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which their hereditary integrity alone
kept from being ridiculous. They felt
contempt for all new-fangled ideas; being
unable to bring their own to any other
standard than that which allows worth only
to what has been long established.

Sometimes, like a puff of a wind beyond
the Fells, the story of some great invention
came to disturb the calm torpidity of their
existence. Then they would rouse up,
wonder what the world was coming to, and
hope it was not a tempting of Providence for
mortal man to attain to such knowledge and
to work such strange and powerful devices.
My father, especially, was a lover of all
things old: old books, old customs, old
fashions, and old-fashioned manners. Sir
Roger and the Widow, Uncle Toby and
Squire Western, might have been the
personal friends of his youth, from the figure
they made in his talk. He always addressed
my mother as dame, and the servant women
as lasses, speaking in a loud voice and broad
accent that often made my mother wince.
She was south country born and bred, and
had been left as ward to the care of my
grandparents, who, not knowing what else to
do with her, married her to their son. She
was younger than my father and pretty; but
so quiet, delicate, and reserved, that Aunt
Anna was mistress of the house much more
than she. Aunt Anna was a big, strong-
featured woman, of great decision, and, as our
family considered, of great learning also.
She knew the names and properties of plants,
was cognisant of signs in the weather, an
interpreter of dreams and mysterious appearances
in the sky: she was the oracle of
Alsterdale, besides being a cunning hand at
raising a pie and making conserves, jellies,
and custards. My brother Markthe wild
onewas her favourite; Robert she had not
any love for, nor he for her. She was very
fond of power, and always seemed most at
ease with herself when she was either ruling
or thwarting somebody.


ROBERT was fond of the wheelwright's and
carpenter's shops much more than of bird-
nesting and nutting, like his brothers; and
Willie Paxton has often said that at ten
years old he could handle his tools like a
man. It was in those places that he got his
first knowledge of mechanics; the school-
master, who, for the time and place, was a
well-instructed person, brought him on in
mathematics; and our rector, who always
would have it the lad was a genius, and
worth his three brothers put together, lent
him books and papers that gave accounts of
inventions and things in science, as well as
biographical sketches of men who had been
distinguished in such matters. Robert used
to like to call our attention to the small
beginnings some of them had risen from; and
Aunt Anna would always try to spite him by
saying that he need not let his mind hanker
after those folks, for he was to be a farmer,
and farm the Little Ings land. But Robert
was the pleasantest-tempered creature in the
world, and would never be led into retorting
on her. Sometimes, in his waggish way, he
would draw her on to talk of herself, and
would try to enlist her in his own pursuits;
but she was too wary to be flattered by a
boy, and he made no way with her.

One morning, Aunt Anna, Robert, and I,
were all three in the garden picking camomile
flowers, a large bed of which supplied
the family pharmacopeia, when one of these
talks took place. Robert asked Aunt Anna
how far from Alsterdale she had ever
travelled? She replied that when she was
young she had been at the Richmond balls,
and that once she had gone with her father
to the place where they hang folks, which
she explained as being York.

"You ought to be thankful you live in
Alsterdale, Robert. Don't be always hankering
after great, wicked towns," she said; "I
never want to see one again as long as I live

The last generation of the Janson family
had produced an unsuccessful poet, whom
our grandmother said Robert was like in
almost every point. We had no personal
recollection of him, because he had died
before any of us were born, but to my fancy
and to Robert's, Uncle Paul had been heroic.
Robert, always on the watch for Aunt Anna's
genial moments, now ventured to say:

"I would rather be a man like Uncle Paul
than a farmer, Aunt Anna; this seems such
a sluggish life."

"Trash!" was my aunt's contemptuous
ejaculation. "Your Uncle Paul was a poor,
weak creature. What good ever came of
his philanthropy and book-writing? If he
had taken the Little Ings Farm that you are
to have, he might have been alive now, and
worth money, instead of lying in Alsterdale
churchyard. Poor Paul had a good heart, but
not the spirit of a mouse; don't you take him
for your model, Robert, if you don't want to
come to his end."

"Mr. Tate showed me a book of his, and
said he was not only a fine genius, but a
pious, devoted, and truly admirable man."

"Learn to appreciate the relative value of
things, and have an opinion of your own.
Are you to receive as gospel every word old
Tate says? Just let me state the case to
you." Aunt Anna dropped basket and
scissors, as she rose erect in her oratorical
attitude. "Your father and Paul, when they
came of age, got each some money under
their grandfather's will. Marmaduke kept
to his farming, but Paul gathered his
substance together like the Prodigal son, and
went and spent itnot in riotous living,
certainly, but to just as little purposeamong
felons in jails and paupers in hospitals.
Then he must needs publish to the world a

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