Not the least doubt of it. Everybody knew it, and most people owned it. Down in the village it was common talk. Mr. Creswell was wonderfully respected in Helmingham town, though the old people minded the day when he was thought little of. Helmingham is strictly Conservative, and when Mr. Creswell first settled himself at Woolgreaves, and commenced his restoration of the house, and was known to be spending large sums on the estate, and was seen to have horses and equipages very far outshining those of Sir Thomas Churchill of the Park, who was lord of the manor, and a county magnate of the very first order, the village folk could not understand a man of no particular birth or breeding, and whose money, it was well known, had been made in trade--which, to the Helmingham limited comprehension, meant across a counter in a shop, "just like Tom Boucher, the draper"--attaining such a position. They did not like the idea of being patronised by one whom they considered to be of their own order; and the foolish face which had been transmitted through ten generations, and the stupid head which had never had a wise idea or a kindly thought in it, received the homage which was denied to the clever man who had been the founder of his own fortune, and who was the best landlord and the kindest neighbour in the country round. But this prejudice soon wore away. The practical good sense which had gained for Mr. Creswell his position soon made itself felt among the Helmingham folk, and the "canny" ones soon grew as loud in his praise as they had been in his disparagement. Even Jack Forman, the ne'er-do-weel of the village, who was always sunning his fat form at alehouse-doors, and who had but few good words for any one, save for the most recent "stander" of beer, had been heard to declare outside that Mr. Creswell was the "raight soort," a phrase which, in Jack's limited vocabulary, stood for something highly complimentary. The young ladies, too, were exceedingly popular. They were pretty, of a downright English prettiness, expressed in hair and eyes and complexion, a prettiness commending itself at once to the uneducated English rustic taste, which is apt to find classical features "peaky," and romantic expression "fal-lal." They were girls about whom there was "no nonsense"--cheerful, bright, and homely. The feelings which congealed into cold politeness under the influence of Marian Ashurst's supposed "superiority" overflowed with womanly tenderness when their possessor was watching Widow Halton through the fever, or tending little Madge Mason's crippled limb. The blight faces of "the young ladies" were known for miles through the country round, and whenever sickness or distress crossed the threshold they were speedily followed by these ministering angels. If human prayers for others' welfare avail on high, Mr. Creswell and his nieces had them in scores.
He made up his mind to watch and wait. He knew that he could learn a deal from such great men as Web-ster and Clay. When he had to speak he said just what he thought in a plain strong way. He did not want war with Mex-i-co. He was not a-lone in this. But he thought that men who fought in that war, brave sol-diers, should have their re-ward.
From where Jack and Amos stood they had a pretty fair view of the side of the slope where the fighting was going on. They had selected this position purposely, having been assured that it was as good as could be found.
After the sad ivints of the disthressful day I wint to sleep wid a hevvy hart, but sorrer a bit of paceful sleep did I get. I drimt that Minnie do be cuming to tak my place wid the Wolley family. By desateful words and ackshons she have worked upon the feelings of Miss Claire and now its me the family do be blaming for the thrubbles. I do be weeping fit to make a hart of stone ake and telling Miss Claire its me thats been a true and loving girl, a foolish victim of the sinful Minnie. But in me dream Miss Claire refoosed to look at me at all at all, and its wirrah, wirrah, I be crying in me sleep. Thin I herd somewan whispering at me eer.
The bachelor hosts had spared neither effort nor money to perfect every arrangement, from the par excellent supper upstairs to the most trifling detail below. The compound of the public building was illuminated with row upon row of little lights in coloured glass receptacles, verandas were enclosed and decorated, tents were added too, carpeted and furnished, for the benefit of sitters-out; plants were in profusion, flowers, Chinese lanterns, casual buffets for promiscuous refreshment--nothing was forgotten.
Come, Cupid, dip your darts in light;
But retribution fell. It came like a black-and-red thunderbolt descending on the wretch out of the heaven. Delane had him by the collar, had struck him with his whip across the shoulders, and then flung him off like a thing too mean for human handling. It was over in the taking of a breath—then, while the crowd hummed and closed in, leaving Byrne to slink away as if he had become invisible, I saw my big Delane, grown calm and apathetic,
Mr. James frowned.
I am gratefully sensible of the honourable distinction implied in the determination of the Delegates of the Clarendon Press to have my History of Botany translated into the world-wide language of the British Empire. Fourteen years have elapsed since the first appearance of the work in Germany, from fifteen to eighteen years since it was composed,—a period of time usually long enough in our age of rapid progress for a scientific work to become obsolete. But if the preparation of an English translation shows that competent judges do not regard the book as obsolete, I should be inclined to refer this to two causes. First of all, no other work of a similar kind has appeared, as far as I know, since 1875, so that mine may still be considered to be, in spite of its age, the latest history of Botany; secondly, it has been my endeavour to ascertain the historical facts by careful and critical study of the older botanical literature in the original works, at the cost indeed of some years of working-power and of considerable detriment to my health, and facts never lose their value,—a truth which England especially has always recognised.
“Go about your wark” ses she, her proud voice becoming a bit narvous in toan.
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