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we rich people so very sorely exercised in selfdenial that, living in a country where food is the one scarce thing, we must forbid the half-starved labourer to touch the tempting flesh and fowl that spring from beneath his feet, as he walks where no eyes see him 7–flesh and fowl which he regards as common property, because they are by mature wild? Be the labourer right or wrong in his notion, as long as his want and his motion co-exist, I will surrender to the weakness of his condition what I am not at all sure that I should deny to the strength of his arguments. No man shall in my time go to gaol for offences against the Fellbrow game. Maynard may teach Mrs. Barton to set springes if he pleases; and Swallow may carry away his dozen hares in broad day, instead of at night. If George comes out no worse a boy than he went in, his pretty sisters shall hold him at his post in the office for me. We must think of some way of keeping Morse's heart from breaking. That is the thing most to be dreaded. He cares more for the pheasants than for poor Alick, I believe.” s ... “Those game-duties must be given up, if every gentleman followed your example. But, to be sure, there are more important things involved in the question than the game-duties.” “Taxes on luxury are excellent things, when that part which is paid in money is all. But when reputation, innocence, the comfort of some entire families, and the actual subsistence of others, are the tax paid for one factitious luxury enjoyed by those who revel in luxuries, the cost is too great. James says that one of our neighbours will be transported; that he has evidence of something worse than the mere poaching. For my part, I conclude that most of those concerned will be either transported or hanged, sooner or later. Such is the common issue of poaching.” “One would think some man-hater had ingeniously planned this method by which to slide from mere carelessness or frolic into crime, Here is just the intermediate step between honesty and dishonesty, without which many an one would never have transgressed. Here is a property which is so peculiar as not to be considered a property, by those who are tempted to take it. Punish them as for taking property, and they become wilful thieves, and all is over. But who is the one neighbour James means ?” “ . “You will be surprised to learn; but it is a secret at present. Now, shall we walk?” “As soon as Mrs. Barton is gone from before the door. I think she will never have done talking to Maynard.” “Not till you go down. She is waiting to speak to you, and you may as well take it graciously.” “O, but I bought some lavender water of her only yesterday.” “Never mind! I dare say she has something new to say to you to-day about Church and King.”

CHAPTER VII.
LOUNGING AND LISTENING.

“INEveR said anything so decidedly to you before, James, but you must stay,” said Richard to his brother, the clergyman, who was lounging from window to window of the library. “Such a place to keep one shut up in, in the midst of winter l’” muttered James. “It is enough to make one melancholy to look at that black frozen water under the rocks, and all the trees within sight loaded with snow, and not a twig stirring to shake off so much as a flake. 'Tis so desolate when one compares it with London, I declare my spirits won’t stand it.” “One week cannot make much difference. It was all your doing that any stir was made about these poachers at all, and you must stay a few days longer to carry the matter through. What difference can one week make 7” “All the difference in the world. The journey up to town with the Lees signifies more than any thing I shall meet with when I get there. The happiness of my whole life may depend on those three days of travelling 22 “How little you know of yourself, James,” said his sister, “if you think that anything that can happen in three days can make you happy l’” “You can make me preciously unhappy, I know, if you keep me three days longer in this miserable place. Why, 'tis a place only fit for a hermit to live in, in winter.”

And he glanced at a green stain which was still conspicuous on the ceiling. It was convenient to overlook the thick new carpet, the roaring fire, and the ample provision of books, whose arrangement had been just completed under his own eye. “It is very strange if you cannot transport a man without my help. I am sure I wish Taplin had gone on thumbing his Ready Reckoner for many a night to come before I had meddled with him. It will end in my being full as much punished as he, or any of his gang.” “Thumbing his what ?” asked Fanny of Richard. “The Ready Reckoner. Taplin has been the head of the poaching gang. It has been organized by him, made into a kind of club, sworn to co-operate. Taplin administered the oath; and his excuse is, that the men were sworn, mot on a Testament, but on the Ready Reckoner. We have evidence enough to transport Taplin. It was James that obtained it; (you had better ask him how;) and now he wants to be off to London, at the critical moment, (you had better ask him why,) and leave me to manage the matter in which I have never stirred, except in as far as I was forced by him.” “I know the how and the why,” observed Fanny, gravely. “The greatest wonder of all is to hear him talk of the happiness of his future life, with such a how and why lying on his conscience.” “Now, you just show, at this moment, the folly of meddling in other people's affairs, and Preaching about other people's consciences,” said

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James, turning round from the window. “I can
tell you that Sarah Swallow is going to be mar-
ried. I know it for fact; for her intended told
me of it himself. Indeed, he asked me to marry
them. What do you think of this, Fanny ?”
“I think just as I did before. If Sarah proved
herself as light-minded and fickle as yourself—
if she so injured and betrayed the interests of her
sex,−how does that excuse your treachery to—”
“Now, if you say another word about the
sanctity of the church, and the dignity of the
clerical character, and all that, I will never set
foot in my living again to the end of my days.”,
“I was not going to make any appeal to you
which I know to be so useless. The clerical
character has no dignity in your keeping; and
you take care that the church shall have no
sanctity in the eyes of your people.”
“That is not my fault.”
“I know it. You can mo more be a clergy-
man than you can be a musician or a sculptor.
Your misfortune and that of your people is that
you are called a clergyman.”
“Ah! I saw two old women dreadfully scan-
dalized, the last time I came from the hunt.
They thought I was over the ears in a pitcher of
ale; but I heard them say, ‘There's our parson,
with not a thread of black on him but his neck-
cloth.’”
“The sin of the case lies with the church that
makes a point of a black coat while she tempts
in—”
“Black hearts?”
“Hearts that must needs come out black from

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