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help being Interested.

* That's right ! ' said the miller, his spirits
reviving with the revival of Matilda. ' The
lady Is not used to country life ; are you,
ma'am ? '

* I am not,' replied the sufferer. ' All is
so strange about here ! '

Suddenly there spread Into the firmament,
from the direction of the down : —


* Ra, ta, ta ! Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta 1 Ra, ta, ta ! '

' Oh dear, dear ! more hideous country
sounds, I suppose ? ' she inquired, with
another start.

' Oh no,' said the miller cheerfully. ''Tis
only my son John's trumpeter chaps at the
camp of dragoons just above us, a-blowing
Mess, or Feed, or Picket, or some other of
their vagaries. John will be much pleased
to tell you the meaning on't when he comes
down. He's trumpet-major, as you may
know, ma'am.'

' Oh yes ; you mean Captain Loveday's
brother. Dear Bob has mentioned him.'

' If you come round to Widow Garland's
side of the house, you can see the camp,'
said the miller.

* Don't force her ; she's tired with her
long journey,' said Mrs. Garland humanely,
the widow having come out in the general


wish to see Captain Bob's choice. Indeed,
they all behaved towards her as if she were
a tender exotic, which their crude country
manners might seriously Injure.

She went into the house, accompanied by
Mrs. Garland and her daughter ; though
before leaving Bob she managed to whisper
in his ear, ' Don't tell them I came by
waggon, will you, dear ? ' — a request which
was quite needless, for Bob had long ago
determined to keep that a dead secret ; not
because It was an uncommon mode of
travel, but simply that It was hardly the
usual conveyance for a gorgeous lady to her

As the men had a feeling that they would
be superfluous Indoors just at present, the
miller assisted David in taking the horse
round to the stables, Bob following, and
leaving Matilda to the women. Indoors,


Miss Johnson admired everything : the new
parrots and marmosets, the black beams of
the ceihng, the double corner-cupboard with
the glass doors, through which gleamed the
remainders of sundry china sets acquired by
Bob's mother in her housekeeping — two-
handled sugar-basins, no-handled tea-cups, a
tea-pot like a pagoda, and a cream-jug In the
form of a spotted cow. This sociability In
their visitor was returned by Mrs. Garland
and Anne ; and Miss Johnson's pleasing
habit of partly dying whenever she heard
any unusual bark or bellow added to her
piquancy in their eyes. But conversation,
as such, was naturally at first of a nervous,
tentative kind, in which, as in the works of
the poet Keats, the sense was considerably
led by the sound.

* You get the sea breezes here, no


' Oh yes, dear ; when the wind is that


' Do you Hke windy weather ? '

' Yes ; though not now, for it blows down

the young apples.'

* Apples are plentiful, it seems. You
country-folk call St. Swithin's their christen-
ing day, if it rains ? '

' Yes, dear. Ah me ! I have not been to
a christening for these many years ; the baby's
name was George, I remember — after the

' I hear that King George is still staying
at Weymouth. I /io/>e he'll stay till I have
seen him ! '

* He'll wait till the corn turns yellow ; he
always does.'

' How z>er)/ fashionable yellow is getting
for gloves just now ! '



* Yes. Some persons wear them to the
elbow, I hear.'

' Do they ? I was not aware of that. I
struck my elbow last week so hard against

the door of my aunt's mansion that I feel the
ache now.'

Before they were quite overwhelmed by
the interest of this discourse, the miller and
Bob came in. In truth, Mrs. Garland found
the office in which he had placed her — that
of introducing a strange woman to a house
which was not the widow's own — a rather
awkward one, and yet almost a necessity.
There was no woman belonging to the house
except that wondrous compendium of useful-
ness, the intermittent maid-servant, whom
Loveday had, for appearances, borrowed
from Mrs. Garland, and Mrs. Garland was in
the habit of borrowing from the girl's mother.
And as for the deml-woman David, he had


been informed as peremptorily as Pharaoh's
baker that the office of housemaid and bed-
maker was taken from him, and would be
given to this girl till the wedding was over,
and Bob's wife took the manasfement into
her own hands.

