hungry flames, for they licked it cordially the moment it was placed amongst them, and there was very soon given out a cheerful blaze. 'Twas a snug room, the brick floor covered with fresh sand; and on few stools and benches, with a table in the middle, on which stood a large can and ale-glasses, with a plate of tobacco, sat some half-a-dozen men, enjoying their pipe and glass. In the chimney corner sat Thomas Dickons, the under-bailiff of Mr Aubrey, a big, broad-shouldered, middle-aged fellow, with a hard featured face and a phlegmatic air. In the opposite corner sat the little grizzle-headed clerk and sexton, old Halleluiah-(as he was called, but his real name was Jonas Higgs.) Beside him sat Pumpkin, the gardener at the Hall, a constant guest at the Aubrey Arms o' nightsalways attended by Hector, the large Newfoundland dog already spoken of, and who was now lying stretched on the floor at Pumpkin's feet, his nose resting on his forefeet, and his eyes, with great gravity, watching the motions of a skittish kitten under the table. Opposite to him sat Tonson the gamekeeper-a thin, wiry, beetlebrowed fellow, with eyes like a ferret; and there were also one or two farmers, that lived in the village.


"Let's ha' another can o' ale, afore ye sit doun," said one of them; can do with half a gallon, I'm thinking." This order also was quickly attended to; and then the landlord, having seen to the door, and fastened the shutters close, took his place on a vacant stool, and resumed his pipe,

"So she do take a very long grave, Jonas?" enquired Dickons of the


"Ay, Mr Dickons, a' think she do, the owld girl! I always thought she would. 'Tis a reg'lar man's size, I warrant you; and when parson saw it, a' said, he thought 'twere too big; but I ax'd his pardon, and said I hadn't been sexton for thirty years without knowing my business-ha, ha!"

"I suppose, Jonas, you mun ha' seen her walking about i't' village, in your time-Were she such a big-looking woman? enquired Pumpkin, as he shook the ashes out of his pipe, and replenished it.

"Forty years ago I used to see her -she were then an old woman, wi' white hair, and leaned on a stick-I

never thought she'd a lasted so long," replied Higgs, emptying his glass.

She've had a pretty long spell on't," quoth Dickons, slowly emptying his mouth of smoke.

"A hundred and two," replied the sexton; "so saith her coffin-plate-a' seed it to-day."

"What wore her name?" enquired Tonson-" I never knew her by any name but Blind Bess."

"Her name be Elizabeth Crabtree, on the coffin," replied Higgs; " and she's to be buried to-morrow.'

"She were a strange old woman," said Hazel, one of the farmers, as he took down one of the oatcakes that were hanging overhead, and breaking off a piece, held it with the tongs before the fire to toast, and then put it into his ale.

"Ay, she were," quoth Pumpkin; "I wonder what she thinks o' such things now-maybe she's paying dear for her tricks."

"Tut, Pumpkin," said Tonson, "let the old creature rest in her grave."

"Ay, Master Tonson," quoth the clerk, in his church twang—“ there be no knowledge, nor wisdom, nor de vice!"

"'Tis very odd, but this dog that's lying at my feet never could a' bear going past her cottage late o' nights; and the night she died-Lord! you should have heard the howl Hectorgave and a' didn't then know she were gone."

"No! but wer't really so?" enquired Dickons-several of the others taking their pipes out of their mouths, and looking earnestly at Pumpkin.

"I didn't half like it, I assure you," quoth Pumpkin.

"Ha, ha, ha!-ha, ha!" laughed the gamekeeper

"Ay, marry you may laugh-but I'll stake half-a-gallon o' ale you daren't go by yourself to the cottage where she's lying-now, mind-i' the dark."

"I'll do it," quoth Higgs, eagerly, preparing to lay down his pipe.

"No, no-thou'rt quite used to dead folk," replied Pumpkin.

"Bess dropped off sudden, like, at last, didn't she?" enquired the landlord.

