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up as grand as my lord or my lady.” Perhaps it might be that he looked hard at her. His desire to have a little talk with her increased.
One day he saw her enter a shop, and stepped in too. The tall, strange woman was asking for a pennyworth of red ochre. The shopman put it down before her ready wrapped in paper. She slowly opened it, and then pushed it back towards him, saying
_“ Well, now, cut that into two." The man very politely did so. She weighed the two pieces in her hand, and giving him one back, said, “Wrop me that up again ; I 'll take this mysen—it's rayther the heaviest'tother's for a neebor."
As she saw my friend smile, she turned towards him, and without any preface, added
" What a thing this self is ! It's the last thing that leaves us i' this world!”
- That's an honest confession, at least,” said my friend. “I think, my good woman, that you were not brought up in this town."
“No, I reckon I warna neither. You're reght there, mester. I'm none o' your finikin townswomen. You may see that at a look. I reckon I should mak two of the regular town-grown women. No, I wos barn and brought up i' th country, where there 's life and strength i' th” very air. I wos used from a little wench to run about i' th' elooses ; fetch up th' cows ; look after th' lambs and pigs ; aye, and drive th' plough at a pinch. My fayther war a little farmer, and a hard-working man he war, and made us all work anau. When I war grown up, my fayther deed, and left me up o' th'farm, and I war fool enough to marry."
“ Fool enough ?”
"Aye, fool enough! It's truth, man ; I dunna pretend to deny it. I'm none of your fine, finikin things as is ashamed to say th' truth. What's done's done, and cannot be undone,-more 's th' pity! But where's th' use to deny it? Aye, fool war I ! But I war only like mony o' one besides. That's th' misfortin on 't, young mon-mind what I say, that's th' misfortin on 't. We have to tak the most important step in our lives, th' step as requires most sense, just when we've gotten th' least sense ; and so we have to smart for 't. By Leddy, I 've smarted enough for my folly. Th' young fellow as I married, war a likely enough young chap to look at, but he war good for nowt. He war too fond of sitting i' th' ale-house nook, and I soon fun out that he'd only married me for what he could get. I went on working day after day. I went to th' plough, to th' team, fetched up th' cows, and milked 'em. I war up o' summer mornings by four o'clock, and came home from milking daggled up to th' knees wi' dew, and there was he hulking i' bed. By Leddy, I war fit sometimes to go and Aling a good, sousing bucket o'watter on him as he lay. But that warna the worst. Every night he war sure to be i' th' ale-house ; and mony and mony a time have I had to fetch him away, and pay his shot into th’ bargain.
“ Thinks I to mysen, my lad, this wunna do for me. I dunna mean thee to slurt th' bit o' money my fayther got with such sweat and trouble ; no, by Guy! that I dunna! So, I threw up th' farm ; sold th' stock, and come reght away to Nottingham.”
“ And what became of your husband ?"
“ What became of him? He followed me, to be sure what was he likely to do, a poor dirty rogue ? Trust him for running after the money. Aye, he set his nose after it like a ferrit. He made hissen sure now of laying hands on 't in some hole or coorner o'th' house or other. But I took pratty good care he shouldna.
"Where's th' money.wench?' he often said.
«« Where should it be?' said I, .but gone to pay debts off that a drunken sot like thee sets on.' But it signified nowt-he knew better, and he war always gropin' about, high and low, after it. • Get to work !' said I ; thou's limbs big enough, and a carcase strong enough-get a spade, or a pick, and do summut for thy bread, as I do. I shall turn Manty-mekker.'
“Aye, mester, you may smile. You dunna think I look much like a manty-mekker ; and I 'll allow,” said she, showing her great hard bony hands, “but these hands as ha' handled th' pitchfork, and th' dung-fork, and held th' plough, dunna look th' likeliest i? th' world to handle a needle and thrid. But where there's a will there's a way; and I can assure you, I can mak a tightish sort of a gown-aye, I can please these fine town wenches better than you 'd think for.
“But I'm overrunning my story, I took a house, and began manty-mekking. That dirty rogue of a husband o' mine was always progging about th' house to find out where I'd put the money, but I took care. One day, in walks a man with a book in his hand, and said, · Messis, I want th' poor-rates.'
“Poor-rates !' said I. •By Leddy! thou art come to a wrong house then. I'm a poor woman mysen, man,
" " That may be,' said he, but you've 'ta'en a house of five pounds a year, and either you or th' landlord mun pay the poorrates.
" • Then let the landlord pay 'em,' said I, he's able enough.'
“ • That's true as th' gospel, missis,' says th' man, but he wunna !'
“* And I canna!' said I.
“ . Then,' says he, 'you mun go to th' workhouse, and other people mun pay to you. That's the way now o’days; all pay as long as they can, even when the children are crying upon the door-sill for a roasted potato ; and when they can pay no longer, they turn en out, and so to th' workhouse.'
" • Mon,' said I, for I had bin conning him o'er as he war talking at hissens, and I seed as plain as a pike-staff, that th' fellow, spite of his trade, war an honest sort o'chap— Mon,' said I, canst tell me where to put a bit o' money out safe?''
“: Well,' said he, giving me a queer sort of look, as much as to say, 'I thought you said you 'd got none,''maybe I could do that too.'
