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Title: Julia And Her Romeo: A Chronicle Of Castle Barfield - From "Schwartz" by David Christie Murray
Author: Murray, David Christie
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Julia And Her Romeo: A Chronicle Of Castle Barfield - From "Schwartz" by David Christie Murray" ***

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By David Christie Murray

Author Of 'Aunt Rachel,' 'The Weaker Vessel,' Etc.


In the year eighteen hundred and twenty, and for many years before and
after, Abel Reddy farmed his own land at Perry Hall End, on the western
boundaries of Castle Barfield. He lived at Perry Hall, a ripe-coloured
old tenement of Elizabethan design, which crowned a gentle eminence
and looked out picturesquely on all sides from amongst its neighbouring
trees. It had a sturdier aspect in its age than it could have worn when
younger, for its strength had the sign-manual of time upon it, and even
its hoary lichens looked as much like a prophecy as a record.

A mile away, but also within the boundaries of Castle Barfield parish,
there stood another house upon another eminence: a house of older date
than Perry Hall, though of less pleasing and picturesque an air. The
long low building was of a darkish stone, and had been altered and added
to so often that it had at last arrived at a complex ugliness which was
not altogether displeasing. The materials for its structure had all been
drawn at different periods from the same stone quarry, and the chequered
look of new bits and old bits had a hint of the chess-board. Here Samson
Mountain dwelt on his own land in the midst of his own people.

The Mountain Farm, as it was called, and had been called time out of
mind, was separated from the Perry Hall Farm by a very shallow and
narrow brook. The two houses were built as far apart from each other
as they could be, whilst remaining in their own boundaries, as if the
builder of the later one had determined to set as great a distance as
he could between his neighbour and himself. And as a matter of fact the
Reddys and the Mountains were a sort of Capulets and Montagues, and had
hated each other for generations. Samson and Abel kept up the ancient
grudge in all its ancient force. They were of the same age within a week
or two, had studied at the same school, and had fought there; had at one
time courted the same girl, had sat within sight of each other Sunday
after Sunday and year after year in the parish church, had each buried
father and mother in the parish churchyard, and in the mind of each the
thought of the other rankled like a sore.

The manner of their surrendering their common courtship was
characteristic of their common hatred. Somewhere about the beginning
of this century a certain Miss Jenny Rusker, of Castle Barfield,
was surrounded by quite a swarm of lovers. She was pretty, she was
well-to-do, for her time and station, she was accomplished--playing the
harp (execrably), working samplers in silk and wool with great diligence
and exactitude, and having read a prodigious number of plays, poems, and
romances. What this lady's heart forged that her mouth did vent, but no
pretty young woman ever looked or sounded foolish to the eyes or ears of
her lovers. Mountain and Eeddy were among her solicitors. She liked them
both, and had not quite made up her mind as to which, if either of them,
she would choose, when suddenly the knowledge of the other's occasional
presence in her sitting-room made the house odious to each, and they
surrendered the chase almost at the same hour. Miss Jenny satisfied
herself with a cousin of her own, married without changing her name,
had children, was passably happy, as the world goes, and lived to be a
profoundly sentimental but inveterate widow. Mountain and Eeddy married
girls they would not otherwise have chosen, and were passably happy
also, except when the sore of ancient hatred was inflamed by a chance
meeting on the corn exchange or an accidental passage of the eyes at
church. They had no better authority for hating each other than that
their fathers had hated each other before them. The fathers had the
authority of the grandfathers, and they, that of the greatgrandfathers.

It was Saturday afternoon. There was a bleak frost abroad, and even the
waters of the brook which divided the two farms were hard frozen. The
sun hung low in the western sky, lustreless as a wafer, but ruddy. The
fields were powdered with thin snow, and the earth was black by contrast
with it. Now and then a shot sounded far away, but clear and sharp, from
where the guests of my lord of Barfield were killing time in the warren.

A labouring man, smock-frocked, billy-cocked, gaitered, and hob-nailed,
was clamping down the frozen lane, the earth ringing like iron under
iron as he walked. By his side was a fair-haired lad of nine or ten
years of age, a boy of frank and engaging countenance, carefully and
even daintily dressed, and holding up his head as if he were a lord of
the soil and knew it. The boy and the labourer were talking, and on the
frosty silence of the fields the clear treble of the boy's speech rang
out clearly and carried far. A burly man, with a surly red face, who had
stooped to button a gaiter, in a meadow just beyond the brook, and
had laid down his gun beside him the while, heard both voice and words
whilst the speaker was a hundred yards away.

'But don't you think it's very wicked, Ichabod?'

The labourer's voice only reached the listener in the meadow. He spoke
with the Barfield drawl, and his features, which were stiffened by the
frozen wind, were twisted into a look of habitual waggery.

'Well,' said he, in answer to his young companion, 'maybe, Master
Richard, it might be wicked, but it's main like natur.'

'I shan't hate Joe Mountain when I'm a man,' said the boy.

The surly man in the field, hearing these words, looked on a sudden
surlier still, and throwing up his head with a listening air, and
holding his ankle with both hands, crouched and craned his neck to

'May'st have to change thy mind, Master Richard,' said the labourer.

'Why should I change my mind, Ichabod?' asked the boy, looking up at

'Why?' answered Ichabod, 'thee'lt niver have it said as thee wast afraid
of any o' the Mountain lot.'

'I'm not afraid of him,' piped the engaging young cockerel 'We had a
fight in the coppice last holidays, and I beat him. The squire caught
us, and we were going to stop, but he made us go on, and he saw fair.
Then he made us shake hands after. Joe Mountain wouldn't say he'd had
enough, but the squire threw up the sponge for him. And he gave us two
half-crowns apiece, and said we were both good plucked uns.'

'Ah! 'said Ichabod, with warmth, 'he's the right sort is the squire.
And there's no sort or kind o' sport as comes amiss to him. A gentleman
after my own heart.'

'He made us shake hands and promise we'd be friends,' said Master
Richard, 'and we're going to be.'

'Make him turn the brook back first, Master Richard,' said Ichabod. The
two were almost at the bridge by this time, and the listener could hear

'Turn the brook back?' the boy asked. 'What do you mean, Ichabod?'

'Ax thy feyther, when thee gettest home,' answered Ichabod. 'He'll tell
thee all the rights on it. So fur as I can make out--and it was the talk
o' the country i' my grandfeyther's daysen--it amounts to this. Look
here! 'He and the boy arrested their steps on the bridge, and Ichabod
pointed along the frozen track of the brook. 'Seest that hollow ten rods
off? It was in the time o' Cromwell Hast heard tell o' Cromwell, I mek
no doubt?'

'Oliver Cromwell,' said Master Richard. 'He was Lord Protector of
England. He fought King Charles.'

'Like enough,' said Ichabod. 'In his daysen, many 'ears ago, there was
the Reddys here and the Mountains there'--indicating either house in
turn by pointing with his thumb--'just as they be now. The Reddy o' that
day--he was thy grandfeyther's grand-feyther as like as not--maybe
he was _his_ grandfeyther for aught as I can tell, for it's a
deadly-dreadful heap o' time long past--the Reddy o' that day went to
the wars, and fowt for Cromwell. The Mountain o' that time stopped at
hum. Up to then they'd niver been misfriended as fur as I know. That's
how it's put about, anyway. But whilst the Reddy was away what's the
Mountain do?'

The boy was looking at Ichabod, and Ichabod, stooping a little to be the
more impressive, was looking at him. The surly-faced man with the gun
had hitherto been concealed by the hedge beside which he had knelt to
fasten his gaiter, and neither of the two had suspected his presence. It
was natural, therefore, that both of them should start a little when his
voice reached them.

'Well?' The voice was sour and surly, like the face, and the word was
rapped out sharp and clear. Master Richard and Ichabod turned with one
accord. 'Well?' says the surly man, 'what does the Mountain do?'

Ichabod, less discomfited by the suddenness of the interruption than
might have been expected of him, rubbed the frozen base of his nose with
a cold forefinger and grinned. Master Richard looked from one to the
other with a frank and fearless interest and inquiry which became him
very prettily. The surly man bestowed a passing scowl upon him, and
turned his angry regard again upon Ichabod.

'Come, now,' he said, 'you backbiting, scandal-mongering old liar! What
does the Mountain do? Out with it!'

'Why, nayther thee nor me was there at the time, gaffer,' responded
Ichabod, his frosty features still creased with a grin. 'So nayther thee
nor me can talk for certain. Can us?'

'I suppose,' said the surly, burly man, 'you're going to stuff that
young monkey with the old lie about the stream being turned?'

Ichabod made no verbal response, but continued to rub his nose with his
forefinger, and to grin with an aspect of uncertain humour. The surly
man stooped for his gun, threw it over his arm, and stared at Ichabod
and his young companion with eyes of hatred and disdain. Then, having
somewhat relieved his feelings by a curse or two, he turned his back and
went off with a long, heavy, dogged-looking stride, his feet crunching
noisily through the frosty grasses.

'It eeat for me to talk about my betters, and them as the Lord has put
in authority over us,' said Ichabod, with an expression which belied
these words of humility; 'but I put it to thee, Master Richard. Dost
think that old Mountain theer looks like a likeable un? No, no. Might as
well expect cat an' dog t' agree as Reddy and Mountain.'

This speech was made in a carefully modulated tone, when he and the boy
were at some distance from the surly man, who was still visible, three
or four fields away.

'What was it about the brook, Ichabod?' asked Master Richard.

'Why,' said Ichabod, 'when that old longaway grandfeyther o' thine was
away a-fighting for Cromwell, 'tis said his neighbour turned the brook
so as to bring in four-score acres o' land as ud niver have been his by
right. The Reddy o' that day died in the wars, and his widder could mek
no head again the Mountain lot; but her taught her son to hate 'em and
look down upon 'em, and hated an' looked down upon is the name on 'em
from that day to this.'

'But Joe Mountain didn't do it,' said Master Richard.

'No, no,' assented Ichabod. 'But it's i' this way. It's i' the blood.
What's bred i' the bone will come out i' the flesh. Afore thee makest
friends with young Joe Mountain, Master Richard, thee ax thy feyther.'

Master Richard, lapsing into silence, thought things over.

'Ichabod,' he said at last, 'is a boy _bound_ to be bad if he has a bad

'Sure!' said Ichabod, who was not going to be worsted in argument for
want of corroborative fact if he could help it.

Master Richard thought things over a little while longer, and returned
to the charge.

'Suppose the boy with the bad grandfather had a good grandmother,

'None of the Mountain lot ever had,' Ichabod replied. There was no item
in Ichabod's creed more fixed than this--the Mountains of Mountain
Farm were hateful and contemptible. He had imbibed the belief with his
mother's milk and his father's counsel. His grandfather had known it for
the one cardinal certainty of nature.

Just as the serving-men of Capulet hated the serving-men of Montague,
so the oldest servants of the Mountains hated the older servants of the
Reddys. The men made the masters' quarrel their own. There was a feudal
spirit in the matter, and half the fights of this outlying district of
the parish were provoked by that ancient history of the brook. At this
time of day it mattered very little indeed if the history was true
or false, for neither proof nor disproof was possible, and the real
mischief was done past remedy in any case.

'Are you sure our side fought for Cromwell, Ichabod?' Master Richard.
asked, after another long and thoughtful silence.

'To be sure,' said Ichabod.

'I don't think it can be true, then, about the brook,' said the boy,
'because Cromwell won, and everybody who was on his side had their own
way. Mr. Greenfell teaches history at school, and he says so.'

This was nothing to Ichabod, whose intellect was not constructed for the
reception of historical evidences.

'Then ax thy feyther, Master Richard,' he answered; 'he'll tell thee the
rights on it.'

The boy walked on pondering, as children of his age will do. The seniors
would be surprised pretty often if they could guess how deep and far the
young thoughts go, but, then, the seniors have forgotten their own young
days, or were never of a thinking habit. Ichabod clamped along with
his mind on beer. The boy thought his own thoughts, and each was
indifferent for a while to outer signs and sounds. But suddenly a
little girl ran round a corner of the devious lane with a brace of
young savages in pursuit. The youthful savages had each an armful of
snowballs, and they were pelting the child with more animus than seemed
befitting. The very tightness with which the balls were pressed seemed
to say that they were bent less on sport than mischief, and they came
whooping and dancing round the corner with such rejoicing cruelty as
only boys or uncivilised men can feel. The little girl was sobbing,
half in distress, and half because of the haste she had made, and Master
Richard's juvenile soul burnt within him at the sight like that of a
knight-errant. He had read a great deal about knights-errant for the
time which had been as yet allowed him for the pursuit of literature,
and he was by nature a boy of much fire and gentleness, and a very
sympathetic imagination. So the big heart in the small body swelled
with pity and grew hot with valour, and, without parley, he smote
the foremost boy, who happened to be the bigger of the two, and went
headlong into fight with him.

