getting the parents to send them regularly.
When there was any work in hand, someway up
" Towards Birling Gap," suggested Matilda.
" But that sort of work is done in the night, is
" Yes ; but the little things have enough to
do the next day in making a clearance ; and, at
such times, up they start, and away, the first
minute I turn my back."
" You turn your back to go after the same
business, I am afraid, Mr. Pirn. If you like
whistling among the cliffs, and driving bargains
in the clefts better than keeping to your desk,
how can you expect the children not to take the
liberty of indulging the same taste when you give
Mr. Pirn looked about him to ascertain what
o'clock it was, and would fain have made out
that it was time for the children to go home ; but
Mrs. Storey would not let him off so easily. She
convinced him that it was not yet eleven, and
declared that she wished far more to see how
matters ordinarily went on than to usurp the
office of interrogator. When the children had
recovered their spirits, and their master his com-
posure, business was resumed ; and Matilda was
MORNING WALKS. 73
as much surprised at the cleverness with which
some things were taught as she had been shocked
at the deficiencies of the kind of learning in which
Mr. Pirn was the least versed. She now envied
him his power over the children's minds, and the
effect which he knew how to produce by a timely
joke, or a familiar illustration, or an appeal to
facts with which his pupils were already familiar.
She only wished that he would pique himself
rather less upon his morals while making the very
most of the opposition of interests in the society
about him. lie could not speak of any virtue
without pointing out that his friends had it, and
the Preventive men not ; and, even in the pre-
sence of the Lieutenant's wife, it seemed difficult
to restrain the expressions of hatred which were
on the lips of him who taught and of those who
The ladies did not leave the school till it was
emptied of the children, whom they followed, to
see how some dropped into their several homes,
and whither others betook themselves. The last
who was left to trip along by herself was Trinity
Draper, who cast a glance behind her at almost
every step, as if not liking to have her return
accompanied by strangers. They had no inten-
tion, however, of losing sight of her, as they were
disposed for a walk, and found their curiosity
excited by the mingled barbarism and civilization
in the air of the children of this wandering tribe.
They began, after a time, to suspect that the
little girl did not mean to let them see her place
of abode, so manifold were her turns and wind-
74 MORNING WALKS.
ingB from the beach to the fields, and then upon
the downs, and again to the beach. When she
had led them through a long circuit, she finally
struck up the country, and proceeded towards an
unfrequented hollow way, where high banks
excluded the view on either side, a rugged soil
wearied the feet of the walker, and nothing was
to be seen at the end -of the lane but the grey sea,
at the moment undiversified by a single sail.
" I wonder you are not afraid to set foot in
this dreary place, so alarmed as you were by
these verv people yesterday," observed Matilda
to her companion, as they arrived in sight of a
gipsy tent, spread on a patch of grass under
shelter of the eastern bank. " I have been
speculating all the way on when you would pro-
pose to turn back."
Elizabeth replied that she had visited the en-
campment before, without fear, knowing that the
men were absent at this time of clay, and that
there was nothing to fear from the women and
,l They assemble at meal times, I fancy," replied
Mrs. Storey ; " and there is the smoke of their
cookery, you see."
The thin blue smoke was curling up around
the trunk of a tree, in the hollow formed
by whose roots was kindled the fire, which
Trinity now hastened to feed with sticks from
the hedges. She peeped into the pot, which
steamed from under the three poles that sup-
ported it, and proceeded to stir the mess with a
forked stick, affording glimpses to her visiters of
MORNING WALKS. 75
a sort of meat whose shape and colour were new
to them. On their inquiring what the stew was
made of, Trinity pointed to a skin which lay in
the ditch, and which was undeniably that of a
brown dog. Matilda expressed her horror, and
the child looked up surprised, observing,
" Baba says the same hand made the dog and
" Who is Baba ?"
" Her father," replied Elizabeth. " Baba
means Father. Where did you get this dog,
Trinity ? I hope it is not stolen."
Trinity believed Uriah had found it under the
hedge. She took up the head, which was left
with the skin, and showed by the teeth that the
animal must have been very old.
" Dear me ! I suppose you pick up all the
dead animals that lie about the country," cried
" Bebee says that beasts that have died by the
hand of God are better than those that have died
by the hand of man," replied Trinity.
