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of no roads,” returned Tom, visibly “Gruel!” said Joe, glancing inmoved; "a long life and a merry dignantly towards Richard. “Gruel one to yo', mon! But business is for a mon o' my years, and as wake business, yo' known, and Sunny- as I feel myseľ! Theer, Dick, fields has got that poor and mossy thot's how us owd folk gets put there isna welly pasture for a goat upon! Tom, theer, 'ull be sot on 'em."
down to a gradely bit o' beef in “Eh, thou’rt a gradely farmer, a two three minutes, an' our Mary thou art !” put in his father-in-law, 'ull gi' him his quart o' beer reet sarcastically " Thou’lt make a enough; but theer's nobbut gruel fortin soon, for sure! Wonderful for feyther.” clever thou art, Tom Rainford ! “Ah," groaned Richard, comEh, thou'lt happen mak' shift to miseratingly, with a sigh which drive a straight drill afore thou's seemed to come from the very done."
depths of his capacious waistcoat. “Ho, ho, ho!” came in sten- Tom retired discreetly down-stairs; torian tones from the stairs, and the dispute over Joe's gruel was a broad red face appeared over of nightly occurrence, and he Tom's shoulder. "Thou’rt in th' wished to avoid being drawn in reet on't, mon ! I can always by either party. tell when yo'r Tom's been ploughin'. “Well, yo' known,” said Mary, The drills goes wrigglin' an' wom- persuasively, “ doctor's orders mun blin' across the field till they look be obeyed, else he'll be bargin' at mich same as snigs.”
An' th' gruel's lovely, feyther! Tom laughed uneasily, and with eh, the groats—I never see sich a protesting “Nay, nay," moved fine ones!” to one side to make way for the “I never mak' mich count o' new-comer. This was Joe's special groats nobbut i' black-puddin's," crony, Richard Woodcock, a big retorted her parent. “Eh ! I burly patriarch well on in the could fancy a black-puddin' rarely. seventies, with a face so red that I could do with summat a bit it positively seemed to glow from tasty if I could get it—but this out its framework of white whis- here nasty sickly stuffker, and a figure so broad that he It fair turns my stoomach !" was obliged to turn sideways to Richard groaned again, and enter the door. The boards creaked withdrawing his pipe from his as he crossed the room to Joe's mouth, pointed with the stem at bed. Taking up his position at Mary. the bottom, he leaned over the “Th' poor owd lad's welly wooden rail and nodded. Joe clemmed,” he observed, indignantnodded back. Richard, putting ly. " Clemmed he is! He wants his hand in his pocket, produced nourishin' food—thot's what he a serviceable black pipe, which wants. A bit of beefsteak wi' he silently proceeded to fill and th' gravy in't-" light. Joe, catching Mary's eye, “Or a sassage," put in Joe, pointed to a similar pipe on the peering at his daughter from chimney - piece, and, drawing a under his eyelashes to see how tobacco pouch from under his pil. she took the suggestion. low, nodded again, commandingly. "Or happen a pork-pie," re
“Yo'd happen best sup your sumed Farmer Woodcock, with a gruel first,” insinuated Mary, ap- magisterial air. “Summat as 'ull proaching with the mug afore- ston' to him i'th long weary mentioned.
neets as he lays awake coughin'.”
“Well ! doctor said,” responded hasn't 'ad the experience, lad. Eh, Mary, in a plaintive tone, for she poor owd Dr Wells, he were the was wounded at the implied re- fur my money!
Never flection on her filial piety—"doc- know'd nought when he coom, an' tor said as he weren't to have larn't it all practisin' o'th' cottagenowt nobbut slops. 'Nothin' solid folk. I've 'eard him say so hissel' at all,' says he; 'no beer unless mony a time.
"That's the way to yo' want ť kill him straight off. larn,' he'd say, so jov’al-like, buy Th’only stimulant mun be a table-yo'r experience for yor'sel',' he'd spoonful or two o' brandy now an' say.” then.'