Ichabod followed the young master's lead without knowing, or in the
smallest degree caring, why, and tried to seize the smaller savage, who
skilfully evaded him and ran. The little maiden stood and trembled
with clasped hands as she looked upon the fray. Ichabod lifted his
smock-frock to get his hands into the pockets of his corduroys, and
watched with the air of an old artist standing behind a young one.

'You shouldn't work at it so much, Master Richard,' said Ichabod. 'Tek
it easier, and wait for him. That's it!'

The combat was brief and decisive. The youthful savage carried the
heavier metal, but he was slow with it; but suddenly, as if to show that
he was not altogether without activity, he turned and ran his hardest
Master Richard, with blue-gray eyes still glistening and hands still
clenched in the ardour of battle, turned upon the little girl, who was
some two years younger than himself At the sight of her he turned shy
and blushed, and the little girl turned shy and blushed also. She looked
at the ground, and then she looked at Richard, and then she looked at
the ground again. She was slender and delicate, and had very beautiful
soft brown eyes, and the hero of a minute back was abashed before her.

'You 'm a Mountain, baint you?' said Ichabod, looking at her with
disfavour. She looked shyly at him, but did not answer. 'What's your
name?' he asked, stooping towards her.

'Julia Mountain,' said the child, in a trembling treble.

'Ah!' said Ichabod, 'I thought so. Come along, Master Richard, or else
we shall niver get hum again afore dark.'

Master Richard walked away with backward glances, shyly directed at the
little girl, and the little girl stood with her cheek inclining to her
shoulder, and the shoulder drawn up a little, as if to shelter her, and
looked after him. This exchange went on until Ichabod and the boy had
turned the corner of the lane, when Miss Julia Mountain ran home as
fast as her small legs would take her, and Master Richard Reddy, with a
vision in his mind, walked alongside his companion.

'You should tek a lesson or two, Master Richard,' said Ichabod, 'and
then thee'dst do a heap better. I'm rusty nowadaysen, but I used to love
it when I was a young un.'

Master Eichard heard nothing of this or of the advice which followed it.
He enacted many times over the small adventure of the last five minutes,
and at the end of every mental history he traced, the little figure
stood in the lane looking shyly at him over one shoulder as he turned
the corner.


Samson Mountain went home in an ill-temper, and, as was usual with him
when in that condition, did everything he had to do with a sulky and
noisy emphasis, bursting open doors with unnecessary violence, slamming
them with needless force behind him, and clamping heavily from room to
room. His wife, who was submissive at the surface, but unconquerable at
bottom, knew these signs, and accepted them with outer show of meekness.
Samson tramped into the sitting-room, and there found his wife alone.
He flung to the door behind him with a crash which would have been
startling if it had been unexpected, and fell heavily into a roomy
arm-chair by the fireside. Mrs. Mountain took no notice of this, but
went on placidly with her sewing. Samson threw his heavily-booted feet
noisily into the fender, and still Mrs. Mountain went on placidly,
without so much as looking at him. Stung by this disregard of his
obvious ill-humour, Samson made a lunge with his foot at the fire-irons,
and brought them down with a bang.

'Lawk a daisy me, Samson,' said his wife mildly. 'What's the matter with
the man?'

'Matter!' growled Samson. 'It's a thing as ud get a saint to set his
back up. I was down i' the bridge leasowe bare an hour ago, and who
should I see but that young imp of a Reddy along wi' that old viper of a
Bubb. Thee know'st the chap--that Ichabod.'

'I know him, Samson,' answered Mrs. Mountain. 'He's the most impudent of
all of 'em.'

'They stood atop o' the bridge,' pursued Samson, 'and I could hear 'em
talkin'. Th' ode rip was tellin' the young un that outworn lie about the
brook. I'd got a shot i' the barrel, and I'd more than half a mind to
ha' peppered him. I'd ha' done it if it had been worth while.'

'There's no end to their malice and oncharitable-ness,' said Mrs.

'I heard the young imp say he'd fowt our Joe and licked him,' pursued
Samson. 'If ever it should come to my knowledge as a truth I'd put
Master Joe in such fettle he wouldn't sit down for the best side a month
o' Sundays.'

'They 'm giving the child such airs,' said his wife, 'it's enough to
turn the bread o' life which nourishes.'

Mrs. Mountain had an object in view, and, after her own fashion, had
held it long in view in silence. The moment seemed to her propitious,
and she determined to approach it.

'Young toad!' said Samson, rising to kick at the coals with his
heavy-heeled boot, and plunging backward into the chair again.

'To hear him talk--that fine an' mincin'--you'd think he was one o'
my lord's grandchildren or a son o' the squire's at least,' said Mrs.
Mountain, approaching her theme with circuitous caution.

'Ay!' Samson assented 'It's enough to turn your stomach to listen to

'If they go on as they're goings pursued his wife, circling a little
nearer, 'we shall live to see fine things.'

'We shall, indeed,' said Samson, a little mollified to find his wife so
unusually warm in the quarrel. 'There's no such a thing as contentment
to be found amongst 'em. They settle up to be looked upon as

'Yes; fine things we shall live to see, no doubt, if we don't tek care.
But thanks be, Samson, it's left in our own hands.'

'What be'st hoverin' at?' demanded Samson, turning upon her with his
surly red face.

'Things ain't what they used to be when you an' me was younger,' said
Mrs. Mountain. 'The plain ode-fashioned Barfield talk as you and me
was bred up to, Samson, ain't good enough nowadays for the very
kitchen wenches and the labourers on the farm. Everybody's gettin' that

'Barfield's good enough for me, and good enough for mine,' said Samson,
with sulky wrath.

'It's good enough for we, to be sure, but whether it's good enough for
ourn is another churnin' o' butter altogether,' his wife answered. 'It
ud seem as if ivery generation talked different from one another. My
mother, as was a very well-spoken woman for her day, used to call a cup
o' tay a dish o' tay, and that's a thing as only the very ignorant ud
stoop to nowadays.' Samson growled, and wallowed discontentedly in
the big arm-chair. 'A mother's got her natural feelings, Samson,' Mrs.
Mountain continued, with an air and tone of mildest resignation. 'I
don't scruple to allow as it'll hurt me if I should live to see our Joe
looked down upon by a Reddy.'

'Looked down upon!' cried Samson. 'Where's the Reddy as can count acre
for acre agen us, or guinea for guinea?'

'The Reddy's is fairly well-to-do, Samson,' said Mrs. Mountain; 'very
nigh as well-to-do as we be.'

'Pooh!' returned Samson.

'Oh, but they be, though,' his wife insisted. 'Pretty near. There's
nothing so much between us as'd prevent 'em from taking airs with us if
they could find out anything to do it for.'

'If they could!' Samson assented. 'Abel Eeddy was a bragger and a
boaster from his cradle days.'

'That's where it is,' cried Mrs. Mountain, in a tone which implied
that Samson had made a discovery of the first importance, and that this
discovery unexpectedly confirmed her own argument. 'Let 'em have the
least little bit of a chance for a brag, and where be you?'

'You might trust 'em to tek advantage on it if they had it,' said her

'Of course you might,' said she, with warmth, 'and that's why I'm
fearful on it.'

'Fearful o' what?' demanded Samson.

'O' these here scornful fine-gentleman ways as'll be a thorn in our
Joe's side as long as he lives, poor little chap, unless we put him in
the way to combat again 'em.'

'Ah!' Samson growled, suddenly enlightened. 'I see now what thee beest
drivin' at. Now, you take a straight sayin' from me, Mary Ann. I'll have
no fine-mouthed, false-natur'd corruption i' my household. If the Reddys
choose to breed up that young imp of theirn to drawl fine and to talk
smooth above his station--let 'em.'

'Well, Samson,' returned Mrs. Mountain, who knew by long experience when
her husband was malleable, 'you know best, and you're the master here,
as it's on'y fit and becomin' an' in the rightful nature o' things as
you should be.'

The first effect of the oil of flattery seemed to be to harden him.

'I be, and I mean to be,' he answered, with added surliness. 'If the
speech and the clothes and the vittles as have been good enough for me
ain't good enough for any young upstart as may follow after me, it _is_
a pity.'

Mary Ann kept silence and looked meek. Samson growled and bullied a
little, and wore the airs of a dictator. By and by a serving-maid came
in and began to arrange the table for tea, and a little later a boy and
a girl stole noiselessly into the room.

'Joe,' said Samson sternly, 'come here!' The boy approached him with
evident dread. 'What's this I hear about thee and that young villin of a

'I don't know, father,' the boy answered.

'I heard him makin' a boast this afternoon,' said Samson, rolling
bullyingly in his arm-chair, 'as you and him had fowt last holidays, and
as he gi'en you a hiding.'

Joe said nothing, but looked as if he expected the experience to be

'Now, what ha' you got to say to that?' demanded his father.

'Why,' began Joe, edging back a little, 'he's bigger nor I be, an' six
months o'der.'

'Do you mean to tell me,' cried Samson, reaching out a hand and seizing
the little fellow by the jacket, 'do you mean to tell me as you allowed
to have enough to that young villin?'

'No,' Joe protested. 'That I niver did. It was the squire as parted us.'

'You remember this,' said his father, shaking him to emphasise the
promise. 'If ever you agree to tek a hiding from a Reddy you've got one
to follow on from me. D'ye hear?'

'Yes, father.'

'Tek heed as well as hear. D'ye hear?'

'Yes, father.'

'And here's another thing, mind you. It's brought to me as you and him
shook hands and took on to be friends with one another. Is that trew?'
Joe looked guilty, but made no answer. 'Is it trew?' Still Joe returned
no answer, and his father changing the hand with which he held him, for
his own greater convenience, knocked him off his feet, restored him
to his balance, knocked him off his feet again, and again settled him.
'Now,' said Samson, 'is it trew?'

The boy tried to recoil from the uplifted threatening hand, and cried
out 'No!'

'Now,' said Samson, rising with a grim satisfaction, 'that's a lie.
There's nothin' i' the world as I abhor from like a lie I'll teach thee
to tell me lies. Goo into the brewus and tek thy shirt off; March!'

The little girl clung to her mother's skirts crying and trembling. The
mother herself was trembling, and had turned pale.

'Hush, hush, my pretty,' she said, caressing the child, and averting her
eyes from Joe.

'March!' said Samson, and Joe slunk out of the room, hardening his heart
as well as might be for endurance. But when he was once out of sight of
the huge bullying figure and threatening eye and hand, the sight of his
cap lying upon a chair in the hall supplied him with an inspiration. He
seized the cap, slipped out at the front door, and ran.

The early winter night was falling fast by this time. Half a dozen stars
twinkled intermittently in the black-blue waste of sky, and when the lad
paused to listen for possible sounds of pursuit the hollow moaning of
the wind and the clang of bare wintry poles mingled with the noise of
his own suppressed breathing.

The runaway fancied himself bound (as all British runaway boys seem
bound) for sea, and he set out without delay to walk to Liverpool. He
got as far as the brook which formed the limit to his father's farm, and
lingering before he set foot upon the bridge, began to cry a little, and
to bemoan his chances and the dear ones left behind. His father came in
for none of Joe's regrets. It was in the nature of things to the boy's
mind that his father should administer to him periodical thrashings,
whether he had earned them or not. It was the one social relationship
which existed between them. It was only quite of late that Joe had begun
to discern injustice in his father's bullyings. Children take things
as they come, and to the mind of a child--in a modified sense, of
course--whatever is, is right. That a thing exists is its own best
justification. There is no reason to seek reasons for it. But Joe
Mountain, having nearly outgrown this state of juvenile acquiescence,
had begun to make inquiry of himself, and, as a result, had familiarised
himself with many mental pictures in which he figured as an adventurer
rich in adventures. In his day the youth of England were less instructed
than they are now, but the immortal Defoe existed, and Lemuel Gulliver
was as real as he is to-day. Perhaps the Board schools may have made
that great mariner a little less real than he used to be. Joe believed
in him with all his heart, had never had the shadow of a doubt about
him, and meant to sail straight from Liverpool to Lilliput. He would
defer his voyage to Brobdingnagia until he had grown bigger, and should
be something of a match for its inhabitants.

