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mills there. They replied in the affirmative,
and the young man said:—

'I thought so. I 've seen you sometimes
going along together. I noticed you because
you seemed so sisterly like, and you are sisters,
I reckon.'

They said 'Yes.'

'I've a good spanking horse, you seen,'
said James Cheshire. 'I shall get over th'
ground rayther faster nor you done a-foot,
eh? My word, though, it must be nation
cold on these bleak hills i' winter.'

The sisters assented, and thanked the young
farmer for taking them up.

'We are rather late,' said they, 'for we
looked in on a friend, and the rest of the mill-
hands were gone on.'

'Well,' said the young farmer, 'never mind
that. I fancy Bess, my mare here, can go a
little faster nor they can. We shall very
likely be at Tidser as soon as they are.'

'But you are not going to Tidser,' said
Jane, 'your farm is just before us there.'

'Yay, I'm going to Tidser though. I've a
bit of business to do there before I go hom.'

On drove the farmer at what he called a
spanking rate; presently they saw the young
mill-people on the road before them.

'There are your companions,' said James
Cheshire, 'we shall cut past them like a flash
of lightning.'

'Oh,' exclaimed Jane Dunster, 'what will
they say at seeing us riding here?' and she
blushed brightly.

'Say?' said the young farmer, smiling,
'never mind what they'll say; depend upon
it, they'd like to be here theirsens.'

James Cheshire cracked his whip. The
horse flew along. The party of the young
mill-hands turned round, and on seeing Jane
and Nancy in the cart, uttered exclamations
of surprise.

'My word, though!' said Mary Smedley, a
fresh buxom lass, somewhat inclined to

'Well, if ever!' cried smart little Hannah

'Nay, then, what next?' said Tetty Wilton,
a tall, thin girl of very good looks.

The two sisters nodded and smiled to their
companions; Jane still blushing rosily, but
Nancy sitting as pale and as gravely as if
they were going on some solemn business.

The only notice the farmer took was to
turn with a broad smiling face, and shout to
them, 'Wouldn't you like to be here too?'

'Ay, take us up,' shouted a number of
voices together; but the farmer cracked his
whip, and giving them a nod and a dozen
smiles in one, said, 'I can't stay. Ask the
next farmer that comes up.'

With this they drove on; the young farmer
very merry and full of talk. They were soon
by the side of his farm. 'There's a flock of
sheep on the turnips there,' he said, proudly;
'they're not to be beaten on this side
Ashbourne. And there are some black oxen,
going for the night to the straw-yard. Jolly
fellows, thoseeh? But I reckon you don't
understand much of farming stock?'

'No,' said Jane, and was again surprised at
Nancy adding, 'I wish we did. I think a
farmer's life must be the very happiest of any.'

'You think so?' said the farmer, turning
and looking at her earnestly, and evidently
with some wonder. 'You are right,' said he.
'You little ones are knowing ones. You are
right; it's the life for a king.'

They were at the village. 'Pray stop,'
said Jane, 'and let us get down. I would not
for the world go up the village thus. It
would make such a talk!'

'Talk, who cares for talk?' said the farmer;
'won't the youngsters we left on the road

'Quite enough,' said Jane.

'And are you afraid of talk?' said the
farmer to Nancy.

'I'm not afraid of it when I don't provoke
it wilfully,' said Nancy; 'but we are poor
girls, and can't afford to lose even the good
word of our acquaintance. You've been very
kind in taking us up on the road, but to drive
us to our door would cause such wonder as
would perhaps make us wish we had not been
obliged to you.'

'Blame me, if you arn't right again!' said
the young farmer, thoughtfully. 'These are
scandal-loving times, and th' neebors might
plague you. That's a deep head of yourn,
though,—Nancy, I think your sister caw'd
you. Well, here I stop then.'

He jumped down and helped them out.

'If you will drive on first,' said Jane, 'we
will walk on after, and we are greatly obliged
to you.'

'Nay,' said the young man, 'I shall turn
again here.'

'But you've business.'

'Oh! my business was to drive you here
that's all.'

James Cheshire was mounting his cart,
when Nancy stepped up, and said: 'Excuse
me, Sir, but you'll meet the mill-people on
your return, and it will make them talk all
the more as you have driven us past your
farm. Have you no business that you can do
in Tidser, Sir?'

'Gad! but thou 'rt right again! Ay, I'll
go on!' and with a crack of his whip, and a
'Good night!' he whirled into the village
before them.

No sooner was he gone than Nancy, pressing
her sister's arm to her side, said: 'There's
the right man at last, dear Jane.'

'What!' said Jane, yet blushing deeply
at the same time, and her heart beating
quicker against her side. 'Whatever are
you talking of, Nancy? That young farmer
fall in love with a mill-girl?'

'He's done it,' said Nancy; 'I see it in
him. I feel it in him. And I feel, too, that
he is true and staunch as steel.'

Jane was silent. They walked on in silence.