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of view) they were put upon short commons till their parents' return. Then there was a scene. 'Take my children's bread and give it to a tramp?' Doris recriminated; her young blood was up. Thief,' was she? 'God's wrath upon you, skinflints that you are! Give the brats stones to suck once a day in these cruel times; they'll be none the worse. But let the fathers that earn the bread starve ? Never!' Would she promise never to do it again? Not she. Jail! Who cares for jail? They might as well have tried to deal with Ætna in eruption. The lava stream of glowing speech went billowing on, carrying all before it. Passion rouses passion, and the weaker and the beaten of two combatants is for the most part the most vindictive and implacable. The end of it was that Doris was carried before the magistrates, and sent for a month to Swaffham Bridewell! 'Good fortune departs, and disaster's behind.'

Hark, the wind with its wants and its infinite wail!

Swaffham Bridewell-that's a real name this time. I was going to call it Pandemonium, but that would have been a poor feeble word for the thing signified. Twenty years or so before this time Howard had paid a visit to Swaffham Bridewell. This is what he found there:

Three rooms below; one of which, a lodging-room for men, is too close (10 feet 9 inches by 7 feet 9 inches); a work-room, 17 feet by 15, but no employment; and four rooms above. Court enlarged, now 28 feet square, but no pump. Keeper's salary, 16., and twenty shillings a year for straw. Clauses against spirituous liquors hung up; license for beer. .. Prisoners, eleven, including the lunatic.

One pound per annum allowed for providing straw for all the prisoners. The court-in which alone the wretched jail birds could exercise their wasted limbs for a few minutes at a time, by special grace of the keeper, salaried at 167. a year-when enlarged measured 28 feet square; and no pump. The howling lunatic-the ruffians in their fetters-the filth-the blasphemy-the ferocity-the despair. Think of it! Did their Dante of the dread Inferno' ever image a horribler den than this?

Six or seven years ago, when the Salvationists were strong and vociferous in Tegea, a band of them marching down the street met Doris as she was trudging along jocund and contemptuous. 'You're a-going to hell! You're a-going to hell!' cried voice after voice, and the Mænad who led the motley procession stopped her walking backwards, faced about, and halted. The very drummer held his hand and ceased his thumping. You're a-going to hell! You're a-going to hell! Doris! you're a-going to hell! ' echoed again and again. Doris stood still, and the twinkle in her laughing eye meant anything but fear. Hell! What do you know about hell, ye sillies? I've been in hell, I have-spent a month

there fifty years ago. Sin' I got out, many's the time I've danced all night and larked all day, and I'd do it again now if I could. Hell? Go on wi' you! wi' your drumming, and your bumming, and your tootling! That there hell's been pulled down sin' I was there. You ain't a-going to build that up again--for all your fal-lals. Go on wi' you!'

Dreadful gleams of the after life were flashed upon me now and then. Doris would now and then drop a hint or something more. The old people too have sometimes told me scraps of their reminiscences in a shy, shamefaced way. What staggered them, almost frightened them, was the glaring, irresistible beauty of the woman-her immeasurable force her masterful insolent fluency-her never-failing wit and drollery. She was a wicked woman!' says one; leastways folks said so. But lawk! I dunno much about her. Early or late she was gay as a peacock. Seemed as if no one never saw her what you may call down. She was that fresh-coloured as I've heard say she never blushed and she never blenched. She might ha' married a dozen on 'em; but no! she couldn't abide being bound. When she took up wi' Joe Bickers she'd found her master, but she'd never marry him. Beautiful? Well! I don't understand that. But she was that handsome as she was a wonder to look at.' My predecessor in this benefice tried hard to induce her to marry Joe Bickers. ''Tain't no use your talking,' said Joe impatiently; 'I've been trying to make her marry me for all forty years 'tain't likely you're a-going to talk her over!'


