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many others to fight with—most of them, of “Mother!” said John Tomkins, mustering up course, of her own seeking. What she would his courage, “ I think I was one and twenty have done without a grievance, it is difficult last Saturday.” to guess; but she had so great a genius for “ And what of that?" replied Deborah, putmaking one out of every thing and every per- ting on her stormiest face; “I'm mistress son connected with her, that she was never at here, and mistress I'll continue : your father, a loss in that particular. Her stepmother she poor simpleton that he was, was not fool had always regarded as a natural enemy; and enough to leave his house and business to an at her father's death, little as she, generally ignorant boy. The stock and trade are mine, speaking, coveted money, she contrived to sir, and shall be mine, in spite of all the unquarrel with her whole family on the division dutiful sons in Christendom. One and twenof his property, chiefly on the score of an old ty, forsooth! What put that in your head, I japanned chest of drawers, not worth ten shil. wonder? What do you mean by talking of lings, which her brothers and sisters were too one and twenty, sirrah ?" much of her own temper to relinquish.
"Only, mother," replied John, meekly, Then her son, on whom she doted with a “ that, though father left you the house and peevish, grumbling, fretful, discontented fond- business, he left me three thousand pounds, ness that always took the turn of finding fault, which, by your prudent management, are now was, as she used reproachfully to tell him, seven thousand; and uncle William Ford, he just like his father. The poor child, do what left me the new Warren Farm; and so, mohe would, could never please her. If he were ther, I was thinking, with your good will, to well, she scolded ; if he were sick, she scold- marry and settle." ed; if he were silent, she scolded ; if he “Marry !” exclaimed Mrs. Tomkins, too talked, she scolded. She scolded if he angry even to scold—“ marry!" and she laid laughed, and she scolded if he cried.
down her knife and fork, as if choking. Then the people about her were grievances, “ Yes, mother!" rejoined John, taking of course, from Mr. Pierre Leblanc downward. courage from his mother's unexpected quietShe turned off her porter for apprehending a ness, “ Rachel May's pretty grand-daughter swindler, and gave away her yard-dog for Rebecca; she is but half a Quaker, you know, barking away some thieves. There was no for her mother was a Churchwoman: and so, foreseeing what would displease her. She with your good leave" and smack went all caused a beggar to be taken up for insulting that remained of the ducks in poor John's her, because he, with his customary cant, face; an effort of nature that probably saved blessed her good-humoured face; and she Deborah's life, and enabled her to give vent complained to the mayor of the fine fellow to an oration to which I have no power to do Punch for the converse reason, because he justice; but of which the non-effect was so stopped before her windows and mimicked decided, that John and his pretty Quakeress her at her own door.
were married within a fortnight, and are now Then she met with a few calamities of happily settled at the new Warren House ; which her temper was more remotely the whilst Mrs. Tomkins, having hired a goodcause ;- such as being dismissed from the humoured, good-looking, strapping Irishman dissenting congregation that she frequented, of three and twenty, as her new foreman, is for making an over-free use of the privilege said to have it in contemplation, by way, as which pious ladies sometimes assume of quar- she says, of punishing her son, to make him, relling with their acquaintance on spiritual the aforesaid Irish foreman, successor to Sigrounds, and venting all manner of angry mon Tomkins, as well as to Pierre Leblanc, anathema for the love of God; an affront that and is actually reported, (though the fact drove her to church the very next Sunday. seems incredible,) to have become so amiable Also, she got turned off by her political party, under the influence of the tender passion, as in the heat of a contested election, for insult to have passed three days without scolding ing friends and foes in the bitterness of her any body in the house or out. The little God zeal, and thereby endangering the return of of Love is, to be sure, a powerful deity, esher favourite candidate. A provincial poet, pecially when he comes somewhat out of seawhose works she had abused, wrote a song in son; but this transition of character does seem her dispraise ; and three attorneys brought to me too violent a change even for a romance, actions against her for defamation.
much more for this true history; and I hold it These calamities notwithstanding, Debo- no lack of charity to continue doubtful of Derah's life might, for one and twenty years, be borah's reformation till after the honey-moon. accounted tolerably prosperous. At the end of that time, two misfortunes befell her nearly
Note. at once, - Pierre Leblanc died, and her son attained his majority.
MADAME PERNELLE, ELMIRE, MARIANNE, " Mother!" said the young man, as they
CLEANTE, DAMIS, DORINE, FLIPOTE. were dining together off a couple of ducks two days after the old shopman's funeral ; | Allons, Flipote, allons; que d'eux je me délivre.