"She went out, as they say, like the snuff of a candle," replied Jobbins, one of the farmers; "no one were

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Why, a' couldn't tell. Sall said she talked a good deal to the chap in her mumbling way, and seemed to know some folk he asked her about. And Sall saith she hath been, in a manner, dismal ever since, and often acrying and talking to herself."

"I've heard," said the landlord, "that squire and parson were wi' her on Christmas-day-and that she talked a deal o' strange things, and that the squire did seem, as it were, struck a little."

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a-teasing my daughter Jenny, that were coming along wi' some physic from the doctor for my old woman! One of 'em seemed a-going to put his arm around her neck, and t'other came close to her on t'other side, a-talking to her and pushing her about." Here a young farmer, who had but seldom spoken, took his pipe out of his mouth, and exclaiming, "Lord bless me!" sat listening with his mouth wide open. "Well, a' came into the road behind 'em, without their seeing me; and"—(here he stretched out a thick, rigid, muscular arm, and clenched his teeth)" a' got hold of each by the collar, and one of 'em I shook about, and gave him a kick i' the breech that sent him spinning a yard or two on the road, he clap. ping his hand behind him, and crying, to be sure-Good for a hundred pound damages!' T'other dropped on his knees, and begged for mercy; so a' just spit in his face, and flung him under the hedge, telling him if he stirred till I were out o' sight, I'd crack his skull for him; and so I would!" Here the wrathful speaker pushed his pipe again between his lips, and began puffing away with great energy; while he who had appeared to take so great an interest in the story, and who was the very man who had flown to the rescue of Miss Aubrey, when she seemed on the point of being similarly treated, told that circumstance exactly as it occurred, amidst the silent but excited wonder of those present-all of whom, at its close, uttered vehement execrations, and intimated the summary and savage punishment which the cowardly rascal would have experienced at the hands of each and every one of them, had they come across him.

"I reckon," said the landlord, as soon as the swell had a little subsided, "they must be the two chaps that put up here, some time ago, for an hour or so. You should ha' seen 'em get on and off-that's all! Why, a' laughed outright! The chap with the hair under his chin got on upon the wrong side, and t'other seemed as if he thought his beast would bite him!"

"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed all. "I thought they'd a' both got a fall before they'd gone a dozen yards!"

"They've taken a strange fancy to my churchyard," said the sexton, setting down his glass, and then preparing to fill his pipe again; "they've been

looking uncommon close in the old gravestones, up behind t'ould yewtree yonder; and one of them writ something, now and then, in a book; so they're book-writers."

"That's scholars, I reckon," quoth Dickons, "but rot the larning of such chaps as they!"


"I wonder if they'll put a picture o' the Hall in their book," quoth the sexton. They axed a many questions about the people up there, especially about the squire's father, and some ould folk, whose names I knew when they spoke of 'em-but I hadn't heard o' them for this forty year. And one of 'em (he were the shortest, and such a chap, to be sure!-just like the monkey that were dressed i' man's clothes last Grilston fair) talked uncommon fine about Miss

"If I'd a heard him tak' her name into his dirty mouth, his teeth should a gone after it!" said Tonson.

"Lord, he didn't say any harmonly silly-like-and t'other seemed now and then not to like his going on SO. The little one said Miss were a lovely gal, or something like thatand hoped they'd become by-and-by better friends.'

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"What! wi' that chap?" said Pumpkin-and he looked as if he were meditating putting the little sexton up the chimney, for the mere naming of such a thing.

"I reckon they're from London, and brought London tricks wi' 'emfor I never heard o' such goings on as theirs down here before," said


"One of 'em-him that axed me all the questions, and wrote i' th' book, seemed a sharp enough chap, in his way; but I can't say much for the little one," said Higgs. "Lud, I couldn't hardly look in his face for laughing, he seemed such a fool!He had a riding-whip wi' a silver head, and stood smacking his legs (you should ha' seen how tight his clothes was on his legs-I warrant you, Tim Timkins never seed such a thing, I'll be sworn) all the while, as if a' liked to hear the sound of it. "If I'd a been beside him,” said Hazel, "I'd a saved him that trouble-only I'd a laid it into another part of him!"