But it was cold, it was darkening fast, it was past his ordinary
tea-time. Liverpool and Lilliput were far away, pretty nearly
equidistant to the juvenile mind, and but for Samson's shadow the
tea-table would have looked alluring. To be sure of tea, and a bed to
sleep in afterwards, it seemed almost worth while to go back to the
brewhouse and obey the paternal command to take his shirt off. To do the
child justice, it was less the fear of the thrashing than the hot sense
of rebellion at unfairness which kept him from returning. His father had
beaten him into that untrue cry of 'No,' and had meant to force him to
it, and then to beat him anew for it. Joe knew that better than Samson,
for Samson, like the rest of us, liked to stand well with himself, and
kept self-opinion in blinkers.

Joe set foot on the bridge. He had crossed the boundary brook hundreds
of times in his brief life, and it had generally come into his mind,
with a boyish sense of adventure, that when he did so he was putting
foot into the enemy's country. But the feeling had never been so strong
as now. The Mountain Farm was home, and beyond it lay the wide, wide
world, looking wide indeed, and bleak and cold. What with hot rebellion
at injustice and cold fear of the vast and friendless expanse, Joe's
tears multiplied, and leaning his arms upon the low coping of the
bridge, with his head between them and his nose touching the frozen
stone, he began to cry unrestrainedly.

Suddenly he heard a footstep, and it struck a new terror into his soul.
Freebooters, footpads, kidnappers, _et hoc genus omne_, roamed those
fields by night, in course of nature. To the snug security of the home
fireside and bed their images came with a delightful thrill of fear, but
to be here alone and in the midst of them was altogether another thing.
He crept crouching across the bridge, and stowed himself into the
smallest possible compass between the end of the stonework and the
neighbouring hedgerow, and there waited trembling. His pulses beat so
fast and made such a noise in his ears that he was ready to take the
sound of footsteps for the tread of a whole ogreish army, when he heard
a voice.

'Hode on a minute, while I shift the sack.'

The sack? It was easy--it was inevitable--to know that the sack
contained a goblin supper.

'I shall be late for tea, Ichabod,' said another voice, 'and then I
shall get a blowing-up for coming.'

     Let him who sighs in sadness here,
     Rejoice, and know a friend is near.

Joe sprang from his hiding-place, and startled Master Richard and
Ichabod more than a little.

'That thee, Dick?'

He knew it well enough, but it was quite delightful to be able to ask it
with certainty.

'Hillo,' said Master Richard, recognising his sworn friend. 'What are
you doing? Are you trapping anything?'

'No,' the hereditary enemy answered. He had been crying, the poor little
chap, until he had been frightened into quiet, and now on a sudden he
was as brave and as glad again as ever he had been in his life. Once
more adventures loomed ahead for the adventurous, and he shone within
and grew warm with the sweet reflux of courage as he whispered, 'I'm
running away from home!'

Once again, the feat was glorious.

'No?' said Master Richard, smitten with envy and admiration. 'Are you?

'Yes,' Joe answered. 'I'm agooin' to Liverpool, to begin wi'.'

This was exquisitely large and vague, and Master Richard began to yearn
for a share in the high enterprise upon which his friend had entered. He
had half a mind to run away from home himself, though, to be sure, there
was nothing else to run away from. In Joe's case there was a difference.

'Where are you going to stay to-night?' asked Master Richard. The
question sounded practical, but at bottom it was nothing of the sort.
It was part of the romance of the thing, and yet it threw cold water on
Joe's newly-lighted courage, and put it out again.

'I don't know,' said Joe, somewhat forlornly.

'I say,' interjected Ichabod, 'is that young Mountain, Master Richard?'

'Yes,' said Master Richard.

'Thee know'st thy feyther is again thy speakin' to him, and his feyther
is again his speakin' to thee.'

'You mind your own business, Ichabod,' said the young autocrat, who was
a little spoiled perhaps, and had been accustomed to have his own way in
quite a princely fashion.

'I'm mindin' it,' returned Ichabod. 'It's a part o' my business to keep
thee out o' mischief.'

'Ah!' piped Master Richard, 'you needn't mind that part of your business

'All right,' said Ichabod, reshouldering the sack he had meanwhile
balanced on the coping of the bridge. 'See as thee beesn't late for

With that, having discharged his conscience, he went on again, and the
two boys stayed behind.

'What are you running away for?' asked Eichard.

'Why, feyther said it was brought to him as you and me had shook hands
and had took on to be friends with one another, and he told me to go
into the brewus and take my shirt off.'

'Take your shirt off?' inquired the other. In Joe's lifetime, short
as it was, he had had opportunity to grow familiar with this fatherly
formula, but it was strange to Master Richard. 'What for?'

'What for! Why, to get a hidin', to be sure.'

'Look here!' said Richard, having digested this, 'you come and stop in
one of our barns. Have you had your tea?'

'No,' returned Joe, 'I shouldn't ha' minded so much if I had.'

'I'll bring something out to you,' said the protector.

So the two lads set out together, and to evade Ichabod, struck off at
a run across the fields, Joe pantingly setting forth, in answer to his
comrade's questions, how he was going to be a sailor or a pirate, 'or
summat,' or to have a desert island like Crusoe. Of course, it was all
admirable to both of them, and, of course, it was all a great deal more
real than the fields they ran over.

The runaway was safely deposited in a roomy barn, and left there
alone, when once again a life of adventures began to assume a darkish
complexion. It was cold, it was anxious, it seemed to drag interminably,
and it was abominably lonely. If it were to be all like this, even the
prospect of an occasional taking off of one's shirt in the brewhouse
looked less oppressive than it had done.

The hidden Joe, bound for piracy on the high seas, or a Crusoe's island
somewhere, gave a wonderful zest to Master Richard's meal But an hour,
which seemed like a year to the less fortunate of the two, went by
before a raid upon the well-furnished larder of Perry Hall could
be effected. When the opportunity came, Master Richard, with no
remonstrance from conscience, laid hands upon a loaf and a dish of
delicious little cakes of fried pork fat, from which the lard had that
day been 'rendered,' and thus supplied, stole out to his hereditary
enemy and fed him. The hereditary enemy complained of cold, and his host
groped the dark place for sacks, and, having found them, brought them to

'I say,' said Joe, when he had tasted the provender, 'them's
scratchings. That's gay and fine. I never had as many as I should like
afore. Mother says they're too rich, but that's all rubbish.'

He made oily feast in the dark, with the sacks heaped about him. With
Master Richard to help him, he began to swim in adventure, and the
pair were so fascinated and absorbed that one of the farm-servants went
bawling 'Master Richard' about the outlying buildings for two or three
minutes before they heard him. When at last the call reached their ears
they had to wait until it died away again before the surreptitious host
dare leave the barn, lest his being seen should draw attention to the

Then Joe, who had been hunting wild beasts of all sorts with the
greatest possible gusto, began in turn to be hunted by them. The
rattlesnake, hitherto unknown to Castle Barfield, became a common
object; the lion and the polar bear met on common ground in the
menagerie of Joe's imagination. Whatever poor blessings and hopes he
had, and whatever schoolboy wealth he owned, he would have surrendered
all of them to be in the brewhouse of the Mountain Farm, even though he
were there to take his shirt off But the empty, impassable, awful night
stood between him and any refuge, and he must need stay where he was,
and sweat with terror under his sacks, through all the prodigious tracts
of time which lay between the evening and the morning. He was to have
been up and afoot for Liverpool before dawn, but tired nature chose the
time he had fixed for starting to send him to sleep, and when Master
Richard stole into the barn with intent to disperse the sacks and clear
away any sign of Joe's occupancy, he found him slumbering soundly, with
a tear-stained cheek resting on a dirty brown hand.

There had been the wildest sort of hubbub and disorder at the Mountain
Farm all night. Mrs. Mountain had wept and wrung her hands, and rocking
herself to and fro, had poured forth doleful prophecy. Samson, who had
begun with bluster, had fallen into anxiety, and had himself traced the
course of the brook for a full mile by lanthorn-light. The farm hands
had been sent abroad, and had tracked every road without result. Of
course the one place where nobody so much as thought of making inquiry
was the house of the hereditary foe, but pretty early, in the course of
the morning, the news of Joe Mountain's disappearance, and something
of the reasons for it, reached Perry Hall. Everybody at Perry Hall knew
already what a terrible personage Samson Mountain was, and his behaviour
on this occasion was the theme of scathing comment.

Master Richard was guilty at heart, but exultant. Being a boy of lively
imagination, he took to a secrecy so profound, and became so strikingly
stealthy, as to excite observation and remark. He was watched and
tracked to the barn, and then the discovery came about as a matter
of course. The Reddys made much of Joe--they had no quarrel with an
innocent persecuted child--but their kindness and commiseration were
simply darts to throw at Samson.

It was noon when Reddy put the trembling adventurer into his trap, and
with his own hands drove him home. The two enemies met and glowered at
each other.

'I've found your lad and brought him home,' said Reddy; 'though I doubt
it's a cruel kindness to him.'

Samson, with all the gall in his nature burning at his heart, lifted Joe
from the trap and set him on the ground in silence. Reddy, in silence,
turned his horse's head, touched him with the whip, and drove away. Joe
was welcomed home by a thrashing, which he remembers in old age.

The episode bore fruit in several ways. To begin with, Master Joe was
packed off to a distant school, far from that to which young Reddy was
sent. But the boys found each other out in the holidays, and became
firm friends on the sly, and Joe was so loyal and admiring that he never
ceased to talk to his one confidante of the courage, the friendliness,
the generosity, the agility, and skill of his secret hero. The
confidante was his sister Julia, to whom the young hereditary enemy
became a synonym for whatever is lovely and of good report. She used
to look at him in church--she had little other opportunity of observing
him--and would think in her childish innocent mind how handsome and
noble he looked. He did not speak like the Barfield boys, or look like
them, or walk like them. He was a young prince, heir to vast estates,
and a royal title in fairyland. If story-books were few and far between,
the sentimental foolish widow, Jenny Busker, was a mine of narrative,
and a single fairy tale is enough to open all other fairy lore to a
child's imagination. If the little girl worshipped the boy, he, in his
turn, looked kindly down on her. He had fought for her once at odds of
two to one, and he gave her a smile now and then. It happened that in
this wise began the curious, half-laughable, and half-pathetic little
history which buried the hatreds of the Castle Barfield Capulet and
Montague for ever.


In this Castle Barfield version of Romeo and Juliet the parody would
have been impossible without the aid and intervention of some sort of
Friar Laurence. He was a notability of those parts in those days, and he
was known as the Dudley Devil. In these enlightened times he would have
been dealt with as a rogue and vagabond, and, not to bear too hardly
upon an historical personage, whom there is nobody (even with all our
wealth of historical charity-mongers) to whitewash, he deserved richly
in his own day the treatment he would have experienced in ours. He
discovered stolen property--when his confederates aided him; he put
the eye on people obnoxious to his clients, for a consideration; he
overlooked milch cows, and they yielded blood; he went about in
the guise of a great gray tom-cat. It was historically true in
my childhood--though, like other things, it may have ceased to be
historically true since then--that it was in this disguise of the great
gray tom-cat that he met his death. He was fired at by a farmer, the
wounded cat crawled into the wizard's cottage, and the demon restored to
human form was found dying later on with a gun-shot charge in his ribs.
There were people alive a dozen--nay, half a dozen--years ago, who
_knew_ these things, to whom it was blasphemous to dispute them.

The demon's earthly name was Rufus Smith, and he lived 'by Dudley Wood
side, where the wind blows cold,' as the local ballad puts it His mother
had dealt in the black art before him, and was ducked to death in the
Severn by the bridge in the ancient town of Bewdley. He was a lean man,
with a look of surly fear. It is likely enough that he half expected
some of his invocations to come true one fine day or other, with
consequences painful to himselt The old notions are dying out fast, but
it used to be said in that region that when a man talked to himself he
was talking with the universal enemy. Rufus and his mother were great
chatterers in solitude, and what possible companion could they have but

It is not to be supposed that all the ministrations for which the people
of the country-side relied upon Rufus were mischievous. If he had done
nothing but overlook cattle and curse crops, and so forth, he would
have been hunted out. Some passably good people have been said, upon
occasions, to hold a candle to the devil. With a similar diversion
from general principle, Rufus was known occasionally to perform acts
of harmless utility. He charmed away warts and corns, he prepared love
philtres, and sold lucky stones. He foreran the societies which insure
against accident, and would guarantee whole bones for a year or a
lifetime, according to the insurer's purse or fancy. He told fortunes by
the palm and by the cards, and was the sole proprietor and vendor of a
noted heal-all salve of magic properties.

