164 A ROUGH SHAKING.
let your father see him ! Run, my boy, run ! There's no
time to drink the milk now ! "
She poured it back into the pail, and set the cup out
of the way.
There was a little passage and another door, by which
they left as the farmer entered. The kick he would have
given Clare with his heavy boot would, in its consequences,
have reached the baby too. The girl ran with him to
the back of the house.
" Wait a moment at that window," she said.
Now whether it was loving-kindness all, or that she
dared not take the time to divide it, I cannot tell, but
she handed Clare a whole loaf, and that a good big one,
of home-made bread, and disappeared before he could
thank her, telling him to run for his life.
He was able now. With the farmer behind, and the
hungry ones before him, he must run; and with the phial
in his pocket and the loaf in his hands, he could run.
Happily the farmer did not catch sight of him. His
wife took care he should not. I believe, indeed, she got
up a brand-new quarrel with him on the spur of the
moment, that he might not have a chance.
A NEW ENTRANCE.
CLARE sped jubilant. But soon came a check to his
jubilation: it was one thing to drop from the wall,
and quite another to climb to the top of it without the
help of the door! The same moment he heard the clink
A NEW ENTRANCE. 165
of the smith's hammer on his anvil, and to go by his
yard in daylight would - be to risk too much ! For what
would become of them if their retreat was discovered!
He stood at the foot of the brick precipice, and stared up
with helpless eyes and failing strength. Baby was inside,
hungry, and with no better nurse than ill conditioned
Tommy; her milk was in his pocket, Tommy's bread in
his hand, the insurmountable wall between him and
them! He had the daylight now, however, and there
was hardly any one about: perhaps he could find another
entrance! Round the outside of the wall, therefore, like
the Midianite in the rather comical hymn, did Clare
prowl and prowl. But the wall rose straight and much
too smooth wherever he looked. Searching its face he
went all along the bottom of the garden, and then up the
narrow lane between it and the garden of the next house,
with increasing fear that there was no way but by the
smith's yard, and no choice but risk it.
A dozen yards or so, however, from the end of the lane,
where it took a sharp turn before entering the street, he
spied an opening in the wall the same from which, the
night before, Tommy had returned with such a frightened
face. Clare went through, and found a narrow passage
running to the left for a short distance between two
walls. At the end, half on one side, half on the other of
the second wall, lay the well that had terrified Tommy.
The wall crossed it with a low arch. On the further
.side of the well was a third wall, with a space of about
two feet and a half between it and the side of the
round well. Through that wall there might be a door!
or, if not, there might be some way of getting over it!
To cross the well would be awkward, but he must do it !
166 A ROUGH SHAKING.
He tied the loaf in his pocket-handkerchief he was far
past fastidiousness, and Tommy knew neither the word
nor the thing and knotted the ends of it round his neck.
But his chief anxiety was not to break the bottle in his
jacket-pocket. He got on his knees on the parapet.
How deep and dark the water looked! For a moment
he felt a fear of it something like Tommy's. How was
he to cross the awful gulf? It was not like a free jump;
he was hemmed in before and behind, and overhead also.
But the baby drew him over the well, as the name of
Beatrice drew Dante through the fire. The baby was
waiting for him, and it had to be done! He made a cat-
leap through beneath the arch, reaching out with his
hands and catching at the parapet beyond. He did catch
it, just enough of it to hold on by, so that his body did not
follow his legs into the water. Oh, how cold they found
it after his run! He held on, strained and heaved up,
made a great reach across the width of the parapet with
' one hand, laid hold of its outer edge, made good his grasp
on it, and drew himself out of the water, and out of the
He was in a narrow space, closed in with walls much
higher than his head, out of which he saw no way but
that by which he had come in across the fearful well,
that seemed, so dark was its water, to go down and down
He felt in his pocket. If then he had found baby's
bottle broken, I doubt if Clare would ever have got out
of the place, except by the door into the next world.
What little strength he had was nearly gone, and I think
it would then have gone quite. But the bottle was safe,
and his courage came back.
