replied her husband. 

"Births, dtathSj and marriageSj are those nothtng to you f" said 
Mrs. Tetterby, 

" If the biTlhs ^vere all over for good, and all to-day ; and the deaths 
were all to begin to come off to-morrow ; T don*t see why it should 
interest me^ till I thought it wag a coming to my turn/^ grumbled 
Tettcrby. " As to marrisgcsj Fve done it myself. I tnow quite enough 
about ih^Tn,*^ 

To judge from the dissatisfied expression of her face and manner^ 
Mrs. Tetterby appeared to entertain the same opinions as her husband ; 
but she opposed him, nevertheless, for tixe eratification of quarreliing 
vnth hTm. 

"Oh. yon'rG a consistent man," said Mrs. Tetterb)-, " ain'i: you f 
You, wiih iKp screen of your own making there, made of nothing else 
but bits of newapapera, which you sit and read to the diildren by the 
haif-hour together ? '* 

"Say Hsed to, if you please," returned her husband, '*You won't 
find mc doing bo any more. I'm wiser now." 

" Bah I wiser, indeed I " said Mrs. Tetterby. " Are you better P " 

The question sounded some discordant note in Mr. Tetterby's breast> 
He ruminated dejectedly, and passed his hand across and across his 
forehead. 

" Better 1" murmured Mr Telterby. "I don^c Inow as any of us 
are better, or happicf either. Better, is it ? " 

He turned to the screen, and traced about it with his finger, until he 
found a certain paragraph of which he was in quest. 

"This used to be one of the family favourites, I recoUect," said 
Tetterby, in a forlorn and stupid way, " and used ti>draw tears from the 
children, and make 'em good, if there was any little biclierjng or dis- 
content among 'em, nest to the sioiy of the robin redbreasts in the woonis. 
' Melancholy case of destitution. Yesterday a small man, with a baby in 
hia arms, and surrounded by half-a-dozen tagged little ones, of various 
ages between ten and two, the whole of whom were evidently in a 
famishing condition, appeared before the worthy magistrate, and made 



THE HAUNTED MAN 295 

tha following recital:' — Ha J I don^t understand ic, Vm sure," said 
Tetterb/; ^^ i don^t &ee what it has got to do with us." 

'* iiow old and shabby he looks^" raid Mrs. Terterby^ watching him, 
*^ 1 never saw such a change in a man. Ah ! dear me, dear me, dear mcj 
it v^as a sacrifice [ " 

'^Whaf was a sacrifice i ^' her husLind sourly inquired. 

Mn, Tetterby shoot her head ; and "without replying in words, raised 
a compleic sca-stornx ab[>ut the baby^ hy hex violent agitation □£ the 
cradle- 

" If jou mean your maTcijge was a sacrificCj ray good woman " 

si^id her husband. 

" I J'flmean it," said his wife, 

*^MTiy, then I mean to say,'^ pnrstied Mr. Tcttcrby, as sultily arid 
surlily as Jic, " that there are two sides to That affair ; and that / was 
the sactific? ; and that I wish the sacrifice hadn^t been accepted." 

" T wish it hadn^i^ Tetierby, with all my heart and soul I do assure 
you," said lis wife. ^* Yon can't wi^h it more than I do, Telterby." 

" 1 don^t know what I saw in her/* muttered the newsman^ " Pra 
sure ; — certanly, if I saw anything, ir*s not there now, I was thinking 
3D, last night after supper, by the fire- She's fat, she's ageing^ she woQ^t 
bear compariion with most other women.*' 

" He^3 con nion -looking, he has no air with hini, he*3 small, he^s 
beginning to -toop^ and he's getting baEd," muttered Mrs, Tettcrby. 

'^ I must hive been half out of my mind when I did it,*' muttered 
Mr. Tetterby. ...... 

" My sensed must have forsook mc. That's the only w^y in which I 
can explain itto myself^" said Mrs. Tetterby, with elaboration. 

In this moot they lat down to breakfast. The little Teiierbys were 
not habituated :o regard that meal in the light of a sedentary occupa lion, 
but discussed it IS a dance or trot ; rather resembling a savage ceremony^ 
in the occasiond shritJ whoops^ and brandishing^ of bread and butter, 
with which it Wis accompanied, as well as in the intricate filings off into 
the street and b^ck again, and the hoppings ap and down the doorsteps, 
which were incitental to the performance. In the present instance, the 
contentions betveen these Tetterbv children for the milk-and-water jug 
common to ail, vhich stood upon the table, presented io lamentable an 
instance of angrj passions risen very high indeed, that it was an outrage 
on the memory jf Doctor Watts* It was not until Mr. Tetterby had 
driven the wholehcrd out at the front door^ that a momcnt^s peace was 
secured ; ai^d evfu that was broken by the discovery that Johnny had 
surreptitiously cone bact^ and was at that in&tant choking in the jug 
like a ventriloqui t j in his indecent and rapacious haste. 

" These ehildrei will be the death of me at last ! " said Mrs. Tetterby, 
aftec banishing th: culprit. " And the sooner the better, I think." 