He and his mother had gathered together between them a respectable
handful of ghastly trifles, which were of substantial service alike to
him and to his clients. A gentleman coming to have his corns or warts
charmed away would be naturally assisted towards faith by the aspect of
the polecat's skeleton, the skulls of two or three local criminals,
and the shrivelled, mummified dead things which hung about the walls or
depended head downwards from the ceiling. These decorations apart, the
wizard's home was a little commonplace. It stood by itself in a
bare hollow, an unpicturesque and barn-like cottage, not altogether

It fell upon a day that Mrs. Jenny Rusker drove over from Castle
Barfield to pay Rufus a visit. She rode in a smart little trap, the kind
of thing employed by the better sort of rustic tradesmen, and drove a
smart little pony. She was a motherly, foolish, good creature, who, next
to the reading of plays and romances, loved to have children about her
and to make them happy. On this particular day she had Master Richard
with her. She kept up her acquaintance with both her old lovers, and was
on terms of rather coolish friendship with them. But she adored their
children, and would every now and again make a descent on the house of
one or other of her old admirers and ravish away a child for a day or

Mrs. Jenny had consoled herself elsewhere for the loss of lovers for
whom she had never cared a halfpenny, but she had never ceased to hold a
sort of liking for both her old suitors. Their claims had formerly been
pretty evenly balanced in her mind, and even now, when the affair was
ancient enough in all conscience to have been naturally and quietly
buried long ago, she never met either of her quondam lovers without
some touch of old-world coquetry in her manner. The faintest and most
far-away touch of anything she could call romance was precious to
the old woman, and having a rare good heart of her own under all her
superannuated follies, she adored the children. Dick was her especial
favourite, as was only natural, for he was pretty enough and regal
enough with his childish airs of _petit grand seigneur_ to make him
beloved of most women who met him. Women admire the frank masterfulness
of a generous and half-spoiled boy, and Mrs. Jenny saw in the child the
prophecy of all she had thought well of in his father, refined by the
grace of childhood and by a better breeding than the father had ever

So she and Dick were great allies, and there was always cake and
elderberry wine and an occasional half-crown for him at Laburnum
Cottage. It was only natural that, so fostered, Dick's affection for the
old lady should be considerable. She was his counsellor and confidante
from his earliest years, and the little parlour, with its antiquated
furniture and works of art-in wool, its haunting odour of pot-pourri
emanating from the big china jar upon the mantelshelf, and its moist
warm atmosphere dimly filtered through the drooping green and gold of
the laburnum tree, whose leaves tapped incessantly against the lozenged
panes of its barred windows, was almost as familiar in his memory in
after years as the sitting-room at home at the farm.

Dick conferred upon its kindly and garrulous old tenant the brevet rank
of 'Aunt' Jenny, and loved her, telling her, in open-hearted childish
fashion, his thoughts, experiences, and secrets. Naturally, the story of
the fight with the paynim oppressors of beauty came out in his talk soon
after its occurrence, and lost nothing in the telling. Mrs. Jenny would
have found a romance in circumstances much less easily usable to that
end than those of the scion of one house rescuing the daughter of a
rival and inimical line, and here was material enough for foolish fancy.
She cast a prophetic eye into the future, and saw Dick and Julia, man
and maid, reuniting their severed houses in the bonds of love, or doubly
embittering their mutual hatred and perishing--young and lovely victims
to clannish hatred and parental rigour--like Romeo and Juliet.

The boy's account of the fight was given as he sat by her side in her
little pony-trap in the cheerfully frosty morning. Dick chatted gaily as
the shaggy-backed pony trotted along the resounding road with a clatter
of hoofs and a jingle of harness, and an occasional sneeze at the frosty
air. They passed the field of battle on the road, and Dick pointed it
out. Then, as was natural, he turned to the family feud, and retailed
all he had heard from Ichabod, supplemented by information from other
quarters and such additions of fancy as imaginative children and savages
are sure to weave about the fabric of any story which comes in their way
to make tradition generally the trustworthy thing it is.

Mrs. Busker was strong on the family quarrel. A family quarrel was a
great thing in her estimation, almost as good as a family ghost, and
she gave Dick the whole history of the incident of the brook and of many
others which had grown out of it, among them one concerning the death of
a certain Reddy which had tragically come to pass a year or two before
his birth. The said Reddy had been found one November evening stark and
cold at the corner of the parson's spinney, with an empty gun grasped
in his stiffened hand, and a whole charge of small shot in his breast.
Crowner's quest had resulted in a verdict of death by misadventure, and
the generally received explanation was that the young fellow's own gun
had worked the mischief by careless handling in passing through stiff
undergrowth. But a certain ne'er-do-well Mountain, a noted striker and
tosspot of the district, had mysteriously disappeared about that date,
and had never since come within scope of Castle Barfield knowledge.
Ugly rumours had got afloat, vague and formless, and soon to die out
of general memory. Dick listened open-mouthed to all this, and when the
narrative was concluded, held his peace for at least two minutes.

'_She_ isn't wicked, is she, Aunt Jenny?' he suddenly demanded.

'She? Who? 'asked Mrs. Eusker in return. 'The little girl, Julia.'

'Wicked? Sakes alive, whativer is the boy talking about? Wicked? O'
course not. She's a dear good little thing as iver lived.'

'Ichabod said that all the Mountains were wicked. But I know Joe
isn't--at least, not very. He promised me a monkey and a parrot--a green
parrot, when he came back from running away. But he didn't run away,
because father found him and took him home. His father gave him an awful
thrashing. He often thrashes him, Joe says. Father never thrashes me.
What does his father thrash him for?' 'Mr. Mountain's a harder man than
your father, my dear. An' I fear as Joe's a bit wild, like his father
when he was a boy, and obstinit. Theer niver was a obstinater man i'
this earth than Samson Mountain, I do believe, an' Joe's got a bit on it
in him.'

'She's pretty,' said Dick, returning with sudden childish inconsequence
to the subject uppermost in his thoughts. 'Joe isn't Why is it that the
girls are always prettier than the boys?'

'I used to think it was the other way about when I was a gell,' said
Aunt Jenny, with perfect simplicity. 'But she is pretty, that's true.
But then her mother was a likely lass, an' Samson warn't bad lookin',
if he hadn't ha' been so fierce an' cussid. An' to think as it should be
you, of all the lads i' Barfield, as should save a Mountain. An' a gell
too.. I suppose as you'll be a settin' up to fall in love wi' her now,
like Romeo and Juliet?'

'What was that? 'asked the boy.

'It's a play, my dear, wrote by a clever man as has been dead iver so
many 'ears, William Shaakespeare.'

'Shakespeare?' said Dick. 'I know. It's a big book on one of the shelves
at home, full of poetry. But what's Romeo and Juliet?'

'Romeo and Juliet was two lovers, as lived a long time ago in a place
called Verona. I don't know where it is,' she added quickly, to stave
off the imminent question already on the boy's lips. 'Somewhere abroad,
wheer Bonyparty is. Juliet's name was Capulet, an' Romeo's was Montague,
an' the Capilets and the Montagues hated each other so as they could
niver meet wi'out havin' a bit of a turn-up one with another. They was
as bad as the Reddys an' the Mountains, only i' them daysen folks allays
wore swords an' daggers, so's when they fowt they mostly killed each
other. Well, one night old Capilet gi'en a party, an' asked all his
friends, an' everybody wore masks, so's they didn't know half the time
who they was a-talkin' tew, as was the fashion i' them times, an' Romeo,
he goes, just for divilment, an' he puts on a mask tew, so as they
didn't know him, else they'd ha' killed him, sure an' certain. An' theer
he sees Juliet, an' she was beautiful, an' he falls plump in love wi'
her, an' she falls in love wi' him, an' they meets o' nights, i' the
moonlight, on the window-ledge outside her room, but they had to meet
i' secret, 'cause the two fam'lies was like cat an' dog, an' there'd ha'
been awful doin's if they'd been found out. Well, old Capilet--that was
Juliet's feyther--he finds a husband for Juliet, a nice chap enough, a
count, like Lord Barfield, on'y younger an' likelier. An' Juliet, she
gets welly mad, because she wants to marry Romeo. And then, to mek
matters wuss, Romeo meets one o' Juliet's relations, a young man named
Tybalt, as hates him like pison, an' they fowt, an' Romeo killed him.
Well, the Capilets was powerful wi' the king as ruled in Verona, like
Joseph used to be with Pharaoh in the Holy Land, my dear, an' Romeo, he
has to run away an' hide himself, else p'raps they'd ha' hung him
for killin' Tybalt, though it was Tybalt as begun the fight, so poor
Juliet's left all alone. An' her marriage day's a-gettin' near, and old
Capilet, he's stuck on her marryin' the count, an' the day's been named,
and everything provided for the weddin'. Well, Romeo takes a thought,
an' goes to a friar, a kind o' priest, as was a very book-learned man,
and asks if he can help him. And at first he says no, he can't, an'
Romeo gets that crazed, he's goin' to kill himself, but by an' by he
thinks of a plan. He gives Juliet a bottle o' physic stuff to send her
to sleep, and make her look as if she was dead. Then her relations 'll
be sure to bury her i' the family vault, an' he'll write to Romeo to
come back to Verona i' the night-time an' take her out o' the vault, an'
goo away quiet wi' her till things have blown over, an' they can come
back again. An' Juliet takes the physic, an' everybody thinks her dead,
her father, an' her mother, an' her old nuss, an' Paris--that's the
name of the gentleman as they wanted her to marry--an' there's such a
hullabaloo an' racket as niver was. An' they buried her i' the vault,
wi' all her relations, an' the old friar thinks as it's all a-comin'
straight. But the letter as he'd writ to Romeo niver reaches him, an'
Romeo hears as how Juliet's really dead, and he buys a bottle o' pison,
an' comes to Juliet's grave i' the night-time, an' there he meets Paris,
as has come to put flowers there an' pray for Juliet's soul, knowin'
no better and lovin' her very dear. An' him an' Romeo fights, and Romeo
kills him, an' opens the vault, an' go's in, an' theer's Juliet, lyin'
stiff an' stark, because the physic ain't had time to work itself off
yit. An' he kisses her, an' cries over her, and then he teks the pison,
and dies. An' just as he's done it, Juliet wakes up, and finds him dead,
and she takes his knife, an' kills herself, poor thing, an' that's the
hend on 'em.'

The old sentimentalist's eyes were moist, and her voice choked, as she
concluded her legend. It was the first love-story Dick had ever heard,
and in pity at the beautiful narrative, which no clumsiness of narration
could altogether rob of its pathos, he was crying too. There is no
audience like an impressionable child, and the immortal story of love
and misfortune seemed very pitiful to his small and tender heart.

'Why, theer! theer! Dick! It's only a story, my dear, wrote in a
book,' said Mrs Jenny. 'It most likely ain't true, an' if it is, it
all happened sich a time ago as it's no good a-frettin' about it. Why,
wheeriver did you get all them warts? 'She took one of the hands with
which Dick was rubbing his eyes. 'You should have 'em looked tew, they
quite spile your hands. I must get Rufus Smith to have a look at 'em.
You know who we'm agoin' to see, don't you? You've heard tell o' the
Dudley Devil, Dick?'

'Yes,' said Dick. 'Ichabod goes to him for his rheumatism.'

'It's on'y a step away. That's his cottage, over there. We'll get him to
charm the warts away.'

A hundred yards farther on Mrs. Jenny checked the pony, and, dismounting
from the vehicle, bade Dick tie him to an elder-shoot and follow her.
They went through a gap in a ruinous hedge, and traversed a furzy field,
at the farther side of which stood the wizard's hut, a wretched place
of a single story, with a shuttered window and a thatched roof full of
holes and overgrown with weeds. As they approached the door a mighty
clatter was audible within, and Mrs. Jenny held the boy's hand in a
tightened grasp, fearful of devilry. As they stood irresolute to
advance or retreat, a big cat dashed out at the doorway with a feline
imprecation, and the wizard appeared, revengefully waving a stick, and
swearing furiously.

'Cuss the brute,' he said, 'the divil's in her, sure an' sartin'.'

It seemed not unlikely to the onlookers, the cat being the wizard's
property, and therefore, by all rule and prescription, his prompter and
familiar. She was not of the received colour, however, her fur being
of a rusty red. But as she raised her back, and spat at her master's
visitors from under her chubbed tail, she looked demoniac enough for
anything. And from the fashion in which, her anathema once launched, she
sat down and betook herself to the rearrangement of her ruffled coat, it
might have been conjectured that it was not purely personal to them, but
that they were attacked merely as types of the human race, whose society
she and her master had forsworn.

