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is no doubt whatever, now, that Jack chuckled,
and scratched his head. Mr. Prosser made a
declaration of affection, in short; but his
manner was so mysterious, his words were
so unfathomable, that although he left Miss
Llewellyn under the impression that he had
proposed himself as her future husband, and
that he had been accepted as such; the lady
herself had not the smallest suspicion of the
purport of his declaration. It was not, in
fact, until Jack had gone off in a state of
rapture, and until Mary began to reflect, that
the idea of Jack's "intentions" entered
her imagination. She resolved, however,
to take an early opportunity of undeceiving

Now it was Whitsuntide, and Whitsuntide
is the great holiday season in the Forest of
Dean. A very pleasant season, too, it is for
anybody living in a forest, when the trees put
on their first fresh leaves, and the orchards
are in blossom, and the hawthorns too: when
birds are making up for their long silence,
and the bees again are busy. In the Forest
of Dean every hamlet has, at this season, its
wake or village festival; and morris-dancing
is the business of life. Each morris-dancer
throws aside his coat and waistcoat, to display
a shirt covered with party-coloured ribbons
twisted into rosettes for him by his sweetheart.
Happy the maid who has decked out
her lover with the gayest finery; she loves to
see her ribbons glorified. Then the dancers
pride themselves on feathers also, and hang
bells about their knees. The foremost dancer
wields a flag on which are inscribed the initials
of the district to which his morris belongs.
Our dancing-ground was Blakeney Hill. That
hill is green to the summit, and its sides are
covered with cottage-gardens, and were then
gay and sweet with apple-blossom. From
the top, you see the Severn parted from you
by narrow dells and orchards, with Blakeney
village set in the rustic picture like a blackbird's
egg in a green nest of moss. On the
top of this hill is a level platform, where has
been always held the Blakeney Hill wake.
To this wake all the different forest districts
used to send forth their sets of morris-dancers;
each set had its own dancing-ground, and you
might see twenty or thirty companies, of forty
or more couples, all tripping it at one time

On the 10th of May, 18—, I walked with
Mary Llewellyn to this wake, soon after her
interview with Mr. Prosser. Mary was very
joyous; we wandered, I may say, scampered,
to and fro; the distant fiddles and the
tinkling of the morris-bells possibly made me
sentimental. I twined some wild-flowers into
a true-love knot, and offered them to Miss
Llewellyn; she blushed, and put the flowers
in her bosom. I offered her my arm, on
which she put her hand for the first time.
My future fate as a domestic man was sealed.
I liked the notion then; it was a happy one:
and when we reached the wake, I led Mary
to the top of the Etloe set of morris-dancers
and I believe we danced to the astonishment
of all beholders; for we were both glad, and
our hearts were dancing.

Thereupon presently came Mr. Prosser to
claim Mary for a dance. Mary was tired,
and there followed a few words of explanation,
which begot no friendship towards
me from Mr. Jack. When we came home,
Farmer Grimes solemnly warned me against
"being too sweet upon Polly Llewellyn,"
because she was a witch's grandchick, and
the old woman had caused his wagon to
stick for two hours in a rut opposite her
cottage. I pooh-poohed Farmer Grimes,
who, consequently, considered me a doomed

Two miles from Lydney rises a bold table-
land called the Bailey; a wild, heath-like
place, commanding fine views of the Severn,
the neighbourhood of Park End, and the
picturesque woodland church of St. Paul's.
The Bailey itself looks wild and desolate;
there you have holly-trees and furze-bushes;
and there we had, in July, 18—, a meeting of
some thousand foresters. Every district of
the forest had sent to the general muster a
supply of men with spades and pickaxes; yea,
verily, and some with swords and muskets,
that gave no very military look to warriors in
smock-frocks, velveteens, and hob-nailed shoes.
Counsellor Prosser addressed the assembly.
Farmer Grimes wanted to know whether they
would throw the banks down, in case soldiers
came? The resolution passed in answer to
Farmer Grimes's query was to the effect, that
if the soldiersa regiment or sodid come, the
banks were to be allowed to stand; but, if the
military force were small, and the foresters could
overcome it, the fences were to be demolished.
The foresters then separated into several
detachments, each under its leader, and each
appointed to destroy a certain part of the
embankments. The rattle of spades and pickaxes
shortly resounded; the levelling of every
bank was celebrated with cheers remorselessly
noisy, and serious alarm spread through the
surrounding country. It was reported that the
forest was in complete insurrection; that men
regularly drilled and armed possessed the
almost inaccessible recesses; and that Robin
Hood did nothing in comparison with what
was to be expected from the men of Dean.

Having razed the embankments, the bold
foresters turned loose their cattle upon the
forbidden ground; formed an encampment
upon a rough ridge, called Putnage; and sent
round detachments to exact contributions
from adjacent villages and farms. The
alarmed neighbours paid the black-mail. The
local authorities swore in a multitude of
special constables, and sent to London for the
military. Sure enough, down the soldiers

The forest army under General Jack Prosser
looked like a gipsy carnp. The moment the
camp was formed, the General thought