" Poor people/ said Mr. Tetterby, " ought not to have children at 
all. They give u. no pleasure/* 



296 THE HAUNTED MAN 

He was at that moment tating up the cup which Mrs, Terterby had 
rudely pushed towards him, and Mrs. Tctterbf was Tffting her own cup 
TO her lip5, when they were both stopped, as if they were transfixed. 

** Here ! Mother ! Father ! " cried Johnny^ running into the room. 
" Here's Mrs- WilJinm coming down the street ! ** ' 

And if cvlTt ^\TiCQ. the world began, a young boy took a baby froni a 
cradle with the care of an old nurse, and hushed and soothed it tenderly^ 
and tottered away with it cheerfully^ Johnny was that boy, and Moloch 
was that baby, as they went out together ! 

Mr. Tctterby put down his cup \ Mrs, Tctterby put down lu^r cup. 
Mr. Tetterby rubbed his forehead ; Mrs. Tetti:fby rubbed he&. Mr. 
Tetterby'fi face began to smooth and brighten ; Mrs, Tctictb^'s began 
to smooth and brighten, 

" Why, Lord forgive me," said Mr, Tctterby to himself, '*tvhat evil 
tempers have I been giving 'w^j to P What has been the mattr here P " 

" How could I ever treat him ill again, after all T said aid feit last 
night 1 " sobbed Mrs. Tetterby, with her apron to her eyes. 

" Am I a brute," ?aid Mr. Tetterby, " or is there any gmd in me at 
all * Sophia 1 My little woman ! ** 

^' 'Dolphus dear," returned his wife, 

'' \ — rve been in a state of mJnd," said Mr. Tetterby, ' that I can't 
abear to think of, Sophv,'^ / 

"Oh ! It*s nothing to what l*ve been in, Dolf," cried his wife in a 
great burst of grief. T 

*' My Sophia," said Mr. Tetterby, " don't take on. I never shall 
forgive my&clf. 1 mu$t have nearly broke your heart. I bow," 

"No,Doif,no. Itwasme! Mc ! " eried Mrs. Tetteioy. 

*' My httle woman, ^' said her husband^ *^ don*t. You mse me rcproaA 
myself dreadful, when you show such a noble spirit. S'phia, my dear, 
you don't know what I thought. 1 showed it bad cnoigh, no doubt ; 
but what \ thought, my little woman 1 " 

" Oh, dear Dolf, don't ! Don't ! " cried his wife, ' 

'* Sophia," said Mr, Tetterby, "I must reveal it. Icouldn't rest in 
my conscience unless I mentioned it- My little woman " 

^' Mis. William's very nearly here 1 " screamed JohnTy at the door. 

" My little woman, 1 wondered how," gasped MrTitterby, support- 
ing himself by his chair, *' I wondered how I had eve: admired you^ 
I forgot the precious children you have brought about Tie, and thought 
you didn*t loot as stim as 1 could wish, I — 1 never ga^-: a recollection," 
said Mr, Tetterby, with severe self-accusation, '* to the cares you've had 
as my wife, and along of mc and mine, when you migk have had hardly 
any wjth another man, who got on better and was luclier than me (any- 
bchjy might have found such a m^m easily, 1 am sure) and I quatrclltd 
with you for having aged a little in the rough years you have 
lightened for me. Can you believe it, my Utile womm \ \ hardly can 
myself." 



THEHAUNTEDMAN 197 

Mrs. Tetierbyj in a whirlwind of liughing and crying^ caught Kis face 
within her hands, and held it there. 

" Ohj Doif ! ^* she cried. " 1 aro so h^ppy that you thought so ; I am 
TO grateftU that yoa thought so ! For I thought that you were common- 
looking, Dolf ; and 5d you are, my dear, and may you be the commonest 
of all sights in m^ eye;, till you close ihem with your own £ood hands. 
I thought that you were small ; and so you are^ and 1*11 make much of 
you because you arc, and more of you because 1 love my husband, 
1 thought that you began to stoop i and so you do, and you shall lean 
on me^ and TU do all i can to keep you up. I thought there was no air 
about you ; but there is, and it^s the ait of home^ and ihat^s the purest 
and the best there is^ and God bless home once more^ and all belonging 
toit, Dolf J" 

" Hurrah ! Here'^ Mrs. WilUam I " cried Johnny, 

So she was, and all the children with her ; and as she came in, they 
kissed her, and kissed one another^ and kissed the baby, and kissed their 
father and moth(;r, and then ran back and flocked and danced about her^ 
trooping on with, her in triumph. 

