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on which the Psalms were announced were allowed to chant the Psalms and was hung out from before the centre of Canticles, which had always been read the gallery, and the clerk, leaving his before, while the gallery remained triumplace under the reading desk, marched phant masters of the regular Psalms. up there to give them out. He took My readers will now understand why this method of preserving his consti- Miss Winter's salutation to the musical tutional connexion with the singing, Constable was not so cordial as it was to knowing that otherwise he could not the other villagers whom they had come have maintained the rightful position of across previously. his office in this matter. So matters Indeed, Miss Winter, though she achad stood until shortly before the time knowledged the Constable's salutation, of our story.
did not seem inclined to encourage him The present curate, however, backed to accompany them, and talk his mind by Miss Winter, had tried a reform. out, although he was going the same He was a quiet man, with a wife and way with them; and, instead of drawseveral children, and small means. He ing him out, as was her wont in such had served in the diocese ever since he cases, went on talking herself to her had been ordained, in a hum-drum sort cousin. of way, going where he was sent for, The little man walked out in the and performing his routine duties rea- road, evidently in trouble of mind. He sonably well, but without showing any did not like to drop behind or go ahead great aptitude for his work. He had without some further remark from Miss little interest, and had almost given up Winter, and yet could not screw up his expecting promotion, which he certainly courage to the point of opening the had done nothing particular to merit. conversation himself. So he ambled on But there was one point on which he alongside the footpath on which they was always ready to go out of his way, were walking, showing his discomfort and take a little trouble. He was a by a twist of his neck every few seconds good musician, and had formed choirs (as though he were nodding at them at all his former curacies.
with the side of his head) and perpetual Soon after his arrival, therefore, he, shiftings of his bass viol, and hunching in concert with Miss Winter, had begun up of one shoulder. to train the children in church-music. The conversation of the
ladies A small organ, which had stood in a under these circumstances was of course passage in the rectory for many years, forced ; and Miss Mary, though infihad been repaired, and appeared first at nitely delighted at the meeting, soon the school room, and at length under the began to pity their involuntary comgallery of the church; and it was an- panion. She was full of the sensitive nounced one week to the party in pos
instinct which the best sort of women session, that, on the next Sunday, the have to such a marvellous extent, and constituted authorities would take the which tells them at once and infallibly church-music into their own hands. if any one in their company has even a Then arose a strife, the end of which creased rose-leaf next their moral skin. had nearly been to send the gallery off Before they had walked a hundred in a body, headed by the offended bass- yards she was interceding for the rebelviol, to the small red-brick little Bethel lious Constable. at the other end of the village. For- Katie,” she said softly, in French, tunately the curate had too much good “ do speak to him. The poor man is sense to drive matters to extremities, frightfully uncomfortable.” and so alienate the parish constable, and “It serves him right," answered Miss a large part of his flock, though he had Winter, in the same language; "you not tact or energy enough to bring them don't know how impertinent he was the round to his own views. So a compro- other day to Mr. Walker. And he won't mise was come to; and the curate's choir give way on the least point, and leads
the rest of the old singers, and makes miss, for I be telling nought but truth.” them as stubborn as himself.”