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"Ha, ha, ha!" they laughed-and presently passed on to other mat


"Hath the squire been doing much

lately in Parliament?" enquired the sexton of Dickons.

"Why, yes-he's trying hard to get that new road made from Harkley Bridge to Hilton."

"Ah, that would save a good four mile".

"I hear the Papists are trying to get the upper hand again-which the Lud forbid!" said the sexton.

"The squire hath lately made a speech in that matter, that hath finished them," said Dickons.

"What would they be after?" enquired the landlord of Dickons, with all present, thinking great things of him. "They say they wants nothing but what's their own, and liberty, and that like."

"If thou wast a shepherd, and wer't to be asked by ten or a dozen wolves to let them in among thy flock of sheep, they saying how quiet and kind they would be to 'em-would'st let 'em in, or keep 'em out—eh?”

"Ay, ay-that be it 'tis as true as gospel!" said the clerk.

"So you an't to have that old sycamore down, after all, Master Dickons?" enquired Tonson.

No; miss hath carried the day against the squire and Mr Waters; and there stands the old tree, and it hath to be looked better after than it were before."

"Why hath miss taken such a fancy to it? Tis an old crazy thing.'

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"If thou hadst been there when she did beg, as I may say, its life," replied Dickons, with a little energy

"and hadst seen her, and heard her voice, that be as smooth as cream, thou would'st never have forgotten it, I can tell thee!"

"There isn't a more beautiful lady i'th' county, I reckon, than the squire's sister?" enquired the sexton.

"No, nor in all England: if there be, I'll lay down a hundred pounds.'

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"And where's to be found a young lady that do go about i' th' village like she?-She were wi' Phoebe Williams t'other night, all through the snow, and i' th' dark."

"If I'd only laid hands on that chap!" interrupted the young farmer, her rescuer.

"I wonder she do not choose some one to be married to up in London," said the landlord.

"She'll be having some delicate high quality chap, I reckon, one o' these fine days," said Hazel.

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"She will be a dainty dish, truly, for whomever God gives her to," quoth Dickons.

"Ay, she will," said more than one; and there was a slight sound as of smacking of lips.

"Now, to my mind," said Tonson, "saving your presence, Master Dickons, I know not but young madam be more to my taste; she be in a manner somewhat fuller-plumper-like, and her skin be so white, and her hair as black as a raven's."

"There's not another two such women to be found in the world," said Dickons. Here Hector suddenly rose up, and went to the door, where he stood snuffing in an inquisitive


"Now, what do that dog hear, I wonder?" quoth Pumpkin, curiously, stooping forward.

"Blind Bess," replied Tonson, winking his eye, and laughing. Presently there was a sharp rapping at the door; which the landlord opened, and let in one of the servants from the Hall, his clothes white with snow, his face nearly as white with manifest agitation.

"Why, man, what's the matter?" enquired Dickons, startled by the man's appearance. "Art frightened at any thing?"

"Oh, Lord! oh, Lord!" he commenced.

"What is it, man? Art drunk? -or mad?-or frightened? Take a drop o' drink," said Tonson. But the man refused it.

"Oh, my friends, sad work at the Hall!"

"What's the matter?" cried all at once, rising and standing round the

new comer.

"If thou be'st drunk, John," said Dickons, sternly, "there's a way of sobering thee-mind that."

"Oh, Master Dickons, I don't know what's come to me, for grief and fright! The Squire, and all of us, are to be turned out of Yatton!"

"What!" exclaimed all in a


"There's some one else lays claim to it. We must all go! Oh, Lud! oh, Lud!" No one spoke for near a minute ; and consternation was written on every face.