Vouz marchez d'un tel pas qu'on a peine à vous suivre. S'il le faut écouter et croire à ses maximes,
On ne peut faire rien qu'on ne fasse des crimes :
Car il contrôle tout, ce critique zélé.
Et tout ce qu'il contrôle est fort bien contrôlé.
MADAME PERNELLE, a Elmire.
Voilà les contes bleus qu'il vous faut pour vous C'est que je ne puis voir tout ce ménage-ci,
plaire, Et que de me complaire on ne prend nul souci.
Ma bru. L'on est chez vous contrainte de se taire : Oui, je sors de chez vous fort mal édifiée;
Car madame, à jaser, tient le dé tout le jour. Dans toutes mes lecons j'y suis contrariée;
Mais enfin je prétends discourir à mon lour: On n'y respecte rien, chacun y parle haut.
Je vous dis que mon fils n'a rien fait de plus sage
Qu'en recueillant chez soi ce dérot personnage; Et c'est tout justement la cour du roi Pétaud.
Que le ciel, au besoin, l'a céans envoyé
Pour redresser à tous votre esprit fourvoyé;
Que, pour votre salut, vous le devez entendre;
Et qu'il ne reprend rien qui ne soit à reprendre.
Ces visites, ces bals, ces conversations,
Sont du malin esprit toutes inventions.
Ce sont propos oisifs, chansons et fariboles :
Bien souvent le prochain en a sa bonne part,
Et l'on y sait médire et du tiers et du quart.
Enfin les gens sensés ont leurs tétes troublées
De la confusion de telles assemblées :
C'est véritablement la tour de Babylone,
Et, pour conter l'histoire où ce point l'engagea ...
Voilà-t-il pas monsieur qui ricane déjà.
Allons, vous, vous rêvez, et bayez aux corneilles. Mais, ma mère ...
Jour de Dieu ! je saurai vous frotter les oreilles.
Marchons, gaupe, marchons.
TARTUFE-ACTE I., SCENE I.
THE YOUNG MARKET-WOMAN. Ma bru, n'a pas besoin de tant d'ajustement. CLEANTE.
Belford is so populous a place, and the Mais, madame, après tout ...
country round so thickly inhabited, that the MADAME PERNELLE.
Saturday's market is almost as well attended Pour vous, monsieur son frère, Je vous estime fort, vous aime, et vous révère ;
as an ordinary fair. So early as three or four
o'clock in the morning, the heavy wagons Mais enfin, si j'étais de mon fils, son époux, Je vous prierais bien fort de n'entrer point chez nous. (one with a capital set of bells) begin to pass Sans cesse vous préchez des maximes de vivre our house, and increase in number—to say Qui par d'honnêtes gens ne se doivent point suivre. nothing of the admixture of other vehicles, Je vous parle un peu franc; mais c'est là mon humeur, from the humble donkey-cart to the smart gig, Et je ne mâche point ce que j'ai sur le cæur.
and hosts of horsemen and foot-people-untill DAMIS.
nine or ten, when there is some pause in the Votre monsieur Tartufe est bien heureux, sans doute. affluence of market folk till about one, when MADAME PERNELLE.
the lightened wains, laden, not with corn, but C'est un homme de bien, qu'il faut que l'on écoute; with rosy-cheeked country lasses, begin to Et je ne puis souffrir, sans me mettre en courroux,
show signs of travelling homeward, and conDe le voir quereller par un fou comme vous.
