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* Mamma ordered a roast chicken for tea. Why
Is it not here ? ' The maid vanished, and in a
trice returned with the chicken and plates, and
set them down opposite her young mistress,
who carved the bird in a fashion of her own,
and sent Miss Hesketh the liver-wing with
half the breast annexed, and took no notice
when she expostulated that the wing was
enough. She then grave her brother the other
wing and a leg apiece to Jane and Clara, but
helped herself to nothing until the stranger had
declined any more. The other three bears



HARD SERVICE. I97

then thrust forward their plates, asking again,
and having equitably divided the eatable sub-
stance of what remained, Isobel got the back-
bone for her share. Winny with satisfaction
reflected that if this girl was untamed, she
was not selfish, and in spite of her glooming
brow, was half attracted to like her.

Immediately there was an end of the meal
the bears escaped out of doors, and their dis-
mayed keeper sat still in her chair ruminating.
She was in a spacious, old-fashioned parlour,
with two windows, and an outlook w^estward
over a retired part of the garden betv/een the
red stems of tall ranks of pines. Within
there was everything necessary for schoolroom
use, but nothing for ease, comfort, or indul-
gence.

Her countenance not a little fallen, Winny
betook herself to her bedroom — a room at the
further end of a long gallery on which all the
principal bedrooms opened. And here, O
dolour, O vexation and futile wrath ! were two
narrow, neatly appointed white beds, one for
Isobel and the other for her. This arrangement.



iqS this work-a-day world.

in direct violation of the privacy for which she
had stipulated when signing articles, was ex-
plained and extenuated during the few minutes
Mrs Peregrine-Hart had given to her introduc-
tion into her new day and night quarters — ' It
shall be altered if your objection is insuperable,
but we trust you will bear with it. Dear Isobel
is too tyrannical to be left in the charge of poor
old nurse any longer, and her papa and I are
most anxious that she should begin to be broken
of her naughty ways. If it cannot be done at
home, she will have to go to school. Three
governesses have left us within the last year,
and she is warned that she must reform under
you, or prepare for the worst. Her papa and
myself are determined to uphold your authority,
and to leave her entirely to your management.
Your predecessors' system of appealing to us on
every occasion was not fair.'

• ' If I cannot rule in my schoolroom without
appealing to any one, I will give up my situa-
tion,' said Miss Hesketh.

As Winny recalled this exposition of facts;
o^iven within half an hour of her arrival at



HARD SERVICE. 1 99

Hauxwell, she felt as if she were launched
into an unexplored, horrid world of contention.
She leant on the open window-sill for ten de-
spondent minutes, wondering what she should
do. But the summer evening was very tran-
quil, and its tranquillity imperceptibly quelled
her perturbation. It returned in some measure
when Isobel appeared, attended by the maid.
She halted in the doorway, and asked with what
was deference in her : ' May I come in ? It is
my bedtime.'

* Yes. I will leave you the room to yourself
for half an hour. Is that long enough ? '

* It will do. I have not slept here before —
which bed do you choose ? '

' This one, with its head next the window.'
Isobel had intended that bed to be hers, but
she offered no remark, and when Winny
returned to take possession of it, she was
either asleep or feigning with her face to the
wall.

When Miss Hesketh had been six weeks,
or thereabouts, at Hauxwell, she had made all



20O THIS WORK-A-DAY WORLD.

the discoveries that were to be made into the
habits and customs of the young Peregrine-
Harts. Isobel was the leader and moving
spirit. What she did the rest imitated. Taken
collectively they were as fatiguing a batch
of pupils as ever fell to a poor young lady's
lot. Isobel had a character to keep up for
daring anything and everything against her
governess, and her pride was concerned not to
permit her reformation to be otherwise than
a slow and uneasy process. With her rough-
ness and restiveness Miss Hesketh could
bear, but with a propensity to be cruel that
she had Miss Hesketh could not and would
not bear, and this was the first great question
on which they joined issue to try who was the
stronger.