They all sat down to high tea, Anne and
her mother included, and the captain sitting
next to Miss Johnson. Anne had put a
brave face upon the matter — outwardly, at
least — and seemed in a fair way of subduing
any lingering sentiment which Bob's return
had revived. During the evening, and while
they still sat over the meal, John came down on
a hurried visit, as he had promised, ostensibly
on purpose to be introduced to his Intended
sister-in-law, but much more to eet a word
and a smile from his beloved Anne. Before
they saw him, they heard the trumpet-major's
smart step coming round the corner of the

D 2


house, and in a moment his form darkened
the door. As it was Sunday, he appeared in
his full-dress laced coat, white waistcoat, and
breeches, and towering plume, the latter of
which he instantly lowered, as much from
necessity as good manners, the beam in the
mill-house ceiling having a tendency to
smash and ruin all such head-gear without

' John, we've been hoping you would come
down,' said the miller, * and so we have kept
the tay about on purpose. Draw up, and
speak to Mrs. Matilda Johnson. . . . Ma'am,
this is Robert's brother.'

*Your humble servant, ma'am,' said the
trumpet-major gallantly.

As it was getting dusk In the low, small-

paned room, he instinctively moved towards
Miss Johnson as he spoke, who sat with her
back to the window. He had no sooner


noticed her features than his helmet nearly
fell from his hand ; his face became suddenly
fixed, and his natural complexion took itself
off, leaving a greenish yellow In its stead.
The young person, on her part, had no
sooner looked closely at him than she said
weakly, ' Robert's brother ! ' and changed
colour yet more rapidly than the soldier
had done. The falntness, previously half
counterfeit, seized on her now In real ear-

* I don't feel well,' she said, suddenly
rising by an effort. ' This warm day has
quite upset me ! '

There was a regular collapse of the tea
party, like that of the Hamlet play scene.
Bob seized his sweetheart and carried her
upstairs, the miller exclaiming, ' Ah, she's
terribly worn by the journey ! I thought she
was when I saw her nearly go off at the blare


of the COW. No woman would have been
frightened at that if she'd been up to her
natural strength.'

' That, and being so very shy of men, too,
must have made John's handsome regimen-
tals quite overpowering to her, poor thing ! '
added Mrs. Garland, following the catastro-
phic young lady upstairs, whose indisposition
was this time beyond question. And yet, by
some perversity of the heart, she was as
eager now to make light of her faintness as
she had been to make much of it two or three
hours ago.

The miller and John stood like straight
sticks in the room the others had quitted,
John's face being hastily turned towards a
caricature of Bonaparte on the wall that he
had not seen more than a hundred and fifty
times before.

' Come, sit down and have a dish of tea,


anyhow,' said his father at last. ' She'll soon
be right again, no doubt/

' Thanks ; I don't want any tea,' said
John quickly. And, indeed, he did not, for
he was in one gigantic ache from head to

The light had been too dim for anybody
to notice his amazement ; and not knowing
where to vent it, the trumpet-major said he
was going out for a minute. He hastened
to the bakehouse ; but David being there,
he went to the pantry ; but the maid being
there, he went to the cart-shed ; but a couple
of tramps being there, he went behind a row
of French beans in the garden, where he let
off an ejaculation the most pious that he had
uttered that Sabbath day : ' Heaven ! what's
to be done ? '

And then he walked wildly about the
paths of the dusky garden, where the trick-


ling of the brooks seemed loud by comparison
with the stillness around ; treading recklessly
on the crackinof snails that had come forth to
feed, and entangling his spurs in the long
grass till the rowels were choked with its
blades. Presently he heard another person
approaching, and his brother's shape ap-
peared between the stubbard tree and the

' Oh, is it you, John ? ' said the mate.

'Yes. I am — taking a little air.'

* She is getting round nicely again ; and
as I am not wanted indoors just now, I am
going into the village to call upon a friend or
two I have not been able to speak to as yet.'

John took his brother Bob's hand. Bob
rather wondered why.

' All right, old boy,' he said. ' Going
into the village ? You'll be back again, I
suppose, before it gets very late ? '


' Oh yes,' said Captain Bob cheerfully,
and passed out of the garden.