Mr. and Mrs. Tettcrby were not a bit behindhand in ilie warmth, of 
their reception. They were as much attracted to her as the children 
were ; they ran towards her, kissed her hands, pres&ed round her, could 
not receive her ardently or enthusiastically enou;^h. She came among 
them hke the spirit of all goodness^ affectionj gentle consideration, love^ 
and domesticity, 

"Whatl are yau all so glad to see me, too, this bright Christmas 
morning ? ^' said MjHy, clapping het hands in a pleasant wonder. " Oh 
dear, how dchghtf ul this is ! ^* 

More shouting from the children, more kissing, more trooping round 
her, more happiness, more love, more joy, more honoufj on all sides, than 
sh^ could bear, 

" Oh dear ! " said Milly, " what delicious tears you make me shed. 
How can I over have deserved thii 1 What have 1 done to be so loved P " 

^^ Wlio can help it 1 " cried Mr. Tctterby. 

" Who can help if ] " cried Mrs. Tetterby. 

^* VVho can help it ! " echoed the childrt^n, in a joyful chorus. And 
they danced and trooped about her again, and clung to her, and laid 
their rosy faces against her dress^ aod kissed and fondled itj and could not 
fondle itj or her, enough* 

^^ I never was so moved," said Milly, drying her eyes, ^* as I have been 
this morning. I must tell you, as soon as I can speak. — ^Mr. Rcdlaw came 
to me at sunTise, and with a tenderness in his manner^ more as if 1 had 
been his darling daughter than myself, implored me to go with him to 
where William's brother George is lying ill We went together, and all 
the way along he was so kind, and so subdued, and seemed to put such 
trust and hope in me, that I could not help crying with pleasure. When 
we got to the house, we met a woman at the door (somebody had bruised 



^■"w^^ 



1 



agS THE HAUNTED MAN 

and hurt Ker^ I am afraid) who caught m£ by iho hand^ and blessed ma 
as I passed." 

** She was right ! " said Mi. Tetferby. Mrs, Tfitterby said she was 
right. All the children cried out thar she was right. 

" Ah, but there^s more than that," said Milly, *' When we got up 
stairs^ info the room, the sick man who had lain foi hoQTS ill a state from 
which no effort could rouse him, rose up in his bed, and, bursting into 
tears, stretched out Ixis arms ii? nic, and said th^t he had led a mis-spent 
life, but that he ivas trulj' repentant now in his sorrow lot the past, 
which was ail a^ plain to him as a great prospect, from which a dense 
black cloud had cleared away, and that he entreated me lo ask his poor old 
father for his pardon and his blessing, aod to say a prayer beside his bed- 
And when I did so, Mr. Rcdlsw joined in it so fervently, and then so 
tfianJced and thanked me, and thankt^d Heaven, that tny heart quite 
overflowed, and I could have done nothing but sob and cry, if the sick 
man had not begj^d me to sit down by ium, — which made me quiet of 
course. As I sat there, he held my hand in his until he sank in a doze, 
and even then, when [ withdrew my hand to leave hfm to come here 
(which Mr. Redlaw was very earnest indeed in wishing me to do), his 
hand felt for mine, so chat some one else was obliged to take my place and 
make believe to give hJm my hand back. Oh dear, oh dear," said Mtlly 
sobbing- *' How thankful and how happy 1 $hould feel, and do feel,for 
aU this ! " 

While she wa? speaking, Redlaw had come in, and after pausing for 3, 
moment to observe the group of which she was the centre, had silently 
ascended the siairg. Upon (hose staiis he now appeared again ■ remaining, 
there, while the young student passed him, and came rutming down. 

*' Kind nurse, gentlest, best of creatures," he said, falling on his knee 
to her, and catching at her hand, " forgive my cruel ingratitude I " 
'id" Oh dear, oh dear J " cried Milly innocently, ^* here's another of 
them I Oh dear, here'$ somebody else who likes me. Wliat shall I 
ever do [ " 

The guileless, simple way !n which she said it, and in which she put 
her hands beforehereyesand wept for very happiness, was as touching as 
it was delightful, 

" r was not myself," he said. " 1 don't know what it was — it was some 
consequence of my disorder perhaps — I was mad. But I am so no longer. 
Almost as I speak, I am restored. I heard the children crying out your 
name, and the shade passed from me at the vety sound of it. Oh don't 
weep I Dear Milty, if you coirld read my heart, and only knew with what 
affection and what giateful homage it is glowing, you would not let me 
see you weep. It is such deep reproach." 

" No, no," said Milly, " it*& not that, it's not indeed. It's joy. It's 
wonder thar you should think it necessary to ask me to forgive so little, 
and yct's it's pleasure that you do." 

And will you come again ? and will you finish the little curtain l " 



n 



r-' 



(( 



THE HAUNTED MAN 299 

No," said MlWjy drying her eyeSj and ahakiDg her headn ^^ You 
won^t care for mj" needlework noWn^' 

" Is il forgiving me^ to say chat f " 

She beckoned him aside, and whispered in his ear, 

^^ There ig news from your home^ Mr. Edmund." 

^'Nev.-B i Howf" 

" Either your not wri:tng when you were very ill^ or tJit change in 
vour handwriting when yon began to be better, created sotne suspicion 
o! [he truth ; ho^vever that is— — but you're sure you'll not be the worse 
for any newj> if it's flot b^d news P '* 

^^Sure." 

