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feel no awe of the great man whom he
supposed to be a magistrate, and when asked
whether lie felt none, he giggled and said
"No; " he had seen the gentleman more
afraid of his mother than anybody ever was
of him, he fancied. On this, a thought struck
Mr. Nelson. He would now have his advantage
of the gipsy woman, and might enjoy, at
the same time, an opportunity of studying
human nature under stressa thing he liked,
when the stress was not too severe. So he
passed a decree on the spot that, it being now
nine o'clock, the boy should remain shut up
without food till noon, when he should be
severely flogged, and driven from the
neighbourhood: and with this pleasant prospect
before him, the young rogue remained,
whistling ostentatiously, while his enemies
locked the door upon him.

"Did you hear him shoot the bolt ? " asked
Woodruffe. "If he holds to that, I don't
know how I shall get at him at noon."

"There, now, what fools people are! Why
did you not take out the bolt? A pretty
constable you would make! Comecome
this way. I am going to find the gipsy-tent
again. You are wondering that I am not
afraid of the woman, I see: but, you observe,
I have a hold over her this time. What
do you mean by allowing those children to
gather about your door ? You ought not to
permit it."

"They are only the scholars. Don't you
see them going in? My daughter keeps a
little school, you know, since her husband's

"Ah, poor thing! poor thing! " said Mr.
Nelson, as Abby appeared on the threshold,
calling the children in.

Mr. Nelson always contrived to see some
one or more of the family when he visited the
station; but it so happened, that he had
never entered the door of their dwelling.
Perhaps he was not himself fully conscious of
the reason. It was, that he could not bear
to see Abby's young face within the widow's
cap, and to be thus reminded that hers was a
case of cruel wrong; that if the most ordinary
thought and care had been used in preparing
the place for human habitation, her husband
might be living now, and she the happy
creature that she would never be again.

On his way to the gipsies, Mr. Nelson saw
some things that pleased him in his heart,
though he found fault with them all. What
business had Woodruffe with an additional
man in his garden? It could not possibly
answer. If it did not, the fellow must be
sent away again. He must not burden the
parish. The occupiers here seemed all alike.
Such a fancy for new labour! One, two, six
men at work on the land within sight at that
moment, over and above what there used to
be! It must be looked to. Humph! he
could get to the alders dryshod now; but
that was owing solely to the warmth of the
spring. It was nonsense to attribute everything
to drainage. Drainage was a good
thing; but fine weather was better.

The gipsy-tent was found behind the alders
as before, but no longer in a swamp. The
woman was sitting on the ground at the
entrance as before, but not now with a
fevered child laid across her knees. She was
weaving a basket.

"Oh, I see," said Woodruffe, " This is the
way our osiers go."

"You have not many to lose, now-a-days,"
said the woman.

"You are welcome to all the rushes you
can find," said Woodruffe; "but where is your

Some change of countenance was seen in
the woman; but she answered carelessly
that the children were playing yonder.

"The one I moan is not there," said Wood-
ruffe. "We have him safecaught him
stealing my ducks."

She called the boy a villaindisowned him,
and so forth; but when she found the case a
hopeless one, she did not, and therefore,
probably could not, scoldthat is, anybody
but herself and her husband. She cursed
herself for coming into this silly place, where
now no good was to be got. When she was
brought to the right point of perplexity about
what to do, seeing that it would not do to
stay, and being unable to go while her boy
was in durance, she was told that his punishment
should be summary, though severe, if
she would answer frankly certain questions.
When she had once begun giving her
confidence, she seemed to enjoy the license.
When her husband came up, he looked as if
he only waited for the departure of his visitors
to give his wife the same amount of thrashing
that her son was awaiting elsewhere. She
vowed that they would never pitch their tent
here again. It used to be the best station in
their whole roundthe fogs were so thick!
From sunset to long after sunrise, it had
been as good as a winter night, for going
where they pleased without fear of prying
eyes. There was not a poultry-yard or pig-
stye within a couple of miles round, where
they could not creep up through the fog.
And they escaped the blame, too; for the
swamp and ditches used to harbour so much
vermin, that the gipsies were not always
suspected, as they were now. Till lately,
people shut themselves into their homes, or
the men went to the public-house in the chill
evenings; and there was little fear of meeting
any one. But now that the fogs were gone,
people were out in their gardens, on these
fine evenings, and there were men in the
meadows, returning from fishing; for they
could angle now, when their work was done,
without the fear of catching an ague in the
marsh as they went home.

Mr. Nelson used vigorously his last
opportunity of lecturing these people. He had
it all his own way, for the humility of the
gipsies was edifying. Woodruffe fancied he

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