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1860 . 

*’■*?*. ay.'/ . 



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*'•*7*, a ?// . 














I. Outside Dorlcote Mill. 7 

II. Mr. Tulliver, of Dorlcote Mill, declares his Resolution about 

Tom. 9 

III. Mr. Riley gives his Advice concerning a School for Tom. 14 

IV. Tom is expected. 25 

V. Tom comes home. 30 

VI. The Aunts and Uncles are coming. 38 

VII. Enter the Aunts and Uncles... 48 

VIII. Mr. Tulliver shows his weaker Side. 68 

IX. To Garum Firs. 77 

X. Maggie behaves worse than she expected..* 89 

XI. Maggie tries to run away from her Shadow... 94 

XII. Mr. and Mrs. Glegg at home. 104 

Xni. Mr. Tulliver further entangles the Skein of Life. 115 



I. Tom’s “ First Half”. 119 

II. The Christmas Holidays... 137 

III. The new Schoolfellow... 143 

IV. “The young Idea”. 148 

V. Maggie’s second Visit.. 158 

VI. A Love Scene. 162 

VII. The Golden Gates are passed. 166 



I. What happened at home. 173 

II. Mrs. Tulliver’s Teraphim, or household Gods. 178 

III. The Family Council. 183 

IV. A vanishing Gleam. 196 

V. Tom applies his Knife to the Oyster.. 199 

VI. Tending to refute the popular Prejudice against the Present of a 

Pocket-knife. 210 

VTI. How a Hen takes to Stratagem. 216 

VIII. Daylight on the Wreck. 226 

IX. An Item added to the family Register. 238 






I. A Variation of Protestantism unknown to Bossuet. 239 

II. The torn Nest is pierced by the Thorns. 243 

IIL A Voice from the Past. 248 



I. In the red Deeps. 261 

II. Aunt Glegg learns the Breadth of Bob’s Thumb... 272 

III. The wavering Balance. 287 

IV. Another Love Scene. 293 

V. The cloven Tree... 298 

VI. The hard-won Triumph.. 309 

VII. A day of Beckoning. 313 



I. A Duet in Paradise. 319 

II. First Impressions. 326 

III. Confidential Moments. 338 

IV. Brother and Sister. 342 

V. Showing that Tom had opened the Oyster. 349 

VI. Illustrating the Laws of Attraction. 353 

VII. Philip re-enters. 362 

VIII. Wakem in a new Light. 374 

IX. Charity in Full-dress. 380 

X. The Spell seems broken. 389 

XI. In the Lane. 394 

XII. A Family Party. 400 

XIII . Borne along by the Tide. 407 

XIV. Waking. 418 



I. The Return to the Mill. 429 

II. St. Ogg’s passes Judgment. 435 

HI. Showing that old Acquaintances are capable of surprising us. 443 

IV. Maggie and Lucy. 448 

V. The last Conflict. 454 

Conclusion. 464 




A wide plain, where the broadening Floss hurries on be¬ 
tween its green banks to the sea, and the loving tide, rushing 
to meet it, checks its passage with an impetuous embrace. On 
this mighty tide the black ships, laden with the fresh-scented 
fir-planks, with rounded sacks of oil-bearing seed, or with the 
dark glitter of coal, are borne along to the town of St. Ogg’s, 
which shows its aged, fluted red roofs and the broad gables of 
its wharves between the low wooded hill and the river brink, 
tinging the water with a soft purple hue under the transient 
glance of this February sun. Far away on each hand stretch 
the rich pastures and the patches of dark earth, made ready 
for the seed of broad-leaved green crops, or touched already 
with the tint of the tender-bladed autumn-sown corn. There 
is a remnant still of the last year’s golden clusters Df beehive 
ricks rising at intervals beyond the hedgerows; and every 
where the hedgerows are studded with trees: the distant 
ships seem to be lifting their masts and stretching their red- 
brown sails close among the branches of the spreading ash. 
Just by the red-roofed town the tributary Ripple flows with a 
lively current into the Floss. How lovely the little river is, 
with its dark, changing wavelets! It seems to me like a liv¬ 
ing companion while I wander along the bank and listf^to its 
low placid voice, as to the voice of one who is deaf analoving. 

I remember those large dipping willows. I remember the 
stone bridge. 

And this is Dorlcote Mill. I must stand a minute or two 
here on the bridge and look at it, though the clouds are threat¬ 
ening, and it is far on in the afternoon. Even in this leafless 
time of departing February it is pleasant to look at it—per¬ 
haps the chill damp season adds a charm to the trimly-kept, 
comfortable dwelling-house, as old as the elms ani. ctaestnnts 
that shelter it from the northern blast. The stream 
' now, and lies high in this little withy plantation^ anA \ia5& 



drowns the grassy fringe of the croft in front of the house. 
As I look at the full stream, the vivid grass, the delicate 
bright-green powder softening the outline of the great trunks 
and branches that gleam from under the bare purple boughs, 
^*1 am in love with moistness, and envy the white ducks that 
| are dipping their heads far into the water here among the 
^withes, unmindful of the awkward appearance they make in 
*fhe drier world above. 

The rush of the water and the booming of the mill bring a 
dreamy deafness, which seems to heighten the peacefulness of 
the scene. They are like a great curtain of sound, shutting 
one out from the world beyond. And now there is the thun¬ 
der of the huge covered wagon, coming home with sacks of 
:grain. That honest wagoner is thinking of his dinner, getting 
sadly dry in the*oven at this late hour; but he will not touch 
it tifi he has fed his horses—the strong, submissive, meek-eyed 
s beasts, who, I fancy, are looking mild reproach at him from 
I between their blinkers, that he should crack his whip at them 
in that awful manner, as if they needed that hint! See how 
they stretch their shoulders up the slope toward the bridge, 
with all the more energy because they are so near home. 
Look at their grand shaggy feet, that seem to grasp the firm 
earth, at the patient strength of their necks bowed under the 
heavy collar, at the mighty muscles of their struggling haunches! 
I should like well to hear them neigh over their hardly-earned 
. ^feed of corn, and see them, with their moist necks freed from 
the harness, dipping their eager nostrils into the muddy pond. 
Now they are on the bridge, and down they go again at a 
swifter pace, and the arch of the covered wagon disappears at 
the turning behind the trees. 

Now I can turn my eyes toward the mill again, and watch 
the unresting wheel sending out its diamond jets of water. 
That little girl is watching it too: she has been standing on 
just the same spot at the edge of the water ever since I paused 
on tb£$tridge. And that queer white cur with the brown ear 
seems to be leaping and barking in ineffectual remonstrance 
with the wheel; perhaps he is jealous because his playfellow 
in the beaver bonnet is so rapt in its movement, it is time 
the little playfellow went in, I think; and there is a very bright 
fire to tempt her: the red light shines out under the deepen¬ 
ing-gray of the sky. It is time, too, for me to leave off rest*: 
ing my arms on the cold stone of this bridge. 

Ah! my arms are really benumbed. I have been pressing 
my elbows on the arms of my chair, and dreaming that I was 
standing on the bridge in front of Dorlcote Mill, as it looked 
one February afternoon many years ago. 



I was going to tell you what Mr. and Mrs. Tulliyer were talk¬ 
ing about as they sat by the bright fire in the left-hand parlor 
on that very afternoon I have been dreaming of. 



“What I want, you know,” said Mr. Tulliver— “what I 
want is to give Tom a good eddication—an eddication as’ll be 
a bread to him. That was what I was thinking of when I 
gave notice for him to leave th’ academy at Ladyday. I mean 
to put him to a downright good school at Midsummer. The 
two years at th’ academy ’ud ha’ done well enough, if Fd 
meant to make a miller and farmer of him, for he’s had a fine 
sight more schoolin’ nor I ever got: all the learnin’ my father 
ever paid for was a bit o’ birch at one end and the alphabet at 
th’ other. But I should like Tom to be a bit of a scholard, so 
as he might be up to the tricks o’ these fellows as talk fine and 
write with a flourish. It ’ud be a help to me wi’ these law¬ 
suits, and arbitrations, and things. I wouldn’t make a down¬ 
right lawyer o’ the lad—I should be sorry for him to be a 
raskill—but a sort o’ engineer, or a surveyor, or an auctioneer 
and vallyer, like Riley, or one o’ them smartish businesses as 
are all profits and no outlay, only for a big watch-chain and a 
high stool. They’re pretty nigh all one, and they’re not far 
off being even wi’ the law, I believe; for Riley looks Lawyer 
Wakem i’ the face as hard as one cat looks another. Hds 
none frightened at him.” 

Mr. Tulliver was speaking to his wife, a blonde comely wom¬ 
an, in a fan-shaped cap (I am afraid to think how long it is 
since fan-shaped caps were worn—they must be so near com¬ 
ing in again. At that time, when Mrs. Tulliver was nearly 
forty, they were new at St. Ogg’s, and considered sweet things). 

“Well, Mr. Tulliver, you know best; Fve no objections. 
But hadn’t I better kill a couple o’ fowl and have th’ aunts 
and uncles to dinner next week, so as you may hear what sis¬ 
ter Glegg and sister Pullet have got to say about it ? There’s 
a couple o’ fowl wants killing!” 

“You may kill every fowl i’ the yard,if you like,Bessy; 
but I shall ask neither aunt nor uncle what I’m to do wi’ my 
own lad,” said Mr. Tulliver, defiantly. 

“ Dear heart J” said Mrs. Tulliver, shocked at 
rhetoric, “how cm yon talk so, Mr.Tulliver? "But 

A 2 



way to speak disrespectful o’ my family; and sister Glegg 
throws all the blame upo’ me, though I’m sure I’m as innocent 
as the babe unborn. For nobody’s ever heard me say as it 
wasn’t lucky for my children to have aunts and uncles as can 
live independent. Howiver, if Tom’s to go to a new school, I 
should like him to go where I can wash him and mend him; 
else he might as well have calico as linen, for they’d be one as 
yallow as th’ other before they’d been washed half a dozen 
times. And then, when the box is goin’ backards and forrards, 
I could send the lad a cake, or a pork-pie, or an apple; for he 
can do with an extra bit, bless him, whether they stint him at 
the meals or no. My children can eat as much victuals as 
most, thank God.” 

“Well, well, we won’t send him out o’ reach o’ the carrier’s 
cart, if other things fit in,” said Mr. Tulliver. “ But you 
; mustn’t put a spoke i’ the wheel about the washin’, if we can’t 
1 get a school near enough. That’s the fault I have to find wi’ 
I you, Bessy: if you see a stick i’ the road, you’re allays thinkin’ 
you can’t step over it. You’d want me not to hire a good 
■ wagoner, ’cause he’d got a mole on his face.” 

“ Dear heart!” said Mrs. Tulliver, in mild surprise, “ when 
did I iver make objections to a man because he’d got a mole 
on his face ? I’m sure I’m rather fond of the moles, for my 
brother, as is dead an’ gone, had a mole on his brow. But I 
can’t remember you iver offering to hire a wagoner with a 
mole, Mr. Tulliver. There was John Gibbs hadn’t a mole on 
his face no more than you have, an’ I was all for having you 
hire him ji an’ so you did hire him, an’ if he hadn’t died o’ th* 
inflammation, as we paid Dr. Turnbull for attending him, he’d 
very like ha’ been driving the wagon now. He might have a 
mole somewhere out o’ sight, but how was I to know that, 
Mr. Tulliver ?” 

“ No, no, Bessy, I didn’t mean justly the mole; I meant it 
to stand for summat else; but niver mind—it’s puzzling work, 
talking is. What I’m thinking on is how to find the right 
sort o’ school to send Tom to, for I might be ta’en in again, as 
I’ve been wi’ th’ academy. I’ll have nothing to do wi’ a ’ca- 
demy again: whativer school I send Tom to, it sha’n’t be a 
’qademy; it shall be a place where the lads spend their time i’ 
summat else besides blacking the family’s shoes, and getting 
up the potatoes. It’s an uncommon puzzling thing to know 
what school to pick.” 

Mr. Tulliver paused a minute or two, and dived with both 
hands into his breeches pockets as if he hoped to find some 
suggestion there. Apparently he was not disappointed, for 
he presently said , “ 1 know what I’ll do—I’U talk it over 



wi’ Riley: he’s coming to-morrow t’ arbitrate about the 

“ Well, Mr. Tulliver, I’ve put the sheets out for the best bed, 
and Kezia’s got ’em hanging at the fire. They aren’t the best 
sheets, but they’re good enough for any body to sleep in, be 
he who he will; for as for them best Holland sheets, I should 
repent buying ’em, only'' they’ll do to lay us out in. An’ if 
you was to die to-morrow, Mr. Tulliver, they’re mangled beauti¬ 
ful, an’ all ready, an’ smell o’ lavender as it ’ud be a pleasure 
to lay them out; an’ they lie at the left-hand comer o’ the big f 
oaken chest, at the back—not as I should trust any body to * 
look ’em out but myself.” 

As Mrs. Tulliver uttered the last sentence, she drew a bright 
bunch of keys from her pocket, and singled out one, rubbing 
her thumb and finger up and down it with a placid smile while 
she looked at the clear fire. If Mr. Tulliver had been a sus¬ 
ceptible man in his conjugal relation, he might have supposed 
that she drew out the key to aid her imagination in anticipa¬ 
ting the moment when he would be in a state to justify the 
production of the best Holland sheets. Happily he was not 
so; he was only susceptible in respect of his right to water¬ 
power ; moreover, he had the marital habit of not listening 
very closely, and, since his mention of Mr. Riley, had been ap¬ 
parently occupied in a tactile examination of his woolen stock¬ 

“ I think I’ve hit it, Bessy,” was his first remark after a 
short silence. “Riley’s as likely a man as any to know o’ 
some school; he’s had schooling himself, an’ goes about to all 
sorts o’ places—arbitratin’ and vallyin’ and that. And we 
shall have time to talk it over to-morrow night when the busi¬ 
ness is done. I want Tom to be such a sort o’ man as Riley, 
you know—as can talk pretty nigh as well as if it was all wrote 
out for him, and knows a good lot o’ words as don’t mean 
much, so as you can’t lay hold of ’em i’ law; and a good solid 
knowledge o’ business too.” 

“Well,” said Mrs. Tulliver, “so far as talking proper, and 
knowing every thing, and walking with a bend in his back, 
and setting his hair up, I shouldn’t mind the lad being brought 
up to that. But them fine-talking men from the big towns 
mostly wear the false shirt-fronts; they wear a frill till it’s all 
a mess, and then hide it with a bib; I know Riley does. And 
then, if Tom’s to go and live at Mudport, like Riley, he’ll have 
a house with a kitchen hardly big enough to turn in, an’ niver 
get a fresh egg for his breakfast, an’ sleep up three pu\r 
stai rs-^or four, for what I know —an’ be burnt. t,o deuthhs&stfc 
he can get down." 



“ No, no,” said Mr. Tulliver, “ I’ve no thoughts of his going 
to Mudport: I mean him to set up his office at St. Ogg’s, close 
by us, an’ live at home. But,” continued Mr. Tulliver, after a 
pause, “ what I’m a bit afraid on is, as Tom hasn’t got the 
right sort o’ brains for a smart fellow. I doubt he’s a bit 
slowish. He takes after your family, Bessy.” 

“Yes, that he does,” said Mrs.Tulliver, accepting the last 
proposition entirely on its own merits; “he’s wonderful for 
liking a deal o’ salt in his broth. That was my brother’s way, 
and my father’s before him.” 

“ It seems a bit of a pity, though,” said Mr. Tulliver, “ as 
the lad should take after the mother’s side istead o’ the little 
wench. That’s the worst on’t wi’ the crossing o’ breeds: you 
can never justly tfalkilate what’ll come on’t. The little un 
takes after my side now; she’s twice as ’cute as Tom. Too 
’cute for a woman, I’m afraid,” continued Mr. Tulliver, turn¬ 
ing his head dubiously first on one side and then on the other. 
“It’s no mischief much while she’s a little un, but an over-’cute 
woman’s no better nor a long-tailed sheep—she’ll fetch none 
the bigger price for that.” 

“ Yes, it is a mischief while she’s a little un, Mr. Tulliver, for 
it all runs to naughtiness. How to keep her in a clean pinafore 
two hours together passes my cunning. An’, now you put me 
i’ mind,” continued Mrs. Tulliver, rising and going to the win¬ 
dow, “ I don’t know where she is now, an’ it’s pretty nigh tea- 
time. Ah! I thought so—wanderin’ up an’ down by the wa¬ 
ter, like a wild thing: she’ll tumble in some day.” 

Mrs. Tulliver rapped the window sharply, beckoned, and 
shook her head—a process which she repeated more than once 
before she returned to her chair. 

“ You talk o’ ’cuteness, Mr. Tulliver,” she observed as she sat 
down, “ but I’m sure the child’s half an idiot i’ some things ; 
for if I send her up stairs to fetch any thing, she forgets what 
^ she’s gone for, an’ perhaps ’ull sit down on the floor i’ the sun- 
' shine an’ plait her hair an’ sing to herself like a Bedlam crea- 
^ tur’, all the while I’m waiting lor her down stairs. That niver 
~j run i’ my family, thank God, no more nor a brown skin as 
makes her look like a mulatter. I don’t like to fly i’ the face 
y o’ Providence, but it seems hard as I should have but one gell, 
an’her so comical.” 

“ Pooh! nonsense!” said Mr. Tulliver; “ she’s a straight 
black-eyed wench as any body need wish to see. I don’t know 
i’ what she’s behind other folks’s children; and she can read al- 
most as well as the parson.” 

66 But her hair won’t curl all I can do with it, and she’s so 
franzy about having it put i’ paper, and T\e aueh worV 



never was to make her stand and have it pinched with th’ 

“ Cut it off—cut it off short,” said the father, rashly. 

“ How can you talk so, Mr. Tulliver ? She’s too big a gell, 
gone nine, and tall of her age, to have her hair cut short; an’ 
there’s her cousin Lucy’s got a row o’ curls round her head, 
an’ not a hair out o’ place. It seems hard as my sister Deane 
should have that pretty child; I’m sure Lucy takes more after 
me nor my own child does. Maggie, Maggie,” continued the 
mother, in a tone of half-coaxing fretfulness, as this small mis- • ^ 
take of nature entered the room, “ where’s the use o’ my tell-" ? 
mg you to keep away from the water ? You’ll tumble in and 
be drownded some day, an’ then you’ll be sorry you didn’t do 
as mother told you.” 

Maggie’s hair, as she threw off her bonnet, painfully confirm¬ 
ed her mother’s accusation: Mrs. Tulliver, desiring her daugh¬ 
ter to have a curled crop, “ like other folks’s children,” had had 
it cut too short in front to be pushed behind the ears ; and as 
it was usually straight an hour after it had been taken out of 
paper, Maggie was incessantly tossing her head to keep the 
dark heavy locks out of her gleaming black eyes—an action 
which gave her very much the air of a small Shetland pony. 

“ Oh dear, oh dear, Maggie, what are you thinkin’ of, to 
throw your bonnet down there ? Take it up stairs, there’s a 
good gell, an’ let your hair be brushed, an’ put your other pin¬ 
afore on, an’ change your shoes—do, for shame; an’ come an’ 
go on with your patchwork, like a little lady.” 

w Oh mother,” said Maggie, in a vehemently cross tone, “I 
don’t want to do my patchwork.” 

“ What! not your pretty patchwork, to make a counterpane 
for your aunt Glegg ?” 

“ It’s foolish work,” said Maggie, with a toss of her mane— 

“ tearing things to pieces to sew ’em together again. And I 
don’t want to do any thing for my aunt Glegg—I don’t like . 

Exit Maggie, dragging her bonnet by the string, while Mr. 
Tulliver laughs audibly. 

“ I wonder at you, as you’ll laugh at her, Mr. Tulliver,” said 
the mother, with feeble fretfulness in her tone. “ You encour¬ 
age her i’ naughtiness. An’ her aunts will have it as it’s me 
spoils her.” 

Mrs. Tulliver was what is called a good-tempered person— 
never cried, when she was a baby, on any slighter ground than 
hunger and pins; and from the cradle upward.> 
fair plump, and dull-witted —in short, the flower oi\rer fexKvq 
for beauty snd amiability . But milk and mildiveaa are 



best things for keeping, and when they turn only a little sour, 
they may disagree with young stomachs seriously. I have 

S often wondered whether those early Madonnas of Raphael, 
with the blond faces and somewhat stupid expression, kept 
their placidity undisturbed when their strong-limbed, strong- 
willed boys got a little too old to do without clothing. I think 
they must have been given to feeble remonstrance, getting 
more and more peevish as it became more and more ineffectual. 

Chapter m. 


The gentleman in the ample white cravat and shirt-frill, 
taking his brandy and water so pleasantly with his good friend 
Tulliver, is Mr. Riley, a gentleman with a waxen complexion 
and fat hands, rather highly educated for an auctioneer and 
appraiser, but large-hearted enough to show a great deal of 
bonhommie toward simple country acquaintances of hospitable 
habits. Mr. Riley spoke of such acquaintances kindly as ‘‘peo¬ 
ple of the old school.” 

The conversation had come to a pause. Mr. Tulliver, not 
without a particular reason, had abstained from a seventh re¬ 
cital of the cool retort by which Riley had shown himself too 
many for Dix, and how Wakem had had his comb cut for once 
in his life, now the business of the dam had been settled by 
arbitration, and how there never would have been any dispute 
at all about the height of water if every body was what they 
should be, and Old Harry hadn’t made the lawyers. Mr. Tul¬ 
liver was, on the whole, a man of safe traditional opinions; but 
on one or two points he had trusted to his unassisted intellect, 
and had arrived at several questionable conclusions—among 
the rest, that rats, weevils, and lawyers were created by Old 
Harry. Unhappily, he had no one to tell him that this was 
rampant Manichaeism, else he might have seen his error. But 
to-day it was clear that the good principle was triumphant: 
this affair of the water-power had been a tangled business some¬ 
how, for all it seemed—look at it one way—as plain as water’s 
water; but, big a puzzle as it was, it hadn’t got the better of 
Riley. Mr. Tulliver took his brandy and water a little strong¬ 
er than usual, and, for a man who might be supposed to have 
a few hundreds lying idle at his banker’s, was rather incau- 
tiously open in expressing his high estimate of his friend’s 
bu8ines8 talents. 

But the dam was a subject of conversation 




it could always be taken up again at the same point, and ex¬ 
actly in the same condition ; and there was another subject, as 
you know, on which Mr. Tulliver was in pressing want of Mr. 
Riley’s advice. This was his particular reason for remaining 
silent for a short space after his last draught, and rubbing his 
knees in a meditative manner. He was not a man to make an 
abrupt transition. This was a puzzling world, as he often said, 
and if you drive your wagon in a hurry, you may light on an 
awkward comer. Mr. Riley, meanwhile, was not impatient. 
Why should he be ? Even Hotspur, one would think, must 
have been patient in his slippers on a warm hearth, taking 
copious snuff, and sipping gratuitous brandy and water. 

“ There’s a thing I’ve got i’ my head,” said Mr. Tulliver at 
last, in rather a lower tone than usual, as he turned his head 
and looked steadfastly at his companion. 

“ Ah!” said Mr. Riley, in a tone of mild interest. He was a 
man with heavy waxen eyelids and high-arched eyebrows, look¬ 
ing exactly the same under all circumstances. This immova¬ 
bility of face, and the habit of taking a pinch of snuff before he 
gave an answer, made him trebly oracular to Mr. Tulliver. 

“It’s a very particular thing,” he went on; “it’s about my 
boy Tom.” 

At the sound of this name, Maggie, who was seated on a 
low stool close by the fire, with a large book open on her lap, 
shook her heavy hair back and looked up eagerly. There were 
few sounds that roused Maggie when she was dreaming over 
her book, but Tom’s name served as well as the shrillest whis¬ 
tle : in an instant she was on the watch, with gleaming eyes, 
like a Skye terrier suspecting mischief, or, at all events, de¬ 
termined to fly at any one who threatened it toward Tom. 

“ You see, I want to put him to a new school at Midsum¬ 
mer,” said Mr. Tulliver; “ he’s cornin’ away from the ’cademy 
at Ladyday, an’ I shall let him run loose for a quarter; but 
after that I want to send him to a downright good school, 
where they’ll make a scholard of him.” 

“Well,” said Mr. Riley, “ there’s no greater advantage you 
can give him than a good education. Not,” he added, with 
polite significance, “ not that a man can’t be an excellent mill¬ 
er and farmer, and a shrewd sensible fellow into the bargain, 
without much help from the schoolmaster.” 

“ I believe you,” said Mr. Tulliver, winking, and turning his 
head on one side, w but that’s where it is. I don’t mean Tom 
to be a miller and farmer. I see no fun i’ that: why, if I made 
him a miller an’ farmer, he’d be expectin’ to take to the 
the land, an’ arhinting at me as it was time fox me to \a.^ exJ 
think o’my latter end. Nay, nay, I’ve seen enough, o' that 



sons. Fll never pull my coat off before I go to bed. I shall 
give Tom an eddication an’ put him to a business, as he may 
make a nest for himself, an’ not want to push me out o’ mine. 
Pretty well if he gets it when I’m dead an’ gone. I sha’n’t be 
put off wi’ spoon-meat afore I’ve lost my teeth.” 

This was evidently a point on which Mr. Tulliver felt strong¬ 
ly, and the impetus which had given unusual rapidity and em¬ 
phasis to his speech showed itself still unexhausted for some 
minutes afterward in a defiant motion of the head from side 
to side, and an occasional “ Nay, nay*” like a subsiding growl. 

These angry symptoms were keenly observed by Maggie, 
and cut her to the quick. Tom, it appeared, was supposed 
capable of turning his father out of doors, and of making the 
future in some way tragic by his wickedness. This was not 
to be borne; and Maggie jumped up from her stool, forgetting 
all about her heavy book, which fell with a bang within the 
fender; and going up between her father’s knees, said, in a 
half-crying, half-indignant voice, 

“Father, Tom wouldn’t be naughty to you ever; I know 
he wouldn’t.” 

Mrs. Tulliver was out of the room superintending a choice 
supper-dish, and Mr. Tulliver’s heart was touched, so Maggie 
was not scolded about the book. Mr. Riley quietly picked it 
up and looked at it, while the father laughed with a certain 
tenderness in his hard-lined face, and patted his little girl on 
the back, and then held her hands and kept her between his 

“ What! they mustn’t say any harm o’ Tom, eh ?” said Mr. 
Tulliver, looking at Maggie with a twinkling eye. Then, in a 
lower voice, turning to Mr. Riley, as though Maggie couldn’t 
hear, “ She understands what one’s talking about so as never 
was. And you should hear her read—straight off, as if she 
knowed it all beforehand. And allays at her book! But it’s 

( 5ad—it’s bad,” Mr. Tulliver added, sadly, checking this blam- 
ible exultation; “ a woman’s no business wi’ being so clever; 
t’ll turn to trouble, I doubt. But, bless you!”—here the ex- 
iltation was clearly recovering the mastery—“ she’ll read the 
books and understand ’em better nor half the folks as are 
growed up.” 

