her doing what every body else does ; and it is
better that I should not be obliged to take any
" What do you mean f* cried Matilda. " Is
it possible that Elizabeth has anything to do with
smugglers ? that "
" Ah, now you have started upon a new scent,
my dear ; and let us see what you can make of
it before you get home again. â€” Now you are
fancying Elizabeth out at sea at night in the
lugger we are looking for, or helping to land the
goods ; and the first day that passes without
your seeing her, you will fancy she has
taken a trip to Guernsey. Do not you begin to
see how a thousand little mysterious circum-
stances are now explained ? Cannot you account
Matilda held up her hand as petitioning to be
heard, while her fond husband delighted him-
self with her signs of impatience under his
raillery. â€” She protested that she knew perfectly
well what his charge against Elizabeth amounted
to ; that she contrived to buy articles of dress
better and cheaper by the seaside than these
could be procured in shops. She only wished
to say, that she desired to acquit Elizabeth as far
as her testimony would go. She had no reason to
suppose, from anything that she had seen, that
Elizabeth was given to such practices.
56 AN AFTERNOON TRIP.
" It may be some time before she takes you
into her confidence in these matters, my dear.
Meantime, do not let us talk of ' charge ' and
' acquittal,' as if Elizabeth had committed a
crime. If I thought so, I would not have credited
the fact on any testimony whatever."
" How then can you be what you are ?" ex-
claimed Matilda. " If you think smuggling is
no crime, why do you engage to spend your
days in suspicion, and your nights in watching,
and even to spill human blood, if necessary, to
prevent contraband trading .'"
" My office springs out of a set of arbitrary
regulations which may possibly be necessary to
the general good of society. At any rate, they
subsist, and they must be maintained as long as
the nation does not decide that they shall be
abolished. This is all we Preventive officers
have any concern with. It does not follow that
we must condemn a lady for preferring one sort
of lace or silk stockings to another, or for trying
to get them, when she knows government has
failed in the attempt to keep them out of the
" You say this just because Elizabeth is in
question," replied Matilda. " Suppose I were
to report it to the Admiralty, or the Board of
Trade â€” how would it look upon paper V
" I dare say you would not find a man at the
Admiralty, or any where else, â€” a sensible man,
â€” who would declare a taste for foreign com-
modities, â€” for as large a variety of commodities
as possible, of the best kinds, to be anything but
AN AFTERNOON TRIP. 57
a good. No man of sense wishes the society in
which he lives to be in that state of apathy
which does not desire what is best, but only to
be saved trouble. Neither does he recommend
that the desire of that which is best should be
gratified at the greatest possible expense and
11 Certainly, one would rather see one's neigh-
bours wishing for French silks, than being con-
tent with skins of beasts ; and, if they must have
silks, one would rather get the material from Italy
and India than have establishments for silkworms
at home at a vast expense."
" To be sure. And we might as well at once
wish for English beet-root sugar, or for claret
made from hot-house grapes, as condemn Eliza-
beth for desiring to have foreign lace. As for
our countrymen liking to have tobacco duty-
free, when the duty amounts to a thousand per
cent, on the prime cost, â€” there is nothing to be
wondered at in that. Moreover, the desire of
foreign commodities is the cause of a great sav-
ing. These goods are not permanently desired
because they are foreign. Their having acquired
a reputation as foreign must arise from their
being better or cheaper than our own. Our own
productions of the same kind are either improved
through the competition thus caused, or they give
way in favour of other productions which we can
in turn offer to foreigners better and cheaper than
their own. If nobody cared for claret and to-
bacco, thousands of our people, who are busy in
preparing that which is given in exchange" for
58 AN AFTERNOON TRIP.
these articles, would be idle; and if we were bent
upon growing our own tobacco, and forcing vines
instead of buying of our neighbours, the expense
would be tremendous, and would answer no good
purpose on earth that I can see. So Elizabeth
is as much at liberty to wish for Brussels lace,
if she prefers it to Honiton, as I feel myself to
fill my glass with this good Port in preference to
my mother's gooseberry."
" I should think nobody doubts all this about
wine, and sugar, and tobacco," said Matilda.