tinue passing at no very distant intervals until DAMIS. Quoi! je souffrirai, moi, qu'un cagot de critique
twilight. There is more traffic on our road Vienne usurper céans un pouvoir tyrannique;
in one single Saturday than on all the other Et que nous ne puissions à rien nous divertir, days of the week put together. And if we Si ce beau monsieur-là n'y daighe consentir? feel the stirring movement of “market-day”
so strongly in the country,* it may be ima- 1 here and there an urchin of the more careful gined how much it must enliven the town. sort would bring his basket of tame rabbits,
Saturday at noon is indeed the very time to or wood-pigeons, or young ferrets, or squeaksee Belford, which in general has the fault, ing guinea-pigs, or a nest of downy owls or not uncommon in provincial towns, of want- gaping jackdaws, or cages of linnets and ing bustle. The old market-place, always thrushes, to tempt the townsfolk. Nay, in picturesque from its shape (an unequal trian- the season, some thoughtful little maid of gle), its size, the diversified outline and irreg- eight or ten would bring nosegays of early ular architecture of the houses, and the beau- primroses or sweet violets, or wall-flowers, or tiful Gothic church by which it is terminated, stocks, to add a few pence to the family store. is then all alive with the busy hum of traffic, A pleasant sight was the Butter-market, the agricultural wealth and the agricultural with its comely country wives, its modest population of the district. From the poor lasses and neat children,-pleasant and cheerfarmer with his load of corn, up to the rich ful, in spite of the din of so many women, mealman and the great proprietor, all the buyers and sellers, all talking together, and “ landed interest" is there, mixed with jobbers the noise of turkeys, geese, ducks, chickens, and chapmen of every description, cattle and guinea-pigs;—but the pleasantest sight dealers, millers, brewers, maltsters, justices there was a young damsel famous for eggs going to the Bench, constables and overseers and poultry, and modest beauty, known by following to be sworn, carriers, carters, errand- the name of "pretty Bessy,”—but not a reguboys, tradesmen, shopmen, apprentices, gen- !ar attendant of the market, her goods being tlemen's servants, and gentlemen in their own in such request that she seldom bad occasion persons, mixed with all the riff-raff of the to come so far, the families round, ourselves town, and all the sturdy beggars of the coun- among the rest, dealing constantly with her. try, and all the noisy urchins of both.
We are persons of great regularity in our Noise indeed is the prime characteristic of small affairs of every class, from the petty the Belford market-day-noise of every sort, dealings of housekeeping to the larger comfrom the heavy rumbling of so many loaded merce of acquaintanceship. The friends who wagons over the paved market-place, to the have once planted us by their fireside, and crash of the crockery-ware in the narrow pas- made us feel as if at home there, can no more sage of Princes' Street, as the stall is knocked get rid of our occasional presence, than they down by the impetus of a cart full of turnips, could root out that other tenacious vegetable, or the squall of the passengers of the South- the Jerusalem artichoke ; even if they were ern caravan, upset by the irresistible momen- to pull us up by the stalk and toss us over tum of the Hadley-mill team.
the wall (an experiment by the way, which, But the noisiest, and perhaps the prettiest to do them justice, they have never tried,) I places, were the Piazza at the end of Saint do verily believe, that in the course of a few Nicholas's church, appropriated by long usage months we should spring up again in the very to the female venders of fruit and vegetables, saine place: and our tradespeople, trifling as where certain old women, as well known to is the advantage to be derived from our custhe habitués of the market as the church-tow- tom, may yet reckon upon it with equal cerer, were wont to flyte at each other, and at tainty. They are, as it happens, civil, honest, their customers, with the genius for vitupera- and respectable, the first people in their line tion for which ladies of their profession have in the pod town of Belford ; but, were they | long been celebrated; and a detached spot otherwise, the circumstance would hardly called the Butter-market, at the back of the affect our invincible constancy. The world is Market-place proper, where the more respecto divided between the two great empires of able basket-women, the daughters and wives habit and novelty ; the young following pretty of farmers, and the better order of the female generally in the train of the new-fangled sovepeasantry, used to bring eggs, butter, and reign, whilst we of an elder generation adhere poultry for sale on Wednesdays and Satur- wiih similar fidelity to the ancien régime. I, days.
especially, am the very bond-slave of habitA pretty and a diversified place was the love old friends, old faces, old books, old sceButter-market; for besides the commodities, nery, old flowers, old associations of every dead and alive, brought by the honest coun sori and kind—nay, although a woman, and trywomen, a few stalls were set out with not averse to that degree of decoration straw hats, and caps and ribbons, and other which belongs to the suitable and the becomfeminine gear, to tempt them in return; and ing, I even love old fashions and old clothes;