'Cuss her!' reiterated the wizard. 'Where's her got tew? My soul, what's

He peered with a short-sighted terror-stricken scowl on Mrs. Jenny
and her charge, as if for a moment the fancy had crossed him that his
refractory familiar had taken their shapes. His gray lips muttered
something, and his fingers worked oddly as he took a step or two
forward, clearly outlined in the cold winter sunshine against the black
void beyond his open door.

'Why, Rufus, what's the matter?' asked Mrs. Jenny. 'Don't look like that
at a body.'

'It's you, mum?' said the necromancer. A look of relief came into his
wizened face. 'I didn't know but what it might be----' His voice trailed
off into an indistinct murmur, and he smeared his hand heavily across
his face, and looked at it, mistrustfully, as if he rather expected to
find something else in its place. 'Cuss her!' he said again, looking
round for the cat.

'What's she done?' demanded Mrs. Jenny.

'Done? Ate up all my brekfus, that's what she's done,' rejoined
the wizard. The familiar grinned with a relish of the situation so
fiendishly human that Dick clung closer to Mrs. Rusker's hand, and
devoutly wished himself back in the trap. To his childish sense the
incongruity of one gifted with demoniac powers being helpless to prevent
the depredations of his own domestic animal did not appeal. As for Mrs.
Jenny, she had piously believed in witchcraft all her life, and was
quite as insensible to the absurdity as he.

'I want you to look at this young gentleman's hands,' said Mrs. Busker.
'He's got warts that bad. I suppose you can charm 'em away for him?'

Appealed to on a point of his art, the wizard's air changed altogether.
He assumed an aspect of wooden majesty.

'Why, yis,' he said. 'I think I'm equal to that Step inside, mum, and
bring the young gentleman with you.'

'Couldn't you-------' Mrs. Busker hesitatingly began, 'couldn't you do
it outside?'

'The forms and ceremonies,' said the necromancer, with an increase of
woodenness in his manner, 'cannot be applied out o' doors. Arter you,

He ushered them into the one room of his hut, and the cat, with her
tail floating above her like a banner, entered too, evading a kick, and
sprang upon a rotten deal shelf, which apparently acted as both dresser
and table.

Rufus closed the ruinous door, thereby intensifying the gloom which
reigned within the place. The floor was of simple earth, unboarded,
and the air smelt of it Here and there a fine spear of ghostly sunlight
pierced a crack in roof or wall. By the time their eyes had become
accustomed to the gloom they saw that Rufus, on his knees on the floor,
was scratching a circle about himself with a scrap of a broken pot, and
the indistinct rhythmic murmur of the spell he muttered reached their

The cat, perched upon the dresser, purred as if her internal machinery
were running down to final collapse, and her contracting and dilating
eyes borrowed infernal fires from the chance ray of sunshine in which
she sat. The brute's rusty red head, so lit, fascinated Dick, and the
mingled rhythms of her purring and the wizard's mounted and mounted,
until to his bewildered mind the whole world seemed filled with their
murmur, and the demoniac head seemed to dilate as he gazed at it.
Suddenly, Rufus paused in his sing-song, and the cat's purr ceased with
it, as though her share of the charm was done.

'Come into the ring,' said Rufus. His voice was shaky, and if there had
been light enough to see it, his face was gray with terror of his own
hocus-pocus. The cat's head had dropped out of the line of sunlight, and
she had coiled herself up on the dresser among a disorderly litter of
crockery ware. Dick, relieved from the fascination of her too-visible
presence, obeyed the summons, and Rufus, seating himself upon a broken
stool, took his hand in moist and quivering fingers, and touching the
warts one by one, recommenced his mumble. It had proceeded for a minute
or so, when a crash, which, following as it did on the dead stillness,
an earthquake could scarce have equalled, elicited a scream from Mrs.
Jenny and brought the wizard to his knees with a yell of terror.

'My blessid!' he cried, with clacking jaws, 'I've done it at last! Get
thee behind me, Satan!'

In terror-stricken earnest he believed that the Great Personage he had
passed all his life in trying to raise had answered to his call at
last. So, though it was unquestionably a relief to him to find that the
appalling clatter had merely been caused by his familiar's pursuit of
a mouse among the crockery, a shade of disappointment may have followed
the discovery.

'Cuss her!' he said, for the third time that morning, and with
additional unction. 'Her'll be the death of me some day, I know her


A summer sunset filled all the sky above Castle Barfield and its
encircling fields. The sun had disappeared, leaving behind him a broad
reflected track of glory where, here and there, a star was faintly
visible. A light wind was blowing from the hollow which sheltered the
town towards the higher land whereon the rival houses of Eeddy and
Mountain faced each other. Below, it was already almost night, and as
the wind blew the shadow mounted, as if the wind carried it. The rose
and gold left by the departing sun faded down the sky, and settled at
the horizon into a broad band of deep-toned fire, which, to one facing
it in ascending from the lower ground, seemed to bind the two houses
together. Some such fancy might have been in the head of Mrs. Jenny
Rusker, as she went in the warm evening air towards the little eminence
on which stood the long low-built house of Samson Mountain, already
a-twinkle with occasional lights in the gloom, its own bulk cast against
the fast-fading band of sunset.

Mrs. Jenny, hale and vigorous yet, and still a widow, was older by
fifteen years than on the day when she unfolded to Dick Reddy the story
of Romeo and Juliet. Fifteen years was a good slice out of a lifetime,
even in Castle Barfield in the first half of the century, when time
slipped by so quietly and left so little trace to mark his flight.

She passed the gate which opened on the public road, and entered the
Mountain domain. The air was so still that the bubble of the boundary
brook was clearly audible a hundred yards away, with nothing to accent
it but the slow heavy flap of a late crow, winging his reluctant flight
homewards, and save for him, sky and earth alike seemed empty of life,
and delivered wholly to the clinging peace of evening. So that when Mrs.
Jenny came to the only clump of trees in her line of progress between
the gate and the house the little scream of surprise with which she
found herself suddenly face to face with an unexpected human figure was

'Sh-h-h! 'said the figure's owner. 'Don't you know me, Aunt Jenny?'

'Dick!' said Mrs. Jenny, peering at him. 'So it is. You welly frightened
the life out o' me. What brings you here, of all places in the world?'

'Can't you guess?' asked Dick. He was tall and broad-shouldered now,
an admirable fulfilment of the physical promise of his boyhood, and far
overtopped Mrs. Rusker. 'It isn't for the first time.'

'I feared not,' said the old woman. 'You was allays main venturesome.'

'It will be for the last, for some time, Aunt Jenny. I leave Castle
Barfield to-morrow.'

'Leave Barfield?' cried the old woman. 'Why, Dick, wheer are ye goin'?
You ain't agoin' to do nothin' rash, that I do hope.'

'I am going to London,' said Dick, 'and I must see Julia before I go.
You must help me. You are going to the house now, aren't you?'

'Going to London?' repeated Mrs. Eusker, who had no ears for the last
words after that announcement. 'What's made you so hot foot to go to
London all of a minute like?'

'It was decided to-day. My father suspects what is going on. I feel
sure of it, though he has never said a word about it. You know he always
meant to make a doctor of me--it was my own choice when I was quite a
little fellow, and it has always been understood. Last month he asked me
if I was of the same mind still, and to-day he told me that my seat is
taken in the coach from Birmingham. You know my father, Aunt Jenny, as
well as I do. He has been a very good father to me, and I would not give
him pain or trouble for the world. I could not refuse. Indeed, it is
my last chance of ever doing anything for myself and making a home for

'My dear, they'll never hear on it, nayther of 'em. Samson Mountain 'd
rather see his daughter in her coffin than married to any kin of Abel
Reddy's. Though he loves her, too, in a kind o' way. An' your father's
jist as hard; he's on'y quieter with it, that's all They'll niver
consent Niver, i' this world.'

'Then we must do without their consent, that's all. I must see Julia
to-night, and you must help me. Tell her that I am here and must see
her. Oh, Aunt Jenny, you are surely not going to desert us now, after
helping us so often.'

'I'm dub'ous, my dear. I hope good may come of it, but I'm dub'ous. I'm
doubtful if I did right in helping you, again your father's will, an'
Mr. Mountain's, too.'

'You won't refuse to do so little, after doing so much,' pleaded the
young man. 'Why, it was at your house that I used to meet her, when we
were children together, and you first christened us Romeo and Juliet.'

'A name o' bad omen, my dear. I wish I hadn't gi'en it to you now.'

'For niver was a story o' more woe, Than this o' Jewliet an' her Romeo.'

'I don't believe much in omens,' said Dick. 'But you will tell Julia
that I am here, won't you? It's the last time, for ever so long.'

'I'll tell her,' said Mrs. Rusker. 'But don't stay here; goo down to the
Five Ash. Mr. Mountain's gone to Burmungem, an' he'll come across this
way when he comes back. You must tek a bit o' care, Dick, for the gell's

'I'll take care, dear. It's good-bye this time, Aunt. You've been very
good to me always, and I shan't forget your kindness while I'm away. And
you'll be good to Julia, too, while--while I'm away, won't you?'

Mrs. Rusker's objections had never had any heart in them, and had been
merely perfunctory, and such as she conceived her age and semi-maternal
authority compelled her to make. She was wholly given over to Dick and
Julia, and all her simple craft was for their service. She kissed him,
and cried over him, and so they parted, he bound for the Five Ash field,
and she for the farmhouse.

'Why, lacsaday, Jenny, whativer is the matter?' asked Mrs. Mountain,
when her visitor entered her sitting-room, and gave her tear-stained
cheek to her old friend's embrace. Julia, a lithe, graceful girl, rose
at the query from the other side of the little table, and came to Mrs.
Rusker's side.

'Why, you're cryin',' continued the elder woman. 'What is it, my dear,
as has upset you i' this wise?'

'Well, my dear,' said Mrs. Rusker, wiping her eyes and smoothing her
dress, as if her grief was done with and put away, 'it ain't a trouble
as I expects sympathy from you in.'

Mother and daughter exchanged glances.

'It must be a queer sort o' trouble, then,' said Mrs. Mountain; 'an'
you might tell me what it is afore you say that, Mrs. Rusker, arter all
these 'ears as we'n knowed each other.'

'Well, if you must know, I've jist sin young Reddy, i' the road, jist
outside the Five Ash.' Julia's hand was on her shoulder as she spoke,
and she felt the soft touch tremble. 'He's a-leavin' Barfield, agoin' to
London, for a long time.'

'Oh, that's the matter, is it? Well, I don't know anythin' agin the
young man, barrin' as he is a Reddy. An' for the matter o' that, though
o' course a woman has no ch'ice but to stand by the kin as her marries
into, I niver found much harm in 'em, unless it is as they're a bit
stuck up. I know as you was allays fond on him, an' I hope the young man
'll do well. I've often said to Samson as it was all rubbidge, a-keepin'
up a old quarrel like that, as keeps two dacent fam'lys at daggers
drawn. Theer, theer, let Julia get you a cup o' tay, an' let's talk o'
somethin' cheerful.'

'I'll go and send it in to you,' said Julia. She exchanged one quick
glance of intelligence with the widow as she left the room. The old
woman had done her errand, and Julia knew where to seek her lover.
She found her hat in the hall, and slipped out by the back way, after
directing the servant to take in the required refreshment to Mrs.
Busker. It was bright moonlight now, and as she ran lightly across the
Five Ash field in her white summer dress, Dick, waiting in the shelter
of the hedge, saw her plainly, and advanced to meet her.

'Oh, Dick, is it true?'

He took her in his arms and kissed her before he answered. 'Yes, dear,
it's true. I am going to London.'

'But why so suddenly, so soon?'

'I must, dear. It is my own choice. I am going to study, to fit myself
to take my place in the world, and to find a home for you. Be brave,
dear. It is only for a little time.'

'It is all so sudden.'

'Yes. I had hoped to stay a little longer, to see more of you, to get
used to my happiness before I lost it. But my father suspects, I am
sure, if he does not know, and I dared not refuse. It hurts me to go,
but what can I do? You know the man he is. And there is only one thing
in the world that your father would help him to do--to separate us. I
must go away and make a home for you with my own hands; we can expect no
help from them. If we are true to each other we shall be happy yet. Our
love may end the ridiculous family squabble which has lasted all these
generations. But it would be madness to speak yet.'

'It is that which makes me so unhappy, Dick. Why am I not like other
girls? Why can't you come to the farm and ask my father's leave to court
me, as other girls' sweethearts do, and as you would like to do? I
can't help feeling that this is wrong, meeting you in secret, and being
engaged to you against my father's will, without his knowledge.'

'The quarrel is not of our making, Julia. We only suffer by it. I hope
we shall bring it to an end, and teach two honest men to live at peace
together, as they ought. Why, you're crying.'

