Stancliffe/Nield Family Reminiscences



Family Reminiscences by Emily Nield, daughter of Jonathan Nield


Chapter I: The Wanderer

Hundreds of years ago – I don't know how many – there were two brothers named Walker in Scotland – I don't know in what part – whose father was dead, and from some informality in his Will the younger son found himself entirely left to the mercy of his brother, a hard and selfish man. The position soon became unbearable. Heartsore and disappointed, John Walker determined while he had a little money still unspent to go and seek his fortune elsewhere. I cannot say how far he travelled, how long his money lasted, how many and various his efforts to find suitable work failed. Only this I know, that one night, weary and disheartened, having missed his way, he found himself wandering on a lonely moor in Yorkshire, and knew not which track to follow. As the darkness deepened he espied a small twinkling light, and gladly turned his steps towards it. It proceeded from a cottage more comfortable looking in its garden than he had expected from its tiny light. H knocked at the door – no answer – again – when from within an old man's voice inquired his errand. It was soon told – food and lodging. The door still unopened, he was told to seek it elsewhere. Would the owner let him rest awhile? No, they wanted no travellers or vagrants there. After some further parley the young man so touched the heart of the old one, that the door was unbolted, and he asked to enter the house and further explain who he was, and why there. The owners of the house were a venerable pair – kindly, suspicious, yet unworldly. During the frugal supper the young man told his story, and drew from the old woman words of pity and even tears. Once they had had a son, a fine good promising lad, but for fifty years he had slept in the Churchyard, – for his sake John Walker should stay till morning and occupy the dead boy's room, which had always been kept in order, but rarely used. Early next morning the ancient couple and John Walker met as friends. Many questions were asked and answered, and John felt he was being regarded with increasing interest and good-will. "And what do ye mean to do next?" inquired the old man. "Any work I can," answered the young man, "or anything I can learn to do that needs strength and willing hands." He was told that his host was a worsted spinner , and that if he wished he might learn the trade, and soon his earnings would keep him if nothing more, – till that time he should share their home if he proved himself worthy. In the old wife's eyes the light of love already shone upon the stranger, and very soon he was no longer a stranger, but a dear and trusted son. The simple trade was soon learned, and John Walker sought no other home. In time the old folks were laid with their son in the distant Churchyard, and not only did John Walker succeed to the old man's business, but inherited through his Will two good estates named Comber Hill and Wether Hill. The latter was still in the family when my Grandmother was a girl. She was a Miss Walker of Wether Hill . About these Walkers I have more little stories to tell.

Chapter I: The Wanderer

Hundreds of years ago – I don't know how many – there were two brothers named Walker in Scotland – I don't know in what part – whose father was dead, and from some informality in his Will the younger son found himself entirely left to the mercy of his brother, a hard and selfish man. The position soon became unbearable. Heartsore and disappointed, John Walker determined while he had a little money still unspent "to go and seek his fortune" elsewhere. I cannot say how far he travelled, how long his money lasted, how many and various his efforts to find suitable work failed. Only this I know, that one night, weary and disheartened, having missed his way, he found himself wandering on a lonely moor in Yorkshire, and knew not which track to follow. As the darkness deepened he espied a small twinkling light, and gladly turned his steps towards it. It proceeded from a cottage more comfortable looking in its garden than he had expected from its tiny light. H knocked at the door – no answer – again – when from within an old man's voice inquired his errand. It was soon told – food and lodging. The door still unopened, he was told to seek it elsewhere. Would the owner let him rest awhile? "No, they wanted no travellers or vagrants there." After some further parley the young man so touched the heart of the old one, that the door was unbolted, and he asked to enter the house and further explain who he was, and why there. The owners of the house were a venerable pair – kindly, suspicious, yet unworldly. During the frugal supper the young man told his story, and drew from the old woman words of pity and even tears. Once they had had a son, a fine good promising lad, but for fifty years he had slept in the Churchyard, – for his sake John Walker should stay till morning and occupy the dead boy's room, which had always been kept in order, but rarely used. Early next morning the ancient couple and John Walker met as friends. Many questions were asked and answered, and John felt he was being regarded with increasing interest and good-will. "And what do ye mean to do next?" inquired the old man. "Any work I can," answered the young man, "or anything I can learn to do that needs strength and willing hands." He was told that his host was a worsted spinner , and that if he wished he might learn the trade, and soon his earnings would keep him if nothing more, – till that time he should share their home if he proved himself worthy. In the old wife's eyes the light of love already shone upon the stranger, and very soon he was no longer a stranger, but a dear and trusted son. The simple trade was soon learned, and John Walker sought no other home. In time the old folks were laid with their son in the distant Churchyard, and not only did John Walker succeed to the old man's business, but inherited through his Will two good estates named Comber Hill and Wether Hill. The latter was still in the family when my Grandmother was a girl. She was a Miss Walker of Wether Hill . About these Walkers I have more little stories to tell.

Chapter II: The Life Guardsman

His family consisted of four daughters and an only son. The latter, a fair likeness of himself, became one of the Life Guards in London. Naturally his liberty was enjoyed, and his father's liberal allowance was found insufficient for his expenditure. Like his sisters he dreaded his father's wrath, but he dreaded more his contempt, which would be shown by disinheritance if he were found guilty of a lie. So he wrote to his father and told him all. He was forgiven, but warned against a repetition. Alas for human weakness! He – another John Walker – once more got his affairs in a tangle, once more confessed and asked for help. This time the father recalled his prodigal home. Family Reminiscences by "Emily Nield", daughter of Jonathan Nield

Chapter II: The Life Guardsman

His family consisted of four daughters and an only son. The latter, a fair likeness of himself, became one of the Life Guards in London. Naturally his liberty was enjoyed, and his father's liberal allowance was found insufficient for his expenditure. Like his sisters he dreaded his father's wrath, but he dreaded more his contempt, which would be shown by disinheritance if he were found guilty of a lie. So he wrote to his father and told him all. He was forgiven, but warned against a repetition. Alas for human weakness! He – another John Walker – once more got his affairs in a tangle, once more confessed and asked for help. This time the father recalled his prodigal home. When, after a trying scene, he was informed that it was his father's will that he should marry Miss Strongitharm – a wealthy, but to young Walker an unattractive heiress whose lands adjoined his father's – the son resisted, pleaded "not now." Once more he was allowed to return to London, his money difficulties removed, without the fetters of wedlock, but the next time he became involved he dared not face his father's anger, preferring to write an offer of marriage to Miss Strongitharm. He was accepted, and then once more paid a visit to his own home, to be petted by his sisters and mother, forgiven by his father, congratulated by his neighbours, and I believe, really loved by the girl he so unwillingly wooed. One insistence the father made – that he should sell out of the Guards and settle down to a country gentleman's life. He submitted but suffered, having bartered away his self-esteem. Nor was the father's gratification perfect or enduring. He desired a grandson, but two little girls were born in due time, and while they were still in their infancy their father died.

Chapter I: The Wanderer

Hundreds of years ago – I don't know how many – there were two brothers named Walker in Scotland – I don't know in what part – whose father was dead, and from some informality in his Will the younger son found himself entirely left to the mercy of his brother, a hard and selfish man. The position soon became unbearable. Heartsore and disappointed, John Walker determined while he had a little money still unspent to go and seek his fortune elsewhere. I cannot say how far he travelled, how long his money lasted, how many and various his efforts to find suitable work failed. Only this I know, that one night, weary and disheartened, having missed his way, he found himself wandering on a lonely moor in Yorkshire, and knew not which track to follow. As the darkness deepened he espied a small twinkling light, and gladly turned his steps towards it. It proceeded from a cottage more comfortable looking in its garden than he had expected from its tiny light. H knocked at the door – no answer – again – when from within an old man's voice inquired his errand. It was soon told – food and lodging. The door still unopened, he was told to seek it elsewhere. Would the owner let him rest awhile? No, they wanted no travellers or vagrants there. After some further parley the young man so touched the heart of the old one, that the door was unbolted, and he asked to enter the house and further explain who he was, and why there. The owners of the house were a venerable pair – kindly, suspicious, yet unworldly. During the frugal supper the young man told his story, and drew from the old woman words of pity and even tears. Once they had had a son, a fine good promising lad, but for fifty years he had slept in the Churchyard, – for his sake John Walker should stay till morning and occupy the dead boy's room, which had always been kept in order, but rarely used. Early next morning the ancient couple and John Walker met as friends. Many questions were asked and answered, and John felt he was being regarded with increasing interest and good-will. "And what do ye mean to do next?" inquired the old man. "Any work I can," answered the young man, "or anything I can learn to do that needs strength and willing hands." He was told that his host was a worsted spinner , and that if he wished he might learn the trade, and soon his earnings would keep him if nothing more, – till that time he should share their home if he proved himself worthy. In the old wife's eyes the light of love already shone upon the stranger, and very soon he was no longer a stranger, but a dear and trusted son. The simple trade was soon learned, and John Walker sought no other home. In time the old folks were laid with their son in the distant Churchyard, and not only did John Walker succeed to the old man's business, but inherited through his Will two good estates named Comber Hill and Wether Hill. The latter was still in the family when my Grandmother was a girl. She was a Miss Walker of Wether Hill . About these Walkers I have more little stories to tell.

Chapter I: The Wanderer

Hundreds of years ago – I don't know how many – there were two brothers named Walker in Scotland – I don't know in what part – whose father was dead, and from some informality in his Will the younger son found himself entirely left to the mercy of his brother, a hard and selfish man. The position soon became unbearable. Heartsore and disappointed, John Walker determined while he had a little money still unspent "to go and seek his fortune" elsewhere. I cannot say how far he travelled, how long his money lasted, how many and various his efforts to find suitable work failed. Only this I know, that one night, weary and disheartened, having missed his way, he found himself wandering on a lonely moor in Yorkshire, and knew not which track to follow. As the darkness deepened he espied a small twinkling light, and gladly turned his steps towards it. It proceeded from a cottage more comfortable looking in its garden than he had expected from its tiny light. H knocked at the door – no answer – again – when from within an old man's voice inquired his errand. It was soon told – food and lodging. The door still unopened, he was told to seek it elsewhere. Would the owner let him rest awhile? "No, they wanted no travellers or vagrants there." After some further parley the young man so touched the heart of the old one, that the door was unbolted, and he asked to enter the house and further explain who he was, and why there. The owners of the house were a venerable pair – kindly, suspicious, yet unworldly. During the frugal supper the young man told his story, and drew from the old woman words of pity and even tears. Once they had had a son, a fine good promising lad, but for fifty years he had slept in the Churchyard, – for his sake John Walker should stay till morning and occupy the dead boy's room, which had always been kept in order, but rarely used. Early next morning the ancient couple and John Walker met as friends. Many questions were asked and answered, and John felt he was being regarded with increasing interest and good-will. "And what do ye mean to do next?" inquired the old man. "Any work I can," answered the young man, "or anything I can learn to do that needs strength and willing hands." He was told that his host was a worsted spinner , and that if he wished he might learn the trade, and soon his earnings would keep him if nothing more, – till that time he should share their home if he proved himself worthy. In the old wife's eyes the light of love already shone upon the stranger, and very soon he was no longer a stranger, but a dear and trusted son. The simple trade was soon learned, and John Walker sought no other home. In time the old folks were laid with their son in the distant Churchyard, and not only did John Walker succeed to the old man's business, but inherited through his Will two good estates named Comber Hill and Wether Hill. The latter was still in the family when my Grandmother was a girl. She was a Miss Walker of Wether Hill . About these Walkers I have more little stories to tell.

Chapter II: The Life Guardsman

His family consisted of four daughters and an only son. The latter, a fair likeness of himself, became one of the Life Guards in London. Naturally his liberty was enjoyed, and his father's liberal allowance was found insufficient for his expenditure. Like his sisters he dreaded his father's wrath, but he dreaded more his contempt, which would be shown by disinheritance if he were found guilty of a lie. So he wrote to his father and told him all. He was forgiven, but warned against a repetition. Alas for human weakness! He – another John Walker – once more got his affairs in a tangle, once more confessed and asked for help. This time the father recalled his prodigal home. Family Reminiscences by "Emily Nield", daughter of Jonathan Nield

Chapter II: The Life Guardsman

His family consisted of four daughters and an only son. The latter, a fair likeness of himself, became one of the Life Guards in London. Naturally his liberty was enjoyed, and his father's liberal allowance was found insufficient for his expenditure. Like his sisters he dreaded his father's wrath, but he dreaded more his contempt, which would be shown by disinheritance if he were found guilty of a lie. So he wrote to his father and told him all. He was forgiven, but warned against a repetition. Alas for human weakness! He – another John Walker – once more got his affairs in a tangle, once more confessed and asked for help. This time the father recalled his prodigal home. When, after a trying scene, he was informed that it was his father's will that he should marry Miss Strongitharm – a wealthy, but to young Walker an unattractive heiress whose lands adjoined his father's – the son resisted, pleaded "not now." Once more he was allowed to return to London, his money difficulties removed, without the fetters of wedlock, but the next time he became involved he dared not face his father's anger, preferring to write an offer of marriage to Miss Strongitharm. He was accepted, and then once more paid a visit to his own home, to be petted by his sisters and mother, forgiven by his father, congratulated by his neighbours, and I believe, really loved by the girl he so unwillingly wooed. One insistence the father made – that he should sell out of the Guards and settle down to a country gentleman's life. He submitted but suffered, having bartered away his self-esteem. Nor was the father's gratification perfect or enduring. He desired a grandson, but two little girls were born in due time, and while they were still in their infancy their father died.