Maggie’s cheeks began to flush with triumphant excite¬ 
ment : she thought Mr. Riley would have a respect for her 
now; it had been evident that he thought nothing of her be¬ 

Mr. Riley was turning over the leaves of the book, and she 
could make nothing of Ins face, with its high-arched eyebrows; 
but he presently looked at her and said, 


“Come, come and tell me something about this book; here 
are some pictures—I want to know what they mean.” 

Maggie, with deepening color, went without hesitation to 
Mr. Riley’s elbow and looked over the book, eagerly seizing 
one comer and tossing back her mane, while she said, 

“ Oh, I’ll tell you what that means. It’s a dreadful picture, 
isn’t it ? But I can’t help looking at it. That old woman in 
the water’s a witch—they’ve put her in to find out whether 
she’s a witch or no, and if she swims she’s a witch, and if she’s 
drowned—and killed, you know—she’s innocent, and not a 
witch, but only a poor silly old woman. But what good 
would it do her then, you know, when she was drowned ? 
Only, I suppose, she’d go to heaven, and God would make it 
up to her. And this dreadful blacksmith with his arms akim¬ 
bo, laughing—oh, isn’t he ugly ?—I’ll tell you what he is. He’s 
the devil really ” (here Maggie’s voice became louder and more 
emphatic ), 66 and not a right blacksmith; for the devil takes 
the shape of wicked men, and walks about and sets people do¬ 
ing wicked things, and he’s oftener in the shape of a bad man 
than any other, because, you know, if people saw he was the 
devil, and he roared at ’em, they’d run away, and he couldn’t 
make ’em do what he pleased.” 

Mr. Tulliver had listened to this exposition of Maggie’s with 
petrifying wonder. 

44 Why, what book is it the wench has got hold on ?” he 
burst out, at last. 

444 The History of the Devil,’ by Daniel Defoe; not quite 
the right book for a little girl,” said Mr. Riley. “ How came 
it among your books, Tulliver ?” 

Maggie looked hurt and discouraged, while her father said, 

44 Why, it’s one o’ the books I bought at Partridge’s sale. 
They was all bound alike—it’s a good binding, you see—and 
I thought they’d be all good books. There’s Jeremy Taylor’s 
‘Holy Living and Dying’ among ’em; I read in it often of a 
Sunday” (Mr. Tulliver felt somehow a familiarity with that 
great writer because his name was Jeremy ); 44 and there’s a 
lot more of ’em, sermons mostly, I think; but they’ve all got 
the same covers, and I thought they were all o’ one sample, as 
you may say. But it seems one mustn’t judge by th’ outside. 
This is a puzzlin’ world.” 

“Well,” said Mr.Riley, in an admonitory patronizing tone, 
as he patted Maggie on the head, “I advise you to put by the 
‘History of the Oevil,’ and read some prettier book. Have 
you no prettier books ?” 

44 Oh yes, 99 said Maggie , reviving a little in the deeire to 
dicate the variety of her reading, “I know the tending in \Jcasfc 



book isn’t pretty, but I like the pictures, and I make stories to 
the pictures out of my own head, you know. But I’ve got 
‘ASsop’s Fables,’ and a book about kangaroos and things, and 
the 4 Pilgrim’s Progress.’ ” . . . . 

44 Ah! a beautiful book,” said Mr. Riley; 44 you can’t read a 

44 Well, but there’s a great deal about the devil in that,” said 
Maggie, triumphantly , 44 and I’ll show you the picture of him 
in his true shape, as he fought with Christian.” 

Maggie ran in an instant to the corner of the room, jumped 
on a chair, and reached down from the small bookcase a shab¬ 
by old copy of Bunyan, which opened at once, without the least 
trouble of search, at the picture she wanted. 

44 Here he is,” she said, running back to Mr. Riley , 44 and Tom 
colored him for me with his paints when he was at home last 
holidays—the body all black, you know, and the eyes red, like 
fire, because he’s all fire inside, and it shines out at his eyes.” 

44 Go, go !” said Mr.Tulliver, peremptorily, beginning to feel 
rather uncomfortable at these free remarks on the personal ap¬ 
pearance of a being powerful enough to create lawyers; 44 shut 
up the book, and let’s hear no more o’ such talk. It is as I 
thought—the child ’ull learn more mischief nor good wi’ the 
books. Go—go and see after your mother.” 

Maggie shut up the book at once with a sense of disgrace; 
but, not being inclined to see after her mother, she compro¬ 
mised the matter by going into a dark corner behind her fa¬ 
ther’s chair, and nursing her doll, toward which she had an oc¬ 
casional fit of fondness in Tom’s absence, neglecting its toilette, 
but lavishing so many warm kisses on it that the waxen cheeks 
had a wasted, unhealthy appearance. 

44 Did you ever hear the like on’t?” said Mr. Tulliver, as 
Maggie retired. 44 It’s a pity but what she’d been the lad— 
she’d ha’ been a match for the lawyers, she would. It’s the 
wonderful’st thing”—here he lowered his voice — 44 as I picked 
the mother because she wasn’t o’er ’cute—bein’ a good-look¬ 
ing woman too, an’ come of a rare family for managing; but 
I picked her from her sisters o’ purpose, ’cause she was a bit 
weak, like ; for I wasn’t agoin’ to be told the rights o’ things 
by my own fireside. But you see, when a man’s got brains 
himself, there’s no knowing where they’ll run to; an’ a pleas¬ 
ant sort o’ soft woman may go on breeding you stupid lads 
and ’cute wenches till it’s like as if the world was turned top¬ 
syturvy. It’s an uncommon puzzlin’ thing.” 

Mr. Riley’s gravity gave way, and he shook a little under 
the application of his pinch of snuff before be said, 

“But your Jad’s not stupid, is be? I saw b\m,was 



here last, busy making fishing-tackle; he seemed quite up to 

“ Well, he isn’t not to say stupid—he’s got a notion o’ things 
out o’ door, an’ a sort o’ common sense, as he’d lay hold o’ 
things by the right handle. But he’s slow with his tongue, 
you see, and he reads but poorly, and can’t abide the books, 
and spells all wrong, they tell me, an’ as shy as can be wi’ 
strangers, an’ you never hear him say ’cute things like the lit¬ 
tle wench. Now what I want is to send him to a school where 
they’ll make him a bit nimble with his tongue and his pen, and 
make a smart chap of him. I want my son to be even wi’ these 
fellows as have got the start o’ me with having better school¬ 
ing. Not but what, if the world had been left as God made 
it, I could ha’ seen my way, and held my own wi’ the best of 
’em; but things have got so twisted round and wrapped up i’ 
unreasonable words, as am’t a bit like ’em, as I’m clean at fault 
often an’ often. Every thing winds about so — the more 
straightforrard you are, the more you’re puzzled.” 

Mr. Tulliver took a draught, swallowed it slowly, and shook 
his head in a melancholy manner, conscious of exemplifying 
the truth that a perfectly sane intellect is hardly at home in 
this insane world. 

“ You’re quite in the right of it, Tulliver,” observed Mr. 
Riley. “ Better spend an extra hundred or two on your son’s 
education than leave it to him in your will. I know I should 
have tried to do so by a son of mine, if I’d had one, though, 
God knows, I haven’t your ready money to play with, Tulli¬ 
ver ; and I have a houseful of daughters into the bargain.” 

“ I dare say, now, you know of a school as ’ud be just the 
thing for Tom,” said Mr. Tulliver, not diverted from his pur¬ 
pose by any sympathy with Mr. Riley’s deficiency of ready 

Mr. Riley took a pinch of snuff, and kept Mr. Tulliver in 
suspense by a silence that seemed deliberative before he said, 

“ I know of a very fine chance for any one that’s got the 
necessaiw money, and that’s what you have, Tulliver. The 
fact is, I wouldn’t recommend any friend of mine to send a 
boy to a regular school if he could afford to do better. But 
if any one wanted his boy to get superior instruction and train¬ 
ing, where he would be the companion of his master, and that 
master a first-rate fellow, I know his man. I wouldn’t mention 
the chance to every body, because I don’t think every body 
would succeed in getting it if he were to try; but I mention 
it to you, Tulliver—between ourselves.” 

The fixed inquiring glance with which Mr .Tuffiv er \\2A\>eea 
watching his friend’s oracular face became quite eager. 



“ Ay, now, let’s hear,” he said, adjusting himself in his chair 
with the complacency of a person who is thought worthy of 
important communications. 

“ He’s an Oxford man,” said Mr. Riley, sententiously, shut¬ 
ting his mouth close, and looking at Mr. Tulliver to observe 
the effect of this stimulating information. 

“ What! a parson ?” said Mr. Tulliver, rather doubtfully. 

“ Yes—and an M.A. The bishop, I understand, thinks very 
highly of him: why, it was the bishop who got him his pres¬ 
ent curacy.” 

“ Ah ?” said Mr. Tulliver, to whom one thing was as won¬ 
derful as another concerning these unfamiliar phenomena. 
“ But what can he want wi’ Tom, then ?” 

. “ Why, the fact is, he’s fond of teaching, and wishes to keep 
up his studies, and a clergyman has but little opportunity for 
that in his parochial duties. He’s willing to take one or two 
boys as pupils to fill up his time profitably. The boys would 
be quite of the family—the finest thing in the world for them 
—under Stelling’s eye continually.” 

“But do you think they’d give the poor lad twice o’ pud¬ 
ding?” said Mrs. Tulliver, who was now in her place again. 
“He’s such a boy for pudding as never was; an’ a growing 
boy like that—it’s dreadful to think o’ their stintin’ him.” 

“ And what money ’ud he want ?” said Mr. Tulliver, whose 
instinct told him that the services of this admirable M.A. would 
bear a high price. 

“ Why, I know of a clergyman who asks a hundred and fifty 
with his youngest pupils, and he’s not to be mentioned with 
Stelling, the man I speak of. I know, on good authority, that 
one of the chief people at Oxford said , i Stelling might get the 
highest honors if he chose.’ But he didn’t care about uni¬ 
versity honors. He’s a quiet man—not noisy.” 

“ Ah! a deal-better—a deal better,” said Mr. Tulliver; “ but 
a hundred and fifty’s an uncommon price. I never thought 
o’ pavin’ so much as that.” 

“ A good education, let me tell you, Tulliver—a good edu¬ 
cation is cheap at the money. But Stelling is moderate in his 
terms—he’s not a grasping man. I’ve'no doubt he’d take 
your boy at a hundred, and that’s what you wouldn’t get 
many other clergymen to do. I’ll write to him about it, if 
you like.” 

Mr. Tulliver rubbed his knees, and looked at the carpet in a 
meditative manner. 

“ But belike he’s a bachelor,” observed Mrs. Tulliver in the 
interval, 66 an 9 I’ve no opinion o’ housekeepers. There was my 
brother, as is dead an’ gone, bad a houaek&epet aha 



took half the feathers oat o’ the best bed, an’ packed ’em ap ^ 
an’ sent ’em away. An’ it’s unknown the linen she made away 
with—Stott her name was. It ’ud break my heart to send 
Tom where there’s a housekeeper, an’ I hope you won’t think 
of it, Mr. Tulliver.” 

44 You may set your mind at rest on that score, Mrs. Tulliver,” 
said Mr. Riley, 44 for Stelling is married to as nice a little wom¬ 
an as any man need wish for a wife. There isn’t a kinder lit¬ 
tle soul in the world; I know her family well. She has very 
much your complexion—light curly hair. She comes of a good 
Mudport family, and it’s not every offer that would have been 
acceptable in that quarter. But Stelling’s not an every-day 
man. Rather a particular fellow as to the people he chooses 
to be connected with. But I think he would have no objec¬ 
tion to take your son—I think he would not, on my repre¬ 

44 1 don’t know what he could have against the lad,” said 
Mrs. Tulliver, with a slight touch of motherly indignation— 44 a 
nice fresh-skinned lad as any body need wish to see.” 

44 But there’s one thing I’m thinking on,” said Mr. Tulliver, 
turning his head on one side and looking at Mr. Riley, after a 
long perusal of the carpet. 44 Wouldn’t a parson be almost 
too high-leamt to bring up a lad to be a man o’ business ? 

My notion o’ the parsons was as they’d got a sort o’ learning 
as lay mostly out o’ sight. And that isn’t what I want for 
Tom. I want him to know figures, and write like print, and 
see into things quick, and know what folks mean, and how to 
wrap things up in words as aren’t actionable. It’s an uncom¬ 
mon fine thing, that is,” concluded Mr. Tulliver, shaking his 
head, 44 when you can let a man know what you think of him 
without paying for it.” 

44 Oh, my dear Tulliver,” said Mr. Riley, 44 you’re quite under 
a mistake about the clergy; all the best schoolmasters are of 
the clergy. The schoolmasters who are not of the clergy are 
a very low set of men generally” . . . 

44 Ay, that Jacobs is, at the ’cademy,” interposed Mr. Tulliver. 

44 To be sure—men who have failed in other trades, most 
likely. Now a clergyman is a gentleman by profession and 
education; and besides that, he has the knowledge that will 
ground a boy, and prepare him for entering on any career with 
credit. There may be some clergymen who are mere book¬ 
men ; but you may depend upon it, Stelling is not one of them 
—a man that’s wide awake, let me tell you. Drop him a hint, 
and that’s enough. You talk of figures, now; you. have oubj 
to say to Stelling*, 4 1 want my son to be a thotou^a. 
mn/ and you may leave the rest to him.” 



Mr. Riley paused a moment, while Mr. Tulliver, somewhat 
reassured as to clerical tutorship, was inwardly rehearsing to 
an imaginary Mr. Stelling the statement, “I want my son to 
know ’rethmetic.” 

“ You see, my dear Tulliver,” Mr. Riley continued, “ when 
you get a thoroughly educated man, like Stelling, he’s at no 
loss to take up any branch of instruction. When a workman 
knows the use of his tools, he can make a door as well as a 

“ Ay, that’s true,” said Mr. Tulliver, almost convinced now 
that the clergy must be the best of schoolmasters. 

“Well, I’ll tell you what I’ll do for you,” said Mr.Riley, 
“and I wouldn’t do it for every body. I’ll see Stelling’s 
father-in-law, or "drop him a line when I get back to Brassing, 
to say that you wish to place your boy with his son-in-law, and 
I dare say Stelling will write to you, and send you his terms.” 

“ But there’s no hurry, is there ?” said Mrs. Tulliver; “ for 
I hope, Mr. Tulliver, you won’t let Tom begin at his new school 
before Midsummer. He began at the ’cademy at the Ladydap 
quarter, and you see what good’s come of it.” 

“ Ay, ay, Bessy, never brew wi’ bad malt upo’ Michaelmas 
day, else you’ll have a poor tap,” said Mr. Tulliver, winking 
and smiling at Mr. Riley with the natural pride of a man who 
has a buxom wife conspicuously his inferior in intellect. “ But 
it’s true there’s no hurry; you’ve hit it there, Bessy.” 

“It might be as well not to defer the arrangement too 
long,” said Mr. Riley, quietly, “ for Stelling may have proposi¬ 
tions from other parties, and I know he would not take more 
than two or three boarders, if so many. If I were you, I think 
I would enter on the subject with Stelling at once: there’s no 
necessity of sending the boy before Midsummer, but I would 
be on the safe side, and make sure that nobody forestalls you.” 

“ Ay, there’s summat in that,” said Mr. TuUiver. 

“ Father,” broke in Maggie, who had stolen unperceived to 
her father’s elbow again, listening with parted lips, while she 
held her doll topsy-turvy, and crushed its nose against the 
wood of the chair—“father, is it a long way off where Tom is 
to go ? Sha’n’t we ever go to see him ?” 

“ I don’t know, my wench,” said the father, tenderly. “ Ask 
Mr. Riley; he knows.” 

Maggie came round promptly in front of Mr. Riley, and said, 
“ How far is it, please, sir ?” 

“ Oh, a long long way off,” that gentleman answered, being 
of opinion that children, when they are not naughty, should 
always be spoken to jocosely. “ You must borrow the seven- 
leagued boots to get to him.” 



“ That’s nonsense!” said Maggie, tossing her head haughti¬ 
ly, and turning away with the tears springing in her eyes. 
She began to dislike Mr. Riley: it was evident he thought her 
silly and of no consequence. 

“ Hush, Maggie, for shame of you, asking questions and 
chattering,” said her mother. “ Come and sit down on your 
little stool, and hold your tongue, do. But,” added Mrs. Tul- 
liver, who had her own alarm awakened, “ is it so far off as I 
couldn’t wash him and mend him ?” 

“About fifteen miles, that’s all,” said Mr. Riley. “ You can 
drive there and back in a day quite comfortably. X)r—Stell- 
ing is a hospitable, pleasant man; he’d be glad to have you 

“ But it’s too far off for the linen, I doubt,” said Mrs. Tulli- 
ver, sadly. 

The entrance of supper opportunely adjourned this difficul¬ 
ty, and relieved Mr. Riley from the labor of suggesting some 
solution or compromise—a labor which he woidd otherwise 
doubtless have undertaken; for, as you perceive, he was a 
man of very obliging manners. And he had really given him¬ 
self-the trouble of recommending Mr. Stelling to his friend 
Tulliver without any positive expectation of a solid, definite 
advantage resulting to himself, notwithstanding the subtle in¬ 
dications to the contrary which might have misled a too saga¬ 
cious observer. For there is nothing more widely misleading 
than sagacity if it happens to get on a wrong scent; and sagac¬ 
ity, persuaded that men usually act and speak from distinct 
motives, with a consciously proposed end in view, is certain to 
waste its energies on imaginary game. Plotting covetousness 
and deliberate contrivance, in order to compass a selfish end, 
are nowhere abundant but in the world of the dramatist: they 
demand too intense a mental action for many of our fellow- 
parishioners to be guilty of them. It is easy enough to spoil 
the lives of our neighbors without taking so much trouble: 
we can do it by lazy acquiescence and lazy omission, by trivial 
falsities for wnich we hardly know a reason, by small frauds 
naturalized by small extravagances, by maladroit flatteries and 
clumsily improvised insinuations. We live from hand to 
mouth, most of us, with a small family of immediate desires— 
we do little else than snatch a morsel to satisfy the hungry 
brood, rarely thinking of seed-corn or the next year’s crop. 

Mr. Riley was a man of business, and not cold toward his 
own interest, yet even he was more under the influence of 
small promptings than of far-sighted designs. He had no pri¬ 
vate understanding with the Rev. Walter Stelling*, on con¬ 
trary, he knew very little of that M. A. and Ins acc^\ntomon\»— 



not quite enough, perhaps, to warrant so strong a recommend¬ 
ation of him as he had given to his friend Tulliver. But he be¬ 
lieved Mr. Stelling to be an excellent classic, for Gadsby had 
said so, and Gadsby’s first cousin was an Oxford tutor, which 
was better ground for the belief even than his own immediate 
observation would have been; for, though Mr. Riley had re¬ 
ceived a tincture of the classics at the great Mudport free- 
school, and had a sense of understanding Latin generally, his 
comprehension of any particular Latin was not ready. Doubt¬ 
less there remained a subtle aroma from his juvenile contact 
with the JDe Senectute and the Fourth Book of the ^Eneid, but 
it had ceased to be distinctly recognizable as classical, and was 
only perceived in the higher finish and force of his auctioneer¬ 
ing style. Then, Stelling was an Oxford man, and the Oxford 
men were always—no, no, it was the Cambridge men who were 
always good mathematicians. But a man who had had a uni¬ 
versity education could teach any thing he liked, especially a 
man like Stelling, who had made a speech at a Mudport dinner 
on a political occasion, and had acquitted himself so well that 
it was generally remarked, this son-in-law of Timpson’s was a 
sharp fellow. It was to be expected of a Mudport man, from 
the parish of St. Ursula, that he would not omit to do a good 
turn to a son-in-law of Timpson’s, for Timpson was one of the 
most useful and influential men in the parish, and had a good 
deal of business, which he knew how to put into the right 
hands. Mr. Riley liked such men, quite apart from any money 
which might be diverted, through their good judgment, from 
less worthy pockets into his own; and it would be a satisfac¬ 
tion to him to say to Timpson on his return home, “ I’ve se¬ 
cured a good pupil for your son-in-law.” Timpson had a large 
family of daughters ; Mr. Riley felt for him; besides, Louisa 
Timpson’s face, with its light curls, had been a familiar object 
to him over the pew wainscot on a Sunday for nearly fifteen 
years—it was natural that her husband should be a commend¬ 
able tutor. Moreover, Mr. Riley knew of no other school¬ 
master whom he had any ground for recommending. in. prefer¬ 
ence ; why, then, should he not recommend Stelling ? His 
friend Tulliver had asked him for an opinion: it is always chill¬ 
ing, in friendly intercourse, to say you have no opinion to give. 
And if you deliver an opinion at all, it is mere stupidity not to 
do it with an air of conviction and well-founded knowledge. 
You make it your own in uttering it, and naturally get fond 
of it. Thus, Mr. Riley, knowing no harm of Stelling to begin 
with, and wishing him-well, so far as he had any wishes at all 
concerning him, had no sooner recommended him than he be- 
gan to think with admiration of a man recommended on such 



high authority, and would soon have gathered so warm an in¬ 
terest on the subject, that, if Mr. Tolliver had in the end de¬ 
clined to send Tom to Steliing, Mr. Riley would have thought 
his friend of the old school a thoroughly pig-headed fellow. 

If you blame Mr. Riley very severely for giving a recom¬ 
mendation on such slight grounds, I must say you are rather 
hard upon him. Why should an auctioneer and appraiser 
thirty years ago, who had as good as forgotten his freeschool 
Latin, be expected to manifest a delicate scrupulosity which is 
not always exhibited by gentlemen of the learned professions, 
even in our present advanced stage of morality ? 

Besides, a man with the milk of human kindness in him can 
scarcely abstain from doing a good-natured action, and one can 
not be good-natured all round. Nature herself occasionally 
quarters an inconvenient parasite on an animal toward whom 
she has otherwise no ill will. What then? We admire her 
care for the parasite. If Mr. Riley had shrunk from giving a 
recommendation that was not based on valid evidence, he would 
not have helped Mr. Steliing to a paying pupil, and that would 
not have been so well for the reverend gentleman. Consider, 
too, that all the pleasant little dim ideas and complacencies— 
of standing well with Timpson, of dispensing advice when he 
was asked for it, of impressing his friend Tulliver with addi¬ 
tional respect, of saying something, and saying it emphatically, 
with other inappreciably minute ingredients that went along 
with the warm hearth and the brandy and water to make up 
Mr. Riley’s consciousness on this occasion—would have been a 
mere blank. 



It was a heavy disappointment to Maggie that she was not 
allowed to go with her father in the gig when he went to fetch 
Tom home from the academy; but the morning was too wet, 
Mrs. Tulliver said, for a little girl to go out in her best bonnet. 
Maggie took the opposite view very strongly; and it was a 
direct consequence of this difference of opinion that, when her 
mother was in the act of brushing out the reluctant black crop, 
Maggie suddenly rushed from under her hands and dipped her 
head in a basin of water standing near, in the vindictive de- ; 
termination that there should be no more chance of curls that ' 

“Maggie, Maggie, 99 exclaimed Mrs. TuUivet, aittang atorafc 

V> 26 

the mill oh the floss. 








and helpless with the brushes on her lap, cc what is to become 
of you if you’re so naughty ? I’ll tell your aunt Glegg and 
your aunt Pullet when they come next week, and they’ll never 
love you any more. Oh dear, oh dear, look at your clean pin¬ 
afore, wet from top to bottom. Folks ’ull think it’s a judg¬ 
ment on me as I’ve got such a child—they’ll think I’ve done 
summat wicked.” 

Before this remonstrance was finished Maggie was already 
out of hearing, making her way toward the great attic that 
ran under the old high-pitched roof, shaking the water from 
her black locks as she ran, like a Skye terrier escaped from his 
bath. This attic was Maggie’s favorite retreat on a wet day, 
when the weather was not too cold; here she fretted out all 
her ill-humors, and talked aloud to the worm-eaten floors and 
the worm-eaten shelves, and the dark rafters festooned with 
cobwebs; and here she kept a Fetish which she punished for 
all her misfortunes. This was the trunk of a large wooden 
doll, which once stared with the roundest of eyes above the 
reddest of cheeks, but was now entirely defaced by a long ca¬ 
reer of vicarious suffering. Three nails driven into the head 
commemorated as many crises in Maggie’s nine years of earthly 
struggle, that luxury of vengeance having been suggested to 
her by the picture of Jael destroying Sisera in the old Bible. 
The last nail had been driven in with a fiercer stroke than 
usual, for the Fetish on that occasion represented aunt Glegg. 
But immediately afterward Maggie had reflected that if she 
drove many nails in she would not be so well able to fancy that 
the head was hurt when she knocked it against the wall, nor 
to comfort it, and make believe to poultice it, when her fury 
was abated; for even aunt Glegg would be pitiable when she 
had been hurt very much, and thoroughly humiliated so as to 
beg her niece’s pardon. Since then she had driven no more 
nails in, but had soothed herself by alternately grinding and 
beating the wooden head against the rough brick of the great 
| chimneys that made two square pillars supporting the roof. 
That was what she did this morning on reaching the attic, 
sobbing all the while with a passion that expelled every other 
form of consciousness—even the memory of the grievance that 
had caused it. As at last the sobs were getting quieter, and 
the grinding less fierce, a sudden beam of sunshine, falling 
through the wire lattice across the worm-eaten shelves, made 
her throw away the Fetish and run to the window. The sun 
was really breaking out; the sound of the mill seemed cheerful 
again; the granary doors were open; and there was Yap, thtf 
queer white and brown terrier, with one ear turned back, trot- 
twg about and snuffing vaguely as if be were m search of a 



companion. It was irresistible. Maggie tossed her hair back 
and ran down stairs, seized her bonnet without putting it on, 
peeped, and then dashed along the passage lest she should en¬ 
counter her mother, and was quickly out in the yard, whirling 
round like a Pythoness, and singing as she whirled, “Yap, 
Yap, Tom’s coming home!” while Yap danced and barked 
round her, as much as to say, if there was any noise wanted 
he was the dog for it. 

“ Hegh, hegh, miss, you’ll make yourself giddy, an’ tumble 
down r the dirt,” said Luke, the head miller, a tall, broad- 
shouldered man of forty, black-eyed and black-haired, subdued 
by a general mealiness like an auricula. 