Her tears had been running quietly for some minutes past, but at this
she began to sob unrestrainedly. Dick comforted her in the orthodox
fashion, and in that sweet employment almost succeeded in forgetting
his own sorrow. He drew bright pictures of the future: youth held the
palette, and hope laid on the colour. Two or three years of partial
separation--so little--and he would have a livelihood in his hand, and
could offer her a safe asylum from parental tyranny, and bid his own
people either to accept the situation or renounce him, as they might
choose. He was quite heroic internally about the whole business. He felt
the promise of the coming struggle brace his nerves, and he was more
than ready for the test. Young love is selfish at the best, and the
heroic likeness of himself doing battle with the world of London half
obliterated the pitiful figure of the poor girl, left at home, with
nothing to fill her heart but dreams. For him, the delight of battle;
for her, long months of weary waiting.

It was no doubt of him, but only the rooted longing for assurance of his
love, that made her ask,

'You won't forget me, Dick, in London?'

Forget her! His repetition of the word, his little laugh of loving
scorn, were answer enough, though he found others, and arguments
unanswerable, to clinch them. How could he forget the sweetest, dearest
girl that ever drew the breath of life, the prettiest and the bravest?
She spoke treason against herself in asking such a question. He could
no more forget her in London than Romeo, Juliet in Mantua. She laughed
a little at his recalling the old story, from which Mrs. Jenny had
drawn so many illustrations of the course of their love since they were
children. It recalled the old woman to their minds.

'I shall write to you every week, and send the letters under cover to
her,' said Dick. 'And you may be sure that I shall find--or make--plenty
of opportunities to run down here from time to time. There is a coach
every day to Birmingham.'

They had been walking slowly all this time. It was night now, the last
gleam of sunset had faded, the stars were lustrous overhead, and a
yellow moonlight flooded the surrounding country. A long distance off,
faint but clear in the dead hush of the summer night, they heard, but
did not mark, the beat of horses' hoofs approaching them.

'I must go, Dick,' said Julia. 'It is late, and they will wonder where I
am No, let me go now, while I have the strength.'

He took her in his arms again, and her head dropped on his shoulder,
and the tears began to run afresh. He held her close, but in that last
moment of parting could find no word of comfort, only dumb caresses. The
hoof-beats were near at hand now, just beyond the bend of the road.
They rounded the corner, and broke on the lovers' ears with a loud and
startling suddenness. The girl broke away, and ran through the gate into
the field with a stifled sob. Dick turned, and walked down the road in
the direction of the approaching horseman. The moon was at the full, and
shone broadly upon his face and figure.

'Hullo!' cried the rider, in gruff challenge, and pulling his horse into
Dick's path, reined in. The young man looked up and recognised Samson
Mountain. Flight would have been as useless as ignominious, and it had
never been Dick's way out of any difficulty.

'Well?' he asked curtly, and stood his ground.

'Is that my daughter?' demanded Mountain, pointing with his heavy whip
after the white figure glinting across the field. 'Spake the truth for
once, though you be a Reddy.'

'It's a habit we have,' said Dick quietly. His calm almost surprised
himself. 'Yes.'

Mountain had always been of a heavy build, and of late years had
increased enormously in girth and weight. But his wrath at this
confirmation of his half guess stirred him so, that before the sound of
the word had well died out on the air he had dismounted, and came at the
young man with his riding-whip flourished above his head.

'Don't do that, sir.' Dick spoke in a low voice, though quickly; and
there was something in his tone which brought the weapon harmlessly to
the farmer's side again. 'It is your daughter. We love each other, and
she has promised to be my wife.'

Mountain staggered, as if the words had been a pistol bullet or a stab,
and struck furiously. Quick as was Dick's parry, he only half saved
himself, his hat spun into the road, and the whip whistled within an
inch of his ear. He made a step back, and stopped a second furious
stroke. The whip broke in the old man's hand, and he flung the remaining
fragment from him with a curse.

'I can't strike you, sir,' said Dick. 'You're her father.' Mountain's
choking breath filled in the pause, and Dick went on: 'You know well
enough there's not another man in England I'd take that from.'

'You're a coward, like all your tribe,' said Mountain.

'Not at all, I assure you, sir,' said Dick calmly. 'If you like to send
anybody else with that message, I'll talk to him. Let us talk sensibly.
What harm have I ever done you? Or my father either? Why should two
honest families keep up this ridiculous story, which ought to have been
buried ages back? Why not let bygones be bygones? I love your daughter.
I am a young man yet, sir, with my way to make in the world, and I
am going away to London to study. I met your daughter to-night to say
goodbye to her, and if you had not come I should have gone away and said
nothing until I could come and claim her, with a home worthy of her to
take her to.

But since you know, I speak now. We love each other, and intend to

'Oh!' said Mountain. He had gone all on a sudden as cool as Dick, and
nothing but his stertorous breathing hinted of the rage which filled
him. 'That's it, is it? Then, if you're finished, hear me. I ain't got
the gift o' the gab as free as you, but I can mek plain my meanin',
p'raps. I'd rather see her a-layin' theer '(he pointed with a trembling
hand at the ground between them); 'I'd rather lay her there, dead afore
my eyes, an' screw her in her coffin a'terwards, than you or any o' your
kin should as much as look at her, wi' my goodwill. And now you've got
your answer, Mr. Fair an' Fine. Remember it, an' look out for yourself.
For, by the Lord! 'he went on, with a solemn malignity doubly terrible
in a man whose passion was ordinarily so violent, 'if iver I ketch you
round my house again, I'll put a bullet atween thy ribs as sure as my
naame's Samson Mountain.'

With this, he took his horse by the bridle, and passed through the gate,
leaving the young man to his own reflections. He took the beast to the
stable, delivered him into the care of a servant, and made straight
for the parlour, where his wife and Mrs. Rusker were seated at an early

'You're back early, Sam,' said the former, rising to draw an additional
chair to the table. 'Wilt have some tay, or shall Liza draw you a jug o'

Samson returned no answer, either to this or to Mrs. Rusker's greeting.

'Lawk a mussy, what ails the man? 'asked Mrs. Mountain, as Samson stood
looking round the room. She had never seen such an expression on her
husband's face before. The skin was livid under its rude bronze, and his
lips twitched strangely.

'Wheer's that wench of ourn?' he asked, after a second glance round
the room, Mrs. Busker's heart jumped, and she held on tight to the
arm-pieces of her chair.

'Julia?' said Mrs. Mountain. 'Her's about the house, I reckon.'

'Call her here,' said Samson; and his wife wondering, but not daring to
question, went to the door of the sitting-room and screamed 'Julia!'
A servant girl came running downstairs at the call, and said that Miss
Julia did not feel well, and had gone to bed.

'Fatch her down,' said Samson from the sitting-room, and the girl, on
receipt of a confirmatory nod from Mrs. Mountain, went upstairs again.
Samson took a chair and sat with his head bent forward and his arms
folded, staring at the paper ornaments in the grate.

'Samson!' said his wife appealingly, 'don't skeer a body i' thisnin.
Whativer _is_ the matter?'

'Hold thy chat,' said Samson. 'Thee'st know soon enough,' and the trio
sat in silence until Julia entered the room. She was pale, and there
were traces of tears on her cheeks, and Samson, as he glanced at her
askance from under his heavy eyebrows before he rose, saw that she was
struggling to repress some strong emotion. She advanced to kiss him, but
he repelled her--not roughly--with his heavy hand upon her shoulder.

'You wanted to see me, father,' she asked, trembling.

'I sent for you.'

Mrs. Rusker was in a state of pitiable excitement, if anybody had had
the leisure to notice her.

'Theer's some'at happened to-day as it's fit an' right as yo' should
know. I met ode Raybould today i' th' Exchange, an' he tode me some'at
as I'd long suspected, about his son Tom. I reckon you know what it

Julia knew well enough. Tom Raybould was a young farmer, a year or two
older than herself. She had known him all her life, and he had been a
schoolfellow and chosen chum of her brother's. He had shown unmistakable
signs of affection for her, but had never spoken. He was a good fellow,
according to common report, and she had a good deal of liking and
respect for him, and a little pity, being a good girl, and no coquette.

'I see thee understandest,' said Samson. 'I told th' ode man as he might
look on it as settled, an' Tom 'll be here to-morrow. He's a likely lad,
an' he'll have all the Bush Farm when his father goes, as must be afore
long, i' the course o' nature. The two farms 'll goo very well in a
ring fence. Theer's no partic'lar hurry, as I know on, an' we'll ha' the
weddin' next wik, or the wik after.'

The girl's breast was labouring cruelly, in spite of the hand that
strove to still it.

'Father!' she said. 'You don't mean it!'

'Eh?' said Samson. 'I ginerally mean what I say, my wench. I should ha'
thout as yo'd ha' known that by this time.'

He stopped there, for Julia, but for her mother's arm, would have

'You great oaf!' cried Mrs. Mountain, irritated for once into open
rebellion. 'Oh, it's like a man, the stupid hulkin' creeturs as they
are, to come an' frighten the life out of a poor maid i' that style.'

'Theer, theer!' said Samson, with the same heavy and threatening
tranquillity he had borne throughout the interview. 'Tek her upstairs.'

He sat down again, and without another word filled and lit his
churchwarden, and stared through the smoke-wreaths at the grate.


Mrs. Jenny Rusker, who was half dead with fear of an _exposé_ of her
part in this unlucky love-affair, was additionally prostrated by the
dire reversal of all her hopes by Samson Mountain's ultimatum. Mrs.
Mountain, with the aid of a female servant, supported Julia upstairs,
and Samson smoked on stolidly, taking no note whatever of the visitor's
presence. Still in doubt of what Samson might or might not know, and
fearing almost to breathe, lest any reminder of her presence should call
down his wrath upon her, she listened to the tramping and the muffled
noises overhead until they ceased, and then, gathering courage from his
continued apathy, slipped from the room and left the house.

She got home and went to bed and passed an interminable night in tossing
to and fro, and bewailing the untoward fate of the two children. Dawn
came at last, though it had seemed as if it never would break again,
and, for the first time for many a year, the first gleam of sunlight saw
her dressed and downstairs. She felt feverous and ill, and having brewed
for herself a huge jorum of tansy tea, sat down over this inspiring
beverage, and tried to pull her scattered wits together and think out
some way of untangling the skein of difficulty with which she had to
deal. The danger was pressing, and if she had been herself the poor
lovesick girl who lay a mile away, stifling her sobs lest they should
reach her father's ears, and vainly calling on her lover's name, she
would scarcely have been more miserable.

One thing was clear. Dick must be warned, and his journey to London
postponed by some device. He might lie hidden for a day or two in
Birmingham, and Julia be smuggled there and secretly married. It was no
time for half measures, and whatever was done should be done quickly and
decisively. At this idea, at once romantic and practical, Mrs. Jenny's
spirits revived.

'Samson 'll disown Julia, I know. Her 'll never see a penny o' his
money. An' I doubt as Abel Reddy 'll do the same wi' Dick. He's just
as hard and bitter as th' other, on'y quieter wi' it. Well, they shan't
want while I'm alive, nor after my death neither, and Dick ud make his
own way with nobody's help. I'll write to him, and find somebody to take
the letter. I won't go myself, at this hour o' the day.'

She concocted a letter and sealed it, and putting on her bonnet sallied
out to find a messenger. Fate was so far propitious that scarce
a hundred yards from her door she met Ichabod Bubb, bound for his
morning's work at Perry Hall Farm. Ichabod was bent and gnarled and
twisted now, stiff in all his joints and slow of movement, but his
quaint visage bore the same look of uncertain and rather wistful humour
which had marked it in earlier times.

'Morning, mum,' he said, with a stiff-necked nod at Mrs. Jenny.

'Good-mornin', Mr. Bubb,' said the old lady. Ichabod beamed at this
sudden and unexpected ceremonial of title, and straightened his back.

'You 'm afoot early, mum.'

'Why, yes. But it's such a beautiful morning; it's a shaame to lie abed
a time like this.'

'So many folks, so many ways o' thinkin',' said the ancient one; 'not
as it's a sin as I often commits, nayther, 'cos why, I don't get the

'I've got a bit o' business as I want done, Mr. Bubb,' said Mrs. Busker,
'if ye don't mind earnin' a shillin'.'

'Why,' returned Ichabod, 'I don't know as I've got any, not to say
rewted, objection to makin' a shillin'.'

'You're goin' to the farm?' Ichabod nodded. 'Then I want you to take
this note to Mr. Richard. But mind, you must get it to him private.
Nobody else must know. D'you understand?'

'I'm all theer, missus,' responded Ichabod.

