Towzer as she lay in her coffin, and took her away by train. “That warn't no use asking him where he was a-going, 't wasn't likely he'd 'a told.'

The household went on as before. To Towzer had succeeded Polly-Polly Battle—who grew to be mistress over everything. She was a masterful—an irresistibly masterful young woman.

She had a pretty, delicate face, with frank brown eyes and great masses of hair that she was proud of, and turned round and round her head in heavy coils. There was only one point which she never could carry against Mrs. Dandelow—a cap the old lady insisted that Polly should wear. Polly fretted, shed streams of tears, was saucy, rude, penitent, rebellious; gave notice; begged for forgiveness in a most abject way; and ended by submitting unconditionally, and got to like the cap at last, and to believe that it was a most becoming head-dress.

During all those forty or fifty years Mrs. Dandelow went on in the old routine-monotonous, uneventful; letters came periodically, for the most part from across the Channel. One day it was whispered that somebody had died and left Mrs. Dandelow, then between sixty and seventy, as I gather, a lump sum. By this time a bank had been opened at Croton, the market town, only some three miles off. Another gentleman from London' came down with papers to sign ; and

l the parson and a neighbouring magistrate had to be called in. Then every quarter there was need of a certificate that Mrs. Dandelow was really alive, and it was noticed that the quarterly sum she received was always odd money—a few shillings and pence under 601., the shillings and pence varied from time to time.

Little by little kind people timidly made approaches to Mrs. Dandelow. Towzer's long illness brought the doctor. The doctor's wife offered some gentle help. Might she call again? Mrs. Dandelow hesitated. I suppose I am not worth spying at now, I'm past that. Yes! you may come!' 'Spying at, Mrs. Dandelow! I thought you were too proud to utter such a cruel speech as that. I too have lost my only boy,' and the good woman's eyes filled and she moved to the door. Child !' cried Mrs. Dandelow. Child !

. • ' “ If you think that anything can cure me of being bitter, you know less of the world than I do, and that's not much. Such as I keep hard and get to be cruel as we keep alive and grow grey. Don't cry! Don't cry! Come, and be cruel to me. That 'll ease the pain. Yes,


. , you may come!' So she came and would sit with the old lady by the hour. But she too dropped off at last.

Mrs. Dandelow seemed as if she would never die. She was at least eighty-seven years old. For some time she had walked to church, leaning on a crutch staff. One day the parish clergyman received a message: Mrs. Dandelow was seriously ill. The worthy parson was a delicate man in weak health, and anything suspected of weakness Mrs. Dandelow abhorred. She never could bear the

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sight of feebleness. Good Mr. Lambert (that name will do as well as another) found his parishioner propped up by pillows, perfectly conscious, her speech unaffected, but unable to use her right hand. She bowed her head slightly. I have sent for you, sir, to write a letter for me. Polly has put out the desk for you. Please to write.' He meekly sat down and wrote announcing to some unknown and unnamed person that Mrs. Dandelow was dying, and peremptorily summoning him to her bedside. “To whom shall I address it?' “There is no need ; Polly will post it; I knew this was coming, and provided envelopes accordingly.' He began to talk professionally, for he was a devout and high-minded clergyman. Polly saw her mistress's lips compress. There was a stubborn and determined silence.

A man can't continue talking to a couple of women who make not the smallest response, and whose stony eyes, if they are turned in his direction at all, are levelled along a line just half an inch above his head. The parson rose, was drawing near the bed, when Polly interposed in her free-and-easy way. Why! He don't know where he came in! There's the door, sir!' Without knowing how, he found himself in the passage and let himself out.

Two days later appeared Mr. Dandelow. The old lady died; the son remained and seemed to have an intention of keeping up the establishment precisely on the same footing as before, except that Polly was promoted to be housekeeper with a girl under her, and Blub's representative was soon dismissed with ignoming and some rancour, Mr. Dandelow declaring in forcible language that the man was a born fool, who couldn't rub down a horse or fold a coat. For Mr. Dandelow was inordinately particular about his dress; and, when he was not within hearing, his neighbours used to call him · Dandy Jack. Only one or two very old people had even the faintest recol

' lection of him. It was sixty years since as a boy he had left the parish; the very stories and traditions which concerned him had almost passed away and become forgotten. To the surprise of some gossips, the annuity which the mother had enjoyed so long continued to be paid to the son, and Mr. Dandelow evidently had a comfortable income. He began to make acquaintances. The neighbouring farmers, who were then prospering hugely and the best of company, would drop in to spend the evening with Mr. Dandelow; but it was

T noticed that, if any one tried to find out his antecedents, he would throw away his cigar-he always smoked cigars, and good ones, tooget up from his chair, yawn, and either leave the room or look out at the window. There was a grand air about him which kept people at a distance. Familiarities with him were impossible.