Maggie paused in her whirling and said, staggering a little, 
“Oh no, it doesn’t make me giddy, Luke; may I go into the 
mill with you ?” 

Maggie loved to linger in the great spaces of the mill, and 
often came out with her black hair powdered to a soft white¬ 
ness that made her dark eyes flash out with a new fire. The 
resolute din, the unresting motion of the great stones, giving 
her a dim delicious awe as at the presence of an uncontrollable 
force—the meal forever pouring, pouring—the fine white pow¬ 
der softening all surfaces, and making the very spider-nets look 
like a faery lacework—the sweet pure scent of the meal—all 
helped to make Maggie feel that the mill was a little world 
apart from her outside every-day life. The spiders were es¬ 
pecially a subject of speculation with her. She wondered if 
they had any relations outside the mill, for in that case there 
must be a painful difficulty in their family intercourse—a fat 
and floury spider, accustomed to take his fly well dusted with 
meal, must suffer a little at a cousin’s table where the fly was 
au naturel, and the lady-spiders must be mutually shocked at 
each other’s appearance. But the part of the mill she liked 
best was the topmost story—the corn-hutch, where there were 
the great heaps of grain, which she could sit on and slide down 
continually. She was in the habit of taking this recreation as 
she conversed with Luke, to whom she was very communica¬ 
tive, wishing him to think well of her understanding, as her 
father did. 

Perhaps she felt it necessary to recover her position with 
him on the present occasion, for, as she sat sliding on the heap 
of grain near which he was busying himself, she said, at that 
shnil pitch which was requisite m mill-society, 

“ I think you never read any book but the Bible—did you, 

“Nay, miss— an’ not much o’ that,” said Luke, 
franknasa “I’m no reader, I arn’t.” 


the hill on the floss. 

“But if I lent you one of my books, Luke? I’ve not got 
any very pretty books that would be easy for you to read, but 
there’s' * Pug’s Tour of Europe’—that would tell you all about 
the different sorts of people in the world, and if you didn’t un¬ 
derstand the reading, the pictures would help you—they show 
the looks and ways of the people, and what they do. There 
are the Dutchmen, very fat, and smoking, you know—and one 
sitting on a barrel.” 

u Nay, miss, I’n no opinion o’ Dutchmen. There ben’t much 
good i’ knowin’ about them.” 

“ But they’re our fellow-creatures, Luke—we ought to know 
about our fellow-creatures.” 

“Not much o’ fellow-creatures, I think, miss; all I know— 
my old master, as war a knowin’ man, used to say, says he, 4 If 
e’er I sow my wheat wi’out brinin’, I’m a Dutchman,’ says he; 
an’ that war as much as to say as a Dutchman wur a fool, or 
next door. Nay, nay, I arn’t goin’ to bother mysen about 
Dutchmen. There’s fools enoo—an’ rogues enoo—wi’out look¬ 
in’ i’ books for ’em.” 

44 Oh, well,” said Maggie, rather foiled by Luke’s unexpect¬ 
edly decided views about Dutchmen, “ perhaps you would like 
‘Animated Nature’ better: that’s not Dutchmen, you know, 
but elephants, and kangaroos, and the civet cat, and the sun- 
fish, and a bird sitting on its tail,—I forget its name. There 
are countries full of those creatures, instead of horses and cows, 
you know. Shouldn’t you like to know about them, Luke ?” 

“Nay, miss,I’n got to keep count o’ the flour an’ com— I 
can’t do wi’ knowin’ so many things besides my work. That’s 
what brings folk to the gallows—knowin’ every thing but what 
they’n got to get their bread by. An’ they’re mostly lies, I 
think, what’s printed i’ the books: them printed sheets are, 
anyhow, as the men cry i’ the streets.” 

“ Why, you’re like my brother Tom, Luke,” said Maggie, 
wishing to turn the conversation agreeably; “ Tom’s not fond 
of reading. I love Tom so dearly, Luke—better than any body 
else in the world. When he grows up, I shall keep his house, 
and we shall always live together. I can tell him every thing 
he doesn’t know. But I think Tom’s clever, for all he doesn’t 
like books: he makes beautiful whipcord and rabbit-pens.” 

“ Ah!” said Luke, “ but he’ll be fine an’ vexed, as the rabbits 
are all dead.” 

“ Dead!” screamed Maggie, jumping up from her sliding seat 
on the com. “ Oh dear, Luke! What! the lop-eared r one, 
and the spotted doe that Tom spent all his money to buy ?” 

“As dead as moles,” said Luke, fetching his comparison from , 
the unmistakable corpses nailed to the etahle-wall. 



u Oh dear, Luke,” said Maggie, in a piteous tone, while the 
tears rolled down her cheek, “ Tom told me to take care of ’em, 
and I forgot. What shall I do ?” 

“Well, you see, miss, they were in that far tool-house, an’ it 
was nobody’s business to see to ’em. I reckon Master Tom 
told Harry to feed ’em, but there’s no counting on Harry— he's 
a offal creatur as iver come about the primises, he is. He re¬ 
members nothing but his own inside—an’ I wish it ’ud gripe 

“ Oh, Luke, Tom told me to be sure and remember the rab¬ 
bits every day; but how could I, when they did not come into 
my head, you know ? Oh, he will be so angry with me, I know 
he will, and so sorry about his rabbits—and so am I sorry. 
Oh, what shall I do ?” 

u Don’t you fret, miss,” said Luke, soothingly; “ they’re nash 
things, them lop-eared rabbits—they’d happen ha’ died if they’d 
been fed. Things out of natur niver thrive: ’ God A’mighty 
doesn’t like ’em. He made the rabbits’ ears to lie back, an’ it’s 
nothin’ but contrariness to make ’em hing down like a mastiff 
dog’s. Master Tom ’ull know better nor buy such things an¬ 
other time. Don’t you fret, miss. Will you come along home 
wi’ me and see my wife ? I’m agoin’ this minute.” 

The invitation offered an agreeable distraction to Maggie’s 
grief, and her tears gradually subsided as she trotted along by 
Luke’s side to his pleasant cottage, which stood, with its apple 
and pear trees, and with the added dignity of a lean-to pig-sty, 
close by the brink of the Ripple. Mrs. Moggs, Luke’s wife, 
was a decidedly agreeable acquaintance. She exhibited her 
hospitality in bread and treacle, and possessed various works 
of art. Maggie actually forgot that she had any special cause 
of sadness this morning, as she stood on a chair to look at a 
remarkable series of pictures representing the Prodigal Son in 
the costume of Sir Charles Grandison, except that, as might 
have been expected from his defective moral character, he had 
not, like that accomplished hero, the taste and strength of mind 
to dispense with a wig. But the indefinable weight the dead 
rabbits had left on her mind caused her to feel more than usual 
pity for the career of this weak young man, particularly when 
she looked at the picture where he leaned against a tree with 
a flaccid appearance, his knee-breeches unbuttoned and his wig 
awry, while the swine, apparently of some foreign breed, seem¬ 
ed to insult him by their good spirits over their feast of husks. 

“ I am very glad his father took him back again—aren’t you, 
Luke?” she said. “For he was very sorry,'youkaioro,mA 
wouldn’t do wrong again.” 

“Eb, miss,”said Luke, “he’d be no great ^hak.ea,\ WoX 
let’s feytber do what be would for him.” 



That was a painful thought to Maggie, and she wished much 
that the subsequent history of the young man had been left a 



Tom was to arrive early in the afternoon, and there was an¬ 
other fluttering heart besides Maggie’s when it was late enough 
for the sound of the gig-wheels to be expected; for if Mrs. 
Tulliver had a strong feeling, it was fondness for her boy. At 
last the sound came—the quick, light bowling of the gig-wheels 
—and in spite of the wind, which was blowing the clouds about, 
and was not likely to respect Mrs. Tulliver’s curls and cap- 
strings, she came outside the door, and even held her hand on 
Maggie’s offending head, forgetting all the griefs of the morn¬ 

“ There he is, my sweet lad! But Lord ha’ mercy! he’s got 
never a collar on; it’s been lost on the road, I’ll be bound, and 
spoilt the set.” 

Mrs. Tulliver stood with her arms open; Maggie jumped first 
on one leg and then on the other; while Tom descended from 
the gig, and said, with masculine reticence as to the tender 
emotions, “ Hallo! Yap—what! are you there ?” 

Nevertheless, he submitted to be kissed willingly enough, 
though Maggie hung on his neck in rather a strangling fashion, 
while his blue-gray eyes wandered toward the croft, and the 
lambs, and the river, where he promised himself that he would 
begin to fish the first thing to-morrow morning. He was one 
of those lads that grow every where in England, and, at twelve 
or thirteen years of age, look as much alike as goslings—a lad 
with light-brown hair, cheeks of cream and roses, full lips, in¬ 
determinate nose and eyebrows—a physiognomy in which it 
seems impossible to discern any thing but the generic charac¬ 
ter of boyhood; as different as possible from poor Maggie’s 
phiz, which Nature seemed to have moulded and colored with 
the most decided intention. But that same Nature has the 
deep cunning which hides itself under the appearance of open¬ 
ness, so that simple people think they can see through her quite 
well, and all the while she is secretly preparing a refutation of 
their confident prophecies. Under these average boyish phys¬ 
iognomies that she seems to turn off by the groSs, she conceals 
some of her most rigid, inflexible purposes, some of her most 
unmodifiable characters; and the dark-eyed, demeusXraXjvNe, 



rebellions girl may after all turn out to be a passive being 
compared with this pink and white bit of masculinity with the 
indeterminate features. 

44 Maggie,” said Tom, confidentially, taking her into a comer 
as soon as his mother was gone out to examine his box, and 
the warm parlor had taken off the chill he had felt from the 
long drive, “ you don’t know what I’ve got in my pockets,” 
nodding his head up and down as a means of rousing her 
sense of mystery. 

44 No,” said Maggie. 44 How stodgy they look, Tom! Is it 
marls (marbles) or cobnuts?” Maggie’s heart sank a little, 
because Tom always said it was 44 no good” playing with her 
at those games—she played so badly. 

44 Marls! no; I’ve swopped all my marls with the little fel¬ 
lows, and cobnuts are no fun, you silly, only when the nuts are 
green. But see herel” He drew something half out of his 
right-hand pocket. 

44 What is it?” said Maggie, in a whisper. 44 1 can see noth¬ 
ing but a bit of yellow.” 

44 Why, it’s . . . a . . . new . . . guess, Maggie.” 

44 Oh, I can't guess, Tom,” said Maggie, impatiently. 

44 Don’t be a spitfire, else I won’t tell you,” said Tom, thrust¬ 
ing his hand back into his pocket, and looking determined. 

44 No, Tom,” said Maggie, imploringly, laying hold of the 
arm that was held stiffly m the pocket. 44 I’m not cross, Tom; 
it was only because I can’t bear guessing. Please be good to 

Tom’s arm slowly relaxed, and he said, 44 Well, then, it’s a 
new fish-line—two new uns—one for you, Maggie, all to your¬ 
self. I wouldn’t go halves in the toffee and gingerbread on 
purpose to save the money; and Gibson and Spouncer fought 
with me because I wouldn’t. And here’s hooks — see here! 
.... I say, won't we go and fish to-morrow down by Round 
Pool? And you shall catch your own fish, Maggie, and put 
the worms on, and every thing: won’t it be fun ?” 

Maggie’s answer was to throw her arms around Tom’s neck 
and hug him, and hold her cheek against his without speaking, 
while he slowly unwound some of the line, saying, after a pause, 

44 Wasn’t I a good brother, now, to buy you a line all to 
yourself? You lmow, I needn’t have bought it if I hadn’t 

44 Yes, very, very good . ... I do love you, Tom.” 

Tom had put the line back in his pocket, and was looking at 
the hooks one by on% before he spoke again. 

44 And the fellows fought me because I 
about the toffee." 



“ Oh dear! I wish they wouldn’t fight at your school, Tom. 
Didn’t it hurt you ?” 

“ Hurt me ? no,” said Tom, putting up the hooks again, tak¬ 
ing out a large pocket-knife, and slowly opening the largest 
blade, which he looked at meditatively as he rubbed his finger 
along it. Then he added, 

“ I gave Spouncer a black eye, I know—that’s what he got 
by wanting to leather me ; I wasn’t going to go halves because 
any body leathered me.” 

“ Oh, how brave you are, Tom! I think you’re like Samson. 
If there came a lion roaring at me, I think you’d fight him— 
wouldn’t you, Tom ?” 

“How can a lion come roaring at you, you silly thing? 
There’s no lions only in the shows.” 

“No; but if we were in the lion countries—I mean, in Af¬ 
rica, where it’s very hot—the lions eat people there. I can 
show it you in the book where I read it.” 

“ Well, I should get a gun and shoot him.” 

But if you hadn’t got a gun—we might have gone out, you 
know, not thinking, just as we go fishing; and then a great 
lion might run toward us roaring, and we couldn’t get away 
from him. What should you do, Tom ?” 

Tom paused, and at last turned away contemptuously, say¬ 
ing, “ But the lion isn't coming. What’s the use of talking ?” 

“ But I like to fancy how it would be,” said Maggie, follow¬ 
ing him. “ Just think what you would do, Tom.” 

“ Oh, don’t bother, Maggie! you’re such a silly—I shall go 
and see my rabbits.” 

Maggie’s heart began to flutter with fear. She dared not 
tell the sad truth at once, but she walked after Tom in trem¬ 
bling silence as he went out, thinking how she could tell him 
the news so as to soften at once his sorrow and his anger; for 
Maggie dreaded Tom’s anger of all things—it was quite a dif¬ 
ferent anger from her own. 

“ Tom, she said, timidly, when they were out of doors, 
“ how much money did you give for your rabbits ?” 

“ Two half crowns and a sixpence,” said Tom, promptly. 

“I think I’ve got a great deal more than that in my steel 
purse up stairs. I’ll ask mother to give it you.” 

“ What for ?” said Tom. “ I don’t want your money, you 
silly thing. I’ve got a great deal more money than you, be¬ 
cause I’m a boy. I always have half sovereigns and sovereigns 
for my Christmas boxes, because I shall be a man, and you 
only have five-shilling pieces, because you’re only a girl.” 

“ Well, but, Tomr— if mother would let me give you two 
half crowns and a sixpence out of my purse to put into your 

the mill on the floss. 


pocket to spend, you know, and buy some more rabbits with 

44 More rabbits ? I don’t want any more.” 

44 Oh, but, Tom, they’re all dead.” 

Tom stopped immediately in his walk ^nd turned round to¬ 
ward Maggie. 44 You forgot to feed ’em, then, and Harry for¬ 
got ?” he said, his color heightening for a moment, but soon 
subsiding. 44 I’ll pitch into Harry—I’ll have him turned away. 
And I don’t love you, Maggie. You sha’n’t go fishing with 
me to-morrow. I told you to go and see the rabbits every 
day.” He walked on again. 

44 Yes, but I forgot—and I couldn’t help it, indeed, Tom. 

Tm so very sorry,” said Maggie, while the tears rushed fast. 

44 You’re a naughty girl,” said Tom, severely , 44 and I’m sorry 
I bought you the fisn-Ene. I don’t love you.” 

44 Oh, Tom, it’s very cruel,” sobbed Maggie. 44 I’d forgive 
you if you forgot any thing—I wouldn’t mind what you did 
—I’d forgive you and love you.” 

44 Yes, you’re a silly; but I never do forget things— I don’t.” 

44 Oh, please forgive me, Tom; my heart will break,” said 
Maggie, shaking with sobs; clinging to Tom’s arm, and laying 
her wet cheek on his shoulder. 

Tom. shook her of£ and stopped again, saying in a peremp¬ 
tory tone, 44 Now, Maggie, you just listen. Aren’t I a good 
brother to you ?” 

44 Ye-ye-es,” sobbed Maggie, her chin rising and falling con¬ 

44 Didn’t I think about your fish-line all this quarter, and 
mean to buy it, and saved my money o’ purpose, and wouldn’t 
go halves in the toffee, and Spouncer fought me because I 

44 Ye-ye-es... and I... lo-lo-love you so, Tom.” 

44 But you’re a naughty girl. Last holidays you licked the , 
paint off my lozenge-box, and the holidays before that you let u 
the boat drag my fish-line down when I set you to watch it, 
and you pushed your head through my kite, all for nothing.” 

44 But 1 didn’t mean,” said Maggie; 44 1 couldn’t help it.” 

44 Yes, you could,” #aid Tom, 44 if you’d minded what you 
were doing. And you’re a naughty girl, and you sha’n’t go 
fishing with me to-morrow.” 

With this terrible conclusion, Tom ran away from Maggie 
toward the mill, meaning to greet Luke there, and complain 
to him of Harry. 

Maggie stood motionless, except from her sobs, for a minnte 
or two; then she turned round and ran into the 
to her attic, where she sat on the floor, and laid her 

B 2 





against the worm-eaten shelf, with a crushing sense of misery. 
Tom was come home, and she had thought how happy she 
should be, and now he was cruel to her. What use was any 
thing if Tom didn’t love her ? Oh, he was very cruel! Hadn’t 
she wanted to give him the money, and said how very sorry 
she was ? She knew she was naughty to her mother, but she 
had never been naughty to Tom—had never meant to be 
naughty to him. 

“ Oh, he is cruel!” Maggie sobbed aloud, finding a wretch : 
ed pleasure in the hollow resonance that came through the 
long empty space of the attic. She never thought of beating 
or grinding her Fetish; she was too miserable to be angry. 

These bitter sorrows of childhood! when sorrow is all new 
and strange, when hope has not yet got wings to fly beyond 
the days and weeks, and the space from summer to summer 
seems measureless. 

Maggie soon thought she had been hours in the attic, and it 
must be teatime, and they were all having their tea, and not 
thinking of her. W ell, then, she would stay up there and starve 
herself—-hide herself behind the tub, and stay there all night; 
and then they would all be frightened, and Tom would be sorry. 
Thus Maggie thought in the pride of her heart, as she crept be¬ 
hind the tub; but presently she began to cry again at the idea 
that they didn’t mind her being there. If she went down again 
to Tom now, would he forgive her ? Perhaps her father would 
be there, and he would take her part. But, then, she wanted 
Tom to forgive her because he loved her, not because his father 
told him. No, she would never go down if Tom didn’t come 
I to fetch her. This resolution lasted in great intensity for five 
/ dark minutes behind the tub; but then the need of being loved, 
V the strongest need in poor Maggie’s nature, began to wrestle 
with her pride, and soon threw it. She crept from behind her 
tub into the twilight of the long attic, but just then she heard 
a quick footstep on the stairs. 

Tom had been too much interested in his talk with Luke, in 
going the round of the premises, walking in and out where he 
pleased, and whittling sticks without any particular reason, ex¬ 
cept that he didn’t whittle sticks at school, to think of Maggie 
and the effect his anger had produced on her. He meant to 
punish her, and that business having been performed, he occu¬ 
pied himself with other matters, like a practical person. But 
when he had been called in to tea, his father said, “ Why, 
where’s the little wench ?” and Mrs. Tulliver, almost at the 
same moment, said, “ Where’s your little sister ?” both of them 
having supposed that Maggie and Tom had been together all 
the afternoon. 



“ I don’t know,” said Tom. He didn’t want to “ tell” on 
Maggie, though he was angry with her; for Tom Tolliver was 
a lad of honor. 

“ What! hasn’t she been playing with you all this while ?” 
said the father. “ She’d been thinking o’ nothing but your com¬ 
ing home.” 

“ I haven’t seen her this two hours,” says Tom, commencing 
on the plum-cake. 

“Goodness heart! she’s got drownded,” exclaimed Mrs. 
Tolliver,;rising from her seat and running to the window. 

“ How could you let her do so ?” she added, as became a fear¬ 
ful woman, accusing she didn’t know whom of she didn’t know 

“ Hay, nay,she’s none drownded,” said Mr. Tolliver. “ You’ve 
been naughty to her, I doubt, Tom ?” 

“ I’m sure I haven’t, father,” said Tom, indignantly. “ I 
think she’s in the house.” 

“ Perhaps up in that attic,” said Mrs. Tulliver, u a-singing 
and talking to herself, and forgetting all about mealtimes.” 

“ You go and fetch her down, Tom,” said Mr. Tulliver, 
rather sharply, his perspicacity or his fatherly fondness for 
Maggie making him suspect that the lad had been rather hard 
upon “the little un,” else she would never have left his.side. 

“ And be good to her, do you hear ? else I’ll let you know bet¬ 

Tom never disobeyed his father, for Mr. Tulliver was a pe¬ 
remptory man, and, as he said, would never let any body get 
hold of his whip-hand; but he went out rather sullenly, carry¬ 
ing his piece of plum-cake, and not intending to retrieve Mag¬ 
gie’s punishment, which was no more than she deserved. Tom 
was only thirteen, and had no decided views in grammar and 
arithmetic, regarding them for the most part as open questions, 
but he was particularly clear and positive on one point, name¬ 
ly, that he would punish every body who deserved it; why, he 
wouldn’t have minded being punished himself, if he deserved 
it; but, then, he never did deserve it. 

It was Tom’s step, then, that Maggie heard on the stairs 
when her need of love had triumphed over her pride, and she 
was going down with her swollen eyes and disheveled hair to 
beg tor pity. At least her father would stroke her head and 
say, “Never mind, my wench.” It is a wonderful subduer, 
this need of love—this hunger of the heart—as peremptory as 
that other hunger by which Nature forces us to submit to the 
yoke, and change the face of the world. 

But she knew Tom’s step, and her heart began to beat nW 
lently with the sadden shock of hope. He only atooA eNSl. at 



the top of the stairs and said, 44 Maggie, you’re to come down.” 
But she rushed to him and clung round his neck, sobbing, 
44 Oh, Tom, please forgive me—I can’t bear it—I will always 
be good—always remember things—do love me—please, dear 
Tom ?” 

We learn to restrain ourselves as we get older. We keep 
apart when we have quarreled, express ourselves in well-bred 
pnrases, and in this way preserve a dignified alienation, show¬ 
ing much firmness on one side, and swallowing much grief on 
the other. We no longer approximate in our behavior to the 
mere impulsiveness of the lower animals, but conduct ourselves 
in every respect like members of a highly civilized society. 
Maggie and Tom were still very much like young animals, and 
so she could rub her cheek against his, and kiss his ear in a 
random, sobbing way; and there were tender fibres in the lad 
that had been used to answer to Maggie’s fondling, so that he 
behaved with a weakness quite inconsistent with his resolution 
to punish her as much as she deserved: he actually began to 
kiss her in return, and say, 

44 Don’t cry, then, Magsie—here, eat a bit o’ cake.” 

Maggie’s sobs began to subside, and she put out? her mouth 
for the cake and bit a piece; and then Tom bit a piece, just 
for company; and they ate together, and rubbed each other’s 
cheeks, and brows, and noses together, while they ate, with a 
humiliating resemblance to two friendly ponies. 

44 Come along, Magsie, and have tea, said Tom at last, 
when there was no more cake except what was down stairs. 

So ended the sorrows of this day, and the next morning 
Maggie was trotting with her own fishing-rod in one hand and 
a handle of the basket in the other, stepping always, by a pe¬ 
culiar gift, in the muddiest places, and looking darkly radiant 
from under her beaver bonnet because Tom was good to her. 
She had told Tom, however, that she should like him to put 
the worms on the hook for her, although she accepted his word 
when he assured her that worms couldn’t feel (it was Tom’s 
private opinion that it didn’t much matter if they did). He 
knew all about worms, and fish, and those things; ana what 
birds were mischievous, and how padlocks opened, and which 
way the handles of the gates were to be lifted. Maggie thought 
this sort of knowledge was very wonderful—much more diffi¬ 
cult than remembering what was in the books; and she was 
rather in awe of Tom’s superiority, for he was the only person 
who called her knowledge 44 stuff,” and did not feel surprised 
at her cleverness. Tom, indeed, was of opinion that Maggie 
was a silty little thing; all girls were silly: they couldn’t throw 
a stone so as to hit any thing, couldn’t do any thing with a 



pocket-knife, and were frightened at frogs. Still, he was very 
fond of his sister, and meant always to take care of her, make 
her his housekeeper, and punish her when she did wrong. 

They were on their way to the Round Pool—that wonder¬ 
ful pool, which the floods had made a long while ago. No one 
knew how deep it was; and it was mysterious, too, that it 
should be almost a perfect round, framed in with willows and 
tall reeds, so that the water was only to be seen when you got 
close to the brink. The sight of the old favorite spot always 
heightened Tom’s good-humor, and he spoke to Maggie in the 
most amiable whispers, as he opened the precious basket and 
prepared their tackle. He threw her line for her, and put the 
rod into her hand. Maggie thought it probable that the small y 
fish would come to her hook, and the large ones to Tom’s. 
But she had forgotfen all about the fish, and was looking 
dreamily at the glassy water, when Tom said, in a loud whis- 

E er, 44 Look! look, Maggie!” and came running to prevent her 
•om snatching her line away. • % 

Maggie was frightened lest she had been doing something 
wrong, as usual, but presently Tom drew out her line and 
brought a large tench bouncing on the grass. 

Tom was excited. 

44 Oh Magsie! you little duck! Empty the basket.” 

Maggie was not conscious of unusual merit, but it was 
enough that Tom called her Magsie, and was pleased with her. 
There was nothing to mar her delight in the whispers and the 
dreamy silences, when she listened to the light dipping sounds 
of the rising fish, and the gentle rustling, as if the willows, and 
the reeds, and the water had their happy whisperings also. 
Maggie thought it would make a very nice heaven to sit by 
the pool in that way, and never be scolded. She never knew 
she had a bite till Tom told her, but she liked fishing very 

It was one of their happy mornings. They trotted along 
and sat down together, with no thought that life would ever 
change much for them: they would only get bigger and not 
go to school, and it would always be like the holidays; they 
would always live together and be fond of each other. And 
the mill with its booming—the great chestnut-tree under which 
they played at houses—their own little river, the Ripple, where 
the banks seemed like home, and Tom was always seeing the 
water-rats, while Maggie gathered the purple plumy tops of 
the reeds, which she forgot and dropped afterward—above all, 
the great Floss, along which they wandered with a sense of 
travel, to see the rushing spring-tide, the awfulTL&gt^ 
like a hungry monster, or to see the Great Ash uv&fe 




wailed and groaned like a man—these things would always be 
just the same to them. Tom thought people were at a disad¬ 
vantage who lived on any other- spot of the globe; and Mag¬ 
gie, when she read about Christiana passing 44 the river over 
which there is no bridge,” always saw the Floss between the 
green pastures by the Great Ash. 