" But when it comes to the question of manufac-
tures that really can maintain a rivalship, â€” then
is the time, I suppose, when it is said to be
wrong to wish for foreign goods. As long as
really good silks, and really beautiful laces are
made in England, at a moderate price, is there
any occasion to buy of foreigners?"
" Whether there is occasion, is soon proved by
the fact of our looking or not looking abroad.
As I said before, if these articles are to be had
as good at home, we shall not look abroad ; if
not, it is a waste of money and trouble to be
making them, when we might be making some-
thing which foreigners would be glad to take in
exchange for their laces and silks. Jf the rival
manufactures are a match for each other, let them
fight it out, and the nations will be sure not to
be charged more than is necessary for their pur-
chases. If they are not a match for each other,
it is sheer waste to uphold the weakest ; and the
taste for foreign goods is of use as it points out
infallibly when the weakness lies at home."
AN AFTERNOON TRIP. 59
" I have heard all this allowed as to necessary
articles ; such as brandy and sugar, which are
never made in England. But I have had many
a lecture against buying luxuries anywhere but
at home ; and really it seems a very small sacri-
fice to be content with home-made luxuries instead
" Those who so lectured you, love, were more
intent upon fitting you to be the wife of a Pre-
ventive officer, than upon teaching you plain
sense. They did not tell you that this is a sort
of sacrifice which (like many other arbitrary sacri-
fices) hurts all parties. They did not point out
to you that every purchase of a foreign luxury
presupposes something made at home with which
the purchase is effected. The French fan you
played with so prettily the first time "
" O, do you remember that fan? that even-
" Remember the first ball at which I danced
with you, love ! It would be strange if I for-
And the Lieutenant lost the thread of hi3
argument for a while.
" Well ! " said Matilda, at length ; " what
clumsv, home-made thing do you think I gave
for that fan V
" You probably gave nothing more clumsy
than a bright golden guinea, or a flimsy bank-
note : but, having got to the bottom of the money
exchanges, we should find that some yards of
cotton, or a few pairs of scissors had been ex-
changed for that fan, with a profit to the manu-
60 AN AFTERNOON TRIP.
facturer of either article that it might happen t(
be. Thus, every purchase of a foreign article
be it a necessary or a luxury, presupposes som<
domestic production for which we thereby obtaii
41 And the same must be the case with th(
French fan-makers. They, or their neighbours
procure cotton gowns or scissors for their wive
which they must have paid more for at home. Si
there is an advantage to each, unless my fai
could have been as well made in England/'
" In which case, there would have been a fai
made instead of so many pairs of scissors ; tha
is all ; and you would have been just as wel
pleased with an English fan."
" Would you ?" inquired Matilda, smiling.
" I never saw a fan I liked so well," repliet
the Lieutenant : " but there is no saying what
might have thought of any other fan under th
same circum stances/'
11 Well, I shall tell Elizabeth, if she lets m
into her confidence, that she may come her
dressed in French fabrics, without any fear o
displeasing you ?"
" I shall not take upon myself to be displeasei
about the matter, while those who have mor
concern in it than I are not strict. If Frencl
silks rustle in the royal presence, and ban
danas are flourished by law -makers in ful
assembly, I do not see why the officers of go
vernment should embarrass themselves witi
scruples. My business is to prevent contraband
goods from being landed hereabouts, and not t<
AN AFTERNOON TRIP. 61
find out who has the benefit of them when they
are once on shore."
This reminded the Lieutenant to look out
again, and Matilda remained musing at the fire
for a few moments. It seemed to her that our
native manufacturers were very ill-used, being
deprived of the stimulus to improvement which is
caused by free and fair competition, while they
were undersold in their own market, with the
connivance of those who mocked them with the
semblance of protection. She thought the
dwellers on the coast ill-used ; their duty to the
government being placed, by arbitrary means, in
direct opposition to their interests, and their
punishment being severe and, from its nature,
capricious, in proportion as temptation was made
too strong for them. Her husband's shout of
" Holloa, there !" to some person without
brought her to the window, where she saw against
the dim sky the outline of one who appeared
motionless and dumb.
It was not for a considerable time that any
explanation could be elicited. At last a melan-
choly, gruff voice said,
" I thought I might chance to see my lady.
I was only looking about for my lady."