Isobel professed not to know that she was
cruel, and derided Miss Hesketh's pitiful
temper as town-bred cowardice, unbecoming a
country girl. Of Isobel's venturesomeness
amongst dogs, horses, and horned cattle, Miss
Hesketh had nothing to say, but she had given
standing orders that the small deer caught



HARD SERVICE. 201

in traps should be reserved for her to witness
their destruction in leisure moments, and
when Winny found this out her wrath was
eloquent, and her counter-orders were stringent.
Isobel tried to maintain her prerogative by
violence and by craft, but higher commands
to obey Miss Hesketh were issued, and Miss
Hesketh was obeyed. Isobel revenged her-
self by promulgating an opinion that their new
governess was a poor timid thing; and the
younger ones adopted it, and it became fun to
them to practise on the fears with which they
credited her. Her courage was not of the
same coarse quality as theirs, but they soon
found out that she had courage enough for
her occasions, and .that whatever she feared, she
did not fear any of them. Still, gusts of emo-
tion with the strain of habitual over-fatigue
will tell on the best-nerved frames, and Winny
Hesketh felt often, when night came after a
weary day, that the chances she would be
worsted at her task were multiplying very fast
aofainst her. She was not enamoured of either
retreat or defeat, it would be a mortification to



202 THIS WORK-A-DAY WORLD.

avow herself beaten ; but when she began to
start at sudden sounds, to lose her appetite, her
sleep, and to dread the morning, she began to
reflect that this was not like herself, that it was
the consequence of worry, not of work, and
that no triumph over difficulty was worth the
loss of health and strength.

The last straw that broke her patience was a
message from Mr Peregrine- Hart which Isobel
brought her one noon In extraordinary glee :
* O Miss Hesketh, they are drawing the woods
to-day, and papa says will you give us a holiday,
and take us all to the field below the new plan-
tation to see it.'

Winny had not much idea of what drawing
the woods meant, and asked. Isobel had
witnessed it often enough to give her a lively
description, and Miss Hesketh's message back
was that she would not go. Mrs Peregrine-
Hart arrived to present a remonstrance. There
was nothing cruel in the business ; It was neces-
sary, she said, that the woods should be cleared
of game and vermin at that season. Winny
answered that of Its necessity she did not pre-



HARD SERVICE. 203

Slime to judge, but the spectacle would be
painful and disgusting to her, and any pleasure
the children might take in it would be better
denied them. The end of It was that the chil-
dren were left to their own choice whether they
would go or stay. Isobel and Clara went ;
Jane and Edward appeared at lesson-time after
luncheon, and had their lessons remitted to
amuse themselves in some other way. And
Winny spent ten minutes of her leisure in
writing half-a-dozen lines to their parents (it
was ever easier to her to write than to speak)
begging to resign her engagement. She had
lost all hope of success in her vocation at
Hauxwell, and must prepare to go on her
travels again. She was sorry for the conclusion,
she knew that her mother would be more than
sorry, but she felt, just then, as if there were no
alternative.

It had been a source of speculation to Miss
Hesketh how two persons of manners so mild
as Mr and Mrs Peregrine- Hart could be the
parents of a progeny so ruthless. Mr Peregrine-
Hart had the features of his ancestors, but was



204 THIS WORK-A-DAY WORLD.

the quietest, civil man she had ever known.
Few words served him, and Winny had not
heard his voice a score of times before this
evening, when about nine o'clock, he knocked
at the schoolroom door, and came to answer her
note in person.

He stood on the rug with his back to the
fire, and began to say that he was satisfied with
her success amongst his children, so was his wife,
and why could not she be the same ? If more
money would persuade her to stay, she should
have it.

Winny declined more money, her salary was
liberal enough — that was no part of her motive
in wishino- to leave. She found her situation
too wearing. * There are days,' she said, * when
Isobel will do nothing without a running fight
of argument. The others follow her example,
and in the evening, when they go down to
dessert, I am so jaded that I could drop asleep.'
She looked like it now, and pale, as if suffering
the reaction after excitement.

* Then drop asleep. The best thing you
can do/ said the gentleman. * It is what



HARD SERVICE. 20$

I do myself after a hard day with the
hounds.'

' Again — I have no chance with the girls when
you encourage them to indulge a cruel taste
which is odious to me.'

* They made themselves very disagreeable
to-day — put themselves in peril of the guns.
Take a month to reconsider your deci-
sion.'

This was not the answer Miss Hesketh
expected, but she w^as not dissatisfied with It.
]\Ir Peregrine- Hart cast his silent observation
round the room, and went away. The next
morning the easiest of old sofas was found
standing by the fireside, and Clara said it came
out of papa's own snuggery. The next even-
ing when Jane appeared to say good-night, she
brought the Eventing Mail. * Papa hopes that
you have had your nap, and are ready for the
paper,' said she. ' You are to have it regularly.
It comes three times a week.' The news-
paper w^as a ray of light breaking through
gloom and dulness. Winny understood that
her hard service was to be alleviated, and made



206 THIS WORK-A-DAY WORLD.

as tolerable as the circumstances admitted.
Her fluctuating spirits rose to the appeal,
and she felt cheered for a renewed effort.

