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"As well as we expect! Why, bless my
soul! don't we know all about it? It is not
any land-agent or interested person, that has
described it to us; but our own daughter and
her husband; and do not they know what
we want? The quantity at my own choice;
the aspect capital; plenty of water (only too
much, indeed); the soil anything but poor,
and sand and marl within reach to reduce
the stiffness; and manure at command, all
along the railway, from half-a-dozen towns;
and osier-beds at hand (within my own
bounds if I like) giving all manner of
convenience for fencing, and binding, and
covering! Why, what would you have?"

"It sounds very pleasant, certainly."

"Then, how can you make, objections? I
can't think where you look, to find any
objections?"

"I see none now, and I only want to be
sure that we shall find none when we
arrive."

"Well! I do call that unreasonable! To
expect to find any place on earth altogether
unobjectionable! I wonder what objection
could be so great as being turned out of one
after another, just as we have got them into
order. Here comes our girl. Well, Becky,
I see how you like the news! Now, would
not you like it better still if we were going
to a place of our own, where we should not
be under any landlord's whims? We should
have to work, you know, one and all. But
we would get the land properly manured,
and have a cottage of our own in time; would
not we? Will you undertake the pigs,
Becky?"

"Yes, father; and there are many things I
can do in the garden too. I am old and
strong, now; and I can do much more than
I have ever done here."

"Aye; if the land was our own," said
Woodruffe, with a glance at his wife. She said no
more, but was presently up-stairs putting
Moss to bed. She knew, from long experience,
how matters would go. After a restless
night, Woodruffe spoke no more of buying
the land without seeing it; and he twice
said, in a meditative, rather than a communicative,
way, that he believed it would take as
much capital as he had to remove his family,
and get his new land into fit condition for
spring crops.

CHAPTER THE SECOND.

"You may look out now for the place.
Look out for our new garden. We are just
there now," said Woodruffe to the children as
the whistle sounded, and the train was
approaching the station. It had been a glorious
autumn day from the beginning; and for the
last hour, while the beauty of the light on
fields and trees and water had been growing
more striking, the children, tired with the
novelty of all that they had seen since
morning, had been dropping asleep. They
roused up suddenly enough at the news that
they were reaching their new home; and
thrust their heads to the windows, eagerly
asking on which side they were to look for
their garden. It was on the south, the left-
hand side; but it might have been anywhere,
for what they could see of it. Below the
embankment was something like a sheet of
grey water, spreading far away.

"It is going to be a foggy night," observed
Woodruffe. The children looked into the
air for the fog, which had always, in their
experience, arrived by that way from the sea.
The sky was all a clear blue, except where a
pale green and a faint blush of pink streaked
the west. A large planet beamed clear and
bright: and the air was so transparent that
the very leaves on the trees might almost be
counted. Yet could nothing be seen below
for the grey mist which was rising, from
moment to moment.

Fleming met them as they alighted; but
he could not stay till he had seen to the other
passengers. His wife was there. She had
been a merry hearted girl; and now, still so
young, as to look as girlish as ever, she
seemed even merrier than ever. She did
not look strong, but she had hardly thrown
off what she called "a little touch of the
ague;" and she declared herself perfectly
well when the wind was anywhere but in the
wrong quarter. Allan wondered how the
wind could go wrong. He had never heard
of such a thing before. He had known the
wind too high, when it did mischief among his
father's fruit trees; but it had never occurred
to him that it was not free to come and go
whence and whither it would, without blame
or objection.

"Comecome home," exclaimed Mrs.
Fleming. "Never mind about your bags
and boxes! My husband will take care
of them. Let me show you the way home."

She let go the hands of the young brothers,
and loaded them, and then herself, with
parcels, that they might not think they were
going to lose every thing, as she said; and
then tripped on before to show the way. The
way was down steps, from the highest ot
which two or three chimney-tops might be
seen piercing the mist which hid everything
else. Down, down, down went the party, by
so many steps that little Moss began to
totter under his bundle.

"How low this place lies!" observed the
mother.

"Why, yes;" replied Mrs. Fleming. "And
yet I don't know. I believe it is rather that
the railway runs high."

"Yes, yes; that is it," said Woodruffe.
"What an embankment this is! If this is
to shelter my garden to the north—"

"Yes, yes, it is. I knew you would like it,"
exclaimed Mrs. Fleming. "I said you would
be delighted. I only wish you could see your
ground at once: but it seems rather foggy,
and I suppose we must wait till the morning.
Here we are at home."

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