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whole country roundhe shook his head, and
said he was afraid they must make up their
minds to a sad case; that the terrors of that
night had affected her brain, and that, through
it, the whole nervous system had suffered, and
wns continuing to suffer the most melancholy
effects. The only thing, he thought, in her
favour was her youth; and added, that it
might have a good effect if they could leave
the place where she had undergone such a
terrible shock. But whether they did or not,
kindness and soothing attentions to her would
do more than anything else.

Mrs. Dunster and little Jane returned home
with heavy hearts. The doctor's opinion had
only confirmed their fears; for Jane, though
but a child, had quickness and affection for
her sister enough to make her comprehend
the awful nature of poor Nancy's condition.
Mrs. Dunster told her husband the doctor's
words, for she thought they would awaken
some tenderness in him towards the unfortunate
child. But he said, 'That's just what I
expected. Hou 'll grow soft, and then who's
to maintain her? Hou mun goo to th'

With that he took his maundrel and went
off to his work. Instead of softening his
nature, this intelligence seemed only to harden
and brutalise it. He drank now more and
more. But all that summer the mother and
Jane did all that they could think of to
restore the health and mind of poor Nancy.
Every morning, when the father was gone to
work, Jane went to a spring up in the
opposite wood, famed for the coldness and
sweetness of its waters. On this account the
proprietors of the mills at Cressbrook had put
down a large trough there under the spreading
trees, and the people fetched the water even
from the village. Hence Jane brought, at
many journeys, this cold, delicious water to
bathe her sister in; they then rubbed her
warm with cloths, and gave her new milk for
her breakfast. Her lessons were not left off,
lest the mind should sink into fatuity, but
were made as easy as possible. Jane continued
to talk to her, and laugh with her, as if nothing
was amiss, though she did it with a heavy
heart, and she engaged her to weed and hoe
with her in their little garden. She did not
dare to lead her far out into the valley, lest it
might excite her memory of the past fearful
time, but she gathered her flowers, and
continued to play with her at all their accustomed
sports, of building houses with pieces of pots
and stones, and imagining gardens and parks.
The anxious mother, when some weeks were
gone by, fancied that there was really some
improvement. The cold-bathing seemed to
have strengthened the system: the poor child
walked, and bore herself with more freedom
and firmness. She became ardently fond of
being with her sister, and attentive to her
directions. But there was a dull cloud over
her intellect, and a vacancy in her eyes and
features. She was quiet, easily pleased, but
seemed to have little volition of her own.
Mrs. Dunster thought if they could but get
her away from that spot, it might rouse her
mind from its sleep. But perhaps the sleep
was better than the awaking might be;
however, the removal came, though in a more
awful way than was looked for. The miner,
who had continued to drink more and more,
and seemed to have almost estranged himself
from his home, staying away in his drinking
bouts for a week or more together, was one day
blasting a rock in the mine, and being half-
stupified with beer, did not take care to get
out of the way of the explosion, was struck
with a piece of the flying stone, and killed on
the spot.

The poor widow and her children were now
obliged to remove from under Wardlow-Cop.
The place had been a sad one to her: the
death of her husband, though he had been
latterly far from a good one, and had left her
with the children in deep poverty, was a fresh
source of severe grief to her. Her religious
mind was struck down with a weight of
melancholy by the reflection of the life he
had led, and the sudden way in which he had
been summoned into eternity. When she
looked forward, what a prospect was there for
her children! it was impossible for her to
maintain them from her small earnings, and
as to Nancy, would she ever be able to earn
her own bread, and protect herself in the

It was amid such reflections that Mrs.
Dunster quitted this deep, solitary, and, to
her, fatal valley, and took up her abode in the
village of Cressbrook. Here she had one
small room, and by her own labours, and
some aid from the parish, she managed to
support herself and the children. For seven
years she continued her laborious life, assisted
by the labour of the two daughters, who also
seamed stockings, and in the evenings were
instructed by her. Her girls were now
thirteen and fifteen years of age: Jane was a
tall and very pretty girl of her years; she was
active, industrious, and sweet-tempered: her
constant affection for poor Nancy was
something as admirable as it was singular. Nancy
had now confirmed good health, but it had
affected her mother to perceive that, since the
catastrophe of her brother's death, and the
cruel treatment of her father at that time, she
had never grown in any degree as she ought;
she was short, stout, and of a pale and very
plain countenance. It could not be now said
that she was deficient in mind, but she was
slow in its operations. She displayed, indeed,
a more than ordinary depth of reflection,
and a shrewdness of observation, but the
evidences of this came forth in a very quiet
way, and were observable only to her mother
and sister. To all besides she was extremely
reserved: she was timid to excess, and shrunk
from public notice into the society of her
mother and sister. There was a feeling
abroad in the neighbourhood that she was