he would never get his breath again. His daughter-in-law came in at the sound, and told the Squire that he had these coughing-bouts very frequently, and that she thought he would go off in one of them before long. This opinion of hers was spoken simply out before the old man, who now lay gasping and exhausted upon his pillow. Poor people acknowledge the inevitableness and the approach of death in a much more straightforward manner than is customary among the more educated. The Squire was shocked at her hard-heartedness, as he considered it; but the old man himself had received much tender kindness from his daughter-in-law; and what she had just said was no more news to him than the fact that the sun would rise to-morrow. He was more anxious to go on with his story.

“Them navvies—I can ’em navvies because some on ’em is strangers, though some on ’em is th’ men as was turned off your own works, Squire, when there came orders to stop ’em last fall—they’re a-pulling up gorse and brush to light their fire for warming up their messes. It’s a long way off to their homes, and they mostly dine here; and there’ll be nothing of a cover left, if you don’t see after ’em. I thought I should like to tell ye, afore I died. Parson’s been here; but I did na tell him. He’s all for the earl’s folk, and he’d not ha’ heeded. It’s the earl as put him into his church, I reckon; for he said, what a fine thing it were for to see so much employment a-given to the poor, and he never said nought o’ th’ sort when your works were agait, Squire.”

This long speech had been interrupted by many a cough and gasp for breath; and, having delivered himself of what was on his mind, he turned his face to the wall, and appeared to be going to sleep. Presently, he roused himself with a start—

“I know I flogged him well, I did. But he were after pheasants’ eggs, and I didn’t know he were an orphan. Lord forgive me!”

“He’s thinking on David Morton, the cripple, as used to go about trapping venison,” whispered the woman.

“Why, he died long ago—twenty year, I should think,” replied the Squire.

“Ay, but when grandfather goes off i’ this way to sleep after a bout of talking he seems to be dreaming on old times. He’ll not waken up yet, sir; you’d best sit down if you’d like to stay,” she continued, as she went into the houseplace and dusted a chair with her apron. “He was very particular in bidding me wake him if he were asleep, and you or Mr. Roger was to call. Mr. Roger said he’d be coming again this morning—but he’ll likely sleep an hour or more, if he’s let alone.”

“I wish I’d said good-bye, I should like to have done that.”

“He drops off so sudden,” said the woman. “But, if you’d be better pleased to have said it, Squire, I’ll waken him up a bit.”

“No, no!” the Squire called out, as the woman was going to be as good as her word. “I’ll come again, perhaps to-morrow. And tell him I was sorry; for I am indeed. And be sure and send to the Hall for anything you want! Mr. Roger is coming, is he? He’ll bring me word how he is, later on. I should like to have bidden him good-bye.”

So, giving sixpence to the child who had held his horse, the Squire mounted. He sate still a moment, looking at the busy work going on before him, and then at his own half-completed drainage. It was a bitter pill. He had objected to borrowing from Government, in the first instance; and then his wife had persuaded him to the step; and, after it was once taken, he was as proud as could be of the only concession to the spirit of progress he had ever made in his life. He had read and studied the subject pretty thoroughly, if also very slowly, during the time his wife had been influencing him. He was tolerably well up in agriculture, if in nothing else; and at one time he had taken the lead among the neighbouring landowners, when he first began tile-drainage. In those days people used to speak of Squire Hamley’s hobby; and at market- ordinaries, or county-dinners, they rather dreaded setting him off on long repetitions of arguments from the different pamphlets upon the subject which he had read. And now the proprietors all around him

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