When the month of probation was almost
over Isobel inquired whether she was going to
leave them.

' Would you prefer me to leave or to remain ?
It depends on you,' said Winny.

' I wish you to remain. I like you. Miss
Hesketh.'

* You have very peculiar ways of showing
it. Tell me — why were you so trying to-
day ?'

' I don't know. Sometimes I hate you, I
could strike you ! You are so quiet, and I
have to obey you.'

* It would be bedlam broke loose if I stormed
as you storm — and Edward and Clara copying
you. And you can be so generous and loving !
You must belong to those women whose
souls are made out of the sea — all rage and
tempest one hour, the next all calm and sun-
shine.'

Isobel said nothing to this, but it came to be



HARD SERVICE. 20/

tacitly understood that ]\IIss Hesketh would
try to stay on again. She did stay, by no
means always in a placid or resigned humour.
With what affectionate regret did she look back
to the peaceful, monotonous days at Hall Green!
What a long thought did she send sometimes
after Mr Durant, wandering she knew not
where! Insensibly her life had fallen Into a
lower key since she had lost him ; and that was
all the acknowledgment she ever made to the
perverse little god who had captured her heart
for the wanton triumph of throwing its treasure
away. Isobel asked sometimes what ailed
her when she sat so still, gazing at the sunset
down the valley. She would say nothing ailed
her — she was resting.

The sense of weariness and the desire for
rest increased upon her all that winter. She
ascribed the influence to her tedious, trouble-
some pupils ; but it is doubtful whether she
would not have felt it quite as much with full
liberty to be at ease and idle. At Hauxwell
she had not that liberty. Mrs Peregrine- Hart
requested her company in the drawing-room



208 THIS WORK-A-DAY WORLD.

on an evening when she had some very fine
company — lords and ladles, even a prince and
princess. Winny wished to be excused on
the plea of nothing to wear, but Isobel inter-
posed : * Don't let her off, mamma ; she has a
very pretty dress.' That was the dress she
had danced in at Mildred Hutton's wedding,
and with touching reluctance she put it on.
Old nurse helped her, and eked out its defi-
ciencies with a scarf belonging to her mis-
tress.

* Dear missis likes to keep up proper distinc-
tions, and she would always have the governess
to put on a scarf,' said she.

' A hood and tippet if desirable,' quoth Winny
indifferently.

She descended to the drawing-room. There
was a nice fire, a nice ottoman in front of it,
and a collection of very nice soft cushions. It
was her now accustomed hour to take a nap.
In a few seconds she was oblivious. When she
next opened her eyes two ladies were talking
across her, there was a sfreat illumination, there



HARD SERVICE. 209

was a large party playing a round game at a
loo-table.

' There, she's woke up ! I have been keeping
them all from waking you ! ' cried Clara spring-
ing from the rug where she had been crouched
on guard. Her mamma whispered : ' Hush,'
and an old man with white hair and gleaming
black eyes said : ' Poor little thing, she's tired
with whipping you all day.' Winny emerged
from her drowsy confusion with a blush. Mrs
Peregrine- Hart Invited her to join the round
game, but the round game In progress did not
admit of interlopers. Then came tea, and
beautiful music and sweet singing — Winny
rather enjoyed her evening on the whole. A
fat lady said to her confidentially : * I hear you
have written a book — what headaches It must
have given you ! ' and then she called to a thin
gentleman to tell him : * This Is the lady who
has written a book.' They both seemed to
contemplate her with respectful, amused
curiosity, and a handsome lad who stood near
expressed it openly : * How funny ! I had an

VOL. II. o



2IO THIS WORK- A-DAY WORLD.

idea that ladles who wrote books wore turbans
and shoes down at heel ! ' Winny laughed, and
showed a neat little bronze kid slipper with
a smart rosette : ' For the credit of my
order,' said she, and the lad bowed a merry
apology.

Isobel said to her governess afterwards with
some diffidence : * They all shook hands with
you to-night when they went away. They
never did with Miss Rogers.'

' I'll endeavour to bear the honour meekly,'
was Winny's reply.

