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back her small, finely shaped head, and with what supreme disdain she regarded her companion.
Miss Flogg replied, “Really, Lady Olive, you need not be so sharp. I only say what other people say. I think it is very oda indeed that her ladyship should be so interested in that sort of people, putting herself upon an equality with them, as one might say, and then having those children here. It is an insult to you, Lady Olive, and I wonder you do not feel it as such !” How do
know that I do not feel it to be an insult? “Well, I daresay you do. I see you assert your dignity, and, nobly born as you are, you are quite right.”
“My dignity can take care of itself,” returned Lady Olive, shortly. “Let us go into the house, the perfume of something or other is overpowering, and I am tired of your conversation. And, as you go to your room, tell Caramel not to come to me this evening; I shall.dress myself.”
“ You cannot do your hair, Lady Olive; Caramel had better do your hair."
“I can do anything I choose to do, and I do not choose to be bored with Caramel this evening ; I wish to be quiet.”
Next day Phæbe and I went home; it seemed very dull at the Gate-house after the Castle, and Phoebe actually indulged in tears when her grandmother made her sit down to hem a duster. “It was all so different,” she whispered to me, “and granny was so cross, and she wished very much she might live at the Castle always; it must be a fine thing to be Lady Maude." Poor little Phæbe, I pitied her with all my heart, for she was under Margery's rule, from which I was pretty nearly emancipated. And Margery, in her conscientious desire to train up the little girl in the way she should go, said and did many things which were extremely disagreeable and difficult to bear.
Margery thought that, to do your duty by a child, you must never let it have its own way, save on very rare and especial occasions. You must be continually crossing and thwarting it, and repressing it; you must show it that just what it likes is not at all good for it, and you must exact from it not only due obedience, but a slavish submission of word and thought, as well as action.
One day it dawned upon Margery that Phoebe thought her in the wrong-as indeed she was, having been glaringly unjust, and I think untruthful also, for injustice and truth cannot go together.
“ Ye think I'm wrang ?” screamed Margery, pulling off her spectacles as she spoke, and flinging her knitting defiantly on to the table. “Dinna ye ken I'm allus right, ye li'le good-for-nowt wean?"
There was no response. Phæbe’s cheeks were of a lovely, deep pink, and she sewed with a demure and painstaking air that was exceedingly diverting to an on-looker ; but she kept silent. So Margery resumed :-“What !ye winna spake when ye're spoken to ? Oh, ye wicked, sinfu' bairn! Ye'll come to a bad end, Phæbe." “No, I won't !” said Phæbe, quietly. An'
ye dare contradick me-me, ye li'le hizzie, I say ye wull.” " But I will not,” returned Phæbe, beginning to be roused; “I will come to a good end."
“Ye'll come to whatten end i' Lord pleases.”
“And if I want to be good, the Lord will make me good. He's nae wrang ivir," continued Phæbe, lapsing into her native dialect, as we are all apt to do when much excited. “ God's nae like folk ; He kens things, and He's nae spitefu.''
“ An' I s'pose I'm speetfu'? Weel, ye shanna' ca' me speetfu' ’ for nowt. I'll sort ye! I'll teach ye to talk to me! Noo, I'll jist give ye sech a whippin' as'ye haven't had sin' ye tored yer new frock ganging after t nuts on Sabbath-day. Come ye here, and feel t' weight o' my hand," lassie !
And Phæbe got a downright good whipping, in good oldfashioned style.