THE BABY HAS HER BREAKFAST. 167
He examined his position, and presently saw that the
narrowness of his threatened prison would make it no
prison at all. He found that, by leaning his back against
one wall, pushing his feet against the opposite wall, and
making of the third wall a rack for his shoulder, he could
worm himself slowly up. It was a task for a strong
man, and Clare, though strong for his years, was not at
that moment strong. But there was the baby waiting,
and here was her milk ! He fell to, and, with an agony of
exertion, wriggled himself at last to the top so exhausted
that he all but fell over on the other side. He pulled
himself together, and dropped at once into the garden.
Happier boy than Clare was not in all England then.
Hunger, wet, incipient nakedness, for he had torn his
clothes badly, were nowhere. Baby was within his reach,
and the milk within baby's!
He ran, dripping like a spaniel, to find her, and shot
up the stair to the room that held his treasure. To his
joy he found both Tommy and the baby fast asleep, Tommy
tired out with the weary tramping of the day before, and
the baby still under the influence of the opiate her mother
had given her to make her drown quietly.
THE BABY HAS HER BREAKFAST.
F waked Tommy, and showed him the loaf. Tommy
sprang from his lair and snatched at it.
" No, Tommy," said Clare, drawing back, " I can't trust
168 A ROUGH SHAKING.
you! You would eat it all; and if I died of hunger, what
would become of baby, left alone with you? I don't feel
at all sure you wouldn't eat her ! "
Baby started a feeble whimper.
"You must wait now till I've attended to her," con-
tinued Clare. " If you had got up quietly without waking
her, I would have given you your share at once."
As he spoke, he pulled a blanket off the bed to wrap
her in, and made haste to take her up. A series of diffi-
culties followed, which I will leave to the imagination of
mothers and aunts, and nurses in general the worst
being that there was no warm water to wash her in, and
cold water would be worse than dangerous after what she
had gone through with it the night before. Clare com-
forted himself that washing was a thing non-essential to
existence, however desirable for well-being.
Then came a more serious difficulty: the milk must be
mixed with water, and water as cold as Clare's legs would
kill the drug-dazed shred of humanity! What was to be
done? It would be equally dangerous to give her the
strong milk of a cow undiluted. There was but one way :
he must feed her as do the pigeons. First, however, he
must have water! The well was almost inaccessible: to
get to it and return would fearfully waste life-precious
time! The rain-water in the little pool must serve the
necessity! It was preferable to that in the but!
Until many years after, it did not occur to Clare as
strange that there should be even a drop of water
in that water-but. Whence was it fed ? There was no
roof near, from which the rain might run into it. If
there had ever been a pipe to supply it, surely, in a house
so long forsaken, its continuity must have given way
THE BABY HAS HER BREAKFAST. 169
One always sees such barrels empty, dry, and cracked:
this one was apparently known to be full of water, for
what woman in her senses, however inferior those senses,
would throw her child into an empty but! How did it
happen to be full? Clare was almost driven to the con-
clusion that it had been filled for the evil purpose to
which it was that night put. Against this was the fact
that it would not have been easy to fill such a huge vessel
by hand. I suggested that the blacksmith and his prede-
cessors might have used it for the purposes of the forge,
and kept it and its feeder in repair. Mr. Skymer
endeavoured repeatedly to find out what had become of
the blacksmith, but never with any approach to success;
the probability being that he had left the world long
before his natural time, by disease engendered or quarrel
occasioned through his drunkenness.
Clare laid the baby down, and fetched water from the
pool. Then he mixed the milk with what seemed the
right quantity, again took the baby up, who had been
whimpering a little now and then all the time, laid a
blanket, several times folded, on his wet knees, and laid
her in her blanket upon it. These preparations made, he
took a small mouthful of the milk and water, and held
it until it grew warm. It was the only way, I con-
descend to remind any such reader as may think it proper
to be disgusted. When then he put his mouth to the
baby's, careful not to let too much go at once, they
managed so between them that she successfully appro-
priated the mouthful. It was followed by a second, a
third, and more, until, to Clare's delight, the child seemed
satisfied, leaving some of the precious fluid for another
meal. He put her in the bed again, and covered her up
170 A ROUGH SHAKING.
warm. All the time, Tommy had been watching the loaf
with the eyes of a wild beast.
