Bat : Bat how aggravating it is added she lifting up the….

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Contrast between Mrs.

Giles and her daughter-how Gideon was met by Oram and Lawson, the two constables, taken before justice Bellwood, and committed to prison for selling his goods without a license. Disappointment, no matter in what shape, sooner shews the real disposition of a person than anything we know of; nor can we resist introducing to our readers a little domestic scene, as an illustration of the truth of the above remark.

The supper-hour was past, when Mrs.

Giles and her daughter Ellen, sat by the fire, waiting the return of Gideon. No man living adhered more closely to his promise than the Roper, and if the evening meal was appointed to be in readiness at eight o’clock, the foot of Gideon was generally heard without on the scraper, almost as soon as the church-clock had done striking.

That very day, to save a few pence, Gideon had taken a little bread and cheese with him, when he set out to hawk his goods, for as he often [247] confessed, he cared but little for a comfortable meal unless his family shared it with him; and to make up for this scanty dinner, his wife had promised to have a beefsteak and onions ready by eight, with a nice dish of new potatoes, which Ellen, with her own hands, had dug out of their little garden. A quarter past eight had already struck, but no Gideon appeared -the cause we shall soon arrive at. “How tiresome it is to wait,” said Mrs.

Giles, drawing the dish a little further back. “Here ‘s this beautiful steak which I took such pains to cook, ‘ill be dried to a cinder.

I think your father might be content to eat his own supper when its spoiled without letting ours be done to death along wi’ it.

I hate to wait.” “Be sure that something more than common has detained him, mother,” said Ellen, in her usual meek tone of voice, “or he would have been here before this time, for he has but fared scantily to-day compared to us.

But I wish he would come.” “Compared to us,” said her mother, repeating the sentence snappishly; “why I can’t see but he might have a hot dinner as well as ourselves when he’s out, if he liked.

Bat how aggravating it is,” added she, lifting up the lid of the saucepan, “these potatoes ‘ill be as sad as liver, and then I wouldn’t tell my name for ’em.” “Perhaps he may have stayed to do some little repairs somewhere on the road,” replied Ellen, “and may have a great distance to come, for he took his tools with him; and he must be both hungry and weary by this time, for the little bread and cheese I put-up, would only be poor support during all these hours.

It is for him, mother, more than ourselves we ought to care.” And she went to the door to look out for her father, while a tear stood in her eye. “Then he ought to have told me he’d taken his tools with him,” said Mrs.

Giles, “and not keep one shilly-shallying this way.” “You was not up,” said Ellen, as she came in, and sat down in silence-and not another word was exchanged between them, until the clock struck nine. An artist might have told the story in a picture, had he but copied the countenances of the mother and daughter, as they sat beside the hearth.

The many quick turnings of the dish, at one moment pushed a little nearer the fire, lest it should become too cold, in another instant drawn back, for fear it should be too much dried; plainly told that the mother’s thoughts were wholly bent on the supper.

But far different was the expression of Ellen’s countenance, as she [248] sat with head averted, listening to the sounds without, and springing’ to the door whenever she heard aught resembling a footstep move, for there was a look as of pain upon her lovely countenance, which told how much she was concerned for the absence of her father; and as the evening darkened, her cheek grew paler, and her lips more closely compressed, for she feared something had befallen him. But in order to account for the absence of Gideon Giles, we must for a short space shift the scene of our story, and bring forward an event which the reader has long been prepared for.

And here our tale becomes “ALAS! TOO TRUE.” Beside the low, sandy road, which leads from Burton Woodhouse to Gainsborough, there stands a small alehouse, the east front of which faces an old plantation that crowns a range of little hills, in ancient times the barrier of the river Trent.

A few years ago there was an open footway through this beautiful and shady retreat; and many a vow of love has been uttered beneath those dark fir-trees;- but the pathway is now closed; the preservation of game being a greater consideration to the lord of the manor than the health of the surrounding inhabitants.

The closing of this sylvan walk led to much ill-feeling at the time, for it was associated with many things which both old and young reverenced.

But it is useless here dwelling upon these reminiscences,-they only awaken angry feelings.

Such deeds have been done in too many parts of England of late,- God grant that thay may not be remembered when the lionhearted “Sons of the soil” are called upon to defend such spots!-and may that time never come. * * * We crave thy pardon, reader! but thou canst not feel what we do at this moment.

Another day, and we may unbosom ourselves – the troubles of the poor Roper will be enough at present. But shouldst thou ever journey through the county in which this scene is laid, thou wilt not fail to glance at this roadside alehouse.

Beyond it, to the westward, stretch hundreds of acres of rich meadow-land, called “the Marshes.” In those are reared our huge Lincolnshire sheep and bullocks.

Through these marshes flows what a great poet has called “the hundred-armed Trent,” one of the crookedest though sweetest of rivers in England.

Across the river rises green uplands, famed far and wide for their corn, clover, beans, and hops -for Retford is no great distance.

The scene is beautiful at any [249] time, but more so in the summer months.

To a poet it would almost be holy ground; for there he might learn to love God’s works-there worship Nature, admire old mossy trees, ancient and broken stiles, brown footpaths, villages, woods bathing their stems in that very river; gather wild-flowers in those fields, watch the birds in the hedges, and, if he lived there long enough, fall in love-bury dear friends in some of those green churchyards-see the sun and moon rise and set from those hills (as we have done hundreds of times)-walk, talk, play, love, and read for miles around that neighbourhood.

Even now, when we visit the same scenes, we feel a pleasure for a little time which exceeds all description,-but this changes into a strange melancholy, which can only be felt; and we know not from whence comes the change. At this little roadside alehouse, where Ben Brust often quenched his thirst, they “take in cattle; to bait,”- “deal in ale, foreign spirituous liquors,”- have “good stabling,” and write up “wine,”-though no one ever remembers to have seen more than the two bottles, on which are legibly written “Sherry” and “Port,” and which answer to the call of “Rum” and “Gin;”-but they have heard that there is such a thing as wine somewhere in England; and Ben Brust said he once tasted “real wine,” which he declared “was no more fit to be compared to ale, than Lincolnshire cliff-chalk was to Cheshire cheese.”

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