John allowed his eyes to follow his
brother till his shape could not be seen, and
then he turned and again walked up and




John continued his sad and heavy pace till
walking seemed too old and worn-out a way
of showing sorrow so new, and he leant him-
self against the fork of an apple-tree like a
log. There the trumpet-major remained for
a considerable time, his face turned towards
the house, whose ancient, many-chimneyed
outline rose against the darkening sky, and
just shut out from his view the camp above.
But faint noises coming thence from horses
restless at the pickets, and from visitors
taking their leave, recalled its existence,
and reminded him that, in consequence of
Matilda's arrival, he had obtained leave for the


night — a fact which, owing to the startHng
emotions that followed his entry, he had not
yet mentioned to his friends.

While abstractedly considering how he
could best use that privilege under the new
circumstances which had arisen, he heard
Farmer Derriman drive up to the front door
and hold a conversation with his father.
The old man had at last apparently brought
the tin box of private papers that he wished
the miller to take char^-e of durinof Derri-

o o

man's absence ; and it being a calm night,
John could hear, though he little heeded.
Uncle Benjy's reiterated supplications to
Loveday to keep it safe from fire and thieves.
Then Uncle Benjy left, and John's father
went upstairs to deposit the box in a place
of security, the whole proceeding reaching
John's preoccupied comprehension merely as
voices during sleep.


The next thing was the appearance of a
light in the bedroom which had been assigned
to Matilda Johnson. This effectually aroused
the trumpet-major, and with a stealthiness
unusual in him he went indoors. No light
was in the lower rooms, his father, Mrs. Gar-
land, and Anne having gone out on the
bridge to look at the new moon. John went
upstairs on tip-toe, and along the uneven
passage till he came to her door. It was
standing ajar, a band of candlelight shining
across the passage and up the opposite wall.
As soon as he entered the radiance he saw
her. She was standing before the looking-
glass, apparently lost in thought, her fingers
being clasped behind her head in abstraction,
and the light falling full upon her face.

* I must speak to you,' said the trumpet-

She started, turned, and grew paler than


before ; and then, as if moved by a sudden
impulse, she swung the door wide open, and,
coming out, said quite collectedly and with
apparent pleasantness. * Oh, yes ; you are my
Bob's brother ! I didn't, for a moment,
recognise you.'

' But you do now ? '

' As Bob's brother.'

' You have not seen me before ? '

* I have not,' she answered, with a face
as impassible as Talleyrand's.

' Good God ! '

' I have not ! ' she repeated.

* Nor any of the — th Dragoons ? Captain
Jolly, for instance ? '


' You mistake ; I'll remind you of parti-
culars,' he said, drily. And he did remind her
at some length.

' Never ! ' she said desperately.


But she had miscalculated her staying
powers, and her adversary's character. Five
minutes after that she was In tears, and the
conversation had resolved itself into words,
which, on the soldier's part, were of the
nature of commands, tempered by plt}^, and
were a mere series of entreaties on hers.

The whole scene did not last ten minutes.
When it was over, the trumpet-major walked
from the doorway where they had been stand-
ing, and brushed moisture from his eyes.
Reaching a dark lumber-room, he stood still
there to calm himself, and then descended by
a Flemish-ladder to the bakehouse, instead
of by the front stairs. He found that the
others, including Bob, had gathered in the
parlour during his absence and lighted the

Miss Johnson, having sent down some
time before John re-entered the house to say


that she would prefer to keep her room that
evening, was not expected to join them, and
on this account Bob showed less than his
customary liveliness. The miller wishing to
keep up his son's spirits, expressed his regret
that, it being Sunday night, the)- could have
no songs to make the evening cheerful ; when
Mrs. Garland proposed that they should sing
psalms which, by choosing lively tunes and
not thinking of the words, would be almost
as good as ballads.

This they did, the trumpet-major appear-
ing to join in with the rest ; but as a matter
of fact no sound came from his moving lips.
His mind was in such a state that he derived
no pleasure even from Anne Garland's pre-
sence, though he held a corner of the same
book with her, and was treated In a winsome
way which It was not her usual practice to
indulge in. She saw that his mind was


clouded, and, far from guessing the reason
why, was doing her best to clear It.

At length the Garlands found that It was
the hour for them to leave, and John Love-
day at the same time wished his father and
Bob good-night, and went as far as Mrs.
Garland's door with her.

