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another. When the court of the 16th of three of them twice, and ten of them three October sat, it was found that in two times in a few months; and that it is quite months sixty-three men and fifteen women certain these large numbers represent had been carried off. In thirty-one in only a portion of the mortality among the stances there were only women or chil. clergy and the religious orders — when, I dren to succeed; in nine cases there were say, I consider all this and a great deal no heirs, and the little estates had es more that might be dwelt on, I see do cheated to the lord. Incredible though it other conclusion to arrive at than one, may sound the fact is demonstrable, that namely, that during the year ending in this one parish of Hunstanton, which a March, 1350, more than half the population man may walk round in two or three of East Anglia was swept away by the hours, and the whole population of which black death. If any one should suggest might have assembled in the church then that inuch more than half died, I should recently built, one hundred and seventy not be disposed to quarrel with him. two persons, tenants of the manor, died It must be remembered that nothing off in eight months; seventy-four of them has been here said of the mortality in the left no heirs male, and nineteen others towns. I believe we have no means of had no blood relation in the world to getting at any evidence on this part of the claim the inheritance of the dead.
subject which can be trusted. In no part I have no intention of laying before my of England did the towns occupy a more readers a detailed statement of the docu-important position relatively to the rest of mentary evidence which has passed under the population. In no part of England my notice. The time has not come yet did three such important towns as Lyon, for an elaborate report upon the case, nor Yarmouth, and Norwich lie within so can I pretend to have done more than short a distance of one another, not to break ground upon what must be regarded mention others which were then rising in still as virgin soil; but this I may safely the number and consideration of their say, that I have not found one single roll inhabitants. But the statements made of any Norfolk manor during this dread. of the mortality in the towns will not ful twenty-third year of Edward, dating bear examination — they represent mere after April or May, which did not contain guesses, nothing more. This, however, only too abundant proof of the ravages of may be assumed as certain — that the the pestilence – evidence which forces death-rate in the towns at such a time as upon me the conviction that hardly a town this cannot have been less than the death. or village in East Anglia escaped the rate in the villages, and that the scourge scourge; and which in its cumulative which so cruelly devastated the huts and force makes it impossible to doubt that cabins of the countrymen was not likely the mortality in Norfolk and Suffolk must to fall less heavily upon the filthy dens have exceeded the largest estimate which and hovels of the men of the streets, has yet been given by conjecture. Town life in the fourteenth century was a
When I find in a stray roll of an insig. very dreadful life for the masses. nificant little manor at Croxton, near Thetford, held on the 24th of July, that How did the great bulk of the people seventeen tenants had died since the last comport themselves under the pressure court, eight of them without heirs; that, of this unparalleled calamity? How did at another court held the same day at their faith stand the strain that was put Raynham, at the other end of the county, upon it? How did their moral instincts eighteen tenements had fallen into the support them? Was there any confulord's hands, eight of them certainly es. sion and despair? What effects - social, cheated, and the rest retained until the political, economical — followed from a appearance of the heir ; that in the manor catastrophe so terrible ? How did the of Hadeston, a hamlet of Bunwell, twelve clergy behave during the tremendous or. miles from Norwich, which could not pos- deal through which they had to pass ? sibly have had four hundred inhabitants, What glimpses do we get of the horrors fifty-four men and fourteen women were or the sorrows of that time — of the ro. carried off by the pestilence in six months, mantic, of the pathetic side of life? twenty-four of them without a living soul I hope to deal with some of these ques. to inherit their property; that in manor tions in another paper; for on all these after manor the lord was carried off as matters our records have something, to well as the tenants and the steward; that tell. I believe they have a great deal in a single year upwards of eight hun. more to tell than, in the present state of dred parishes lost their parsons, eighty- our knowledge, most men could be easily
brought to suspect. The evidence is under the circumstances, would be stolen ready at hand. Who will examine it? by any one else. The rolls of manor courts dating back
AUGUSTUS JESSOPP. to the beginning of the fourteenth cen. tury still exist in large numbers. They are for the most part hidden away in pri. vate depositories, a very small proportion
From Belgravia. of them having found its way, or being at
WILD SAFING. all likely to find its way, into our public
