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I might do for Kitty, and for myself.” his way towards the still struggling
Another fluttering sigh-a pensive rolling upwards of the golden eyes. "Now then," he cried again, seizing
“We lead rather miserable lives for her molester by the shoulder, “what's such young girls, you know, Mr. this?" Hardy.”
It was too dark for him to distin"I suppose so," said Stephen, consid- guish the woman's face, but there was cring her gravely.
something familiar to him in the outHis horse, which remembered it was lines of her figure She freed herself a hunting morning if he did not, gave now from the relaxed grasp of her an impatient little spring and recalled startled tormentor, and, turning away, bis mind to the business in hand.
dashed her hand across her eyes. "Well, I must get on, I suppose," he "He-he insulted I," she said, with remarked. "I'm rather late already, a sob. and the meet is a good way off."
“What! Sheba!” exclaimed Stephen; “Lucky you," said Bess. “What a tben tightening his grip on the prisoner, glorious thing it must be to have a he shook him until he cried out for good gallop on such a day as this! mercy. Kitty and I used to ride once-but The other
men crowded round. that belongs to the past, like every “Nay, Sir, 'twas but a bit of a jest. other nice thing."
Sheba Baverstock be so stand-off-like, Stephen raised his hat rather awk- she do fair tempt the bwoys to carry wardly and jogged on down the lane. on wi' nonsense!"
He was riding slowly homewards “I'll not let nobody touch me," said through the gathering dusk, after a the woman, or rather the girl, for the capital day's sport, when, on passing voice, broken though it was, sounded a turnip-field belonging to a neighbor
clear and young. ing farmer, of which a small portion “ 'Twas but a bit o' horseplay," urged was being hurdled off for sheep, he one of the defenders, “no harm meant. was startled by the sound of a The bwoy was but for snatchin' a man's voice crying out in terror or in kiss." anger. Raising himself in his stir- “E-es," she cried, flashing round rups he looked over the hedge, and saw upon him, “jist because I've got noa little group of figures gathered to- body to stand up for me you think you gether in a corner of this field; in the can take liberties—a lot o' cowards midst was a woman struggling with a that ye be!" tall man, whose loud guffaw of Stephen's left hand still grasped the laughter was echoed by his compan
bridle of his horse, and he now turned ions. The group was standing by an to the last speaker. open gate near which was a cart, half "Lead my horse on to the road," he full of hurdles.
said, “and hold him for me. I'll take "Now then, now then, what's all this business in hand. I'll show you, this?" shouted Stephen, as, putting his you folks here, that it isn't safe to inhorse to a trot, he hastened towards the sult a woman, however lonely she may spot.
be." The party in the field were too much The girl, without a word, caught hold occupied with the jest in hand to pay of the rein and led away the horse. any attention to him, but in another When she had passed through the gate moment he was in the midst of them, Hardy turned to her aggressor. and, springing from his horse, pushed "Now then,” he said, "you may either
stand up to me like a man, or may the reins, but Stephen barred her progmake up your mind to take a proper ress for yet another moment. good thrashing."
"I wish you'd let me help you," he It is to be presumed that the youth said earnestly. "For the sake of old was either somewhat dazed by the sud- times you might do it, though you are denness of the onslaught, or was not so proud." prepared to show fight to so powerful " 'Tis along o'wold times that I a magnate as Stephen Hardy. In won't,” she returned. "Nay, Stephen, either case he took his drubbing meekly I can get along right enough if folks enough, his companions standing round, 'ull leave me alone, an' I reckon they'll sheepish and impressed.
do that now you've given that chap a Having released his victim at length lesson." and upbraided the group generally in a "This old horse of yours," persisted few scathing words, Stephen rejoined Stephen, as though he had not heard the girl, who was walking up and her, “he'll scarce keep on his legs much down the road
with her head longer. Now if you'll accept the one bent and her bosom still heaving I offered ye-a good beast with many with sobs.
a day's work left in him yet, though his "Sheba,” he said, coming alongside wind's damaged-you might start a and taking possession of the bridle, proper tranting business. I'd be glad, "Sheba, why will you lay yourself open too, to find a home for poor Duke. to such treatment? How often must I He's no good to me, and I don't like ask you that?”
to destroy him; so the kindness would "You do know as well as I do," re- be as much on your side as mine." turned she; “I've got to work to keep "No, Stephen,” she returned, "I myself, and father too."
won't take nothin' from ye-nothin'. "Then why not do proper woman's Not your horse, nor yet your money. I work? I told you we could find you took help of another kind from ye toplenty to do any day in the dairy at day, and thank ye for it, but your our place. You could go home as often charity I don't want, and I won't as you liked to see to your father." have!"