Chapter III: Ancient Propriety

The eldest daughter of "The Prince" was Sarah Walker, a handsome girl, engaged to be married to a Mr Stansfield of Field House – a match approved of by both families. The lover's visits were limited to once a week. After attending the Halifax market, he passed the evening at Wether Hill. In those days "propriety" was carried to a painful height, there could be little free intercourse between the lovers. Still the attachment was strong and sincere, and the wedding day grew nearer and nearer. The fine linen stores were amply filling, spun by Sarah's nimble fingers for household use, and many other preparations were in hand, promising enjoyment to many hearts, as well as to the two more immediately concerned. Mr Stansfield was a capital horseman, and had whispered something about a pretty new pillion that he had ordered, which brought a sweet colour to Sarah's face, just before he smilingly mounted his horse, waved his "good-bye" and rode away. The girl lingered at the gate and watched the horse and rider out of sight. Full of happy love and expectation she turned towards the house, when a shiver suddenly passed over her. Next day she could not rise from her bed. No danger was dreamed of, and not until her mind wandered was a doctor sent for. When the doctor saw her he pronounced her illness brain fever. Day after day the poor girl grew worse. On the fifth day from her lover's visit she lay still and looked more rational. "Mother," whispered, "will he come today?" "No, my child, it is only Tuesday, Market day is tomorrow." "Mother, send for him, I must see him today." The mother's feelings were slightly shocked by the girl's want of maidenly reserve, but she went downstairs to ask the father's opinion. "Send for Stansfield! By no means," said the father, "it shall never be said a daughter of mine so far forgot herself." The mother returned to her daughter's bedside. My grandmother, then a young girl, had been present at the request and heard the refusal, and saw the weak weary sufferer turn her face to the wall and weep. During the night the fever increased, followed by a calm. Suddenly she turned to her sister: "Nannie, he is coming. I hear his horse's hoofs on the gravel." A happy smile lighted her face. "Hark – he has dismounted – is leading his horse round to the stables – now he is coming upstairs." Her frightened sister could hear nothing, but the dying girl went through an interview with her lover in imagination, and with a peaceful satisfied expression on her countenance, passed away. No tidings had been sent to Henry Stansfield – the houses lay miles apart, letter writing was little practised, and "The Prince" in his pride – perhaps in his sorrow also – neither sought for sympathy nor offered it. The following day, quite ignorant of what had happened, Henry Stansfield galloped towards Wether Hill. A weeping woman stopped him at the gate, when she saw his bright unclouded face. "Oh, Sir! Do you not know? Miss Walker is dead." "What do you mean?" gasped the bewildered lover. "Look at the house," she answered, "the blinds are all down. Miss Sarah has been ill all week, and died last night." Not a word he uttered, but turned his horse's head, his face almost as white and stiff as the girl's he had loved. I have heard that a dangerous illness followed, that the blow left its mark upon him as long as he lived.

Chapter III: Ancient Propriety

The eldest daughter of "The Prince" was Sarah Walker, a handsome girl, engaged to be married to a Mr Stansfield of Field House – a match approved of by both families. The lover's visits were limited to once a week. After attending the Halifax market, he passed the evening at Wether Hill. In those days "propriety" was carried to a painful height, there could be little free intercourse between the lovers. Still the attachment was strong and sincere, and the wedding day grew nearer and nearer. The fine linen stores were amply filling, spun by Sarah's nimble fingers for household use, and many other preparations were in hand, promising enjoyment to many hearts, as well as to the two more immediately concerned. Mr Stansfield was a capital horseman, and had whispered something about a pretty new pillion that he had ordered, which brought a sweet colour to Sarah's face, just before he smilingly mounted his horse, waved his "good-bye" and rode away. The girl lingered at the gate and watched the horse and rider out of sight. Full of happy love and expectation she turned towards the house, when a shiver suddenly passed over her. Next day she could not rise from her bed. No danger was dreamed of, and not until her mind wandered was a doctor sent for. When the doctor saw her he pronounced her illness brain fever. Day after day the poor girl grew worse. On the fifth day from her lover's visit she lay still and looked more rational. "Mother," she whispered, "will he come today?" "No, my child, it is only Tuesday. Market day is tomorrow." "Mother, send for him, I must see him today." The mother's feelings were slightly shocked by the girl's want of maidenly reserve, but she went downstairs to ask the father's opinion. "Send for Stansfield! By no means," said the father, "it shall never be said a daughter of mine so far forgot herself." The mother returned to her daughter's bedside. My grandmother, then a young girl, had been present at the request and heard the refusal, and saw the weak weary sufferer turn her face to the wall and weep. During the night the fever increased, followed by a calm. Suddenly she turned to her sister: "Nannie, he is coming. I hear his horse's hoofs on the gravel." A happy smile lighted her face. "Hark – he has dismounted – is leading his horse round to the stables – now he is coming upstairs." Her frightened sister could hear nothing, but the dying girl went through an interview with her lover in imagination, and with a peaceful satisfied expression on her countenance, passed away. No tidings had been sent to Henry Stansfield – the houses lay miles apart, letter writing was little practised, and "The Prince" in his pride – perhaps in his sorrow also – neither sought for sympathy nor offered it. The following day, quite ignorant of what had happened, Henry Stansfield galloped towards Wether Hill. A weeping woman stopped him at the gate, when she saw his bright unclouded face. "Oh, Sir! Do you not know? Miss Walker is dead." "What do you mean?" gasped the bewildered lover. "Look at the house," she answered, "the blinds are all down. Miss Sarah has been ill all week, and died last night." Not a word he uttered, but turned his horse's head, his face almost as white and stiff as the girl's he had loved. I have heard that a dangerous illness followed, that the blow left its mark upon him as long as he lived.

Chapter IV: My Grandmother

In course of time the two sisters next Sarah in age, Mary and Susan, married. I know nothing of them worth relating, so shall pass over them to the youngest, my grandmother, Anne – sometimes Nannie = sometimes Nancy. She was a favourite of her father's, loving, obedient, gentle and beautiful – in her old age strikingly so. One fine Sunday afternoon after service, as she passed through the churchyard her old nurse met her, who had been married some time before, but retained a strong affection for her "dear Miss Anne." Now she had a favour to ask. She had got some new teacups and saucers = rather a rare possession among cottagers in those simple days = and she desired the young lady to honour their use by being the first to drink tea out of them. Nothing would have pleased the girl more, "but – " she hesitated "I could not – dare not without leave." "Oh, Miss! Your parents would not mind your coming to my snug little house, and as soon as you have had some tea you shall go home – the evening will be light and long – you will be with them before dark." Nannie yielded, though not without an inward fear of consequences. On her return home she was met by her mother, whose face was a picture of fear and anxiety. "Go to bed at once, Anne, – your father has a horse-whip ready to lay upon your shoulders, – he is terribly angry, – how could you vex him so?" Poor Anne hurried upstairs dreading the prepared lash, and when in her room explained the innocent cause of her absence at the tea=table. Weeping and penitent she listened to her mother's reproofs, which charged her with "wilfulness", "undutifulness", "unseemly behaviour", etc. Between her sobs she begged her mother's forgiveness, and implored her to stay her father's anger, and save her from the indignity of a horsewhipping. I am not sure that the mother succeeded in averting the stern old-fashioned punishment, but I know that for the next fifteen months her aggrieved father had her name struck out of his Will! At the end of that time "The Prince" not only restored the forfeited share, but added a small estate worth £500 "to my daughter Anne – otherwise Nancy." When Anne was asked in marriage by the eldest son of a neighbouring yeoman, he was peremptorily told "not to think of such a thing – it could not be – Anne must remain at home – he would never consent to her marriage." Joseph Stancliffe naturally inquired what objection stood in the way? "My will, and that is enough." Nothing that the young man could urge made the slightest difference, he was told he need never repeat his offer, it would be useless. I cannot tell you all that intervened, but Anne, sweet, yielding, and obedient to all in authority, was in the end persuaded to elope with her lover, marry him, and return with him to his father's house. This was an ancient farmhouse, called Woodhead , and had been in possession of the Stancliffes for upwards of three hundred years, and what I am telling you happened above a hundred years ago. The fair young bride was warmly welcomed by her husband's parents: they had never been blessed by a daughter of their own, and were proud to receive one so gentle and wise, for Anne had been well taught all household duties, even to a course of cooking lessons, and was noted for her proficiency in delicate pastry and other worthsome combinations = needlework – spinning – butter making – nothing came amiss to her diligent and dexterous hands. Both parents and son tried to chase the shade of sadness from the bride's brow, but could not quite succeed. Her tender conscience upbraided her for marrying as she had done, and she dreaded a meeting with her father above all things. A few weeks passed by, and one day Joseph Stancliffe hurried into the room, where his mother and wife were busy at work. "Nannie, Nannie, your father is coming! I have watched his tall figure skirt the wood and cross the bridge – he will be here in less than five minutes." The frightened bride rushed upstairs. "I cannot meet him – I dare not," was all she could say in her flight. With a wildly beating heart she soon heard his voice below. After a little while her husband found her. "Come Nannie, come, this will never do. He is your father; we have done nothing wrong, and must ask for his forgiveness and blessing. Nothing can un-marry us now – take courage – let us go together." Hand in hand they went to the dreaded meeting, and side by side they knelt at her father's feet, Joseph pleading to be forgiven and blessed, Anne, speechless and weeping, kissed her father's hand. The old hard heart was touched – his blessing was given as he laid his hands on the bowed heads, and as if to hide his own emotion, Mr Walker turned to Mr Stancliffe Senior. "What is to be done with this couple? How are they to live?" The explanation satisfied him. The parents intended giving up the farm to their son and his wife, and retiring to a small house on the estate. After refreshments had been offered and partaken of, the old "Prince" embraced his daughter, and departed, leaving a small box wrapped in paper behind him "for my daughter Anne." On opening it she found two hundred spade guineas , which she quickly placed in her husband's hands.

Chapter IV: My Grandmother

In course of time the two sisters next Sarah in age, Mary and Susan, married. I know nothing of them worth relating, so shall pass over them to the youngest, my grandmother, Anne – sometimes Nannie = sometimes Nancy. She was a favourite of her father's, loving, obedient, gentle and beautiful – in her old age strikingly so. One fine Sunday afternoon after service, as she passed through the churchyard her old nurse met her, who had been married some time before, but retained a strong affection for her "dear Miss Anne." Now she had a favour to ask. She had got some new teacups and saucers = rather a rare possession among cottagers in those simple days = and she desired the young lady to honour their use by being the first to drink tea out of them. Nothing would have pleased the girl more, "but – " she hesitated "I could not – dare not without leave." "Oh, Miss! Your parents would not mind your coming to my snug little house, and as soon as you have had some tea you shall go home – the evening will be light and long – you will be with them before dark." Nannie yielded, though not without an inward fear of consequences. On her return home she was met by her mother, whose face was a picture of fear and anxiety. "Go to bed at once, Anne, – your father has a horse-whip ready to lay upon your shoulders, – he is terribly angry, – how could you vex him so?" Poor Anne hurried upstairs dreading the prepared lash, and when in her room explained the innocent cause of her absence at the tea=table. Weeping and penitent she listened to her mother's reproofs, which charged her with "wilfulness", "undutifulness", "unseemly behaviour", etc. Between her sobs she begged her mother's forgiveness, and implored her to stay her father's anger, and save her from the indignity of a horsewhipping. I am not sure that the mother succeeded in averting the stern old-fashioned punishment, but I know that for the next fifteen months her aggrieved father had her name struck out of his Will! At the end of that time "The Prince" not only restored the forfeited share, but added a small estate worth £500 "to my daughter Anne – otherwise Nancy." When Anne was asked in marriage by the eldest son of a neighbouring yeoman, he was peremptorily told "not to think of such a thing – it could not be – Anne must remain at home – he would never consent to her marriage." Joseph Stancliffe naturally inquired what objection stood in the way? "My will, and that is enough." Nothing that the young man could urge made the slightest difference, he was told he need never repeat his offer, it would be useless. I cannot tell you all that intervened, but Anne, sweet, yielding, and obedient to all in authority, was in the end persuaded to elope with her lover, marry him, and return with him to his father's house. This was an ancient farmhouse, called Woodhead , and had been in possession of the Stancliffes for upwards of three hundred years, and what I am telling you happened above a hundred years ago. The fair young bride was warmly welcomed by her husband's parents: they had never been blessed by a daughter of their own, and were proud to receive one so gentle and wise, for Anne had been well taught all household duties, even to a course of cooking lessons, and was noted for her proficiency in delicate pastry and other worthsome combinations = needlework – spinning – butter making – nothing came amiss to her diligent and dexterous hands. Both parents and son tried to chase the shade of sadness from the bride's brow, but could not quite succeed. Her tender conscience upbraided her for marrying as she had done, and she dreaded a meeting with her father above all things. A few weeks passed by, and one day Joseph Stancliffe hurried into the room, where his mother and wife were busy at work. "Nannie, Nannie, your father is coming! I have watched his tall figure skirt the wood and cross the bridge – he will be here in less than five minutes." The frightened bride rushed upstairs. "I cannot meet him – I dare not," was all she could say in her flight. With a wildly beating heart she soon heard his voice below. After a little while her husband found her. "Come Nannie, come, this will never do. He is your father; we have done nothing wrong, and must ask for his forgiveness and blessing. Nothing can un-marry us now – take courage – let us go together." Hand in hand they went to the dreaded meeting, and side by side they knelt at her father's feet, Joseph pleading to be forgiven and blessed, Anne, speechless and weeping, kissed her father's hand. The old hard heart was touched – his blessing was given as he laid his hands on the bowed heads, and as if to hide his own emotion, Mr Walker turned to Mr Stancliffe Senior. "What is to be done with this couple? How are they to live?" The explanation satisfied him. The parents intended giving up the farm to their son and his wife, and retiring to a small house on the estate. After refreshments had been offered and partaken of, the old "Prince" embraced his daughter, and departed, leaving a small box wrapped in paper behind him "for my daughter Anne." On opening it she found two hundred spade guineas , which she quickly placed in her husband's hands.

Chapter V: The Valentine

I now come to another generation nearer to our own time. I believe Wether Hill passed into the possession of Captain Walker's two daughters, Annie and Charlotte. My mother spoke of Annie as a tall slender maiden whose health had been injured by her being sent to a school in London. The change from the freedom and freshness of country life, the use of calomel to refine her complexion, and the deterioration in her diet, so changed her, that on her return her friends were alarmed. In her mother's family was a consumptive tendency. The mother, Miss Strongitharm – herself the last of that name – had died at a comparatively early age, so the two sisters were orphans. Charlotte was five or six years younger than Annie, – in constitution and physique a perfect Walker. After their mother's death the girls' home was Wether Hill, and far more tenderly were they treated than their aunts had been before them. It was Valentine's Day. A party of merry girls were enjoying themselves together. They would "draw Valentines." A bag was formed, the names of their favourite friends of the other sex were written on slips of paper – a few blanks added and put into the bag. Each girl was then to draw out her Valentine. Little Charlotte watched the proceedings with great interest, and begged that she might "draw a Valentine". At first there was a general refusal, but the child's pertinacity prevailed. She thrust her hand into the bag – Annie saw it before it was properly opened the name written there, the one she had hoped would be her own – and angrily she declared that such a child as Charlotte should not have the first chance, she must put the paper in the bag again. This Charlotte stoutly refused to do. Her sister tried to wrest the beloved name from her, but the girl caught it in her teeth, closed her red lips over it, and made it an impossibility to regain the prize. Annie, with a bit of her grandfather's determined will, struck her sister and turned her out of the room. The little girl sought her old Scottish nurse, whose sympathy was always with her. "Well, my bonnie bairn, and what makes ye greet?" said the kindly nurse. With tears and sobs and angry heart the tale was told. "And what did ye do with the Valentine?" inquired she. "I swallowed it", was the answer, "they cannot get it now," she continued, half smiling at her success. "Swallowed it!" exclaimed the nurse, "then he's your own Valentine for ever. Ye'll be sure to marry him, my pet." "The name was William Dyson", whispered the child, now comforted and satisfied. William Dyson and Annie Walker plighted their troth when the maiden was not more than seventeen years of age, but the grandfather would not hear of the marriage until she was stronger and older. Annie's beauty increased, but it was the beauty of decay. When I saw the old tomb many years ago her name was the only one on it that had not attained to mature age. "Annie Walker – aged 18 years". The Valentine that Charlotte had fought for and won, really became her own. She married William Dyson, and some of my own mother's happiest recollections are long visits spent in their home.

