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I am intending to let the Chase Farm to a Unless it was on a point of farming practice, respectable tenant. I'm tired of having a he would rather give up than have a quarrel farm on my own hands,-nothing is made any day; and after all it mattered more to the best of in such cases, as you know. A his wife than to him. So after a few mosatisfactory bailiff is hard to find ; and I ments’ silence he looked up to her, and said think you and I, Poyser, and your excellent mildly, “What dost say ?'' wife here, can enter into a little arrange- Mrs. Poyser had had her eyes fixed on her ment in consequence, which will be to our husband with cold severity during his simutual advantage."
lence, but now she turned away her head " Ah," said Mr. Poyser, with a good with a toss, looked icily at the opposite roof natured blankness of imagination as to the of the cow-shed, and spearing her knitting nature of the arrangement.
together with the loose pin, held it firmly "If I'm called upon to speak, sir,” said between her clasped hands. Mrs. Poyser, after glancing at her husband “Say? Why I say you may do as you with pity at his softness, " you know better like about giving up any o' your corn land than me, but I don't see what the Chase afore your lease is up, which it won't be for Farm is tus,-we've cumber enough w a year come next Michaelmas, but I'll not our own farm. Not but what I'm glad to consent to take more dairy work into my hear o' anybody respectable coming into the hands either for love or money, and there's parish; there's some as ha' been brought in nayther love nor money here, as I can see, as hasn't been looked on i' that character." on'y other folks's love o' themselves, and the
"You're likely to find Mr. Thurle an ex- money as is to go into other folks's pockets. cellent neighbour, I assure you.
I know there's them as is born town the one as you will feel glad to have accommo- land, and them as is born t' sweat on't,'' dated by the little plan I'm going to men- here Mrs. Poyser paused to gasp a little,tion, especially as I hope you will find it as " and I know it's christened folks's duty to much to your advantage as his.”
submit to their betters as fur as flesh and "Indeed, sir, if it's anything tour ad blood 'ull bear it; but I'll not make a martyr vantage, it'll be the first offer o' the sort o' myself, and wear myself to skin and bone, I've heared on. It's them as take advantage and worret myself as if I was a churn wir that get advantage i' this world, I think ; butter a-coming in it, for no landlord in Engfolks have to wait long enough afore it's land, not if he was King George himself." brought to 'em."
"No, no, my dear Mrs. Poyser, certainly " The fact is, Poyser," said the Squire, not,” said the Squire, still confident in his ignoring Mrs. Poyser's theory of worldly own powers of persuasion ; "you must not prosperity, " there is too much dairy land, overwork yourself; but don't you think your and too little plough land, on the Chase work will rather be lessened than increased Farm, to suit Thurle's purpose, --indeed, he in this way? There is so much milk re will only take the farm on condition of some quired at the Abbey that you will have change in it; his wife, it appears, is not little increase of cheese and butter-making clever dairy-woman like yours. Now, the from the addition to your dairy; and I beplan I'm thinking of is to effect a little ex- lieve selling the milk is the most profitable change. If you were to have the Hollow way of disposing of dairy produce, is it not?"' Pastures you might increase your dairy, Ay, that's true," said Mr. Poyser, unwhich must be so profitable under your wife's able to repress an opinion on a question of management; and I should request you, farming profits, and forgetting that it was Mrs. Poyser, to supply my house with milk, not in this case a purely abstract question. cream, and butter at the market prices. “I dare say,” said Mrs. Poyser bitterly, On the other hand, Poyser, you might let turning her head half way towards her husThurle have the Lower and Upper Ridges, band, and looking at the vacant arm-chair,which really, with our wet seasons, would be " I dare say it's true for men as sit i’ th' a good riddance for you. There is much chimney-corner and make believe as everyless risk in dairy land than corn land." thing's cut wi' ins an' outs to fit int' every
Mr. Poyser was leaning forward, with his thing else. If you could make a pudding elbows on his knees, his head on one side wi' thinking o' the batter, it 'ud be easy and his mouth screwed up, -apparently ab- getting dinner. How do Í know whether sorbed in making the tips of his fingers the milk 'll be wanted constant? What's meet so as to represent with perfect accu- to make me sure as the house won't be put racy the ribs of a ship. He was much too o' board wage afore we're many months acute a man not to see through the whole older, and then I may have to lie awake business, and to foresee perfectly what o' nights wi' twenty gallons o' milk on my would be his wife's view of the subject; mind, -and Dingall'ull take no more butter, but he disliked giving unpleasant answers. let alone paying for it; and we must fat pigs
till we're obliged to beg the butcher on our Mr. Thurle's so ready to take farms under knees to buy 'em, and lose half of 'em wi' you, it's a pity but what he should take this, the measles. And there's the fetching and and see if he likes to live in a house wi' all carrying, as 'ud be welly half a day's work the plagues o' Egypt in't,-wi' the cellar full for a man an' hoss,--that's to be took out o' o' water, and frogs and toads hoppin' up the the profits, I reckon? But there's folks 'ud steps by dozens, -and the floors rotten, and hold a sieve under the pump and expect to the rats and mice gnawing erery bit o' carry away the water."