A low moan issued from the tent at this mo-
ment, which seemed to strike the child with sur-
prise and terror : she sprang upon her feet, and
looked eagerly towards the curtain which hung
over the entrance, but did not venture to go in.
When Matilda inquired if any one within was
sick, the girl shook her head, replying,
" No sickness, but there must be death. That
is the death moan."
Mrs. Storey instantly proceeded to the tent,
thinking that assistance might be wanted ; and,
76 MORNING WALKS.
lifting up the awning, she saw Mrs. Draper stand-
ing beside the body of a very old woman, which
was propped up in a sitting posture, and com-
posed in attitude and countenance. Mrs. Draper's
countenance was also calm, as she folded her
arms in her red cloak, and rocked herself back-
wards and forwards, giving the death moan at
intervals. After a certain number of repetitions,
she turned to the ladies, and, in a voice of in-
difference, asked their business, glancing with a
smile towards their palms. Elizabeth did not
seem to share Matilda's surprise at this transition
from one mood to another, but returned Mrs.
Draper's smile, not ungloving her hand, but
pointing out divers blemishes in the gloves she
wore, and remarking,
" What shocking gloves these are ! I used
to get beauties of gloves at Brighton. I wish 1
could get such here."
" We are only carriers," observed the gipsy.
" You must walk a mile eastward to find a bat-
And she pointed significantly in the direction
of Alexander's cottage. Elizabeth insinuated
that carriers might be paid for their services
in goods as well as the bat or bludgeon men,
whose office it was to fight the battles of the
smugglers while contraband goods were being
landed and distributed. It appeared, however,
that the gipsies preferred having their pay in
money to loading themselves with more incum-
brances than were necessary. It was plain that
Elizabeth must apply elsewhere for gloves.
MORNING WALKS. 77
Matilda was meanwhile trying to tempt Trinity
into the abode, in order to learn from her some
particulars about the deceased, whose departure
seemed to be borne by Mrs. Draper with such
extraordinary composure : but Trinity still shrank
from the sight of the dead, though willing enough
to tell all she knew of her. She could only re-
late that this woman had been with the gang as
long as Trinity could remember anything; that
she had been blind all that time ; and had been
carried from place to place on a donkey, which
was always led by the most careful person in the
company. She had outlived all her relations,
and had been tended by the Faas and Drapers
only because there was no one else to take care
of her. All her days had been spent in wander-
ing, Trinity believed, as she had heard her say
that it was seventy years since she had slept in
a bed. It did not appear that her death had
been immediately expected, as the men of the
gang who were engaged as carriers, the preceding
night, were gone to Brighton, and some other
places a little way up the country ; and when
Trinity went to school that morning, she had left
the old dame making cabbage nets, as usual.
Mrs. Draper here took up an unfinished net, and
said that it had dropped from the hands of the
old woman half an hour before, when the fainting
fit came on in which she had died. It was rather
a pity, Mrs. Diaper observed, that the departure
had been so sudden, as the wake of the first night
could scarcely be as honourable as they could
wish. They must do their best to collect a mul-
78 MORNING WALKS.
titude of mourners by the second night. Mean-
while, Trinity must summon as many of the tribe
as were within reach ; and if the ladies would
please to walk out of the tent, she would fasten
down the curtain so that nobody could get in,
and set the dog to watch while she went her ways.
It struck Matilda as rather strange to leave the
body unguarded by human care at midday, in
order to provide for its being watched at night
by ten times as many persons as were necessary.
There was nothing to be done, however, but to
obey the gipsy's desire, as it was plain that the
greatest offence that could be offered would be
to propose to touch or to remain near the body.
As they bent their heads under the low hoop
which supported the curtain at the entrance,
Elizabeth foolishly remarked that it was very well
the poor soul had not had a long illness in such
a comfortless place.
" You that live in ceiled houses," replied Mrs.
Draper, haughtily, " dwell as your fathers dwelt.
So do we."
