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of this village are very fond of the parson's son.”
There was a quiet old man, who sat smoking in the corner, to the great annoyance of Esther, whose head ached, and could not at that time well bear it. Hitherto he had not spoken, but now he said, “ Fond of him ? and with good reason. Isn't he a fine young gentleman, and a good young gentleman ? and has he not grown up among us? And as for the dashing lawyer you talk about, he's a fine lad; I remember him from a child : why, he's our parson's brother's son, that died in foreign parts. Why, don't you remember, Jem,” said he, calling to the turnpike man, who was giving change at
“Don't you remember Mr. Protheroe, that used to jump off his horse, and set him running through the gate and take a long leap, and clear it; and tell me that he would rather pay a penny cheesecake than a turnpike; but I used to catch him coming back, when he could not speak for laughing : I used to threaten to have him before the commissioners ?"
Why, yes father, I remember it well; and you used to laugh too.” “I knew it was all play, Jem.
He generally paid double for his gate. Well, all this is nothing,” said the man who first began to grumble. “I say he has given us a
deal of plague: wasn't the road pretty enough and good enough ?” “But don't
you know, it will save the horses a very heavy drag up that hill ?" "Ah! it will save the Reverend, now he has got old, and can't walk except on level ground.”
Esther saw that this irritated Michael, and that he was about to speak : and she put her hand upon his arm, and in a low voice, said, “I would not speak now to such a man." “ Thank you,” said Michael, (smiling.) But Mr. Walker was not without a champion, for the old man of the toll gate knocked the ashes out of his pipe, and slipping his arms under his coat behind, said in a fierce tone, “ If it does save the reverend, now he has got old, oughtn't we all to be glad ? For my part, I hates the man that forgets a good turn. Pray, Mr. Sawyer, who paid your doctor that year that you had the rheumatiz fever? Who used to come with the heaps of nice things to your cottage ? You seem to have thrown all the favours to the ash heap.' “ Me!" Mr. Sawyer: if you have forgot, we haven't. I never had any thing the matter at my cottage, but his kind face was sure to be at the window : and his little ones, when they could but just run about; haven't I seen Miss Sophy-and let me see how old
" Yes, you
she was I think, James, you were nine years old when she was born; and you were thirteen, when you got that hurt. Why, you see, she cou’dn't be more than four, and she used to come with her little frock up round her, and the bundles of rag for you : for, though the nursery maid was with her, she would bring something. Now I know what I think, nothing bites
keen as benefits forgot. Master Shakespeare said that many years ago. Don't you remember, Jem, your grandfather used to sing that song? • Blow, blow, thou winter's wind.'” “ Yes, I do remember very well, father; and a fine song it was.
“ Yes, it is better than all your Talianos; because you see there is a lesson to it, if we do but remember it.”
By this time the shower was over. Michael thanked the turnpike man for his shelter, and left him something to drink. He looked extremely hard at him, as he thanked him, and asked him if he did not belong to the Kemp family? He replied,
Yes; that he was Michael, the eldest son,” thinking it best to satisfy the man's curiosity, that he might get on to his journey's end. They pursued their way, and Michael drew up to the door of his father's cottage, which unfortunately was locked. “What shall we do now, Esther ?” At
length they resolved to go over the way to Mrs. Potter's, to get a dish of tea, and to keep watch for the arrival of the little ones. This they did ; but scarcely had they drank their second cup, when they saw a neat, careful-looking woman come to the cottage door, with a child on either hand; and pulling the key out of her pocket, closed the door after her. So, after they had finished their tea, Michael took up a small parcel in his hand, and calling to the ostler, begged he would be careful of his horse for the next two days; as, on the following Tuesday, it would have a long journey. They then crossed over to his father's cottage.
The good woman stared when he addressed her. “Thank
you, Mrs. Spencer, for your kindness to my brother and sister; I expect my mother home early on Tuesday; till when, we can take care of the children.” Mrs. Spencer remembered him, and wished him happy from her heart, for she knew the occasion of his mother's leaving home and curtsying to Esther, “You will be a happy wife, Ma'am, for Michael Kemp have always been a dutiful son to his mother, and I have always minded that be a sure sign.” Esther modestly looked at him, and then at Mrs. Spencer, saying, “I have no fear."
In the mean time, they were endeavouring to make the children familiar, which was rather difficult, it having been long since their brother had been at home, and these little ones had never visited the Brow. “Suppose we have a walk,” said Esther; and, before she went out, she took Mrs. S. aside, to enquire what might be most useful to the children, when it was found that a new bonnet for the little maid, and a hat for the boy, would be very acceptable; and Esther soon won their young hearts, by begging them to show her the way to the shop, and presenting them with these little offerings. Mary took upon her to guide Esther, to the new shop, where they sold every thing that was pretty. And Johnny very knowingly told Esther, that “his mother did not think the things so good there, as at some of the old shops;" and Johnny and Mary had nearly quarrelled in defence of their favourite places. It was, “Well, Miss, I have heard my mother say so;” and, in reply, “What can such boys as you know about shops?” But the contest ended delightfully, when each found themselves provided with a handsome covering for the head, at the very place in dispute ; and as Mary boasted what nice things they sold, John owned they were better than