Chapter V: The Valentine

I now come to another generation nearer to our own time. I believe Wether Hill passed into the possession of Captain Walker's two daughters, Annie and Charlotte. My mother spoke of Annie as a tall slender maiden whose health had been injured by her being sent to a school in London. The change from the freedom and freshness of country life, the use of calomel to refine her complexion, and the deterioration in her diet, so changed her, that on her return her friends were alarmed. In her mother's family was a consumptive tendency. The mother, Miss Strongitharm – herself the last of that name – had died at a comparatively early age, so the two sisters were orphans. Charlotte was five or six years younger than Annie, – in constitution and physique a perfect Walker. After their mother's death the girls' home was Wether Hill, and far more tenderly were they treated than their aunts had been before them. It was Valentine's Day. A party of merry girls were enjoying themselves together. They would "draw Valentines." A bag was formed, the names of their favourite friends of the other sex were written on slips of paper – a few blanks added and put into the bag. Each girl was then to draw out her Valentine. Little Charlotte watched the proceedings with great interest, and begged that she might "draw a Valentine". At first there was a general refusal, but the child's pertinacity prevailed. She thrust her hand into the bag – Annie saw it before it was properly opened the name written there, the one she had hoped would be her own – and angrily she declared that such a child as Charlotte should not have the first chance, she must put the paper in the bag again. This Charlotte stoutly refused to do. Her sister tried to wrest the beloved name from her, but the girl caught it in her teeth, closed her red lips over it, and made it an impossibility to regain the prize. Annie, with a bit of her grandfather's determined will, struck her sister and turned her out of the room. The little girl sought her old Scottish nurse, whose sympathy was always with her. "Well, my bonnie bairn, and what makes ye greet?" said the kindly nurse. With tears and sobs and angry heart the tale was told. "And what did ye do with the Valentine?" inquired she. "I swallowed it", was the answer, "they cannot get it now," she continued, half smiling at her success. "Swallowed it!" exclaimed the nurse, "then he's your own Valentine for ever. Ye'll be sure to marry him, my pet." "The name was William Dyson", whispered the child, now comforted and satisfied. William Dyson and Annie Walker plighted their troth when the maiden was not more than seventeen years of age, but the grandfather would not hear of the marriage until she was stronger and older. Annie's beauty increased, but it was the beauty of decay. When I saw the old tomb many years ago her name was the only one on it that had not attained to mature age. "Annie Walker – aged 18 years". The Valentine that Charlotte had fought for and won, really became her own. She married William Dyson, and some of my own mother's happiest recollections are long visits spent in their home.

Chapter VI: Early Days

My mother was the youngest child in the family, and named after the aunt who had died so sadly between her lover's weekly visits. It was from her lips I learnt all I have written, and very much more. When over three score years and ten she would sit with me and never weary of recalling the dear old times of her childhood, and of all she had remembered or heard of those gone long before. She was a bright-eyed merry girl, with curly chestnut hair – I have a thick shining lock of it now. Long before breakfast she walked out with her father, and from him learnt the names and properties of every tree, herb, and flower, and many other useful lessons, often bringing back a basket of sweet white mushrooms, or other country produce. Her father also taught her the names of the constellations. She always took great interest in the starry sky, and amused us by discovering a comet. When she told us of it at breakfast we all laughed unbelievingly, but she assured us "it was a comet, though without a tail," she had never seen a star shine where this comet did. My father, looking over the newspaper later in the day exclaimed, "Why, here's your mother's comet fully described! - she was right after all." After this we had a profound respect for my mother's astronomy, and she was rather proud of her discovery. My mother's skin – soft and fair for a dark-eyed woman – was marked by that terrible malady, smallpox. When a child of seven years old, inoculation was being practised. The doctor thought it necessary to prepare the children for the operation by giving them a course of medicine. The coming event assumed an aspect of grave importance among the young people, and their ignorance of what inoculation really was magnified its horrors. One brother declared to his younger sister Mary, "It was something worse than having an arm cut off – for himself, he should hide far away and not be done at all – smallpox was not half so bad as inoculation." Mary believed it, and pondered how this dreadful operation could be avoided. She knew how vain an appeal to her parents would be; they had spoken of this inoculation as a settled thing which must be done speedily, as there was a case or two of smallpox in the village – one, a tenant of their own, had the baby sickening of it, and an elder boy recovering. A bright idea flashed into the girl's mind. "I will run and see Job Marten's children, and perhaps I shall get smallpox." She did so – marched into the cottage – bent over the baby in its cradle – when the mother of it said, "Oh, Miss, you should not come here – we have the pox – what would your mother say? Do go home, or you will take it." As long as she dared Mary remained in the cottage, and without telling anyone what she had done, satisfied herself that she should escape inoculation. In a few says the doctor arrived with his lancet and lymph , but hesitated about using it. There were symptoms of smallpox – he would delay inoculating for a week. One after another the children fell sick – my poor mother had it in a more malignant form than the rest, for a fortnight she was totally blind, and it was feared she might remain so, – happily her sight was not lost, but the marks of her illness were there for life. One day my mother was sent to the doctor's house with a message. He was not at home, and the little girl had to wait alone in the surgery. She was rather a restless child, and after a while amused herself by inspecting all the novelties around her. A closed door at length aroused her wonder – she gently opened it – a skeleton grinned at her – and with a shriek that roused the household she fled in terror, never stopping until she reached her mother's side – a run of three miles. Speaking of this doctor reminds me of another of my mother's recollections. One of their farm labourers was an industrious, clever workman, who had served them for three years – a deaf mute. He was bright and quick in making himself understood, and in understanding signs from others. Dummie was sent to fetch medicine from the surgery – the doctor eyed him carefully, and had his suspicions – at last he gently said "come again for it in an hour." The lad went out and returned. Then the doctor charged him with being an imposter, and in the end wrung a confession from him – that he had left home – an unhappy one – he did not like to tell lies – feared being sent home – and thought that feigning to be deaf and dumb he would escape detection. After the discovery he left the place – his master sorry to lose him.

Chapter VI: Early Days

My mother was the youngest child in the family, and named after the aunt who had died so sadly between her lover's weekly visits. It was from her lips I learnt all I have written, and very much more. When over three score years and ten she would sit with me and never weary of recalling the dear old times of her childhood, and of all she had remembered or heard of those gone long before. She was a bright-eyed merry girl, with curly chestnut hair – I have a thick shining lock of it now. Long before breakfast she walked out with her father, and from him learnt the names and properties of every tree, herb, and flower, and many other useful lessons, often bringing back a basket of sweet white mushrooms, or other country produce. Her father also taught her the names of the constellations. She always took great interest in the starry sky, and amused us by discovering a comet. When she told us of it at breakfast we all laughed unbelievingly, but she assured us "it was a comet, though without a tail," she had never seen a star shine where this comet did. My father, looking over the newspaper later in the day exclaimed, "Why, here's your mother's comet fully described! - she was right after all." After this we had a profound respect for my mother's astronomy, and she was rather proud of her discovery. My mother's skin – soft and fair for a dark-eyed woman – was marked by that terrible malady, smallpox. When a child of seven years old, inoculation was being practised. The doctor thought it necessary to prepare the children for the operation by giving them a course of medicine. The coming event assumed an aspect of grave importance among the young people, and their ignorance of what inoculation really was magnified its horrors. One brother declared to his younger sister Mary, "It was something worse than having an arm cut off – for himself, he should hide far away and not be done at all – smallpox was not half so bad as inoculation." Mary believed it, and pondered how this dreadful operation could be avoided. She knew how vain an appeal to her parents would be; they had spoken of this inoculation as a settled thing which must be done speedily, as there was a case or two of smallpox in the village – one, a tenant of their own, had the baby sickening of it, and an elder boy recovering. A bright idea flashed into the girl's mind. "I will run and see Job Marten's children, and perhaps I shall get smallpox." She did so – marched into the cottage – bent over the baby in its cradle – when the mother of it said, "Oh, Miss, you should not come here – we have the pox – what would your mother say? Do go home, or you will take it." As long as she dared Mary remained in the cottage, and without telling anyone what she had done, satisfied herself that she should escape inoculation. In a few says the doctor arrived with his lancet and lymph , but hesitated about using it. There were symptoms of smallpox – he would delay inoculating for a week. One after another the children fell sick – my poor mother had it in a more malignant form than the rest, for a fortnight she was totally blind, and it was feared she might remain so, – happily her sight was not lost, but the marks of her illness were there for life. One day my mother was sent to the doctor's house with a message. He was not at home, and the little girl had to wait alone in the surgery. She was rather a restless child, and after a while amused herself by inspecting all the novelties around her. A closed door at length aroused her wonder – she gently opened it – a skeleton grinned at her – and with a shriek that roused the household she fled in terror, never stopping until she reached her mother's side – a run of three miles. Speaking of this doctor reminds me of another of my mother's recollections. One of their farm labourers was an industrious, clever workman, who had served them for three years – a deaf mute. He was bright and quick in making himself understood, and in understanding signs from others. Dummie was sent to fetch medicine from the surgery – the doctor eyed him carefully, and had his suspicions – at last he gently said "come again for it in an hour." The lad went out and returned. Then the doctor charged him with being an imposter, and in the end wrung a confession from him – that he had left home – an unhappy one – he did not like to tell lies – feared being sent home – and thought that feigning to be deaf and dumb he would escape detection. After the discovery he left the place – his master sorry to lose him.

Chapter VII: Another Love Story

My mother's eldest sister, Anne, was twenty years older than herself, and generally lived with an uncle and aunt in London. A few inconsiderate words had wrecked her life. With the full consent of their parents, she and Richard Hoyle had exchanged lovers' vows, and were only waiting till certain preliminaries to the marriage were completed before taking each other "for better, for worse". The were of equal standing, and had always been on friendly terms with each other. Unhappily, Mr Hoyle, the father, was "having a glass" with some friends in the hotel where certain sales had been transacted, and the coming wedding was talked about. "It was a good match in every way," observed one. "Yes," slowly replied Mr Hoyle, "but better for Mr Stancliffe's daughter than for my son, – he has six children to share his property – I have only two," foolish words he would not have uttered if the "glass" had not been too often replenished. When repeated to Mr Stancliffe next day they roused his anger, and he forbade his daughter ever to speak to, or hear a word from Richard Hoyle. He could let no daughter of his enter a family that despised her. Anne's tears and the young man's entreaties were unavailing. Her gentle mother tried vainly to convince the proud man that the remark was not a real opposition to the marriage – that in his right mind Mr Hoyle liked the match and loved the maiden well. No use – the breach widened – her father was inflexible. She was sent on a long visit to her father's younger brother in London. In time the young bleeding heart healed, but ever ained true to its first and only love. After an absence of three or four years Anne returned home. Richard had never known her address in London – thought he might never see her again – and he had turned his attentions, if not his strongest affections, to a lady of good fortune, highly recommended by his father, and not in herself unpleasing. Anne knew nothing of this when, with something like hope trembling in her heart and stirring the old love afresh, she reached Woodhead. There was no little joy and excitement in her coming, though the younger sisters hung shyly back from her, her London manners, fashionable attire, and altered appearance made them regard her as a stranger. Shortly after her return home Anne rode into Halifax – the sisters at Woodhead were all excellent horsewomen. She dismounted at get a bit of ribbon she required, and while in the shop a stylish wedding passed. Seeing the gay postillions with their white favours dash by, she inquired whose the wedding was? "Mr Richard Hoyle and the rich Miss – " (I do not remember her name.)  Faint and pale Anne clung to a chair or she would have fallen. Water was brought – pride conquered her emotion – and she was soon on her saddle again, but changed for life. My mother said she became irritable and never grew into the family life again, and when soon sister Mary, the sister next her in age, was to be married, she would not stay to see the ceremony, but went back to the aunt in London. There she was as a daughter well beloved, an only son being their sole family. I never but once saw this disappointed aunt of mine. She paid us a visit when I was about twelve years old. She must have been over sixty then – a tall, dark, rather dreary looking woman; as children we were not drawn to her. Whilst she was with us my mother and she had to pay their old Yorkshire lawyer a visit concerning some property that fell to them through the death of a brother in America. Naturally old times were discussed. With her back to the window, my aunt quickly asked Mr Rideough if Mr Richard Hoyle were still living? Her cheek flushed as she spoke, and my mother saw her lay her hand upon her heart as if to still its beating. "Living? Yes," answered the lawyer, "but not much more. He is dreadfully paralysed – cannot rise from his chair. He was unhappily married – never had a child to cheer his home – his wife became very intemperate in her habits – they had money enough if that could have brought comfort. A year ago as he sat helpless in his chair, and she was in a state unable to take care of herself, he saw her fall by the fire, and her cap ignite. In vain he tried to rise and aid her, and when his frighted cries brought the servants in it was too late to save the poor guilty creature's life beyond a few hours of agony." There was no colour on Anne's face when the sad history was related, but a look of intense pity, her dark eyes softened by tears. As they drove home – a long drive over Blackstonedge – the lonely old maid murmured, "Sarah, I should have liked once more to see poor Richard." "Is it too late?" asked her sister. "Too late – I think it is – he would not know me, and might not care."