" Then tl^ere's some one come I " said MiUy, 

"My mother?" asked the student^ glancing round involuntarily 
towards Rediaw^ who had come down from the siairs, 

" Hush ! No/' said Milly, 

" It can be no one else/* 

" Indeed ! " said Milly, " are you sure ? " 

" It is not *" Before he could say morCj she put her hand upon 

his mouih* 

*" YeSj it is 1 " said Milly. " The young iady (she is very like the minia- 
ture, Mfr Edmund^ but she is prettier) was too unhappy to rest without 
satisfying herdoubtSj and came up, last nighty with a little servant-maid. 
As you always dated your letters from the college^ she came there ; and 
before I saw Mr. Redlaw this mornings I saw her* She likes jne too ! '* 
said MiUy. '' Oh dear, that's another ! " 

*^ This morning ! Where is she now ? ^^ 

" Why, she is now," said Millyj advancing her lips to his ear^ " in my 
little parlour in the Lodge^ and waiting to see you*" 

He pressed her hand, and was darting off, but ahe detained him. 

*^ Mr. Redlaw is much altered, and has told me this morning that his 
memory is impaired. Be very considerate ro him^ Mr. Edmund; he 
needs that from us all/' 

The young man assured her, by a look, that her caution was not ill- 
bestowed ; and as he passed the Chemist on his way out^ bent respect- 
fuUy and with an obvious interest before him. 

Redlaw returned the salutation courteously and even humbly, and 
looked after him as he passed on- He drooped his head upon his hand 
too, as i^tying to reawaken something he had lost. But it was gone. 

The abiding change that had come upon him since the influence of the 
muBiCj and the Phantom's reappearance, was, that now he truly felt 
how much he had lost, and could compassionate his own condition^ and 
contrast It, cleariyj with the natural state of those who were around him. 
[n this, an interest in thnse who were around him was revived, and a 
meek, submissive sense of his calamity vras bred, re^mbling thit which 
sometimes obtains in age, when its mental powers are weakened, without 
insensibility or sullenness being added to tlie list of its inhrmitiea. 



500 THE HAUNTED MAN 

He was con?ciou? that, as he redeemed, through Milly, more and more 
of the evil he had done^ and as he wa& more and more with her^ this 
change ripened itself within him. Therefore, and because of the attach^ 
nieni she inspired him wiih (but Avithout Dcher hope), he felt that he was 
quite dt:pcndent on hct^ and ihat she was his staff in his affliction- 

Soy when she ^sked him whether they should go home noWj to where 
the old man and her husband werc^ and he readily replied ^* yes " — 
being anxious io that rt^gsrd — he put his arm througli. hers, and walked 
beside her ; not as if he were the wise and Jcarued man to whom ilie 
wonders of Nature ^vere an open boot, and hers were the uninstructed 
mind, but as if their two positions were reversed^ and he knc^w nothing, 
and she all. 

He saw ihe children throng about her, and caress her, as he and she 
went away to^^ther thus, out of the house ; ho heard the ringing of their 
laughier, and their merry voices ; he saw their bright facej> clustering 
Around him like flowers; he witnessed the renewed contentment and 
affectioD of iheir parents ; he breathed the simple air of their poor home, 
restored to its tranquillity ; he thought of the unwholesome blight he had 
shed upon it, and rnight, but for her, have been diffusing then ; and 
perhaps it is no wonder that he walked submissively beside herj and 
drew her gentle bosom nearer to his own. 

When they jirivcd at the Lodge^ the old man was sitting in his chair 
in the chimney-corner., wth his eves fixed on the ground, and hi^ son waa 
leaning against the opposite side of the fire-place, loofciDg at him, Ag 
she came in at the door, both et3rted^ and turned round towards her, 
and a radiant change came upon their faces. 

** Oh dear, dear, dear, they are all pleased to see mc lit^ the rest ! '' 
cried Milly^ clapping her hands id an ecstasy, and stopping short. 
*' Hcti^ arc two more ! '^ . 

Pleased to see her I Pleasure was no word for it. She rsn into her 
husband's arms^ thrown ^vide open to leceive her, and he would have 
been giad to have her there^ "with her head lying on his shoQlder^ through 
the short lAintcr^s day. But the old man couldn't spare her. He had 
arms for her too, and he locked her in them. 

** Why^ where has my quiet Mouse been all this time p " said the old 
man. *^ She has been a long while away ^ I find that it's impossible forme 
TO get on without Mause* 1 — whereas my son WiUiam ?— I fancy I have 
. been dreaming, William,'^ 

^^ That's what I say myself^ father," returned his son, " 1 have been 
in an ugly sort of dream, 1 think. — How are you, father f Are you pretty 
wen ? " 

^^ Strong and brave^ my boy/* returned the old man. 

It was quite a sight to sec Mr. William shaking hands with his father 
and patting him on the bact:, and rubbing hira gently down with his 
hand, as if he could not possibly do enough to show an interest in hSm. 