'Then there's the note, an' there's the shillin'. An' if you're back in
two hours you shall have a pint o' beer.' Ichabod took the note and the
shilling, and clattered off with a ludicrous show of despatch, and
the old lady returned to her sitting-room to await the result of his
message. It came in less than the appointed time, and disappointed her
terribly. Ichabod had ascertained that Dick had started half an hour
before his arrival at the farm for Birmingham, and would only return
to-morrow night to sleep and take away his luggage on the following

'And you come to me w' a message like that, y' ode gone-off!' said
the exasperated old woman. 'You might ha' caught him up i' the time as
you've wasted comin' back here.'

'Caught him up,' said Ichabod, with a glance at his legs. 'Yis, likely,
like a cow might ketch a race-hoss. I'm a gay fine figure, missus, to
ketch up the best walker i' the country-side.'

Mrs. Jenny was a woman, and therefore to offer her reason as an antidote
to unreasoning anger was merely to heap fuel on flame.

'Ah!' she said, reasonably enraged with the whole masculine half of her
species,' you're like the rest on 'em.'

'Then I'm sorry for the rest on 'em,' said Ichabod, 'whoever they may
be.' Here Mrs. Jenny shut the door upon him, leaving him in the street,
and retired to her sitting-room. But with beer to be gained by boldness,
Ichabod was leonine in courage. He knocked, and the summons brought
the old lady to the door again. Ichabod spoke no word, but writhed
his twisted features into a grin which expressed at once humorous
deprecation and expectancy, and rabbed the back of his veiny hand across
his bristly lips.

'Go round to the brewus,' said Mrs. Jenny; 'you'll find the maid there.
It's all you're fit for, ye guzzlin' old idiot.'

Ichabod retired, elate.

'Her tongue's a stinger; but, Lord bless thee, Ichabod, her bark's a
long sight worse than her bite. An' her beer's main good.'

Mrs. Jenny, meanwhile, retired to the sitting-room, and there sat
immersed in gloom. Things looked black for her young protégés, and fate
was against them. With that curious interest in familiar trifles which
comes with any fit of hopelessness or despondency, she sat looking at
the furniture of the room and the pictures which decorated the walls.
Among these latter was a work of her own hands, her masterpiece, a
reproduction in coloured wool of a German engraving of the last scene
of _Romeo and Juliet_. There was a pea-green Capulet paralytically
embracing a sky-blue Montague in the foreground, with a dissolving view
of impossibly-constructed servitors of both houses and the County Paris,
with six strongly accented bridges to his nose and a worsted tear upon
his cheek, in the background. Under this production was worked in white,
upon a black ground, the legend which Mrs. Rusker mournfully repeated as
she gazed on it--

     'For never was a story of more woe,
     Than this of Juliet and her Romeo';

and as she spoke the words an inspiration flashed into her mind. She had
her plan.

The new-born idea so possessed her that she could not sit or rest. It
drove her out, as the gad-fly drove lo, to devious wanderings in the
neighbouring lanes, and as she walked and walked, finding some little
ease in the unusual and incessant exercise, she drew nearer and nearer
to the Mountain Farm. As she paused on a little eminence and looked
towards it, the distant church bell struck clear across the intervening
fields, proclaiming nine o'clock.

'Thank the Lord,' said the old woman. 'I can go now. I dussent go too
early. They might suspect.'

She made straight for the house, and found Mrs. Mountain alone. Samson
was afield, and in answer to Mrs. Busker's inquiries regarding Julia,
Mrs. Mountain tearfully informed her that the poor girl was too ill to
come downstairs, and had not eaten a crumb of the tempting breakfast
prepared and sent to her room for her. Mrs. Mountain was voluble in
condemnation of her husband's lack of wit in his announcement of the
matrimonial scheme he had formed for the girl, and Mrs. Jenny was fluent
and honest in sympathy. Might she see the girl? Julia was fond of her,
and her counsels might bring some comfort. Mrs. Mountain yielded a ready
assent, and the old lady went up to the girl's room, and entering on
the languid summons which followed her knock, saw Julia seated at the
window, listless, dejected, and tearful The tears flowed even more
freely at the sight of her, and the girl sobbed on her old friend's
breast in full abandonment to the first great grief of her life.

'My dear,' said Mrs. Jenny, when this gush of sorrow was over, 'take a
bit o' heart. Things is rarely as bad as they seem; an' there's help at
hand always if we on'y know where to look for it.'

There was more meaning, to Julia's thinking, in the tone in which this
commonplace condolence was delivered than in the words themselves. Mrs.
Rusker's manner was big with mystery.

'Now, my darlin', I know you 'm a brave gal, and can act accordin' when
there's rayson for it. I've got a plan as 'll save you yet, if on'y
you've got the courage.'

Julia's clasped hands and eager look encouraged her to proceed.

'My dear, you remember _Romeo and Juliet?_ You remember how Juliet got
the sleepin' draught an' took it? 'Julia's look was one of wonder, pure
and simple, now. 'That's my plan, my dear, an' the Dudley Divil can do
it for us, if on'y you'll ha' the courage to tek it. Not as I mean as
you need be buried afore Dick comes to you. We shouldn't go as far as
that. But I'll get the stuff, an' it'll send you to sleep, an' they'll
think as you're dead, an' then I'll tell 'em how you an' Dick loved
each other so's you couldn't bear to part wi' him, an' the fear of it's
killed you. That'll soften their hard hearts, my dear. Old Reddy knows
all about it--that's why he's sendin' Dick away to London an' I'll get
him fetched back to see the last o' you, an' I'll mek your father an'
his father shaake hands, an' then you'll come to, an' after that what
can they do but marry you to Dick, an' forget all that rubbidge about
the brook, an' live in peace together, as decent folk should do.'

Julia's reception of this brilliant scheme, which Mrs. Rusker developed
with a volubility which left no opportunity for detailed objection, was
to fall back in her chair and begin to cry anew at the sheer hopeless
absurdity of it.

'What's the matter wi' the wench?' demanded Mrs. Rusker, almost sternly.
'Come, come,' she continued, her brief anger fading at the sight of
Julia's distress, 'have a bit o' sperrit. Now, will you try it? Spake
the word, an' I'll goo to the Divil this minute.'

This wholesale self-abandonment in the cause of love produced no effect
on Julia, except to frighten her. Mrs. Rusker argued and reasoned, but
finding her fears too obdurate to be moved by any such means, left
the house in dudgeon, whereat poor Julia only cried the more. But
Mrs. Rusker's confidence in her plan was unshaken, and her persistency
unchecked. She would save the silly girl against her will, since it must
be so, and half an hour after she had crossed the Mountain threshold she
was in her trap, _en route_ for the dwelling of the wizard.

She found that celebrity alone, and opened fire on him at once.

'Ruffis, I want thy help, an' I'm willin' to pay fur it.' The
necromancer's fishy eye brightened. Things were going poorly with him,
the rising generation followed newer lights unevident in his earlier
days, and his visitors were mostly of Mrs. Rusker's age, and were
getting fewer day by day.

'My skill's at your service, ma'am, such as it is,' he answered, with

'I want some'at as 'd send a body to sleep--mek 'em sleep for a long
time, wi'out hurtin' 'em. Can you doit?'

'Why, yis; I could do that much, I think.' His tone and manner intimated
vaguely how much more he could have done, and his disappointment at the
facility of his task. 'But,' he added prudently, 'it's a job as ain't s'
easy as you might fancy.'

Mrs. Busker laid a sovereign on the table.

'Wilt do it for that?' she asked.

The wizard stole a look at her. She was obviously very much in earnest.

'The hingredients,' he said, 'is hard to find, and harder to mix in doo

'I must have it now, and at once,' said Mrs. Busker.

'That,' said Rufus, 'ain't possible.' Mrs. Jenny laid a second piece of
gold beside the first 'It's a dangerous bisness, missus,' he went
on. 'Theer's noofangled laws about. 'Twas only last wik as that young
upstart, Doctor Hodges, comes an' threatens me with persecution as
a rogue an' vagabond, a-obtainin' money under false pertences for
practisin' my lawful an' necessary art. Why, it ain't so long since I
cured his mother o' the rheumatiz, as is more nor he can dew, wi' all
his drugs, an' the pestle an' mortar o'er his door.'

'You ought to know as you're safe wi' me, Rufus,' said Mrs. Rusker. 'Who
should I tell? Why, I should tell o' myself tew, at that raate; an' is
that likely?'

'It's dangerous, missus,' repeated the wizard.

'Well, if yo' won't, I must try them as wull,' said Mrs. Jenny, rising
and taking up the coins.

'I didn't say as I wouldn't,' returned Rufus. 'Theer's no call to be so
uppish But if I tek a chance like that I expect to be paid for it.'

'Two pound ud mek it wuth your while to do more than that.'

'I'll dew it,' said the wizard. 'Give us the money?'

'Wheer's the stuff?'

'Why, it ain't made yet. D'you think as I can percure a precious
hessence like that all of a minute?'

'Then mek it, an' I'll gie you the money.'

'Gi' me a pound in advance, an' I'll bring it to you.' And on that
understanding the bargain was made, and the time fixed for the delivery
of the potion. The intervening time was filled in by the astute wizard
journeying to a neighbouring town and procuring from a chemist a
sleeping draught, which he paid for out of Mrs. Busker's sovereign. He
turned up at Laburnum Cottage at the stipulated hour, handed over the
draught (having previously washed off the chemist's label), received his
second sovereign, and departed.

Mrs. Rusker, with the fateful bottle in the bosom of her dress, betook
herself again to Mountain Farm. Her unfeigned interest in the patient,
and the intimacy she had so long enjoyed with the whole family, made the
house almost as free to her as was her own, and when she took possession
of Julia in the capacity of nurse she was made welcome, and the poor
girl's other attendants hoped much from her ministration. Julia was
undoubtedly very ill, so ill that even Samson Mountain forbore to
force her to descend to the parlour in which Mr. Tom Raybould nervously
awaited her coming, and where, on Samson's return from his daughter's
chamber, the pair sat and drank their beer together in miserable
silence, broken by spasmodic attempts at conversation regarding crops
and politics. The doctor had been called in, and, knowing nothing of the
grief which was the poor girl's only ailment, had been too puzzled by
the symptoms of her malady to be of any great service. She was feverish,
excited, with a furred tongue and a hot skin. He had prescribed a mild
tonic and departed. Mrs. Jenny, intent on the execution of her plan,
gained solitary charge of her patient by telling Mrs. Mountain that her
attendance on her daughter had already told upon her, and advising a few
hours' rest.

'I don't feel very well,' Mrs. Mountain confessed. 'Not a wink o' sleep
have I had iver since Samson came home last night. Nor him nayther, for
the matter o' that, though he tried to desave me by snorin', whinever
I spoke to him; an' as for any sympathy--well, you know him aforetime,
Jenny--I might as well talk to that theer poker.'

Then Jenny was fluent in condolence, and at last got the old lady out of
the room.

'When did you take your medicine last, my dear?' she asked the patient
'Ain't it time as you had another drop?'

'It doesn't do me any good,' said the patient fretfully. She knew better
herself what was wrong with her than anybody else could guess, and only
longed passionately to be alone and free to think and cry over her lost
love and broken hopes.

'Why, my dear, you've on'y took one dose yit,' said Machiavel. 'You
must give it time. I'll pour you out another.' Her back was towards the
patient as she clattered about among the glasses on the table with a
shaking hand. She poured out the wizard's potion, the phial clinking
against the edge of the glass like a castanet, and her heart beating so
that she almost feared Julia would hear it The girl at first pettishly
refused the draught, but Mrs. Jenny, in her guilty agitation, made short
work of her objections, and poured it down her throat almost by main

'Maids must do as their elders bid 'em,' she said, as she returned the
glass to its place.

'It doesn't taste the same,' moaned the patient

'You're like all th' other sick folk I iver nursed. As fall o' fancies
as you can stick,' said Mrs. Jenny. 'Lie quiet, and try an' go to

The girl lay silent, and Mrs. Jenny, more than half wishing the whole
business had never been begun, sat and listened to her breathing. She
stirred and sighed once or twice, but after a while lay so utterly still
that the old lady ventured to approach the bed. Julia's face was almost
as white as her pillow, and her breath was so light that it hardly
stirred the coverlet above her bosom.

'It's a-workin,' said Mrs. Rusker.


