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himself on the settle by the great open fire. "I wunna fash mysen any longer o' this fashion; if th' ould squire will ha' his rent, happen he may just come and fish it out wi' a ladle, the grun's as fu' o' watter as the pond-head."

"Will ye ha' some parritch, feyther," said a tall, slight woman, with a very sweet sad expression-his wife, though she was some forty years younger than himself.

The only answer was a grunt, but when he had "supped" it in a bowl with a wooden spoon on his knee, his humour seemed to improve enough for speech.

"Where's Cassandra?" he said.

"Gone down to fetch some yeast from Morehead."

"She's ever gadding, and you're allus o' th' fashion o' abetting on her." His wife silently turned away to her stirring of the washtub, by means of a sort of churn called a "dolly "-a device by which the- -shire mountaineers had anticipated the idea of the American machine.

The old man's complaints went on almost as satisfactorily to himself, shouted through the open door.

"Lyddy! and where's German? He's off somewhere too, I'll be bound." "Why, he took the milking-stool and the pail not ten minit back; ye mun ha' met him as ye came in," answered the patient wife. And old German had seen him, and did know perfectly where he was, although he indulged himself in complaints, as some people do in spirits, though he by no means denied himself either in this matter.

There was nothing whatever that indicated gentle blood in him,— quite the contrary. Yet he was descended from a very old family, and was the lineal representative of the possessors of one of the most beautiful estates in the county. Some generations before, however, the chief of the house had disinherited his son, and left the property to his daughter and her children; the heir with his descendants had continued to live not far off ever since as very poor farmers.

"Bon sang ne peut pas mentir," says the French proverb; but then it must be "bon sang," not only ancient, and old German was probably not unlike his ancestor the spendthrift outcast.

Poor Lyddy's fate had not been a happy one. Left an orphan to shift for herself before she was fifteen, she had gone from one farmhouse to another for wages barely sufficient to clothe her, and, when old German first saw her, she was living at Morehead, the nearest farm to Stone Edge. It was one of the defaced old manor-houses, with a beautiful little chapel attached to it, the only one which had been preserved in the neighbourhood, and which served as the parish church of the district. Old German, whenever he attended service at all, was in the habit of coming there; he had watched Lydia's pale sweet face across the church, and marked her unwearied step in the cheese-room and kitchen of the old farmhouse, and one day, when he met her alone coming up the steep lane from the mill, he accosted her with

"Lass, I've settled for to ma' thee my wife; thou'rt a housekeeping wench and a tidy, and I think thee'll do; wilt thou be ready for th' asking on next Sabbath?

Lyddy looked up much surprised, with a red patch of colour on her cheek and a tear in her eye. An alliance with old Ashford was not a delightful prospect, but she was too much accustomed to be ordered about to have much will of her own in the disposal of herself, and accordingly she did as she was bid, going to her husband's home with no more feeling of hope or gratulation than if it had been a fresh dairymaid's place. Now old German's first wife had been a lady of property, one of the two daughters of a prosperous linendraper in the nearest little town, and the son and daughter whom she had left were, not unnaturally, especially angry and annoyed at their father's marriage. In the first place, Cassandra was only three years younger than the new wife, and in the next place she was "nothing but a servant-maid!" Miss Cassandra turned the coldest of cold shoulders on her meek stepmother, and took every opportunity of contemning and crossing her. German was several years younger than his sister, and followed her lead.

There was a little boy born in the due course of time, and poor Lydia, who had never had any one before in the world to love, driven in by her indifferent husband, who treated her little better than a servant, and seemed to have married her on the Mormon principle of getting a dairymaid in the cheapest manner, threw her whole heart into her passionate affection for her child. He was never out of her arms or her sight; she would sit crooning little songs and inarticulate words of fondness for ever in the intervals of her hard work, while Cassandra looked on rather scornfully at "the to-do she made with the brat." It grew up, however, strong and healthy, a beautiful child, afraid of nothing, whom even his coarse old father took pleasure in, and who won at last Cassandra's unwilling testimony, "Well for sure he is a pretty un." He was about two years old when one evening old German returned furiously drunk from the market, a not uncommon event with him. Lydia was putting the child to bed, and he escaped out of her hands and ran out to meet "daddy" in his little shirt, the round fat legs and little bare feet paddling along the dark stones. German had been quarrelling, and was in one of his worst tempers and half-mad with drink. When the little thing rushed up to him and took hold of his leg, he pushed it angrily away. "What did the imp come blitherin' and botherin' there for?" said he. the child violently from him; it fell with its head against the sharp edge of the iron fender, and before Lydia, who saw it all, could rush across the room, it was lying in a pool of its own blood. She took it up without a word, the baby but once opened its eyes and looked at her one long piteous look-and then closed them for ever.