Ah, he were a mon o' the reet “Well, then,” said Joe, some- mak',” agreed Joe. " Allus that what reviving, "go an' fetch it friendly an' pleasant, ready for a now, theer's a good lass. Happen joke wi' ony one, an' thankful fur a drop or two in this here sloppy a glass o' summat warm jest same stuff 'ud mak' it slip down a bit as oursel's. I mind him here when easier-an' fetch a glass an' a sup our missus were layin'-in' wi' our of hot water for Dick here at Mary, theer he sot i' th’ nook supsame time. Coom then,” he add- pin'at's tumbler, and lookin' round ed, turning towards his crony with now an’again—'Cheer up, woman,' a brightening face as she retired, he'd say; 'it's a poor 'eart as niver " we'll have soom mak' of a do to rejoices,' says he.' ’earten oursel's up a bit 'as how "Ah!” resumed Richard, ad'tis."
miringly, “I have seen poor owd Mrs Rainford presently returned Dr Wells as fuddled as I met be with a black bottle and a tumbler mysel'—mony & time I have ! half full of hot water, and after Allus so hearty-like! One oth?
' measuring out a portion for each, better mak' he was, an' niver one again withdrew, closing the door for physickin' an' clemmin' a mon. after her. Old Dick followed her I mind when my owd feyther were with his eyes.
agate o' deein' he coom an' stood “I know'd hoo'd tak’ bottle wi' a'side o' bed. Mon,' says he, her!” he remarked, in dudgeon. 'yo'r time's up. I can do nought
“Eb, hoo's noan the lass hoo to mend ye,' says he. • But mak' used to be," returned Joe, falling the best of a bad job!
Con yo' to at his gruel with an aggrieved fancy a mutton-chop?' expression.
feyther shook’s ’ead : he wer past "It's my belief,” pursued Rich- it, thou knows. • Coom then,' ard, drawing a chair forward and says doctor, 'happen yo' could do seating himself, “as thou'd be a wi' a drop o' beer?' deal better wi’out so mich coddlin' feyther made a shift to nod. an' doctorin'! Why, thou hasna Reet,' says doctor. 'Sup it up bin out o'doors all winter, hasto ?” like a mon an' then fall to at your
“Nawe,” responded Joe, shaking prayers,' says he.” his head. “I've bin fastened i' Thot's th' mak' o' doctor that chimney-corner ever sin' Christ- 'ud do a body good,” observed Joe, mas."
regretfully ; " but this here Mester “I dunnot mak' so mich count Thring, eh, I welly lose patience o' Dr Thring,” pursued Richard. wi' him. He coom yesterday, and “I coomtimes think he doesn't oppened my shirt, and went thumunderstand thy constitootion. Eh, pin' an' feelin' o' me till I were he is but a yoong whipper-snapper tired, and then he whips out soom when all's said an' done! He mak' o' trumpet-lookin' thing wi'
two handles 'as he stuck in his Farmer Woodcock appeared unears till his face looked fur all the convinced. “Well, if Mary were world same as a Toby-mug, an'he my lass,” he was beginning, when listened at my breast, an' he sighed, a rush of hammering feet upon the an' took handle out o's ears, an’ stairs outside interrupted him, says he, 'Mester Orrell, yo'r 'eart's and the door bursting open, three wore out!'
• How con you tell or four sturdy little folks came thot ?' says I, a bit rough-like, fur rushing into the room. I were vexed wi' th' chap. We “ Coom now,” said old Richard, doctors 'as our ways o' knowin',' with a good - natured change of says he, lookin' very solemn. 'I tone, assisting the smaller fry as fear I cannot do mich fur ye. they clambered over his legs and Yo'r heart's the size of two,' he made straight for their grandsays. 'Did yo' see it,' says I. father's bed, “Coom ! What's all Nay,' he says, an' he laughs a yo'r hurry? Gronfeyther's noan bit. “Well, then,' I says, 'seein's bahn to run away fro' yo'! Theer believin'!' Ho, ho, ho ! He he lays, fast on's back, and like to couldn't say mich to thot !” stay theer for all as we know.