cheese, and runnin' over our heads as we lie ** That difficulty—about the fetching and i' bed till we expect 'em to eat us up alive, carrying—you will not hare, Mrs. Poyser," as it's a mercy they hanna eat the children said the squire, who thought that this en- long ago. I should like to see if there's antrance into particulars indicated a distant other tenant besides Poyser as 'ud put up inclination to compromise on Mrs. Poyser's wi' never having a bit o' repairs done till a part,—“ Bethell will do that regularly with place tumbles down,--and not then, on y the cart and pony."
wi begging and praying, and having to pay “Oh, sir, begging your pardon, I've never half,--and being strung up wi' the rent as been used' t' having gentlefolks's servants it's much if he gets enough out o' the land coming about my back places, a-making love to pay, for all he's put his own money into to both the gells at once, and keeping 'em the ground beforehand. See if you'll get a with their hands on their hips listening to stranger to lead such a life here as that; a all manner o gossip when they should be maggot must be born i' the rotten chcese to down on their knees a-scouring. If we're like it, I reckon. You may run away from my to go to ruin, it shanna be wi' having our words, sir," continued Mrs. Poyser, following back kitchen turned into a public."
the old Squire beyond the door,-for after ** Well, Poyser," said the Squire, shifting the first moments of stunned surprise he had his tacties, and looking as if he thought Mrs. got up, and, waving his hand towards her Poyser had suddenly withdrawn from the with a smile, had walked out towards his proceedings and left the room, "you can pony. But it was impossible for him to get turn the llollows into feeding-land. I can away immediately, for John was walking easily make another arrangement about sup- the pony up and down the yard, and was plying my house. And I shall not forget some distance from the causeway when his your readiness to accommodate your land master beckoned. lord as well as a neighbour. I know you “You may run away from my words, sir, will be glad to have your lease renewed for and you may go spinnin' underhand ways three years when the present one expires, o doing us a mischief, for you've got Old otherwise I dare say Thurle, who is a man Jarry to your friend, though nobody else is; of some capital, would be glad to take both | but I tell you for once as we're not dumb the farms, as they could be worked so well crentures to be abused and made money on together. But I don't want to part with an by them as ha' got the lash i' their hands, old tenant like you.”.
for want of knowing how t' undo the tackle. To be thrust out of the discussion in this An' if I'm th’ only one as speaks my mind, way would have been enough to complete there's plenty of the same way o' thinkin i' Mrs. Poyser's exasperation, even without this parish and the next to 't, for your the final threat. ller husband, really name's no better than a brimstone match alarmed at the possibility of their leaving in everybody's nose,—if it isna two or three the old place where he had been bred and old folks as you think o' saving your soul born, -for be believed the old Squire had by giving 'em a bit o' flannel and a drop o' small spite enough for anything, - was be- porridge. An' you may be right i' thinking ginning a mild remonstrance explanatory of it'll take but little to save your soul, for the inconvenience he should find in baring it'll be the smallest savin' y’iver made, wi' to buy and sell more stock, with
all your scrapin'." “Well, sir, I think as it's rether hard" There are occasions on which two servant
when Mrs. Poyser burst in with the girls and a wagoner may be a formidable desperate determination to have her say out audience, and as the Squire rode away on this once, though it were to rain notices to his black pony even the gift of short-sightquit, and the only shelter were the work- edness did not prevent him from being house.
aware that Molly and Nancy and Tim were “Then, sir, if I may speak,-as for all grinning not far from him. Perhaps he I'm a woman, and there's folks as thinks a suspected that sour old John was grinning woman's a fool enough to stan' by an' look behind him,-which was also the fact. Meanon while the men sign her soul away, I've a while the bull-dog, the black-and-tan terrier, right to speak, for I make one quarter o'the Alick's sheep-dog, and the gander hissing at rent, and save the other quarter,-I say, if a safe distance from the pony's heels, carried
out the idea of Mrs. Poyser's solo in an im- towards street mischief and crude dissolutepressive quartette.