He spoke louder as they got nearer to the “But do look how he is winking and school door, and, as they were opening it, jerking his head at you. You really shouted his last shot after them, “'Tis mustn't be so cruel to him, Katie. I na good to try thaay tunes o' his'n, miss. shall have to begin talking to him if When us praises God, us likes to praise
un joyful.” Thus urged, Miss Winter opened the “There, you hear that, Mary," said conversation by asking after his wife, Miss Winter. “You'll soon begin to and, when she had ascertained “that his see why I look grave. There never was missus wur pretty middlin,” made some such a hard parish to manage. Nobody other common-place remark, and relapsed will do what they ought. I never can into silence. By the help of Mary, get them to do anything. Perhaps we however, a sort of disjointed dialogue may manage to teach the children better, was kept up till they came to the gate that's my only comfort.” which led up to the school, into which But, Katie dear, what do the poor the children were trooping by twos and things sing? Psalms, I hope." threes. Here the ladies turned in, and “Oh yes, but they choose all the odd were going up the walk, towards the
ones on purpose, I believe. Which school door, when the Constable sum- class will you take ?”. moned up courage to speak on the And so the young ladies settled to matter which was troubling him, and, their teaching, and the children in her resting the bass viol carefully on his class all fell in love with Mary before right foot, called out after them,
church time. “Oh, please marm! Miss Winter!” The bass viol proceeded to the church
“Well,” she said quietly, turning and did the usual rehearsals, and gosround, "what do you wish to say ?” sipped with the sexton, to whom he
“Wy, please marm, I hopes as you confided the fact that the young missus don't think I be any ways unked 'bout was terrible vexed. The bells soon this here quire-singin as they calls it- began to ring, and Widow Winburn's I'm sartin you knows as there aint heart was glad as she listened to the amost nothing I wouldn't do to please full peal, and thought to herself that it
was her Harry who was making so “Well, you know how to do it
much noise in the world, and speaking easily,” she said when he paused. "I to all the neighbourhood. Then the don't ask you even to give up your peal ceased as church-time drew near, music and try to work with us, though and the single bell began, and the conI think you might have done that. I gregation came flocking in from all sides. only ask you to use some psalms and The farmers, letting their wives and tunes which are fit to be used in a children enter, gathered round the chief church."
porch and compared notes in a pon“To be shure us ool. 'Taint we as derous manner on crops and markets. wants no new-fangled tunes; them as The labourers collected near the door by we sings be aal owld ones as ha' been which the gallery was reached. All used in our church ever since I can the men of the parish seemed to like mind. But you only choose thaay as standing about before church, though you likes out o' the book, and we be poor Walker, the curate, did not appear. ready to kep to thaay."
He came up with the school children “I think Mr. Walker made a selec- and the young ladies, and in due tion for you some weeks ago,” said Miss course the bell stopped and the serWinter ; “ did not he?"
vice began. There was a very good con“’Ees, but 'tis narra mossel o' use for gregation still at Englebourn ; the adult we to try his 'goriums and sich like. I generation had been bred up in times hopes you wunt be offended wi' me, when every decent person in the parish
went to church, and the custom was was thankful to kneel down to compose still strong, notwithstanding the rector's her face. The first trial was the severe bad example. He scarcely ever came one, and she got through the second to church himself in the mornings, psalm much better; and by the time though his wheel-chair might be seen Mr. Walker had plunged fairly into his going up and down on the gravel before sermon she was a model of propriety his house or on the lawn on warm days; and sedateness again. But it was to be and this was one of his daughter's a Sunday of adventures. The sermon greatest troubles.
had scarcely begun when there was a The little choir of children sang ad- stir down by the door at the west end, mirably, led by the schoolmistress, and and people began to look round and Miss Winter and the curate exchanged whisper. Presently a man came softly approving glances. They performed the up and said something to the clerk; the liveliest chant in their collection, that clerk jumped up and whispered to the opposition might have no cause to the curate, who paused for a moment complain of their want of joyfulness. with a puzzled look, and, instead of And in turn Miss Wheeler was in hopes finishing his sentence, said in a loud that out of deference to her the usual voice, “ Farmer Grove's house is on rule of selection in the gallery might fire !" have been modified. It was with no The curate probably anticipated the small annoyance, therefore, that, after effect of his words ; in a minute he was the Litany was over and the tuning the only person left in the church finished, she heard the clerk give out except the clerk and one or two very that they would praise God by singing infirm old folk. He shut part of the ninety-first Psalm. Mary, pocketed his sermon, and followed his who was on the tiptoe of expectation as
flock. to what was coming, saw the curate give It proved luckily to be only farmer a slight shrug with his shoulders and Grove's chimney and not his house lift of his eyebrows as he left the read- which was on fire. The farmhouse was ing-desk, and in another minute it only two fields from the village, and the became a painful effort for her to keep congregation rushed across there, Harry from laughing as she slyly watched her Winburn and two or three of the most cousin's face; while the gallery sang active young men and boys leading. with vigour worthy of any cause or As they entered the yard the flames occasion
were rushing out of the chimney, and any
moment the thatch might take fire. “On the old lion He shall go,
Here was the real danger. A ladder The ad er fell and long;
had just been reared against the chimOn the young lion tread also,
ney, and, while a frightened farm-girl With dragons stout and strong.'
