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'Master,' he answered, 'I 'll tell you all
the truth; but give me a little time, for my
heart's full, and it will take us a good three
hours to get across these plains.' So we
paced on in silence for the space of one pipe,
when he spoke again, and said, 'Master,
excuse me, but I 'm not much of a scholar, and
if you would read me a chapter from this
book, it would do me a power o' good. I try
sometimes myself to spell it out, but somehow
I can't see the letters "plain." ' His eyes
were full of tears as he timidly handed a black
clasped copy of the Bible.

There was something painful in the emotion
and humbleness of a strong man before me a
stripling alone with him in a desert.

I took the book from him; on the flyleaf
was written, 'Lucy Carden on her Marriage
from her friend and pastor the Rev. Charles
Calton,' and turning it over it opened at the
51st Psalm: instinctively, I began to read
aloud, until I came to the 17th verse, 'The
sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken
and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not
despise.' At these words my companion wept
aloud, and murmured, 'Oh, my poor wife'
and I, too, I knew not why, also wept.

Then we rode on in silence for some time;
from a confused reverie I was awakened by
my companion saying in a hoarse voice,
'Master, I am readyI can tell you my
story now.

'I was born in a village in Hampshire, the
youngest of a large familythe son of labouring
people. As soon as I had strength and
voice enough, I was sent into the fields to
scare the birds from the corn, and at eight
years old, I began to drive plough for my
father, so I got very little schooling but what
I picked up in the winter evenings at a school
kept by an old pensioned soldier. To tell the
truth, I never liked my books when I was
young, for which now I have often need to be
sorry. But I was a strong hearty lad, and
no out-door work came amiss to me. As
soon as I could stand to them, I took hold of
the stilts of the plough, and by the time I
was sixteen, I could do a man's day's work.

'When I was seventeen I won a great ploughing match.
Among the young gentlemen that
came to see it was our young 'Squire, that
owned nearly all the parish. He had just
left College, and come into his fortune, for his
father had been dead a many years. He was
so much pleased with what he saw at the
ploughing-match, that he determined to take
the Home Farm into his own hands, and
nothing would serve him but that I must be
his head ploughman; indeed, I believe if I
had understood writing and cyphering, he
would have made me his bailiff,—for he was
a young gentleman that nothing could stop
when he took a fancy into his head. I mind
well when he sent me off at twelve o'clock at
night to London in his own carriage to buy a
team of Suffolk Punches, he had heard of from
a gentleman that was dining with him. Well,
this made a man of me at once. I was as tall
as I am now, and I'm afraid I grew spoiled
with so much good. I was courting my Lucy
at the time. She was the only daughter of
the blacksmith in the next village, and if ever
there was an angel she was one. The parson
and his daughters noticed her a good deal,
because she was clever at her book and sang
so sweetly at church. Her father was a
drunken old chap; her mother had been dead
many years. I used to look out for him when
he came down to our village, as he often did
to drink and play at bowls, and see him safe
over the stiles when he was ill able to walk
straight. Many and many a day, after ploughing
all day, and supping up my horses, have
I walked five miles, half leading, half carrying,
old Johnny Dunn, for the sake of five minutes'
talk to dear Lucy. Well, one night, in a
wet autumn, I was up at the Hall to take the
'Squire's instructions; for he loved, when he
had strangers from London, to have me in after
dinner, to give me a glass o' wine and make
believe of talking farming; old Dunn tried to
get home after an evening's bouse by a short
cut over a ford I had often led him, missed
his footing, and was found by some lads that
went next morning to take up their night
lines, stone deaddrowned.

'There was poor Lucy left all alone in the
world, for her father, who had been a dragoon
farrier, and married one of Parson Calton's
maid-servants, had no relations in that part of
the country.

'I was getting good wages: there was a
cottage and garden, belonging to the ploughman
of the Home Farm, that I had never
taken up, because I had lived with my father.
The 'Squire made me many presents, and I
had saved a little money, made by working
at different things in winter evenings, being
always handy with tools. Well, to make a
long story short, Lucy found her father had
left nothing behind him but a quarter's
pension he had not had time to drink, a few
pounds due for work, and the furniture of his
cottage. She had nobody to take care of her,
so we moved the furniture to my cottage, and
were married before I was nineteen, and on
the day Parson Calton gave her that Bible,
that never has left me since I left her. Many
people blamed us, and wanted us to wait.
I don't think good Mr. Calton quite liked it,
but his daughters were well pleased, and gave
Lucy her wedding dress. Oh, God, sir, when
I think upon those days, on two years that
followed, and think of what I am, I wonder
how I live and keep my senses. There was
not a happier couple or prettier cottage in
the county. My working days were not hard,
for I had Lucy to welcome me home; and
then on Sundays, to see her dressed in her
best and walk across the fields to church,
and hear her sing! Why, there was not a
lady in the county could compare with her,
and I have heard many great gentlemen
say so.