Under the training of Fra Domenico, Mrs. Poyser, however, had no sooner seen a sort of lieutenant to Savonarola, lads and the pony move off than she turned round, striplings, the hope of Florence, were to gave the two hilarious damsels a look which have none but pure words on their lips, drove them into the back kitchen, and un- were to have a zeal for unseen good that spearing her knitting began to knit again should put to shame the lukewarmness of with her usual rapidity as she re-entered the their elders, and were to know no pleasures house.
save of an angelic sort,-singing divine “ Thee'st done it now," said Mr. Poyser, praises and walking in white robes. a little alarmed and uneasy, but not without As for the collections from street passensome triumphant amusement at his wife's gers, they were to be greater than ever,outbreak.
not for gross and superfluous suppers, but “Yis, I know I've done it,” said Mrs. Poy- for the benefit of the hungry and needy; ser," but I've had my say out, and I shall be and besides there was the collecting of the th easier for't all my life. There's no pleas- Anathema, or the Vanities to be laid on the ure i' living if you're to be corked up for great pyramidal bonfire. iver, and only dribble your mind out by the When Romola said that some one else exsly, like a leaky barrel. I shan't repent pected her, she meant her cousin Brigida, saying what I think if I live to be as old as but she was far from suspecting how much the old Squire, and there's little likelihoods, that good kinswoman was in need of her. —for it seems as if them as aren't wanted Returning together towards the Piazza, they here are th’ only folks as aren't wanted i had descried the company of youths coming th' other world.":
to a stand before 'Tessa, and when Romola, “But thee wotna like moving from th' old having approached near enough to see the place this Michaelmas twelvemonth," said simple little contadina's distress, said, “Wait Mr. Poyser, " and going into a strange par- for me a moment, cousin,” Monna Brigida ish, where thee know'st nobody. It'll be said, hastily, “Ah, I will not go on : come hard upon us both, and upo' father too." for me to Boni's shop; I shall go back
“Eh, it's no use worreting; there's there." plenty o' things may happen between this The truth was, Monna Brigida had a conand Michaelmas twelvemonth. The Cap- sciousness on the one hand of certain tain may be master afore then, for what we ities” carried on her person, and on the know," said Mrs. Poyser, inclined to take other of a growing alarm lest the Piagnoni an unusually hopeful view of an embarrass- should be right in holding that rouve, and ment which had been brought about by her false hair, and pearl embroidery endamaged own merit, and not by other people's fault. the soul. Their serious view of things filled
“I'm none for worreting," said Mr. the air like an odour; nothing seemed to have Poyser, rising from his three-cornered chair exactly the same flavour as it used to have ; and walking slowly towards the door: “but and there was the dear child Romola, in her I should be loth to leave th' old place, and youth and beauty, leading a life that was the parish where I was bred and born, and uncomfortably suggestive of rigorous defather afore me. We should leave our roots mands on woman. A widow at fifty-five behind us, I doubt, and niver thrive again." whose satisfaction has been largely drawn Adam Bede.
from what she thinks of her own person,
and what she believes others think of it, reTHE BURNING OF Vanities.
