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"On Sunday, Sir," said Neale at last, in a
whispering kind of voice, "you read that I
have kept back the hire of the labourers that
reaped down my fields, and that their cry has
entered into the ears of the Lord."

"That you kept back the hire of the
labourer?" exclaimed Mr. Kirby, quickly
turning in his seat, so as to face his visitor.
He laid his hand on the pocket-bible on the
table, opened at the Epistle of James, and,
with his finger on the line, walked to the
window with it.

"Yes, Sir, that is it," said Neale. "I
would return the hire I kept back,—(I can't
exactly say by fraud, for it was from hardness)
I would pay it all willingly now; but
the men are dead. The fever has left but a
few of them."

"I see," said Mr. Kirby. "I see how it is.
You think the fever is dogging your heels,
because the cries of your labourers have
entered into the ears of the Lord. You want
to buy off the complaints of the dead, and the
anger of God, by spending now on the living.
You are afraid of dying; and you would
rather part with your money, dearly as you
love it, than die; and so you are planning to
bribe God to let you live."

"Is not that rather hard, Sir?"

"Hard?—Is it true? that is the question."

When they came to look closely into the
matter, it was clear enough. Neale, driven
from his accustomed methods and employments,
and from his profits, and all his
outward reliances, was adrift and panic-stricken.
When the Good Lady was carried out of the
hollow, the last security seemed gone, and the
place appeared to be delivered over to God's
wrath; his share of which, his conscience
showed him to be pointed out in the words of
scripture which had so impressed his mind,
and which were ringing in his ears, as he said,
day and night.

"As for the Good Lady," said Mr. Kirby,
"I am sure I hope she will never hear how
some of the people here regard her, after all
she has done for them. If anything could
bow her spirit, it would be that." Seeing
Neale stare in surprise, he went on. "One
would think she was a kind of witch or
sorceress; that there was some sort of magic
about her; instead of her being a sensible,
kind-hearted, fearless woman, who knows
how to nurse, and is not afraid to do it when
it is most wanted."

"Don't you think then, Sir, that God sent
her to us?"

"Certainly; as he sent the Doctor, and my
wife and me: as he sends people to each other
whenever they meet. I am sure you never
heard the Good Lady say that she was specially

"She is so humble,—so natural, Sir,—she
was not likely to say such a thing."

"Very true: and she is too wise to think
it. Nothere is nothing to be frightened
about in her going away. She could have
done no good here, while unable to walk or
sit up; and she will recover better where she
is gone. If she recovers, as I expect she
will, she will come and see us; and I shall
think that as good luck as you can do; not
because she carries luck about with her, but
because there is nothing we so much want
as her example of courage, and sense and

"To be sure," said Neale, in a meditative
way, "she could not keep the people from

"No indeed," observed Mr. Kirby; "you
and some others took care that she should

In reply to the man's stare of amazement,
Mr. Kirby asked:—

"Are not you the proprietor of several of
the cottages in Bleaburn?"

"Yes; I have seven altogether."

"I know them well,—too well. Neale,
your conscience accuses you about the hire
of your labourers: but you have done worse
things than oppress them about wages. Part
of the mischief you may be unaware of; but
I know you are not of all. I know that
Widow Slaney speaks to you, year by year,
about repairing that wretched place she lives
in. Have you done it yet? Not you! I
need not have asked; and yet you screw that
poor woman for her rent till she cannot sleep
at night for thinking of it. You know in
your heart that what she says is true,—that
if her son was alive,—(and it was partly your
hardness that sent him to the wars, and to
his terrible fate)—"

"Stop, Sir! I cannot bear it! " exclaimed
Neale. "Sir, you should not bear so hard on
me. I have a son that met another bad fate
at the wars: and you know it, Mr. Kirby."

"To be sure I do. And how do you treat
him? You drove him away by harshness;
and now you say he shall not come back,
because you cannot be troubled with a cripple
at home."

"Not now, Sir. I say no such thing now.
When I said that, I was in a bad mood. I
mean to be kind to him now: and I have told
him so:—that is, I have said so to the girl
he is attached to."

"You have? You have really seen her,
and shown respect to the young people?"

"I have, Sir."

"Well: that is so far good. That is some
foundation laid for a better future."

"I should be thankful, Sir, to make up for
the past."

"Ah!" said Mr. Kirby, shaking his head;
"that is what can never be done. The people,
as you say, are dead: the misery is suffered:
the mischief is done, and cannot be undone.
It is a lie, and a very fatal one, to say that
past sins may be atoned for."

"O, Mr. Kirby!—don't say that!"

"I must say it, because it is true. You
said yourself that you cannot make it up to
those you have injured, because the men are