" And where did you expect to find me,
Nicholas ?" asked Matilda, looking out over her
husband's shoulder. â€¢â€¢ You may have seen me
sit on yonder gun, or lean over the fence some-
times ; but I do not choose such an hour or such
weather as this.''
Nicholas only knew that he could have no rest
62 AN AFTERNOON TRIP.
till he had apologized for not having answered
when he was spoken to in the morning. He wished
to say that he must not speak while on watch ;
but, as to being disrespectful to the lady "
The lady acquitted him of any such enormity,
and would have sent him away happy with the
assurance that she did not now conclude him
stony-hearted for laughing when Uriah Faa was
ducked. The Lieutenant had, however, a word
to say to him about the state of things on the
beach. No alarm had been given, Nicholas re-
ported, though he would not, for his part, swear
that the expected vessel might not be near. He
had not seen that vessel, nor any other ; for, as
the Lieutenant might have observed, it was too
dark to see anything : but he would not swear
that it might not be to be seen, if it was now
daylight. This being all that could be got out
of him, Nicholas was permitted to depart to his
rest ; rest which he wanted not a little, for he had
lingered about for more than an hour at the close
of his watch, in the vague hope of seeing Ma-
tilda, without taking any measures to do so. He
stretched his tired limbs before the fire, thinking
(though he was nearly a quarter of a mile
from the big stone on the beach) that he was a
happy man, as everybody was very kind to him.
The next dawn broke bright and clear, to the
surprise of every body who was learned in the
weather, and greatly to the disappointment of
certain parties who had an interest in the con-
tinuance of the fog.
On a steep slope among the cliffs of Beachy
Head, at the foot of a lofty wall of chalk, and
sheltered by it, was collected a party of men,
women, and children, who had little appear-
ance of having just risen from their beds.
The men, for the most part, were stretched at
length, drinking, or looking out languidly to
sea. The two women, one young, the other
middle aged, and brown, weather-worn, and in
sordid apparel, with lank hair hanging about her
ears, were smoking, and busying themselves in
the feminine employment of making a clearance.
That is, they were stowing certain packages in
the bottom of huge panniers, destined for the
backs of three asses, which were looking up from
the beach in vain longing for the inaccessible,
scanty herbage of the slope. Two girls, as
brown as the elder woman, were amusing them-
selves with picking up the balls of foam which
had been thrown in by the fierce tide, and sending
them trembling down the wind. Uriah Faa, in
apparent forgetfulness of the disgraces of the
64 MORNING WALKS.
preceding day, sat dangling liis heels from a pro-
jecting piece of the cliff, aiming fragments of
chalk at the auks and wills which flapped past
him, or swept out to sea in long lines below.
One man was seen apart from the group, who
did not appear to belong to the place, the persons,
or the hour. He stood leaning at the mouth of
a cleft in the chalk precipice, sometimes yawn-
ing, sometimes buttoning his great coat closer,
as the morning breeze passed him, and then
glancing up apprehensively at one point after
another of the cliffs overhead, as if he expected
to see there the peeping face of a spy. Next,
he looked at his watch, and seemed growing so
restless and uncomfortable, that the younger of
the women took upon herself to comfort him by
giving notice that the sloop was expected every
moment to arrive for its cargo of chalk, and that
all would be safe before the spies could see so
far off as a furlong.
" But the division is not made yet," objected
the agent. " My bandanas are stowed away
with some of Solomon's packages ; and you know
Alexander makes over to me his venture of rib-
bons and lace, this time."
" What put that into your head ?" growled
Alexander, half raising himself, and looking
surlily at the agent. " Do you think I have
risked running in in a fog, and wrought since
midnight, to give over my share to anybody ?
You may take your chance next time. You'll
find the matter well worth staying for." r '
" But, you know, Alexander, we settled that
MORNING WALKS. 65
I was to have the first batch that was landed ;â€” â€¢
for a consideration, you remember â€” for a fair
consideration. One night suits you as well as
another, living on the spot."
" By no means ; when one batch is safe
ashore, and the other still at sea."
" But, consider, I cannot spare two days.
They want me at Brighton every hour, and I
promised Breme that he should have the goods
Alexander seemed to think that all this was
nothing to him, while he had his package safe
under his elbow. He applied himself to a fresh
dram of Hollands, and appeared to have done
" Try Solomon," advised Mrs. Draper. " He
is liberal, and likes to accommodate. He will
take the chance of another night, if you make it
worth his while."