“Nay,” responded Richard, Up hoo goes! Now, Teddy! much tickled at his friend's Thot's a bonny mak'o' whip thou's astuteness. “Seein's believin',' getten, Joey!" says thou, didn't thou ?
“Teddy an me's been playin' 'tis, mon.
Why, how could we're ploughin',” cried Joey, junior, body tell what mak' o' heart thou marching up and down the room had, wi' nobbut feelin' o' th' out- and cracking the implement in side? I allus thought Dr Thring question. “Gee back, Blossom !” weren't
up to mich, and now I am —with great energy—“Coom up, sure on't.
But thou was in th' Prince! Haw !” reet to ston' up to him. If I Old Joe chuckled in his bed, were thee, Joe, I wouldn't be put raising himself on his elbow and upon no longer — I wouldn't be craning forward his neck, the kept to bed if I felt mysel' able better to view his grandson's perto get up, and I'd tell thy Mary formance. straight out, if hoo were my lass, “Chip o' th' owd block, eh?” as I'd noan be put off wi' gruel he laughed, winking with both and sichlike when there was owt eyes together at his crony.
"'Ark else to be had.”
at him." Joe's wrinkled face flushed, and " Eh ! he do favvour thee, Joe,” he rolled his head uneasily from replied Richard, admiringly. “He side to side.
do, fur sure! He's coomin' on Richard gazed at him sternly wonderful !
a little through the clouds of tobacco- lad shap' so weel in all my smoke which now encircled his liferuddy countenance.
“My daddy's ploughin' up
' “I'd ha' thought thou'd ’ave Sunnyfields,” announced Joey, had a bit more sperrit,” he ob- pausing opposite Farmer Woodserved presently.
cock, and opening his round blue “Gruel isn't like to put mich eyes very wid
“ Goin' to mak' sperrit into a mon,” retorted Joe. a good job of it, he says"An' when me an' our Mary has «Yigh, thy dad's à gradely words it starts me coughin', thou mon,” growled Joe, rolling back knows, an' my 'eart begins o' on his pillows. “All 'at thy dad thumpin' till I am welly smoored.” says mun be reet, munnot it?
Thy dad's gaffer now, and gron- growled Richard, “once ,
, feyther's fast on's back, as Mester weather cooms, thou knows." Woodcock says."
Joe patted the little round The two smaller children, crawl- cheek nearest him and sighed. ing about the bed, were prattling The children chattered on. meanwhile of their doings out of their talk was of the budding life doors. Joe absently stroked their without : of posies in the grass, tangled locks, and all at once put and blossom on the hedge, and his horny hand under the chin of chickens and downy ducklings in the little roly poly girl and turned the yard ; of how Bob was sowing up her face.
“ wuts” yonder in the five-acres, “ An' what says
little and Will’um of the Lone End, an' wench ?” he asked tenderly, and Gronny Makin was sot in the back
? fell to patting the dimpled cheek kitchen cuttin' up " sets." Even fresh and cool from the evening in the stuffy little room, amid the air.
reek of brandy and tobacco-smoke, "Daffies is ablow, grondad, there seemed to be a kind of
, daffy-dillies all yaller! An' Teddy atmosphere of spring. an' me found some primroses this Joe listened in silence, fingering arternoon !”
his empty pipe, and sighing. At “An' we saw the lickel lambs,” last Richard, extending an imput in Teddy; "they was jumpin' mense forefinger, pointed inquiran' playin'!” immediately proceedingly, first at the pipe, and then ing to simulate the lambs' antics at the well-filled pouch beside it. till his grandfather's bed shook But his friend shook his head. again.
" I donnot seem to want toThe old man laughed, but with neet," he said. & puzzled Jook.
“ Lambin'-time Richard gasped— a'ready!” he said, gazing inquir- Mon, thou'lt never rest wi'out ingly at Richard.
thou smokes thy pipe," he said, in Richard removed his pipe, stared alarmed tones. stolidly at his friend, and put it “I hannot th' 'eart fur't,” perback again without replying. sisted Joe. Joey now came prancing over to “ Coom, this 'ull never
do ! the bed.