" Now, Tommy," said Clare, " how much of this loaf do
you think you ought to have ? "
"Half, of course!" answered Tommy boldly, with per-
fect conviction of his fairness, and pride in the same.
" Are you as big as I am? "
Tommy held his peace.
" You ain't half as big! " said Clare.
"I'm a bloomin' lot hungrier!" growled Tommy.
"You had eggs last night, and I had none!"
" That wurn't my fault! "
" What did you do to get this bread? "
" I staid at home with baby."
" That's true," answered Clare. " But," he went on,
" suppose a horse and a pony had got to divide their food
between them, would the pony have a right to half?
Wouldn't the horse, being bigger, want more to keep him
alive than the pony? "
" Don't know," said Tommy.
"But you shall have the half," continued Clare; "only
I hope, after this, when you get anything given to you,
you'll divide it with me. I try to be fair, and I want
you to be fair."
Tommy made no reply. He did not trouble himself
about fair play; he wanted all he could get like most
people; though, thank God, I know a few far more
anxious to give than to receive fair play. Such men, be
they noblemen or tradesmen, I worship.
Clare carefully divided the loaf, and after due delibera-
tion, handed Tommy that which seemed the bigger half.
Without a word of acknowledgment, Tommy fell upon it
like a terrier. He would love Clare in a little while
when he had something more to give but stomach before
heart with Tommy! His sort is well represented in
every rank. There are not many who can at the same
time both love and be hungry.
" "VfOW, Tommy," said Clare, having eaten his half loaf,
xi " I'm going out to look for work, and you must
take care of baby. You're not to feed her you would
only choke her, and waste the good milk."
" I want to go out too," said Tommy.
" To see what you can pick up, I suppose? "
" That's my business."
" I fancy it mine while you are with me. If you don't
take care of baby and be good to her, I'll put you in the
water-but I took her out of as sure as you ain't in it
" That you shan't! " cried Tommy; " I'll bite first! "
" I'll tie your hands and feet, and put a stick in your
mouth," said Clare. " So you'd better mind."
" I want to go with you ! " whimpered Tommy.
" You can't. You're to stop and look after baby. I
won't be away longer than I can help; you may be suie
With repeated injunctions to him not to leave the
room, Clare went.
Before going quite, however, he must arrange for
172 A ROUGH SHAKING.
returning. To swarm up between the two walls as he
had done before, would be to bid good-bye to his jacket at
least, and he knew how appearances were already against
him. Spying about for whatever might serve his purpose,
he caught sight of an old garden-roller, and was making
for it, when Tommy, never doubting he was gone, came
whistling round the corner of the house with his hands
in his pocket-holes, and an impudent air of independence.
Clare away, he was a lord in his own eyes! He could
kill the baby when he pleased! Plainly his mood was,
"He thinks I'm going to do as he tells me! Not if I
knows it!" Clare saw him before he saw Clare, and
rushed at him with a roar.
" You thought I was gone ! " he cried. " I told you not
to leave the room! Come along to the water-but!"
Tommy shivered when he heard him, and gave a shriek
when he saw him coming. He shook till his teeth
chattered. But terror not always paralyzes instinct in
the wild animal. As Clare came running, he took one
step toward him, and dropped on the ground at his feet.
Clare shot away over his head, struck his own against a
tree, and lay for a minute stunned. Tommy's success
was greater than he had hoped. He scudded into the
house, and closed and bolted the door to the kitchen.
When Clare came to himself, he found he had a cut on
his head. It would never do to go asking for work with
a bloody face! The little pool served at once for basin
and mirror, and while he washed he thought.
He had no inclination to punish Tommy for the trick
he had played him; he had but done after his kind! It
would serve a good end too: Tommy would imagine him
lurking about to have his revenge, and would not venture
his nose out. He discovered afterward that the little
wretch had made fast the cellar-door, so that, if he had
entered that way, he would have been caught in a trap,
and unable to go or return.
He got the iron roller to the foot of the wall, where
he had come over the night before, and where now first
he perceived there had once been a door; managed, with
its broken handle for a lever, to set it up on end, filled it
with earth, and heaped a mound of earth about it to steady
it, placed a few broken tiles and sherds of chimney-pots
upon it, and from this rickety perch found he could
reach the top easily.
