The twelve hundred children were drawn up in three bodies of four hundred souls each; in the rear of each regiment was stationed a band; between every twenty there was an interval wherein Helstone posted the teachers in pairs; to the van of the armies he summoned:

‘Grace Boultby and Mary Sykes lead out Whinbury.

‘Margaret Hall and Mary Ann Ainley conduct Nunnely.

‘Caroline Helstone and Shirley Keeldar head Briarfield.’

Then again he gave command:

‘Mr. Donne to Whinbury; Mr. Sweeting to Nunnely; Mr. Malone to Briarfield.’

And these gentlemen stepped up before the lady-generals.

The Rectors passed to the full front, the parish clerks fell to the extreme rear; Helstone lifted his shovel- hat; in an instant out clashed the eight bells in the tower, loud swelled the sounding bands, flute spoke and clarion answered, deep rolled the drums, and away they marched.

The broad white road unrolled before the long procession, the sun and sky surveyed it cloudless, the wind tossed the tree-boughs above it, and the twelve hundred children, and one hundred and forty adults, of which it was composed, trod on in time and tune, with gay faces and glad hearts. It was a joyous scene, and a scene to do good; it was a day of happiness for rich and poor: the work, first of God, and then of the clergy. Let England’s priests have their due; they are a faulty set in some respects, being only of common flesh and blood, like us all, but the land would be badly off without them: Britain would miss her Church if that Church fell. God save it! God also reform it!

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.