A SKETCH FROM THE RUSSIAN BALTIC. archives. Except for the satisfaction of antiquarian curiosity, and for the light SPRING reigns supreme in the land ! they throw upon certain bistorical prob. She has stolen upon us unawares, dislems, these rolls are as useless as our guised under her misty cowl, and we knew grandmothers' spioning-wheels. But be her not until, lo! she has flung aside her cause they do throw some light upon these mummeries, and, dashing aside the hypoproblems, some students are beginning critical tears, she turns on us her bright earnestly to ask, or will soon ask, that and laughing face. And away she dances they may be allowed to see these docu- with floating tresses over fallow field and ments, consult them, make notes from forest. At the touch of her glowing feet them, turn them to account in fact, before there is a mighty stir; a thousand tiny they are flung upon the dust-heaps — for arms stretch up towards her. The wood they are not likely to be consigned to the hepatica rubs the sleep out of her blue fames.* Unhappily, they who are able eye, and peeps and pushes her way through and willing to devote much time to the last year's decay, whilst her fragile friend study of such sources of information are the pale anemone follows trembling in her few, aod the skilled laborers are hardly to wake. The golden saxifrage has already be had for the asking. But this is not all got tidings of her coming, and starts up
there is an inveterate reluctance on the full dressed in her green mantle to stare part of some people to allow inquisitive barefaced into the world. Up rises the explorers to look at their papers; and as enraptured lark, and shivers, heart-full of a rule family solicitors strongly object to her beauty, his love song into the balmy non-professional Paul Prys poking into air. At her beck comes the stork from their clients' deed-boxes. I hardly won- over the sea, to fan her burning cheek der at the fact - I only deplore it. While with his snowy wings. And a wondrous such difficulty exists, however, time is de song of love and hope and joy is raised, vouring its thousands, and neglect and to which the rushing brook sings tenor, ignorance their tens of thousands, and and the larch keeps time with her rosy these written voices of the past are perish fingers. But at the door of the peasants' ing - going down into silence. Must it quarters sits Wild Säfing, ber restless be so?
blue eyes seeking ever for that something For myself, I hereby protest to all those which cannot be found. The breeze lifts whom it may concern, that if any of those her white hair and playfully touches her gracious and much-favored persons withered cheek, but she heeds it not. On noble and gentle — who may still possess the barn roof the stork repairs her last the ancient evidences of their manorial year's nest, and calls to her mate in the rights will be pleased to grant me access adjacent field. Säfing starts and listens. to them, and allow me to examine them, I • The stork, the stork,” she mutters, will concern myself with nothing and look “ It is spring then; he will surely return at nothing less than five hundred years in spring." old. I will eat my own bread and drink She rises and totters across the court my own -tea. I will hold my tongue, and down the poplar drive, whence she and get in nobody's way. And though it can look along the highroad, where she is slanderously reported that any man stands a while straining her dim sight. A with the remotest pretension to be an an- vehicle grows out of the distance, and the tiquary can no more be honest than a anxious look deepens in the wrinkled face. horse-dealer can, yet I will prove myself It is a Jew pedlar with his wares: he sits
as far as in me lies an exception to dozing on the seat in front. Before he is the general rule, and I will steal less than, aware, Säfing has darted forward and put
her shaking hand on the horse's reins. • Observe that papers burn easily – you may light Have you seen him -- my Jürri?” she your fires with them. Parchment does not burn if you thrust it in the fire it will go some way towards cries in a shrill, cracked voice. putting your fire out, and it will intallibly make a smell. “Let be, little mother! I have told thee
a hundred times that I know him not. " Come in, child, it is bedtime,” calls her Let him rest -- thy husband: be surely mother from within. sleeps balf a century ago, and thou must Directly, mother,” she replies, then soon follow him.” As he spoke he jerked with a quick glance around her she flies the reins and drove away from her. A across the court and down the long ave. sudden wave of passion sweeps over the nue. The still air is full of the pungent face of the ancient crone; she stamps her odor of the poplars, and the continuous foot and spils upon the ground, a danger. bum of myriads of cockchafers. Over the ous light flashing up into her still handlow-lying fields hangs a curtain of mist some eyes. · Doy – dog Jew!” she white and motionless. Before she has shrieks, and burries back to her seat, gained the highroad she runs into her muttering as she goes. And there she lover's arms : her little scream of surprise will sit all through the warm season, is answered by his low happy laugh. She watching and waiting until the ice king looks up into his dark, moonlit face as comes again to drive her indoors with his she whispers reproachfully, frosty breath. Then she will cower all “ How late you are ! And now I dare the winter by the stove in gloom and not stay a minute ; mother has already silence, without hope until spring returns called me.”. again to rekindle the feverish expectant He draws her hand through his arm, light in her face, for Jürri left her in the and they saunter slowly towards her home. spring.