** What a wonderful man you are^ father !-^How are you^ father ? 



THE HAUl^TED MAN 301 

Are you rejill^ pretty hearty, though * " ^aid WjUlam, ahakiog Kandawiih 

him agjin, and patting him ag^ia, and rubbing him gently down again^ 
" I never was fresher or stouter in my life, my boy." 
" What a wonderful man you ate, father ] Bur that's exactly where it 
h" said Mr. William^ with enthusiasm. " When I ihint of all that my 
father^s gone through, and all the chance? and changes, and sorrows and 
troubles, that have happened to him in the course of his long life, and 
undj?r which his head has grown grey, and years upon years have gathered 
on ir, I feel as if we couldn't do enough 10 honour the old gentleman, and 
make his old age easy.— How are you, fath<j ? Are you really pretty well, 
though ? " 

Mr. William might never have left ofi repeating this inquiry, and 
shaking hands with him again, and parting hini again, and rubbing him 
down again, if the old man had not espied the Chemist, whora until now 
he had not seen, 

" I ast your pardon, Mr. Redlaw," said Philip, '^ but didn't know you 
were here, sir, or should have made less free. It reminds me, Mr, Redlaw, 
seeing you here on a Christmas morning, of the time when you was a 
fitudont yourself, and worked so hard thai you vvas backwards and for- 
wards in our Library even at Christmas time. Ha [ ha I Vm old enough 
to remember that; and i remember it right well, I do, though I'm 
eighty-seven- It was after you left here that my poor wife died. You 
remember my poor wife, Mr. Redlaw ? " 

The Chemist answered yes. 

" Yes," said the old man. '* She was a dear crcetur. — T recollect you 
come here one Christmas morning with a young lady — I ask your pardon, 
Mr. Redlaw, bur I think it was a sister you was very much attached 
to ? " 

The Chemist looked at him, and shook his head. '^ I had a sister/' he 
said vacanl:Ty. He knew no more, 

" One Christmas morning," pursued the old man, " that you come 
here with her — jnd it began to &now, and my wife invited the young 
lady to walk in, and sic by the fifc that is always a burning on Christmas 
Dsy in what used 10 be, before our ten poor gentlemen t^ommuted, our 
great Dinner HaH. I was there ; and I lecoUccr, as I was stirring up tJic 
blaze for the young lady to warm her pretty feet by, she read the scroll 
out loud, that is underneath that picter. 'Lord, keep my memory 
green ! ' She and my poor vA£c fell a tilting about it ; and it's a strange 
thing to think of, now, thar they both said (both being so unlike to die) 
that it was a good prayer, and that it was one they wouTd put up very 
earnestly, if they were called away young, with reference to those who 
were dearest to them. * My brother,* sa^'S the young lady — 'My 
husband,' says my poor wife. — * Lord, keep his memory of me, grten, 
and do not let me be forgotten ! ' " 

Tears more painful, and more bitter than he had ever shed in all his 
life, courted down Rcdiaw's face. Philip, fuUy occupied in recalling his 



if 



302 THEHAUNTEDMAN 

story, had not observed him until now, noi Milly*? anxiety that he should 
not proceed, 
'^* Philip!" said Redlaw^ laying his hand npoti his arnij "I am a 

stricken man, on whom thehandofPfOvidencchaa fallen heavily, although 
dcservedl/H You speal[ to mc^ my friend^ of what 1 i:annot follow ; my 
memory is gone." 

^^ Merciful Power ] " cried iht old min. 

*^ I have \o$i my memory of sorrow^ "wrongj and trouble/* said the 
Chcmistj " and with that I have lost all man would remember 1 " 

To see old Plulip's pity for Kim^ to see l^im whee] his own great chair 
for Kim to rest in, and look down upon him with a solemn s^ose of Ms 
bereavemenfj was to know, in some degree^ how precious to old age such 
recollections are^ 

The boy came running in, and ran to Midy. 

*^ Here's the man/' he said, " in the other room. I don't wani him.^^ 

" What man does he mean ? " asked Mr. WilliarQt 

^^ Hush r* said MiUy. 

Obedient to a sign from her^ he and liis old father softly mtivdrew. As 
they went out, unnoticed^ Redlaw beckoned to the boy to come to him, 
I like the woman best/* he answered^ holding to her skirts. 
You are right/* said Redlaw, with a faint smilen "^ But you needn^t 
fear to come to me. 1 am gentler than I was. Of aJl the world, to you, 
poor child!" 

The boy siilT held back at firfltj but yieTding little by little to her 
urgingj he consented to appronicb, and even to sit down at hh feet. As 
Redlaw laid his hand upon the shoulder of the child, looting on him with 
compassion and a fellow-feeling, he put out his otKci hand to MiUy. 
She stooped down on that side of him, so that she eonld loot into hia 
facc^ and after iilence, said : 

Mr. RedTaw^ may 1 speat; to you ? " 

Yes/* he an^wered^ fixing his eyes upon her, ^^ Your voice and ninslc 
are the same to me*'^ 

*^ May I asi; you something ? " 

*^ What you wilL" 

^^Do you remember what I said, ^vhen I knotted at your door last 
night ? About one who was your friend once^ and who stood on the 
veige of destructior) ? *^ 

" YeSn I remember/^ he said, with some hesitation, 

" Do you understand it i " 

He smoothed the boy*s hair — looking at her fixedly the while, and 
shook his head. 