quires a great fund of imagination to keep
her spirits buoyant. And Monna Brigida This was the preparation for a new sort had begun to have frequent struggles at her of bonfire-the Burning of Vanities. Hid- toilette. If her soul would prosper better den in the interior of the pyramid was a without them, was it really worth while to plentiful store of dry fuel and gunpowder; put on the rouge and the braids? But when and on this last day of the festival, at even- she lifted up the hand-mirror and saw a saling, the pile of vanities was to be set ablaze low face with baggy cheeks, and crow's-feet to the sound cf trumpets, and the ugly old that were not to be dissimulated by any simCarnival was to tumble into the flames pering of the lips, --when she parted her amidst the songs of reforming triumph. gray hair, and let it lie in simple Piagnone
This crowning act of the new festivities | fashion round her face, her courage failed. could hardly have been prepared but for a Monna Berta would certainly burst out peculiar organization which had been started laughing at her, and call her an old hag, by Savonarola two years before. The mass and as Monna Berta was really only fifty of the Florentine boyhood and youth was two, she had a superiority which would no longer left to its own genial promptings make the observation cutting. Every woman
who was not a Piagnone would give a shrug and be proud to carry God's curse upon your at the sight of her, and the men would ac- head ?" cost her as if she were their grandmother. “ In truth you are old, buona madre," said Whereas, at fifty-five a woman was not so the cherubic boy, in a sweet soprano. very old, -she only required making up a look very ugly with the red on your cheeks little. So the rouge and the braids and the and that black glistening hair, and those embroidered berretta went on again, and fine things. It is only Satan who can like Monna Brigida was satisfied with the ac- to see you. Your Angel is sorry. He wants customed effect: as for her neck, if she cov- you to rub away the red." ered it up people might suppose it was too The little fellow snatched a soft silk scarf old to show, and on the contrary, with the from the basket, and held it towards Monna necklaces round it, it looked better than Brigida, that she might use it as her guardian Monna Berta's. This very day, when she angel desired. ller anger and mortification was preparing for the Piagnone Carnival, were fast giving way to spiritual alarm. such a struggle had occurred, and the con- Monna Berta, and that cloud of witnesses, flicting fears and longings which caused the highly-dressed society in general, were not struggle caused her to turn back and seek looking at her, and she was surrounded by refuge in the druugist's shop rather than young monitors, whose white robes, and encounter the collectors of the Anathema wreaths, and red crosses, and dreadful can. when Romola was not by her side.
dour, had something awful in their unusual. But Monna Brigida was not quite rapid ness. Her Franciscan confessor, Fra Crisenough in her retreat. She had been de- toforo, of Santa Croce, was not at hand to scried even before she turned away, by the reinforce her distrust of Dominican teaching, white-robed boys in the rear of those who and she was helplessly possessed and shaken wheeled round towards Tessa, and the will- by a vague sense that a supreme warning ingness with which Tessa was given up was, was come to her. Unvisited by the least perhaps, slightly due to the fact that part of suggestion of any other course that was the troop had already accosted a personage open to her, she took the scațf that was carrying more markedly upon her the dan- held out, and rubbed her cheeks with gerous weight of the Anathema. It hap- trembling submissiveness. pened that several of this troop were at the " It is well, madonna," said the second youngest age taken into peculiar training; youth. “It is a holy beginning. And and a small fellow of ten, his olive wreath when you have taken those vanities from resting above cherubic cheeks and wide your head, the dew of heavenly grace will brown eyes, his imagination really pos- descend on it." The infusion of mischief sessed with a hovering awe at existence as was getting stronger, and putting his hand something in which great consequences im- to one of the jewelled pins that fastened her pended on being good or bad, his longings braids to the berretta, he drew it out. The nevertheless running in the direction of heavy black plait fell down over Monna mastery and mischief, was the first to reach Brigida's face, and dragged the rest of the Monna Brigida and place himself across her head-gear forward. It was a new reason for path. She felt angry, and looked for an not hesitating: she put up her bands hastily, open door, but there was not one at hand, undid the other fastenings, and flung down and by attempting to escape now she would into the basket of doom her beloved crimonly make matters worse.
But it was not son velvet berretta, with all its unsurpassed the cherubic-faced young one who first ad-embroidery of seed-pearls, and stood an undressed her; it was a youth of fifteen who rouged woman, with gray hair pushed backheld one handle of a wide basket.