Life did change for Tom and Maggie; and yet they were 
not wrong in believing that the thoughts and loves of these 
first years would always make part of their lives. We could 
never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood 
in it—if it were not the earth where the same flowers come 
up again every spring that we used to gather with our tiny 
fingers as we sat lisping to ourselves on the grass—the same 
hips and haws on the autumn hedgerows—the same redbreasts 
that we used to call 44 God’s birds,” because they did no harm 
to the precious crops. What novelty is worth that sweet mo¬ 
notony where every thing is known, and loved because it is 
known ? 

The wood I walk in on this mild May day, with the young 
yellow-brown foliage of the oaks between me and the blue sky, 
the white star-flowers, and the blue-eyed speedwell, and the 
ground«ivy at my feet—what grove of tropic palms, what 
strange ferns or splendid broad-petaled blossoms, could ever 
thrill such deep and delicate fibres within me as this home- 
scene ? These familial’ flowers, these well-remembered bird- 
notes, this sky with its fitful brightness, these furrowed and 
grassy fields, each with a sort of personality given to it by the 
capricious hedgerows—such things as these are the mother 
tongue of our imagination, the language that is laden with all 
the subtle inextricable associations the fleeting hours of our 
childhood left behind them. Our delight in the sunshine on 
the deep-bladed grass to-day might be no more than the faint 
perception of wearied souls, if it were not for the sunshine 
and the grass in the far-off years, which Still live in us, and 
transform our perception into love. 



It was Easter week, and Mrs. Tulliver’s cheese-cakes were 
more exquisitely light than usual: w a puff o’ wind ’ud make 
’em blow like feathers,” Kezia the housemaid said, feeling. 
proud to live under a mistress who could make such pastry; 
so that no season or circumstances could have been more pro- 

the mill on the floss. 

pitious for a family party, even if it had not been advisable to 
consult sister Glegg and sister Pullet about Tom’s going to 

“ I’d as lief not invite sister Deane this time,” said Mrs. Tul¬ 
liver, “ for she’s as jealous and having as can be, and’s allays 
trying to make the worst o’ my poor children to their aunts 
and uncles.” 

“ Yes, yes,” said Mr. Tulliver, “ ask her to come. I never 
hardly get a bit o’ talk with Deane now; we haven’t had him 
this six months. What’s it matter what she says—my chil¬ 
dren need be beholding to nobody.” 

“ That’s what you allays say, Mr. Tulliver; but I’m sure 
there’s nobody o’ vour side, neither aunt nor uncle, to leave 
’em so much as a five-pound note for a leggicy. And there’s 
sister Glegg, and sister Pullet too, saving money unknown— 
for they put by all their own interest, and butter-money too; 
their husbands buy ’em every thing.” Mrs. Tulliver was a 
mild woman, but even a sheep will face about a little when 
she has lambs. 

“ Tchuh!” said Mr. Tulliver. “ It takes a big loaf when 
there’s many to breakfast. What signifies your sisters’ bits o’ 
money when they’ve got half a dozen nevvies and nieces to di¬ 
vide it among ? And your sister Deane won’t get ’em to leave 
all to one, I reckon, and make the country cry shame on ’em 
when they are dead ?” 

“I don’t know what she won’t get ’em to do,” said Mrs. 
Tulliver, “ for my children are so awk’ard wi’ their aunts and 
uncles. Maggie’s ten times naughtier when they come than 
she is other days, and Tom doesn’t like ’em, bless him—though 
it’s more nat’ral in a boy than a gell. And there’s Lucy Deane’s 
such a good child—you-may set her on a stool, and there she’ll 
sit for an hour together, and never offer to get off. I can’t 
help loving the chijd as if she was my own; and Pm sure she’s 
more like my child than sister Deane’s, for she’d allays a very 
poor color for one of our family, sister Deane had.” 

“Well, well, if you’re fond of the child, ask her father and 
mother to bring her with ’em. And won’t you ask their aunt 
and uncle Moss too—and some o’ their children ?” 

“ Oh dear, Mr. Tulliver, why, there’d be eight people besides 
the children, and I must put two more leaves i’ the table, be¬ 
sides reaching down more o’ the dinner-service; and you know 
as well as I do as my sisters and your sisters don’t suit well 

“ Well, well, do as you like, Bessy,” said Mr. Tulliver, taking 
up his hat and walking out to the mill. Few wives were more 
submissive than Mrs. Tulliver on all points unconnected with 


the mill on the floss. 

her family relations; but she had been a Miss Dodson, and the 
Dodsons were a very respectable family indeed—as much look¬ 
ed up to as any in their own parish, or the next to it. The 
Miss Dodsons had always been thought to hold up their heads 
very high, and no one was surprised the two eldest had mar¬ 
ried so well—not at an early age, for that was not the practice 
of the Dodson family. There were particular ways of doing 
every thing in that family—particular ways of bleaching the 
linen, of making the cowslip wine, curing the hams, and keep¬ 
ing the bottled gooseberries, so that no daughter of that house 
could be indifferent to the privilege of having been bom a 
Dodson, rather than a Gibson or a Watson. Funerals were 
always conducted with peculiar propriety in the Dodson fam¬ 
ily : the hat-bands were never of a blue shade, the gloves never 
split at the thumb, every body was a mourner who ought to 
be, and there were always scarfs for the bearers. When one 
of the family was in trouble or sickness, all the rest went to 
visit the unfortunate member, usually at the same time, and 
did not shrink fjjpn uttering the most disagreeable truths that 
correct family feeling dictated: if the illness or trouble was 
the sufferer’s ote fault, it was not in the practice of the Dod¬ 
son family to shrink from saying so. In short, there was in 
this family a peculiar tradition as to what was the right thing 
in household management and social demeanor, and the only 
bitter circumstance attending this superiority was a painful 
inability to approve the condiments or the conduct of families 
ungoverned by the Dodson tradition. A female Dodson, when 
in 44 strange houses,” always ate dry bread with her tea, and 
declined any sort of preserves, having no confidence in the but¬ 
ter, and thinking that the preserves had probably begun to 
ferment from want of due sugar and boiling. There were some 
Dodsons less like the family than others—that was admitted; 
but in so far as they were 44 kin,” they were, of necessity, bet¬ 
ter than those who were 44 no kin.” And it is remarkable that 
while no individual Dodson was satisfied with any other indi¬ 
vidual Dodson, each was satisfied not only with him or her 
self, but with the Dodsons collectively. The feeblest member 
of a family—the one who has the least character—is often the 
merest epitome of the family habits and traditions; and Mrs. 
Tulliver was a thorough Dodson, though a mild one, as small- 
beer, so long as it is any thing, is only describable as very weak 
ale; and though she had groaned a little in her youth under 
the yoke of her elder sisters, and still shed occasional tears at 
their sisterly reproaches, it was not in Mrs. Tulliver to be an 
innovator on the family ideas. She was thankful to have been 
a JDodson, and to have one child who took het own farm 



ily, at least in his features and complexion, in liking salt and 
in eating beans, which a Tulliver never did. 

In other respects the true Dodson was partly latent in Tom, 
and he was as far from appreciating his 44 kin” on the mother’s 
side as Maggie herself; generally absconding for the day with 
a large supply of the most portable food when he received 
timely warning that his aunts and uncles were coming—a moral 
symptom from which his aunt Glegg deduced the gloomiest 
views of his future. It was rather hard on Maggie that Tom 
always absconded without letting her into the secret, but the 
weaker sex are acknowledged to be serious impedimenta in 
cases of flight. 

On Wednesday, the day before the aunts and uncles were 
coming, there were such various and suggestive scents, as of 
plum-cakes in the oven and jellies in the hot state, mingled 
with the aroma of gravy, that it was impossible to feel alto¬ 
gether gloomy: there was hope in the air. Tom and Maggie 
made several inroads into the kitchen, and, like other maraud¬ 
ers, were induced to keep aloof for a time only by being al¬ 
lowed to carry away a sufficient load of booty. 

“Torn,” said Maggie, as they sat on the boughs of the elder- 
tree, eating their jam puffs, “ shall you run away to-mor¬ 
row ?” 

44 No,” said Tom, slowly, when he had finished his puff, and 
was eying the third, which was to be divided between them, 
44 no, I sha’n’t.” 

44 Why, Tom ? Because Lucy’s coming ?” 

44 No,” said Tom, opening his pocket-knife and holding it 
over the puff, with his head on one side in a dubitative man¬ 
ner. (It was a difficult problem to divide that very irregular 
polygon into two equal parts.) 44 What do I care about Lucy ? 
She’s only a girl; she can’t play at bandy.” 

44 Is it the tipsy-cake, then ?” said Maggie, exerting her hy¬ 
pothetic powers, while she leaned forward toward Tom with 
her eyes fixed on the hovering knife. 

44 No, you silly; that’ll be good the day after. It’s the 
pudden. I know what the pudden’s to be—apricot roll-up— 
Oh, my buttons!” 

With this interjection the knife descended on the puff and 
it was in two, but the result was not satisfactory to Tom, for 
he still eyed the halves doubtfully. At last he said, 

44 Shut your eyes, Maggie.” 

44 What for?” 

44 You never mind what for—shut ’em when I tell you” 

Maggie obeyed. 

“Now, which ’ll you have, Maggie, right hand ox 



“ I’ll have that with the jam run out,” said Maggie, keeping 
her eyes shut to please Tom. 

“ Why, you don’t like that, you silly. You may have it if 
it comes to you fair, but I sha’n’t give it to you without. 
Right or left—you choose now. Ha-a-a!” said Tom, in a tone 
of exasperation, as Maggie peeped. “You keep your eyes 
shut now, else you sha’n’t have any.” 

Maggie’s power of sacrifice did not extend so far; indeed, I 
fear she cared less that Tom should enjoy the utmost possible 
amount of puff, than that he should be pleased with her for 
giving him the best bit. So she shut her eyes quite close till 
Tom told her to “ say which,” and then she said, “ Left hand.” 

“ You’ve got it,” said Tom, in rather a bitter tone. 

“ What! the bit with the jam run out ?” 

“No; here, take it,” said Tom, firmly, handing decidedly 
the best piece to Maggie. 

“ Oh, please, Tom, have it; I don’t mind—I like the other; 
please take this.” 

“ No, I sha’n’t,” said Tom, almost crossly, beginning on his 
own inferior piece. 

Maggie, thinking it was ho use to contend further, began 
too, and ate up her half puff with considerable relish as well 
as rapidity. But Tom had finished first, and had to look on 
while Maggie ate her last morsel or two, feeling in himself a 
capacity for more. Maggie didn’t know Tom was looking at 
her: she was seesawing on the elder bough, lost to almost 
every thing but a vague sense of jam and idleness. 

“ Oh, you greedy thing!” said Tom, when she had swallow¬ 
ed the last morsel. He was conscious of having acted very 
fairly, and thought she ought to have considered this, ana 
made up to him for it. He would have refused a bit of hers 
beforehand, but one is naturally at a different point of view 
before and after one’s own share of puff is swallowed. 

Maggie turned quite pale. “ Oh, Tom, why didn’t you ask 
me ?” 

“ I wasn’t going to ask you for a bit, you greedy. You 
might have thought of it without, when you knew I gave you 
the best bit.” 

“ But I wanted you to have it—you know I did,” said Mag¬ 
gie, in an injured tone. 

“Yes, but I wasn’t going to do what wasn’t fair, like 
Spouncer. He always takes the best bit, if you don’t punch 
him for it; and if you choose the best with your eyes shut, he 
changes his hands. But if I go halves, I’ll go ’em fair—only 
I wouldn’t be a greedy.” 

With this cutting innuendo, Tom jumped down from his 



bough, and threw a stone with a “ hoigh!” as a friendly at¬ 
tention to Yap, who had also been looking on while the eata¬ 
bles vanished with an agitation of his ears and feelings which 
could hardly have been without bitterness. Yet the excellent 
dog accepted Tom’s attention with as much alacrity as if he 
had been treated quite generously. 

But Maggie, gifted with that superior power of misery 
which distinguishes the human being, and places him at a 
proud distance from the most melancholy chimpanzee, sat still 
on her bough, and gave herself up to the keen sense of unmer¬ 
ited reproach. She would have given the world not to have 
eaten all her puff, and to have saved some of it for Tom. Not 
hut that the puff was very nice, for Maggie’s palate was not at 
all obtuse, but she would have gone without it many times 
over sooner than Tom should call her greedy and be cross 
with her. And he had said he wouldn’t have it—and she ate 
it without thinking—how could she help it ? The tears flow¬ 
ed so plentifully that Maggie saw nothing around her for the 
next ten minutes; but by that time resenttnent began to give 
way to the desire of reconciliation, and she jumped from her 
bough to look for Tom. He was no longer in the paddock 
behind the rick-yard—where was he likely to be gone, and 
Yap with him? Maggie ran to the high bank against the 
great holly-tree, where she could see far away toward the 
Floss. There was Tom; but her heart sank again as she saw 
how far off he was on his way to the great river, and that he 
had another companion besides Yap—naughty Bob Jakin, 
whose official, if not natural function, of frightening the birds 
was just now at a standstill. Maggie felt sure that Bob was 
wicked, without very distinctly knowing why, unless it was 
because Bob’s mother was a dreadfully large, fat woman, who 
lived at a queer house down the river; and once, when Mag¬ 
gie and Tom had wandered thither, there rushed out a brin¬ 
dled dog that wouldn’t stop barking; and when Bob’s mother 
rushed out after it, and screamed above the barking to tell 
them not to be frightened, Maggie thought she was scolding 
them fiercely, and her heart beat with terror. Maggie thought 
it very likely that the round house had snakes on the floor and 
bats in the bedroom; for she had seen Bob take off his cap to 
show Tom a little snake that was inside it, and another time 
he had a handful of young bats: altogether he was an irregu¬ 
lar character, perhaps even slightly diabolical, judging from 
his intimacy with snakes and bats; and to crown all, when 
Tom had Bob for a companion, he didn’t mind about, 
and would never let her go with him. 

It must he owned that Tom was fond of Bob? a * 



How could he be otherwise ? Bob knew, directly he saw a 
bird’s egg, whether it was a swallow’s, or a tomtit’s, or a yel- 
lowhammer’s; he found out all the wasps’ nests, and could set 
all sorts of traps; he could climb the trees like a squirrel, and 
had quite a magical power of detecting hedgehogs and stoats; 
and he had courage to do things that were rather naughty, 
such as making gaps in the hedgerows, throwing stones after 
the sheep, and killing a cat that was wandering incognito . 
Such qualities in an inferior, who could always be treated with 
authority in spite of his superior knowingness, had necessarily 
a fatal fascination for Tom; and every holiday-time Maggie 
was sure to have days of grief because he had gone off with 

Well, there was no hope for it; he was gone now, and Mag¬ 
gie could think of no comfort but to sit down by the holly, or 
wander by the hedgerow, and fancy it was all different, re- 
fashioning her little world into just what she should like it 
• to be. 

Maggie’s was a troublous life, and this was the form in which 
she took her opium. 

Meanwhile Tom, forgetting all about Maggie and the sting 
of reproach which he had left in her heart, was hurrying along 
with Bob, whom he had met accidentally, to the scene of a 
great rat-catching in a neighboring barn. Bob knew all about 
this particular affair, and spoke of the sport with an enthu¬ 
siasm which no one who is not either divested of all manly 
feeling, or pitiably ignorant of rat-catching, can fail to imagine. 
For a person suspected of preternatural wickedness, Bob was 
really not so very villainous-looking; there was even some¬ 
thing agreeable in his snub-nosed face, with its close-curled 
border of red hair. But then his trowsers were always rolled 
up at the knee, for the convenience of wading on the slightest 

notice; and his virtue, supposing it to exist, was undeniably 
“ virtue in rags,” which, on the authority even of bilious phi¬ 
losophers, who think all well-dressed merit overpaid, is notori¬ 
ously likely to remain unrecognized (perhaps because it is seen 
so seldom). 

“ I know the chap as owns the ferrets,” said Bob, in a hoarse 
treble voice, as he shuffled along, keeping his blue eyes fixed 
on the river, like an amphibious animal who foresaw occasion 
for darting in. “ He lives up the Kennel Yard at Sut Ogg’s— 
he does. He’s the biggest rot-catcher any where—he is. Td 
sooner be a rot-catcher nor any thing—I would. The moles 
is nothing to the rots. But Lors! you mun ha’ ferrets. Bogs 
Is no good. Why, there’s that dog, now!” Bob continued, 
pointing with an air of disgust toward. uo v&oce 



good wi’ a rot nor nothin’. I see it myself—I did—at the rot- 
catchin’ i’ your feyther’s barn.” 

Yap, feeling the withering influence of this scorn, tucked his 
tail in and shrank close to Tom’s leg, who felt a little hurt for 
him, but had not the superhuman courage to seem behindhand 
with Bob in contempt lor a dog who made so poor a figure. 

“ No, no,” he said, “ Yap’s no good at sport. I’ll have reg¬ 
ular good dogs for rats and every thing when I’ve done school.” 

“ Hev ferrets, Measter Tom,” said Bob, eagerly — “ them 
white ferrets wi’ pink eyes; Lors, you might catch your own 
rots, an’ you might put a rot in a cage wi’ a ferret, an’ see ’em 
fight—-you might. That’s what I’d do, I know, an’ it ’ud be 
better fun a’most nor seein’ two chaps fight—if it wasn’t them 
chaps as sell cakes an’ oranges at the Fair, as the things flew 
out o’ their baskets, an’ some o’ the cakes was smashed .... 
But they tasted just as good,” added Bob, by way of note or 
addendum, after a moment’s pause. 

u But, I say, Bob,” said Tom, in a tone of deliberation, “ fer¬ 
rets are nasty biting things : they’ll bite a fellow without be¬ 
ing set on.” 

u Lors! why that’s the beauty on ’em. If a chap lays hold 
o’ your ferret, he won’t be long before he hollows out a good 
un— he won’t.” 

At this moment a striking incident made the boys pause 
suddenly in their walk. It was the plunging of some small 
body in the water from among the neighboring bulrushes—if 
it was not a water-rat, Bob intimated that he was ready to 
undergo the most unpleasant consequences. 

“ Hoigh! Yap—hoigh ! there he is,” said Tom, clapping his 
hands, as the little black snout made its arrowy course to the 
opposite bank. * “ Seize him, lad, seize him!” 

Yap agitated his ears and wrinkled his brows, but declined 
to plunge, trying whether barking would not answer the pur¬ 
pose just as well. 

“ Ugh! you coward!” said Tom, and kicked him over, feel¬ 
ing humiliated as a sportsman to possess so poor-spirited an 
animal. Bob abstained from remark and passed on, choosing, 
however, to walk in the shallow edge of the overflowing river 
by way of change. 

“ He’s none so full now, the Floss isn’t,” said Bob, as he 
kicked the water up before him, with an agreeable sense of 
being insolent to it. “ Why, last ’ear, the meadows was all 
one sheet o’ water, they was.” 

u Ay, but,” said Tom, whose mind was prone to see an op¬ 
position between statements that were really quite amrcd&uV 
“but there was a big flood once, when the Hound. YocJi 



made. I know there was, ’cause father says so. And the 
sheep and cows were all drowned, and the boats went all over 
the fields ever such a way.” 

“ I don’t care about a flood cornin’,” said Bob; “ I don’t 
mind the water no more nor the land. I’d swim —I would.” 

“ Ah! but if you got nothing to eat for ever so long?” said 
Tom, his imagination becoming quite active under the stimu¬ 
lus of that dread. “ When I’m a man, I shall make a boat 
with a wooden house on the top of it, like Noah’s ark, and keep 
plenty to eat in it—rabbits and things—all ready. And then 
if the flood came, you know, Bob, I shouldn’t mind .... And 
I’d take you in, if I saw you swimming,” he added, in the tone 
of a benevolent patron. 

“ I aren’t frighted,” said Bob, to whom hunger did not ap¬ 
pear so appalling. “ But I’d get in an’ knock the rabbits on 
th’ head when you wanted to eat ’em.” 

“Ah! and I should have halfpence, and we’d play at heads 
and tails,” said Tom, not contemplating the possibility that 
this recreation might have fewer charms for his mature age! 
“ I’d divide fair to begin with, and then we’d see who’d win.” 

“ I’n got a halfpenny o’ my own,” said Bob, proudly, com¬ 
ing out of the water and tossing his halfpenny in the air. 
“ leads or tails?” 

“ Tails,” said Tom, instantly fired with the design to 'win. 

“ It’s yeads,” said Bob, hastily snatching up the halfpenny 
as it fell. 

“ It wasn’t,” said Tom, loudly and peremptorily. “ You 
give me the halfpenny ; I’ve won it fair.” 

“ I sha’n’t,” said Bob, holding it tight in his pocket. 

“Then I’ll make you—see if I don’t,” said Tom. 

“You can’t make me do nothing, you can’t,” said Bob. 

“ Yes, I can.” 

“ No, you can’t.” 

“ I’m master.” 

“ I don’t care for you.” 

“But I’ll make you care, you cheat,” said Tom, collaring 
Bob and shaking him. 

“ You get out wi’ you,” said Bob, giving Tom a kick. 

Tom’s blood was thoroughly up : he went at Bob with a 
lunge and threw him down, but Bob seized hold and kept it 
like a cat, and pulled Tom down after him. They struggled 
fiercely on the ground for a moment or two, till Tom, pinning 
Bob down by the shoulders, thought he had the mastery. 

“ You say you’ll give me the halfpenny now,” he said, with 
difficulty, while he exerted himself to keep the command of 
Bob 9 b arms . 



But at this moment, Yap, who had been running on before, 
returned barking to the scene of action, and saw a favorable 
opportunity for biting Bob’s bare leg not only with impunity, 
but with honor. . The pain from Yap’s teeth, instead of sur¬ 
prising Bob into a relaxation of his hold, gave it a fiercer te¬ 
nacity, and, with a new exertion of his force, he pushed Tom 
backward and got uppermost. But now Yap, who could get 
no sufficient purchase before, set his teeth in a new place, so 
that Bob, harassed in this way, let go his hold of Tom, and, al¬ 
most throttling Yap, flung him into the river. By this time 
Tom was up again, and before Bob had quite recovered his 
balance after the act of swinging Yap, Tom fell upon him, 
threw him down, and got his knees firmly on Bob’s chest. 

44 You give me the halfpenny now,” said Tom. 

u Take it,” said Bob, sulkily. 

“No, I sha’n’t take it; you give it me.” 

Bob took the halfpenny out of his pocket, and threw it away 
from him on the ground. 

Tom loosed his hold, and left Bob to rise. 

44 There the halfpenny lies,” he said. 44 1 don’t want your 
halfpenny; I wouldn’t have kept it. But you wanted to cheat: 

I hate a cheat. I sha’n’t go along with you any more,” be 
added, turning round homeward, not without casting a regret 
toward the rat-catching and other pleasures which he must re¬ 
linquish along with Bob’s society. 

44 You may let it alone, then,” Bob called out after him. 44 1 
shall cheat if I like; there’s no fun i’ playing else; and I know 
where there’s a goldfinch’s nest, but I’ll take care you don’t 
.An’ you’re a nasty fightin’ turkey-cock, you are . . . .” 

Tom walked on without looking round, and Yap followed 
his example, the cold bath having moderated his passions. 

44 Go along wi’ you, then, wi’ your drownded dog; I wouldn’t 
own such a dog —I wouldn’t,” said Bob, getting louder, in a 
last effort to sustain his defiance. But Tom was not to be 
provoked into turning round, and Bob’s voice began to falter 
a little as he said, 

44 An’ Fn gi’en you every thing, an’ showed you every thing, 

an’ niver wanted nothin’ from you.An’ there’s your horn- 

handled knife, then, as you gi’en me—” Here Bob flung the 
knife as far as he could after Tom’s retreating footsteps. But 
it produced no effespt, except the sense in Bob’s mind that there 
was a terrible void in his lot now that knife was gone. 

He stood still till Tom had passed through the gate and dis¬ 
appeared behind the hedge. The knife would do no good on 
the ground there; it wouldn't vex Tom, and pride ox TeeexAr 
ment was a feeble passion in Bob's mind compared VvXXi \5nfc 



love of a pocket-knife. His very fingers sent entreating thrills 
that he would go and clutch that familiar rough buck’s-hom 
handle, which they had so often grasped for mere affection as 
it lay idle in his pocket. And there were two blades, and they 
had just been sharpened! What is life without a pocket-knife 
to him who has once tasted a higher existence ? No; to throw 
the handle after the hatchet is a comprehensible act of despe¬ 
ration, but to throw one’s pocket-knife after an implacable 
friend is clearly in every sense a hyperbole, or throwing be¬ 
yond the mark. So Bob shuffled back to the spot where the 
beloved knife lay in the dirt, and felt quite a new pleasure in 
clutching it again after the temporary separation, in opening 
one blade after the other, and feeling their edge with his well- 
hardened thumb. Poor Bob! he was not sensitive on the 
point of honor—not a chivalrous character. That fine moral 
aroma would not have been thought much of by the public 
opinion of Kennel Yard, which was the very focus or heart of 
Bob’s world, even if it could have made itself perceptible 
there; yet, for all that, he was not utterly a sneak and a thief, 
as our friend Tom had hastily decided. 

But Tom, you perceive, was rather a Rhadamanthine per¬ 
sonage, having more than the usual share of boy’s justice in 
him—the justice that desires to hurt culprits as muon as they 
deserve to be hurt, and is troubled with no doubts concerning 
the exact amount of their deserts. Maggie saw a cloud on his 
brow when he came home, which checked her joy at his com¬ 
ing so much sooner than she had expected, and she dared hard¬ 
ly speak to him as he stood silently throwing the small gravel- 
stones into the mill-dam. It is not pleasant to give up a rat- 
catching when you have set your mind on it. But if Tom had 
told his strongest feeling at that moment, he would have said, 
“ I’d do just the same again.” That was his usual mode of 
viewing his past actions, whereas Maggie was always wishing 
she had done something different. 



The Dodsons were certainly a handsome family, and Mrs. 
Glegg was not the least handsome of the sisters. As she sat 
in Mrs. Tulliver’s arm-chair, no impartial observer could have 
denied that for a woman of fifty she had a very comely face and 
figure, though Tom and Maggie considered their aunt Glegg 
as the type of ugliness. It is true, she despised the advantages 



of costume; for though, as she often observed, no woman had 
better clothes, it was not her way to wear her new things out 
before her old ones. Other women, if they liked, might have 
their best thread lace in every wash, but when Mrs. Glegg died 
it would be found that she had better lace laid by in the right- 
hand drawer of her wardrobe, in the Spotted Chamber, than 
ever Mrs. Wooll of StI Ogg’s had bought in her life, although 
Mrs. Wooll wore her lace before it was paid for. So of her 
curled fronts: Mrs. Glegg had doubtless the glossiest and crisp¬ 
est brown curls in h er d rawers, as well as curls in various de¬ 
grees of fuzzylaxness; but to look out on the week-day world 
from under a crisp and glossy front would be to introduce a 
most dream-like and unpleasant confusion between the sacred 
and the: secular. Occasionally, indeed, Mrs. Glegg wore one 
of her third-best fronts on a week-day visit, but not at a sister’s 
house; especially not at Mrs. Tulliver’s, who, since her mar¬ 
riage, had hurt her sisters’ feelings greatly by wearing her own 
hair, though, as Mrs. Glegg observed to Mrs. Deane, a mother 
3Ta family, like Bessy, with a husband always going to law, 
might have been expected to know better. But Bessy was al¬ 
ways weak! 