^^This person," said MiUy, in her clearj soft voice, which her mild 
eyes, looking at him, made clearer and softer, " 1 found soon aftt^r^vards, 
I went back to the house, and, with. Heaven's help, traced him* I was 
not too soon. A very little and 1 should iiave been too late." 

He toot his hand from the boy, and laying it on the bact of that 



4C 



THE HAUNTED MAN 303 

hand of hcTE, whose timid ^nd yet earnest touch addressed him no less 
appealingly than her voice and eyes^ looked more intently on her. 

" He iV the father of Mr. Edmund^ iJie young genileman we saw just 
now. Hi5 real name U X^ngford.— You recollect the name ? " 
^^I recoliect the name," 
*' And the man ? " 

" No, not the man* Did he ever wrong me ? " 
" Yes I " 

'' Ah E Then it^s hopeless— hopeless." 

He shook his head, and softly beat upon the lund he held^ as though 
nmiely asking tier commiserauort. 

" I did not go to Mr. Edmund ksi night," said Milly,— '* You wi!! 
listen to rae just the same as if you did remember all p " 
**To every syllable you &ay," 

" Both, because I did not tjiow^ then, that this really was his father^ 
and because 1 was fearful of the efTeci of such intelligence upon him, 
after his illness, if it should be. Since I have known who ihis person is, 
I have not gone either ; but thai ia for anodier reason. He has long been 
separated from hh wife and son— has been a stranger to his home almost 
from ihis son^s infancy, I leam from him — and has abandoned and 
deserted what he should have: hi:ld most dear. In all that time he has 

beenfalling from ihc stale of a gentleman, more and mor<r, until " she 

rose up hastily^ and going out for a moment, returned, accompanied by 
the wreck that Redlaw had beheld last night* 
*' Do you know me ? " a^ed ilie ChemisT* 

" T should be glad," returned the oiher^ " and that is an unwonted 
word for me to use^ if I could answer no." 

The Chemist looked at the man, standing in self-a basement and 
degradation before him, and would have looked longer, in an ineffectual 
struggle for enlighienmentj but that MiiJy resumed her late position 
by his side^ and attracted his attentive ga^e to her own f^ce. 

" See how loviT he is sunk, how lost he is ! " she whispered^ stietchin^ 
out htr arm towards him^ without looking from the Chemist's face. ^^ LF 
you could remember all that is connected with liim, do you not think it 
would move your pity to reflect that one you ever loved (do not ]^K us 
mind how long ago, or in what belief thai he has forfeited)^ should come 
lo this ? " 

^* I hope it would,^' he answered. " I believ^e it would." 
His eyes wandered to tht ligure standing ne^r the door, but came back 
speedily to her^ on whom he gazed intenily, as if he sirovc to learn some 
lesson from every tone of her voice, and every beam of her eyes. 

*' I have no learning, and you have much,'* said Milly ■ " 1 am 
not used to think, and you are always thinking. May 1 lell you why it 
^Ecms to me a good thing for us, to remember wrong tiiat has been 
done us P ** 



3^4 



THE HAUNTED MAN 



*' That we may fotgiTc it," 

" Pardon me, great Heaven ! " $i\d Rcdlaw, lifting up his eyes, " for 
having thrown away thine own high attribure ] " 

" And if/^ said Milly, *' if your memory should one day be restored, 
a$ wt will hope and pray it may be, would it not be s blessing to you to 
TecaU. at once a wrong and its forgiveness ? " 

HelooW atthc figure by die door, and fastened his attentive eyes on 
her again ; a ray of clearer light appeared to him to shine inio his mind» 
from her bright face, 

" He cannot go to his abandoned home. He does not seek to go there. 
He knows that he could only carry thame and trouble to those he ha& so 
crueUy neglected ; and that thr best reparation he can make them now, 
is lo avoid them. A very Uttje money caiefulTy bestowed, H-ould remove 
h[m to some distant place, where he might live and do no wrong, and 
make such atonement as is left within his power for the wrong he has 
done. To the unfortunate lady who is his wife, and to his son, this would 
be the best and kindest boon that their bestfriend could give them— one 
too that they need never know of \ and to him, shattered in reputation, 
mind, and body, it might be salvation." 

He took her head between his hands, and kissed it, and said : " It 
shall be done. I trust to you to do it for me, now and secretly ; and lo 
tell him that 1 would forgive him, if I were so happy as to know for 

what.'^ 

As she rose, and turned her beaming Face tovi^rds the fallen man, 
implying that her mediation had been successful, he advanced a step, and 
without raising his eyes, addressed himself to Redlaw. *' You are so 
generous," he said, *' — you ever were — that you vidll try to banish your 
rising sense of retribution in rhe spectacle that is before you. I do not 
try to banish it from myself, Redlaw. If you can, believe mc." 