Here, little uns—be off wi' yo'! “Daisy's cauve is sich a pretty Gronfeyther's had enough o' yo' one, grondad; it's a wy-cauve, an' now." it's red wi' a little white star on “Nay, let them bide,” said its for yead"
gronfeyther. “I'll happen not ha' Joe sat up.
“Why, Daisy is them so long. Weel, Teddy, an' noan due yet, sure? It's noan of how
chickens is yonder, Daisy's cauve, lad. Daisy wunnot saysto ?” cauve till end of March."
He scarcely appeared to hear “The lad's in the reet on't,” said the answer, and presently Richard, Richard, indorsing Joey's shrill much distressed in his mind, went protest. “This here's the twenty- ponderously down the stairs in sixth o' March, thou knows. Yigh, search of Mary. The latter agreed March is going out like a lamb for with him that Joe's refusal to sure."
smoke his pipe was a very bad " Eh dear o me!” groaned the sign. So much alarmed indeed old man; "so it is. Eh, I reck- was the good woman that, after oned to be about afore this.” the children were duly fed and
“ Thou'll be about soon enough," tucked up, she prepared with the
most solemn of faces to sit up His face worked a little at the with her father during the night. recollection of his grievances. All Joe did not seem to find it easy the winter he had sat in the ingleto compose himself, in spite of his nook while other folks came and daughter's repeated adjurations went, the labourers clumping in that he would try to settle off.” at meal- time with the smell of At last, however, he fell into an the soil clinging to their garments. uneasy doze, and though poor Occasionally with a nod and a hard-working Mary made strenu- grin for "owd mester,” they had ous efforts to keep awake, her talked of the jobs actually in heavy eyelids drooped at last, and hand, and "owd mester” had she too slept.
sometimes disapproved of his son
in-law's arrangements, and someThe dawn was breaking when times exhausted himself by giving Joe awoke. He sat up and glanced advice; so that Tom and Mary uneasily at Mary. Her head had deemed it best to discourage such fallen back, her sturdy outstretched communications, and indeed since legs were wide apart, and her Joe had been confined to his room, portly bosom rose and fell, accom- all intercourse with the outer panied by a continuous sound of world was necessarily stopped. snoring, like the rumbling of a Had it not been for a chance distant cannonade. Joe rubbed word let fall by his daughter that his chin—the bristles of his beard morning, he would never even have rasping his fingers--and nodded to known of the ploughing of the himself.
Sunnyfields. “Hoo's dropped off, poor lass !” The light brightened and grew, he muttered. Welly tired out, I spreading out fan-like on the white reckon. I could a'most wish I walls, and reaching to the low were out of her road for good— ceiling; a branch of the little what wi' shiftin' me, an physickin' monthly-rose tree flapped against me, an' sittin' up o' neets, hoo the window; louder even than mun be half killed.”
Mary's snores came the trill of a The row of empty medicine- lark. It was broad day, and no bottles the chimney - piece one yet was stirring about the next caught his eye.
place—not the clink of a pail, not “Lord, to think as I 'ave 'ad the clatter of a clog. to sup all as was i' yon ! Why,
Pretty times these! A nice it's a wonder I am wick at all.” hand Tom would make of his
He clenched his fist, and farming, if this was how he startthumped the bedclothes with a ed! If Joe were not tied there gathering sense of ill-usage. How like a log, he would soon make could he ever get well if he was them tumble out of their beds and kept in bed during the beautiful bustle about — he had a great spring weather, while every one mind, as it was, to go and pull else was out an'about, and Mester the long ears of that great lazy Tom gaffering the men, and giving ne'er-do-weel, his son-in-law. What his orders as free as if the place a start it would give him ! belonged to him?
Out of bed came one long lean “They tellen me nought,” he leg, then the other. Joe gasped muttered to himself. “I niver a little as his feet touched the know what's doin' wi'out one o'floor: he had not left his bed for th' childer lets summat out.” more than a fortnight, and felt, as