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welcomed by these poor creatures, if he confronted boldly, for their sakes, the danger of infection which others are afraid to meet. How can you wonder, as you did yesterday, at the village of Maydwell being full of dissenters, if the Rector is more interested in an approaching cricket match, than in the welfare of his parishioners ?
“Oh, Holcombe hates the dissenters as much as I do !” answered Sir Frederick, carelessly. “They meet with no mercy at his hands. He cuts them up famously in his ser
He would not suit me, if he had any leaning towards the Methodists; and he is a much more energetic, talented fellow than you fancy, and took a capital degree at Cambridge. Surely, a man is none the worse, be he priest or layman, for enjoying a thoroughly English amusement, like cricket. It has done all the good in the world in my parish."
Miss Le Sage did not contradict him. Considering her position in the family, she, perhaps,
felt that she had already expressed herself too warmly, and that Sir Frederick Derwent might not approve of being lectured, and his friends censured by his niece's companion.
He took this, like most other things, very easily, leaning back in the carriage, and talking to the pretty creatures he was driving, while his horses had their own way. To be sure, the lane was so narrow that there was not much choice for them; and Sir Frederick knew every stone and straggling thorn-branch upon, or beside, the road.
Perhaps he was apprehensive lest the small collection of tiny cottages, congregated at the mouth of the brook, and extending along the slope of the opposite hill, should frighten his seclusion-loving niece; for he did not mention that anything resembling a watering-place existed, through which they must pass on their way to the beach. It looked quiet enough not to terrify the shyest maiden. Not a soul was to be seen. The sign swinging between two high posts, in front of the Inn, was the only moving thing in the long, steep street, composed principally of small cottages, each with its strip of garden before it and in the rear. Here and there, a miscellaneous magazine, yclept, though there were several competitors for precedence, the Shop,' varied the uniformity of the view. One of these establishments had the additional claim upon public attention, of being the Post Office. Nearly opposite, a lane turned down, by the garden wall of one of the little oldmaidish-looking dwellings, in the direction of the sea.
The moment Sir Frederick Derwent's carriage came round the corner by the bridge, a very remarkable change took place in the aspect of the slumbering street. At all the little green gates, as if by magic, some of the inmates of the tiny villas were suddenly seen standing. The shop window-blinds were raised to exhibit the goods displayed within. The lady at the
Post Office sorted the hitherto-neglected dispatches, with frantic celerity. Instead of being kept waiting, like those belonging to the forlorn old maids, a packet of letters was put into the hand of Sir Frederick's servant, the instant that the carriage stopped. The very dogs which had been lying idly extended in the sunshine on the pavement, began to bark and look excited as he drove quickly up the street.
The place, previously so quiet, woke up into à state of bustling animation. Sir Frederick had something to say to every one; and all the inhabitants of Fordington appeared to have, or to wish to have, some communication to make to Sir Frederick. His progress up the street was quite an ovation, and evidently the gala event of the day.
The busy hunters after lodgings stopped and stared, with countenances plainly denoting their satisfaction at the discovery that, quiet as the place looked, something was going forward The householders manifestly considered it a great recommendation to their apartments, that the front windows commanded so good a view of the street, and snatched the favourable moment of the Baronet's transit, to point it out to those who were inspecting the premises. An impromptu history of the occupants of the carriage was added; always concluding with the intelligence that Sir Frederick Derwent was the most affable of men, and did a great deal to amuse the visitors. Sometimes, the carriages from Maydwell Place passed through, four times in the day.
As might be expected, the strange ladies in deep mourning did not escape eager observation. Everyone knew that Sir Frederick Derwent's niece was coming to reside with him. It was the news of the month ; as important as the resignation of a ministry, or the defeat of an army. The address on the letters had informed the community that a friend of Miss Derwent's was staying with her. Now,