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My companion wrote to me, next day, that
the five ragged bundles had been upon his
bed all night. I debated how to add our
testimony to that of many other persons who
from time to time are impelled to write to
the newspapers, by having come upon some
shameful and shocking sight of this description.
I resolved to write in these pages an
exact account of what we had seen, but to
wait until after Christmas, in order that
there might be no heat or haste. I know
that the unreasonable disciples of a reasonable
school, demented disciples who push
arithmetic and political economy beyond all
bounds of sense (not to speak of such a weakness
as humanity), and hold them to be all-
sufficient for every case, can easily prove that
such things ought to be, and that no man has
any business to mind them. Without disparaging
those indispensable sciences in their
sanity, I utterly renounce and abominate
them in their insanity; and I address people
with a respect for the spirit of the New
Testament, who do mind such things, and
who think them infamous in our streets.

THE SCAPEGRACE.

I AM the son of my father's old age, but
of my mother's youth; he had a son and a
daughter, Robert and Susan, not younger than
she when I was born into the world; he was
of an old county family, and had good
possessions, a magistrate, deputy lieutenant, and
the rest, but he belonged to a generation
before that in which he lived, and passed a
yeomanlike and homely life, from the day he
led the dance in the great barn at one-and-
twenty to that wherein he was borne to the
village churchyard, with half the parish in
mourning for their benefactor, for his funeral
train.

I seem to see him on his strong Welsh
pony riding leisurely over his lands, or, with
his little son before him, to the neighbouring
markets; or watching his beautiful
greyhounds upon the hillside, as they follow every
double of the wily hare; or at his grand old
harvest-homes (a picture that is worth
preserving) sitting down at the same table with
tenant and labourer without one thought of
patronage or condescension, and, "crowned
with reverence and the silver hair;"or, in the
early September mornings, striding swiftly
through the glistening turnip-fields, or at his
winter fireside, amidst a great company of
friends. What Indian, what Arab ever paid
the rites of hospitality more religiously than
he ? What a home of mirth, and feasting,
and unpolished honest fun was that great
straggling house of his! The stables, indeed,
were terribly near one side of it, and the
farmyard had been near the other before his
second marriage, but my mother had pushed
it back with her delicate resolute hands, and
made rookery and garden-ground there
instead; the poor folks said that flowers sprang
up under her feet, and in this case they did
so literally, but, nevertheless, at all times
the old house must have been the most charming
in the world. My father doted on his
wife, and her influence was always used for
good; I was their favourite child, and
Robert and Susan knew it; I trust in this
little tale of mine I shall not speak more
harshly of them than they deserve, nor forget
that they are my father's children; but I
also have to remember what I owe to my
dead mother.

What recurs to me of my childhood is so
different from my after-experience of life, that
it seems almost to me to belong to the
biography of another; the love that was lavished
on me, the patience that bore with me, the
pleasures that blossomed for me then, at
every turn seem not of this same world at all.
There was a great armchair which I used to
stand up in behind my father, and eat
sweetmeats from the dessert-table, which he
conveyed to me over his shoulder; also it was a
great delight of mine to put his honey, which
he preferred to sugar, into his tea, and stir
it for him; to take off his massy silver spectacles
and endeavour to hitch them upon
my small pug nose, and to blow out the flame
of the brandy in his mince-pies.

Afterwards I had a little pony of my own;
and about the breezy downland I would
gallop all day long, after foxhounds or
harriers, or even a hoop. It will astonish those
who are unacquainted with long undulating
downs on a high tableland, to learn that I
have followed a common broadish hoop upon
windy days, up and down hill for miles; it
would leap many feet high at every molehill,
bound with incredible rapidity to the valleys,
and creep up the opposite ascents quite slowly,
until, when near the brow of the rise, the
wind would catch it again; and, when it came
to the great roads with banks on either side,
as is the case in those parts, it would clear
them like a deer. Moreover, there was the
Thames not far from us, and the most p
icturesque fishing-village upon it possible; and
I would punt myself alone, and quite contrary
to orders, upon its broad bright bosom in the
summer noons. The glory of wood and cliff,
which was wont to fill me with such joy, the
swift running mill-races, and the foamy
lashers, with the great eel-pods leaning over
them, still fill a niche within my mind so
deeply that I almost think I might have been
a poet, had my " lines fallen upon more pleasant
places " afterwards; nay, if suffering, as
some say, conduces to the making such a
being, I am sure I have learnt in sorrow much
to teach in song. I was about nine years old,
I think, when my trouble time first began.

My father, getting very aged and ailing,
and my mother, being much occupied in attending
to him, I was left a good deal to
myself. There was indeed a tutor engaged
for me, a Mr. Laurence, but of him I did not
get much good in any way; he had, however,

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