Within six months of his coming among us Mr. Dandelow married a wife. "Nancy Brown' was-take her all in all—the very best and truest and most right-thinking woman of her class I ever knew. Her brother, a well-to-do farmer, had lost his wife about twenty years Vol. XXVI.—No. 149.


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before the time I am speaking of, and his sister Narcissa had thereupon gone to keep his house and be a mother to his four little children, Everything went well under her sagacious and devout management. But in one of those unaccountable freaks of folly to which all men are liable—and especially so in middle life—Brown 'got let in,' as bis neighbours called it, and was idiot enough to marry again. The second wife was young enough to be his daughter, and his sister no longer found her brother's home a fit one for herself. Mr. Dandelow, as she told me, went to her; he had been watching her for some time. When he came to the point his advances were characteristically straightforward. He had promised his mother he would marry; he wanted no dot. [She did not know what he meant by that.] • The Dandelows, Miss Brown, love only once; but, what they promise, that they stand to. If you will be my wife I will be a true husband to you, so help me God!' She believed him. She asked for a week to think over it. He returned at the day and hour appointed. Yes!' Have you told any one ?' 'Not a living soul. How should I ? The

?a secret was yours as much as mine. I prayed God to help me. That was best.'

• Can you keep another secret now-ours ? ' • Ours is yours, Mr. Dandelow; what you bid me keep I shall keep at your bidding.'

That day month the parson married them: she had with her her two nieces, one married and the other single. Dandelow walked to church with the license in his pocket. Polly followed in a fly hired from Croton, and, when the ceremony was over, Mr. and Mrs. Dandelow drove off in one direction and Polly and the two younger ones went back to dinner, and, under strict orders from Mr. Dandelow, and by the belp of Sarah the housemaid, finished a whole bottle of champagne which had been provided for them; while Angus the groom and his slatternly wife consumed another without reluctance. In three days the bride and bridegroom came back, and the old regularity began again and continued as before. Miss Brown had asked for one concession, and one only, and Mr. Dandelow had pledged himself to have and to conduct family prayers. He seems to have agreed to this without an effort ; every night and every morning his mother's red morocco prayer-book was laid upon the table, and the three servants (for Angus lived in a cottage in the stable yard) marched in, and the act of worship was joined in by all. Once it chanced that I was at the house during a furious thunderstorm ; the clock struck ten, and at the last stroke in came Polly, followed by her satellites, and laid the book before her master. He did not even look at me, but began. One of the prayers he used was that for the Church militant; he made a strange alteration in the wording of one clause, praying for Dooks and for all in authority under them.' I did not know the real significance of these odd words till some years later.

Mrs. Nancy Dandelow had one deep and continuous sorrow—the


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word is not too strong-which began upon her wedding day. The
clergyman, in reading the marriage service, omitted one prayer, which
is left to the discretion of the minister to offer up or not, as he sees
fit. Mrs. Dandelow was nearer fifty than forty; she had a passionate
love for children ; she hoped still that she might have one-if only
one of her own. The omission of that prayer came to her as if
the parson had pronounced upon her a curse. She saddened, she
wept, she moaned inwardly. She would come and lay her head
against her husband's arm as he stopped in his work, and smile in
his face tenderly, and then go her way and pine. He saw it, under-
stood it. He would watch for the children on their way from school
and ask them into the house, and give them gingerbread. The sight
of them cheered Nancy, but the craving rather grew than lessened.
One day he said gaily, 'What should we do with little 'uns, my lass?
I'm very nearly an old man, though I dont feel like one.
you're not up to a nursery neither. But I tell you what, if you can
find a likely boy, we'll take him up, only he must be more than a
toddler. She felt her heart stop. May I?' 'Haven't I said so?