and a carter-boy held it at the bottom, The trebles took up the last line, and
a man was going up it carrying a bucket
of water. It shook with his weight, repeated
and the top was slipping gradually, along " With dragons stout and strong ;" the face of the chimney, and in another
moment would rest against nothing. and then the whole strength of the Harry and his companions saw the dangallery chorused again,
ger at a glance, and shouted to the man
to stand still till they could get to the “With dra-gons stout and strong," ladder. They rushed towards him with
the rush which men
can only make and the bass viol seemed to her to pro- under strong excitement; but the forelong the notes and to gloat over them most of them caught a spoke with one as he droned them out, looking tri- hand, and, before he could steady it, the umphantly at the distant curate. Mary top slipped clear of the chimney, and
ÑO. 7.-VOL. II.
ladder, man, and bucket came heavily tage door; after afternoon service they to the ground.
went round by the cottage to inquire. Then came a scene of bewildering con- The two girls knocked at the door, fusion, as women and children trooped which was opened by his wife, who into the yard—“Who was it?” “Was dropped a curtsey and smoothed down he dead ? “The fire was catching the her Sunday apron when she found who thatch.” “ The stables were on fire.” were her visitors. “Who done it?"--all sorts of cries, She seemed at first a little unwilling and all sorts of acts except the right to let them in; but Miss Winter pressed ones. Fortunately, two or three of the so kindly to see her husband, and Mary men, with heads on their shoulders, soon made such sympathising eyes at her, organized a line for handing buckets ; that the old woman gave in, and conthe flue was stopped below, and Harry ducted her through the front room Winburn, standing nearly at the top of into that beyond, where the patient the ladder, which was now safely planted, lay. was deluging the thatch round the chim- “I hope as you'll excuse it, miss, for ney from the buckets handed up to him. I knows the place do smell terrible bad In a few minutes he was able to pour of baccer; only my old man he said as water down the chimney itself, and soon how-" afterwards the whole affair was at an “Oh, never mind, we don't care at end. The farmer's dinner was spoilt, all about the smell
. Poor Simon! I'm but otherwise no damage had been done, sure if it does him any good, or soothes except to the clothes of the foremost the pain, I shall be glad to buy him men ; and the only accident was that some tobacco myself.” first fall from the ladder.
The old man was lying on the bed The man had been carried out of the with his coat and boots off, and a yard while the fire was still burning ; worsted nightcap of his wife's knitting so that it was hardly known who it was. pulled on to his head. She had tried Now, in answer to their inquiries, it hard to get him to go to bed at once, proved to be old Simon, the rector's and take some physic, and his present gardener and head man, who had seen costume and position was the comprothe fire, and sent the news to the church, mise. His back was turned to them as while he himself went to the spot, with they entered, and he was evidently in such result as we have seen.
pain, for he drew his breath heavily and The surgeon had not yet seen him. with difficulty, and gave a sort of groan Some declared he was dead ; others, that at every respiration. He did not seem he was sitting up at home, and quite to notice their entrance; so his wife well. Little by little the crowd dis- touched him on the shoulder, and said, persed to Sunday's dinners; and, when Simon, here's the young ladies come they met again before the afternoon's to see how you be.” service, it was ascertained that Simon Simon turned himself round, and was certainly not dead, but all else was winced and groaned as he pulled off still nothing more than rumour. Public his nightcap in token of respect. opinion was much divided, some holding “We didn't like to go home without that it would go hard with a man of his coming to see how you were, Simon. age and heft; but the common belief Has the doctor been ?" seemed to be that he was of that sort “Oh, yes, thank’ee, miss. He've a “as'd take a deal o' killin," and that he been and feel'd un all over, and listened would be none the worse for such a fall at the chest on un,” said his wife. as that.