“Theer!” said Margery, when her fingers tingled so sharply that she was fain to desist; “I hope ye've had eneuch, an' I hope ye'll feel tsmart a' t' rest o' t' week, ye sinfu' bairn! I'll teach ye to be makin' speeches to me; an' next time I'll gie it to ye
Phæbe was fairly vanquished, and she sat in a corner and cried bitterly, till Mr. Duckett came in, and then she got up and ran away, ashamed that he should see her tear-stained face, and hear of the ignominious discipline to which she had been subjected. “Why, what's the matter with the little maid?” he inquired, as soon as Phæbe had disappeared. “Mrs. Wray, you mustn't let her spoil her pretty face with crying; nothing spoils beauty like fretting, I'm told; and I can quite believe it; for when I've been worrited and harassed myself, as I have been when my Lord has been down at Dovercourt, I'm sure I've been quite concerned when I've looked at myself in the glass, to see how I've gone off. And as for my calves! bless you, Mrs. Wray, I should not have any calves if I was to be worrited continual! But there, the little 'uns shouldn't know anything about worrits; time enough for that when the world begins to put upon them, and hustle them about. Now, if I'd a child I'd never vex it.”
“ Then ye'd be a big fule,” said Margery, unceremoniously, “ an' it's reight an' gude to sort bairns at times.”
“Do you mean beat them?" Margery explained that she did. That whippings, duly administered, were essential to children's well-being on earth, and to their salvation hereafter ; that it was as much a parent's duty to chastise a child as to feed it and clothe it. “An' bairns kens it's for their gude: they dinna like it. We nane on us likes ť rod, but we maun thole it for a' that. And whattens mair, t' Scripturs orders it; it's written i' t' Beuk ye ken—Spare the rod and spoil the child.'"
“I really do not remember that text, Mrs. Wray,” replied Mr. Duckett; "and I'll make bold to say it's not in the Bible.”
“Nae i' t Bible? I'll seek it for ye this minnit. I'm afeard ye dinna read †' Holy Beuk as ye suld, Mr. Duckett.”
“I am afraid I do not, Mrs. Wray; but I know the Bible pretty well. I had a good mother once-she didn't beat me tho'—and I'll bet you anything you like you will not find those words in the Bible if you overhaul it chapter by chapter from Genesis to Revelations!
“It's in † Proverbs,” returned Margery ; “in t' Proverbs o’ Solomon !” and reaching down the great Bible used for our family devotions she turned to the book of Proverbs, and hunted diligently for her text. “I thowt,” she said at last, “that I could put my varra finger on't reighi awa', but I canna see it just t noo ! But there's what comes to same thing, Mr. Duckett. List ye noo! ‘He that spareth the rod hateth his own son. And further on, 'Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying ;' and plenty mair on them; and I'll bide by t Beuk, Mr. Duckett." And Margery shut up the Bible triumphantly, and resumed her knitting.
“It don't answer, tho'," said Mr. Duckett, slowly, shaking his head. “It didn't answer in that case, you know, Mrs. Wray.”
Margery looked puzzled. “ Whatten's in t' Beuk maun answer, whether or noo it's to our likins',” she said, gravely. “ Drat t stocken! I've drappit anither stitch i ľ' narrerin’. My een are nae sae gleg as onst they wur. What mean ye by it didna answer ?”
“Well, it was one of two things; either King Solomon did not practise what he preached, or else the rod system failed; for there was Rehoboam, you know-his son-and he was a reg'lar good-fornought and ne'er-do-weel.”
Margery opened her mouth in sheer dismay. This was a view of the subject for which she was totally unprepared, and which she could not answer. At last she replied: “Weel, noo, I niver thowt o' Rehoboam. P'raps Solomon wur too nesh wi' him.”
“I think he may be excused if he were, for if he carried out his precepts at all, he must have had plenty to do. For, ye see, he had a thousand wives, counting in his concubines--which he might very well have done without, I think-and if only five hundred of
them had families, just think, now, what a heap of children there must have been, and what a lot of rods Solomon must have worn out! Ah! it's easy to give advice, but none so easy to live up Solomon made more mistakes than with Rehoboam, I guess.
His seven hundred wives, princesses, must have been a handful for him, to say nothing of the three undred huzzies that never had their marriage-lines: I don't wonder he was such a miserable old man.”
“ Miserable!-Solomon miserable ?"
“ The man that wrote Ecclesiastes could not have been very happy. Why, it's all grumbling till just at the last-grumbling and finding fault with the good things God had given him. Solomon was what in these days we call a fast man-clever, but fast, and very much to blame in regard of women. And when such as he have lived their life they're sure to say, “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.""