Miss Hesketh's countenance and character did
not invite those impertinences of which there
has been often complaint amongst dependents,
but the fact that she had written a book did
give her a degree more of consideration here
than she would have enjoyed as only the
children's governess. She was not absolutely
insensible to the pleasure and uses of such
appreciation ; for Isobel had a certain imitative-
ness that led her to measure her deference by the
deference of her elders and betters, and Winny
was thankful for any innocent lever of motive



HARD SERVICE. 2 I I

that gave her power and authority with this
fractious girl. But it was from Miss Denham
that she got the most effectual aid by way of
advice. Winny did not make a practice of
telling her professional troubles — to her mother
she never mentioned them — but to Georgle
she wrote one day an account of the perplexing
humours of her pupil made out of the sea.
Georo^ie bade her friend be Indulo^ent — the
poor girl could not help them, suffered far more
from them than she did ; bade her be wise and
make a virtue of necessity, and whenever she
saw the signs of a stormy day, to send her out
for a ride, give her a holiday, an active game,
or an Interestino^ lonor walk — she would come
back sweet as summer, and there would be
peace at home. Winny did not find the pre-
scription unfailing, but the method was the
most successful of any that it had occurred to
her to try. It did seem sometimes to the other
children as if Isobel had only to look black to
get a reprieve from lessons and a beautiful ride
with papa, and it was not a thing to be wondered
at that Edward, who also loved a ride, should



2 1 2 THIS WORK- A- DAY WORLD.

try the same device for getting one. He tried
it two or three times in vain, and once he tried
it so hard that Winny bade him go and tell his
papa he felt bad, like Isobel — which he too
confidingly did, with a very disagreeable result
to himself, and also, In justice to Miss Hesketh
it must be said, a result as unexpected by her
as by him. But the permanent effect was
miraculous, and by Christmas came the school-
room was a reformed and quiet scene, and even
a popular resort of visitors.

There was five o'clock tea, and as standing
guests the baby out of the nursery, a little girl
just learning to toddle, and old nurse who had
never been beyond Rusdale, and was therefore
an original character, full of songs, ballads,
traditions, superstitions and quaint oddities of
all sorts. Mrs Peregrine- Hart would come
herself when alone, and bring up her callers
when she found that Miss Hesketh liked it.
It was, indeed, a signal relief and diversion to
her. She missed the sight of mother and
friends, and familiar places, and though she
had letters, letters are brief, cold company.



HARD SERVICE. 213

Six months at Hauxwell were longer than a
year at Hall Green, and there were nearly six
months more to live through before she need
expect a change. She made the best of them,
and took the bits of brightness and variety that
fell within her reach. They were not very
many — but then she had no right to expect
many in that state of life.

Winter in Rusdale lingered very long. There
was snow under the north side of the hedo^es
far on into May. Winny Hesketh watched its
slow disappearance, counting the days to mid-
summer as she had counted them when a girl at
school. One morning, after a heavy rain in the
night, the last patch, the last streak were gone,
and the sun burst forth warm and ofenial.
* And now,' said she, ' I hope my cough will
go too.' The cold of Rusdale was keener and
more irritating than any cold she had experi-
enced, and since January she had suffered from
it rather severely. The milder weather brought
her relief, and a little comfort of another sort —
a salt-water letter, as the post-mistress called



2 1 4 THIS WORK-A-DAY WORLD.

it : ' And I should guess a valentine, if Valen-
tine's Day was not long over,' said she.

Nevertheless a valentine it was, and it accom-
plished its mission of making Miss Hesketh
laugh, and remember very pleasantly the per-
son who sent it. She knew the writing though
she had only two other pieces from the same
hand — the note that had come with the basket
of myrtle from Rushmead on the morning of the
weddinof at Foston, and the letter from South-
ampton on the day Mr Durant sailed for India.
She ought to have had another, a letter
addressed to her from Bombay, but there had
been a wreck, and lost mails, and Winny's letter
never reached her. Mr Durant had written
his own poetry and painted his own devices,
tawny Indian loves and tropical graces — a
wcrd of news of her had set him off composing
it. It had given him some hours of mirth to
concoct, and it gave Winny repeated gleams of
amusement. She liked to think of him in such
mirthful humour. Perhaps she would rather
have had a letter of description and tidings —
she did not know that one had been sent and



HARD SERVICE. 215

was lost ; but she was never exacting ; she told
herself that she had expected nothing yet, and
was the more bound to be thankful for what
she had got — and another letter of tidings was
on its way.