Mrs. Jenny's simple faith in the talents of Rufus Smith underwent
a severe trial during the ensuing night. She had left Julia still
sleeping, and the memory of the last glance she had bestowed upon the
white face in the light of the carefully-shaded candle haunted her
all night, and roused a foreboding too dismal to be expressed, or even
formulated in definite thought. The matchmaker lay and trembled all
night at that terrible idea, and again the pale-faced dawn visited a
sleepless pillow, and found her haggard with anxiety and lack of sleep.
Juliet's query to the Friar had been, 'What if the potion should not
work?' but Mrs. Jenny's terrified inquiry of her own soul was, 'What if
it had worked too well?' What if it had killed Julia in very deed? It
was too horrible to happen, Mrs. Jenny said to herself. Too horrible to
think of. But, if it had happened, she would have nothing else to think
of all her life, and the fancy drove her nearly mad.

She was dressed and afoot even earlier than on the preceding morning.
She crept out and encircled the Mountain Farm in a radius of a mile
or thereabouts, looking anxiously towards it at every step, as if its
silent walls might speak comfort or confirm her fears, even at that
distance. The house looked peaceful enough amid its surrounding trees
under the tranquilly broadening light of dawn, but Mrs. Rusker knew how
ghastly white the face of the poor child she loved as her own might
look in that roseate glow. Presently a thin line of smoke curled from a
chimney on the noiseless air. The farm was waking to its daily round
of life. A burly figure on horseback came towards her as she stood on a
little eminence. She waited long enough to identify Samson Mountain,
and hid among the ferns and bushes until the horse's hoof-beats had
clattered swiftly by on the stony road below her, and faded in the

Time crept on, slow but inexorable. She longed, as she had never longed
before for anything, for the courage to go to the farmhouse and ask
tidings of Julia. But her fear was greater than her longing, and she
roamed at random in a circle, never losing sight of the house, but not
daring to approach it or be seen from its windows. She dreaded what
might be the news to greet her there. She feared her own face, with its
haggard lines of sleeplessness and anxious watching. At last, from the
very depths of her misery, she plucked the heart of despairing hope, and
made for the farm. The farm labourers and country folk she met stared
after her. Even their bovine understandings were troubled by her scared
face. She scarcely saw them, or anything but the farmhouse, which drew
her now with an influence as strong as its repulsion had been an hour
ago. She entered the house by the back door, and made straight for the
sitting-room. Mrs. Mountain was there, arranging a tray, on which were
tea and jam and other homely luxuries. She wore her ordinary look of
placid contentment, and at the sight of her quiet face Mrs. Rusker
dropped panting, with a vague unformulated feeling of relief, into a

'Sakes alive! Whativer is the matter?' demanded Mrs. Mountain.

'Julia!' panted the visitor. 'How's Julia?'

'Why,' said Mrs. Mountain, 'how should her be?'

'Is she awake yet?' asked Mrs. Jenny, more calmly.

'No. Her was sleepin' when I seed her, jist for a minute, a hour ago.
I'm jist goin' upstairs wi' some breakfast for her. Well, I declare, yo'
look as pale as a ghost. What's the matter with you?'

'Oh, I've passed a miserable night,' said Mrs. Jenny, in unconscious
quotation from her favourite poet. 'I couldn't sleep a-thinkin' o'

'Well, then, you do look poorly,' said her hostess, with all her
motherly heart warmed by this solicitude for her daughter. 'Why, theer's
no cause to fret i' that way. To be sure, Samson might ha' knowed better
than to blunder such a thing as that right out, but, then, he's a man,
and that'd account for a'most anything. Married life might teach 'em
better, you'd think, and yet after nigh on forty year on it he knows
no more about women folk than any bachelor i' Barfield. Theer, tek your
bonnet off, an' I'll gi' ye a cup o' tay, an' then you can goo upstairs
wi' me and see the wench.'

Mrs. Jenny gratefully accepted the proffered tea, and, having drunk it,
much to her inward refreshment, accompanied Mrs. Mountain upstairs. As
the latter had said, the girl was sleeping still, and Mrs. Busker saw
that her position had not changed by a hair's breadth. She lay like a
carven statue, her face marble white in the clear morning light.

'I'm a'most doubtful about wakin' her,' said her mother. 'Theer's no
doubt as Samson gi'en her a shock, an' sleep's good for her. But her's
had welly fifteen hours of it now, if she's been asleep all the tima
Julia, my love,' she said softly, almost in the sleeper's ear. 'My
sakes, how pale her is. Jenny! come here!'

They both bent above her. Mrs. Rusker's heart was beating like a muffled
drum, and seemed, to her own ears, to fill the house with its pulsation.

'Julia!' said Mrs. Mountain again, in a louder voice, and shook the girl
with a tremulous hand, 'Julia!'

The white eyelids did not even stir.

'My blessid! Julia! Don't skeer a body i' this way!' She shook the girl
again. 'Jenny! whativer's come to the silly wench?'

Mrs. Jenny was more frightened, and with better reason, than her
companion. Julia's marble pallor, and the awful stillness of her
form--the keenest glance could not detect a quiver in the face or a
heave of the bosom--almost stilled that exigent pulse within her own
breast with a sudden anguish of despair.

'Oh, Jenny, she's a-dyin'!'

Mrs. Mountain's scream rang through the house, and startled every soul
within it, except that marble figure on the bed. Hurried steps came up
the stairs, the heavy tread of a man, the light patter of women's feet,
and the room filled as if by magic.

'Fetch a doctor,' screamed Mrs. Jenny; 'Julia's a-dyin'!'

Samson Mountain stood for one moment with his hands aloft and his eyes
glaring at his daughter. Then he dropped with a sobbing groan into a
chair, with his head in his hands. There was a general scream from the
women. One, more serviceable than the rest, called from the window to a
gaping yokel below in the yard, and bade him ride for help. Her face and
voice froze him for a moment, but he caught the words 'Miss Julia,' and
two minutes after he was astride a broad-backed plough-horse, making for
the distant village.

Samson Mountain sat with his face hidden and spoke no word; at the sight
of him his wife's face had turned to sudden rage, and she stood over
him like a ruffled hen, and clacked commination of masculine imbecility,
intermixed with wild plaints for her child.

Julia slept through the tumult as she had slept through the calm, and
Mrs. Jenny, kneeling beside her with her face in the bedclothes, moaned
love and penitent despair. Samson raised his head at last, and looked
with a dazed stare first at his daughter and then at his wife, and left
the room without a word, pursued by a hailstorm of reproach. He went
into the yard and pottered aimlessly about, looking old and broken on
a sudden. The sound of horses' hoofs roused him; it was the rustic
messenger returning. 'Where's the doctor?' demanded Samson. 'Gone to
Heydon Hey. What am I to dew?' 'Follow him an' fetch him back. Hast not
gumption enough to know that?' asked Samson wearily. The man started
again, and Samson began once more his purposeless wanderings about the
yard. He had no sense of time or place, only a leaden weight on heart
and limb, which in all his life he had never known before. He leaned his
elbows on the fence of the fold yard, and became conscious of a running
figure which neared him rapidly. He watched it stupidly, and it was
within twenty yards of him before he recognised it--Dick Reddy, dust and
mud to the collar, hatless, and panting.

'Julia!' he gasped. 'Tell me, is it true?' 'Julia's dyin,' said Samson.
'My God!' he cried, with sudden passion, as if his own voice had
unlocked the sealed fountain of his grief, 'my little gell's a-dyin'!'

'Mr. Mountain,' said Dick, 'I love her, you know I love her. Let me see
her.' His voice, broken with fatigue and emotion, his streaming eyes,
his outstretched hands, all pleaded with his words.

'It's all one who sees her now,' said Samson, and leaned his elbows on
the fence again. Dick took the despairing speech for a permission,
and entered the house. At the bottom of the stairs, in the otherwise
deserted hall, he met Mrs. Jenny, a very moving statue of terror.

'Dick,' she said, clutching the young man by the arm, 'I can't abear it
any longer. Come in here wi' me.' She pulled him into a side room, and
sitting down, abandoned herself to weeping, wringing her hands, and

'I can't abear it any longer,' she repeated. 'I must tell somebody, an'
I'll tell you. It's all my wicked cruel fault.'

The old woman was so crazed with her secret that she would have spoken
in the shadow of the gibbet. Ramblingly and incoherently, with many
breaks for tears and protestations and self-accusation, she told her

'I've killed her, Dick. But it was for your sake and hers as I done it.
I reckon they'll hang me, an' it'll serve me right.' She besought him
not to betray her, and, in the same breath, announced her intention to
surrender herself at once to the parish constable; and, indeed, between
fear and remorse and sorrow for the hopeless love she had striven to
befriend, was nearly mad. Dick heard her with such amazement as may be
best imagined, and suddenly, with a cry that rang in her ears for many a
long day afterwards, ran from her and scaled the stairs to Julia's
room, led thither by the sound of Mrs. Mountain's weeping. The old woman
stared, as well she might, at the intrusion, with a wonder which for a
moment conquered sorrow. He went straight to the bed, and leaned over
the stark figure upon it.

'She's not dead yet,' he said, more to himself than to the
grief-stricken mother. Mrs. Mountain heard the words, and clutched his
arm. He turned to her. 'Trust me,' he said, 'and I'll save her.' The
wild hope in the mother's eyes was terrible to see. 'I love her,' said
Dick. 'You will trust me? Do as I bid you, and you shall have Julia back
in an hour.'

Samson Mountain meanwhile wandered in the same purposeless fashion
about the farm, and held dumb converse with himself. He was a rough man,
something of a brute--a good deal of an animal--but animals have their
affections, and he loved Julia as well as it was in his nature to love
anything. It was ingrained in him by nature and by years of unquestioned
domination to bully and browbeat all defenceless people; but Julia, the
most defenceless of his surroundings, had been treated always with a
lighter hand. Childlike, she had taken advantyage of her immunity in
many little ways, and though Samson had never forborne to bluster at her
girlish insubordination, he rather liked it than not, and relished his
daughter's independence and spirit. Julia was the only creature in the
household who dared to hold her own against him. He was proud of her
beauty and what he called her 'lurning,' and, more or less grumblingly,
petted her a good deal, and would have spoiled her had she been of
spoilable material. But till this heavy blow fell he had never sounded
the depths of his own affection for her. The suddenness of the blow
stunned and bewildered him. He remembered his words to Dick during their
stormy interview in the road, when he had said that he would rather see
Julia dead than married to him. Had Providence taken him at his word? He
did not say it, he did not even think it consciously, but he would have
submitted to almost any conceivable indignity at the hands of Abel Eeddy
himself, to have felt his daughter's arms about his neck again. Little
incidents of Julia's past life were fresh and vivid in his memory. He
had forgotten many of them, years ago, but they sprang up in his mind
now, like things of yesterday.

He had wandered back to the front of the house, and sat upon the rustic
bench beside the porch, with his elbows propped upon his knees, and his
eyes hidden in his shaking hands, when a voice fell on his ear.


He raised his head. Abel Reddy stood before him.

With something of the old instinct of hatred he had believed to be
unconquerable he rose and straightened himself before the hereditary

'Neighbour,' said Reddy again. The word was pacific, but Mountain's
blurred eyes, dim with pain and dazzled by the sunlight, could not see
the pity in his old enemy's face, and he waited doggedly. 'It's come to
my ears as you're i' sore trouble. So am I. Your trouble's mine, though
not so great for me as it is for you, I was wi' Dick when he heard o'
your daughter's danger, an' what I'd suspected a long time I know now to
be the truth. I did my best to keep 'em apart--it was that as Dick was
going to London for. It seemed to behove me to come to you and offer you
my hand i' your affliction. I take shame to myself that I didn't mek
an effort to end our quarrel long ago. We're gettin' on in life, Mr.
Mountain, and we've got th' excuse o' hot blood no longer.'

Therewith he held out his hand, and Samson, with hanging head, took it
with a growl, which might have been anathema or blessing. And as the
life-long enemies stood so linked, a window was suddenly opened above,
and Mrs. Mountain's voice screamed to her husband,

'Samson! Her's alive! Her's awake! 'Both men looked up, and beheld an
unexpected picture framed by the open window, Dick violently embraced
by Mrs. Mountain, and submitting to the furious assault with obvious

'When the liquor's out, why clink the cannikin?' The story of Julia
and her Romeo, like all other stories, had found its end, and merged a
little later into the history of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Reddy. The family
feud was buried, and Samson and Abel made very passable grandfathers and
dwelt in peace one with another. Dick never told a living soul, not even
Julia herself, of the stratagem by which Mrs. Jenny had succeeded in
uniting them, and Mrs. Jenny, by complete reticence on the subject,
disproved the time-worn calumny which declares woman's inability to keep
a secret.


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Julia And Her Romeo: A Chronicle Of Castle Barfield - From "Schwartz" by David Christie Murray" ***

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