Chapter VII: Another Love Story

My mother's eldest sister, Anne, was twenty years older than herself, and generally lived with an uncle and aunt in London. A few inconsiderate words had wrecked her life. With the full consent of their parents, she and Richard Hoyle had exchanged lovers' vows, and were only waiting till certain preliminaries to the marriage were completed before taking each other "for better, for worse". The were of equal standing, and had always been on friendly terms with each other. Unhappily, Mr Hoyle, the father, was "having a glass" with some friends in the hotel where certain sales had been transacted, and the coming wedding was talked about. "It was a good match in every way," observed one. "Yes," slowly replied Mr Hoyle, "but better for Mr Stancliffe's daughter than for my son, – he has six children to share his property – I have only two," foolish words he would not have uttered if the "glass" had not been too often replenished. When repeated to Mr Stancliffe next day they roused his anger, and he forbade his daughter ever to speak to, or hear a word from Richard Hoyle. He could let no daughter of his enter a family that despised her. Anne's tears and the young man's entreaties were unavailing. Her gentle mother tried vainly to convince the proud man that the remark was not a real opposition to the marriage – that in his right mind Mr Hoyle liked the match and loved the maiden well. No use – the breach widened – her father was inflexible. She was sent on a long visit to her father's younger brother in London. In time the young bleeding heart healed, but ever ained true to its first and only love. After an absence of three or four years Anne returned home. Richard had never known her address in London – thought he might never see her again – and he had turned his attentions, if not his strongest affections, to a lady of good fortune, highly recommended by his father, and not in herself unpleasing. Anne knew nothing of this when, with something like hope trembling in her heart and stirring the old love afresh, she reached Woodhead. There was no little joy and excitement in her coming, though the younger sisters hung shyly back from her, her London manners, fashionable attire, and altered appearance made them regard her as a stranger. Shortly after her return home Anne rode into Halifax – the sisters at Woodhead were all excellent horsewomen. She dismounted at get a bit of ribbon she required, and while in the shop a stylish wedding passed. Seeing the gay postillions with their white favours dash by, she inquired whose the wedding was? "Mr Richard Hoyle and the rich Miss – " (I do not remember her name.)  Faint and pale Anne clung to a chair or she would have fallen. Water was brought – pride conquered her emotion – and she was soon on her saddle again, but changed for life. My mother said she became irritable and never grew into the family life again, and when soon sister Mary, the sister next her in age, was to be married, she would not stay to see the ceremony, but went back to the aunt in London. There she was as a daughter well beloved, an only son being their sole family. I never but once saw this disappointed aunt of mine. She paid us a visit when I was about twelve years old. She must have been over sixty then – a tall, dark, rather dreary looking woman; as children we were not drawn to her. Whilst she was with us my mother and she had to pay their old Yorkshire lawyer a visit concerning some property that fell to them through the death of a brother in America. Naturally old times were discussed. With her back to the window, my aunt quickly asked Mr Rideough if Mr Richard Hoyle were still living? Her cheek flushed as she spoke, and my mother saw her lay her hand upon her heart as if to still its beating. "Living? Yes," answered the lawyer, "but not much more. He is dreadfully paralysed – cannot rise from his chair. He was unhappily married – never had a child to cheer his home – his wife became very intemperate in her habits – they had money enough if that could have brought comfort. A year ago as he sat helpless in his chair, and she was in a state unable to take care of herself, he saw her fall by the fire, and her cap ignite. In vain he tried to rise and aid her, and when his frighted cries brought the servants in it was too late to save the poor guilty creature's life beyond a few hours of agony." There was no colour on Anne's face when the sad history was related, but a look of intense pity, her dark eyes softened by tears. As they drove home – a long drive over Blackstonedge – the lonely old maid murmured, "Sarah, I should have liked once more to see poor Richard." "Is it too late?" asked her sister. "Too late – I think it is – he would not know me, and might not care."

Chapter VIII: Tabitha

The sister next to my mother in age was four years her senior, a mischievous tomboy. She could climb the highest tree like a squirrel, beat her brother at running, cricket, or any game requiring strength, agility, or courage. She was named after a great aunt of her father's, and would have made a splendid boy, though very far removed from being "a nice girl" according to general opinion. I cannot remember the tricks and troubles that always seemed a part of Tabitha, but I will try and recall a few. An old tenant who farmed a bit of land and mended shoes, had in his croft some remarkably fine Siberian crabs . He loved to hear the girls chatter and encouraged their visits. Without asking leave, Tabitha helped herself to the scarlet fruit, enjoying the climbing as much as the crabs. One day the old man – who dearly loved a joke – had called the merry thieves to leave his crabs alone, and called without eliciting anything but laughter, took the gun loaded with gunpowder, and shot into the tree. Only Tibbie was there – her sister was filling her pinafore below as the crabs fell. The flash, smoke, and noise had more than the expected effect. Tibbie dropped from the tree, and all the crabs dropped with her, (in the scared eyes of the little sister they became blood) shrieking fearfully, without looking back, she fled to her house. "Oh mother, mother, Jim Wainwright has shot Tibbie – she is killed – dead in the croft." The mother was less alarmed than the girl, and on going in search of Tibbie soon met her in the lane, very pale and subdued. It took a long time to prove that she was unhurt, and that Jim was not in intent a murdered. Hereafter his crabs were unmolested. Another day they were nutting with their brother in the wood. The happy sport over and their bags full, in the dusky evening they reached Woodhead. On undressing for bed Tabitha was found minus half her petticoat. She would give no account of it. Her mother, unusually stern, declared "the missing half must be found that night – Tabitha must remember such a severance of her garment." "No, – she had now and then felt something give way." "She must go and find it at once." John offered to accompany her. After waiting what seemed to the more timorous little Sarah a terribly long time, Tabitha returned in triumph, the missing half skirt in her hand, which the next day she was obliged to sew neatly to its fellow. During one of Sarah's pleasant morning rambles with her father, he noticed an unusual herd coming along the solitary country road. "Sarah, stand behind the big ash – I believe it is a troop of rats, and you'll not like to meet them." The rats trotted on in a compact body, and Mr Stancliffe counted thirty as they passed without seeing him a few yards distant from their sheltering tree. "They come from the old flour mill," he remarked. "I hope they are not intending to settle at the farm." "How do they know the old mill is being pulled down?" inquired the girl. "Rats are wise, and always leave falling houses." Very soon it was found out where the rats had located themselves, and steps were taken to get rid of the intruders. Twenty nine were caught, but one old grey beard defied traps, ferrets, and other enemies. He was a large vicious looking animal, and having been seen in the buttery, Mrs Stancliffe dared not enter it. Tabitha – then a girl of eleven – whispered to John, "I know where he hides – bring your knob stick and we'll catch him." Armed with his stick and supported by his plucky sister, John felt no fear. Tabitha pointed out the enemy's retreat. John roused him by poking the stick into the hole – out leaped the savage rat, and as he would have flown at the stooping girl's throat she adroitly caught him in her frock, gave it a twist – "here he is, Johnnie, – now give him a good blow." The blow was given and repeated, and very soon the victorious children laid the dead monster before the astonished family. You must not think Tabitha an unfeeling girl – her heart was singularly tender and loving. In my early days she was grave and patient rather than heroic. Unsuitably married late in life, her spirit was tamed to quiet endurance – always singularly unselfish and generous, she was the last to breathe a word against her hard fate of loving a hard and unloving husband – and never from her own lips fell a word of blame, though in the end her heart was broken. Her husband was John Haigh of Middleton , no relation to the Haighs of The Mount.

Chapter VIII: Tabitha

The sister next to my mother in age was four years her senior, a mischievous tomboy. She could climb the highest tree like a squirrel, beat her brother at running, cricket, or any game requiring strength, agility, or courage. She was named after a great aunt of her father's, and would have made a splendid boy, though very far removed from being "a nice girl" according to general opinion. I cannot remember the tricks and troubles that always seemed a part of Tabitha, but I will try and recall a few. An old tenant who farmed a bit of land and mended shoes, had in his croft some remarkably fine Siberian crabs . He loved to hear the girls chatter and encouraged their visits. Without asking leave, Tabitha helped herself to the scarlet fruit, enjoying the climbing as much as the crabs. One day the old man – who dearly loved a joke – had called the merry thieves to leave his crabs alone, and called without eliciting anything but laughter, took the gun loaded with gunpowder, and shot into the tree. Only Tibbie was there – her sister was filling her pinafore below as the crabs fell. The flash, smoke, and noise had more than the expected effect. Tibbie dropped from the tree, and all the crabs dropped with her, (in the scared eyes of the little sister they became blood) shrieking fearfully, without looking back, she fled to her house. "Oh mother, mother, Jim Wainwright has shot Tibbie – she is killed – dead in the croft." The mother was less alarmed than the girl, and on going in search of Tibbie soon met her in the lane, very pale and subdued. It took a long time to prove that she was unhurt, and that Jim was not in intent a murdered. Hereafter his crabs were unmolested. Another day they were nutting with their brother in the wood. The happy sport over and their bags full, in the dusky evening they reached Woodhead. On undressing for bed Tabitha was found minus half her petticoat. She would give no account of it. Her mother, unusually stern, declared "the missing half must be found that night – Tabitha must remember such a severance of her garment." "No, – she had now and then felt something give way." "She must go and find it at once." John offered to accompany her. After waiting what seemed to the more timorous little Sarah a terribly long time, Tabitha returned in triumph, the missing half skirt in her hand, which the next day she was obliged to sew neatly to its fellow. During one of Sarah's pleasant morning rambles with her father, he noticed an unusual herd coming along the solitary country road. "Sarah, stand behind the big ash – I believe it is a troop of rats, and you'll not like to meet them." The rats trotted on in a compact body, and Mr Stancliffe counted thirty as they passed without seeing him a few yards distant from their sheltering tree. "They come from the old flour mill," he remarked. "I hope they are not intending to settle at the farm." "How do they know the old mill is being pulled down?" inquired the girl. "Rats are wise, and always leave falling houses." Very soon it was found out where the rats had located themselves, and steps were taken to get rid of the intruders. Twenty nine were caught, but one old grey beard defied traps, ferrets, and other enemies. He was a large vicious looking animal, and having been seen in the buttery, Mrs Stancliffe dared not enter it. Tabitha – then a girl of eleven – whispered to John, "I know where he hides – bring your knob stick and we'll catch him." Armed with his stick and supported by his plucky sister, John felt no fear. Tabitha pointed out the enemy's retreat. John roused him by poking the stick into the hole – out leaped the savage rat, and as he would have flown at the stooping girl's throat she adroitly caught him in her frock, gave it a twist – "here he is, Johnnie, – now give him a good blow." The blow was given and repeated, and very soon the victorious children laid the dead monster before the astonished family. You must not think Tabitha an unfeeling girl – her heart was singularly tender and loving. In my early days she was grave and patient rather than heroic. Unsuitably married late in life, her spirit was tamed to quiet endurance – always singularly unselfish and generous, she was the last to breathe a word against her hard fate of loving a hard and unloving husband – and never from her own lips fell a word of blame, though in the end her heart was broken. Her husband was John Haigh of Middleton , no relation to the Haighs of The Mount.

Chapter IX: Susan Haigh

Nearly fifty years ago, when I was a tall girl of thirteen, I paid my first visit into Yorkshire alone. It was a cold bright day in December when, well cloaked and rather proud of my new sables, I was placed in the "Highflyer" coach, the guard tipped to take care of me. Under a feeling of grave importance and responsibility there was a timid sense of loneliness as I looked out of the coach window and bade a last "good-bye" to the family assembled to "see me off". How desolate Blackston Edge looked covered with snow! - how I wondered about the people and places I was approaching. Three other passengers were inside the coach, but I do not recollect what they talked about. I know that when I was asked a few questions about myself and my journey my blushes were painful. I was vexed with my own shyness, wishing to be considered more "grown up", and knowing I failed. After what seemed a very long journey the coach stopped at a little garden gate and a stout motherly-looking servant came running down the path. I was helped out of the "Highflyer", and soon found myself in a pretty cosy parlour, in the presence of Susan and Marian Haigh. Their grandmother had been my grandmother's sister Susan, a daughter of "The Prince". They were orphans, the older not far from thirty years old, but oh! so winsome and bonnie, – so sparkling and sweet. I see her in my memory as I saw her then and ever afterwards – one to admire, love and caress. Marian was taller – fair and freckled – less graceful – more commonplace altogether – very kind to me always, but I never made a shrine in my heart for her as I did for her sister. My wraps were soon removed, and the urn singing on the tea-table. The keen air and long drive had given me an appetite to appreciate the delicate cakes, home made jams, etc. which the smiling Hannah supplied. The following day I was taken out, and soon became quite at home at Dene Cottage. While we were having tea a gentleman joined us bringing some game he had shot. I thought him one of the pleasantest gentlemen I had ever seen – his eyes so blue and merry – his smiles so quick and joyous – we all felt glad, if I may judge of my own feelings and the bright faces of my cousins, to have him with us. He talked to me and I could talk to him quite comfortably. After tea Marian whispered to me: "Ellen dear, let us go into the next room; Susan has some business to transact with Mr Hadwin." I felt reluctant to leave my kind new friend so soon, but went. After a time I suggested the business must be over – might we return to Susan? "No, certainly not – we were not wanted." I consoled myself by turning over the pretty looking books arranged on the shelves before me so invitingly. Hitherto my reading had been confined to school-books and tales – novels were forbidden. Here were "Keepsakes", "Christmas Annuals", "Books of Beauty", and such delightful poetry! Mr Hadwin was forgotten, and I, in a world of dreams and romance as entrancing as it was new, was only roused at last by his cordial "good-night", and wish that he might soon have the pleasure of seeing me again. I believe I passed a fortnight at Dene Cottage. There was some visiting between ourselves and neighbours – pleasant walks and drives – and often again Mr Hadwin appeared on business too important to admit a third party. He and Susan were left to work it out together, and not during my visit did it come to an end. Among the dainty "Annuals" which were my delight I one evening discovered that two were exactly alike, and for the previous Christmas in date. On the fly leaf of one I read, "From S.H. to S.H." – on the other, "Susan from her cousin Richard." "Oh, Marian," I cried, "what a pity for Susan to have received two presents of one book!" – and then I read aloud the inscription "From S.H. to S.H." – "Is it from Sidney Hadwin ?" With a look of annoyance on her gentle face Marian replied, "Let me put away those books – Susan will not like to see you using them, and don't ask her anything about them." With a sigh I saw her place the twain side by side on a shelf beyond my reach. But "From S.H. to S.H." kept ringing in my brain – my heart beats keeping time – for was there not a love story being enacted beneath my own eyes! I dared not ask questions, – (to me the interesting pair became 'hero and heroine' – but instead my fancy wove round them a halo of enchanting romance, and very reluctantly I left the Fairy Palace where Prince Goldenheart came and went so faithfully.