He had said not a word to show that he
was free to remain out of camp, for the reason
that there was painful work to be done, which
it would be best to do in secret and alone.
He lingered near the house till Its reflected
window-lights ceased to glimmer upon the
mill-pond, and all within the dwelling was
dark and still. Then he entered the garden
and waited there till the back door opened,
and a woman's figure timorously came for-
ward. John Loveday at once went up to her,
and they began to talk in low yet dissentient


They had conversed about ten minutes,
and were parting as if they had come to some
painful arrangement, Miss Johnson sobbing
bitterly, when a head stealthily arose above
the dense hedgerow, and In a moment a shout
burst from Its owner.

* Thieves ! thieves ! — my tin box ! —
thieves ! thieves ! '

Matilda vanished Into the house, and John
Loveday hastened to the hedge. ^ For
heaven's sake, hold your tongue, Mr. Derri-
man ! ' he exclaimed.

' My tin box ! ' said Uncle Benjy. ' Oh,
only the trumpet-major ! '

* Your box IS safe enough, I assure you.
It was only' — here the trumpet-major gave
vent to an artificial laugh — ' only a sly bit of
courting, you know.'

* Haha, I see ! ' said the relieved old
squireen. ' Courting Miss Anne } Then



you've ousted my nephew, trumpet-major!
Well, so much the better. As for myself, the
truth on't Is that I haven't been able to go to
bed easy, for thinking that possibly your
father might not take care of what I put
under his charge ; and at last I thought I
would just step over and see if all was safe
here before I turned in. And when I saw
your two shapes my poor nerves magnified
ye to housebreakers and Boneys and I don t
know what all.'

*You have alarmed the house,' said the
trumpet-major, hearing the clicking of flint
and steel in his father's bedroom, followed in
a moment by the rise of a light in the window
of the same apartment. * You have got me
into difficulty,' he added, gloomily, as his
father opened the casement.

' I am sorry for that,' said Uncle Benjy.
' But step back ; I'll put it all right again.'


* What, for heaven's sake, is the matter ? '
said the miller, his tasseled nightcap appear-
ing in the opening.

' Nothing, nothing ! ' said the farmer. ' I
was uneasy about my few bonds and docu-
ments, and I walked this way, miller, before
going to bed, as I start from home to-morrow
morning. When I came down by your gar-
den-hedge, I thought I saw thieves, but it
turned out to be — to be '

Here a lump of earth from the trumpet-
major's hand struck Uncle Benjy in the back
as a reminder.

' To be — the bough of a cherry-tree
a wavlnof in the wind. Good-ni^ht ! '

' No thieves are like to try my house,'
said Miller Loveday. ' Now don't you come
alarming us like this again, farmer, or you
shall keep your box yourself, begging your
pardon for saying so. Good night t' ye ! '

E 2


' Miller, will ye just look, since I am here
— just look and see If the box is all right ?
there's a good man. I am old, you know,
and my poor remains are not what my
original self was. Look and see If It Is where
you put it, there's a good, kind man.'

*Very well,' said the miller, good-hu-

' Neighbour Loveday ! on second thoughts
I will take my box home again, after all,
if you don't mind. You won't deem it
ill of me } I have no suspicions, of course ;
but now I think on't there's rivalry between
my nephew and your son ; and If Festus
should take it Into his head to set your house
on fire in his enmity, 'twould be bad for my
deeds and documents. No offence, miller,
but I'll take the box, if you don't mind.'

' Faith ! I don't mind,' said Loveday.
* But your nephew^ had better think twice


before he lets his enmity take that colour/
Receding from the window, he took the
candle to a back part of the room and soon
reappeared with the tin box.

' I won't trouble ye to dress,' said Derri-
man considerately : * let en down by any-
thing you have at hand.'

The box was lowered by a cord, and the
old man clasped it in his arms. ' Thank ye ! '
he said with heartfelt orratitude. ' Good nieht ! '

The miller replied and closed the window,
and the light went out.

' There, now I hope you are satisfied, sir?'
said the trumpet-major.

* Quite, quite ! ' said Derriman ; and, lean-
ing on his walking-stick, he pursued his lonely

That night Anne lay awake in her bed,
musing on the traits of the new friend who
had come to her neighbour's house. She


would not be critical, it was ungenerous and

wrong ; but she could not help thinking of

what interested her. And were there, she

silently asked, in Miss Johnson's mind and

person such rare qualities as placed that lady

altogether beyond comparison with herself?