“But ye suldna find fault wi' t' Beuk o' Holy Scriptur. And Ecclesiastes is Scriptur, tho' Ecclesiasticus ain't. I haven't been a parish-clerk's wife for nowt, ye see. I ken a' aboot the Cannons and t' 'Pocrypha, tho' why they suld ca’ the beuks cannons—which be big murdering guns—I canna tell. But t' 'Pocrypha sounds grand ; don't it? I allus comed down wi' t' 'Pocrypha in past days, when my neebors tried to argue wi' me, and t' 'Pocrypha allus shut 'em up at ance."
“You are quite learned, Mrs. Wray."
“Nae, not I! But I've hed advantages, ye see. I've had to my ain man, a parish clerk, which office, ye ken, is next t' parson's. A parish clerk maun be a knowledgeable man, and spake wi' authority."
Mr. Duckett smiled, remembering doubtless how often he had heard Martin decried and his authority set at nought; but be continued, gravely, “Do not think I am a scoffer, Mrs. Wray; I reverence the Bible as much as you do, but in a different way. I look upon the Book of Ecclesiastes as a terrible warning. God let Solomon write it that all the folk that lived after might learn a solemn lesson, that if they wasted the good things that God gave them and went after strange women, as Solomon did, there would come a time when they would take no pleasure in anything, but say with him, 'All is vanity and vexation of spirit.'”
But Solomon built t' Temple ?”
Ay, sure he did, and he's been honoured for it ever since; but it is not enough to do one good, great action in your youth and run to waste ever after. I'm not a good fellow, I know; I run to waste half my time, I'm afraid ; but I mind what my
mother taught me. She was a real saint, was my mother—not a cant, you understand, not one of your long-faced, sour, fault-finding, miserable sinners that is always calling God's good world a howling wilderness, but a cheerful, happy, bustling little woman, full of love to God and to all His creatures, and rejoicing in everything that happened to her. She's been in heaven these ten years; she'll be looking out for me, I guess, some day. It's a great thing to have had a real good mother. And now I must be going; her Ladyship is driving to Southam to-day, and I am to attend her. But be quite sure, Mrs. Wray, that the Lord God doesn't like little children to be whipt. As they get bigger they may, especially boys may, want a good licking now and then, but the little 'uns never! There's a way to do without the rod, I reckon ; Jesus Christ never said aught about beating children, but He did say, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me,' and 'Feed My lambs.'
The vacation having expired, I returned to Stoketon, and it was arranged that I should henceforth board entirely in Dr. Richardson's house instead of spending the Sunday, as heretofore, at Dovercourt. To my great satisfaction I found I was no longer in the lowest form. The doctor told me that I had worked well, and honourably deserved a rise.
And now commenced a quiet and uneventful period of my life. For four years and rather more there were no great changes. I remained at Stoketon, rising higher and higher in the school, till at length I reached the goal of my desires.
I became Dux !
Roger I liked and esteemed, and he possessed a certain solidity of character and soundness of judgment on which I could always rely. But Craven was my hero, my king, my more than brother, and my soul was knit to him as was the soul of David unto Jonathan. We did everything together; we shared one study as we grew up to the privilege of a private study, permitted only to the two highest forms; we slept in the same dormitory, we took the same walks, played on the same side at cricket and football; we were generally seen together, and it was always understood that to affront Craven was to affront Travis, and vice versa. But that was only the outward life; it was the inner life which we so peculiarly shared together; we confided to each other all our hopes, and beliefs, and boyish dreams. I laid bare to Charlie, and Charlie laid bare to me, the inmost recesses of the heart. I only had one reservation ; I never breathed a syllable of the singular relations between myself and Lady Dovercourt.
Very pleasant wert thou to me, dear friend of my youth, and very precious is thy sainted memory. I envy Tennyson, who could write “ In Memoriam.” But there are other In Memoriams than the great poet's, unwritten, unspoken, but not the less pathetic to