"Sit thee down here, John," said Dickons at length," and let us hear what thou hast to say-or thou wilt

have us all be going up in a body to the Hall."

Having forced on him part of a glass of ale, he began," There hath been plainly mischief brewing somewhere this many days, as I could tell by the troubled face o' the squire; but he kept it to himself. Lawyer Parkinson and another have been latterly coming in chaises from London; and last night the squire got a letter that hath finished all. Such trouble there were last night with the squire, and young madam and miss! And to-day the parson came, and were a long while alone with old Madam Aubrey, who hath since had a stroke, or a fit, or something of that like, (the doctor hath been there all day from Grilston,) and likewise young madam hath taken to her bed, and is ill.”

"And what of the squire and miss? enquired some one, after all had maintained a long silence.


"Oh, 'twould break your heart to see them," said the man, bursting into tears they are both as pale as death: he so dreadful sorrowful, but quietlike, and she now and then wringing her hands, and both of them going from the bedroom of old madam to young madam's. Nay, an' there had been half-a-dozen deaths i̇' the house, it could not be worse. Neither the squire nor miss hath touched food the whole day!"

There was, in truth, not a dry eye in the room, nor one whose voice did not seem somewhat obstructed with his emotions.

"Who told about the squire's losing the estate?" enquired Dickons.

"We heard of it but an hour or so, agone. Mr Parkinson (it seems by the squire's orders) told Mr Waters, and he told it to us; saying as how it was useless to keep such a thing secret, and that we might all know the occasion of so much trouble.'

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"Who's to ha' it then, instead of the squire ?" at length enquired Tonson, in a voice half-choked with rage and grief.

"Lord only knows at present. But whoever 'tis, there isn't one of us servants but will go with the squire and his-if it be even to prison."

"I'm Squire Aubrey's gamekeeper," quoth Tonson, his eye kindling as his countenance darkened. "It shall go hard if any one else ere hatha game"

"But if there's law in the land, sure

the justice must be wi' the squire-he and his family have had it so long," said one of the farmers.

"I'll tell you what, masters," said Pumpkin, "I shall be somewhat better pleased when Higgs here hath got that old creature safe underground."

"Blind Bess?" exclaimed Tonson, with a very serious, not to say disturbed, countenance. "I wonder-sure! sure that old witch can have had no hand in all this"

"Poor old soul, not she! There be no such things as witches now-a-days," exclaimed Higgs. "Not she, I warrant me! She hath been ever befriended by the Squire's family. She do it!".

"The sooner we get her under

ground, for all that, the better, say I!" quoth Tonson, vehemently striking his hand on the table.


"The parson hath a choice sermon

The Flying Away of Riches,' said Higgs, in a quaint, sad manner; "'tis to be hoped he'll preach from it the next Sunday."

Soon after this the little party dispersed, each oppressed with greater grief and amazement than he had ever known before. Bad news fly swiftly -and that which had just come from the Hall, within a very few hours of its having been told at the Aubrey Arms, had spread grief and conster nation among high and low, for many miles round Yatton.





AIR" The Rogue's March," or "Abram Newland."


THE Church and her laws often claim my applause:

But some things I cannot agree to;

And most I detest, as a national pest,

This newfangled freak of a Veto.

O this detestable Veto,

'Tis a thing you will never bring me to!

It is certainly rude

In a man to intrude,

But you'll never do good by the Veto.


Good-will to increase, by the preaching of peace,
Was a thing that the Church used to see to;

But family jars, and parochial wars,

Are the fruits of this peaceable Veto.

O what a peace-making Veto!
What a mild and medicinal Veto;
Harmonious calls,

In the shape of loud brawls,
Attest the true use of the Veto.


On a diligent search, our old Scottish Church
Was the best from Kamschatka to Quito ;

But now they insist that she cannot exist

If deprived of this absolute Veto!

O this infallible Veto!

If Parliament would but agree to
Our rational plan,

To secure the best man,

By the use of a reasonless Veto.

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