Oh yes, there must be ; for had not Captain

Bob singled out Matilda from among all

other women, herself included ? Of course,

with his world-wide experience, he knew best.

When the moon had set, and only the

summer stars threw their light into the great

damp garden, she fancied that she heard

voices in that direction. Perhaps they were

the voices of Bob and Matilda taking a

lover's walk before retiring. If so, how sleepy

they would be next day, and how absurd it

was of Matilda to pretend she was tired !

Ruminating in this way, and saying to herself

that she hoped they would be happy, Anne

fell asleep.



MISS Johnson's behaviour causes no


Partly from the excitement of having his
Matilda under the paternal roof, Bob rose
next morning as early as his father and the
grinder, and, when the big wheel began to
patter and the little ones to mumble in re-
sponse, went to sun himself outside the mill-
front, among the fowls of brown and speckled
kinds which haunted that spot, and the ducks
that came up from the mill-tail.

Standino^ on the worn-out mill-stone inlaid
in the gravel, he talked with his father on
various improvements of the premises, and


on the proposed arrangements for his perma-
nent residence there, with an enjoyment that
was half based upon this prospect of the
future, and half on the penetrating warmth
of the sun to his back and shoulders. Then
the different troops of horses began their
morning scramble down to the mill-pond,
and, after making it very muddy round the
edge, ascended the slope again. The bustle
of the camp grew more and more audible,
and presently David came to say that break-
fast was ready.

' Is Miss Johnson downstairs ? ' said the
miller; and Bob listened for the answer,
looking at a blue sentinel aloft on the

' Not yet, maister,' said the excellent

' We'll wait till she's down,' said Loveday.
' When she is, let us know.'


David went indoors again, and Loveday
and Bob continued their morning survey by
ascending into the mysterious quivering re-
cesses of the mill, and holding a discussion
over a second pair of burr-stones, which had
to be re-dressed before they could be used
again. This and similar things occupied
nearly twenty minutes, and, looking from the
window, the elder of the two was reminded
of the time of day by seeing Mrs. Garland's
table-cloth fluttering from her back door over
the heads of a flock of pigeons that had
alighted for the crumbs.

' I suppose David can't find us,' he said,
with a sense of hunofer that was not alto-
gether strange to Bob. He put out his head
and shouted.

' The lady is not down yet,' said his man
in reply.

' No hurry, no hurry,' said the miller, with



cheerful emptiness. ' Bob, to pass the time
we'll look into the garden.'

' She'll get up sooner than this, you know,
when she's signed articles and got a berth
here,' Bob observed apologetically.

' Yes, yes,' said Loveday ; and they de-
scended into the earden.

Here they turned over sundry flat stones
and killed the slug-s sheltered beneath them
from the coming heat of the day, talking of
slugs in all their branches — of the brown and
the black, of the tough and the tender, of the
reason why there were so many in the garden
that year, of the coming time when the grass-
walks harbouring them were to be taken up
and gravel laid, and of the relative extermi-
natory merits of a pair of scissors and the heel
of the shoe. At last the miller said, ' Well,

really. Bob, I'm hungry ; we must begin
without her.'


They were about to go in, when David
appeared with haste in his motions, his eyes
wider vertically than crosswise, and his cheeks
nearly all gone ! '

* Maister, I've been to call her ; and as
'a didn't speak I rapped, and as 'a didn't
answer I kicked, and not being latched the
door opened, and — she's gone ! '

Bob went off like a swallow towards the
house, and the miller followed like the rather
heavy man that he was. That Miss Matilda
w^as not in her room, or a scrap of anything
belonging to her, was soon apparent. They
searched every place in which she could pos-
sibly hide or squeeze herself, every place
in which she could not, but found nothing
at all.

Captain Bob was quite wild with astonish-
ment and grief. When he was quite sure
that she was nowhere in his fathers house,


he ran into Mrs. Garland's, and telling them
the story so hastily that they hardly under-
stood the particulars, he went on towards
Comfort's house, intending to raise the alarm
there, and also at Mitchell's, Beach's, Cripple-
straw's, the parson's, the clerk's, the camp of
dragoons, of hussars, and so on through the
whole county. But he paused, and thought
It would be hardly expedient to publish his
discomfiture in such a way. If Matilda had
left the house for any freakish reason he

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