"Nay, I'll never do that,” she re- Stephen stepped back, and, answerturned vehemently, “never! You and ing to a jerk of the reins, Sheba's horse, me was equals once-I'll not be your which seemed indeed to be very old servant now, nor your mother's nei- and feeble, shambled slowly away. ther."
When the cart disappeared from sight “What were you doing in the field Stephen mounted his own horse and yonder?” asked Stephen after
rode homewards. He sighed to himself troubled pause.
as he proceeded on his way, and his "Oh, I did bring up a load of hur- thoughts for some few moments busied dles there; they be fetchin' back my themselves with the recent encounter. cart now, looksee."
Presently, however, they wandered One of the men was indeed approach- away to another point, and he recalled ing with a horse and cart. He deliv- once more certain words which had ered the reins to Sheba, with an obse- been dropped down to him over the quious air, and stood back, staring at high wall that morning. her and the farmer.
“We lead rather miserable lives. ... “That'll do," said the latter sharply. Lucky you. . . . Kitty and I used to
As the man turned away, Sheba ride once but that belongs to the past, climbed into the cart and gathered up like every other nice thing."
Well, this at least was a state of af- "I'd 'low ye bain't so very well tofairs that could be remedied.
day, be you, missy? There, you're He found on reaching home that his scarce spoke a word since ye did come stepmother was not in the parlor, and, in, though Miss Bess here can make being ready for his tea, he made his her little tongue wag a bit.” way to the big kitchen, where he found “Ah," said Bess, glancing up innoher in company with his tenants of the cently from beneath her sunbonnet, Little Farm. Bess, wearing a business. “that's the worst of me-I'm such a like white apron and sun-bonnet chatterbox—I know I am. You see, poised with bewitching effect upon her when I get with kind people like you curls, with sleeves rolled up on two I can't help feeling light-hearted again. plump arms, always white, and now It's such a contrast to our dreadful siwhiter than ever with flour, seemed lent house down there. Everything's busily at work. In a corner by the so cheerful in this place, I can't help fire sat Kitty, pensively gazing into the feeling cheerful too." glowing coals.
"Well, my dear, an' I'm sure 'tis "I've got company, ye see, Stephen," right you should feel cheerful at your cried Rebecca joyfully.
age. 'Twould be downright onnat'ral "Not company," said Bess, raising if you didn't. There, sure it do her eyes demurely from the dough she my heart good to hear ye. I could was diligently kneading, “help."
wish to see sister a bit more lively"To be sure, to be sure,” laughed Re- like too. I'm sorry
to hear you do becca. "I'm havin' help, Stephen, my feel it so lonesome at the Little Farm. dear. Miss Bess, here, she be come to It must be a sad change to what you're give I a hand wi' the bread, and to- used to of course-sure it must morrow I be a-goin' to learn her to be." skim cream."
Stephen's face softened, and he came "I'm tired of leading an empty life,” a step or two forward into the room. explained Bess; “I've made up my mind "You were saying this morning that to be useful."
you'd like to ride again,” he said to Stephen stood for a moment flicking Bess. “That pony of mine that goes at his splashed boot with his hunting- with one of the milk-carts would carry crop; there was a smile upon his face, you nicely. He's pretty-shaped, which, however, presently vanished as clean-legged little beast if you come to he glanced at Kitty. The latter had look at him, and the mare I ride about not spoken, nor, after the first nod of the place would suit Miss Leslie very greeting, moved.
well, I think, if she was willing to try "You have no taste for such work, her." I see, Miss Leslie," he said.
Kitty half rose from her chair; her The harshness so often noticeable in cheeks were flaming, her lips parted, his tone when he spoke to her was very but, before the words which she had perceptible now. This dainty lady was begun to stammer could convey their evidently too proud even to emulate meaning, Bess struck in with shrill and her sister's playful pretence. Kitty decided tones. looked up with that mixture of appeal "Thank you so much, Mr. Hardyand resentment with which she had thank you a thousand times! It will once before responded to a similar in- be lovely—too delightful for words! dictment; but made no reply.
We accept with rapture!" Mrs. Hardy hastened to take up the “Bess," interposed Kitty, raising her cudgels on her behalf.
voice in turn, “I don't see how we can.
We have not ridden since we were chil- before daylight in fact, he observed dren, and our habits”.
the pair crossing the yard towards the "I tell you I will go, Kitty," cried milk-house, Bess skipping along in Bess, stamping her foot. "A fig for front and Kitty following more slowly. habits! I'll go if I have to wear Lou- "What do the young ladies want at isa's Sunday gown. We'll certainly this time of the morning?” he inquired, go, Mr. Hardy."
rising from the table where he had just "Of course, if Miss Leslie objects" finished breakfast. said Stephen.
