infamous ones. Child - torturers, slave - masters and drivers I consign to the hands of gaolers: the novelist may be excused from sullying his page with the record of their deeds.

Instead, then, of harrowing up my reader’s soul, and delighting his organ of Wonder with effective descriptions of stripes and scourgings, I am happy to be able to inform him that neither Mr. Moore nor his overlooker ever struck a child in their mill. Joe had, indeed, once very severely flogged a son of his own for telling a lie and persisting in it; but, like his employer, he was too phlegmatic, too calm, as well as too reasonable a man to make corporal chastisement other than the exception to his treatment of the young.

Mr. Moore haunted his mill, his mill-yard, his dyehouse, and his warehouse till the sickly dawn strengthened into day. The sun even rose—at least, a white disc, clear, tintless, and almost chill-looking as ice— peeped over the dark crest of a hill, changed to silver the livid edge of the cloud above it, and looked solemnly down the whole length of the den, or narrow dale, to whose strait bounds we are at present limited. It was eight o’clock; the mill lights were all extinguished; the signal was given for breakfast. The children, released for half an hour from toil, betook themselves to the little tin cans which held their coffee, and to the small baskets which contained their allowance of bread. Let us hope they have enough to eat; it would be a pity were it otherwise.

And now, at last, Mr. Moore quitted the mill-yard, and bent his steps to his dwelling-house. It was only a short distance from the factory, but the hedge and high bank on each side of the lane which conducted to it seemed to give it something of the appearance and feeling of seclusion. It was a small, whitewashed place, with a green porch over the door; scanty brown stalks showed in the garden soil near this porch, and likewise beneath the windows—stalks budless and flowerless now, but giving dim prediction of trained and blooming creepers for summer days. A grass plat and borders fronted the cottage; the borders presented only black mould yet, except where, in sheltered nooks, the first shoots of snowdrop or crocus peeped, green as emerald, from the earth. The spring was late; it had been a severe and prolonged winter; the last deep snow had but just disappeared before yesterday’s rains; on the hills, indeed, white remnants of it yet gleamed, flecking the hollows and crowning the peaks; the lawn was not verdant, but bleached, as was the grass on the bank and under the hedge in the lane. Three trees, gracefully grouped, rose beside the cottage; they were not lofty, but having no rivals near, they looked well and imposing where they grew. Such was Mr. Moore’s home—a snug nest for content and contemplation, but one within which the wings of action and ambition could not long lie folded.

Its air of modest comfort seemed to possess no particular attraction for its owner. Instead of entering the house at once, he fetched a spade from a little shed and began to work in the garden. For about a quarter of an hour he dug on uninterrupted; at length, however, a window opened, and a female voice called to him:

‘Eh, bien! Tu ne d\da\eje\uc\nes pas ce matin?’

The answer and the rest of the conversation was in French, but as this is an English book, I shall translate it into English.

‘Is breakfast ready, Hortense?’

‘Certainly; it has been ready half an hour.’

‘Then I am ready, too; I have a canine hunger.’

He threw down his spade and entered the house. The narrow passage conducted him to a small parlour, where a breakfast of coffee and bread and butter, with the somewhat un-English accompaniment of stewed pears, was spread on the table. Over these viands presided the lady who had spoken from the window. I must describe her before I go any further.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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