In his blind fury he threw

The frightful shock sobered the wretched old man at once, but there was nothing to be done; the child was dead. There was small idea in those days of a doctor; he was useless here, and miles away, so no one

was sent for. Poor Lydia wandered up and down all that night like one crazed with misery. She would not part with the little body, and kept stroking and petting it, carrying it in her arms, or putting it to sleep in a corner of the settle, where it lay like a beautiful marble image, but with that tender look of repose that no marble ever gave. She did not seem able to realize that it was dead, and hushed every one who stirred lest its rest should be broken, in a way which almost broke Cassandra's heart. It was not till late the next morning, when she sank into a stupor of utter exhaustion, that they could take the baby from her. And it was buried before she had in any way recovered her senses.

"Where's baby?" she said anxiously, putting one hand to her head and feeling with the other by her side, and then she came to herself. Then the truth seemed to flash upon her, and her wail as she hid her head under the bed-clothes rang in Cassandra's ears for weeks. And now all the generous part of the girl's nature came out. Her feeling to her stepmother altered entirely; she soothed and petted her like a child, she tended and watched over the poor thing in her patient misery, for Lydia moved about for months in a sort of maze, hardly understanding what was said to her, but lifting up her great eyes sometimes, like a dumb wounded thing which does not comprehend, but only suffers; till at last, by dint of sheer love and watchful care, she won her soul back, though shivering and cold and cheerless, to life again. From that time it was beautiful to see the love between the two. Cassandra's was the strongest will, the stoutest heart, the highest spirits-she defended her gentle stepmother against the old man's selfishness and tyranny; she warmed her by her love and cheered her by her hearty joyousness; and in her quieter way, Lyddy, without a moment's hesitation or a word's remark, would have walked through fire and water for her stepdaughter's sake. Her whole soul was devoted to making her happy.

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Cassandra was a magnificent lassie. The Scandinavian blood runs in these northern races, which are larger and stronger than those in the southern counties, stouter made, both mind and body. She had something, however, of the rich colouring of more southern latitudes, great dark eyes and masses of dark hair, a rich brown and red bloom on her cheek, a merry arch look in her eyes, and a curious natural ease and courtesy-manners which would have been pronounced perfect in any drawing-room. As before said, her mother had been a lady of property; but it was property only in expectation; and old Ashford, after the fashion of his temper, had quarrelled desperately with his father-in-law, who, in revenge, left the whole of his money to his other child, cutting off Mrs. Ashford altogether. The ill-blood had of course descended to the next generation in the farmer's mind, and he never allowed his children to go near their aunt and uncle, who had retired from " public life" after keeping a small ale-house, and lived in great ease and dignity on their savings, having no children of their own, in a little square house close to the dusty road near the small town higher up the valley.

Lydia, like many other very quiet people, had a strong will of her own, when sufficiently moved to exert it by anything she thought right, and she was quite determined that, as regarded the children, the breach should be healed, and the advantages of the connection secured. And what is the difference between obstinacy and firmness, but that intelligence is wanting in the first, to show what are the proper objects for which will ought to be exerted?

The first time that she propounded the idea that it would be right for the two to go and see their aunt, German fell into a frightful passion and declared that the Devil himself shouldn't make him consent. About a month after Lyddy began again exactly as if not a word had been said. The old man was as dogged as ever, but not so violent; the third time he was quite silent, and went out of the house. And now Lyddy's strategies were pointing to the final assault. "I've a heerd that Bessie Broom have a been very ill," said she one day, when with his pipe and his glass of ale he sat in the sunshine in a more peaceful disposition than usual; "and when Nanny Elmes" (the pedlar and news-carrier,) "went to Youleliffe, I sent a comb frae the last honey, and for to hope as how she were a' a better fashion."

"And how dared ye to be a sending my things to them as I choose to ha' nought to do wi'?"

"It were my own," said Lyddy, submissively; "old Sammy giv' me the skep when I had a nursed him wi' his confirmation on the flungs; and the heather honey's a deal thought on in some parts."

"And what did they say?" growled German.

"They've a sent Cassandra as pretty a spot for a gownd as ever you saw, and hopes as how she'd be let come and see 'em at next wakes; and a piece for a weskit, yalla and brown and red, very neat, for you." (Poor Lyddy shrewdly suspected that it was intended for German junior, but she took the chance.)

"And what shall I do with such finery?" said the old man, sulkily, but fingering the bright tissue all the same.

"It cam frae Manchester this fall and was a new pattern, they wrote, just out," answered Lydia.

The vanity of new clothes is by no means usurped by womankind, or for that matter any other kind of vanity. German kept the "weskit," made up with fustian sleeves and back as a sort of jacket-a garment much affected in those parts-which Lyddy got ready with all haste.

"I'll ma' it good to thee, German my lad, an I ha' to save for a twelvemonth, for I reckon 'twas for thee thy aunt giv' it," said she to the boy, who was standing over her watching her nimble fingers.

"Nay, mother, it ma's naught to me; let my feyther ha' it, and welcome; but thee'll strive as I may get my turn too some day?”

The first time old Ashford came forth in his new jacket Lydia observed quietly, "Old Nanny's here; she's going to Youlcliffe, and I shall send word as the weskit is very comfable, as you was a wearing of it, and that

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