So, if Mrs. Glegg’s front to-day was more fuzzy and lax than 
usual, she had a design under it: she intended the most pointed 
and cutting allusion to Mrs. Tulliver’s bunches of blonde curls, 
separated from each other by a due wave of smoothness on 
each side of the parting. Mrs. TuUiver had shed tears several 
times at sister Glegg’s unkindness on the subject of these un- 
matronly curls, but the consciousness of looking the handsomer 
for them naturally administered support. Mrs. Glegg chose to 
wear her bonnet in the house to-day—untied and tilted slight¬ 
ly, of course—a frequent practice of hers when she was on a 
visit, and happened to be in a severe humor: she didn’t know 
what draughts there might be in strange houses. For the 
same reason she wore a small sable tippet, which reached just 
to her shoulders, and was very far from meeting across her well- 
formed chest, while her long neck was protected by a chevavx 
de frise of miscellaneous frilling. One would need to be learn¬ 
ed in the fashions of those times to know how far in the rear 
of them Mrs. Glegg’s slate-colored silk gown must have been; 
but, from certain constellations of small yellow spots upon it, 
and a mouldy odor about it suggestive of a damp clothes-chest, 
it was probable that it belonged to a stratum of garments just 
old enough to have come recently into wear. 

Mrs. Glegg held her large gold watch in her hand, with, the 
many-doubled chain round her fingers, and observed to 
Tnlhrer, who had just returned from a visit to tbebaXdfcssa* 



the mill on the floss. 

that whatever it might be by other people’s clocks and watches, 
it was gone half past twelve by hers. 

“ I don’t know what ails sister Pullet,” she continued. M It 
used to be the way in our family for one to be as early as an¬ 
other—I’m sure it was so in my poor father’s time—and not 
for one sister to sit half an hour before the others came. But 
if the ways o’ the family are altered, it sha’n’t be my fault; FU 
never be the one to come into a house when all the rest are 
going away. I wonder at sister Deane—she used to be more 
like me. But if you’ll take my advice, Bessy, you’ll put the 
dinner forrard a bit, sooner than put it back, because folks are 
late as ought to ha’ known better.” 

“ Oh dear, there’s no fear but what they’ll be all here in time, 
sister,” said Mrs. Tulliver, in her mild-peevish tone. “ The din¬ 
ner won’t be ready till half past one. But if it’s long for you 
to wait, let me fetch you a cneese-cake and a glass o’ wine.” 

“ Well, Bessy!” said Mrs. Glegg, with a bitter smile, and a 
scarcely perceptible toss of her head, “ I should ha’ thought 
you’d know your own sister better. I never did eat between 
meals, and I’m not going to begin. Not but what I hate that 
nonsense of having your dinner at half past one, when you 
might have it at one. You was never brought up in that way, 

^ “ Why, Jane, what can I do ? Mr. Tulliver doesn’t like his 
dinner before two o’clock, but I put it half an hour earlier be¬ 
cause o’ you.” 

# “Yes, yes, I know how it is wi’ husbands—they’re for put¬ 
ting every thing off—they’ll put the dinner off till after tea, if 
they’ve got wives as are weak enough to give in to such work; 
but it’s a pity for you, Bessy, as you haven’t got more strength 
o’ mind. It’ll be well if your children don’t suffer for it. And 
I hope you’ve not gone and got a great dinner for us—going 
to expense for your sisters as ’ud sooner eat a crust o’ dry 
bread nor help to ruin you with extravagance. I wonder you 
don’t take pattern by your sister Deane—she’s far more sensi¬ 
ble. And here you’ve got two children to provide for, and 
your husband’s spent your fortin i’ going to law, and’s like to 
spend his own too. A boiled joint, as you could make broth 
of for the kitchen,” Mrs. Glegg added, in a tone of emphatic 
protest, “ and a plain pudding, with a spoonful o’ sugar and no 
spice, ’ud be far more becoming.” 

With sister Glegg in this humor, there was a cheerful pros¬ 
pect for the day. Mrs. Tulliver never went the length of quar- 
reling with her, any more than a water-fowl that puts out its 
leg in a deprecating manner can be said to quarrel with a boy 
who throws stones , But this point of the dinner wea 



one, and not at all new, so that Mrs. Tolliver could make the 
same answer she had often made before. 

“ Mr. Tulliver says he always will have a good dinner for his 
friends while he can pay for it,” she said, “ and he’s a right to 
do as he likes in his own house, sister.” 

“ Well, Bessy, Zcan’t leave your children enough out o’ my 
savings to keep ’em from ruin. And you mustn’t look to hav¬ 
ing any o’ Mr. Glegg’s money, for it’s well if I don’t go first— 
he comes of a long-lived family; and if he was to die and leave 
me well for my life, he’d tie all the money up to go back to his 
own kin.” 

The sound of wheels while Mrs. Glegg was speaking was an 
interruption highly welcome to Mrs. Tulliver, who hastened out 
to receive sister Pullet—it must be sister Pullet, because the 
sound was that of a four-wheel. 

Mrs. Glegg tossed her head and looked rather sour about the 
mouth at the thought of the “ four-wheel.” She had a strong 
opinion on that subject. 

Sister Pullet was in tears when the one-horse chaise stopped 
before Mrs. Tulliver’s door, and it was apparently requisite that 
she should shed a few more before getting out; for, though 
her husband and Mrs. Tulliver stood ready to support her, she 
sat still and shook her head sadly as she looked through her 
tears at the vague distance. 

“Why, whativer is the matter, sister?” said Mrs. Tulliver. 
She was not an imaginative woman, but it occurred to her that 
the large toilet-glass in sister Pullet’s best bedroom was pos¬ 
sibly broken for the second time. 

There was no reply but a further shake of the head as Mrs. 
Pullet slowly rose and got down from the chaise, not without 
casting a glance at Mr. Pullet to see that he was guarding her 
handsome silk dress from injury. Mr. Pullet was a small man 
with a high nose, small twinkling eyes, and thin lips, in a fresh¬ 
looking suit of black, and a white cravat, that seemed to have 
been tied very tight on some higher principle than that of mere 
personal ease. He bore about the same relation to his tall, 
good-looking wife, with her balloon sleeves, abundant mantle, 
and large be-feathered and be-ribboned bonnet, as a small fish¬ 
ing-smack bears to a brig with all its sails spread. 

It is a pathetic sight and a striking example of the complexity 
introduced into the emotions by a high state of civilization— 
the sight of a fashionably dressed female in grief. From the 
sorrow of a Hottentot to that of a woman in large buckram 
sleeves, with several bracelets on each arm, an axc\ntee,V\n^ 
bonnet, and delicate ribbon-strings —what a long aenfca cSL gear 
dationaf In the enlightened child of civilization \2no atoaxAssnr 



ment characteristic of grief is checked and varied in the sub¬ 
tlest manner, so as to present an interesting problem to the 
analytic mind. If, with a crashed heart and eyes half-blinded 
by the mist of tears, she were to walk with a too devious step 
through a door-place, she might crush her buckram sleeves too, 
and the deep consciousness of this possibility produces a com¬ 
position of forces by which she takes a line that just clears the 
door-post. Perceiving that the tears are hurrying fast, she un¬ 
pins her strings and throws them languidly backward—a touch¬ 
ing gesture, indicative, even in the deepest gloom, of the hope 
in future dry moments when cap-strings will once more have a 
charm. As the tears subside a little, and with her head lean¬ 
ing backward at the angle that will not injure her bonnet, she 
endures that terrible moment when grief, which has made all 
things else a weariness, has itself become weary; she looks 
down pensively at her bracelets, and adjusts their clasps with 
that pretty studied fortuity which would be gratifying to her 
mind if it were once more in a calm and healthy state. 

Mrs. Pullet brushed each door-post with great nicety about 
the latitude of her shoulders (at that period a woman was truly 
ridiculous to an instructed eye if she did not measure a yard 
and a half across the shoulders), and having done that, sent the 
muscles of her face in quest of fresh tears as she advanced into 
the parlor where Mrs. Glegg was seated. 

“ Well, sister, you’re late; what’s the matter?” said Mrs. 
Glegg, rather sharply, as they shook hands. 

Mrs. Pullet sat down, lifting up her mantle carefully behind 
before she answered, 

“ She’s gone,” unconsciously using an impressive figure of 

“ It isn’t the glass this time, then,” thought Mrs. Tulliver. 

“ Died the day before yesterday,” continued Mrs. Pullet; 
“ an’ her legs was as thick as my body,” she added, with deep 
sadness, after a pause. “ They’d tapped her no end o’ times, 
and the water—they say you might ha’ swum in it, if you’d 

“Well, Sophy, it’s a mercy she’s gone, then, whoiver she 
may be,” said Mrs. Glegg, with the promptitude and emphasis 
of a mind naturally clear and decided; “ but I can’t think who 
you’re talking of, for my part.” 

“ But I know,” said Mrs. Pullet, sighing and shaking her 
head; “ and there isn’t another such a dropsy in the parish. I 
know as it’s old Mrs. Sutton o’ the Twentylands.” 

“Well, she’s no kin o’ yours, nor much acquaintance, as Tve 
ever heared of,” said Mrs. Glegg, who always cried just as 
much as was proper when any thing happened to her own 
4 kin,” but not on other occasions. 



“ She’s so much acquaintance as I’ve seen her legs when 
they was like bladders. . . . And an old lady as had 

doubled her money over and over again, and kept it all in her 
own management to the last, and had her pocket with her keys 
in under her pillow constant. There isn’t many old/wrish’ners 
like her, I doubt.” 

“ And they say she’d took as much physic as ’ud fill a wag¬ 
on,” observed Mr. Pullet. / 

“ Ah!” sighed Mrs. Pullet, “she’d another complaint .ever 
so many years before she had the dropsy, and the doctors 
couldn’t make out what it was. And she saijl to me, when I 
went to see her last Christmas, she said, ‘ Mrs. Pullet, if iver 
you have the dropsy, you’ll think o’ me.’ She did say so,” 
added Mrs. Pullet, beginning to cry bitterly again; “ those 
were her very words. And she’s to be buried o’ Saturday, 
and Pullet’s bid to the funeral.” 

“ Sophy,” said Mrs. Glegg, unable any longer to contain her 
spirit of rational remonstrance, “ Sophy, I wonder at you, fret- 
tang and injuring your health about people as don’t belong to 
you. Your poor father never did so, nor your aunt Frances 
neither, nor any o’ the family, as I ever heared of. You 
couldn’t fret no more than this if we’d heared as our cousin 
Abbott had died sudden without making his will.” 

. Mrs. Pullet was silent, having to finish her crying, and rather 
flattered than indignant at being upbraided for crying too 
much. It was not every body who could afford to cry so 
much about their neighbors who had left them nothing; but 
Mrs. Pullet had married a gentleman farmer, and had leisure 
and money to carry her crying and every thing else to the 
highest pitch of respectability. 

“ Mrs. Sutton didn’t die without making her will, though,” 
said Mr. Pullet, with a confused sense that he was saying some¬ 
thing to sanction his wife’s tears; w ours is a rich parish, but 
they say there’s nobody else to leave as many thousands be¬ 
hind ’em as Mrs. Sutton. And she’s left no leggicies, to speak 
on—left it all in a lump to her husband’s nevvy.” 

“ There wasn’t much good i’ being so rich, then,” said Mrs. 
Glegg, “if she’d got none but husband’s kin to leave it to. 
It’s poor work when that’s all you’ve got to pinch yourself for 
—not as I’m one o’ those as ’ud like to die without leaving 
more money out at interest than other folks had reckoned. 
But it’s a poor tale when it must go out o’ your own family.’ r 

“ I’m sure, sister,” said Mrs. Pullet, who had recovered suf¬ 
ficiently to take off her veil and fold it carefully, “ it’s a nice 
sort o’ man as Mrs. Sutton has left her money to, for lie’s 
troubled with the asthmy, and goes to bed every night at eight 



o’clock. He told me about it himself—as free as could be— 
one Sunday when he came to our church. He wears a hare- 
skin on his chest, and has a trembling in his talk—quite a gen¬ 
tleman sort o’ man. I told him there wasn’t many months in 
the year as I wasn’t under the doctor’s hands. And he said, 

4 Mrs. Pullet, I can feel for you.’ That was what he said—the 
very words. Ah!” sighed Mrs. Pullet, shaking her head at the 
idea that there were but few who could enter fully into her 
experiences in pink mixture and white mixture, strong stuff in 
small bottles, and weak stuff in large bottles, damp boluses at 
a shilling, and draughts at eighteen pence. “ Sister, I may as 
well go and take my bonnet off now. Did you see as the cap- 
box was put out ?” she added, turning to her husband. 

Mr. Pullet, by an unaccountable lapse of memory, had for¬ 
gotten it, and hastened out, with a stricken conscience, to 
remedy the omission. 

44 They’ll bring it up stairs, sister,” said Mrs. Tulliver, wish¬ 
ing to go at once, lest^Mrs. Glegg should begin to explain her 
feelings about Sophy’s being the first Dodson who ever ruined 
her constitution with doctor’s stuff. 

Mrs. Tulliver was fond of going up stairs with her sister 7 
Pullet, and looking thoroughly at her cap before she put it on 
her head, and discussing millinery in general. This was part 
of Bessy’s weakness that stirred Mrs. Glegg’s sisterly com¬ 
passion : Bessy went far too well dressed, considering; and 
she was too proud to dress her child in the good clothing her 
sister Glegg gave her from the primeval strata of her ward¬ 
robe ; it was a sin and a shame to buy any thing to dress that 
child, if it wasn’t a pair of shoes. In this particular, however, 
Mrs. Glegg did her sister Bessy some injustice, for Mrs. Tulli¬ 
ver had really made great efforts to induce Maggie to wear a 
Leghorn bonnet and a dyed silk frock made out of her aunt 
Glegg’s, but the results had been such that Mrs. Tulliver Vas 
obliged to bury them in her maternal bosom; for Maggie, de¬ 
claring that the frock smelt of nasty dye, had taken an oppor¬ 
tunity of basting it together with the roast beef the first Sun¬ 
day she wore it, and, finding this scheme answer, she had sub¬ 
sequently pumped on the bonnet with its green ribbons, so as 
to give it a general resemblance to a sage cheese garnished 
'with withered lettuces. I must urge in excuse for Maggie 
that Tom laughed at her in the bonnet, and said she looked 
like an old Judy. Aunt Pullet, too, made presents of clothes, 
but these were always pretty enough to please Maggie as well 
as her mother. Of all her sisters, Mrs. Tulliver certainly pre¬ 
ferred her sister Pullet, not without a return of preference; 
but Mrs. Pullet was sorry Bessy had those naughty awkward 



children; she would do the best she could by them, but it was 
a pity they weren’t as good and as pretty as sister Deane’s 
child. Maggie and Tom, on their part, thought their aunt 
Pullet tolerable, chiefly because she was not their aunt Glegg. 
Tom always declined to go more than once, during his holi¬ 
days, to see either of them: both his uncles tipped him that 
once, of course; but at his aunt Pullet’s there were a great 
many toads to pelt in the cellar area, so that he preferred the 
Visit to her. Maggie shuddered at the toads, and dreamed 
of them horribly, but she liked her uncle Pullet’s musical snuff¬ 
box. Still, it was agreed by the sisters, in Mrs. Tulliver’s ab¬ 
sence, that the Tulliver blood did not mix well with the Dod¬ 
son blood; that, in fact, poor Bessy’s children were Tullivers, 
and that Tom, notwithstanding he had the Dodson complexion, 
was likely to be as “ contrairy” as his father. As for Maggie, 
she was the picture of her aunt Moss, Mr. Tulliver’s sister—a 
large-boned woman, who had married as poorly as could be-$ 
had no china, and had a husband who had much ado to pay 
his rent. But when Mrs. Pullet was alone with Mrs. Tulliver 
up stairs, the remarks were naturally to the disadvantage of 
Mrs. Glegg, and they agreed, in confidence, that there was no 
knowing what sort of fright sister Jane would come out next. 
But their tete-a-tete was curtailed by the appearance of Mrs. 
Deane with little Lucy, and Mrs. Tulliver had to look on with 
a silent pang while Lucy’s blonde curls were adjusted. It was 
quite unaccountable that Mrs. Deane, the thinnest and sallow- 
est of all the Miss Dodsons, should have had this child, who 
might have been taken for Mrs. Tulliver’s any day. And Mag¬ 
gie always looked twice as dark as usual when she was by the 
side of Lucy. 

She did to-day, when she and Tom came in from the garden 
with their father and their uncle Glegg. Maggie had thrown 
her bonnet off very carelessly, and, coming in with her hair 
rough as well as out of curl, rushed at once to Lucy, who was 
standing by her mother’s knee. Certainly the contrast be¬ 
tween the cousins was conspicuous, and, to superficial eyes, 
was very much to the disadvantage of Maggie, though a con¬ 
noisseur might have seen “ points” in her which had a higher 
promise for maturity than Lucy’s natty completeness. It was 
like the contrast between a rough, dark, overgrown puppy 
and a white kitten. Lucy put up the neatest little rose-bud 
mouth to be kissed: every thing about her was neat—her lit¬ 
tle round neck, with the row of coral beads; her little straight 
nose, not at all snubby; her little clear eyebrows, rather dark¬ 
er than her curls, to match her hazel eyes, which looked up 
with shy pleasure at Maggie, taller by the head, though scarce- 



ly a year older. Maggie always looked at Lucy with delight. 
She was fond of fancying a world where the people never got 
any larger than children of their own age, and she made the 
qneen of it just like Lucy, with a little crown on her head and 
a little sceptre in her hand .... only the queen was Maggie 
herself in Lucy’s form. 

1 “ Oh Lucy,” she hurst out, after kissing her, “ you’ll stay 

^ with Tom and me, won’t you ? Oh kiss her, Tom.” 

Tom, too, had come up to Lucy, hut he was not going to 
kiss her—no; he came up to her with Maggie because it seem¬ 
ed easier, on the whole, than saying “ How do you do ?” to 
all those aunts and uncles: he stood looking at nothing in par¬ 
ticular, with the blushing, awkward air and semi-smile which 
are common to shy hoys when in company—very much as if 
they had come into the world by mistake, and found it in a de¬ 
gree of undress that was quite embarrassing. 

“ Heyday!” said aunt Glegg, with loud emphasis. “ Do lit¬ 
tle boys and gells come into a room without taking notice o’ 

' their uncles and aunts ? That wasn’t the way when I was a 
little gell.” 

“ Go and speak to your aunts and uncles, my dears,” said 
Mrs. Tulliver, looking anxious and melancholy. She wanted 
to whisper to Maggie a command to go and have her hair 

“ Well, and how do you do ? And I hope you’re good chil¬ 
dren, are you?” said aunt Glegg, in the.same loud emphatic 
way, as she took their hands, hurting them with her large 
rings, and kissing their cheeks much against their desire. 
“Look up, Tom, look up. Boys as go to boarding-schools 
should hold their heads up. Look at me now.” Tom de¬ 
clined that pleasure apparently, for he tried to draw his hand 
away. “ Put your hair behind your ears, Maggie, and keep 
your frock on your shoulder.” 

Aunt Glegg always spoke to them in this loud emphatic 
way, as if she considered them deaf, or perhaps father idiotic: 
it was a means, she thought, of making them feel that they 
were accountable creatures, and might be a salutary check on 
naughty tendencies. Bessie’s children were so spoiled—they’d 
need have somebody to make them feel their duty. 

“ Well, my dears,” said aunt Pullet, in a compassionate voice, 
“you grow wonderful fast. I doubt they’ll outgrow their 
strength,” she added, looking over their heads, with a melan¬ 
choly expression, at their mother. “ I think the gell has toff^ 
much hair. Fd have it thinned and cut shorter, sister, if 
was you: it isn’t good for her health. It’s that as makes he 
skin so brown, I shouldn’t wonder. Don’t you think so, sist* 



“I can’t say, Fm sure, sister,” said Mrs. Deane, shutting her 
lips close again, and looking at Maggie with a critical eye. 

“No, no,” said Mr.Tolliver, “the child’s healthy enough; 
there’s nothing ails her. There’s red wheat as well as white, 
for that matter, and some like the dark grain best. But it ’ud 
he as well if Bessy ’ud have the child’s hair cut, so as it ’ud lie 

A dreadful resolve was gathering in Maggie’s breast, but it 
was arrested by the desire to know from her aunt Deane 
whether she would leave Lucy behind: aunt Deane would 
hardly ever let Lucy come to see them. After various reasons 
for refusal, Mrs. Deane appealed to Lucy herself. 

44 You wouldn’t like to stay behind without mother, should 
you, Lucy ?” 

44 Yes, please, mother,” said Lucy, timidly, blushing very 
pink all over her little neck. 

44 Well done, Lucy! Let her stay, Mrs. Deane, let her stay,” 
said Mr. Deane, a large but alert-looking man, with a type of 
physique to be seen in all ranks of English society—bald crown, 
red wniskers, full forehead, and general solidity without heav¬ 
iness. You may see noblemen like Mr. Deane, and you may 
see grocers or day-laborers like him; but the keenness of his 
brown eyes was less common than his contour. He held a sil¬ 
ver snuff-box very tightly in his hand, and now and then ex¬ 
changed a pinch with Mr. Tulliver, whose box was only silver- 
mounted, so that it was naturally a joke between them that 
Mr. Tulliver wanted to exchange snuffboxes also. Mr. Deane’s 
box had been given him by the superior partners in the firm to 
which he belonged, at the same time that they gave him a 
share in the business, in acknowledgment of his valuable serv¬ 
ices as manager. No man was thought more highly of in St. 
Ogg’s than Mr. Deane, and some persons were even of opinion 
that Miss Susan Dodson, who was held to have made the worst 
match of all the Dodson sisters, might one day ride in a better 
carriage, and live in a better house even than her sister Pullet. 
There was no knowing where a man would stop who had got 
his foot into a great mill-owning, ship-owning business like that 
of Guest & Co., with a banking concern attached. And Mrs. 
Deane, as her intimate female friends observed, was proud and 
44 having” enough: she wouldn’t let her husband stand still in 
the world for want of spurring. 

44 Maggie,” said Mrs. Tulliver, beckoning Maggie to her, and 
whispering in her ear, as soon as this point of Lucy’s staying 
was settled, 44 go and get your hair brushed—do, for shame. I 
told you not to come in without going to Martha first; you 
know I did.” 

C 2 



41 Tom, come out with me,” whispered Maggie, pulling his 
sleeve as she passed him; and Tom followed willingly enough. 

“ Come up stairs with me, Tom,” she whispered when they 
were outside the door. “ There’s something I want to do be¬ 
fore dinner.” 

“There’s no time to play at any thing before dinner,” said 
Tom, whose imagination was impatient of any intermediate 

“ Oh yes, there is time for this —do come, Tom.” 

Tom followed Maggie up stairs into her mother’s room, and 
saw her go at once to a drawer, from which she took out a 
large pair of scissors. 

“ What are they for, Maggie ?” said Tom, feeling his curios¬ 
ity awakened. 

Maggie answered by seizing her front locks and cutting them 
straight across the middle of her forehead. 

“ Oh my buttons, Maggie, you’ll catch it!” exclaimed Tom; 
“ you’d better not cut any more off.” 

Snip! went the great scissors again while Tom was speak¬ 
ing; and he couldn’t help feeling it was rather good fun: 
Maggie would look so queer. 

“ Here, Tom, cut it behind for me,” said Maggie, excited by 
her own daring, and anxious to finish the deed. 

“ You’ll catch it, you know,” said Tom, nodding his head in 
an admonitory manner, and hesitating a little as he took the 

“Never mind—make haste!” said Maggie, giving a little 
stamp with her foot. Her cheeks were quite flushed. 

The black locks were so thick—nothing could be more 
tempting to a lad who had already tasted the forbidden pleas¬ 
ure of cutting the pony’s mane. I speak to those who know 
the satisfaction of making a pair of shears meet through a duly 
resisting mass of hair. One delicious grinding snip, and then 
another and another, and the hinder locks fell heavily on the 
floor, and Maggie stood cropped in a jagged uneven manner, 
but with a sense of clearness and freedom, as if she had 
emerged from a wood into the open plain. 

“ Oh, Maggie,” said Tom, jumping round her, and slapping 
his knees as he laughed, “ Oh my buttons, what a queer thing 
you look I Look at yourself in the glass: you look like the 
idiot we throw our nutshells to at school.” 

Maggie felt an unexpected pang. She had thought before¬ 
hand chiefly of her own deliverance from her teasing hair and 
teasing remarks about it, and something also of the triumph 
she should have over her mother and her aunts by this very 
decided course of action: she didn’t want her hair to look 

THE MTTJj on the floss. 


pretty—that was out of the question—she only wanted people 
to think her a clever little girl, and not to find fault with her. 
Bat now, when Tom began to laugh at her, and say she was 
like the idiot, the affair had quite a new aspect. She looked 
in the glass, and still Tom laughed and clapped his hands, and 
Maggie’s flushed cheeks began to pale, and her lips to tremble 
a little. 

44 Oh, Maggie, you’ll have to go down to dinner directly,” 
said Tom. “Oh my!” 

44 Don’t laugh at me, Tom,” said Maggie, in a passionate 
tone, with an outburst of angry tears, stamping, and giving 
him a push. 