The next thing was to arrange for getting up from the
other side. For this he threw over earth and stones and
whatever rubbish came to his hand, the sole quality re-
quired in his material being, that it should serve to lift
him any fraction of an inch higher. The space was so
narrow that his mound did not require to be sustained by
the width of its base except in one direction; everywhere
else the walls kept in the heap, and he made good speed.
At length he descended by it, sure of being able to get
He had been gone an hour before Tommy dared again
leave the room where the baby was. He had planned
what to do if Clare got into it: he would threaten, if he
came a step nearer, to kill the baby! But if he had him
in the coal-cellar, he would make his own conditions! A
tramp would not keep a promise, but Clare would! and
until he promised not to touch him, he should not come
out not if he died of hunger!
At length he could bear imprisonment no longer. He
opened the room-door with the caution of one who thought
174 A ROUGH SHAKING.
a tiger might be lying against it. He saw no one, and
crept out with half steps. By slow degrees, interrupted
by many an inroad of terror and many a swift retreat,
he got down the stair and out into the garden; whence,
after closest search, he was at length satisfied his enemy
had departed. For a time he was his own master! To
one like Tommy and such are not rare it is a fine thing
to be his own master. But the same person who is the
master is the servant and what a master to serve!
Tommy, however, was quite satisfied with both master
and servant, for both were himself. What was he to do?
Go after something to eat, of course ! He would be back
long before Clare! He had gone to look for work and
who would give him work? If Tommy were as big as
Clare, lots of people would give him work! But catch
him working! Not if he knew it! not Tommy!
Never till she was grown up, never, indeed, until she
was a middle-aged woman and Mr. Skymer's house-
keeper, did the baby know in what danger she was that
morning, alone with surnameless Tommy.
His first sense of relation to any creature too weak to
protect itself, was the consciousness of power to torment
that creature. But hi this case the exercise of the power
brought him into another relation, one with the water-
but! He went back to the room where the child lay in
her blankets like a human chrysalis, and stood for a
moment regarding her with a hatred far from mild: was
he actually expected to give time and personal notice
to that contemptible thing lying there unable to move?
He wasn't a girl or an old woman ! He must go and get
something to eat! that was what a man was for!
Better twist her neck at once and go!
THE BAKER. 175
But he could not forget the water-but proximate mother
of the child. Its idea came sliding into Tommy's range,
grew and grew upon Tommy, came nearer and nearer,
until the baby was nowhere, and nothing in the world
but the water-but. His consciousness was possessed
with it It was preparing to swallow him in its loath-
some deep! All at once it jumped back from him, and
stood motionless by the side of the wall. Now was his
chance! Now he must mizzle! Not a moment longer
would he stop in the same place with the horrible thing!
But the baby! Clare would bring him back and put
him in the but! No, he wouldn't! What harm would
come to the brat? She was not able to roll herself off
the bed! She could do nothing but go to sleep again!
Out he must and would go! He wanted something to
eat! He would be in again long before Clare could get
He left the room and the house, ran down the garden,
scrambled up the door, got on the top of the wall, and
dropped into the waste land behind it nor once thought
that the only way back was by the very jaws of the
P|LARE went over the wall and the well without a
\J notion of what he was going to do, except look for
work. He had eaten half a loaf, and now drew in his
cap some water from the well and drank. He felt better
176 A ROUGH SHAKING.
than any moment since leaving the farm. He was full of
All his life he had never been other than hopeful. To
the human being hope is as natural as hunger; yet how
few there are that hope as they hunger! Men are so
proud of being small, that one wonders to what pitch
their conceit will have arrived by the time they are
nothing at all. They are proud that they love but a
little, believe less, and hope for nothing. Every fool
prides himself on not being such a fool as believe what
would make a man of him. For dread of being taken
in, he takes himself in ridiculously. The man who keeps
on trying to do his duty, finds a brighter and brighter
gleam issue, as he walks, from the lantern of his hope.
Clare was just breaking into a song he had heard his
mother sing to his sister, when he was checked by the
sight of a long skinny mongrel like a hairy worm, that
lay cowering and shivering beside a heap of ashes put
down for the dust-cart such a dry hopeless heap that
the famished little dog did not care to search it: some
little warmth in it, I presume, had kept him near it.