" Here comes Solomon himself," cried several
voices, as a well-known whistle announced the
approach of some one ; and Mr. Pirn appeared
from a side path, (if path it might be called,)
his hands crossed behind him, and his merry face
shining through the dusk.
w I thought you would take your morning's
walk this way/' observed Mrs. Draper, as she
handed him a mug, and pointed to the right keg.
" It is time we were parting instead of meet-
ing," said Pirn. " We shall have a bright morn-
ing upon us full soon enough."
" Father," shouted Uriah, " the fog is draw-
ing off, and here is the sloop coming in below."
66 MORNING WALKS.
11 Trinity, bring the ass to yon point," cried
Mrs. Draper to her little daughter, who was
scrambling on all fours up the steepest part of
" Here, Lussha, my beauty," said old Faa to
his grandchild, " help me to fill up the panniers,
Uriah came to help, and a respectable load of
chalk was presently heaped upon the packages in
the panniers, which were forthwith carried down,
and hung upon the shaggy asses. Old Faa then
helped to set each bare-legged child astride on
the beasts, and commended them to each other's
care. Slowly and surely the animals took their
way along the ribbed chalk which here constituted
the beach, while the children looked back to hear
what Pirn was saying to them.
" Trinity Draper, I hope you don't forget your
catechism, my child. There is a lady coming to
the school in a day or two, and it will be the
worse for you if you cannot say your Catechism.
Uriah and Lussha, you hear what I say. Re-
member your catechism."
Their Saturday's train of associations being
awakened by this warning, the children began
involuntarily to gabble altogether, and their con-
fusion of tongues made itself heard as they wound
out of sight, till a stumble of Trinity's steed caused
Uriah's gallantry to prevail over his scholarship,
and occupied him in belabouring her ass with true
gipsy grace and strength.
A pale yellow ray shot up from the horizon full
into the cleft, beside which the unshaven and
MORNING WALKS. 67
weary agent stood, making his bargain with Pirn.
This first break of sunshine was a signal not to
be neglected. The laziest of the party sprang to
their feet, and hastened to deposit their kegs and
bales under the chalk which formed the apparent
cargo of the sloop that pitched below in the light
grey waters. As the fog disclosed more and
more of the expanse, two or three of the men
fixed their glasses from behind different projec-
tions, anxious to be assured that the lugger, which
had approached under cover of the darkness, was
scudding away before the light. She was just
visible when the whole horizon became clear,
making all speed towards her native coast Though
there was reason to hope that all was safe, as
far as she was concerned, there was danger that
the smuggling party might be surprised by the
apparition of the revenue cutter from the east or
the west, before all needful precautions were
taken; and there was a prodigious stir among
the more active and the more timid of the party.
Within half an hour the fire was put out, and the
embers scattered to the winds ; the men wandered
off in different directions, and nobody remained
amidst the wild scene but Mr. Pirn, who looked
about him and whistled to the sea-birds, and Mrs.
Draper, who lingered behind the rest of the
gipsy party, to seek satisfaction to her maternal
and friendly solicitudes about the progress of her
child and the Faas at the school.
By dint of many questions, she learned that
the young people were likely to be excellent
Christians, as they were very ready at the Bible ;
68 MORNING WALKS.
highly moral, as they were always whipped when
they did wrong ; as patriotic as if they had not
belonged to a foreign tribe, since they lost no
opportunity of insulting the Preventive men ; and
finally, very scholastic, as they had learned to sit
still by the half hour together, which had at first
appeared a point impossible of achievement. The
mother's heart was so elated with this report, and
Pirn found it so much pleasanter to walk and
whistle in the wintry sunshine than to play the
pedagogue, that the discourse was prolonged far
beyond the hour when his duties ought to begin ;
he comforting himself with the assurance that
Rebecca would take care that the little things had
something to do.
In the midst of his holiday mood, he was dis-
turbed by a voice calling him from overhead, and,
looking up, he perceived Rebecca herself, ear-
nestly gesticulating at the summit of the cliff.