The Chemist entreated Milly, by a gesture, to come nearer to him i 
and, as he hstened, looked in her face, as if to find in it the clue to wliat 
he heard. 

*' I am too decayed a wretch to make professions : I recollect my own 
career too well, to array any ^uch. before you. But from the day on which 
I made my first sti?p downward, in dealing falsely by you, I have gone 
down with a certain, steady, doomed progression. That, I say." 

Redlaw, keeping her close at his side, turned his face Cowards the 
speaker, and there was sorrow in if. Something like mournful recognition 
too, 

" I might have been another man, my life might have been another 
life, if I had avoided that first fatal step. I don't know that it would have 
been. I claim nothing for ^e possibility. Your sister is at rest, and better 
titan she could have been with me, if I had continued even what you 
thought mc : even what I once supposed myself to be." 

Redlaw made a hasty motion with his hand, as if he would have put 
that subject on one side. 



THEHAUNTEDMAN Jg-J 

*' I apeak/^ the othet went on, " lite i man taken from the grave. I 
should have made m^ own grave, last night, !:ail it not been for thi3 
blessed hand/' 

" Oh dear, he likes me too ! " gobbed Milly, under her treath. TTiat*s 
another ! " 

" I couid iior have put m>^elf in your way, last nighi, even for bread. 
But, to-day, ray recollection of what has been is so strongly stirred, and. 
is presented to me, I don't Lnovi' how, so vividly, that 1 have dared to 
come at lier su^esiion, and to rake your bount}', and to thank you for 
it, and to beg you, RedlaWj in your dj'ing hour, to be as meiciful to me 
in your thoughts, as you are in your deeds,*' 

He turned towards the door, and stopped a moment on his way 

foich. 

*' I hope my son may interest you, for his mother'a sake. I hope he may 

deserve to do so. Unless my life should be preserved a long time, and I 

should know that I have not misused your aid, I shall never look upon 

him more.*' 

Going out, he raised his ey^ to Rcdlaw for the first time^ RedTaw, 
whose steadfast gaze v^^^s fised upon him, dreamily held out his hand. 
He returned and touched it — little more — with both his own ; and 
bending do«-n hiu hr?ad, went slowly out. 

In the few moments that elapsed, while Milly silently took hira lo the 
gate, the Chemist dropped into his chair, and covered his face vrixh hia 
hands. Seeing him thus, when she came back, accompanied hy her 
husband and his father (who were both greatly concerned for him), she 
avoided disturbing hira, or permitting him to be disturbed ; and kneeled 
down near the cliair to put some warm clothing on tlie boy. 

" That's exactly where it is. Thai's what I ahvays say, father ! " 
exclaimed her admiring husband. " There's a motherly feeling in Mrs. 
William's breast that must and will have went 1 " 

"Ay, ay," said the old man; "you're right. My son William's 
right : " 

" It happens all for the best, Milly dear, no doubt," said Mr. William, 
tenderly, '^ that we have no children of our own ; and yet t sometimes 
ivish you had one to love and cherish. Our little dead child that you 
built such hopes upon, and that never breached the breath of life — it 
has made you quiet-Hke, Milly." 

" 1 am very happy in the recoUectioil oE itj William dear," she 
answered. " 1 think of it every day." 

" I was afraid you thought of it a good deal." 

" Don't say, aftaid ; it is a comfort to me ; it speaks to me in so many 
ways. The innocent thing that never lived on earth, is like an angel to 
me, William.'* 

" Yon are Uke an angel to father and me," said Mr. William, softly. 
" I know that." 

" When I think of all those hopes I built upon it, and the many times 
cc. L 



So6 THE HAUNTED MAN 

I sat and pictDred to myself the little smiling face upon my bosom that 
never Uy therc^s and the sweet e)^es turned up to mine thai never opened 
to iht: hglitj" said Milly, ^' 1 can feel n grenter tenderness, I think, for all 
the disappointed hopes in whicli there ii no harm. When I see a beautiful 
child in its fond mothcr^s -irms, I love it all the better, thinking that my 
child miglit liave been like that, and might have made my heart as proud 
and hn-^ppy." 

Redlaw riiac^d his head, and looted towards her. 

** All through life, it seems by me," she continued^ " to tell me some- 
thing. For poor neglected children, my little child pleads as if it were 
alive and had a voice I kncw^ with which to speak to me* When I hear of 
youth in suffering or shame^ I think thai my child might have come to 
thatj perhaps^ and that God took It from me in His mercy. Even in age 
and grey hair^ such as father's^ it is present : saying that it too migJit 
have lived to be oldj long and long after you and 1 were gone^ and to 
have needed the res^pect and love of younger people." 