Anything so that you don't fret about what can't be ! '
Marriage had made Mr. Dandelow quite a new man.

He was almost jovial. He built himself a workshop near the stable and put up a forge and an anvil. He was always making jobs for himself; he was a skilful turner and handled tools as if he had been born to them. He shod his own horses, for he was always dealing in them in a small way. Nothing pleased him better than when there was something to mend. He actually would break forth into singing snatches of French songs at times, as he sprawled his vast length on the lawn in the sunshine.

And you,

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O qu'il est beau! qu'il est beau ! qu'il est beau !
Le postillon de Longjumeau !

he was shouting out one day at the top of his stentorian voice, and throwing his whole force into emphasising the · Postillon,' when a surly tramp, with his dirty head just rising above the palings, snarled out at him: A pretty little postillion you'd make, you would, master, and a nice light weight for a pony!' Dandelow laughed loudly, called to Polly to give the fellow twopence, and thought no more about the man. • Do you know, master, that was Gipsy Dick ?' she said a little later; 'there hasn't been a gipsy camp about here for years. He did look bad!' Dandelow's face changed—a dark cloud passed over it: 'Who's he?''Lawk, sir ! he's Drinking Dick as they wouldn't take with 'em when mistress sent off the pack of them to America. They do say them gipsies never get drunk ; he did, though, whenever he got a chance-the black !' Polly noticed that something had come over Mr. Dandelow. There was no more singing; he looked fierce and dangerous. The good wife was anxious, but

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was wise enough to make no remark. A week or so after this a neighbour called and begged Mr. Dandelow to come with him and help him to buy a horse. It was late when he got home again ; he was tired and famished ; the supply of creature comforts was abundant as usual. Fastidious almost to daintiness as he was, the bulk of food he would consume at a sitting was prodigious. At last he was satisfied and drew back his chair. "What's the news, my lass ?? he said ; for his quick eye read every expression in his wife's face.

l “John, I've found a little boy! he's coming for you to look at tomorrow morning—he and his mother. Oh, John, he is so beautiful !'

Next morning, while they were at breakfast, Polly came in, not in the best of humours. “Here's the woman Keomi and the dirty little ragged

6 boy with her!' Husband and wife looked at one another queerly. Polly stood silent and square with a defiant stare as if she would have said, • What next ?' 'Bring him in, Polly,' said Mr. Dandelow. . What! both of 'em ?' There was an ostentatious disgust and contempt in her face and the tone of her voice. Mrs. Dandelow kept her eyes fixed on her husband-her colour went and came—she was in great agitation. He seemed as if he would not notice her. We don't

" want the woman yet; bring in the boy !' Polly went out slowly; when she came back she dragged in by the scruff of his neck'a ragged little savage of some five years old, with a mat of tangled black hair that hung over his brow, and an eye like a hawk's, that stared at you wildly, but had no more speculation' in its orb than a hawk’s has. It was a burning, glaring stare; as you moved, it followed you. Nay! it followed everybody as anybody moved, like an eye in a picture. The child showed no more curiosity, interest, fear, surprise, or any other emotion than if he had been cut out of wood or stone. He was dirty and ragged, but he was undeniably a very striking-looking child. Dandelow surveyed him as he would have done a young colt, speaking never a word. For a full minute there

a was a dead silence. “Trot him out, Polly!' Mr. Dandelow evidently for a moment had fallen into a dream that he was buying a pony. Polly led the little animal to the other end of the room, Dandelow signalling to her to place him near the window where the light was best. "Turn him round!' Polly obeyed. "Give him his head. She took her hand off his collar. The child grinned at her and showed his wbite teeth. It was an impish, mocking grin, and Polly returned it by smacking her hands together as if to get rid of the filth of the touch of such as he, and by a loud · Phew!' Mr. Dandelow got up from his chair, went to the window, and turned the child round; then, looking down upon him not unkindly, said, 'What's your name, boy?' 'Lorry.' 'Lorry what ?' 'Lorry!' • What's your father's name?' 'Dick!' Where have you been living, boy?' • I ain't a been living nowhere—no more than you have!' Mr. Dandelow was brought to a stand by this unexpected retort. Was


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