There was no further event to break the
laborious routine of her existence until the
holidays, when she went home to Cotham. As
holidays came only once a year at Hauxwell
they were long when they did come. They
began early in June, and Miss Hesketh was
not due in her schoolroom again until the end
of August. She scarcely knew how weary she
was until she began to rest. Rest had not
arrived too soon, and could not last too late.
She needed it.



CHAPTER XIV.

BETWEEN FRIENDS.

WiNNY Hesketh put on her best face for her
mother, but when she went to see Miss
Denham she let herself go with the ease of
old friendship that desires to conceal nothing.
Georgie welcomed her with fervour, took off
her bonnet, and said : * You are going to stay
and have coffee with me, and I'll take you
home before sunset.' Georgie stirred about
the room rather restlessly for a minute or two
before she settled, as if something unlooked
for had taken her by surprise. That something
was Winny's face — the blithe face, the round
and buxom little figure were considerably
gone, though so gradually gone that Winny
herself was scarcely conscious of the change
and loss.

* If I might be excused for making a personal



BETWEEN FRIENDS. 2 I 7

remark, I should say, WInny, that you are
burning the candle at both ends,' was Georgie's
way of allusion to appearances.

' I have harder work than at Hall Green
— almost as hard as at the old Manor
School, but I might be much worse off than
I am,' was Winny's frank reply. ' I have
every comfort, and many indulgences to lighten
my days.'

' You teach, and you write a good deal.
Oh yes, I can detect you in a moment, though
you sign no name. Is it quite wise, Winny,
to do both ? I find writing takes out
of me.*

' It is as easy as breathing yet — I don't
know what it may be. Rusdale is full of
stories. The sketches and tales I write
are mostly true, or spring up from self-sown
seed I cannot tell how, but without labour.
I should often be dull for want of company
if I might not make my thoughts talk.
And there is the profit, Georgie — I cannot
pretend to despise the profit.*

' Assuredly not — why should you ? I wish



2 1 8 THIS WORK-A-DAY WORLD.

I could make any ! But you cannot go on
teaching hard and writing too. You'll grow
thin if you persist In It much longer.'

' I am grown thin already — but that is my
coueh. I had a couo-h for weeks after Christ-
mas. Hauxwell stands high, and Is very,
very cold. There we feel every wind that
blows.'

Georgle reflected In silence. * I have been
In Rusdale. It is fine country, but I advise you
not to stay if the climate affects you.'

' I will try another winter : if that be as bad
as the last I must give up my situation — else
it might, perchance, give up me. Oh yes,
Georgle, I know, I look forward. I must not
sacrifice my health — all the fortune I am
possessed of.'

* Dear little Winny ! I wish somebody
would turn up, and save you the care of
It,' said Georgle kindly.

' Do you ? I don't. I have no wish to be
other than I am, unless free to live at home
with my mother ; but she will not have me.
She fancies I should be dull, and is sure I



BETWEEN FRIENDS. 2 I 9

could not earn enough to keep me. It Is of
no use striving against her prejudices. I must
wait, and go on working in other people's houses
until I am thirty — old Mam'zell's age of inde-
pendence, when a single woman may lawfully
begin to live and work in the way that pleases
her best.'

Georgie Indulged in a compassionate gesture
at Winny's patience, and said : ' How I should
hate your bondage ! ' Then : ' I must tell you
— at the risk of being unwise. I heard of Mr
Durant last week.'

' Yes ! What is his news ? We are friends ;
there is no harm in our being friends ? '

* None, none — while he is in India, and you
are here.'

* Ah, Georgie, now you are laughing at me !
He sent me a valentine that he had written
and painted himself — the most laughable
pictures. He has a great deal of fun. It was
a long while after date, but I was pleased to
get it.'

* He Is a very good fellow. His news was
nothing much ; still you will like to hear It. It



2 20 THIS WORK-A-DAY WORLD.

came through another man, an engineer, a half-
quarter Scotch cousin of mine, who has gone with
the expedition. Durant was mentioned as the
toughest traveller of them all, and Invincible for
pluck and spirits. They did not know how
they would have made their way without
him. He is wonderful at disguises and dia-
lects.'

* I don't know half his accomplishments.
O Georgie, I hope he'll live to come back to
England ! ' WInny cried.

* Then you will have to moderate your friend-
ship. You need not look at me with those


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