Chapter IX: Susan Haigh

Nearly fifty years ago, when I was a tall girl of thirteen, I paid my first visit into Yorkshire alone. It was a cold bright day in December when, well cloaked and rather proud of my new sables, I was placed in the "Highflyer" coach, the guard tipped to take care of me. Under a feeling of grave importance and responsibility there was a timid sense of loneliness as I looked out of the coach window and bade a last "good-bye" to the family assembled to "see me off". How desolate Blackston Edge looked covered with snow! - how I wondered about the people and places I was approaching. Three other passengers were inside the coach, but I do not recollect what they talked about. I know that when I was asked a few questions about myself and my journey my blushes were painful. I was vexed with my own shyness, wishing to be considered more "grown up", and knowing I failed. After what seemed a very long journey the coach stopped at a little garden gate and a stout motherly-looking servant came running down the path. I was helped out of the "Highflyer", and soon found myself in a pretty cosy parlour, in the presence of Susan and Marian Haigh. Their grandmother had been my grandmother's sister Susan, a daughter of "The Prince". They were orphans, the older not far from thirty years old, but oh! so winsome and bonnie, – so sparkling and sweet. I see her in my memory as I saw her then and ever afterwards – one to admire, love and caress. Marian was taller – fair and freckled – less graceful – more commonplace altogether – very kind to me always, but I never made a shrine in my heart for her as I did for her sister. My wraps were soon removed, and the urn singing on the tea-table. The keen air and long drive had given me an appetite to appreciate the delicate cakes, home made jams, etc. which the smiling Hannah supplied. The following day I was taken out, and soon became quite at home at Dene Cottage. While we were having tea a gentleman joined us bringing some game he had shot. I thought him one of the pleasantest gentlemen I had ever seen – his eyes so blue and merry – his smiles so quick and joyous – we all felt glad, if I may judge of my own feelings and the bright faces of my cousins, to have him with us. He talked to me and I could talk to him quite comfortably. After tea Marian whispered to me: "Ellen dear, let us go into the next room; Susan has some business to transact with Mr Hadwin." I felt reluctant to leave my kind new friend so soon, but went. After a time I suggested the business must be over – might we return to Susan? "No, certainly not – we were not wanted." I consoled myself by turning over the pretty looking books arranged on the shelves before me so invitingly. Hitherto my reading had been confined to school-books and tales – novels were forbidden. Here were "Keepsakes", "Christmas Annuals", "Books of Beauty", and such delightful poetry! Mr Hadwin was forgotten, and I, in a world of dreams and romance as entrancing as it was new, was only roused at last by his cordial "good-night", and wish that he might soon have the pleasure of seeing me again. I believe I passed a fortnight at Dene Cottage. There was some visiting between ourselves and neighbours – pleasant walks and drives – and often again Mr Hadwin appeared on business too important to admit a third party. He and Susan were left to work it out together, and not during my visit did it come to an end. Among the dainty "Annuals" which were my delight I one evening discovered that two were exactly alike, and for the previous Christmas in date. On the fly leaf of one I read, "From S.H. to S.H." – on the other, "Susan from her cousin Richard." "Oh, Marian," I cried, "what a pity for Susan to have received two presents of one book!" – and then I read aloud the inscription "From S.H. to S.H." – "Is it from Sidney Hadwin ?" With a look of annoyance on her gentle face Marian replied, "Let me put away those books – Susan will not like to see you using them, and don't ask her anything about them." With a sigh I saw her place the twain side by side on a shelf beyond my reach. But "From S.H. to S.H." kept ringing in my brain – my heart beats keeping time – for was there not a love story being enacted beneath my own eyes! I dared not ask questions, – (to me the interesting pair became 'hero and heroine' – but instead my fancy wove round them a halo of enchanting romance, and very reluctantly I left the Fairy Palace where Prince Goldenheart came and went so faithfully.

Chapter X: My Visit at The Mount

From Dene Cottage I went to visit "Cousin Richard's" mother, Susan's aunt, and of course a relation of my own mother's. Mrs Haigh of The Mount was not a stranger to me. I had accompanied my mother some years before when her only daughter, Mrs Wellesley Ashe, was living. How well I remember being petted and indulged by that sweet, childless young wife, whose husband was with his regiment, while she had come to her old home to be nursed into strength and cheerfulness. Now she was dead. There were four sons – John, Richard, William and George. John and William had married two wealthy Lincolnshire ladies – cousins. John had two daughters rather younger than myself – William had two sons, bonnie boys of about six and four years old. George, the youngest son at The Mount, was remarkably goodlooking, but somewhat disfigured by a long white scar that crossed his temple and cheek. His thick dark hair partly covered the mark on his temple, but his whiskers were quite unable to do the same kindness to his cheek. Richard was absent – I remembered him well. He had been the least agreeable always – pale – sandy-haired – fidgety and fanciful – ailing and thinking himself worse than he was. I should not have noticed all this had I not heard my mother's remarks also. When Susan was eleven years old her mother died, having outlived her father a very short time. Three children were left orphans. Susan was taken to live with her uncle and aunt at The Mount, to be educated with their only daughter, Maria. Harry found a home elsewhere, and Marian, a child of three, was nursed and brought up by a grandmother. Harry grew up as his father, Harry Haigh, had done before him – gay and thoughtless – fonder of pleasure than duty – and like his father's, his career was a short one. His fortune – not a large one – was soon spent, and before he reached his twenty-fourth birthday Harry, wild, wilful and winsome, lay in his grave. But I must leave these family explanations and tell you something of my visit. For the first time in my life I was present at a late dinner. There were a few additions to the usual family circle. Imagine my consternation when a gentleman addressed me across the table: "Miss Nield, I shall be happy to take wine with you." Blushing deeply I was stammering an excuse when George laughed, put some wine in my glass, and whispered, "You cannot refuse." My hand shook as I raised the glass to my lips and gave the usual little bend of acknowledgement to the gentleman's courteous salutation. Remember I was only thirteen years old, had seen no company, and was tall enough to pass for sixteen or more. Again and again I had to pass through the trying ordeal of "taking wine"; – I never liked it, though in time I grew less nervous. On New Year's Eve there was a family gathering at Ellinroyd , William Haigh's residence – there was a repetition of my dinner difficulties, but great fun afterwards. During the evening a stranger arrived with a long grey beard, and dressed in an odd foreign-looking costume. He had only shaken hands with one or two when, to my horror he was brought and introduced to me as "Signor ---", I cannot write the long Italian name or pronounce it. I made a low curtsey and hoped that was all that would be required of me. Alas! no, – the Signor sat down by my side and asked me queer questions, and told me queerer stories that made everybody laugh. I rather wished he would pay his compliments to somebody else; the calls on my conversational powers were beyond my ability – I feared I might make a fool of myself – when little Mary Haigh cried out, "I do believe it's Papa!" And so it was. I laughed merrily, not sorry that the farce was over as I had such an important part to play in it. He often laughed afterwards at what he called my "graceful reverential curtsey". Later it was suggested that punch should be made, and that we should salute with it the New Year as it came in. I was much the youngest of the party who remained, and had not to return to The Mount until the following day. I was much teased in many ways by my gentleman cousins, and got very tired and drowsy. Very hard I fought against my sleepiness. It amused me much to see the punch brewed in a large handsome bowl with a silver ladle. The lemons, various wines and hot water filled the room with a pleasant odour; then we had it ladled into our glasses, I begging to have very little. As the New Year was heralded in by a peal of bells the challenge and greeting went round – our glasses jingled – good wishes were spoken – our punch sipped – I thought I had never tasted anything so delicious, and almost too sleepy to walk upstairs I went to bed, Susan sleeping with me that night, and at a very late hour was breakfast next morning. My next treat was going to the theatre. I had never seen a play of any kind in my life. John Haigh had bespoken seats, and the whole family must go. To me everything was a reality – the actors what they represented. "Virginius" was the play. For the time I was at Rome among the Romans, thrilled by their emotions – wrung by their trials – warmed by their loves.

Chapter X: My Visit at The Mount

From Dene Cottage I went to visit "Cousin Richard's" mother, Susan's aunt, and of course a relation of my own mother's. Mrs Haigh of The Mount was not a stranger to me. I had accompanied my mother some years before when her only daughter, Mrs Wellesley Ashe, was living. How well I remember being petted and indulged by that sweet, childless young wife, whose husband was with his regiment, while she had come to her old home to be nursed into strength and cheerfulness. Now she was dead. There were four sons – John, Richard, William and George. John and William had married two wealthy Lincolnshire ladies – cousins. John had two daughters rather younger than myself – William had two sons, bonnie boys of about six and four years old. George, the youngest son at The Mount, was remarkably goodlooking, but somewhat disfigured by a long white scar that crossed his temple and cheek. His thick dark hair partly covered the mark on his temple, but his whiskers were quite unable to do the same kindness to his cheek. Richard was absent – I remembered him well. He had been the least agreeable always – pale – sandy-haired – fidgety and fanciful – ailing and thinking himself worse than he was. I should not have noticed all this had I not heard my mother's remarks also. When Susan was eleven years old her mother died, having outlived her father a very short time. Three children were left orphans. Susan was taken to live with her uncle and aunt at The Mount, to be educated with their only daughter, Maria. Harry found a home elsewhere, and Marian, a child of three, was nursed and brought up by a grandmother. Harry grew up as his father, Harry Haigh, had done before him – gay and thoughtless – fonder of pleasure than duty – and like his father's, his career was a short one. His fortune – not a large one – was soon spent, and before he reached his twenty-fourth birthday Harry, wild, wilful and winsome, lay in his grave. But I must leave these family explanations and tell you something of my visit. For the first time in my life I was present at a late dinner. There were a few additions to the usual family circle. Imagine my consternation when a gentleman addressed me across the table: "Miss Nield, I shall be happy to take wine with you." Blushing deeply I was stammering an excuse when George laughed, put some wine in my glass, and whispered, "You cannot refuse." My hand shook as I raised the glass to my lips and gave the usual little bend of acknowledgement to the gentleman's courteous salutation. Remember I was only thirteen years old, had seen no company, and was tall enough to pass for sixteen or more. Again and again I had to pass through the trying ordeal of "taking wine"; – I never liked it, though in time I grew less nervous. On New Year's Eve there was a family gathering at Ellinroyd , William Haigh's residence – there was a repetition of my dinner difficulties, but great fun afterwards. During the evening a stranger arrived with a long grey beard, and dressed in an odd foreign-looking costume. He had only shaken hands with one or two when, to my horror he was brought and introduced to me as "Signor ---", I cannot write the long Italian name or pronounce it. I made a low curtsey and hoped that was all that would be required of me. Alas! no, – the Signor sat down by my side and asked me queer questions, and told me queerer stories that made everybody laugh. I rather wished he would pay his compliments to somebody else; the calls on my conversational powers were beyond my ability – I feared I might make a fool of myself – when little Mary Haigh cried out, "I do believe it's Papa!" And so it was. I laughed merrily, not sorry that the farce was over as I had such an important part to play in it. He often laughed afterwards at what he called my "graceful reverential curtsey". Later it was suggested that punch should be made, and that we should salute with it the New Year as it came in. I was much the youngest of the party who remained, and had not to return to The Mount until the following day. I was much teased in many ways by my gentleman cousins, and got very tired and drowsy. Very hard I fought against my sleepiness. It amused me much to see the punch brewed in a large handsome bowl with a silver ladle. The lemons, various wines and hot water filled the room with a pleasant odour; then we had it ladled into our glasses, I begging to have very little. As the New Year was heralded in by a peal of bells the challenge and greeting went round – our glasses jingled – good wishes were spoken – our punch sipped – I thought I had never tasted anything so delicious, and almost too sleepy to walk upstairs I went to bed, Susan sleeping with me that night, and at a very late hour was breakfast next morning. My next treat was going to the theatre. I had never seen a play of any kind in my life. John Haigh had bespoken seats, and the whole family must go. To me everything was a reality – the actors what they represented. "Virginius" was the play. For the time I was at Rome among the Romans, thrilled by their emotions – wrung by their trials – warmed by their loves.

Chapter XI: How George Haigh got his Scar

Old Mrs Haigh reminded me much of my mother – only handsomer and more dignified. They had always been great friends and the old affection had never died though they so rarely saw each other. Mrs Haigh asked me many questions about my visit at Dene Cottage, especially about Sidney Hadwin, and I was only too happy to chatter on this (to me) delightful subject. At length a significant sniff or two from the old lady and a few condemnatory words gave me a guilty feeling. Ought I to have spoken at all? I had been told nothing, and a queer little ache touched my heart made up of remorse and fear. One morning I was alone in the library and picked up a story magazine number, which as soon as I began to read, enthralled me. It was something so different from all other reading – the fourth number of the "Pickwick Papers" – Jingle's elopement with Miss Wardle. When I had devoured the number I hunted for the next in vain. George came in. "Oh, please find me the next part," I cried. "I cannot do that as it isn't out," I cried. "I cannot do that as it isn't out," was all I got, and sadly disappointed, I sighed regretfully. George promised to find me something quite as good presently, but began to amuse himself by playing with my curls, when I suddenly asked him how he got the dreadful scar on his face. "I know you are in the Halifax volunteers, but you have never been in a real battle to get wounded," I remarked. Then he told me of an adventure which I wish I could tell as he told it, – many of its particulars I have quite forgotten. About ten years before that time when George was little more than a boy, he was entrusted to go on his father's business to St. Petersburgh. On the journey he spent a few days in London, and while staying in a certain hotel he came in contact with a Russian gentleman. Naturally he had much to ask about the country he was about to visit, and the best means of getting there. This gentleman was most kind, and said that he was shortly going there himself, and as it was desirable to have a travelling companion and he inferred that he had taken a liking to George, he would arrange to start a little earlier, and they should go together. George was delighted, and soon told his Russian friend why he was going, who his father was, where the agent at St. Petersburgh lived, and anything else he was asked. I do not remember how far they had pleasantly travelled together, nor what was the name of the place where they had rested for the night – only that it was in Russia and they were posting. The carriage was at the door – the luggage safely stowed – when his friend remarked: "We may as well get in – our coachman is ready." George got in, well wrapped up in a handsome new sable-lined cloak. In an instant the Russian was on the box, lashing the horses and driving furiously. At first George thought it was a joke, and laughed at the absent coachman's fright when he saw they were off. Soon he asked his friend to turn back, and in time became alarmed. For some miles the Russian drove rapidly on in silence. At last in a lonely spot he leaped from the box, and as George tried to get out of the coach stabbed him again and again, until he supposed that his victim was dead. I do not know how long George lay there in a state of insensibility. He had fought for his life, but unarmed the odds were fearfully against him. When he came to himself he had been found and brought back to the little country inn he had left in the morning, and was faint and exhausted by the loss of blood. His Russian friend had disappeared with all his luggage, letters of introduction, and a good sum of money. George had only carried in his pocket sufficient for travelling expenses. As soon as George was strong enough to continue his journey he proceeded to St. Petersburgh, and at once went to the agent for information how to track and punish his would-be murderer. Alas! the agent looked suspiciously upon him and told him that Mr George Haigh had arrived, and he would bring him to confront the pretender. The Russian friend was soon found and immediately charge George with violently assaulting him in order to rob him, and showing the bruise in his face as a testimony against him. He caused George to be arrested as an imposter, and before the Russian tribunal told a most plausible story against him, until George almost doubted his own identity. The case was brought up a second time, when George suggested that one of his father's clerks should be sent for from England to prove which was the true son of his master. The test was approved and acted upon. Both George Haighs were now carefully watched until the clerk arrived and at once pointed out the real owner of the name. The guilty man was soon sentenced to pass the remainder of his life in the hard and dreary exile of Siberia. George still keeps the cloak he wore with about a dozen sabre cuts in it, and he will always keep the scar on his otherwise handsome face. The last time my mother visited her cousin, Mrs Haigh of the Mount, the latter said: "I remember more generations than most people do, having lived during seven." She described her great-grandmother, who, from the date on the tombstone, died when she (Mrs Haigh) was four years old – her grandmother – mother – her own children – grandchildren – and at the time she spoke she had her own great grandchild of two years old.