She shouted, she beckoned, incessantly, and
seemed in such a fever of impatience that her
father concluded that some disaster must have
" Hi, hi, Beck !" resounded his mighty voice,
in answer, from the face of the cliff, as he began
to scramble up the track by which he had de-
scended. " What, is the house on fire, girl, or
do the spies want to get hold of me ?" he asked,
with prodigious tranquillity ; " or," and at the
thought he quickened his scramble into a kind of
kangaroo leap, " or has any harm come to some
of the brats?"
" The ladies are come ! the ladies ! and no-
MORNING WALKS. 69
body at home but I and the dame," cried Re-
becca ; and her news seemed to be received with
nearly as much vexation by her father as it was
related with atronv bv herself.
CD J j
" They will dodge the brats, and put them
out," he growled in his deepest tone: " after all
the pains I meant to take to-day, the little things
will be out in their Bibles, though they can say
it all with me. The Faas and Draper will not
be there, however ; only the soberer sort of chil-
He was mistaken. The gipsy pupils were pre-
sent with the rest, and formed a part of the class
which Matilda had collected around her, and
whom she was now engaged in examining.
" Think of your running away yourself! " mut-
tered Pirn to his daughter. " Why could not
you have sent the dame ( There would have
been no harm in her knowing where I was."
" She would hardly have hobbled there and
back before dinner," replied Rebecca. " We
have been very quick, and the ladies can't have
They had got far enough to see that though
the children had (in their own phrase) M got into
the Bible," they had not (to use their master's)
" got through it" with the understanding,
whether or not they had with the tongue. The
children Matilda was conversing with were all
between ten and fifteen years of age, and there-
fore capable of giving intelligent answers about
the patriarchal tale they had been reading, if
about any part of the Bible whatever.
70 MORNING WALKS.
11 What did they do next," she asked, "after
determining where they should settle ?"
" They pitched their tents before it grew dark."
" Do you know how a tent is pitched ? "
" Yes, my lady ; it is daubed all over with tar."
Uriah Faa, well-informed on this matter, set
the mistake right.
" When they saluted each other, what did they
do ? What is it to salute ? "
" They scolded each other right well."
" If they had wished to scold one another,
there would hardly have been such handsome
presents given; â€” so many sheep and oxen, and
asses and camels. What is a camel ?"
" A sow."
" But they had been angry with one another,"
observed a child.
** Yes ; but they were now going to be friends,
though they thought each other in fault. Should
we be sorry or angry when others are in fault?"
" Because they have no business to do wrong."
" And if others are angry with us, what should
we do ?"
" Give them as good as they bring."
Matilda began now to despair of the much-
vaunted morals of Mr. Pirn's pupils ; but, to give
them a fair trial, she turned to the New Testa-
ment, and questioned them about a story that
their master allowed they knew perfectly well.
" When the Apostle had neither silver nor
gold, what did he give to the lame man ? "
MORNING WALKS. 71
The explanation on the subject of halfpence
led to a commentary on the story of the poor
widow, and her gift to the treasury.
" Now, little boy," said Matilda to one of the
youngest, who had been playing stealthily with the
end of her fur tippet, " what was the widow's
mite ? What is a mite ? "
" A flea."
" He knows most about the Old Testament,"
observed his master, anxious to shift his ground
" Yes," replied Matilda, " he told me about
Esau and Jacob, and the mess of pottage. What
is a mess, children?"
" Ashes,"â€”" Dirt,"â€”" Rubbish,"â€” cried they.
u And what is pottage ?"
M Sheep's head and taters."
Matilda thought she would try them with the
Commandments. " Is it right to covet ?"
" Why so?"
" Because it makes us comfortable to have
As a last experiment, she turned back to the
first page of the Bible, and found they could tell
that the world was made in six days ; upon hear-
ing which Mr. Pirn began to rally his spirits.
" What were the two great lights which were
made to rule the day and the night?"
" Dungeness and the North Foreland."
Matilda rose, and the schoolmaster put the
class to flight in a trice, with a box on the ear to
72 MORNING WALKS.
one, a shake to a second, and a kick to a third.
Matilda's remonstrances were lost amidst the
tumult of shrieks and yells which now arose. At
the first moment that Pirn could spare from cor-
recting his pupils, he informed the lady that they
had got on badly lately from the impossibility of