" Then do !' said I, getting a chair, and retching up to th’ top of an old cupboard—do ; for here I 've gotten the plague of my life,-a bit of money in an old stocking, and it keeps me in a continual fever ; for that dirty rogue of a husband o’mine is always progging after it, and one of these days he 'll get hold on 't, and then I'm ruined for ever.'
“ So down I brings th' owd stocking, and holding it open afore th' man— There,' says I, there's just four hundred gowden guineas there!' and wi' that I held it up to hin, and my eyes ! but th' mon did stare !
“ • Missis,' said he, “that 's a sight good for sore eyes, how
“ I am afraid," said my friend, “ you were not very prudent though, to show such a sum thus to a stranger."
“ Prudent, warn't I ? Dost ta think then, mon, that I 've got no white in my eye? Yay, I know an honest man from a rogue when I see him. The man was as good as his word. He took me to a gentleman that gave me good security for my money, and I get my interest to this day. Many 's the time that dirty rogue of a husband o'mine las hunted the house over for th' money. Nation! how he wonders what's gotten it! I can always tell when he's bin after it. I find iverything turned topsy-turvy i th' drawers and iverywhere. But I'll take care that he never comes at it, a dirty rogue, him."
Well,” said my friend, “ you certainly have littlo comfort in him."
“Comfort ! no! my comfort lies in a different quarter, I look for very little comfort i' this world ; but, thank God, there is a comfort, even here, and that's in religion !
“ We're all poor creatures ! I found my business flourish ; money came in; and yet I wasna somehow right. Iverything seemed so cowd and hollow. I war always sighing and malancholy i' th' midst o'plenty. My husband's goings on made me half-mad. Night after night I had to fetch him home from the pot-house. One day, however, comes a nice young woman to have a gown made, and she says to me- Missis, do you ever go to a place o' worship?
or "No,' said I, I'm ashamed to say I dunna. To say th' truth, I dunna rightly know where to go to. Thou sees, I'm a stranger here, and I dunna like to go amongst folks as I dunna know.'
" • Ah!' said th' young woman, “I wish you would go with me on Sunday to the Methodists' Chapel ; I think you 'd be pleased ; and perhaps you 'd find a comfort you little dream of. On Sunday, oh! there is a nice man coming from Lunnon, they cawn him, Robert Newton.'
"Well,' says I, “as thou says so much, and axes me so kindly, I dunna mind if I do go. I'm sorely in want of summut; and I think it's because I dunna seek religion.'
“ Well, I went. It was a big chapel, an' lighted up into a blaze brighter than any sunshine wally ; and as I went in at th' door, says I to mysen-Now, wool this wench be ashamed on me? I shouldna wonder, for I 'm not just th’ sort to be proud on for a companion ; and it 's one thing to ax a poor old woman like me to go to chapel, and another to like to be seen wi' her. But in we goen. It war as bright as day, and a pratty throng o' fine dressy folks there war ; but up walks th' brave lass up th' middle of aw, and turning round to me--Come along, neebor,' says she,
my seat's up here ;' and in she takes me. By leddy! I niver felt so queer in aw my life! Aw eyes seemed to be set on me ; and well they might, for I seed that I must look like a crow in a flock o' pigeons. And what a man war that Robert Newton ! Eh! what a tongue he had! Ivery word that he said went like a shot to my heart. He told us what sinful creaturs we aw war; and ivery time that he lifted his hand, it war like Moses gmiting th' rock i' th' wilderness. Th'watter started out o' my heart, and th' tears run down my cheeks ; and he soon seed that, and what dees he, but fixes his eyes on me, and pointing to me, shouts out• There! that woman is touched! She is reached! If she stands to what she has got, salvation is come to her!' and then one and another cried out- Christ Jesus grant it! Amen! Amen!'
“ Well, I was niver in such a takking in my life. I was all of a tremble and a quake, and th' lights and iverything spun round wi' me. As we went home, th' young woman asked me how I liked it ? • Oh,' said I, • I niver was so bad and niver so well in all my days. Oh! what a sinner I 've bin ! Oh! what must I do to be saved ?'
" • Thank God! thank God!' said th' young woman. You are in the right way now, and if you only go on it will be a blessed day for you, and for me too, you came to the chapel.' And now, aw my comfort ’s i' religion. I go regularly to chapel. I'm in a class, and all the society is very kind to me. But dunna think that I've had nothing but swimming work of it. No, the divel came after me like a roaring lion,--and oh! what a nasty divel it is!
“ One day a young woman brought a gown-piece for me to make up. It was a very fine, rich, valuable gown-piece indeed ; and when I come to measure it, then I found that there was a yard and a half of the stuff too much ; and such good stuff too !
“ . Tak it! tak it !' says the divel ; they ’ll niver know !!
“ But the Lord said in my heart, Dunna tak it, woman, it's none o' thine!'
" . Tak it l' again says the divel. 6Let it alone!' says the Lord.
“Oh! what a day I had on't ; till at last I ups and rolls the piece together, and off to th' young woman, and flinging it down, says— There! there's that too much !' Away I goes back, thinking then what gladness I should have. But I was mistaken. The divel seemed like a raging going-fire. He war at me aw the way home. He seemed to drive me up th' street like a great wind. “Well,' said he, and what better art thou now? Art ta any fuller, or any fatter ; any richer or any better?' Oh! what