Chapter XI: How George Haigh got his Scar

Old Mrs Haigh reminded me much of my mother – only handsomer and more dignified. They had always been great friends and the old affection had never died though they so rarely saw each other. Mrs Haigh asked me many questions about my visit at Dene Cottage, especially about Sidney Hadwin, and I was only too happy to chatter on this (to me) delightful subject. At length a significant sniff or two from the old lady and a few condemnatory words gave me a guilty feeling. Ought I to have spoken at all? I had been told nothing, and a queer little ache touched my heart made up of remorse and fear. One morning I was alone in the library and picked up a story magazine number, which as soon as I began to read, enthralled me. It was something so different from all other reading – the fourth number of the "Pickwick Papers" – Jingle's elopement with Miss Wardle. When I had devoured the number I hunted for the next in vain. George came in. "Oh, please find me the next part," I cried. "I cannot do that as it isn't out," I cried. "I cannot do that as it isn't out," was all I got, and sadly disappointed, I sighed regretfully. George promised to find me something quite as good presently, but began to amuse himself by playing with my curls, when I suddenly asked him how he got the dreadful scar on his face. "I know you are in the Halifax volunteers, but you have never been in a real battle to get wounded," I remarked. Then he told me of an adventure which I wish I could tell as he told it, – many of its particulars I have quite forgotten. About ten years before that time when George was little more than a boy, he was entrusted to go on his father's business to St. Petersburgh. On the journey he spent a few days in London, and while staying in a certain hotel he came in contact with a Russian gentleman. Naturally he had much to ask about the country he was about to visit, and the best means of getting there. This gentleman was most kind, and said that he was shortly going there himself, and as it was desirable to have a travelling companion and he inferred that he had taken a liking to George, he would arrange to start a little earlier, and they should go together. George was delighted, and soon told his Russian friend why he was going, who his father was, where the agent at St. Petersburgh lived, and anything else he was asked. I do not remember how far they had pleasantly travelled together, nor what was the name of the place where they had rested for the night – only that it was in Russia and they were posting. The carriage was at the door – the luggage safely stowed – when his friend remarked: "We may as well get in – our coachman is ready." George got in, well wrapped up in a handsome new sable-lined cloak. In an instant the Russian was on the box, lashing the horses and driving furiously. At first George thought it was a joke, and laughed at the absent coachman's fright when he saw they were off. Soon he asked his friend to turn back, and in time became alarmed. For some miles the Russian drove rapidly on in silence. At last in a lonely spot he leaped from the box, and as George tried to get out of the coach stabbed him again and again, until he supposed that his victim was dead. I do not know how long George lay there in a state of insensibility. He had fought for his life, but unarmed the odds were fearfully against him. When he came to himself he had been found and brought back to the little country inn he had left in the morning, and was faint and exhausted by the loss of blood. His Russian friend had disappeared with all his luggage, letters of introduction, and a good sum of money. George had only carried in his pocket sufficient for travelling expenses. As soon as George was strong enough to continue his journey he proceeded to St. Petersburgh, and at once went to the agent for information how to track and punish his would-be murderer. Alas! the agent looked suspiciously upon him and told him that Mr George Haigh had arrived, and he would bring him to confront the pretender. The Russian friend was soon found and immediately charge George with violently assaulting him in order to rob him, and showing the bruise in his face as a testimony against him. He caused George to be arrested as an imposter, and before the Russian tribunal told a most plausible story against him, until George almost doubted his own identity. The case was brought up a second time, when George suggested that one of his father's clerks should be sent for from England to prove which was the true son of his master. The test was approved and acted upon. Both George Haighs were now carefully watched until the clerk arrived and at once pointed out the real owner of the name. The guilty man was soon sentenced to pass the remainder of his life in the hard and dreary exile of Siberia. George still keeps the cloak he wore with about a dozen sabre cuts in it, and he will always keep the scar on his otherwise handsome face. The last time my mother visited her cousin, Mrs Haigh of the Mount, the latter said: "I remember more generations than most people do, having lived during seven." She described her great-grandmother, who, from the date on the tombstone, died when she (Mrs Haigh) was four years old – her grandmother – mother – her own children – grandchildren – and at the time she spoke she had her own great grandchild of two years old.

Chapter XII: Cousin Susan's Lovers

Some months after my return home Susan Haigh came to stay with us. I do not think she regarded me with much favour – perhaps my little gossips with her aunt had brought down upon her reproof and sharper advice than she liked. One day, as I sat apart from her and my mother quietly stitching, their earnest conversation drew my attention, and as I was not told to leave the room, I became too much interested to do so of my own accord. "Susan," said my mother, "it is time for you to make up your mind one way or another – you cannot love two men equally." "Indeed I love them both too well to hurt either." "But you are hurting both by your indecision – and yourself too. I know you are unhappy." "Mrs Nield, let me tell you how it happened, and you will see my difficulty. When I went to live with my aunt at The Mount – a little girl – my cousin Richard was my best friend. He softened my aunt's severity – if Maria and I had any difference and she presumed as a daughter of the house, he took my part = he was always my friend, adviser, comforter. He is several years older than I am, and I turned to him at all times, sure of sympathy and help. At the dancing school I first met Sidney Hadwin – we were generally partners, and he wa very good to me. Afterwards we met occasionally, and when I was barely eighteen he asked me to marry him. I promised him I would, but we were both too young to take the step immediately, and we were contented to remain as we were until we were sure of our Guardians' consent – Sidney's father and my Trustee. While we were in this position – satisfied with our semi-engagement, unknown and unacknowledged by those in authority – my cousin Richard, never strong, became so much worse that change of air and perfect rest were recommended. My uncle had a pretty cottage in the country – "Longley Holme". It was decided that Richard should go there, and I with him, as I was used to his fads and never tired of waiting upon him. We were very happy – he seemed so perfectly satisfied, and gained strength daily. I ventured one day to tell him of my intention to be married to Sidney Hadwin and asked him to help me if my uncle objected to the match – and if trustees were wanted about my money, would he be one? Wearily and in a gieved voice he said, "Oh! Susan," how can you tease me with such a subject now? I thought you cared more for me." I felt ashamed of my selfishness, and with tears asked his forgiveness. A bad night followed – Richard looked as pale and drooping as he did before our coming to Longley Holme. Conscience stricken, I did my best to cheer and nurse him, but it only brought out an unexpected confession – "Susan, I have always loved you – if you marry that man I shall die." What could I do? I loved him dearly. "But," remarked my mother, "it was a different love from the other – gratitude and cousinly regard are not love – What did you say to Sidney Hadwin?" "What I tell you – that I will not break Richard's heart. Sidney says he will wait – and he has waited ten years. He tells me I am his first and only love, and that if I give him up, I shall have ruined his life. He has a shooting-box in the Highlands, and it shall become his hermitage. Oh, it is hard to know what I ought to do! If Dick had been stronger it would have been less difficult. I have now determined to keep single until Marian is married." There was some further talk – Susan shed tears, and promised to try if she could not come to a final decision. During the year following Marian married, and three months after we received a dainty basket from the "Highflyer" coach, containing cake, gloves, and wedding favours – the accompanying cards were "Mr Richard Haigh" – and "Mrs Richard Haigh". A shade of annoyance passed over my mother's face: "I wish them much happiness, but I question their having it," she said. "Dick is the wealthier man – but Sidney would have been the best husband for Susan." After all Susan made a mistake. I never saw her after her marriage. We heard of her delicate state of health – how they travelled from place to place – but she faded slowly away, and at the end of three years she died at Brighton. Richard proved the truth of what he had said – he could not live without her – and before six months of his widowhood were over he slept in her grave. Sidney Hadwin kept his word. When Susan married her cousin he left his family and home, and lived a lonely man. He possessed a large piece of moorland – was a capital shot – and enjoyed the society of kindred spirits during the shooting season. For anything I have heard to the contrary, he is still a hermit in the Highlands. He must be a very old man.

Chapter XII: Cousin Susan's Lovers

Some months after my return home Susan Haigh came to stay with us. I do not think she regarded me with much favour – perhaps my little gossips with her aunt had brought down upon her reproof and sharper advice than she liked. One day, as I sat apart from her and my mother quietly stitching, their earnest conversation drew my attention, and as I was not told to leave the room, I became too much interested to do so of my own accord. "Susan," said my mother, "it is time for you to make up your mind one way or another – you cannot love two men equally." "Indeed I love them both too well to hurt either." "But you are hurting both by your indecision – and yourself too. I know you are unhappy." "Mrs Nield, let me tell you how it happened, and you will see my difficulty. When I went to live with my aunt at The Mount – a little girl – my cousin Richard was my best friend. He softened my aunt's severity – if Maria and I had any difference and she presumed as a daughter of the house, he took my part = he was always my friend, adviser, comforter. He is several years older than I am, and I turned to him at all times, sure of sympathy and help. At the dancing school I first met Sidney Hadwin – we were generally partners, and he wa very good to me. Afterwards we met occasionally, and when I was barely eighteen he asked me to marry him. I promised him I would, but we were both too young to take the step immediately, and we were contented to remain as we were until we were sure of our Guardians' consent – Sidney's father and my Trustee. While we were in this position – satisfied with our semi-engagement, unknown and unacknowledged by those in authority – my cousin Richard, never strong, became so much worse that change of air and perfect rest were recommended. My uncle had a pretty cottage in the country – "Longley Holme". It was decided that Richard should go there, and I with him, as I was used to his fads and never tired of waiting upon him. We were very happy – he seemed so perfectly satisfied, and gained strength daily. I ventured one day to tell him of my intention to be married to Sidney Hadwin and asked him to help me if my uncle objected to the match – and if trustees were wanted about my money, would he be one? Wearily and in a gieved voice he said, "Oh! Susan," how can you tease me with such a subject now? I thought you cared more for me." I felt ashamed of my selfishness, and with tears asked his forgiveness. A bad night followed – Richard looked as pale and drooping as he did before our coming to Longley Holme. Conscience stricken, I did my best to cheer and nurse him, but it only brought out an unexpected confession – "Susan, I have always loved you – if you marry that man I shall die." What could I do? I loved him dearly. "But," remarked my mother, "it was a different love from the other – gratitude and cousinly regard are not love – What did you say to Sidney Hadwin?" "What I tell you – that I will not break Richard's heart. Sidney says he will wait – and he has waited ten years. He tells me I am his first and only love, and that if I give him up, I shall have ruined his life. He has a shooting-box in the Highlands, and it shall become his hermitage. Oh, it is hard to know what I ought to do! If Dick had been stronger it would have been less difficult. I have now determined to keep single until Marian is married." There was some further talk – Susan shed tears, and promised to try if she could not come to a final decision. During the year following Marian married, and three months after we received a dainty basket from the "Highflyer" coach, containing cake, gloves, and wedding favours – the accompanying cards were "Mr Richard Haigh" – and "Mrs Richard Haigh". A shade of annoyance passed over my mother's face: "I wish them much happiness, but I question their having it," she said. "Dick is the wealthier man – but Sidney would have been the best husband for Susan." After all Susan made a mistake. I never saw her after her marriage. We heard of her delicate state of health – how they travelled from place to place – but she faded slowly away, and at the end of three years she died at Brighton. Richard proved the truth of what he had said – he could not live without her – and before six months of his widowhood were over he slept in her grave. Sidney Hadwin kept his word. When Susan married her cousin he left his family and home, and lived a lonely man. He possessed a large piece of moorland – was a capital shot – and enjoyed the society of kindred spirits during the shooting season. For anything I have heard to the contrary, he is still a hermit in the Highlands. He must be a very old man.