" But being ill and dying, â€” that is so dif-
" If we are content to die as our fathers died,
who forbids V persisted the gipsy, in a tone
which silenced the objector. Mrs. Draper
slightly returned the farewell of her visiters, and
stood watching them till they were nearly out of
sight, when she fastened the dog to one of the
hoops of the tent, took off the stew, threw water
on the fire, and climbed the bank, in order to
pursue her way over the down in an opposite
MORNING WALKS. 79
direction from that along which Trinity was
Very different was the picture presented by the
domestic establishment of the Alexanders, whom
Elizabeth would not be restrained from visiting",
in search of gloves, and with the hope of seeing
many things besides which might delight her
eyes, if her purse would not extend to the pur-
chase of them. Matilda positively refused to ac-
company her, and walked on to pay a visit to her
Mrs. Alexander was engaged with her young
folks in tying the claws of the lobsters which had
been caught that morning ; a work requiring
some dexterity, and assisted with some fear by
the children, who were apt to start and let go at
the critical moment, if the creature showed any
disposition to friskiness. A technical question
or two from Elizabeth sufficed to induce Mrs.
Alexander to quit her task, wash her hands, and
show her visiter into a light closet at the back of
the cottage, where she promised to join her in a
few minutes. Where she went Elizabeth had no
idea ; but she returned in ten minutes with an
apron full of mysteries, and followed by two of
her boys, bearing between them a package which
was almost too large to be brought in at the
narrow door. A girl was already seated on the
outer door- sill, to give notice of the approach of
any spy ; and the eldest^boy was directed to keep
guard at the entrance of the closet, while appa-
rently busy in carving his wooden boat of three
80 MORNING WALKS.
Mrs. Alexander intimated that besides gloves,
she had an unusual choice of cambrics and silks,
and a few pieces of valuable lace, out of which
the lady might suit herself, if she chose, before
the goods were sent up the country, as they were
to be without delay. Elizabeth would not pro-
mise to buy, but, of course, accepted the invita-
tion to examine ; and then what tempting trea-
sures were spread before her eyes !
" O lovely ! " she cried. " What a colour ! I
wonder whether it would wear well. So delicate !
so rich ! There is nothing like those French for
Mrs. Alexander, as in gratitude bound, joined in
lauding the Lyons manufacturers, and their dyers.
" The hue is most beautiful, to be sure, but
the fabric of this is better ; â€” and this, â€” and this,"
she continued, applying the scientific touch to
each in turn. " It seems to me that all the
pieces of that one pattern, â€” the olive green, and
the blue, and the violet, â€” are of a poorer fabric
than the rest. But the figure is completely French,
to be sure."
Mrs. Alexander observed that the Brighton
ladies, and some at Hastings, had taken a great
fancy to that particular pattern ; and it was
selling rapidly at some of the principal shops.
" Well, now, if I had seen those pieces at a
shop, â€” if I had met with them anywhere but
here, I should have pronounced them English.
It is very odd that all of that one figure should
have less substance than the others. Did they
come over as part of the same cargo?"
MORNING WALKS. 81
M Stowed cheek-by-jowl in the hold of the lug-
ger that was but six hours out of sight," Mrs.
11 I suppose they have been only just landed,"
observed Elizabeth, " for you would not keep
such a stock as this by you, with so many enemies
about. I wonder you are not afraid.''
" Jt is only for a few hours, ma'am ; just till
the carriers come back from their present errand.
I do not sell in any but a chance way, as you
know, ma'am ; and "
" 1 always supposed your husband had been
a batman, and I am told the batmen are often
paid in goods," interrupted Elizabeth.
" In part, ma'am ; but the greater portion of
what is before you is here only on trust. We
take care to keep them out of sight of the few
whose business it is to ruin the coast ; but, for
that matter, the hands that served to land and
stow ten times as much as all this, are enough to
defend what is left. But the carriers will be back
soon, and then "
" And then they will have something else to
do than to set off for Brighton again imme-
diately, â€” if you mean the gipsies." And Eliza-
beth explained that they would have to attend the
wake of the old woman, for two or three nights
This was such important news that Mrs. Alex-
ander instantly sent one of the children in search
of his father, and seemed now careless as to
whether her visiter made a purchase or not.
