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just now, when I have so often to go to Mr. Gray's to
see about furnishing. Now you think I have told you
all the Hanbury news, don't you? Not so. I think
the very greatest thing of all is to come. I won't
tantalise you, but just out with it, for you would never
guess it. My Lady Ludlow has given a party, just
like any plebeian amongst us. We had tea and toast in
the blue drawing-room, old John Footman waiting,
with Tom Diggles, the lad that used to frighten away
crows in Farmer Hale's fields, following, in my lady's
livery, hair powdered and everything. Mrs. Medlicott
made tea in my lady's own room. My lady looked
like a splendid fairy queen of mature age, in black
velvet, and the old lace, which I have never seen her
wear before since my lord's death. But the company,
you'll say. Why we had the parson of Clover, and
the parson of Headleigh, and the parson of Merribank,
and the three parsonesses; and Farmer Donkin and
two Miss Donkins; and Mr. Gray (of course), and
myself and Bessy; and Captain and Mrs. James; yes,
and Mr. and Mrs. Brooke, think of that! I am not
so sure the parsons liked it; but he was there. For
he has been helping Captain James to get my lady's
land into order; and then his daughter married the
agent; and Mr. Gray (who ought to know) says, after
all, Baptists are not such bad people; and he was right
against them at one time, as you may remember.
Mrs. Brooke is a rough diamond, to be sure. People
have said that of me, I know. But, being a Galindo,
I learnt manners in my youth, and can take them up
when I choose. But Mrs. Brooke never learnt
manners, I'll be bound. When John Footman
handed her the tray with the tea cups, she looked
up at him, as if she were sorely puzzled by that
way of going on. I was sitting next to her, so
I pretended not to see her perplexity, and put her
cream and sugar in for her, and was all ready to pop it
into her hands,— when who should come up but that
impudent lad, Tom Diggles (I call him lad, for all his
hair is powdered, for you know that is not natural grey
hair), with his tray full of cakes and what not, all as
good as Mrs. Medlicott could make them. By this
time, I should tell you, all the parsonesses were looking
at Mrs. Brooke, for she had shown her want of
breeding before; and the parsonesses, who were just a
step above her in manners, were very much inclined
to smile at her doings and sayings. Well! what does
she do but pull out a clean Bandanna pocket-handkerchief,
all red and yellow silk, and spread it over her
best silk gown; it was, like enough, a new one, for I
had it from Sally, who had it from her cousin Molly,
who is dairy-woman at the Brookes', that the Brookes
were mighty set-up with an invitation to drink tea at
the Hall. There we were, Tom Diggles even on the
grin (I wonder how long it is since he was own brother
to a scarecrow, only not so decently dressed) and Mrs.
Parsoness of Headleigh,— I forget her name, and it's no
matter, for she's an ill-bred creature, I hope Bessy will
behave herself better,— was right-down bursting with
laughter, and as near a hee-haw as ever a donkey was,
when what does my lady do? Aye! there's my own
dear Lady Ludlow, God bless her! She takes out her
own pocket-handkerchief, all snowy cambric, and lays
it softly down on her velvet lap, for all the world as
if she did it every day of her life, just like Mrs. Brooke,
the baker's wife; and when the one got up to shake
the crumbs into the fire-place, the other did just the
same. But with such a grace! and such a look at us
all! Tom Diggles went red all over; and Mrs. Parsoness
of Headleigh scarce spoke for the rest of the
evening; and the tears came into my old silly eyes;
and Mr. Gray, who was before silent and awkward,
in a way which I tell Bessy she must cure him of,
was made so happy by this pretty action of my lady's,
that he talked away all the rest of the evening, and
was the life of the company.

O! Margaret Dawson, I sometimes wonder if you're
the better off for leaving us. To be sure you're
with your brother, and blood is blood. But when I
look at my lady and Mr. Gray, for all they're so
different, I would not change places with any in

Alas! alas! I never saw my dear lady
again. She died in eighteen hundred and
fourteen, and Mr. Gray did not long survive
her. As I dare say you know, the Reverend
Henry Gregson is now vicar of Hanbury, and
his wife is the daughter of Mr. Gray and
Miss Bessy.


THE mists were beginning to creep and glide
(The yellow mists of dark November)
As I walk'd in a churchyard old and wide,
Under the daylight's dying ember,
And look'd at the graves on every side,
And thought of the end of life's December.

The gravestones once had stood upright,
But now they leant so close together,
They seem'd, to Fancy's shaping sight,
Like whispering witches; or a tether
Of pauper-women in dirty white,
Cowering under the agueish weather.

The hollow cells of the dead below
Had sapp'd the gravestones' frail foundations;
The cold, thin grave-worm, wriggling slow,
Had push'd them somewhat from their stations;
And the moss had had plenty of time to grow
Over their rhyming declarations.

Whether it was some goblin sleight,
Or whether a trick of the mind's own playing,
Or whether a freak of the fading light,
Is past my power of bewraying;
But I thought each tomb became a sprite,
And I heard the words that they were saying.

For as many stones as there I found,
So many impish voices clatter'd:
Yea, the voices rose from underground,
From weedy hillocks old and batter'd;
Not one of the dead within each mound
But was with foul detraction spatter'd.

"My stony, lying face," said one,
"Declares that he who rots below it
His virtuous deeds had never done,
Till Death removed him; but (I know it)
He counted the virtues, and Heaven won,
But as the dreamings of a poet."

"And I," cried a goblin lean and small,
"Say of the knave who lieth under,
That he fed the wretched in his hall;
But he fed them only with his plunder.
And, if he endow'd a hospital
With theft; where lies the worth, or wonder?'

A third: " I speak in oily phrase
Of my occupant's amazing piety,
Recording his life of prayer and praise

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