When I made her acquaintance first, Joe Bickers, who was some fifteen years older than Doris, had grown blind and useless. He soon took to his bed, where his habit was to bellow snatches of old songs -hunting songs-poaching songs-sea songs. Hold your noise, ye old fool!' I've heard her cry; 'there's the parson coming along.' The fierce old ruffian used to like my coming to him, but he had no more conscience than a carrot. It seemed impossible to arouse the faintest response to any appeal to the moral sense. My heart used to die within me sometimes. The only occasion on which I noticed anything like an approach to gentleness was when he said to me. once, with signs of vexation that he had been brought to unbend so far, You're a good sort, anyhow! and God A'mighty will reward you, I don't doubt. But what's the use of your a-talking to me? I ain't fit for no other place than this. Soul? If you could see my soul, you'd see such a dirty un as you ain't often met. Who's a-going to save a rotten tater? 'tain't worth it!' But the ascendency which Joe Bickers had acquired, and retained for over forty years, over Doris was unbounded. She was his slave. The secret of it, I doubt not, was that she had a heart and he had none-a cruel, noisy, jovial, boisterous, reckless giant, of the stuff that the old buccaneers were

made of. But marry him she never would, and never did. She never would marry anyone. It was not for want of asking. Why, there was one of 'em that wild he come and plumpt down on his knees and swore he'd never get up till I'd marry him. He'd a given me thousands!' Why in the world did you not take him, Doris ?' 'What, marry a man that had flopped on his marrow bones and squealed like a pig? Yah! 'Twarn't likely! Why, if I'd married one of 'em, you see, I should ha' belonged to him. Then-possibleI'd have got tired of him.'

During those months when I used to go and visit fierce old Bickers-though he was as hard as the nether millstone-there came a gradual change over Doris. The strange couple lived in a ruinous hovel, which was one of two when I first knew it; the other house (?) grew so dangerous that the owner dismantled it, used some of the rafters to prop up Joe Bickers's tottering wall, sold the tiles for a few shillings, and patched up some holes in the roof. In this miserable ruin the old ruffian died. While he lay there, fading away, it was my business to drop in and sit with him.

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They had abandoned the upper room, where the bats hid under the tiles and flew in and out at pleasure, and the wind whistled and the snowflakes found an easy entrance; and they had put up their big four-post bedstead on the ground floor. It was a tight fit. They did not lack for covering, and there were lumps of various dimensions which in the aggregate constituted a mattress, and there lay Joe Bickers. Once as I was speaking in my feeble way of Him who came to seek and to save them that were lost, Doris, with her back turned, sat huddling over the apology for a fire, pretending to take no notice. Suddenly, Joe burst out into a coarse laugh. My toes, if she ain't a-crying!' Doris started up, turning her face away, and flung herself out of the house. What a brute you are to laugh at the woman!' I exclaimed, for I was roused. You're blind. It was a lie. You couldn't have seen her if she had cried!' He laughed again. My toes! Many's the time I've give her a black eye, but I never see her blubbering for all that. But see or no see, she's been blubbering now. Think I don't know! I tell you she's a-crying!' I saw no more of her that day. Next time she began by being as reckless as usual. The old reprobate was evidently sinking. For the first time she condescended to consult me. 'I don't know what to make of him. He keeps calling out he'll be shaved. He won't die, he says, unless he's shaved, and I don't want him to die. I want to keep him. Do you think, sir, as I ought to have him shaved?' There was a grotesque pathos about the question. Doris dreaded the thought of hastening his end.


Doris was left alone. She had still a great deal of vigour and infinite pluck. She had her donkey, too, and her cart, and she con

trived, literally, to pick up a livelihood. She never begged; she had many friends here and there, who were always ready with a shilling. People who condemned her irregular life were ready to cast a veil over her antecedents. She was proud as Lucifer in her way, and scorned to apologise for what she had not scorned to commit. She rather made the worst of herself than the best. She forgot nothing; she knew everybody—especially all their old peccadilloes. Truly a formidable personage, whom prudence suggested should be best left alone to go her own way. The donkey cart grew very rickety. She took it to the wheelwright, a kindly man in his way. 'Mr. I want you to mend this cart; what will it cost? What will it cost you, that's my meaning; for you must mend it up and I shan't pay you for it. Leastways I don't think I ever shall!' The cart was mended. Doris went on in the old way, doing little jobs, getting shillings, scraps, and small doles. Then the donkey broke down. One day we missed the patient little brute. Where's the dickey, Doris?' Simon, the knacker, had gone to her to buy it. What for? For somebody's kennel. What would he give? Halfa-crown. What would he charge for shooting it? A shilling. And dig the hole too? Yes, he didn't mind that. Doris stood by as he dug the hole, then she pulled out her shilling. Now you may shoot him. I ain't a-going to have my dickey feed the dogs!' The old dickey rolled into his grave, and the two covered him over. Doris was desolate. 'I've had three on 'em-this last one better nor twenty years. He fared as if he looked at me that morning, and said Good-bye!'