ward from a face where certain deep lines “Venerable mother !" he began, “the of age had triumphed over embonpoint. blessed Jesus commands you to give up the But the berretta was not allowed to lie in Anathema which you carry upon you. That the basket. With impish zeal the youngsters cap embroidered with pearls, those jewels listed it up, and held it pitilessly with tho that fasten up your false hair,- let them be false hair dangling. given up and sold for the poor; and cast the " See, venerable mother," said the taller lair itself away from you, as a lie that is youth, “ what ugly lies you have delivered only fit for burning. "Doubtless, too, you yourself from! And now you look like the have other jewels under your silk mantie." blessed Saint Anna, the mother of the Holy
“Yes, lady," said the youth at the other Virgin.”' handle, who had many of Fra Girolamo's Thoughts of going into a convent forthphrases by heart, " they are too heavy for with, and never showing herself in the you : they are heavier than a millstone, and world again, were rushing through Monna are weighting you for perdition. Will you Brigida's mind. There was nothing pussiadorn yourself with the hunger of the poor, ble for her but to take care of her soul. Of
course, there were spectators laughing: she figure beside her. " What an old scarecrow had no need to look round to assure herself I am! I must be good,-I mean to be of that. Well! it would, perhaps, be better good !" to be forced to think more of Paradise. But Yes, yes; buy a cross !" said the guttuat the thought that the dear accustomed ral voice, while the rough hand was thrust world was no longer in her choice, there once more before Monna Brigida ; for Bratti gathered some of those hard tears which was not to be abashed by Romola's presence
just moisten elderly eyes, and she could see into renouncing a probable customer, and but dimly a large rough hand holding a red had quietly followed up their retreat. “Only cross, which was suddenly thrust before her four quattrini, blessing and all, -and if there over the shoulders of the boys, while a strong was any profit, it would all go to the poor." guttural voice said, “Only four quattrini, Monna Brigida would have been commadonna, blessing and all! Buy it. You'll pelled to pause, even if she had been in a find a comfort in it now your wig's gone. less submissive mood. She put up one Deh! what are we sinners doing all our hand deprecatingly to arrest Romola's relives? Making soup in a basket, and getting monstrance, and with the other reached a nothing but the scum for our stomachs. grosso, worth many white quattrini, saying, Better buy a blessing, madonna! Only four in an entreating tone,quattrini; the profit is not so much as the * Take it, good man, and begone." smell of a danaro, and it goes to the poor.” “You're in the right, madonna," said
Monna Brigida, in dim-eyed confusion, Bratti, taking the coin quickly, and thrusting was proceeding to the further submission of the cross into her hand. “I'll not offer you reaching money from her embroidered scar-change, for I might as well rob you of a sella, at present hidden by her silk mantle, mass. What! we must all be scorched a when the group around her, which she had little, but you'll come off the easier ; better not yet entertained the idea of escaping, fall from the window than the roof. A good opened before a figure as welcome as Easter and a good year to you !" angel loosing prison bolts.
Well, Romola, cried Monna Brigida, Romola, look at me!" said Monna Bri- pathetically, as Bratti left them, "if I'm gida, in a piteous tone, putting out both her to be a Piagnone it's no matter how I hands.
look." The white troop was already moving “Dear cousin,” said Romola, looking at away, with a slight consciousness that its her affectionately, “ you don't know how zeal about the head-gear had been super- much better you look than you ever did abundant enough to afford a dispensation before. I see now how good-natured your from any further demand for penitential face is, like yourself. That red and finery offerings.
seemed to thrust themselves forward and "Dear cousin, don't be distressed," said hide expression. Ask our Piero or any Romola, smitten with pity, yet hardly able other painter if he would not rather paint to help smiling at the sudden apparition of your portrait now than before. I think all her kinswoman in a genuine, natural guise, | lines of the human face have something strangely contrasted with all her memories either touching or grand, unless they seem of her. She took the black drapery from to come from low passions. IIow fine old her own head, and throw it over Monna
men are, like my godfather! Why should Brigida's. There," she went on, sooth- not old women look grand and simple ?": ingly, no one will remark you now. We “ Yes, when one gets to be sixty, my will turn down the Via del Palagio and go Romola,” said Brigida, relapsing a little ; straight to our house."
“but I'm only fifty-five, and Monna Berta They hastened away, Monna Brigida and every body, but it's no use : I will be grasping Romola's hand tightly as if to get good like you. Your mother, if she'd been a stronger assurance of her being actually alive, would have been as old as I am,-we there.
were cousins together. One must either die “Ah, my Romola, my dear child," said or get old. But it doesn't inatter about the short fát woman, hurrying with frequent being old, if one's a Piagnone." steps to keep pace with the majestic young Romola, Chap. xlix., li.