“Now, then, spitfire!” said Tom. “What did you cut it 
off for, then ? I shall go down; I can smell the dinner going 

He hurried down stairs and left poor Maggie to that bitter 
sense of the irrevocable which was almost an every-day expe¬ 
rience of her small soul. She could see clearly enough, now 
the thing was done, that it was very foolish, and that she 
should have to hear and think more about her hair than ever; 
for Maggie rushed to her deeds with passionate impulse, and 
then saw not only their consequences, but what would have 
happened if they had not been done, with all the detail and 
exaggerated circumstance of an active imagination. Tom 
never did the same sort of foolish things as Maggie, having a 
wonderful distinctive discernment of what would turn to his 
advantage or disadvantage; and so it happened, that though 
he was much more willful and inflexible than Maggie, his 
mother hardly ever called him naughty. But if Tom did make 
a mistake or that sort, he espoused it, and stood by it: he 
44 didn’t mind.” If he broke the lash of his father’s gig-whip 
by lashing the gate, he couldn’t help it—the whip shouldn’t 
have got caught in the hinge. If Tom Tulliver whipped a 

E ‘ , he was convinced, not that the whipping of gates by all 
\ was a justifiable act, but that he, Tom Tulliver, was justi- 
e in whipping that particular gate, and he wasn’t going to 
be sorry. But Maggie, as she stood crying before the glass, 
felt it impossible that she should go down to dinner and en¬ 
dure the severe eyes and severe words of her aunts, while Tom, 
and Lucy, and Martha, who waited at table, and perhaps her 
father and her uncles, would laugh at her; for if Tom had 
laughed at her, of course every one else would; and if she had 
only let her hair alone, she could have sat with Tom and Lucy, 
ana had the apricot pudding and the custard! What could 
she do but sob? She sat as helpless and despairing among 
her black locks as Ajax among the slaughtered sheep. Very 



trivial, perhaps, this anguish seems to weather-worn mortals 
who have to think of Christmas bills, dead loves, and broken 
friendships; but it was not less bitter to Maggie—perhaps it 
was even more bitter—than what we are fond of calling anti¬ 
thetically the real troubles of mature life. “ Ah! my child, 
you will have real troubles to fret about by-and-by,” is the con¬ 
solation we have almost all of us had administered to us in our 
childhood, and have repeated to other children since we have 
been grown up. We have all of us sobbed so piteously, stand¬ 
ing with tiny bare legs above our little socks, when we lost 
sight of our mother or nurse in some strange place; but we 
can no longer recall the poignancy of that moment and weep 
. over it, as we do over the remembered suffering of five or ten 
|l years ago. Every one of those keen moments has left its 
| brace, and lives in us still, but such traces have blent them- 
1 reives irrevocably with the firmer texture of our youth and 
Knanhood, and so it comes that we can look on at the troubles 
•of our children with a smiling disbelief in the reality of their 
pain. Is there any one who can recover the experience of his 
childhood, not merely with a memory of what he did and what 
happened to him, of what he liked and disliked when he w'as 
in frock and trowsers, but with an intimate penetration, a re¬ 
vived consciousness of what he felt then, when it was so long 
from one Midsummer to another? what he felt when his 

schoolfellows shut him out of their game because he would 

S itch the ball wrong out of mere willfulness; or on a rainy 
ay in the holidays, when he didn’t know how to amuse him¬ 
self, and fell from idleness into mischief, from mischief into de¬ 
fiance, and from defiance into sulkiness; or when his mother 
absolutely refused to let him have a tailed coat that “ half,” al¬ 
though every other boy of his age had gone into tails already? 
Surely if wo could recall that early bitterness, and the dim 
guesses, the strangely perspectiveless conception of life that 
gave the bitterness its intensity, we should not pooh-pooh the 
griefs of our children. 

“Miss Maggie, you’re to come down this minute,” said 
Kezia, entering the room hurriedly. “Lawks! what have 
you been a doing ? I niver see such a fright.” 

“Don’t, Kezia,” said Maggie, angrily. “ Go away!” 

“ But I tell you you’re to come down, miss, this minute; 
your mother says so,” said Kezia, going up to Maggie and tak¬ 
ing her by the hand to raise her from the floor. 

“ Get away, Kezia; I dont want any dinner,” said Maggie, 
resisting Kezia’s arm. “ I sha’n’t come.” 

“Oh, well, I can’t stay. I’ve got to wait at dinner,” said 
Kesda, going out again. 



“Maggie, you little silly,” said Tom, peeping into the room 
ten minutes after, “why don’t you come and have your din¬ 
ner ? There’s lots o’ goodies, and mother says you’re to come. 
What are you crying for, you little spooney?” 

Oh, it was dreadful! Tom was so hard and unconcerned: 
if he had been crying on the floor, Maggie would have cried 
too. And there was the dinner, so nice; and she was so hun¬ 
gry. It was very bitter. 

But Tom was not altogether hard. He was not inclined to 
cry, and did not feel that Maggie’s grief spoiled his prospects 
of the sweets; but he went and put his head near her, and 
said, in a lower, comforting tone, 

“ Won’t you come, then, Maggie ? Shall I bring you a bit 
o’ pudding when I’ve had mine ? . . . and a custard and 

“Ye-e-es,” said Magsie, beginning to feel life a little more 

“Very well,” said Tom, going away. But he turned again 
at the door and said, “ But you’d better come, you know. 
There’s the dessert—nuts, you know—and cowslip wine.” 

Maggie’s tears had ceased, and she looked reflective as Tom 
left her. His good-nature had taken off the keenest edge of 
her suffering, and nuts with cowslip wine began to assert their 
legitimate influence. 

Slowly she rose from among her scattered locks, and slowly 
she made her way down stairs. Then she stood leaning with 
one shoulder against the frame of the dining-parlor door, peep¬ 
ing in when it was ajar. She saw Tom and Lucy with an 
empty chair between them, and there were the custards on a 
side-table—it was too much. She slipped in and went toward 
the empty chair. But she had no sooner sat down than she 
repented, and wished herself back again. 

Mrs. Tulliver gave a little scream as she saw her, and felt 
such a “ turn” that she dropped the large gravy-spoon into the 
dish with the most serious results to the table-cloth; for Kezia 
had not betrayed the reason of Maggie’s refusal to come down, 
not liking to give her mistress a shock in the moment of carv¬ 
ing, and Mrs. Tulliver thought there was nothing worse in 
question than a fit of perverseness, which was inflicting its own 
punishment by depriving Maggie of half her dinner. 

Mrs. Tulliver’s scream made all eyes turn toward the same 
point as her own, and Maggie’s cheeks and ears began to burn, 
while uncle Glegg, a kind-looking, white-haired old gentleman, 

“Heyday! what little gell’s this—why,I don’t know her. 
Is it some little gell you’ve picked up in the road, Kesria?” 



“ Why, she’s gone and cut her hair herself,” said Mr. Tul- 
liver in an under-tone to Mr. Deane, laughing with much en¬ 
joyment. “Did you ever know such a little hussy as it is?” 

“ Why, little miss, you’ve made yourself look very funny,” 
said uncle Pullet, and perhaps he never in his life made an ob¬ 
servation which was felt to be so lacerating. 

“ Fie, for shame!” said aunt Glegg, in her loudest, severest 
tone of reproof. “Little gells as cut their own hair should be 
whipped and fed on bread and water, not come and sit down 
with their aunts and uncles.” 

“ Ay, ay,” said uncle Glegg, meaning to give a playful turn 
to this denunciation, “ she must be sent to jail, I think, and 
they’ll cut the rest of her hair off there, and make it all even.” 

“ She’s more like a gipsy nor ever,” said aunt Pullet, in a 
pitying tone; “ it’s very bad luck, sister, as the gell should be 
so brown—the boy’s fair enough. I doubt it ’ll stand in her 
way i’ life to be so brown.” 

“ She’s a naughty child, as ’ll break her mother’s heart,” 
said Mrs. Tulliver, with the tears in her eyes. 

Maggie seemed to be listening to a chorus of reproach and 
derision. Her first flush came from anger, which gave her a 
transient power of defiance, and Tom thought she was braving 
it out, supported by the recent appearance of the pudding and 
custard. Under this impression, he whispered, “Oh mv! 
Maggie, I told you you’d catch it.” He meant to be friendly, 
but Maggie felt convinced that Tom was rejoicing in her ig¬ 
nominy. Her feeble power of defiance left her in an instant, 
her heart swelled, ana, getting up from her chair, she ran to 
her father, hid her face on his shoulder, and burst out into loud 

“ Come, come, my wench,” said her father, soothingly, put¬ 
ting his arm round her, “never mind; you was i’ the right to 
cut it off if it plagued you; give over crying; father ’ll take 
your part.” 

Delicious words of tenderness! Maggie never forgot any 
of these moments when her father “ took her part;” she kept 
them in her heart, and thought of them long years after, when 
every one else said that her father had done very ill by his 
' children. 

“ How your husband does spoil that child, Bessie!” said Mrs. 
Glegg, in a loud “ aside” to Mrs. Tulliver. “ It ’ll be the ruin 
of her if you don’t take care. My father niver brought his 
children up so, else we should ha’ been a different sort o’ £un- 
ily to what we are.” 

Mrs. Tulliver’s domestic sorrows seemed at this moment to 
have reached the point at which insensibility begins. She took 



no notice of her sister’s remark, but threw back her cap-strings 
and dispensed the pudding in mute resignation. 

With the dessert there came entire deliverance for Maggie, 
for the children were told they might have their nuts and wine 
in the summer-house, since the day was so mild, and they 
scampered out among the budding bushes of the garden with 
the alacrity of small animals getting from under a buming- 

Mrs.Tulliver had her special reason for this permission: now 
the dinner was dispatched, and every one’s mind disengaged, 
it was the right moment to communicate Mr. Tulliver’s inten¬ 
tion concerning Tom, and it would be as well for Tom himself 
to be absent. The children were used to hear themselves talk¬ 
ed of as freely as if they were birds, and could understand 
nothing, however they might stretch their necks and listen; 
but on this occasion Mrs. Tulliver manifested an unusual dis¬ 
cretion, because she had recently had evidence that the going 
to school to a clergyman was a sore point with Tom, who look¬ 
ed at it as very much on a par with going to school to a con¬ 
stable. Mrs. Tulliver had a sighing sense that her husband 
would do as he liked, whatever sister Glegg said, or sister 
Pullet either, but at least they would not be able to say, if the 
thing turned out ill, that Bessy had fallen in with her hus¬ 
band’s folly without letting her own friends know a word 
about itr 

“ Mr. Tulliver,” she said, interrupting her husband in his talk 
with Mr. Deane, “ it’s time now to tell the children’s aunts and 
uncles what you’re thinking of doing with Tom, isn’t it ?” 

“Very well,” said Mr.Tulliver, rather sharply, “I’ve no ob¬ 
jections to tell any body what I mean to do with him. I’ve 
settled,” he added, “ looking toward Mr. Glegg and Mr. Deane, 
“I’ve settled to send him to a Mr. Stelling, a parson down at 
King’s Lorton there—an uncommon clever fellow, I under¬ 
stand, as ’ll put him up to most things.” 

There was a rustling demonstration of surprise in the com¬ 
pany, such as you may have observed in a country congrega¬ 
tion when they hear an allusion to their week-day affairs from 
the pulpit. It was equally astonishing to the aunts and uncles 
to find a parson introduced into Mr. Tulliver’s family arrange¬ 
ments. As for uncle Pullet, he could hardly have been more 
thoroughly obfuscated if Mr. Tulliver had said that he was go¬ 
ing to send Tom to the lord chancellor; for uncle Pullet be¬ 
longed to that extinct class of British yeomen who, dressed in 
good broadcloth, paid high rates and taxes, went to church, 
and ate a particularly good dinner on Sunday, m\hou\> dvsaxn- 
ing that tie British Constitution in Church, and. ataXft had a 



traceable origin any more than the solar system and the fixed 
stars. It is melancholy, but true, that Mr. JPullet had the most 
confused idea of a bishop as a sort of a baronet who might or 
might not be a clergyman, and as the rector of his own parish 
was a man of high family and fortune, the idea that a clergy¬ 
man could be a schoolmaster was too remote from Mr. Pullet’s 
experience to be readily conceivable. I know it is difficult for 
people in these instructed times to believe in uncle Pullet’s ig¬ 
norance ; but let them reflect on the remarkable results of a 
great natural faculty under favoring circumstances. And un¬ 
cle Pullet had a great natural faculty for ignorance. He was 
the first to give utterance to his astonishment. 

“ Why, what can you be going to send him to a parson for?” 
he said, with an amazed twinkling in his eyes, looking at Mr. 
Glegg and Mr. Deane, to see if they showed any signs of com- 

“ Why, because the parsons are the best schoolmasters, by 
what I can make out,” said poor Tulliver, who, in the maze of 
this puzzling world, laid hold of any clew with great readiness 
and tenacity. “Jacobs at th’ academy’s no parson,and he’s 
done very bad by the boy; and I made up my mind, if I sent 
him to school again, it should be to somebody different to Ja¬ 
cobs. And this Mr. Stelling, by what I can make out, is the 
sort o’ man I want. And I mean my boy to go to him at Mid¬ 
summer,” he concluded, in a tone of decision, tapping his snuff¬ 
box and taking a pinch. 

“ You’ll have to pay a swinging half-yearly bill then, eh, Tul¬ 
liver ? The clergymen have highish notions in general,” said 
Mr. Deane, taking snuff vigorously, as he always did when wish¬ 
ing to maintain a neutral position. 

“ What! do you think the parson ’ll teach him to know a 
good sample o’ wheat when he sees it, neighbor Tulliver ?” 
said Mr. Glegg, who was fond of his jest, and, having retired 
from business, felt that it was not only allowable, but becom¬ 
ing in him to take a playful view of things. 

“ Why, you see, I’ve got a plan i’ my head about Tom,” 
said Mr. Tulliver, pausing after that statement and liting up 
his glass. 

“Well, if I may be allowed to speak, and it’s seldom as I 
am,” said Mrs. Glegg, with a tone of bitter meaning, “ I should 
like to know what good is to come to the boy by bringin’ him 
up above his fortin.” 

“ Why,” said Mr. Tulliver, not looking at Mrs. Glegg, but 
at the male part of his audience, “ you see, I’ve made up my 
mind not to bring Tom up to my own business. Fve had my 
thoughts about it all along, and I made wp my mind by what 



I saw with Garnett and his son. I mean to put him to some 
business as he can go into without capital, and I want to give 
him an eddication as he’ll be even wi’ the lawyers and folks, 
and put me up to a notion now an’ then.” 

Mrs. Glegg emitted a long sort of guttural sound with closed 
bps, that smiled in mingled pity and scorn. 

w It ’ud be a fine deal better for some people,” she said, after 
that introductory note, 44 if they’d let the lawyers alone.” 

44 Is he at the head of a grammar-school, then, this clergy¬ 
man, such as that at Market Bewley ?” said Mr. Deane. 

a No, nothing o’ that,” said Mr. Tulliver. 44 He won’t take 
more than two or three pupils, and so he’ll have the more 
time to attend to ’em, you know.” 

44 Ah! and get his eddication done the sooner: they can’t 
learn much at a time when there’s so many of ’em,” said uncle 
Pullet, feeling that he was getting quite an insight into this 
difficult matter. 

44 But he’ll want the more pay, I doubt,” said Mr. Glegg. 

44 Ay, ay, a cool hundred a year—that’s all,” said Mr. Tulli¬ 
ver, with some pride at his own spirited course. 44 But then, 
yon know, it’s an investment; Tom’s eddication ’ull be so much 
capital to him.” 

“Ay, there’s something in that,” said Mr. Glegg. “Well, 
well, neighbor Tulliver, you may be right, you may be right: 

“‘When land is gone and money’s spent, 

Then learning is most excellent.* 

I remember seeing those two lines wrote on a window at Bux¬ 
ton. But us that have got no learning had better keep our 
money, eh, neighbor Pullet ?” Mr. Glegg rubbed his knees 
and looked very pleasant. 

44 Mr. Glegg, I wonder at you,” said his wife. 44 It’s very 
unbecoming in a man o’ your age and belongings.” 

w What’s unbecoming, Mrs. G. ?” said Mr. Glegg, winking 
pleasantly at the company. 44 My new blue coat as I’ve got 
on?” # 

44 I pity your weakness, Mr. Glegg. I say it’s unbecoming 
to be making a joke when you see your own kin going head- 
longs to ruin.” 

44 If you mean me by that,” said Mr. Tulliver, considerably 
nettled, 64 you needn’t trouble yourself to fret about me. I 
can manage my own affairs without troubling other folks.” 

44 Bless me,” said Mr. Deane, judiciously introducing a new 
idea, 44 why, now I come to think of it, somebody said Wakem 
was going to send his son—the deformed lad—to a clergy¬ 
man, didn’t they, Susan ?” (appealing to his wife.^ 

U I can give no account of it, I’m sure,” savl 



closing her lips very tightly again. Mrs. Deane was not a 
woman to take part in a scene where missiles were flying. 

“ Well,” said Mr. Tulliver, speaking all the more cheerfully 
that Mrs. Glegg might see he didn’t mind her, “ if Wakem 
tliinks o’ sending his son to a clergyman, depe nd on it I shall 
make no mistake i’ sending Tom to one. Wakem’s as big a 
scoundrel as Old Harry ever made, but he knows the length 
of every man’s foot he’s got to deal with. Ay, ay, tell me 
who’s Wakem’s butcher, and I’ll tell you where to get your 

“But Lawyer Wakem’s son’s got a hump-back,” said Mrs. 
Pullet, who felt as if the whole business had a funereal aspect; 
“ it’s more nat’ral to send him to a clergyman.” 

“ Yes,” said Mr. Glegg, interpreting Mrs. Pullet’s observar 
tion with erroneous plausibility, “ you must consider that, 
neighbor Tulliver; Wakem’s son isn’t likely to follow any 
business. Wakem ’ull make a gentleman of him, poor fel¬ 

“ Mr. Glegg,” said Mrs. G., in a tone which implied that her 
indignation would fizz and ooze a little, though she was de¬ 
termined to keep it corked up, “ you’d far better hold your 
tongue. Mr. Tulliver doesn’t want to know your opinion nor 
mine neither. There’s folks in the world as know better than 
every body else.” 

“ Why, I should think that’s you, if we’re to trust your own 
tale,” said Mr. Tulliver, beginning to boil up again. 

“ Oh, I say nothing,” said Mrs. Glegg, sarcastically. “ My 
advice has never been asked, and I don’t give it.” 

“ It ’ll be the first time, then,” said Mr. Tulliver. “ It’s the 
only thing you’re over-ready at giving.” 

“ I’ve been over-ready at lending, then, if I haven’t been 
over-ready at giving,” said Mrs. Glegg. “ There’s folks I’ve 
lent money to, as perhaps I shall repent o’ lending money to 
- kin.” 

“ Come, come, come,” said Mr. Glegg, soothingly. But Mr. 
Tulliver was not to be hindered of his retort. 

( “ You’ve got a bond for it, I reckon,” he said; “ and you’ve 

. had your five per cent., kin or no kin.” 

“ Sister,” said Mrs. Tulliver, pleadingly, “ drink your -wine, 
and let me give you some almonds and raisins.” 

“ Bessy, I’m sorry for you,” said Mrs. Glegg, very much with 
the feeling of a cur that seizes the opportunity of diverting his 
bark toward the man who carries no stick. “ It’s poor work| 
talking o’ almonds and raisins.” 

“Lors, sister Glegg, don’t be so quarrelsome,” said Mrs. 
Pullet, beginning to cry a little. “ You may be struck with a 



J fit, getting so red in the face after dinner, and we are but just 
I out o’ mourning* all of us—and all wi’ gowns craped alike and 
I just put by—it’s very bad among sisters.” 

I u I should think it is bad,” said Mrs.Glegg. “Things are 
f cotoe to a fine pass when one sister invites the other to her 
house o’ purpose to quarrel with her and abuse her.” 

“Softly, softly, Jane—be reasonable—be reasonable,” said 
Mr. Glegg. 

But, while he was speaking, Mr. Tulliver, who had by no 
means said enough to satisfy his anger, burst out again. 

“ Who wants to quarrel with you ?” he said. “ It’s you as 
can’t let people alone, but must be gnawing at ’em forever. 1 
should never want to quarrel with any woman if she kept her 

“ My place, indeed!” said Mrs. Glegg, getting rather more 
shrill. w There’s your betters, Mr. Tulliver, as are dead and in 
their grave, treated me with a different sort o’ respect to what 
you do— though I’ve got a husband as ’ll sit by me and see me 
abused by them as ’ud never ha’ had the chance if there hadn’t 
been them in our family as married worse than they might ha’ 

“ If you talk o’ that,” said Mr. Tulliver, “ my family’s as 
good as yours—and better, for it hasn’t got a damned ill-tem¬ 
pered woman in it.” 

“Well!” said Mrs. Glegg, rising from her chair, “I don’t 
know whether you think it’s a fine thing to sit by and hear me 
swore at, Mr. Glegg, but I’m not going to stay a minute longer 
in this house. You can stay behind, and come home with the 
gig—and I’ll w^lk home.” 

“Dear heart! dear heart!” said Mr. Glegg, in a melancholy 
tone, as he followed his wife out of the room. 

“ Mr. Tulliver, how could you talk so ?” said Mrs. Tulliver, 
with the tears in her eyes. 

“Let her go,” said Mr.Tulliver, too hot to be damped by 
any amount of tears. “ Let her go, and the sooner the better: 
she won’t be trying to domineer over me again in a hurry.” 

“Sister Pullet,” said Mrs. Tulliver, helplessly, “ do you think 
it ’ud be any use for you to go after her and try to pacify 
her ?” 

“ Better not, better not,” said Mr. Deane. “ You’ll make it 
up another day.” 

“ Then, sisters, shall we go and look at the children ?” said 
Mrs. Tulliver, drying her eyes. 

No proposition could have been more seasonable. Mr. Tul¬ 
liver felt very much as if the air had been cleared of obtrusive 
flies now the women were out of the room. There were few 

• 08 


things he liked better than a chat with Mr. Deane, whose dose I 
application to business allowed the pleasure very rarely. Mr. 1 
Deane, he considered, was the “ knowingest” man of his ao- 1 
quaintance, and he had, besides, a ready causticity of tongue, 1 
that made an agreeable supplement to Mr. Tulliver’s own tend- - 
ency that way, which had rather an inarticulate 
condition. And, now the women were gone, they could carry 
on their serious talk without frivolous interruption. They coula 
exchange their views concerning the Duke of W ellington, whose 
conduct in the Catholic Question had thrown such an entirely 
new light on his character; and speak slightingly of his con¬ 
duct at the battle of Waterloo, which he would never have won 
if there hadn’t been a great many Englishmen at his back, not 
to speak of Blucher and the Prussians, who, as Mr. Tulliver had 
heard from a person of particular knowledge in that matter, 
had come up in the very nick of time; though here there was 
a slight dissidence, Mr. Deane remarking that he was not dis¬ 
posed to give much credit to the Prussians—the build of their 
vessels, together with the unsatisfactory character of transac¬ 
tions in Dantzic beer, inclining him to form rather a low view 
of Prussian pluck generally. Rather beaten on this ground, 
Mr. Tulliver proceeded to express his fears that the country 
could never again be what it used to be; but Mr. Deane, at¬ 
tached to a firm of which the" returns were on the increase, 
naturally took a more lively view of the present, and had some 
details to give concerning the state of the imports, especially 
in hides and spelter, which soothed Mr. Tulliver’s imagination 
by throwing into more distant perspective the period when the 
country would become utterly the prey of Papists and Radi¬ 
cals, and there would be no more chance for honest men. 

Uncle Pullet sat by and listened with twinkling eyes to these 
high matters. He didn’t understand politics himself—thought 
they were a natural gift—but, by what he could make out, this 
Duke of Wellington was no better than he should be. 



“Suppose sister Glegg should call her money in—it ’ud be 
very awkward for you to have to raise five hundred pounds 
now,” said Mrs. Tulliver to her husband that evening, as she 
took a plaintive review of the day. 

Mrs. Tulliver had lived thirteen years with her husband, yet 
she retained in all the freshness of her early married life a fa- 



dlity of saying things which drove him in the opposite direc¬ 
tion to the one she desired. Some minds are wonderful for 
keeping their bloom in this way, as a patriarchal goldfish ap¬ 
parently retains to the last its youthful illusion that it can swim 
m a straight line beyond the encircling glass. Mrs. Tulliver 
was an amiable fish of this kind, and, after running her head 
against the same resisting medium for thirteen years, would go 
at it again to-day with undulled alacrity. 

Tins observation of hers tended directly to convince Mr. 
Tulliver that it would not be at all awkward for him to raise 
five hundred pounds; and when Mrs. Tulliver became rather 
pressing to know how he would raise it without mortgaging 
the mill and the house, which he had said he never would mort¬ 
gage, since nowadays people were none so ready to lend money 
without security, Mr. Tulliver, getting warm, declared that Mrs. 
Glegg might do as she liked about calling in her money—he 
should pay it in, whether or not. He was not going to be be¬ 
holding to his wife’s sisters. When a man had married into a 
family where there was a whole litter of women, he might have 
plenty to put up with if he chose. But Mr. Tulliver did not 

Mrs. Tulliver cried a little in a trickling quiet way as she 
put on her nightcap, but presently sank into a comfortable 
sleep, lulled by the thought that she would talk every thing 
over with her sister Pullet to-morrow, when she was to take 
the children to Garum Firs to tea. Not that she looked for¬ 
ward to any distinct issue from that talk; but it seemed im¬ 
possible that past events should be so obstinate as to remain 
unmodified when they were complained against. 

Her husband lay awake rather longer, for he too was think¬ 
ing of a visit he would pay on the morrow, and his ideas on 
the subject were not of so vague and soothing a kind as those 
of his amiable partner. 

Mr. Tulliver, when under the influence of a strong feeling, 
had a promptitude in action that may seem inconsistent with 
that painful sense of the complicated puzzling nature of human 
affairs under which his more dispassionate deliberations were 
conducted; but it is really not improbable that there was a di¬ 
rect relation between these apparently contradictory phenom¬ 
ena, since I have observed that for getting a strong impression 
that a skein is tangled, there is nothing like snatching hastily 
at a single thread. It was owing to this promptitude that Mr. 
Tulliver was on horseback soon after dinner the next day (he 
was not dyspeptic) on his way to Basset to see his sister Moss 
and her husband; for, having made up his mind irrevocably 
that he would pay Mrs. Glegg her loan of five hundred pounds, 



it naturally occurred to him that he had a promissory note for 
three hundred pounds lent to his brother-in-law Moss, and if 
said brother-in-law could manage to pay in the money within a 
given time, it would go far to lessen the fallacious air of incon¬ 
venience which Mr. Tulliver’s spirited step might have worn 
in the eyes of weak people who require to know precisely how 
a thing is to be done before they are strongly confident that it 
will be easy. 

