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done him with my lady. I knew, as well
as words could have told me, that she was
affronted at the expression being used by a
man inferior in rank to those whose actions he
applied it to,—and, truly, it was a great want
of tact, considering to whom he was speaking.

Lady Ludlow spoke very gently and
slowly; she always did when she was
annoyed; it was a certain sign, the meaning
of which we had all learnt.

"I think, Mr. Gray, we will drop the
subject. It is one on which we are not
likely to agree."

Mr. Gray's ruddy colour became purple,
and then faded away, and his face became
pale. I think both my lady and he had
forgotten our presence; and we were beginning
to feel too awkward to wish to remind them
of it. And yet we could not help watching
and listening with the greatest interest.

Mr. Gray drew himself up to his full
height, with an unconscious feeling of dignity.
Little as was his stature, and awkward and
embarrassed as he had been only a few minutes
before, I remember thinking he looked almost
as grand as my lady when he spoke.

"Your ladyship must remember that it
may be my duty to speak to my parishioners
on many subjects on which they do not agree
with me. I am not at liberty to be silent,
because they differ in opinion from me."

Lady Ludlow's great blue eyes dilated with
surprise, andI do thinkanger, at being
thus spoken to. I am not sure if it was
very wise in Mr. Gray. He himself looked
afraid of the consequences, but as if he was
determined to bear them without flinching.
For a minute there was silence. Then my
lady replied:

"Mr. Gray, I respect your plain speaking,
although I may wonder whether a young
man of your age and position, has any right
to assume that he is a better judge than one
with the experience which I have naturally
gained at my time of life, and in the station
I hold."

"If I, madam, as the clergyman of this
parish, am not to shrink from telling what
I believe to be the truth to the poor and
lowly, no more am I to hold my peace in
the presence of the rich and titled."  Mr.
Gray's face showed that he was in that
state of excitement which in a child would
have ended in a good fit of crying. He
looked as if he had nerved himself up to
doing and saying things, which he disliked
above everything, and which nothing short
of serious duty could have compelled him to
do and say. And at such times every minute
circumstance which could add to pain comes
vividly before one. I saw that he became
aware of our presence, and that it added to
his discomfiture.

My lady flushed up. "Are you aware,
sir," asked she, "that you have gone far
astray from the original subject of conversation?
But as you talk of your parish, allow
me to remind you that Hareman's Common
is beyond the bounds, and that you are really
not responsible for the characters and lives
of the squatters on that unlucky piece of
ground."

"Madam, I see I have only done harm
in speaking to you about the affair at all. I
beg your pardon, and take my leave."

He bowed, and looked very sad. Lady
Ludlow caught the expression of his face.

"Good morning!" she cried, in rather a
louder and quicker way than that in which
she had been speaking. "Remember, Job
Gregson is a notorious poacher and evil-doer,
and you really are not responsible for what
goes on at Hareman's Common."

He was near the hall door, and said
somethinghalf to himself, which we heard (being
nearer to him), but my lady did not;
although she saw that he spoke.  "What
did he say?" she asked, in somewhat a
hurried manner, as soon as the door was
closed—"I did not hear."  We looked at
each other, and then I spoke:

"He said, my lady, that God help him! he
was responsible for all the evil he did not
strive to overcome."

My lady turned sharp round away from us,
and Mary Mason said afterwards she thought
her ladyship was much vexed with both of us,
for having been present, and with me for having
repeated what Mr. Gray had said. But it
was not our fault that we were in the hall,
and when my lady asked what Mr. Gray had
said, I thought it right to tell her.

In a few minutes she bade us accompany
her in her ride in the coach.

Lady Ludlow always sate forwards by
herself, and we girls backwards. Somehow
this was a rule, which we never thought of
questioning. It was true that riding backwards
made some of us feel very uncomfortable
and faint; and to remedy this my lady
always drove with both windows open, which
occasionally gave her the rheumatism; but
we always went on in the old way. This
day she did not pay any great attention to
the road by which we were going, and coachman
took his own way. We were very
silent, as my lady did not speak, and looked
very serious. Or else, in general, she made
these rides very pleasant (to those who were
not qualmish, with riding backwards), by
talking to us in a very agreeable manner,
and telling us of the different things which
had happened to her at various places,—at
Paris and Versailles, where she had been in
her youth,—at Windsor and Kew and
Weymouth, where she had been with the Queen,
when maid of honourand so on. But this
day she did not talk at all. All at once she
put her head out of the window.

"John Footman," said she, "where are
we? Surely this is Hareman's Common."

"Yes, an't please my lady," said John
Footman, and waited for further speech or
orders. My lady thought awhile, and then

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