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entering from the other end, were equally
perplexed as to what the extraordinary bustle
could mean. Their mother, however, understood
it at a glance, and hastened forward to
greet the Good Lady, sending a boy to fetch
Mr. Kirby immediately. Mrs. Kirby's
dryness of manner broke down altogether when
she introduced her daughters to Mary. "Let
them say they have shaken hands with you,"
said she, as she herself kissed the hand she

It was not easy for Mary to spare a hand,
so laden was she with pincushions and knitted
wares; but the Kirbys took them from her,
and followed in her train, till the Widow
Johnson appeared on her threshold, pale as
marble, and grave as a monument, but well
and able to hold out her arms to Mary. Poor
Jem's excitement seemed to show that he was
aware that some great event was happening.
His habits were the same as before his illness,
and he had no peace till he had shut the door
when Mary entered. Everybody then went
away for the time; plenty of eyes, however,
being on the watch for the moment when the
Good Lady should be visible again.

In a few minutes, the movements of Jem's
head showed his mother that, as she said,
something was coming. Jem's hearing was
uncommonly acute: and what he now heard,
and what other people heard directly after,
was a drum and fife. Neighbour after neighbour
came to tell the Johnsons what their
ears had told them already,—that there was
a recruiting party in Bleaburn again; and
Jem went out, attracted by the music.

"It is like the candle to the moth to him,"
said his mother. "I must go and see that
nobody makes sport of him, or gives him

"Sit still, Aunty; I will go. And there is
Warrender, I see, and Ann. We will take
care of Jem."

And so they did. Ann looked so meaningly
at Mary, meantime, as to make Mary look
inquiringly at Ann.

"Only, Ma'am," said Ann, "that Sally
Simpson is standing yonder. She does not
like to come forward, but I know she would
be pleased."

"Her name is Simpson? How glad I am
he has married her! " whispered Mary, as
she glanced at the ring which Sally was rather
striving to show. "I hope you are happy at
last, Sally."

"Oh, Ma'am, it is such a weight gone!
And I do try to make him happy at home,
that he may never repent."

Mary thought the doubt should be all the
other waywhether the wife might not be
the most likely to repent having bound
herself to a man who could act towards her as
Simpson had done. Widow Slaney was not
to be seen. The fife and drum had sent her
to the loft. She came down to see Mary;
but her agitation was so great that it would
have been cruelty to stay. They heard her
draw the bolt as they turned from the

"She does not like seeing Jack Neale any
more than hearing the drum," observed the
host of the Plough and Harrow, who had
come forth to invite the Good Lady in, 'to
take a glass of something.' "That is Jack
Neale, Ma'am; that wooden-legged young
man. He is married, though, for all his being
so crippled. The young woman loved him
before; and she loves him all the more now;
and they married last week, and live at his
father's. It must be a sad sight to his father;
but he says no word about it. Better not;
for Britons must be loyal."

"And why not? " said the Doctor, who had
hastened in from the brow, on seeing that
something unusual was going forward below,
and had ventured to offer the Good Lady his
arm, as he thought an old comrade in the
conflict with sickness and death might do.

"Why not?" said the Doctor. "We make
grievous complaints of the fatality of war;
and it is sad to see the maiming and hear of
the slaughter. But we had better spend our
lamentations on a fatality that we can manage.
It would take many a battle of Albuera to
mow us down, and hurt us in sense and limb,
as the fever has done."

"Why, that is true! " cried some, as if
struck by a new conviction.

"True, yes," continued the Doctor. "I
don't like the sight of a recruiting party, or
the sound of the drum much better than the
poor woman in yonder house, who will die of
heart-break after allof horror and pining
for her son. But there is something that I
like still less; the first giddiness and
trembling of the strong man, the sinking feebleness
of the young mother, the dimming of the
infant's eyes; and the creeping fog along the
river-bank, the stench in the hot weather, and
the damp in the cold, that tell us that fever
has lodged among us. I know then that we
shall have, many times over, the slaughter of
war, without any comfort from thoughts of
glory to ourselves or duty to our country.
There is neither glory nor duty in dying like
vermin in a ditch."

"I don't see," said Warrender, "that the
sergeant will carry off any of our youngsters
now. If he had come with his drum three
months since, some might have gone with
him to get away from the fever, as a more
terrible thing than war; but at present I
think he will find that death has left us no
young men to spare."

And so it proved. The sergeant and his
party soon marched up to the brow, and
disappeared, delivering the prophecy that
Bleaburn would now lose its reputation for
eagerness to support king and country. And
in truth, Bleaburn was little heard of from
that time till the peace.

Mary could not stay now. She had been
detained very long from homein America
and somebody was waiting very impatiently