As they emerge from the avenue the large, She makes a strange picture as she low-roofed mansion, with lights twinkling crouches there on the rough bench beside from many a casement, tells them that the the low doorway. White as a snowdrift gentry are still astir. is her close frilled cap, ber sparse and They stopped me at the inn, the lads wavy locks, her linen apron; the only bitare all there,” Jürri explains.
:v 'There of color, the fever spot on her cheek. Is was much talk going.” it the magic wand of spring which touches, “ Well, and what of it?” replies Säfing, as I gaze, the aged lineaments, transform- with a little outburst of temper. ing them into the tender beauty of a far Jürri's face fushes, be tosses back his distant bygone? Back roll the years on long black bair with a gesture of impa. the swift pinions of thought, and out of tience. · Nothing, save that the lads the mists of the past arises the vision of were talking of the lottery. The sergeant her life-story..
comes three weeks to-inorrow." The same glad sunshine floods the land. In a monient Säfing's face changes as It is a glorious spring! You can almost she stops and confronts him. Her fea. hear the corn grow out in the fields, and tures work with agitation, and the big already the lilac bush hangs out its gay bright tears swell in her eyes. “Oh, clusters in the court. In the mellow Jürri !” she exclaims, "they will not take evenings when the peasant girls stand you — they cannot.” chatting at the door, they each pluck a “I must take my chance with the rest," spray and seek eagerly for five-petaled he answers, trying to speak calmly, but flowerets, for they bring the finder luck, with a quiver in his voice. and blithest among them is Säfing the " It will surely not fall on you: why dairymaid, for she is strong and young should it, amongst so many ? ” she pleads. and fair. Her thick, lini-blonde plait “Why should it?” he repeats; then hangs far below her waist, and she is as taking her bright head between his rough straight and supple as a willow rod. In bands and looking down into her eyes, he all her young life she has never known whispers, hoarse with emotion, “But if it sorrow or fatigue, and of her many lovers should, Säfing - if it should ? ” the man her heart has chosen is her be. “ Then the dear God help us !” she trothed husband. Early and late, after he gasps, flinging herself in a storm of sobs has returned from the fields he labors at on to his breast. the new homestead. It is only when the He strokes her shining hair and mur. darkness begins to gather that he can murs broken words of comfort, thrusting spare time for his beloved, and when he back the fear which would possess him. stands beside her in the moonlight they And soon she takes heart again and looks have little to say, for their hearts are too up hopefully. full of joy for language.
“We will think no more of it," she This evening he comes not at his usual says; "the cruel moment must come, and hour. Säfing's companions have all slipped it will go, and you will be left. We shall away to bed, leaving her alone.
be so happy together."