For Mr. Tulliver was in a position neither new nor striking, 
but, like other every-day things, sure to have a cumulative ef¬ 
fect that will be felt in the long run: he was held to be a much 
more substantial man than he really was. And as we are all 
apt to believe what the world believes about us, it was his 
habit to think of failure and ruin with the same sort of remote 
pity with which a spare long-necked man hears that his pleth¬ 
oric short-necked neighbor is stricken with apoplexy. He 
had been always used to hear pleasant jokes about his advant¬ 
ages as a man who worked his own mill, and owned a pretty 
bit of land, and these jokes naturally kept up his sense that he 
was a man of considerable substance. They gave a pleasant 
flavor to his glass on a market-day; and if it had not been for 
the recurrence of half-yearly payments, Mr. Tulliver. would 
really have forgotten that there was a mortgage of two thou¬ 
sand pounds on his very desirable freehold. That was not al¬ 
together his own fault, since one of the thousand pounds was 
his sister’s fortune, which he had had to pay on her marriage; 
and a man who has neighbors that will go to law with him, is 
not likely to pay off his mortgages, especially if he enjoys the 
good opinion of acquaintances who want to borrow a hundred 
pounds on security too lofty to be represented by parchment. 
Our friend Mr. Tulliver had a good-natured fibre in him, and 
did not like to give harsh refusals even to a sister, who had 
not only come into the world in that superfluous way charac¬ 
teristic of sisters, creating a necessity for mortgages, but had 
quite thrown herself away in marriage, and had crowned her 
mistakes by having an eighth baby. On this point Mr. Tulli¬ 
ver was conscious of being a little weak; but he apologized to 
himself by saying that poor Gritty had been a good-looking 
wench before she married Moss—he would sometimes say this 
even with a slight tremulousness in his voice. But this morn¬ 
ing he was in a mood more becoming a man of business, and 
in the course of his ride along the Basset lanes, with their deep 
ruts—lying so far away from a market-town that the labor of 
drawing produce and manure was enough to take away the 
best part of the profits on such poor land as that parish was 
made of—he got up a due amount of irritation against Moss 



as a man without capital, who, if murrain and blight were 
abroad, was sure to have his share of them, and who, the more 
you tried to help him out of the mud, would sink the further 
in. It would do him good rather than harm, now, if he were 
obliged to raise this three hundred pounds: it would make 
him look about him better, and not act so foolishly about his 
wool this year as he did the last; in fact, Mr. Tulliver had been 
too easy with his brother-in-law, and because he had let the in¬ 
i' terest run on for two years, Moss was likely enough to think 
that he should never be troubled about the principal. But Mr. 
Tulliver was determined not to encourage such shuffling peo¬ 
ple any longer; and a ride along the Basset lanes was not 
likely to enervate a man’s resolution by softening his temper. 
The defep-trodden hoof-marks, made in the muddiest days of 
winter, gave him a shake now and then which suggested a 
rash but stimulating snarl at the father of lawyers, ho, wheth¬ 
er by means of his hoof or otherwise, had doubtless something 
to do with this state of the roads; and the abundance of foul 
land and neglected fences that met his eye, though they made 
no part of his brother Moss’s farm, strongly contributed to his 
dissatisfaction with that unlucky agriculturist. If this wasn’t 
Moss’s fallow, it might have been: Basset was all alike; it was 
a beggarly parish in Mr. Tulliver’s opinion, and his opinion 
was certainly not groundless. Basset had a poor soil, poor 
roads, a poor non-resident landlord, a poor non-resident vicar, 
and rather less than half a curate, also poor. If any one strong¬ 
ly impressed with the power of the human mind to triumph 
over circumstances will contend that the parishioners of Bas¬ 
set might nevertheless have been a very superior class of peo¬ 
ple, I have nothing to urge against that abstract proposition; 

I only know that, in point of fact, the Basset mind was in strict 
keeping with its circumstances. The muddy lanes, green or 
clayey, that seemed to the unaccustomed eye to lead nowhere 
but into each other, did really lead, with patience, to a distant 
high-road; but there were many feet in Basset which they led 
more frequently to a centre of dissipation, spoken of formally 
as the “ Markis o’ Granby,” but among intimates as “Dicki- 
son’s.” A large low room with a sanded floor, a cold scent of 
tobacco, modified by undetected beer-dregs, Mr. Dickison lean¬ 
ing against the door-post with a melancholy pimpled face, look¬ 
ing as irrelevant to the daylight as a last night’s guttered can¬ 
dle—all this may not seem a very seductive form of tempta¬ 
tion ; but the majority of men in Basset found it fatally allur¬ 
ing when encountered on their road toward four o’clock on a 
wintry afternoon; and if any wife in Basset wished to indicate 
that her husband was not a pleasure-seeking man, stae cw&i 



hardly do it more emphatically than by saying that he didn’t 
spend a shilling at Dickison’s from one Whitsuntide to another. 
Mrs. Moss had said so of her husband more than once, when 
her brother was in a mood to find fault with him, as he cer¬ 
tainly was to-day. And nothing could be less pacifying to 
Mr. Tulliver than the behavior of the farm-yard gate, which he 
no sooner attempted to push open with his riding-stick than it 
acted as gates without the upper hinge are known to do, to 
the peril of shins, whether equine or human. He was about to 
get down and lead his horse through the damp dirt of the hol¬ 
low farm-yard, shadowed drearily by the large, half-timbered 
buildings, up to the long line of tumble-down dwelling-house 
standing on a raised causeway, but the timely appearance of a 
cowboy saved him that frustration of a plan he had determ¬ 
ined on—namely, not to get down from his horse during this 
visit. If a man means to be hard, let him keep in his saddle 
and speak from that height, above the level of pleading eyes, 
and with the command of a distant horizon. Mrs. Moss heard 
the sound of the horse’s feet, and, when her brother rode up, 
was already outside the kitchen door, with a half-weary smile 
on her face, and a black-eyed baby in her arms. Mrs. Moss’s 
face bore a faded resemblance to her brother’s; baby’s little 
fat hand, pressed against her cheek, seemed to show more 
strikingly that the cheek was faded. 

“ Brother, I’m glad to see you,” she said, in an affectionate 
tone. “ I didn’t look for you to-day. How do you do ?” 

“ Oh . . . . pretty well, Mrs. Moss .... pretty well,” an¬ 
swered the brother, with cool deliberation, as if it were rather 
too forward of her to ask that question. She knew at once 
that her brother was not in a good humor: he never called 
her Mrs. Moss except when he was angry and when they were 
in company. But she thought it was in the order of nature 
that people who were poorly off should be snubbed. Mrs. 
Moss did not take her stand on the equality of the human 
race; she was a patient, prolific, loving-hearted woman.- 

“ Your husband isn’t m the house, I suppose ?” asked Mr. 
Tulliver, after a grave pause, during which four children had 
run out, like chickens whose mother has been suddenly in 
eclipse behind the hencoop. 

“ No,” said Mrs. Moss, “ but he’s only in the potato-field 
yonders. Georgy, run to the Far Close in a minute, and tell 
father your uncle’s come. You’ll get down, brother, won’t 
you, and take something ?” 

“No, no,I can’t get down. I must be going home again 
directly,” said Mr. Tulliver, looking at the distance. 

“ And how’s Mrs. Tulliver and the children ?” said Mrs. 
Moss, humbly, not daring to press her invitation. 



“ Oh .... pretty well. Tom’s going to a new school at 
Midsummer—a deal of expense to me. It’s bad work for me, 
lying out o’ my money.” 

u I wish you’d be so good as let the children come and see 
their cousins some day. My little uns want to see their 
cousin Maggie so as never was. And me her godmother, and 
so fond of her—there’s nobody ’ud make a bigger fuss with 
her, according to what they’ve got. And I know she likes to 
come, for she’s a loving child, and how quick and clever she 
is, to be sure!” 

If Mrs. Moss had been one of the most astute women in the 

world, instead of being one of the simplest, she could have 
thought of nothing more likely to propitiate her brother than 
this praise of Maggie. He seldom found any one volunteering 
praise of “ the little wenchit was usually left entirely to 
himself to insist on her merits. But Maggie always appeared 
in the most amiable light at her aunt Moss’s: it was her Al- 
satia, where she was out of the reach of law—if she upset any 
thing, dirtied her shoes, or tore her frock, these things were 
matters of course at her aunt Moss’s. In spite of himself, Mr. 
TuHiver’s eyes got milder, and he did not look away from his 
sister as he said, 

“ Ay, she’s fonder o’ you than o’ the other aunts, I think. 
She takes after our family—not a bit of her mother’s in her.” 

w Moss says she’s just like what I used to be,” said Mrs. 
Moss, “ though I was never so quick and fond o’ the books. 
But I think my Lizzie’s like her— she’s sharp. Come here, 
Lizzy, my dear, and let your uncle see you: he hardly knows 
you, yQu grow so fast.” 

Lizzy, a black-eyed child of seven, looked very shy when 
her mother drew her forward, for the small Mosses were much 
in awe of their uncle from Dorlcote Mill. She was inferior 

enough to Maggie in fire and strength of expression to make 
the resemblance between the two entirely flattering to Mr. 
Tolliver’s fatherly love. 

u Ay, they’re a bit alike,” he said, looking kindly at the lit¬ 
tle figure in the soiled pinafore. “ They both take after our 
mother. You’ve got enough o’ gells, Gritty,” he added, in a 
tone half compassionate, half reproachful. 

“ Four of ’em, bless ’em,” said Mrs. Moss, with a sigh, 
stroking Lizzy’s hair on each side of her forehead; “ as many 
as there’s boys. They’ve got a brother apiece.” 

“ Ah! but they must turn out and fend for themselves,” 
said Mr. Tulliver, feeling that his severity was relaxing, and 
trying to brace it by throwing out a wholesome hint. “ They 
mustn’t look to hanging on their brothers.” 



44 No; but I hope their brothers ’ull love the poor things, 
and remember they came o’ one father and mother: the lads 
’ull never be the poorer for that,” said Mrs. Moss, flashing out 
with hurried timidity, like a half-smothered fire. 

Mr. Tulliver gave his horse a little stroke on the flank, then 
checked it, and said, angrily, “ Stand still with youJ” much to 
the astonishment of that innocent animal. 

. “ And the more there is of ’em, the more they must love 
one another,” Mrs. Moss went on, looking at her children with 
a didactic purpose. But she turned toward her brother again 
to say, “ Not but what I hope your boy ’ull allays be good to 
lus sister, though there’s but two of ’em, like you and me, 

That arrow went straight to Mr. Tulliver’s heart. He had 
not a rapid imagination, but the thought of Maggie was very 
near to him, and he was not long in seeing his relation to 
his own sister side by side with Tom’s relation to Maggie. 
Would the little wench ever be poorly off, and Tom rather 
hard upon her ? 

“ Ay, ay, Gritty,” said the miller, with a new softness in his 
tone, “ but I’ve allays done what I could for you,” he added, 
as if vindicating himself from a reproach. 

“ I’m not denying that, brother, and I’m noways ungrate¬ 
ful,” said poor Mrs. Moss, too fagged by toil and children to 
have strength left for any pride. “But here’s the father. 
What a while you’ve been, Moss?” 

“While, do you call it?” said Mr. Moss, feeling out of 
f breath and injured. “ I’ve been running all the way. Won’t 
you ’light, Mr. Tulliver ?” 

“Well, I’ll just get down, and have a bit o’ talk with you 
in the garden,” said Mr. Tulliver, feeling that he should be 
more likely to show a due spirit of resolve if his sister were 
not present. 

He got down, and passed with Mr. Moss into the garden, 
toward an old yew-tree arbor, while his sister stood tapping 
her baby on the back, and looking wistfully after them. 

Their entrance into the yew-tree arbor surprised several 
fowls that were recreating themselves by scratching deep 
holes in the dusty ground, and at once took flight with much 
pother and cackling. Mr. Tulliver sat down on the bench, and 
tapping the ground curiously here and there with his stick, as 
if he suspected some hollowness, opened the conversation by 
observing, with something like a snarl in his tone, 

“Why, you’ve got wheat again in that Corner Close, I see, 
and never a bit o’ dressing on it. You’ll do no good with it 
this year.” 




Mr. Moss, who, when he married Miss Tulliver, had been re¬ 
garded as the buck of Basset, now wore a beard nearly a week 
old, and had the depressed, unexpectant air of a machine- 
horse. He answered in a patient-grumbling tone, “Why, 
poor formers like me must do as they can: they must leave it 
to them as have got money to play with to put half as much 
into the ground as they mean to get out of it.” 

“ I don’t know who should have money to play with, if it 
isn’t them as can borrow money without paying interest,” said 
Mr. Tulliver, who wished to get into a slight quarrel; it was 
the most natural and easy introduction to calling in money. 

“ I know I’m behind with the interest,” said Mr. Moss, “ but 
I was so unlucky wi’ the wool last year; and what with the 
missis being laid up so, things have gone awk’arder nor usual.” 

“Ay,” snarled Mr. Tulliver, “there’s folks as things ’uli 
allays go awk’ard with: empty sacks ’ull never stand upright.” 

“ Well, I don’t know what fault you’ve got to find wi’ me, 
Mr. Tulliver,” said Mr. Moss, deprecatingly; “ I know there 
isn’t a day-laborer works harder.” 

“ What’s the use o’ that,” said Mr. Tulliver, sharply, “ when 
a man marries, an’s got no capital to work his farm but his 
wife’s bit o’ fortin ? I was against it from the first; but you’d 
neither of you listen to me. And I can’t lie out o’ my money 
any longer, for I’ve got to pay five hundred o’ Mrs. Glegg’s, 
and there ’ull be Tom an expense to me, as I should find my¬ 
self short, even saying I’d got back all as is my own. You 
must look about and see how you can pay me the three hund¬ 
red pound.” 

“ Well, if that’s what you mean,” said Mr. Moss, looking 
blankly before him, “ we’d better be sold up, and ha’ done with 
it; I must part wi’ every head o’ stock I’n got to pay you and 
the landlord too.” 

Poor relations are undeniably irritating—their existence is 
so entirely uncalled for on our part, and they are almost al¬ 
ways very faulty people. Mr. Tulliver had succeeded in get¬ 
ting quite as much irritated with Mr. Moss as he had desired, 
and he was able to say angrily, rising from his seat, 

“Well, you must do as you can. I can’t find money for 
every body else as well as myself. I must look to my own 
family. I can’t lie out o’ my money any longer. You must 
raise it as <juick as you can.” 

Mr. Tulliver walked abruptly out of the arbor as he uttered 
the last sentence, and, without looking round at Mr. Moss, 
went on to the kitchen door, where the eldest boy was hold¬ 
ing his horse, and his sister was waiting in a state of wonder¬ 
ing alarm, which was not without its alleviations, for baby was 



making pleasant gurgling sounds, and performing a great deal 
of finger practice on the faded face. Mrs. Moss had eight 
children, but could never overcome her regret that the twins 
had not lived. Mr. Moss thought their removal was not with¬ 
out its consolations. “ Won’t you come in, brother ?” she said, 
looking anxiously at her husband, who was walking slowly up, 
while Mr. Tulliver had his foot already in the stirrup. 

“No, no; good-by,” said he, turning his horse’s head and 
riding away. 

No man could feel more resolute till he got outside the yard 
gate, and a little way along the deep-rutted lane; but before 
he reached the next turning, which would take him out of 
sight of the dilapidated farm-buildings, he appeared to be smit¬ 
ten by some sudden thought. He checked his horse, and made 
it stand still in the same spot for two or three minutes, during 
which he turned his head from side to side in a melancholy 
way, as if he were looking at some painful object on more 
sides than one. Evidently, after his fit of promptitude, Mr. 
Tulliver was relapsing into the sense that this is a puzzling 
world. He turned his horse, and rode slowly back, giving 
vent to the climax of feeling which had determined this move¬ 
ment by saying aloud, as he struck his horse, “Poor little 
wench! she’ll have nobody but Tom, belike, when I’m gone.” 

Mr. Tulliver’s return into the yard was descried by several 
young Mosses, who immediately ran in with the exciting news 
to their mother, so that Mrs. Moss was again on the door-step 
when her brother rode up. She had been crying, but was rock¬ 
ing baby to sleep in her arms now, and made no ostentatious 
show of sorrow as her brother looked at her, but merely said, 

“The father’s gone to the field again, if you want him, 

“No, Gritty, no,” said Mr.Tulliver, in a gentle tone. “Don’t 
you fret—that’s all—I’ll make a shift without the money a bit 
—only you must be as diver and contriving as you can.” 

Mrs. Moss’s tears came again at this unexpected kindness, 
and she could say nothing. 

“Come, come—the little wench shall come and see you. 
I’ll bring her and Tom some day before he goes to school. 
You mustn’t fret. ... I’ll allays be a good brother to you.” 

% “ Thank you for that word, brother,” said Mrs. Moss, dry¬ 
ing her tears; then turning to Lizzy, she said, “ Run, now, 
and fetch the colored egg for cousin Maggie.” Lizzy ran in, 
and quickly reappeared with a small paper parcel. 

“ It’s boiled hard, brother, and colored with thrums—very 
pretty; it was done o’ purpose for Maggie. Will you please 
to carry it in your pocket ?” 


“ Ay, ay,” said Mr. Tolliver, potting it carefblly in his side- 
pocket. “Good-by” 

And so the respectable miller returned along the Basset 
lanes rather more puzzled than before as to ways and means, 
but .still with the sense of a danger escaped. It had come 
across his mind that if he were hard upon his sister, it might 
somehow tend to make Tom hard upon Maggie at some dis¬ 
tant day, when her father was no longer there to take her 
part; for simple people, like our friend Mr. Tolliver, are apt to 
clothe unimpeachable feelings in erroneous ideas, and this was 
his confusea way of explaining to himself that his love and 
anxiety for “ the little wench” had given him a new sensibility 
toward his sister. 



While the possible troubles of Maggie’s future were occu¬ 
pying her father’s mind, she herself was tasting only the bit¬ 
terness of the present. Childhood has no forebodings; but 
then, it is soothed by no memories of outlived sorrow. 

The fact was, the day had begun ill with Maggie. The 
pleasure of having Lucy to look at, and the prospect of the 
afternoon visit to Garum Firs, where she would hear uncle 
Pullet’s musical-box, had been marred as early as eleven o’clock 
by the advent of the hair-dresser from St. Ogg’s, who had spoken 
in the severest terms of the condition in which he had found 
her hair, holding up one jagged lock after another, and saying, 
“ See here! tut—tut—tut!” in a tone of mingled disgust and 
pity* which to Maggie’s imagination was equivalent to the 
strongest expression of public opinion. Mr. Kappit, the hair¬ 
dresser, with his well-anointed coronal locks tending wavily 
upward, like the simulated pyramid of flame on a monumental 
urn, seemed to her at that moment the most formidable of her 
contemporaries, into whose street at St. Ogg’s she would care¬ 
fully refrain from entering through the rest of her life. 

Moreover, the preparation for a visit being always a serious 
affair in the Dodson family, Martha was enjoined to have Mrs. 
Tulliver’s room ready an hour earlier than usual, that the lay¬ 
ing out of the best clothes might not be deferred till the last 
moment, as was sometimes the case in families of lax views, 
where the ribbon-strings were never rolled up, where there 
waa little or no wrapping in silver paper, and where the sense 
that the Sunday clothes could be got at quite easily produced 



no shock to the mind. Already, at twelve o’clock, Mrs. Tolli¬ 
ver had on her visiting costume, with a protective apparatus 
of brown holland, as if she had been a piece of satin furniture 
in danger of flies; Maggie was frowning and twisting her 
shoulders, that she might, if possible, shrink away from, the 
prickliest of tuckers, while her mother was remonstrating, 
“ Don’t, Maggie, my dear—don’t look so ugly!” and Tours 
cheeks were looking particularly brilliant as a relief to his best 
blue suit, which he wore with becoming calmness; having, 
after a little'wrangling, effected what was always the one 
point of interest to him in his toilette—he had transferred all 
the contents of his every-day pockets to those actually in wear. 

As for Lucy, she was just as pretty and neat as she had 
been yesterday: no accidents ever happened to her clothes, 
and she was never uncomfortable in them, so that she looked 
with wondering pity at Maggie pouting and writhing under 
the exasperating tucker. Maggie .would certainly have torn 
it off, if she had not been checked by the remembrance of her 
recent humiliation about her hair; as it was, she confined her¬ 
self to fretting and twisting, and behaving peevishly about the 
card-houses which they were allowed to build till dinner, as a 
suitable amusement for boys and girls in their best clothes. 
Tom could build perfect pyramids of houses, but Maggie’s 
would never bear the laying on of the roof: it was always so 
with the things that Maggie made; and Tom had deduced the 
conclusion that no girls could ever make any thing. But it 
happened that Lucy proved wonderfully clever at building; 
she handled the cards so lightly, and moved so gently, that 
Tom condescended to admire her houses as well as his own, 
the more readily because she had asked him to teach her. 
Maggie, too, would have admired Lucy’s houses, and would 
have given up her own unsuccessful building to contemplate 
them, without ill-temper, if her tucker had not made her peev¬ 
ish, and if Tom had not inconsiderately laughed when her 
houses fell, and told her she was “ a stupid.” 

“ Don’t laugh at me, Tom!” she burst out, angrily; w Fm 
not a stupid. I know a great many things you don’t.” 

“ Oh, I dare say, Miss Spitfire! Fd never be such a cross 
thing as you, making faces like that. Lucy doesn’t do so. I 
like Lucy better than you: I wish Lucv was my sister.” 

“Then it’s very wicked and cruel of you to wish so,” said 
Maggie, starting up hurriedly from her place on the floor, and 
upsetting Tom’s wonderful pagoda. She really did not mean 
it, but the circumstantial evidence was against her, and Tom 
turned white with anger, but said nothing; he would have 
struck her, only he knew it was cowardly to strike a girl, and 


Tom Tolliver was quite determined that he would never do 
any thing cowardly. 

Maggie stood in dismay and terror while Tom got up from 
the floor and walked away, pale, from the scattered nuns of 
his pagoda, and Lucy looked on mutely, like a kitten pausing 
from its lapping. 

“ Oh, Tom,” said Maggie, at last, going half way toward 
him, u I didn’t mean to knock it down — indeed, indeed I 

Tom took no notice of her, but took, instead, two or three 
hard peas out of his pocket, and shot them with his thumb¬ 
nail against the window—vaguely at first, but presently with 
the distinct aim of hitting a superannuated blue-bottle which 
was exposing its imbecility in the spring sunshine, clearly 
against the views of nature, who had provided Tom and the 
peas for the speedy destruction of this weak individual. 

Thus the morning had been made heavy to Maggie, and 
Tom’s persistent coldness to her all through their walk spoiled 
the fresh air and sunshine for her, He called Lucy to look at 
the half-built,bird’s nest without caring to show it Maggie, 
and peeled a willow switch for Lucy and himself without of¬ 
fering one to Maggie. Lucy had said, “ Maggie, shouldn’t 
you Eke one ?” but Tom was deaf. 

Still the sight of the peacock opportijpely spreading his tail 
on the stack-yard wall, just as they reached Garum Firs, was 
enough to divert the mind temporarily from personal griev¬ 
ances. And this was only the beginning of beautiful sights at 
Garum Firs. All the farm-yard life was wonderful there— 
bantams, speckled and top-knotted; Friesland hens, with their 
feathers afl turned the wrong way; Guinearfowls that flew, 
and screamed, and dropped their pretty-spotted feathers; 
pouter pigeons and a tame magpie; nay, a goat, and a won¬ 
derful brindled dog, half mastiff, half bull-dog, as large as a 
lion. Then there were white railings and white gates all about, 
and glittering weathercocks of various designs, and garden- 
walks paved with pebbles in beautiful patterns—nothing was 
quite common at Garum Firs; and Tom thought that the un¬ 
usual size of the toads there was simply due to the general 
unusualness which characterized uncle Pullet’s possessions as a 
gentleman farmer. Toads who paid rent were naturally lean¬ 
er. As for the house, it was not less remarkable: it had a re¬ 
ceding centre, and two wings with battlemented turrets, and 
was covered with glittering white stucco. 

Uncle Pullet had seen the expected party approaching from 
the window, and made haste to unbar and unchain the front 
door, kept always in this fortified condition from fear of tramps. 



who might be supposed to know of the glass-case of stuffed 
birds in the hall, and to contemplate rushing in and carrying it 
away on their heads. Aunt Pullet, too, appeared at the door¬ 
way, and as soon as her sister was within nearing, said, “ Stop 
the children, for God’s sake, Bessy; don’t let ’em come up the 
door-steps; Sally’s bringing the old mat and the duster to rub 
their shoes.” 

Mrs. Pullet’s front-door mats were by no means intended to 
wipe shoes on: the very scraper had a deputy to do its dirty 
work. Tom rebelled particularly against this shoe-wiping, 
which he always considered in the light of an indignity to Mb 
sex. He felt it as the beginning of the disagreeables incident 
to a visit at aunt Pullet’s, where he had once been compelled 
to sit with towels wrapped round his boots—a fact wMch may 
serve to correct the too hasty conclusion that a visit to Garum 
Firs must have been a great treat to a young gentleman fond 
of animals—fond, that is, of throwing stones at them. 

The next disagreeable was confined to his feminine eom- 

E anions: it was the mounting of the polished oak stairs, wMch 
ad very handsome carpets rolled up and laidJby in a spare 
bedroom, so that the ascent of these glossy steps might have 
served, in barbarous times, as a trial by ordeal from which 
none but the most spotless virtue could have come off with 
unbroken limbs. Sophy’s weakness about these polished stairs 
was always a subject of bitter remonstrance on Mrs. Glegg’s 
part; but Mrs. Tulliver ventured on no comment, only think. 
mg to herself it was a mercy when she and the children were 
safe on the landing. 

“ Mrs. Gray has sent home my new bonnet, Bessy,” said Mrs. 
Pullet, in a pathetic tone, as Mrs. Tulliver adjusted her cap. 

“ Has she, sister ?” said Mrs. Tulliver, with an air of much 
interest. “ And how do you like it ?” 

“ It’s apt to make a mess with clothes, taking ’em out and 
putting ’em in again,” said Mrs. Pullet, drawing a bunch of 
keys from her pocket and looking at them earnestly, “but it 
’ud be a pity for you to go away without seeing it. There’s 
no knowing what may happen.” 

Mrs. Pullet shook her head slowly at this last serious con¬ 
sideration, wMch determined her to single out a particular key. 

“ I’m afraid it ’ll be troublesome to you getting it out, sis¬ 
ter,” said Mrs. Tulliver, “but I should like to see what sort of 
a crown she’s made you.” 

Mrs. Pullet rose with a melancholy air and unlocked one 
wing of a very bright wardrobe, where you may have hastily 
supposed she would find the new bonnet. Not at all. Such 
a supposition could only have arisen from a too superficial ao- 

the mill ok the floss. 


qnaintance with the habits of the Dodson family. In this 
wardrobe Mrs. Pullet was seeking something small enough to 
be hidden among layers of linen—it was a door-key. 

“ You must come with me into the best room,” said Mrs. 