and can so little comprehend why we should * My dog Dash, who regularly attends his master tire of a thing because we have had it long, to the Bench, where he is ihe only dog admitted, and that, a favourite pelisse having become shaba great pel, knows Saturday as well as I do; follows by, I this very day procured with some diffithat he comes down stairs; and would probably break culty silk of ihe exact colour and shade, and, through the door or jump through a closed window, having ordered it to be made in direct conrather than sutler the pliaeton to set off without him. I formity with the old pattern, shall have the
satisfaction next Sunday of donning a new the want of an additional mat for my greendress, which my neighbours, the shoemaker's house, towards the end of last April, induced wife and the baker's daughters, who have in me to make inquiry concerning his habitation. their heads an absolute inventory of my appa I had no difficulty in obtaining a direction rel, will infallibly mistake for the old one. to his dwelling; and found that, for a poor
After this striking instance, the courteous old matmaker, Matthew was a person of more reader will have no difficulty in comprehend- consideration and note in our little world than ing that the same " auld-lang-syne" feeling, I could have expected, being, in a word, one which leads me to think no violets so fragrant of the honestest, soberest, and most iodustrias those which grow on a certain sunny bank ous men in the neighbourhood. in Kibes Lane, and no cherries so sweet as He lived, I found, in Barkham Dingle, a those from the great mayduke, on the south deep woodland dell, communicating with a wall of our old garden, should also induce me large tract of unenclosed moors, and commons to prefer before all oranges those which come in the next parish, convenient doubtless to from Mrs. Hollis's shop, at the corner of the Matthew, as affording the rushes of which his churchyard—a shop which we have frequented mats were constructed, as well as heath for ever since I knew what an orange was; and, brooms, of which he was said to have lately for the same reason, to rank before all the bis-established a manufacture, and which were cuits which ever were invented, a certain most almost equally celebrated for durability and seducing, thin, and crisp composition, as light excellence with the articles that he had made as foam and as tasteless as spring-water, the for so many years. In Barkham Dingle lived handiwork of Mrs. Purdy, of the Market- old Matthew, with a grand-daughter, who place in the good town of Belford; as well was, I found, also renowned for industry and as to place above all other poultry that which good-humour; and, one fine afternoon towards cackles in the baskets of " pretty Bessy." the end of April, I set forth in my little ponyThe oranges and biscuits are good in them- phaeton, driven by that model of all youthful selves, and so are the ducks and chickens; serving-men, our boy John, to make my purbut some of their superiority is undoubtedly chase. to be ascribed to the partiality generated by Our road lay through a labyrinth of crosshabit.
country lanes, intermingled with tiny patches Another of the persons with whom we had of village greens, where every here and there in our small way dealt longest, and whom we a score or two of sheep, the small flock of liked best, was old Matthew, the matseller. some petty farmer, were nestled with their | As surely as February came, would Matthew young lambs among the golden gorse and the present his bent person and withered though feathery broom, and which started up, bleatstill ruddy face at our door, with the three | ing, at the sound of our wheels and the sight rush mats which he knew that our cottage of Dash (far too well-bred a dog to dream of required; and as surely did he receive fifteen molesting them), as if our peaceful procession shillings, lawful money of Great Britain, in had really been something to be frightened at. return for his commodity, notwithstanding an Rooks were wheeling above our heads, woodoccasional remonstrance from some flippant pigeons flying across the fields; the shrill cry housemaid or domineering cook, who would of the plover mixed with the sweet song of endeavour to send him off with an assurance the nightingale and the monotonous call of that his price was double that usually given, the cuckoo; whilst every hedge echoed with and that no mat ever made with rushes was the thousand notes of the blackbird, the linor could be worth five shillings. “ His honour net, the thrush, and “all the finches of the always deals with me," was Matthew's mild grove.” Geese and ducks, with their train response, and an appeal to the parlour never of callow younglings, were dabbling in every failed to settle matters to his entire satisfac- pool ; little bands of straggling children were tion. In point of fact, Matthew's mats were wandering through the lanes; everything, in honestly worth the money; and we enjoyed short, gave token of the loveliest of the seain this case the triple satisfaction of making a sons, the fresh and joyous spring. Vegetafair bargain, dealing with an old acquaintance, tion was, however, unusually backward. The and relieving, in the best way—that of em- blossom of the sloe, called by the country ployment—the wants of age and of poverty; people " the blackthorn winter,” still lingered for, although Matthew's apparel was accu- in the hedges, mingling its snowy garlands rately clean and tidy, and his thin, wrinkled with the deep, rich brown of the budding oak cheek as hale and ruddy as a summer apple, and the tender green of the elm; the primroses yet the countless patches on his various gar- of March still mingled with the cowslips, ments, and the spare, trembling ligure, bent pansies, orchises, and wild hyacinths of April; almost double and crippled with rheumatism, and the flower of the turnip was only just betold a too legible story of infirmity and penury. ginning to diffuse its honeyed odours (equal Except on his annual visit with his merchan- in fragrance to the balmy tassels of the lime) dise, we never saw the good old matmaker; in the most sheltered nooks or the sunniest nor did I even know where he resided, until exposures. The " blessed sun” himself