At the door they pause, and be looks There is a large gathering at the church fondly into her upturned face. Only door. The bridegroom, with his rare ten days, little one, and no more part- black locks combed and shining, is a promings."
inent figure. The crimson scarf which he She clings to him a moment. “No wears round the waist of his wide skirted more partings,” she whispers. As she coat is a present from Säfing. After the turns to enter, he calls after her. “ The pastor, they enter the church, which is stork settled on our new roof to-day, strewn with pine twigs, and take their Säfing; that brings luck!"
places at the altar. Säfing trembles like She fashes a row of white teeth upon an aspen leaf and hears little of the serhim for reply, as she disappears in the vice. She falters her responses, at a gloom of the house.
nudge from her mother, who prompts her And time rushes by on golden wings. from behind, When the pastor receives The orchard is ablaze with blossom, the the rings, she holds out the wrong band cuckoo calls from the woods, and the day and is covered with confusion at the genof days, God's day and Säfing's, dawns eral titter; but at last it is over. The few without a cloud and breathless with joy. earnest words with which the pastor con
At an early hour the peasants' holiday cludes find their way to her heart, for his carts are drawn up in a row before the words are always good. It is all like a door, they are gaily decked with lilac and dream to her how Jürri leads her through bird cherry boughs; the knitted woollen the crowd, and how they drive away toreins are of all the colors of the rainbow. gether through the smiling country until Already the men stand about in knots, they stop before the door of their own dressed in their grey homespun suits, bome, where Jürri's mother is waiting to wide felt hats, and high boots. They receive them under the new porch which wear their thick shock hair, mostly of the is adorned with young birch-trees. tawny hue peculiar to the Lettish peas- Soon the friends and relations crowd ants, fowing over their shoulders. The in, and the feasting and dancing is kept old baron and baroness, with their numer. up until long past midnight. ous family, stand on the verandah to see Then follow those halcyon days, speedthem start. The female servants, their ing, ah, how swiftly! into eternity, with heads adorned with bright silk kerchiefs, the one grim shadow growing ever nearer are at the side door ready to take their to cast its gloom over their young hearts. seats in the long wagon. Particolored Already the young men of the district are ribbons flutter from the coachman's whip gathering at the inn, whilst husband and and the ears of the horses.
wife stand in their porch, and she is this At length the bride's mother appears at time the comforter. " It will all come the door of the peasants' quarters, fol. right,” she whispers. “Why should it lowed by Säfing in her long white veil and fall on thee, amongst so many ?" myrtle wreath, the mother a blotch of There is settled gloom on Jürri's face, vivid color, the bride like a snowdrop, though he tries to brighten at her words, save for her flushed cheeks. They take as he moves away. their seats in the foremost vehicle, the “ Thou wilt not stay long at the inn, my rest follow their example. The drivers Jürri?” she calls after him. call to their quick little horses, and off “ No, no, little wife; I shall be with they start amidst the din of the bells which thee before sundown,” he replies. And shake from the harness. Along the wind she watches his tall figure with pride, until iny highroad, between fields of springing a bend in the road hides it from sight. rye and fax, past log huts where little But now that she is alone she drops on white-haired children peep from behind to the bench beside the door, and gives stacks of firewood; through the odorous herself up to the torments of doubt and pine wood where glances the gay wood-fear. Soon, however, she rouses herself, pecker, and clouds of feathery dianthus and her sanguine nature prevails. She seem to float like faint white mist over the will think no more of it: why should the ground. Then out into the open country, worst happen? And in a few minutes she across the thymy heath, where the silent, is singing at her work. mill stretches long, motionless arms to Meanwhile the day wears away, and the blue sky, and there, on the hill, stands Säfing sits at her spinning-wheel, watchthe little whitewashed Lutheran Church, ing the sun creep to the west.
