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came over night by the mail, and, on being
asked, on entering the house, by the waiter, to
what sort of room he would be shown,
answered, carelessly and abruptly, "anywhere."

Here he was, seated in the back left-hand
corner of the room, a large screen between
himself and the door, and before him a table
spread with a goodly breakfast apparatus
coffee, eggs, fresh broiled trout from the
neighbouring Weye, and a large round of
corned beef, as a dernier resort.

It was a morning as desperately and
delugingly rainy as any that showery region
can send down. In the phrase of the country,
it siled down, or run, as if through a sieve.
Straight down streamed the plenteous
element, thick, incessant, and looking as if it
would hold on the whole day through. It
thundered on the roof, beat a sonorous tune
on porches and projections of door and
window, splashed in torrents on window-sills, and
streaming panes, and rushed along the streets
in rivers. The hills were hidden, the very
fowls driven to roostand not a soul was to
be seen out of doors.

Presently there was a sound of hurrying
wheels, a spring-cart came up to the side
door, with two men in it, in thick great coats,
and with sacks over their shoulders; one
huge umbrella held over their heads, and
they and their horse yet looking three parts
drowned. They lost no time in pitching their
umbrella to the ostler, who issued from the
passage, descending and rushing into the inn.
In the next moment the two countrymen,
divested of their sacks and great coats, were
ushered into this room, the waiter, making a
sort of apology, because there was a fire there
it was in the middle of July. The two men,
who appeared Peak farmers, with hard hands
which they rubbed at the fire, and tanned
and weather-beaten complexions, ordered
breakfastof coffee and broiled hamwhich
speedily made its appearance, on a table
placed directly in front of the before solitary
stranger, between the side look-out window
and the front one.

They looked, and were soon perceived by
our stranger, to be father and son. The old
man, of apparently upwards of sixty, was a
middle-sized man, of no Herculean mould,
but well knit together, and with a face thin
and wrinkled as with a life-long acquaintance
with care and struggle. His complexion was
more like brown leather than anything else,
and his hair, which was thin and grizzled,
was combed backward from his face, and
hung in masses about his ears. The son was
much taller than the father, a stooping figure,
with flaxen hair, a large nose, light blue eyes,
and altogether a very gawky look.

The old man seemed to eat with little appetite,
and to be sunk into himself, as if he was
oppressed by some heavy trouble. Yet he
every now and then roused himself, cast an
anxious look at his son, and said, "Joe, lad,
thou eats nothing."

"No, fayther," was the constant reply; "I
towd you I shouldn't. This reen's enough to
tak anybody's appetiteand these t'other
things," casting a glance at the stranger.

The stranger had, indeed, his eyes fixed
curiously upon the two, for he had been
watching the consumptive tendency of the
son; not in any cough or hectic flush, or
peculiar paleness, for he had a positively
sunburnt complexion of his own, but by the
extraordinary power he possessed of tossing
down coffee and ham, with enormous pieces
of toast and butter. Under his operations, a
large dish of broiled ham rapidly disappeared,
and the contents of the coffee-pot were in as
active demand. Yet the old man, ever and
anon, looked up from his reverie, and repeated
his paternal observation:—

"Joe, lad, thou eats nothing!"

"No, fayther," was still the reply; "I towd
you I shouldn't. It's this reen, and these
t'other things"—again glancing at the

Presently the broiled ham had totally
vanishedthere had been enough for six
ordinary men. And while the son was in the
act of holding the coffee-pot upside down,
and draining the last drop from it, the old
man once more repeated his anxious admonition
:—"Joe, lad, thou eats nothing!"—and
the reply was still, "No, fayther, I towd you
I shouldn't. It's this reen, and these t'other

This was accompanied by another glance at
the stranger, who began to feel himself very
much in the way, but was no little relieved by
the son rising with his plate in his hand, and
coming across the room, saying "You 've a
prime round of beef there, Sir; might I
trouble you for some?"

"By all means," said the stranger, and
carved off a slice of thickness and diameter
proportioned to what appeared to him the
appetite of this native of the Peak. This
speedily disappeared; and as the son threw
down the knife and fork, the sound once more
roused the old man, who added, with an air
of increased anxiety, "Joe, lad, thou eats

"No, fayther," for the last time responded
the son. "I towd you I shouldn't. It's this
reen, and this t'other matter;—but I've done,
and so let's go."

The father and son arose and went out.
The stranger who had witnessed this
extraordinary scene, but without betraying any
amusement at it, arose, too, the moment they
closed the door after them, and, advancing to
the window, gazed fixedly into the street.
Presently the father and son, in their great
coats, and with their huge drab umbrella
hoisted over them, were seen proceeding down
the market-place in the midst of the still
pouring rain, and the stranger's eyes followed
them intently till they disappeared in the
winding of the street. He still stood for
some time, as if in deep thought, and then

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