Clare's own indigence made him the more sorry for the
indigent, and he felt very sorry for this member of the
family; but he had neither work nor alms to give him,
therefore strode on. The dog looked wistfully after him,
as if recognizing one of his own sort, one that would help
him if he could, but did not follow him.
A hundred yards further, Clare came to a baker's shop.
It was the first he felt inclined to enter, and he went in.
He did not know it was the shop from whose cart
Tommy had pilfered. A thin-faced, bilious-looking,
elderly man stood behind the counter.
THE BAKER. 177
"Well, boy, what do you want?" he said in a low, sad,
severe, but not unkindly voice.
"Please, sir," answered Clare, "I want something to
do, and I thought perhaps you could help me."
"What can you do?"
" Not much, but I can try to do anything."
" Have you ever learned to do anything?"
" I've been working on a farm for the last six months.
Before that I went to school."
" Why didn't you go on going to school?"
" Because my father and mother died."
" What was your father?"
" A parson."
" Why did you leave the farm?"
"Because they didn't want me. The mistress didn't
" I dare say she had her reasons'"
" I don't know, sir; she didn't seem to like anything I
did. My mother used to say, 'Well done, Clare!' my
mistress never said 'Well done!'"
" So the farmer sent you away?"
" No, sir; but he boxed my ears for something I don't
now remember what"
" I dare say you deserved it!"
"Perhaps I did; I don't know; he never did it before."
" If you deserved it, you had no right to run away for
The baker taught in a Sunday-school, and was a good
teacher, able to make a class mind him.
"I didn't run away for that, sir; I ran away because
he was tired of me. I couldn't stay to make him uncom-
fortable! He had been very kind to me; I fancy it was
178 A ROUGH SHAKING.
mistress made him change. I've been thinking a good
deal about it, and that's how it looks to me. I'm very
sorry not to have him or the creatures any more."
" The bull, and the horses, and the cows, and the pigs
all the creatures about the farm. They were my
friends. I shall see them all again somewhere!"
He gave a great sigh.
" What do you mean by that?" asked the baker.
"I hardly know what I mean," answered Clare.
" When I'm loving anybody I always feel I shall see that
person again some time, I don't know when somewhere,
I don't know where."
"That don't apply to the lower animals; it's nothing
but a foolish imagination," said the baker.
"But if I love them!" suggested Clare.
" Love a bull, or a horse, or a pig! You can't!" asserted
" But I do" rejoined Clare. " I love my father and mother
much more than when they were alive!"
" What has that to do with it?" returned the baker.
"That I know I love my father and mother, and I
know I love that tierce bull that would always do what
I told him, and that dear old horse that was almost past
work, and was always ready to do his best. I'm afraid
they've killed him by now!" he added, with another
" But beasts 'ain't got souls, and you can't love them.
And if you could, that's no reason why you should see
"I do love them, and perhaps they have souls!" rejoined
THE BAKER. 179
"You mustn't believe that! It's quite shocking. It's
nowhere in the Bible."
"Is everything that is not in the Bible shocking, sir?"
"Well, I won't say that; but you're not to believe it."
" I suppose you don't like animals, sir! Are you afraid
of their going to the same place as you when they die?"
" I wouldn't have a boy about me that held such an
unscriptural notion! The Bible says the spirit of a man
that goeth upward, and the spirit of a beast that goeth
" Is that in the Bible, sir?"
" It is," answered the baker with satisfaction, thinking
he had proved his point.
" I'm so glad !" returned Clare. " I didn't know there
was anything about it in the Bible! Then when I die
I shall only have to go down somewhere, and look for
them till I find them!"
The baker was silenced for a moment.
"It's flat atheism!" he cried. "Get out of my shop!
What is the world coming to!"
Clare turned and went out.
But though a bilious, the baker was not an unreason-
able or unjust man except when what he had been
used to believe all his life was contradicted. Clare had
not yet shut the door when he repented. He was a
good man, though not quite hi the secret of the universe.
He vaulted over the counter, and opened the door with
such a ringing of its appended bell as made heavy-hearted
Clare turn before he heard his voice. The long spare