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saw some finger-talk passing, the while,
though the gipsies never looked at each
other, or raised their eyes from the ground.
Woodruffe had to remind the Director that
the whistle of the next train would soon be
heard; and this brought the lecture to an
abrupt conclusion. On his finishing off with,
"I expect, therefore, that you will remember
my advice, and never show your faces here
again, and that you will take to a proper
course of life in future, and bring up your
son to honest industry; " the woman, with a
countenance of grief, seized one hand and
covered it with kisses, and the husband took
the other hand and pressed it to his breast.

"We must make haste," observed Mr.
Nelson, as he led the way quickly back; "but
I think I have made some impression upon
them. You see now the right way to treat
these people. I don't think you will see them
here again."

"I don't think we shall."

As he reached the steps the whistle was
heard, and Mr. Nelson could only wave his
hand to Woodruffe, rush up the embankment,
and throw himself panting into a carriage.
Only just in time!

By an evening train, he re-appeared. When
thirty miles off, he had wanted his purse, and it
was gone. It had no doubt paid for the gipsies'
final gratitude.

Of course, a sufficient force was immediately
sent to the alder clump; but there was
nothing there but some charred sticks, and
some clean pork bones, this time, instead of
feathers of fowls, and a cabbage leaf or two.
The boy had had his whipping at noon, after
a conference with his little brother at the
keyhole, which had caused him to withdraw
the bolt, and offer no resistance. Considering
his cries and groans, he had run off with

surprising agility, and was now, no doubt, far
away.

CHAPTER VIII.

THE gipsies came no more. The fogs came
no more. The fever came no more; at least,
in such a form as to threaten the general
safety. Where it still lingered, it was about
those only who deserved it,—in any small
farm-house, where the dung-yard was too
near the house; and in some cottage where
the slatternly inmates did not mind a green
puddle or choked ditch within reach of their
noses. More dwellings arose, as the fertility of
the land increased, and invited a higher kind
of tillage; and among the prettiest of them
was one which stood in the corner,—the most
sunny corner,- of Woodruffe's paddock. Harry
Hardiman and his wife and child lived there,
and the cottage was Woodruffe's property.

Yet Woodruffe's rent had been raised; and
pretty rapidly. He was now paying eight
pounds per acre for his garden-ground, and
half that for what was out of the limits of the
garden. He did not complain of it; for he
was making money fast. His skill and
industry deserved this; but skill and industry
could not have availed without opportunity.
His ground once allowed to show what it was
worth, he treated it well; and it answered
well to the treatment. By the railway, he
obtained what manure he wanted from the
town; and he sent it back by the railway
to town in the form of crisp celery and salads,
wholesome potatoes and greens, luscious
strawberries, and sweet and early peas. He
knew that a Surrey gardener had made his
ground yield a profit of two hundred and
twenty pounds per acre. He thought that,
with his inferior market, he should do well
to make his yield one hundred and fifty
pounds per acre; and this, by close
perseverance, he attained. He could have done it
more easily if he had enjoyed good health;
but he never enjoyed good health again. His
rheumatism had fixed itself too firmly to be
entirely removed; and, for many days in the
year, he was compelled to remain within
doors, or to saunter about in the sun, seeing
his boys and Harry at work, but unable to
help them.

From the time that Allan's work became
worth wages, in addition to his subsistence,
his father let him rent half a rood of the
garden-ground for three years, saying

"I limit it to three years, my boy, because
that term is long enough for you to show
what you can do. After three years, I shall
not be able to spare the ground, at any rent.
If you fail, you have no business to rent
ground. If you succeed, you will have money
in your pocket wherewith to hire land
elsewhere. Now you have to show us what you
can do."

"Yes, father," was Allan's short but
sufficient reply.

It was observed by the family that, from
this time forward, Allan's eye was on every
plot of ground in the neighbourhood which
could, by possibility, ever be offered for hire:
yet did his attention never wander from that
which was already under his hand. And
that which was so great an object to him
became a sort of pursuit to the whole family.
Moss guarded Allan's frames, and made more
and more prodigious scarecrows. Their
father gave his very best advice. Becky, who
was no longer allowed, as a regular thing,
to work in the garden, found many a spare
half-hour for hoeing and weeding, and
trimming and tying up, in Allan's beds; and
Abby found, as she sat in her little school,
that she could make nets for his fruit trees. It
was thus no wonder that, when a certain July
day in the second year arrived, the whole
household was in a state of excitement, because
it was a sort of crisis in Allan's affairs.

Though breakfast was early that morning,
Becky and Allan and Moss were spruce in
their best clothes. A hamper stood at the
door, and Allan was packing in another,
which had no lid, two or three flower-pots,
which presented a glorious show of blossom.
Abby was putting a new ribbon on her sister's

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