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for a sign to Bleaburn alone, and not at all
for the rest of the earth, or of the universe;
and that the fever would not be stayed while
the sign remained in the sky. It would have
been well if this had been the worst. The
people, always rude, were now growing desperate;
and they found, as desperate people
usually do, an object near at hand to vent
their fury upon. They said that it was the
doctor's business to make them well: that he
had not made them well: that so many had
died, that anybody might see how foul means
had been used; and that at last some of the
doctor's tricks had come out. Two of Dick
Taylor's children had been all but choked, by
some of the doctor's physic; and they might
have died, if the Good Lady had not chanced
to have been there at the moment, and known
what to do. And the doctor tried to get off
with saying that it was a mistake, and that
that physic was never made to go down anybody's
throat. They said, too, that it was only
in this doctor's time that there had been such
a fever. There was none such in the late
doctor's time; nor now, in other placesat
least, not so bad. It was nothing like so bad
at O——. The doctor had spoken lightly of
the comet: he had made old Nan Dart burn
the bedding that her grandmother left her
the same that so many of her family had died
on: and, though he gave her new bedding, it
could never be the same to her as the old.
But there was no use talking. The doctor
was there to make them well; and instead of
doing that, he made two out of three die, of
those that had the fever. Such grumblings
broke out into storm; and when Mr. and
Mrs. Kirby descended into the hollow which
their friends feared would be their tomb, they
found the whole remaining population of the
place blocking up the street before the
doctor's house, and smashing his phials, and
making a pile of his pill-boxes and little
drawers, as they were handed out of his
surgery window. A woman had brought a
candle at the moment to fire the pill-boxes:
and she kneeled down to apply the flame.
The people had already broken bottles enough
to spill a good deal of queer stuff; and some
of this stuff was so queer as to blaze up, half
as high as the houses, as quick as thought.
The flame ran along the ground, and spread
like magic. The people fled, supposing this
the doings of the comet and the doctor together.
Off they went, up and down, and into
the houses whose doors were open. But the
woman's clothes were on fire. She would
have run too; but Mr. Kirby caught her
arm, and his firm grasp made her stand, while
Mrs. Kirby wrapped her camlet cloak about
the part that was on fire. It was so quickly
donein such a moment of time, that the
poor creature was not much burned; not at
all dangerously; and the new pastor was at
once informed of the character of the charge
he had undertaken.

That very evening Warrender was sent
through the village, as crier, to give a notice,
to which every ear was open. Mr. Kirby
having had medical assurance that it was
injurious to the public health that more
funerals should take place in the churchyard,
and that the bodies should lie unburied, would
next day, bury the dead above the brow, on a
part of Furzy Knoll, selected for the purpose.
For anything unusual about this proceeding,
Mr. Kirby would be answerable, considering
the present state of the village of Bleaburn.
A waggon would pass through the village at
six o'clock the next morning; and all who
had a coffin in their houses were requested to
bring it out, for solemn conveyance to the
new burial ground: and those who wished to
attend the interment must be on the ground
at eight o'clock.

All ears were open again the next morning,
when the cart made its slow progress down
the street; and some went out to see. It was
starlight: and from the east came enough of
dawn to show how the vehicle looked with
the pall thrown over it. Now and then, as it
passed a space between the houses, a puff of
wind blew aside the edge of the pall, and then
the coffins were seen within, ranged one upon
another,—quite a load of them. It stopped
for a minute at the bottom of the street; and
it was a relief to the listeners to hear Warrender
tell the driver that there were no more,
and that he might proceed up to the brow.
After watching the progress of the cart till it
could no longer be distinguished from the wall
of grey rock along which it was ascending,
those who could be spared from tending the
sick put on such black as they could muster,
to go to the service.

It was, happily, a fine morning;—as fine a
November morning as could be seen. It is
not often that weather is of so much consequence
as it was to the people of Bleaburn
to-day. They could not themselves
have told how it was that they came
down from the awful service at Furzy
Knoll so much more light-hearted than they
went up; and when some of them were asked
the reason, by those who remained below,
they could not explain it,—but, somehow,
everything looked brighter. It was, in fact,
not merely the calm sunshine on the hills, and
the quiet shadows in the hollows; it was not
merely the ruddy tinge of the autumn ferns
on the slopes, or the lively hop and flit of the
wagtail about the spring-heads and the stones
in the pool; it was not merely that the fine
morning yielded cheering influences like these,
but that it enabled many, who would have
been kept below by rain, to hear what their
new pastor had to say. After going through
the burial service very quietly, and waiting
with a cheerful countenance while the business
of lowering so many coffins by so few
hands was effected, he addressed, in a plain
and conversational style, those who were present.
He told them that he had never before
witnessed an interment like this; and he did

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