Chapter XIII: Mr Dyson's Wards

What I am going to tell you is not quite a family story, but as my mother was a little mixed up in it, you may like to have it with the rest. I have mentioned her paying long and pleasant visits to Copley Brook, the residence of William and Charlotte Dyson. While there she grew very intimate with three sisters who were wards of Mr Dyson, and lived with their widowed mother very near him. They were in ample circumstances – well educated – goodlooking – and had no lack of admirers. Maria was a dark, wilful girl – the oldest of the three. Grace came next, and then Amelia, or Millie, as she was generally called – everybody's favorite – good-humoured and witty, full of life and love – as natural as a bird or flower. Though tall and slender she looked still a child – and as a child was made happy by the simplest pleasures. Maria had many admirers. Two or three had spoken of love and marriage, but had been coldly refused. Among these ever ready to run in her service was Robert Oakley. He and his brother Philip had been welcomed at all times to Mrs Selby's house, and had romped with the girls on equal terms from infancy – now they were excellent friends but more restrained in their intimacy than formerly. The parents of the young man were dead. Robert followed his father's business and was a flourishing corn merchant – Philip was preparing for the Church. Two unmarried aunts lived with them – pleasant, comely women, who were not too old to enjoy and take part in youthful amusements. There was a general impression that sometime Robert Oakley and Maria Selby would become man and wife, but to the amazement of all their friends Robert declared his heart to be Millie's, and asked her mother's consent to their betrothal, and also Mr Dyson's. Both were surprised – considered Millie too young to know her own mind – and after a long consultation together, decided that he must wait a couple of years at least, for Millie to grow more wise and womanly. The girl was hardly seventeen – Robert was two and twenty – a few months older than Maria. When Mr Dyson saw the young man privately he told him that he and his wife had supposed that Maria was the best beloved of the sisters. Robert's reply was, "I have always loved them all as well as if I were their brother, but Millie has been my chosen wife since we made cowslip balls together and she helped me to fish in the stream. Ask Millie if we have not been plighted for years." And sweet Millie, looking in her blushes like a wild rose, repeated the same story. What must be done? It seemed too absurd to make a serious matter of it and sanction a formal engagement. It was settled at length that Millie should pay a visit to her grandmother in the south of England, where she would see more company and get her character matured. She must be left to herself entirely – no letters or visits to be received from Robert. Both demurred and begged that they might correspond. No – not a line must be written on either side until the time of the trial was over. When Millie was taken to her grandmother there lay beneath her white frock bodice an ivory miniature of Robert Oakley, and when he gave it to her at parting he had cut off one of her shining ringlets. As he wound it round his fingers he whispered: "It is my wedding ring – I am thine for ever." Words of loving trust fell from Millie's lips and the light of love shone in her eyes. Both had perfect confidence in the faithfulness of the other. Time passed on – Robert was very much with the Selbys. Mrs Dyson noticed a change in the young man – a restlessness – an avoidance of herself which she could not understand. She said to my mother: "Millie's absence is doing harm to Robert Oakley – I shall ask Mrs Selby to let her return – it is a year and a half since she left us. What sunshine the girl took away with her! She has been greatly missed." The mother longed for her darling more than anyone, and gladly summoned her home. When Millie arrived there was great rejoicing. The Dysons and my mother were there to meet her, but not Robert Oakley – important business prevented him, so he had told her mother – and sweet, beautiful Millie was perfectly satisfied; "Better to have only you tonight, or my joy might be too much for me," – and bright happy tears sprang to her eyes as she spoke, and once more caressed her glad mother. The following evening when the household was quietly settling for the night, the Dysons and my mother were startled by a terrific scream followed by Millie Selby springing into the room, looking in the dimness like a ghost – her long hair was loose and unbound – her eyes wild and staring – clad in nothing but her simple white dressing gown. "My child, what is the matter with you?" exclaimed her guardian, taking her cold clasped hands in his. "Millie dear, do speak," urged his wife, as one convulsive sob followed another from the breast of the agitated girl. It was some time before a word could be heard, and then it was Grace who uttered it. She had followed her sister, and could only say: "Maria and Robert Oakley have been married today, and nobody but themselves knew of it till Maria herself just now told Millie." Mrs Dyson administered sal volatile to Millie, and when calmer she told them how Maria had that night come into her bedroom, and shown her a wedding ring on her finger. "What does it mean?" asked the girl. "Only that I am Robert Oakley's wife," was the cruel answer. "Sister, you jest!" "I do not jest – here is the certificate." Then poor Millie ran shrieking to her mother, and while her mother was questioning Maria, poor Millie rushed out to her guardian and his wife. Mr Dyson went at once to The Lodge to see if he could be of any use to Mrs Selby, and to say that Millie should remain with his wife for the night. He found Mrs Selby indignant and angry – Maria standing by proud and defiant. "Not another night shall you sleep beneath my roof – you false and wicked girl! Go to your husband at once – he is worthy of you." Then seeing Mr Dyson, she broke down and burst into tears. "My Millie! My darling! Where is she?" When assured of her child's safety Mrs Selby still insisted that Maria should go at once. What right or reason was there in her remaining? Millie should not be disturbed by her presence. So this bride, proud and haughty, was obliged to make a most undignified entrance into the home she was entitled to through her clandestine marriage. After that fit of excitement was over Millie grew pale and quiet – she never mentioned her lover's name nor her sister's. Always very sweet and loving, she grew dearer to all her friends. Full of sympathy for those who were in "sorrow, sickness, or any kind of adversity", her life was blessed by many, and a calm patience took the place of her earlier gladness. Robert Oakley wisely took a house many miles away from The Lodge, and Mrs Selby never allowed the delinquents to enter her house, and never paid them a visit. "Maria has made her own choice – slain the ewe lamb – and deserves to suffer." Not even the birth of a grandson softened the mother's heart. I think it was generally agreed that Maria's was the wickedness, Robert's the weakness of guilt. A few years later on Mrs Selby died. Then the question was mooted "must Mr and Mrs Oakley be invited to the funeral?" "Certainly," said Millie. "I will not prevent them." They came, but Millie kept out of their way as much as possible, – a handshake – a commonplace remark – was all she gave them. To her sister she said: "Grace, do as you like – don't consider me – I shall not be hurt by your going to the Oakley's. I shall not go – neither would I like them to come here – but I do not wish you to continue the estrangement." So Grace went again and again – stood godmother for the second son – spoke freely about the children to Millie – and was sure no bitterness lodged in Millie's breast against the offenders: – only she still refused to see them, she could not trust them. Philip Oakley took orders, and the old liking between himself and Grace Selby ripened into love. No objection was raised by anyone, but the marriage was deferred until the young priest got a living. Maria tried to draw Grace more to herself and under her influence, but the girl was most loyal to Millie – nothing could shake her love and confidence there. Livings do not always fall vacant when there is a curate wanting one, and Philip had to wait longer than he liked. This long waiting time gave an old lever of Grace's encouragement to try again to win her, but in vain. Philip's letters grew colder, his manners when they met were more constrained, and Grace, not daring to breathe of her disappointment to a creature, suffered in silence. While hesitating whether to break off the engagement or wait until he confessed that his love was hers no longer, Mr Dyson startled her one day by asking her when the wedding was to be? Grace tried to make light of the subject, but Mr Dyson urged her, as her father's friend and her own, to tell him the truth – what had come between her and Philip to make him look so stern and she so sad? Then Grace eased her heavy heart by speaking of the growing unspoken division between them. She confessed how she loved him still, but doubted his love from his changed conduct towards herself. What did he advise her to do? Mr Dyson lost no time in summoning the curate – he was determined to hear from his own lips the cause of Grace's altered looks. It took a long time to get to the root of the matter. Was Grace true to him? Had she not coquetted again and again with his old rival? Had she not hinted more than once that she was tired of her engagement? Did she not receive him with chilly indifference, and blush when he charged her with it? Mr Dyson wrung from the young man at last that he was willing to lay down his life for the maiden, but it was from her sister Maria's remarks at various times that he had begun to doubt her sincerity. To have his old confidence restored would make earth feel like heaven. It was soon restored, and Mr Dyson gave his hearty consent to their being married as soon as they wished. On her sister's marriage Millie was left alone in her old home, as far as family membership made her so. She was rarely without guests – her life was not empty. To teach the ignorant, cheer the sad, lighten the cares of the poor, help in any good work that presented itself to her notice was sufficient to brighten her lot, and a happy useful "old maid" lived and died Millie Selby. While she was still a comparatively young woman a fever carried off Mr and Mrs Robert Oakley. They had lived but a miserable life together, and to the astonishment of those who knew them their prosperity had been only seeming. The legacy left to their children was quite insufficient to support and educate them. When Millie heard of the orphan boys and their sad condition she offered at once to adopt them and provide for their needs. When Mr Dyson expressed surprise the answer he received was: "The poor children have done me no wrong, Mr Dyson, and I shall never marry. I shall be happy to be of use to them, and I hope we shall love each other dearly."

Chapter XIII: Mr Dyson's Wards

What I am going to tell you is not quite a family story, but as my mother was a little mixed up in it, you may like to have it with the rest. I have mentioned her paying long and pleasant visits to Copley Brook, the residence of William and Charlotte Dyson. While there she grew very intimate with three sisters who were wards of Mr Dyson, and lived with their widowed mother very near him. They were in ample circumstances – well educated – goodlooking – and had no lack of admirers. Maria was a dark, wilful girl – the oldest of the three. Grace came next, and then Amelia, or Millie, as she was generally called – everybody's favorite – good-humoured and witty, full of life and love – as natural as a bird or flower. Though tall and slender she looked still a child – and as a child was made happy by the simplest pleasures. Maria had many admirers. Two or three had spoken of love and marriage, but had been coldly refused. Among these ever ready to run in her service was Robert Oakley. He and his brother Philip had been welcomed at all times to Mrs Selby's house, and had romped with the girls on equal terms from infancy – now they were excellent friends but more restrained in their intimacy than formerly. The parents of the young man were dead. Robert followed his father's business and was a flourishing corn merchant – Philip was preparing for the Church. Two unmarried aunts lived with them – pleasant, comely women, who were not too old to enjoy and take part in youthful amusements. There was a general impression that sometime Robert Oakley and Maria Selby would become man and wife, but to the amazement of all their friends Robert declared his heart to be Millie's, and asked her mother's consent to their betrothal, and also Mr Dyson's. Both were surprised – considered Millie too young to know her own mind – and after a long consultation together, decided that he must wait a couple of years at least, for Millie to grow more wise and womanly. The girl was hardly seventeen – Robert was two and twenty – a few months older than Maria. When Mr Dyson saw the young man privately he told him that he and his wife had supposed that Maria was the best beloved of the sisters. Robert's reply was, "I have always loved them all as well as if I were their brother, but Millie has been my chosen wife since we made cowslip balls together and she helped me to fish in the stream. Ask Millie if we have not been plighted for years." And sweet Millie, looking in her blushes like a wild rose, repeated the same story. What must be done? It seemed too absurd to make a serious matter of it and sanction a formal engagement. It was settled at length that Millie should pay a visit to her grandmother in the south of England, where she would see more company and get her character matured. She must be left to herself entirely – no letters or visits to be received from Robert. Both demurred and begged that they might correspond. No – not a line must be written on either side until the time of the trial was over. When Millie was taken to her grandmother there lay beneath her white frock bodice an ivory miniature of Robert Oakley, and when he gave it to her at parting he had cut off one of her shining ringlets. As he wound it round his fingers he whispered: "It is my wedding ring – I am thine for ever." Words of loving trust fell from Millie's lips and the light of love shone in her eyes. Both had perfect confidence in the faithfulness of the other. Time passed on – Robert was very much with the Selbys. Mrs Dyson noticed a change in the young man – a restlessness – an avoidance of herself which she could not understand. She said to my mother: "Millie's absence is doing harm to Robert Oakley – I shall ask Mrs Selby to let her return – it is a year and a half since she left us. What sunshine the girl took away with her! She has been greatly missed." The mother longed for her darling more than anyone, and gladly summoned her home. When Millie arrived there was great rejoicing. The Dysons and my mother were there to meet her, but not Robert Oakley – important business prevented him, so he had told her mother – and sweet, beautiful Millie was perfectly satisfied; "Better to have only you tonight, or my joy might be too much for me," – and bright happy tears sprang to her eyes as she spoke, and once more caressed her glad mother. The following evening when the household was quietly settling for the night, the Dysons and my mother were startled by a terrific scream followed by Millie Selby springing into the room, looking in the dimness like a ghost – her long hair was loose and unbound – her eyes wild and staring – clad in nothing but her simple white dressing gown. "My child, what is the matter with you?" exclaimed her guardian, taking her cold clasped hands in his. "Millie dear, do speak," urged his wife, as one convulsive sob followed another from the breast of the agitated girl. It was some time before a word could be heard, and then it was Grace who uttered it. She had followed her sister, and could only say: "Maria and Robert Oakley have been married today, and nobody but themselves knew of it till Maria herself just now told Millie." Mrs Dyson administered sal volatile to Millie, and when calmer she told them how Maria had that night come into her bedroom, and shown her a wedding ring on her finger. "What does it mean?" asked the girl. "Only that I am Robert Oakley's wife," was the cruel answer. "Sister, you jest!" "I do not jest – here is the certificate." Then poor Millie ran shrieking to her mother, and while her mother was questioning Maria, poor Millie rushed out to her guardian and his wife. Mr Dyson went at once to The Lodge to see if he could be of any use to Mrs Selby, and to say that Millie should remain with his wife for the night. He found Mrs Selby indignant and angry – Maria standing by proud and defiant. "Not another night shall you sleep beneath my roof – you false and wicked girl! Go to your husband at once – he is worthy of you." Then seeing Mr Dyson, she broke down and burst into tears. "My Millie! My darling! Where is she?" When assured of her child's safety Mrs Selby still insisted that Maria should go at once. What right or reason was there in her remaining? Millie should not be disturbed by her presence. So this bride, proud and haughty, was obliged to make a most undignified entrance into the home she was entitled to through her clandestine marriage. After that fit of excitement was over Millie grew pale and quiet – she never mentioned her lover's name nor her sister's. Always very sweet and loving, she grew dearer to all her friends. Full of sympathy for those who were in "sorrow, sickness, or any kind of adversity", her life was blessed by many, and a calm patience took the place of her earlier gladness. Robert Oakley wisely took a house many miles away from The Lodge, and Mrs Selby never allowed the delinquents to enter her house, and never paid them a visit. "Maria has made her own choice – slain the ewe lamb – and deserves to suffer." Not even the birth of a grandson softened the mother's heart. I think it was generally agreed that Maria's was the wickedness, Robert's the weakness of guilt. A few years later on Mrs Selby died. Then the question was mooted "must Mr and Mrs Oakley be invited to the funeral?" "Certainly," said Millie. "I will not prevent them." They came, but Millie kept out of their way as much as possible, – a handshake – a commonplace remark – was all she gave them. To her sister she said: "Grace, do as you like – don't consider me – I shall not be hurt by your going to the Oakley's. I shall not go – neither would I like them to come here – but I do not wish you to continue the estrangement." So Grace went again and again – stood godmother for the second son – spoke freely about the children to Millie – and was sure no bitterness lodged in Millie's breast against the offenders: – only she still refused to see them, she could not trust them. Philip Oakley took orders, and the old liking between himself and Grace Selby ripened into love. No objection was raised by anyone, but the marriage was deferred until the young priest got a living. Maria tried to draw Grace more to herself and under her influence, but the girl was most loyal to Millie – nothing could shake her love and confidence there. Livings do not always fall vacant when there is a curate wanting one, and Philip had to wait longer than he liked. This long waiting time gave an old lever of Grace's encouragement to try again to win her, but in vain. Philip's letters grew colder, his manners when they met were more constrained, and Grace, not daring to breathe of her disappointment to a creature, suffered in silence. While hesitating whether to break off the engagement or wait until he confessed that his love was hers no longer, Mr Dyson startled her one day by asking her when the wedding was to be? Grace tried to make light of the subject, but Mr Dyson urged her, as her father's friend and her own, to tell him the truth – what had come between her and Philip to make him look so stern and she so sad? Then Grace eased her heavy heart by speaking of the growing unspoken division between them. She confessed how she loved him still, but doubted his love from his changed conduct towards herself. What did he advise her to do? Mr Dyson lost no time in summoning the curate – he was determined to hear from his own lips the cause of Grace's altered looks. It took a long time to get to the root of the matter. Was Grace true to him? Had she not coquetted again and again with his old rival? Had she not hinted more than once that she was tired of her engagement? Did she not receive him with chilly indifference, and blush when he charged her with it? Mr Dyson wrung from the young man at last that he was willing to lay down his life for the maiden, but it was from her sister Maria's remarks at various times that he had begun to doubt her sincerity. To have his old confidence restored would make earth feel like heaven. It was soon restored, and Mr Dyson gave his hearty consent to their being married as soon as they wished. On her sister's marriage Millie was left alone in her old home, as far as family membership made her so. She was rarely without guests – her life was not empty. To teach the ignorant, cheer the sad, lighten the cares of the poor, help in any good work that presented itself to her notice was sufficient to brighten her lot, and a happy useful "old maid" lived and died Millie Selby. While she was still a comparatively young woman a fever carried off Mr and Mrs Robert Oakley. They had lived but a miserable life together, and to the astonishment of those who knew them their prosperity had been only seeming. The legacy left to their children was quite insufficient to support and educate them. When Millie heard of the orphan boys and their sad condition she offered at once to adopt them and provide for their needs. When Mr Dyson expressed surprise the answer he received was: "The poor children have done me no wrong, Mr Dyson, and I shall never marry. I shall be happy to be of use to them, and I hope we shall love each other dearly."