seemed rather bright than warm : the season | destination, a low-browed, thatched cottage, was, in short, full three weeks backwarder perched like a wild-duck's nest at the very than it should have been according to the al- edge of the pool, and surrounded by a little manac. Still it was spring, beautiful spring ! garden redeemed from the forest - a small and, as we drew near to the old beech-wood clearing, where cultivated flowers, and beds called Barkham Dingle, we felt in its perfec- of berry-bushes, and pear and cherry trees, in tion all the charm of the scene and the hour. full blossom, contrasted strangely yet plea
Although the country immediately round santly with the wild scenery around. was unenclosed, as bad been fully proved by The cottage was very small, yet it had the the last half mile of undulating cominon, in- air of snugness and comfort which one loves terspersed by old shaggy trees and patches, to associate with the dwellings of the indus(islets, as it were) of tangled underwood, as trious peasantry. A goodly fagot-pile, a don. well as by a few rough ponies and small cows key-shed, and a pig-sty evidently inhabited, belonging to the country people; yet the lanes confirmed this impression; and geese and leading to it had been intersected by frequent ducks swimming in the water, and chickens gates, from the last of which a pretty, little, straying about the door, added to the cheerrosy, smiling girl, to whom I had tossed a fulness of the picture. penny for opening it, had sprung across the As I approached, I recognised an old accommon, like a fawn, to be ready with her quaintance in a young girl, who, with a straw services at that leading into the Dingle, down basket in her hand, was engaged in feeding which a rude cart-track, seldom used unless the cocks and hens-no less a person than for the conveyance of fagots or brushwood, pretty Bessy the young market-woman, of led by a picturesque but by no means easy whom I have before spoken, celebrated for descent.
rearing the earliest ducks and the faitest and Leaving chaise, and steed, and driver, to whitest chickens ever seen in these parts. wait our return at the gate, Dash and I pur- Any Wednesday or Saturday morning, during sued our way by a winding yet still precipi- the spring or summer, might Bessy be seen tous path to the bottom of the dell. Nothing on the road to Belford, tripping along by the could be more beautiful than the scene. On side of her little cart, hardly larger than a every side, steep, shelving banks, clothed wheelbarrow, drawn by a sedate and venerable with magnificent oaks and beeches, the growth donkey, and laden with coops full of cackling of centuries, descended gradually, like some or babbling inmates, together with baskets of vast amphitheatre, to a clear, deep piece of fresh eggs--for Bessy's commodities were as water, lying like a mirror in the midst of the much prized at the breakfast as at the dinner dark woods, and letting light and sunshine table. She meant, as I have said, to keep the into the picture. The leaves of the beech market; but, somehow or other, she seldom were just bursting into a tender green from reached it; the quality of her merchandise their shining sheaths, and the oaks bore still being held in such estiination by the families the rich brown, which of their unnumbered around, that her coops and baskets were genetints is perhaps the loveliest; but every here rally emptied before they gained their place and there a scattered horse-chestnut, or plane, of destination. or sycamore, had assumed its summer ver Perhaps the popularity of the vender had dure: the weeping birch, “ the lady of the something to do with the rapid sale of her woods," was breaking from the bud, the holly poultry-ware. Never did any one more comglittering in its unvarying glossiness, the haw- pletely realize the beau idéal of a young, hapthorn and the briar-rose in full leaf, and the py, innocent, country girl, than Matthew's ivy and woodbine twisting their bright wreaths grand-daughter. Fresh and fair, her rosy over the rugged trunks of the gigantic forest- cheeks mantling with blushes, and her cherry trees; so that green formed even now the pre- lips breaking into smiles, she was the very vailing colour of the wood. The ground, milk-maid of Isaac Walton; and there was indeed, was enamelled with flowers like a an old-fashioned neatness and simplicity, a parterre. Primroses, cowslips, pansies, or complete absence of all finery, in her attire, chises, ground-ivy, and wild hyacinths, were together with a modest sweetness in her round blended in gorgeous profusion with the bright young voice, a rustic grace in her little curtsy, wood-vetch, the light wood-anemone, and ihe and, above all, a total unconsciousness of her delicate wood-sorrel,* which sprang from the charms, which not only heightened the effect, mossy roots of the beeches, unrivalled in but deepened and strengthened the impression. grace and beauty, more elegant even than the No one that ever had seen them could forget lily of the valley that grew by its side. No- Bessy's innocent smiles. thing could exceed the delightfulness of that At present, however, the poor girl was eviwinding wood-walk.
dently in no smiling mood; and, as I was I soon came in sight of the place of my thridding with care and labour the labyrinths
of an oak newly felled and partly barked, There is a pink variety of this beautiful wild which lay across the path, to the great imRower; but the pencilled white is the most elegant. provement of its picturesqueness (there are