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said she would have the steps put down and
get out.

As soon as she was gone, we looked at
each other, and then without a word began
to gaze after her. We saw her pick her
dainty way, in the little high-heeled shoes
she always wore (because they had been in
fashion in her youth) among the yellow pools
of stagnant water that had gathered in the
clayey soil. John Footman followed, stately,
after; afraid too, for all his stateliness, of
splashing his pure white stockings. Suddenly
my lady turned round, and said something
to him, and he returned to the carriage with
a half-pleased, half-puzzled air.

My lady went on to a cluster of rude mud
houses at the higher end of the Common;
cottages built, as they were occasionally at
that day, of wattles and clay, and thatched
with sods. As far as we could make out
from dumb show, Lady Ludlow saw enough
of the interiors of these places to make her
hesitate before entering, or even speaking to
any of the children who were playing about
in the puddles. After a pause, she
disappeared into one of the cottages. It seemed
to us a long time before she came out; but
I dare say it was not more than eight or ten
minutes. She came back with her head
hanging down, as if to choose her way,—but
we saw it was more in thought and bewilderment
than for any such purpose.

She had not made up her mind where we
should drive to when she got into the carriage
again. John Footman stood, bare-headed,
waiting for orders.

"To Hathaway. My dears, if you are
tired, or if you have anything to do for
Mrs. Medlicott, I can drop you at Barford-
Corner, and it is but a quarter of an hour's
brisk walk home?"

But luckily we could safely say that
Mrs. Medlicott did not want us, and as we
had whispered to each other, as we sat alone
in the coach, that surely my lady must have
gone to Job Gregson's, we were far too
anxious to know the end of it all to say that
we were tired. So we all set off to Hathaway.
Mr. Harry Lathom was a bachelor
squire, thirty or thirty-five years of age, more
at home in the field than in the drawing-room,
and with sporting men than with ladies.

My lady did not alight, of course; it was
Mr. Lathom's place to wait upon her, and
she bade the butler,—who had a smack of
the gamekeeper in him, very unlike our own
powdered venerable fine gentleman at
Hanbury,—tell his master, with her compliments,
that she wished to speak to him. You
may think how pleased we were to find that
we should hear all that was said; though I
think afterwards we were half sorry when
we saw how our presence confused the squire,
who would have found it bad enough to
answer my lady's questions, even without
two eager girls for audience.

"Pray, Mr. Lathom," began my lady,
something abruptly for her,—but she was
very full of her subject, "what is this I hear
about Job Gregson?"

Mr. Lathom looked annoyed and vexed,
but dared not show it in his words.

"I gave out a warrant against him, my
lady, for theft, that is all. You are doubtless
aware of his character; a man who sets
nets and springes in long cover, and fishes
wherever he takes a fancy. It is but a short
step from poaching to thieving."

"That is quite true," replied Lady Ludlow
(who had a horror of poaching for this very
reason) "but I imagine you do not send a
man to jail on account of his bad character."

"Rogues and vagabonds," said Mr. Lathom.
"A man may be sent to prison for being a
vagabond; for no specific act, but for his
general mode of life."

He had the better of her ladyship for one
moment; but then she answered,

"But in this case, the charge on which you
committed him was theft; now his wife tells
me he can prove he was some miles distant
from Holmwood, where the robbery took
place, all that afternoon; she says you had
the evidence before you."

Mr. Lathom here interrupted my lady, by
saying, in a somewhat sulky manner.

"No such evidence was brought before me
when I gave the warrant. I am not answerable
for the other magistrates' decision, when
they had more evidence before them. It was
they who committed him to gaol. I am not
responsible for that."

My lady did not often show signs of
impatience;but we knew she was feeling irritated
by the little perpetual tapping of her high-
heeled shoe against the bottom of the carriage.
About the same time we, sitting backwards,
caught a glimpse of Mr. Gray through the
open door, standing in the shadow of the
hall. Doubtless Lady Ludlow's arrival had
interrupted a conversation between Mr. Lathom
and Mr. Gray. The latter must have
heard every word of what she was saying;
but of this she was not aware, and caught at
Mr. Lathom's disclaimer of responsibility
with pretty much the same argument that
she had heard (through our repetition) that
Mr. Gray had used not two hours before.

"And do you mean to say, Mr. Lathom,
that you don't consider yourself responsible
for all injustice or wrong-doing that you
might have prevented, and have not? Nay,
in this case the first germ of injustice was
your own mistake. I wish you had been
with me a little while ago, and seen the
misery in that poor fellow's cottage." She
spoke lower, and Mr. Gray drew near, in a
sort of involuntary manner, as if to hear all
she was saying. We saw him, and doubtless
Mr. Lathom heard his footstep, and knew
who it was that was listening behind him,
and approving of every word that was said.
He grew yet more sullen in manner; but
still my lady was my lady, and he dared not

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