After selecting a package of gloves which was
82 MORNING WALKS.
too large for her pocket, and was therefore to be
left behind till a favourable opportunity should
occur of conveying them unseen, Elizabeth de-
tained a two-inch pattern of the silk whose figure
she most admired, and which was somewhat
cheaper than the rest, from the inferiority of its
quality. She must consult her mother, she de-
clared, and should probably send an order for a
quantity sufficient for two or three dresses. Hei
desire"to obtain some of the benefits of this im-
portation was enhanced by the woman's apparent
indifference as to whether she indulged in a pur-
chase. She resolved to make all speed home-
wards, and to persuade her mother, and, if pos-
sible, Matilda, to seize the opportunity of deck-
ing themselves in contraband fabrics.
She was not destined to arrive at home so soor
as she imagined. Instead of Elizabeth, appeared
a neighbour's child, breathless and excited, tc
request Matilda's immediate presence at a well-
known house on the beach, and to urge the Lieu-
tenant being sent for with all speed. It was
plain that Elizabeth had been stopped by the
Coast Guard, and conveyed by them to the house
of the dame appointed to search all women whc
were suspected of having smuggled goods con
cealed about them. This was an act of audacity
on the part of the guard that Matilda could no
have anticipated, or she would have used mon
urgent persuasions with her sister-in-law agains
connecting herself in any way with the secre
proceedings of the people about her. She wai
little aware that the adventure arose out of thi
MORNING WALKS, 83
reprobation of Brady's punishment of the gipsy-
boy, which she and Elizabeth had testified the
Brady had seen Miss Storey enter the sus-
pected house of Alexander; lie had remarked
signs of movement within and about it during her
stay ; and had watched her leaving it with a hur-
ried step on the way home. Brady did not see
why a lady should make a mockerv of his office
anymore than a poor woman, to whom the temp-
tation was greater ; and he was quite disposed to
use his authority against one who had blamed
him when he could not defend himself, and ex-
posed him to be mobbed. He therefore planted
himself directly in her path, on the beach, and
requested her to deliver up the contraband arti-
cles which she was carrying about her.
The consciousness of what had just passed at
Mrs. Alexander's deprived Elizabeth of the sense
of innocence, and of that appearance of it which
she might have justified by the fact that she had
no smuggled goods about her person. She in-
stantly thought of the pattern of silk, and tried
to hide it, in a wav which confirmed the suspi-
cions of the foe. There was nothing for it but
to go to the place appointed ; but, on the way,
she bethought herself of sending a messenger for
some of her family. She appeared in so great
tribulation when Matilda arrived, as to leave little
doubt of her being actually in the scrape ; and
delay or evasion seemed therefore the best policy.
14 Have you demanded to be taken before a
magistrate?" asked Matilda.
84 MORNING WALKS.
" A magistrate ! La, no ! How dreadful to
think of going to a justice ! I dare not, I am
sure. Tis dreadful to think of."
" Not so dreadful as to put up with such a
piece of audacity as this. If I were you, I would
give these people as much trouble as possible in
the business they have brought upon themselves,
and make them heartily sick of it before they
" Better not make such a fuss, and expose
one's-self before all the folks on the way : better
take it quietly," said the search-woman, holding
open the door of the inner room appointed for
the process. Elizabeth peeped into the room,
and then looked at Matilda in restless dismay,
declaring that she had nothing about her that she
would not have produced in a moment to the
guard, if he had asked her quietly, instead of
bringing half the population about her heels.
" Then go to the magistrate, and tell him so,"
said Mrs. Storey, authoritatively. "It is a pri-
vilege which the law allows you ; and an inno-
cent person does wrong in not claiming it."
Elizabeth could not bring herself thus to oblige
Brady to declare what reasons he had to suspect
her. She doubted and hesitated, till her foes
could and would wait no longer. She was
searched, and nothing found, except, at the last
moment, the pattern of silk, squeezed up in her
glove. This discovery was very discomfiting to
the ladies, and was made the most of by Brady,
who held it up in the face of the Lieutenant,
when that gentleman arrived, breathless, to as-
MORNING WALKS. 85
certain what disaster had befallen the ladies of
" What ! is that all you have got ? I wish
you joy of your share of the seizure," said he to
Brady, pushing his hand aside. " I hope you
will make more sure of your game the next time
you abuse your duty to insult a lady."'