“ And what did he say?” The two young
ladies had been “Azem'd to zay as there wur no much shocked at the accident, and bwones bruk-ugh, ugh,” put in Simon, had accompanied the hurdle on which who spoke his native tongue with a old Simon was carried to his cot- buzz, imported from farther west," but a couldn't zay wether or no there warn't Following the direction indicated by som infarnal injury—"
his nod, the girls became aware of a. “Etarnal, Simon, etarnal !" inter- plant by his bed-side, which he had rupted his wife ; “how canst use such been fumigating, for his pipe was leanwords afore the young ladies ?”
ing against the flower-pot in which it "I tell'ee, wife, as 'twur infarnal- stood. ugh, ugh,” retorted the gardener.
" He wouldn't lie still nohow, miss," "Internal injury?” suggested Miss explained his wife, “till I went and Winter. "I'm very sorry to hear it.” fetched un in a pipe and one o' thaay
“ Zummat inside o me like, as wur plants from the greenhouse." got out' o' place," explained Simon; “ It was very thoughtful of you, "and I thenks a must be near about Simon," said Miss Winter ; you the mark, for I feels mortal bad here know how much I prize these new . when I tries to move ;” and he put his plants : but we will manage them; and hand on his side. “Hows'm'ever, as you mustn't think of these things now. there's no bwones bruk, I hopes to be You have had a wonderful escape to-day about tomorrow mornin', please the for a man of your age. I hope we shall Lord—ugh, ugh!”
find that there is nothing much the “You mustn't think of it, Simon," matter with you after a few days, but said Miss Winter. “You must be quite you might have been killed, you know. quiet for a week, at least, till you get You ought to be very thankful to God rid of this pain."
that you were not killed in that fall.” “So I tells un, Miss Winter," put “So I be, miss, werry thankful to in the wife. “You hear what the young un-ugh, ugh;--and if it plaase the missus says, Simon ?”
Lord to spare my life till to-morrow * And wut's to happen Tiny ?” said mornin',-ugh, ugh, —we'll smoke thein the contumacious Simon scornfully. cussed insects.' "Her'll cast her calf, and me not by. This last retort of the incorrigible Her's calving may be this minut. Tiny's Simon on her cousin's attempt, as the time wur up, miss, two days back, and rector's daughter, to improve the occaher's never no gurt while arter her sion, was too much for Miss Mary, and time."
she slipped out of the room lest she “She will do very well, I dare say," should bring disgrace on herself by an said Miss Winter. “ One of the men explosion of laughter. She was joined can look after her.”
by her cousin in another minute, and The notion of any one else attending the two walked together towards the Tiny in her interesting situation seemed rectory to excite Simon beyond bearing, for he “I hope you were not faint, dear, raised himself on one elbow, and was with that close room, smelling of about to make a demonstration with his smoke?” other hand, when the pain seized him “Oh, dear no; to tell you the truth, again, and he sank back groaning. I was only afraid of laughing at your
“ There, you see, Simon, you can't quaint old patient. What a rugged old move without pain. You must be quiet dear it is. I hope he isn't much hurt.” till you have seen the doctor again.' “I hope not, indeed; for he is the
“There's the red spider out along the most honest, faithful old servant in the south wall, ugh, ugh,” persisted Simon, world, but so obstinate. He never will without seeming to hear her; "and go to church on Sunday mornings; and, your new géraniums a'most covered wi’ when I speak to him about it, he says blight. I wur a tacklin' one on 'em papa doesn't go, which is very wrong just afore you cum in."
and impertinent of him.”
To be continued.