Chapter X1V: Why Woodhead was Forsaken

My mother had two brothers. The elder, Benjamin, was little at home; I believe he was learning a business with the uncle Anne lived with in London. The younger son, John, had died at the age of twenty two. Only Tabitha and Sarah (my mother) lived with the old people at Woodhead. My grandfather, Joseph Stancliffe, had made his Will, but left it unsigned. He had always enjoyed excellent health, and when he died at the age of seventy two or three he had thirty two sound white teeth. (It is a pity his descendants do not inherit the blessing.) He had been slightly ailing for a day or two, and suddenly grew worse – sent for his lawyer, Mr Rideough, to complete his Will – but even while the lawyer's horse was heard in the yard bringing its master, he breathed his last. When Benjamin was summoned with the rest of the family and the state of affairs explained to him, he said: "I know what my father's Will is and I shall follow it, signed or not." This resolution satisfied all concerned. The Freehold Estate of Woodhead had been in the family for upwards of three hundred years, passing from father to son, generation to generation. The old parchments were there to prove it, and naturally Mrs Stancliffe wished her son to take his father's place, and remain on his estate. When he married she and her daughters would remove. The clergyman, Mr Ralph Younger, had been a frequent visitor at Woodhead, and Mrs Stancliffe approved of her son consulting his Vicar, never dreaming how adverse to her wishes his advice would be. "The law is good," remarked the worldly man, "so if you follow the law you cannot be wrong. It gives you all the Freehold, and you are a fool if you don't take it." Benjamin proved himself "no fool". He administered with his mother to his late father's effects, and claimed all the law gave him. Very soon he left the neighbourhood, but insisted that his mother and sisters should not be disturbed in their home as long as his mother lived. They did not remain very long, for shortly after the father's death there was an insurrectionary rising in that part of the country. An organisation of lawless men calling themselves Luddites (I think their leader was styled "King Lud") infested the woods and made terrible raids up on the farms; they stopped travellers and demanded their money, and one gentleman, Mr Horsfall, was shot by them on his refusing to comply with their wishes, not many miles from Woodhead. The three lonely women were filled with alarm, which was increased when two men on the farm informed them that nineteen of these Luddites had been seen with blackened faces coming out of a wood close by in the darkening twilight. They resolved to leave the place as soon as possible, and not remain through the coming winter. The second daughter, Mary – then Mrs Knowles – lived in Rochdale, and desired them to take a house near to her. And so they did. My mother was twenty two years of age, and I need not tell you how afterwards she married your grandfather, Jonathan Nield, and never lived in Yorkshire again. To his mother's great sorrow, Benjamin Stancliffe sold his inheritance and went to live in America. The last time my mother paid a visit to her dear old home it was so changed she could hardly believe it to be the same. The house had been divided into cottages – the cherry and pear trees removed from its walls – its surroundings altogether changed. "I shall never wish to see it again," she said mournfully. "To see it as it is is worse than not seeing it." When I was about nine or ten years old, I remember my mother being violently agitated on receiving a letter from Philadelphia, USA. There had been silence for many years between Benjamin Stancliffe and his sisters – more than twenty years had passed since the sale of Woodhead. It was a very kind letter full of enquiries – his health was not very good, and his truant heart turned to old family ties and wishes that they could be re-united. He had a wife – an Englishwoman – but no family. How this letter made my mother cry! How her talk became full of old times! How dear was her "brother Benjamin!" How fully all his mistakes and wrongdoings were forgiven! She answered the letter – I am sure affectionately, and looked for another. All she received was an official notice of his death. It may interest you to know that the Luddites in the end were arrested and punished. A great many were hanged at York, (one of the jury was George Haigh, father of 'Russian George'), and the rest dispersed. My mother often got her servants from Yorkshire. I remember one of these becoming unsettled, on hearing of my mother's relationship with the Haighs of Halifax she would not remain with us. Then a reason flashed upon my mother's mind. "Was your father's name Isaac ---?" I forget the surname. The woman blushed, burst into tears, and said it was. This father had been one of the Luddites hanged and his poor daughter could not bear to serve one connected with the jury that condemned him, though she was but a little child when it happened.

Chapter X1V: Why Woodhead was Forsaken

My mother had two brothers. The elder, Benjamin, was little at home; I believe he was learning a business with the uncle Anne lived with in London. The younger son, John, had died at the age of twenty two. Only Tabitha and Sarah (my mother) lived with the old people at Woodhead. My grandfather, Joseph Stancliffe, had made his Will, but left it unsigned. He had always enjoyed excellent health, and when he died at the age of seventy two or three he had thirty two sound white teeth. (It is a pity his descendants do not inherit the blessing.) He had been slightly ailing for a day or two, and suddenly grew worse – sent for his lawyer, Mr Rideough, to complete his Will – but even while the lawyer's horse was heard in the yard bringing its master, he breathed his last. When Benjamin was summoned with the rest of the family and the state of affairs explained to him, he said: "I know what my father's Will is and I shall follow it, signed or not." This resolution satisfied all concerned. The Freehold Estate of Woodhead had been in the family for upwards of three hundred years, passing from father to son, generation to generation. The old parchments were there to prove it, and naturally Mrs Stancliffe wished her son to take his father's place, and remain on his estate. When he married she and her daughters would remove. The clergyman, Mr Ralph Younger, had been a frequent visitor at Woodhead, and Mrs Stancliffe approved of her son consulting his Vicar, never dreaming how adverse to her wishes his advice would be. "The law is good," remarked the worldly man, "so if you follow the law you cannot be wrong. It gives you all the Freehold, and you are a fool if you don't take it." Benjamin proved himself "no fool". He administered with his mother to his late father's effects, and claimed all the law gave him. Very soon he left the neighbourhood, but insisted that his mother and sisters should not be disturbed in their home as long as his mother lived. They did not remain very long, for shortly after the father's death there was an insurrectionary rising in that part of the country. An organisation of lawless men calling themselves Luddites (I think their leader was styled "King Lud") infested the woods and made terrible raids up on the farms; they stopped travellers and demanded their money, and one gentleman, Mr Horsfall, was shot by them on his refusing to comply with their wishes, not many miles from Woodhead. The three lonely women were filled with alarm, which was increased when two men on the farm informed them that nineteen of these Luddites had been seen with blackened faces coming out of a wood close by in the darkening twilight. They resolved to leave the place as soon as possible, and not remain through the coming winter. The second daughter, Mary – then Mrs Knowles – lived in Rochdale, and desired them to take a house near to her. And so they did. My mother was twenty two years of age, and I need not tell you how afterwards she married your grandfather, Jonathan Nield, and never lived in Yorkshire again. To his mother's great sorrow, Benjamin Stancliffe sold his inheritance and went to live in America. The last time my mother paid a visit to her dear old home it was so changed she could hardly believe it to be the same. The house had been divided into cottages – the cherry and pear trees removed from its walls – its surroundings altogether changed. "I shall never wish to see it again," she said mournfully. "To see it as it is is worse than not seeing it." When I was about nine or ten years old, I remember my mother being violently agitated on receiving a letter from Philadelphia, USA. There had been silence for many years between Benjamin Stancliffe and his sisters – more than twenty years had passed since the sale of Woodhead. It was a very kind letter full of enquiries – his health was not very good, and his truant heart turned to old family ties and wishes that they could be re-united. He had a wife – an Englishwoman – but no family. How this letter made my mother cry! How her talk became full of old times! How dear was her "brother Benjamin!" How fully all his mistakes and wrongdoings were forgiven! She answered the letter – I am sure affectionately, and looked for another. All she received was an official notice of his death. It may interest you to know that the Luddites in the end were arrested and punished. A great many were hanged at York, (one of the jury was George Haigh, father of 'Russian George'), and the rest dispersed. My mother often got her servants from Yorkshire. I remember one of these becoming unsettled, on hearing of my mother's relationship with the Haighs of Halifax she would not remain with us. Then a reason flashed upon my mother's mind. "Was your father's name Isaac ---?" I forget the surname. The woman blushed, burst into tears, and said it was. This father had been one of the Luddites hanged and his poor daughter could not bear to serve one connected with the jury that condemned him, though she was but a little child when it happened.

Chapter XV

In 1888 I spent a few weeks at the Hydropathic Establishment, Harrogate, and met many agreeable people there, among them Mrs Murray of Belfast. I liked her very much, and she attached herself to me even more. Many pleasant walks and talks we had together. On the day I left she would not leave me, and asked if I would mind her sitting by me while the Canon and I lunched just before starting. During this meal she said, "Did you not say your name was 'Nield' before you married?" I answered "Yes". "Was your father a lover and buyer of pictures?" "Not especially. I have known him buy them, but not many. My brother had a good collection of paintings." "Did his mother live with him?" "Not after his marriage – she was with my father." As if looking into her memory she said: "It was old Mrs Nield of Rochdale that I heard an artist mention many years ago. He spoke of her with great feeling, and said that if anyone could have made a believer of him she would have done by her true motherliness. She found out that he was poor and offered him gold in such a natural loving manner that he could not resist her gift; but he would only take one sovereign to keep for her sake, and he would have it made into a ring. When I knew him in Naples many years ago he was wearing it, and valued it highly." I quickly said, "It was my mother certainly. I now remember Mr Rainford, the artist, telling me of her kindness and saying her gift should be worn as a ring, but I fancied the motion would pass away without the transformation." "It did not," answered Mrs Murray. "My mother has been dead more than five and twenty years – how very strange that you should tell me this pretty story of her!" "Yes, it is more than twenty years since that meeting in Naples. I saw much of Mr Rainford there – he spoke of Mr Nield having bought one of his pictures – of his visit at Mr Nield's house – and of Mrs Nield's sweet motherliness." "He was a very attractive man," I remarked, "but I have heard nothing of him for many years. I hardly think he succeeded as a great artist." "He did not. He took to growing grapes and had a vintage in Sicily." It was time to say "good-bye", and we parted. The next year we met again, and then I heard a fuller story of the more than friendship that had been once between my friend and the artist. It is strange that an Irish lady should have heard the story in Naples, and after so many years have given it to me. The event had quite gone from my memory, and hearing it from her seemed to bring my kind-hearted mother to my side again. not now". Once more he was allowed to return to London, his money difficulties removed, without the fetters of wedlock, but the next time he became involved he dared not face his father's anger, preferring to write an offer of marriage to Miss Strongitharm. He was accepted, and then once more paid a visit to his own home, to be petted by his sisters and mother, forgiven by his father, congratulated by his neighbours, and I believe, really loved by the girl he so unwillingly wooed. One insistence the father made – that he should sell out of the Guards and settle down to a country gentleman's life. He submitted but suffered, having bartered away his self-esteem. Nor was the father's gratification perfect or enduring. He desired a grandson, but two little girls were born in due time, and while they were still in their infancy their father died.

Chapter XV

In 1888 I spent a few weeks at the Hydropathic Establishment, Harrogate, and met many agreeable people there, among them Mrs Murray of Belfast. I liked her very much, and she attached herself to me even more. Many pleasant walks and talks we had together. On the day I left she would not leave me, and asked if I would mind her sitting by me while the Canon and I lunched just before starting. During this meal she said, "Did you not say your name was 'Nield' before you married?" I answered "Yes". "Was your father a lover and buyer of pictures?" "Not especially. I have known him buy them, but not many. My brother had a good collection of paintings." "Did his mother live with him?" "Not after his marriage – she was with my father." As if looking into her memory she said: "It was old Mrs Nield of Rochdale that I heard an artist mention many years ago. He spoke of her with great feeling, and said that if anyone could have made a believer of him she would have done by her true motherliness. She found out that he was poor and offered him gold in such a natural loving manner that he could not resist her gift; but he would only take one sovereign to keep for her sake, and he would have it made into a ring. When I knew him in Naples many years ago he was wearing it, and valued it highly." I quickly said, "It was my mother certainly. I now remember Mr Rainford, the artist, telling me of her kindness and saying her gift should be worn as a ring, but I fancied the motion would pass away without the transformation." "It did not," answered Mrs Murray. "My mother has been dead more than five and twenty years – how very strange that you should tell me this pretty story of her!" "Yes, it is more than twenty years since that meeting in Naples. I saw much of Mr Rainford there – he spoke of Mr Nield having bought one of his pictures – of his visit at Mr Nield's house – and of Mrs Nield's sweet motherliness." "He was a very attractive man," I remarked, "but I have heard nothing of him for many years. I hardly think he succeeded as a great artist." "He did not. He took to growing grapes and had a vintage in Sicily." It was time to say "good-bye", and we parted. The next year we met again, and then I heard a fuller story of the more than friendship that had been once between my friend and the artist. It is strange that an Irish lady should have heard the story in Naples, and after so many years have given it to me. The event had quite gone from my memory, and hearing it from her seemed to bring my kind-hearted mother to my side again.




© Malcolm Bull 2019
Revised 15:09 /21st September 2019 / x405 / 164424

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