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Men and women who are absolutely fearless always have a power over animals. Doris would have laughed at a mad bull, and the monster would have turned away from her; the fiercest dog would trot up to her, thrust his nose into her hand, and caper round her. Quite recently I was complaining to a good woman that there were no hedgehogs to be found. 'Begging your pardon, sir, Doris could find you a hedgehog any day; she says they come out to look at her!' In fact, a week before she had taken a young hedgehog to one of our cottagers a mile off and given it to her. Some time. afterwards she had dropt in to inquire about the hedgehog. The little creature had not taken kindly to its new home, had hidden away, and only came out in the evening when the black-beetles emerged from their holes. As the two women were gossiping-lo! in the broad noonday there appeared the hedgehog. It ran up to Doris, crooning softly, as their wont is, and seeming to ask to be noticed.

When the donkey was gone, Doris-still living in the old hovelhad to trust to her own feet. Coming back every evening, weary, often wet and hungry, no fire in the grate and scanty provisions in

the cupboard, the hard life began to tell upon her. She had never had an hour's illness. Her hair had grown grey, but there were still tangled masses of it shadowing the broad, square, powerful forehead. Till within a month of her death her full lips were red as a girl's; the brilliant colour of her cheek was a delicate carmine, the smaller vessels still distinct with the blood that circulated through them regularly as it had done seventy years before. Doris bowed her head at last-bowed her heart, too. I suppose I'm a dier,' she said to me; I used to think I never should die. I never thought I was the same as other folks. Nothing never did me no harm. known hundreds of diers--what was that to me?'


At last she got an allowance from the parish-went out no morethen she took to her bed. All her life she appears to have put away from herself anything but the present hour. When she could no longer trudge about the old roads and lanes, she fiercely resented the faintest suggestion that she would be better cared for in the Union. 'I never set my foot in the Union yet, and they sha'n't make me. I don't want no taking care of. Let 'em leave me alone. I'm best alone. Who's a-going to look after me-a-peeping and a-picking and a-sniffing about?' So we had to make the best of it. But Doris grew feebler; she found it harder and harder to fetch her pail of water from the well; she hadn't strength or spirit to wash up her things or put them away, or even light her fire. I used to drop in more frequently, though it was not always easy, for she lived a couple of miles off. The woman's heart was evidently softening, but she fought against it in impatient, defiant outbreaks. She was thinking. Clearly the memories of the past were haunting her : there were the signs not so much of weak and puling regret as of a bitter and acrimonious disgust. Yah! I see it all now; I didn't see it then. There ain't no one to blame but myself. Yah!' Now and then her abruptness took me at a disadvantage, when she, evidently speaking out what had been turning over and over in her mind for nights and days, would hurl at me some sad question as though it were a missile she was burning to throw from her. What puts me out,' she said one day, 'is what such as you come to such as me for. You ain't got nothing to gain by it--you ain't obliged to-you ain't a-going to tell me as you like it-here you are wet and dry. What do you do it for? That there woman over the way, she wouldn't come near me if it wasn't for you. Ah! as if I don't know!' She laughed a feeble, cunning laugh and tried to look sly. 'Doris! when the old dickey was alive you used to take messages, didn't you, whether you liked it or not? Perhaps that's my way!' 'Go on wi' you! you ain't got no master, and you don't want no shillings-I did! Ah! Doris! Doris! but I have a Master, and that's just where She looked at me, said nothing, tossed about on the bed, sat

it is.'

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