Brady said he should discharge his office, let
who would be the sufferer ; and added, that he
held in his hand what was a sufficient justifica-
tion. He then proceeded to deposit the two
inches of silk carefully in his tobacco-box.
" Let me look at it," demanded the Lieutenant.
Brady glanced towards the fire, as if fearing that
that was destined to be the next place of deposit
for his precious snip. The Lieutenant laughed
contemptuously, and walked to the farthest pos-
sible distance from the fire, still holding out his
hand for the pattern.
11 Why, man," said the officer, " you had
better make haste to qualify yourself a little
better for your business, or you will make your-
self the laughing-stock of the place. This silk
is no more French than your coat is Chinese.
Here, take it back, and ask any knowing person
you please, and you will find this was woven in
Spitalfields or at Macclesfield."
Brady muttered something about " humbug;"
and the search-woman became extremely anxious
to explain that it was no part of her business to
choose her victims : she had only to discharge
her duty upon all who were brought to her. The
Lieutenant silenced her by pushing past her, with
86 MORNING WALKS.
his wife and sister on each arm. The little crowd
opened before them as they re-issued from the
house, and closed again round Brady, to learn
the result of his loyal enterprise. He was in
too thorough an ill-humour to give them any
satisfaction, anticipating (what, in fact, proved
his fate) that he should be twitted with this deed
for months to come, by every man, woman, and
child who did not bear a due patriotic affection
towards the Preventive Service.
The officer did not speak till it was time to
deposit his sister at her own door.
" Now, Elizabeth," said he, " I hope this will
prove a lesson to you. You and my mother
came to live here on my account, and on my
account you must go away again, unless you
can bring your practices into agreement with my
duties. It is a lucky chance for you that that
rag is of English make, or "
" Oh, brother! do you really think it is not a
*' To be sure, or I should not have said so,"
replied the Lieutenant, with much displeasure in
his tone. " If I chose to tell lies to screen you,
you might stay here, following your own fancies,
till doomsday. It is because I always will speak
the truth about those who belong to me that I
request you to go away, if you must do tilings
which make the truth painful for you to hear and
for me to tell."
" Well, my good sir, do not be in a passion.
I only thought you were telling a convenient fib,
such as everybody tells about such matters, in the
Custom-house and out of it."
MORNING WALKS. 87
" Not everybody, as you now find," replied
the officer ; " and I hope this is the last time you
will expose me to the suspicion of fibbing in your
Matilda half withdrew her arm from her hus-
band's, terrified at a mode and strength of rebuke
which would have almost annihilated her; but
Elizabeth bore it with wonderful indifference,
wishing him good morning, as on ordinary days.
11 She is a good creature,'' the Lieutenant ob-
served, in his customary phrase, after walking on
a few paces in silence. " She is a good crea-
ture, but monstrously provoking sometimes. A
pretty scrape she had nearly got herself and all
of us into."
M Remember how lately it was that vou were
defending the desire for foreign commodities in
general, and Elizabeth's in particular," observed
" Well ! all that I said was very true, I be-
lieve," replied the officer, half laughing under a
sense of his own inconsistency. " I have as
firm a faith as ever in the truth of what I then
" Your doctrine, then, is, that Elizabeth is
right in having the desire, and in gratifying it ;
but that she is wrong in being caught in the fact.'*
" Why, it does come pretty nearly to that, I
am afraid. It comes to the fact that duties clash
in a case like this ; so that, one's conscience
being at fault, an appeal to the law must settle
the matter. I see no crime in Elizabeth's taste,
apart from the means she may take to gratifv it ;
<->S MORNING WALKS.
but the law pronounces her wrong, so we must
conclude she is wrong."
" Duties do, indeed, clash," replied Matilda ;
" and if so painfully in one case, what must be the
extent of the evil if we consider all who are con-
cerned ? Even in this little neighbourhood, here
is Mr. Pirn unable to teach honour, as he says,
without giving the notion that it is a merit to
conceal fraud, and pointing out a whole class as
objects of contempt and hatred. The dwellers
near, almost to a man, look upon the government
as a tyrant, its servants as oppressors, its laws as
made to be evaded, and its powers defied. Oaths
are regarded as mere humbug ; and the kindliest
of social feelings are nourished in direct relation
to fraud, and pleaded as its sanction. There is