Her quiet voice wa^ quieter ihan ever, as she took her hustand^s arm 
and laid her head against it, 

" Children love me so, (hat sometimes I half fancy — it's a silly fancy, 
William — they have some way 1 don't know of, of feeling for my little 
child, and me, and understanding why their love h precious id me. If 1 
have been quiet sincCj 1 have been more happy, William, in a hundred 
ways. Not least happy, dear, in this — that even when my little child 
was bom and dead but a fevi^ days^ and 1 was weak and sorrowful, and 
could not heipgrieving a little, the thoiEght aro^e, that if I tried to lead 
a good life, 1 should meet in Heaven a bright creaturtj who would call 
me, Mother ! ^' 

Kedlawfell upon his knees, with a Toud cry, 

*' O ThoUj" he said, ^^ who through the teaching of pure love, hast 
graciously restored me to the memory which was the memory of Christ 
upon the CrosSj and of all the good who perished in His cause^ receive 
my tJunkSj and bless her ! " 

Thenj he folded her to his heart ; and Milly^ sobbing more than ever, 
cried, as she laughed, '^ He is come back to himself ! He likes me very 
much indeed, too ! Oh, dear, dear, dear me, here^s another ! " 

Then, the student entered^ leading by the hand a lovely girl, who was 
afraid to come. And Redlaw so changed towards him, seeing in him and 
his youthful choice, the softened shadow of that chastening passage in 
his own life, to which, as to a shady tree, the dove so long imprisoned in 
his solitary ark might fly for rest and company, fell upon his neck^ 
entreating them to be his childrenn 

Then^ as Christmas is a time in which, of all times in the year, the 
memory of every remediable sorrow, wrong, and trouble in the world 
atound us^ should be active with us, not ]ess than our own experiencea^ 
for all good, he laid his hand upon the boy, and, silently, caUing Him 
lo witness who laid His hand on children in old time, rebuking, in, the 



THE HAUNTED MAN 307 

majeaiT of His prophetic knowledge, those who Lepi rhem from Him, 
x'owed to protect him, teach him, and reclaim Jiim, 

Then, he gave hia right hand checj-ily to Philip, and said that they 
would that day hold a Christmas dinner in what u?ed to be, before the 
ten poor gentlemen commuted, their great Dinner Hall; and .thar 
they would bid to it as many of that Swidger family, who, his'son 
had toid him, were EO nnmcrous that they might join hands and mate 
a ring round Eoglandj as could be btought together on sg short a 
notice. 

Andil was that day donp. There were so many Swidgers there, '>ro^vn 
up and children, that an attempt to state them in found numbers might 
engender doubts, in the distrustful, of the vcrJcity of thishiiiory. Theie- 
fore the attempt shaU not be made. But there they wcci:, by dolcns and 
scores — and tlieie was good news and good hope there, ready for them, 
of George, who had been visited again by his father and brother and 
by Milly, and ag^in 3r:ft in a quiet sleep. There, present at the dinner 
TOO, w(?ie the Tetterbys, including young Adolphus, who arrived in Itis 
prismatic comforter, in good time for the beef. Johnny and the baby 
were too late, of course, and came in all on one side, the one eshauited, 
the other in a supposed state of double- tooth ; but tixai was customary, 
and not alarming. 

It was sad to see the child who had no name or lineage, watching the 
other children as they played, not knowing how to talk with them, or 
sport with them, and more strange to the ways of childliood than a 
rough dog. It wa^ sad, though in a different way, to see what an instinc 
live knou'ledge the youngest children there, had of his being different 
from all the rest, and how they made timid approaches to him with soft 
words and touches, and 'rvith little presents, that he might not be 
unhappy. But he kept by Milly, and began to love her— that was another, 
as she said ! — and, as they all liked her dearly, they were glad of that, and 
when they saw him peeping at them from behind fier chair, they were 
pleased that he was so close to it. 

All this, the Chemist) sitting with the student and his bride that was 
to be, and Philip, and tlie rest, saw. 

Somepeople have said since, that he only thought what has ijeen herein 
set down ; others, that he read it in the fire, one winter night about the 
tsvilight time ^ others, that the Ghost was but the representation of his 
gloomy thoughts, and Milly the embodiment of his better wisdom. 
/ say nothing. 

— Except this. That as they were assembled in the old Hall, by no 
other light than that of a grtrai fire (having dined early), the shadows once 
more stole out of their hiding-places, and danced about the room, show- 
ing the diildren mar\'ellous shapes and faces on the walls, and gradually 
changing what was real and familiar there, to whar was wild and magical. 
But that there was one thing in the Hal!, fo which the eyes of Redlaw 
and of Milly and her husband, and of the old man, and of the student, 



T^TW" 



1 



308 THE HAUNTED MAN 

and his btide that was Co be, %vcre ofren turned^ which the shadows did 
not obscure or change. Deepened in its gra^'ity by t}ie firelight, and 
i;azing from the darkness of the panelled wall like life, the sedate face 
in the portrait, with the bejrd and ruff, looked down at them from under 
ins verdant wreath of holly, as thty looked up at it ; andj clear and plain 
below, as if 3 voice had uttered them, vreic the worda. 



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