"Dear, to be sure,” responded Re"Let her object as much as she likes,” becca, "I'd clean forgotten I'd promexclaimed Bess, rebelliously.
ised to teach the little one how to make ing to ride, Mr. Hardy."
up the butter. I did tell the maids "If Bess rides I will ride too,” said to keep a bit back on purpose for her. Kitty. “Where you go I go, Bess," she I did think 'twould be a pity to drag added, turning upon her sister with a her out of her bed any earlier." sternness which she had never hitherto "Is Miss Leslie going to learn to make shown before the Hardys.
butter, too?" inquired Stephen. "Well, well, the more the merrier," "I fancy not. She do seem to ha' said Rebecca, gazing from one to the got summat on her mind, poor dear. other with a mystified air. "I'm sure There she do scarce open her lips, but ye needn't trouble much about habits, she do follow sister about same as a miss; there'll be no one to see you but dog mid do. Well, it mid seem a funny the crows. I wouldn't go out on the thing to you, Stephen, but for all she be road for a bit till ye get more used so stand-off by times, I do seem to have to ridin'; any old skirt 'ull do then." more of a likin' for she nor what I
“There's a saddle here which be- do feel for the little 'un." longed to my mother," said Stephen; "I Stephen made no answer, and his will hunt it up, and I can borrow an- stepmother glanced round at him. other."
"She be too stuck-up for your taste, “Thauk you very much,” said Kitty, I d' 'low." constrainedly; "it is very good of you "She is nothing to me one way or anto take so much trouble."
other," returned Stephen, and he went “And you'll come with us, won't you, out, banging the door behind him. Mr. Hardy?” said Bess. “You'll come Mrs. Hardy uttered an ejaculation of just to see we don't fall off or any surprise, for Stephen seldom showed thing."
temper, and the occasion did not seem "It might be safer at first,” responded to her to call for it. But presently, the farmer. "I'll try and get every
like the philosophical woman she was, thing ready for three o'clock to-morrow she joined the sisters in the dairy with-I shan't be busy then.”
out further troubling herself about the But he was destined to see the sis- matter. ters before the stated hour. Quite early, The Times.
i (To be continued.)
FROM A POOR MAN'S HOUSE.
poor man's: it is more arranged, and in Chillinessan emotional and social many ways "better done," and it is chilliness that can with difficulty be chillier precisely because, for smooth defined or nailed down to any cause running, the warmer human impulses, is, above and below all, what one feels both good and bad, must be repressed. in returning from a poor man's house "Something with a little love and a into middle-class surroundings. It is little murder" was what the untaught not unlike that chill with which certain old woman wanted to learn to read. It forms of metropolitan hospitality strike is what we all want in our hearts, a countryman. He meets a London much more than smooth running and friend, a former fellow-townsman, per- impenetrable uniform politeness. haps, who has migrated to London and Down at Seacoinbe we whom he has not seen for a year or hands, so to speak, at the fire of life; two. “Glad to see you,” says the Lon- hunger lurks outside, and the fire is doner. “You must call on my wife be- dusty and needs looking after; but it fore you go back. Her day is Wednes- glows, and we sit together round it. day.” Or, “You must come to dinner Here, in Salisbury, throughout the soone evening. When you free?cial house, we have an installation of Next Tuesday? or Friday?" If the hot-water pipes; they may be hygienic hospitality had begun forthwith, and (which is doubtful), and they are little the countryman had been haled off, trouble to keep going; but they don't country fashion, to the very next pot- glow. Give me the warmth that glows, luck meal, he would have had a pleas- and let me get near the heart of it. ant adventure. It would have been Voices are often raised in Under like old times. The old glow of Town and quarrels are not infrequent, friendship would have more than re- but the underlying affections are selvived. But the calculated invitation dom doubted, and when they do rise for a future date, the idea that the to the surface, there they are, visible, countryman will like to call for a unashamed. "Each for himself, and twenty minutes' chat on generalities devil take the hindmost” is more adand a couple of cups of bad afternoon wired in theory than followed in practea.
Though he may under- tice. “Each for himself and the Alstand that the multiplicity of engage- mighty for us all” is Tony's way of ments in London renders this sort of putting it. The difference lies there. thing convenient, he none the less feels My acquaintances here are well off a chill when it is applied to himself, for the necessities of life. No one is and usually cares little whether he go likely to starve next week. Nevertheor not. He becomes conscious of the less they are full of worry, and by redesire to save trouble, which is at the straining their expressions of worry so bottom of such calculations. Had the as not to become intolerable to the other Londoner revisited the country he worriers, they do but make themselves would have found old friends ready to the more lonely and increase their upset all their arrangements for the panic of mind. They are afraid of life. sake of entertaining him. The London At Seacombe, though there was not hospitality is the "better done,” but a fortnight's money in the house, we country hospitality is warmer. Mid- lived merrily on what we had. In dle-class life runs smoother than the Tony's "Summut'll sure to turn up if