How won: with the pastor wending his way thither drous are his evening robes of crimson on foot, and waving a jovial greeting to and gold! The world seems awed into a them as they pass.
solemn silence at bis splendor. But why
does Jürri linger? She rises to her feet, Jürri bites his pale lip, and, shaking too anxious to sit still, and wanders up the himself free, he darts a furious look at road. In the distance she soon descries his tormentor. A titter goes round, but a knot of men approaching.
he heeds it not, he only sees the agony in “ Then it is over!” she murmurs, with his young wife's blue eyes. In a moment her heart in her mouth. The noisy mirth his strong arms support her sinking form, of the men as they advance jars rudely and her blonde head rests on his shoul. the peace of the calm evening. Her Jürri der. Thus silent and broken-hearted, is not one of them. All the dread which they creep slowly homewards. she has kept at bay until now comes upon The sun has gone down in a great glory her with overwhelining force : she rushes ere they reach the homestead. Not a towards them. “ Tell me," she gasps, word is spoken, but their souls are minand her quivering lips can say no more, gling in mute despair. He leads her to but she stretches her clasped' hands im- the bench against the house and sits beploringly towards them.
side her, until twilight deepens into night, No one replies, the embarrassed flush and the stars look out of the heavens, but rises to each face, and they stand before still no word is spoken. At length a big her great anguish smitten with dumbness. tear falls on the hand which incloses hers, “Where is my husband ?” she cries at Sähing's breast heaves, and she bursts length.
into.a tempest of sobs. "He is at the inn," some one replies, After a time she dries her eyes, and and like a hunted animal she flies in search begins to talk to him quite calmly of the of him.
future. In reply to her question he tells The din of a babel of tongues meets her her that he must join the sergeant at ears long before she is near enough to Tuckum in a week. Then she talks of distinguish the figures that are grouped herself, and how she will shut up the about the inn door, or seated at the tables, house and live with her mother until his whilst ever and anon loud cheers rend the return; thus his heart grows lighter to air. Panting and breathless, regardless hear her so rational. When they go inof the eyes which turn towards her, she doors, she bestirs herself to light a fire dashes onward. At one of the tables sits and prepare the evening meal, partaking the sergeant; he has his hand on the of some herself to encourage him to eat. shoulder of the powerful young man at “She is quite resigned,” he thinks, his side. Their backs are towards her." and the time will soon pass.
I will just The peasant is just raising a glass to his be thirty when I return." But he feels lips as he shouts in a hoarse, discordant bitter when he thinks of his little farm voice, “God preserve the emperor !” and lying idle, and his patch of rye and buck. a score of voices strike up the Russian wheat which promises such good returns. national anthem.
A deep solemnity falls upon Säfing durSuddenly a sharp cry pierces the song, ing the days she still spends with her which stops abruptly and dies on the air husband. She seems to stand before the “Jürri!”
gloomy portals of the unknown, through The upraised hand of the young man which her love must pass, leaving her drops as if struck by a gun-shot, and be alone behind. The time is too short for turns his wild, excited eyes in the direc- her to say all that fills her heart, and like tion of the voice. The false exultation, a faithful dog she follows him about, wistwhich the fiery vodki had kindled in his fully watching him with a sermon in her face, vanishes like some weird spectre, eyes. leaving nothing behind it but blank dis “Jürri, thou wilt keep from the drink; may.
thou wilt not let thyself be persuaded, The sergeant turns and regards the when I am not there to look after thee,” young woman with a mocking air. Well, she often repeats. my pretty one,” he exclaims, “and do you And his answer is always the same. grudge to lend your fine lover to our em. “No, little wise, I promise — I swear to peror? In truth, he will make as fine a thee, I will not." soldier as ever wore the grey! Come, And all 100 soon the day of parting my lad, you are not going to leave us ?” comes, when they drive together for the he continues to Jürri, as he tries to pull last time, between the springing fields, bim back into his seat.
through the balsam-breathing wood, and " It is his wife," some one whispers. the limpid waters of the Abau. Desolate
"Ah, I see,” jeers the sergeant: "he under the bright sun looks the Jewish is already under the slipper!”
graveyard, where the cart-wheels sink into