«May the children come too, sister ?” inquired Mrs. Tul- 
liver, who saw that Maggy and Lucy were looking rather 

“Well,” said aunt Pullet, reflectively, “it ’ll perhaps be 
safer for ’em to come—they’ll be touching something if we 
leave ’em behind.” 

So they went in procession along the bright and slippery 
corridor, dimly lighted by the semilunar top of the window 
which rose above the closed shutter: it was really quite sol¬ 
emn. Aunt Pullet paused and unlocked a door which opened 
on something still more solemn than the passage—a darkened 
room, in which the outer light, entering feebly, showed what 
looked like the corpses of furniture in white shrouds. Every 
thing that was not shrouded stood with its legs upward. 
Lucy laid hold of Maggie’s frock, and Maggie’s heart beat 

Aunt Pullet half opened the shutter, and then unlocked the 
wardrobe with a melancholy deliberateness which was quite 
in keeping with the funeral solemnity of the scene. The de¬ 
licious scent of rose-leaves that issued from the wardrobe made 
the process of taking out sheet after sheet of silver paper quite 
pleasant to assist at, though the sight of the bonnet at last was 
an anticlimax to Maggie, who would have preferred something 
more preternatural. But few things could have been more 
impressive to Mrs. Tulliver. She looked all round it in silence 
for some moments, and then said emphatically, “Well, sister, 
I’ll never speak against the full crowns again!” 

It was a great Concession, and Mrs. Pullet felt it: she felt 
something was due to it. 

“ You’d like to see it on, sister ?” she said, sadly. “ I’ll open 
the shutter a bit farther.” 

“Well, if you don’t mind taking off your cap, sister,” said 
Mrs. Tulliver. 

Mrs. Pullet took off her cap, displaying the brown silk scalp 
with a jutting promontory of curls which was common to the 
mature and judicious women of those times, and, placing the 
bonnet on her head, turned slowly round, like a draper’s lay- 
figure, that Mrs. Tulliver might miss no point of view. 

“I’ve sometimes thought there’s a loop too much o’ ribbon 
on this left side, sister; what do you think?” said Mrs.Pullet. 

Mrs. Tulliver looked earnestly at the point indicated, and 

D 2 



turned her head on one side. “ Well, I think it’s best as it is; 
if you meddled with it, sister, you might repent.” 

“ That’s true,” said aunt Pullet, taking pff the bonnet and 
looking at it contemplatively. 

“ How much might she charge you for that bonnet, sister?” 
said Mrs. Tulliver, whose mind was actively engaged on the 
possibility of getting a humble imitation of this chef d?oeuvre 
made from a piece of silk she had at home. 

Mrs. Pullet screwed up her mouth and shook her head, and 
then whispered, u Pullet pays for it; he said I was to have 
the best bonnet at Garum Church, let the next best be whose 
it would.” 

She began slowly to adjust the trimmings in preparation, 
for returning it to its place ill the wardrobe, and her thoughts 
seemed to have taken a melancholy turn, for she shook her 

“ Ah!” she said at last, “ I may never wear it twice, sister; 
who knows ?” 

“Don’t talk o’ that, sister,” answered Mrs. Tulliver. “I 
hope you’ll have your health this summer.” 

“ Ah! but there may come a death in the family, as there 
did soon after I had my green satin bonnet. Cousin Abbott 
may go, and we can’t think o’ wearing crape less than half a 
year for him.” 

“ That would be unlucky,” said Mrs. Tulliver, entering thor¬ 
oughly into the possibility of an inopportune decease. “ There’s 
never so much pleasure i’ wearing a bonnet the second year, 
especially when the crowns are so chancy—never two sum¬ 
mers alike.” 

“ Ah! it’s the way i’ this world,” said Mrs. Pullet, return¬ 
ing the bonnet to the wardrobe and locking it up. She main¬ 
tained a silence characterized by head-shaking until they had 
all issued from the solemn chamber and were in her own room 
again. Then, beginning to cry, she said, “ Sister, if you should 
never see that bonnet again till I’m dead and gone, you’ll re¬ 
member I showed it you this day.” 

Mrs. Tulliver felt that she ought to be affected, but she was 
a woman of sparse tears, stout ar*d healthy; she couldn’t cnr 
so much as her sister Pullet did, and had often felt her defi¬ 
ciency at funerals. Her effort to bring tears into her eyes is¬ 
sued in an odd contraction of her face. Maggie, looking on 
attentively, felt that there was some painful mystery about her 
aunt’s bonnet which she was considered too young to under¬ 
stand ; indignantly conscious, all the while, that she could have 
understood that, as well as every thing else, if she had been 
taken into confidence. 


When they went down, uncle Pullet observed, with some 
acumen, that he reckoned the missis had been showing her 
bonnet — that was what had made them so long up stairs. 
With Tom the interval had seemed still longer, for he had been 
seated in irksome constraint on the edge of a sofa directly op¬ 
posite his uncle Pullet, who regarded him with twinkling gray 
eyes, and occasionally addressed him as “ Young sir.” 

“Well, young sir, what do you learn at school?” was a 
standing question with uncle Pullet; whereupon Tom always 
looked sheepish, rubbed his hand across his face, and answer¬ 
ed, “ I don’t know.” It was altogether so embarrassing to be 
seated tete-aAete with uncle Pullet that Tom could not even 
look at the prints on the walls, or the fly-cages, or the wonder¬ 
ful flower-pots; he saw nothing but his uncle’s gaiters. Not 
that Tom was in awe of his uncle’s mental superiority; indeed, 
he had made up his mind that he didn’t want to be a gentle¬ 
man farmer, because he shouldn’t like to be such a thin-legged 
silly fellow as his uncle Pullet—a mollycoddle, in fact. A boy’s 
sheepishness is by no means a sign of overmastering reverence; 
and while you are making encouraging advances to him under 
the idea that he is overwhelmed by a sense of your age and 
wisdom, ten to one he is thinking you extremely queer. The 
only consolation I can suggest to you is, that the Greek boys 

E robably thought the same of Aristotle. It is only when you 
ave mastered a restive horse, or thrashed a drayman, or have 
got a gun in your hand, that these shy juniors feel you to be a 
truly admirable and enviable character. At least, I am quite 
sure of Tom Tulliver’s sentiments on these points. In very 
tender years, when he still wore a lace border under his out¬ 
door cap, he was often observed peeping through the bars of 
a gate, and making minatory gestures with his small forefinger 
while he scolded the sheep with an inarticulate burr, intended j 
to strike terror into their astonished minds; indicating thus I 
early that desire for mastery over the inferior animals, wild j 
mid domestic, including cockchafers, neighbors’ dogs, and small I 
sisters, which in all ages has been an attribute of so much prom- I 
ise for the fortunes of our race. Now Mr. Pullet never rode * 
any thing taller than a low pony, and was the least predatory of 
men, considering fire-arms dangerous, as apt to go off of them¬ 
selves by nobody’s particular desire. So that Tom was not 
without strong reasons when, in confidential talk with a chum, 
he had described uncle Pullet as a nincompoop, taking care at 
the same time to observe that he was a very “ rich fellow.” 

The only alleviating circumstance in a tete-a-tete with uncle 
Pullet was that he kept a variety of lozenges and peppermint 
drops about his person, and when at a loss for conversation. 



he filled up the void by proposing a mutual solace of this 

“ Do you like peppermints, young sir ?” required only a tacit 
answer when it was accompanied by a presentation of the ar¬ 
ticle in question. 

The appearance of the little girls suggested to uncle Pullet ' 
the further solace of small sweet-cakes, 6f which he also kept 
a stock under lock and key for his own private eating on wet 
days; but the three children had no sooner got the tempting 
delicacy between their fingers than aunt Pullet desired them 
to abstain from eating it till the tray and the plates came, since 
with those crisp cakes they would make the floor u all over” 
crumbs. Lucy didn’t mind that much, for the cake was so 
pretty, she thought it was rather a pity to eat it; but Tom, 
watching his opportunity while the elders were talking, hasti¬ 
ly stowed it in ms mouth at two bites, and chewed it furtively. 
As for Maggie, becoming fascinated, as usual, by a print of 
Ulysses and Nausicaa, which uncle Pullet had bought as a 
“ pretty Scripture thing,” she presently let fall her cake, and 
in an unlucky movement crushed it beneath her foot—a source 
of so much agitation to aunt Pullet and conscious disgrace to 
Maggie, that she began to despair of hearing the musical snuff¬ 
box to-day, till, after some reflection, it occurred to her that 
Lucy was in high favor enough to venture on asking for a 
tune. So she whispered to Lucy, and Lucy, who always did 
what she was desired to do, went up quietly to her uncle’s 
knee, and, blushing all over her neck while she fingered her 
necklace, said, “ Will you please play us a tune, uncle ?” 

Lucy thought it was by reason of some exceptional talent in 
uncle Pullet that the snuffbox played such beautiful tunes, and, 
indeed, the thing was viewed m that light by the majority of 
his neighbors in Garum. Mr. Pullet had bought the box, to 
begin with, and he understood winding it up, and knew which 
tune it was going to play beforehand; altogether, the posses¬ 
sion of this unique “ piece of music” was a proof that Mr. Pul¬ 
let’s character was not of that entire nullity which might oth¬ 
erwise have been attributed to it. But uncle Pullet, when en¬ 
treated to exhibit his accomplishment, never depreciated it by 
a too ready consent. “ We’ll see about it,” was the answer he 
always gave, carefully abstaining from any sign of compliance 
till a suitable number of minutes had passed. Uncle Pullet 
had a programme for all great social occasions, and in this way 
fenced himself in from much painful confusion and perplexing 
freedom of will. 

Perhaps the suspense did heighten Maggie’s enjoyment when 
the fairy tune began: for the first time she quite forgot that 

the mill on the floss. 


she had a load on her mind—that Tom was angry with her; 
and by the time 44 Hush, ye pretty warbling choir,” had been 
played, her face wore that bright look of happiness, while she 
sat immovable with her hands clasped, which sometimes com¬ 
forted her mother with the sense that Maggie could look pret¬ 
ty now and then, in spite of her brown skin. But when the 
magic music ceased, she jumped up, and, running toward Tom, 
put her arm round his neck and said, 44 Oh, Tom, isn’t it pret¬ 

Lest you should think it a revolting insensibility in Tom 
that be felt any new anger toward Maggie for this uncalled- 
for, and, to him, inexplicable caress, I must tell you that he had 
his glass of cowslip wine in his hand, and that she jerked him 
so as to make him spill half of it. He must have been an ex¬ 
treme milksop not to say angrily, 44 Look there, now!” espe¬ 
cially when his resentment was sanctioned, as it was, by gen¬ 
eral disapprobation of Maggie’s behavior. 

44 Why don’t you sit still, Maggie ?” her mother said, peev¬ 

44 Little gells mustn’t come to see me if they behave in that 
way,” said aunt Pullet. 

44 Why, you’re too rough, little miss,” said uncle Pullet. 

Poor Maggie sat down again, with the music all chased out 
of her soul, and the seven small demons all in again. 

Mrs.Tulliver, foreseeing nothing but misbehavior while the 
children remained in-doors, took an early opportunity of sug¬ 
gesting that, now they were rested after their walk, they might 
go and play out of doors; and aunt Pullet gave permission, 
only enjoining them not to go off the paved walks in the gar¬ 
den, and if they wanted to see the poultry fed, to view them 
from a distance on the horse-block—a restriction which had 
been imposed ever since Tom had been found guilty of running 
after the peacock, with an illusory idea that fright would make 
one of its feathers drop off. 

Mrs. Tulliver’s thoughts had been temporarily diverted from 
the quarrel with Mrs. Glegg by millinery and maternal cares; 
but, now the great theme of the bonnet was thrown into per¬ 
spective, and the children were out of the way, yesterday’s 
anxieties recurred. 

44 It weighs on my mind so as never was,” she said, by way 
of opening the subject, 44 sister Glegg’s leaving the house in 
that way. I’m sure I’d no wish t’ onend a sister.” 

44 Ah!” said aunt Pullet, 44 there’s no accounting for what 
Jane ’nil do. I wouldn’t speak of it out o’ the family—if it 
wasn’t to Dr. Turnbull; but it’s my belief Jane lives too low. 
Fve said so to Pullet often and often, and he knows it.” 



“ Why, you said so last Monday was a week, when we came 
away from drinking tea with ’em,” said Mr. Pullet, beginning 
to nurse his knee and shelter it with his pocket-handkerchief 
as was his way when the conversation took an interesting 

“Very like I did,”'said Mrs. Pullet, “for you remember 
when I said things better than I can remember myself. He’s 
got a wonderful memory, Pullet has,” she continued, looking 
pathetically at her sister. 44 I should be poorly off if he was to 
have a stroke, for he always remembers when I’ve got to take 
my doctor’s stuff—and I’m taking three sorts now.” 

44 There’s the 4 pills as before’ every other night, and the new 
drops at eleven and four, and the ’ferveseing mixture 4 when 
agreeable,’ ” rehearsed Mr. Pullet, with a punctuation determ¬ 
ined by a lozenge on his tongue. 

44 Ah! perhaps it ’ud be better for sister- Glegg if aAe’d go 
to the doctor sometimes instead o’ chewing Turkey rhubarb 
whenever there’s any thing the matter with her,” said Mrs. 
Tulliver, who naturally saw the wide subject of medicine chief¬ 
ly in relation to Mrs. Glegg. 

44 It’s dreadful to think on,” said aunt Pullet, raising hen 
hands and letting them fall again, 44 people playing with their 
own insides in that way! And it’s flying i’ the face o’ Provi¬ 
dence ; for what are the doctors for if we aren’t to call ’em 
in ? And when folks have got the money to pay for a doctor, 
it isn’t respectable, as I’ve told Jane many a time. Pm 
ashamed of acquaintance knowing it.” 

44 Well, we’ve no call to be ashamed,” said Mr. Pullet, 44 for 
.Doctor Turnbull hasn’t got such another patient as you i’ this 
parish, now old Mrs. Sutton’s gone.” 

44 Pullet keeps all my physic-bottles—did you know, Bessy ?” 
said Mrs. Pullet. 44 He won’t have one sold. He says it’s 
nothing but right folks should see ’em when I’m gone. They 
fill two of the long store-room shelves a’ready—but,” she add¬ 
ed, beginning to cry, 44 it’s well if they ever fill three. I may 
go before I’ve made up the dozen of these last sizes. The pill¬ 
boxes are in the closet in my room—you’ll remember that, sis¬ 
ter—but there’s nothing to show for the boluses, if it isn’t the 

44 Don’t talk o’ your going, sister,” said Mrs. Tulliver; 44 1 
should have nobody to stand between me and sister Glegg if 
you was gone. And there’s nobody but you can get her to 
make it up wi’ Mr. Tulliver, for sister Deane’s never o’ my side, 
and if she was, it’s not to be looked for as she can speak like 
them as have got an independent fortin.” 

44 Well, your husband is awk’ard, you know, Bessy,” said 

the mill on the floss. 

8 1 

Mm. Pallet, good-naturedly ready to use her deep depression 
on her sisters account as well as her own. “ He’s never be¬ 
haved quite so pretty to our family as he should do, and the ** 
children take after him—the boy’s very mischievous, and runs 
away from his aunts and uncles, and the gell’s rude and 
brown. It’s your bad luck, and I’m sorry for you, Bessy; for 
you was allays my favorite sister, and we allaya liked the same 

“I know Tolliver’s hasty, and says odd things,” said Mrs. 
Tolliver, wiping away one small tear from the corner of her 
eye, “but I’m sure he’s never been the man, since he married 
me, to object to my making the friends o’ my side o’ the family 
welcome to the house.” 

“I don’t want to make the worst of you, Bessy,” said Mrs. 
Pullet, compassionately, “for I doubt you’ll have trouble enough 
without that; and your husband’s got that poor sister and her 
children hanging on him, and so given to lawing, they say. I 
doubt he’ll leave you poorly off when he dies. Not as I’d have 
it said out o’ the family.” 

This view of her position was naturally far from cheering to 
1 Mrs. Tulliver. Her imagination was not easily acted on, but 
she could not help thinking that her case was a hard one, since 
it appeared that other people thought it hard. 

“ I’m sure, sister, I can’t help myself,” she said, urged by 
the fear lest her anticipated misfortunes might be held retrib¬ 
utive, to take a comprehensive review of her past conduct. 

“ There’s no woman strives more for her children; and I’m 
sure, at scouring-time this Ladyday, as Pve had all the bed- 
hangings taken down, I did as much as the two gells put to¬ 
gether; and there’s this last elder-flower wine I’ve made— 
beautiful! I allays offer it along with the sherry, though sis¬ 
ter Glegg will have it I’m so extravagant; and as for liking to 
have my clothes tidy, and not go a fright about the house, 
there’s nobody in the parish can say any thing against me in 
respect o’ backbiting and making mischief, for I don’t wish 
any body any harm; and nobody loses by sending me a pork- 
pie, for my pies are fit to show with the best o’ my neighbors’; 
and the linen’s so in order, as if I was to die to-morrow I 
shouldn’t be ashamed. A woman can do no more nor she 

“ But it’s all o’ no use, you know, Bessy,” said Mrs. Pullet, 
holding her head on one side, and fixing her eyes pathetically 
on her sister, “ if your husband makes away with his money. 
Not but what if you was sold up, and other folks bought your 
furniture, it’s a comfort to think as you’ve kept it well rubbed. 
And there’s the linen, with your maiden mark on, might go all 



over the country. It ’ud be a sad pity for your family.” Mrs. 
Pullet shook her head slowly. 

“ But what can I do, sister ?” said Mrs. Tulliver. “ Mr. 
Tulliver’s not a man to be dictated to—not if I was to go to 
the parson, and get by heart what I should tell my husband 
for the best. And Pm sure I don’t pretend to know any thing 
about putting out money and all that. I could never see into 
men’s business as sister Glegg does.” 

“ Well, you’re like me in that, Bessy,” said Mrs. Pullet; “ and 
I think it ’ud be a deal more becoming o’ Jane if she’d have 
that pier-glass rubbed oftener—there was ever so many spots 
on it last week—instead o’ dictating to folks as have more 
comings in than she ever had, and telling ’em what they’ve to 
do with their money. But Jane and me were allays contrairy: 
she would have striped things, and I like spots. You like a 
spot too, Bessy: we allays hung together i’ that.” 

Mrs. Pullet, affected by this last reminiscence, looked at her 
sister pathetically. 

“ Yes, Sophy,” said Mrs. Tulliver, “ I remember our having 
a blue ground with a white spot both alike—I’ve got a bit in 
a bed-quilt now; and if you would but go and see sister Glegg, 
and persuade her to make it up with Tulliver, I should take it 
very kind of you. You was allays a good sister to me.” 

“ But the right thing ’ud be for Tulliver to go and make it 
up with her himself, and say he was sorry for speaking so rash. 
If he’s borrowed money of her, he shouldn’t be above that,” 
said Mrs. Pullet, whose partiality did not blind her to princi¬ 
ples : she did not forget what was due to people of independ¬ 
ent fortune. 

“ It’s no use talking o’ that,” said poor Mrs. Tulliver, almost 
peevishly. “ If I was to go down on my bare knees on the 
gravel to Tulliver, he’d never humble himself.” 

“Well, you can’t expect me to persuade Jane to beg par¬ 
don,” said Mrs.Pullet. “Her temper’s beyond every thing; 
it’s well if it doesn’t carry her off her mind, though there nev¬ 
er was any of our family went to a mad-house.” 

“ I’m not thinking of her begging pardon,” said Mrs. Tulli¬ 
ver. “ But if she’d just take no notice, and not call her mon¬ 
ey in; as it’s not so much for one sister to ask of another; time 
’ud mend things, and Tulliver ’ud forget all about it, and they’d 
be friends again.” 

Mrs. Tulliver, you perceive, was not aware of her husband’s 
irrevocable determination to pay in the five hundred pounds; 
at least such a determination exceeded her powers of belief. 

“Well, Bessy,” said Mrs. Pullet, mournfully, “I don’t want 
to help you on to ruin. I won’t be behindhand i’ doing you a 



good tarn, if it is to be done. And I don’t like it said among 
acquaintance as we’ve got quarrels in the family. I shall ten 
Jane that; and I don’t mind driving to Jane’s to-morrow, if 
Pullet doesn’t mind. What do you say, Mr. Ptdlet ?” 

“ Fve no objections,” said Mr. Pullet, who was perfectly con¬ 
tented with any course the quarrel might take, so that Mr. 
Tulliver did not apply to him for money. Mr. Pullet was nerv¬ 
ous about his investments, and did not see how a man could 
have any security for his money unless he turned it into land. 

After a little farther discussion as to whether it would not 
he better for Mrs. Tulliver to accompany them on the visit to 
sister Glegg, Mrs. Pullet, observing that it was teartime, turn¬ 
ed to reach from a drawer a delicate damask napkin, which she 
pinned before her in the fashion of an apron. The door did, in 
fact, soon open, but instead of the teartray Sally introduced an 
object so startling that both Mrs. Pullet and Mrs. Tulliver gave 
a scream, causing uncle Pullet to swallow his lozenge—for the 
fifth time in his me, as he afterward noted. 



The startling object which thus made an epoch for uncle 
Pullet was no other than little Lucy, with one side of her per¬ 
son, from her small foot to her bonnet-crown, wet and discol¬ 
ored with mud, holding out two tiny blackened hands, and 
making a very piteous face. To account for this unprecedent¬ 
ed apparition m aunt Pullet’s parlor, we must return to the 
moment when the three children went to play out of doors, 
and the small demons who had taken possession of Maggie’s 
soul at an early period of the day had returned in all the great¬ 
er force after a temporary absence. All the disagreeable rec¬ 
ollections of the morning were thick upon her, when Tom, 
whose displeasure toward her had been considerably refreshed 
bjr her foolish trick of causing him to upset his cowslip wine, 
said, “ Here, Lucy, you come along with me,” and walked off 
to the area where the toads were, as if there were no Maggie in 
existence. Seeing this, Maggie lingered at a distance, looking 
like a Medusa with her snakes cropped. Lucy was naturally 
pleased that cousin Tom was so good to her, and it was very 
amusing to see him tickling a fat toad with a piece of string 
when the toad was safe down the area, with an iron grating 
over him. Still Lucy wished Maggie to enjoy the spectacle 
also, especially as she would doubtless find a name for the toad. 



and say what had been his past history; for Lucy had a de¬ 
lighted semi-belief in Maggie’s stories about {he live things 
they came upon by accident—how Mrs. Earwig had a wash at 
home, and one of her children had fallen into the hot copper, 
for which resfeon she was running so fast to fetch the doctor. 
Tom had a profound contempt for this nonsense of Maggie’s, 
smashing the earwig at once as a superfluous yet easy means 
of proving the entire unreality of such a story; but Lucy, for 
the life of her, could not help fancying there was something in 
it, and, at all events, thought it was very pretty make-believe. 
So now the desire to know the history of a very portly toad, 
added to her habitual affectionateness, made her run back to 
Maggie and say, “ Oh, there is such a big, funny toad, Maggie! 
Do come and see.” 

Maggie said nothing, but turned away from her with a deep¬ 
er frown. As long as Tom seemed to prefer Lucy to her, 
Lucy made part of his unkindness. Maggie would have 
thought a little while ago that she could never be cross with 
pretty little Lucy any more than she could be cruel to a little 
white mouse; but then, Tom had always been quite indifferent 
to Lucy before, and it had been left to Maggie to pet and 
make much of her. As it was, she was actually beginning to 
think that she should like to make Lucy cry by slapping or 
pinching her, especially as it might vex Tom, whom it was of 
no use to slap, even if she dared, because he didn’t mind it. 
And if Lucy hadn’t been there, Maggie was sure be would 
have got friends with her sooner. 

Tickling a fat toad who is not highly sensitive is an amuse¬ 
ment that it is possible to exhaust, and Tom by-and-by began 
to look round for some other mode of passing the time. But 
in so prim a garden, where they were not to go off the paved 
walks, there was not a great choice of sport. The only great 
pleasure such a restriction allowed was the pleasure of break¬ 
ing it, and Tom began to meditate an insurrectionary visit to 
the pond, about a field’s length beyond the garden. 

“I say, Lucy,” he began, nodding his head up and down 
with great significance as he coiled up his string again, “ what 
do you think I mean to do ?” 

“ What, Tom ?” said Lucy, with curiosity. 

“ I mean to go to the pond, and look at the pike. You may 
go with me if you like,” said the young sultan. 

“ Oh, Tom, dare you ?” said Lucy. “ Aunt said we mustn’t 
go out of the garden.” 

“ Oh, I shall go out at the other end of the garden,” said 
Tom. “ Nobody ’ull see us. Besides, I don’t care if they do 
—I’ll run off home.” 



44 But I couldn’t run,” said Lucy, who had never before been 
exposed to such severe temptation. 

44 Oh, never mind; they won’t be cross with yow,” said Tom. 
“You say I took you.” 

Tom walked along, and Lucy trotted by his side, timidly en¬ 
joying the rare treat of doing something naughty—excited 
also by the mention of that celebrity, the pike, about which she 
was quite uncertain whether it was a fish or a fowl. Maggie 
saw mem leaving the garden, and could not resist the impulse 
to follow. Anger and jealousy can no more bear to lose sight 
of their objects than love, and that Tom and Lucy should do 
or see any thing of which she was ignorant would have been 
an intolerable idea to Maggie. So she kept a few yards behind 
them, unobserved by Tom, who was presently absorbed in 
watching for the pike—a highly interesting monster; he was 
said to be so* very old, so very large, and to have such a re¬ 
markable appetite. The pike, like other celebrities, did not 
show when he was watched for, but Tom caught sight of some¬ 
thing in rapid movement in the water, which attracted him to 
another spot on the brink of the pond. 

44 Here, Lucy!” he said, in a loud whisper, “come here! take 
care! keep on the grass—don’t step where the cows have 
been!” he added, pointing to a peninsula of dry grass, with 
trodden mud on each side of it; for Tom’s contemptuous con¬ 
ception of a girl included the attribute of being unfit to walk 
in dirty places. 

Lucy came carefully as she was bidden, and bent down to 
look at what seemed a golden arrow-head darting through the 
water. It was a water-snake, Tom told her, and Lucy at last 
could see the serpentine wave of its body, very much wonder¬ 
ing that a snake could swim. Maggie had drawn nearer and 
nearer—she must see it too, though it was bitter to her like 
every thing else, since Tom did not care about her seeing it. 
At last she was close by Lucy, and Tom, who had been aware 
of her approach, but would not notice it till he was obliged, 
turned round and said, 

44 Now get away, Maggie. There’s no room for you on the 
grass here. Nobody asked you to come.” 

There were passions at war in Maggie at that moment to 
have made a tragedy, if tragedies were made by passion only, 
but the essential tl fieyedog which was present in the passion 
was wanting to the action; the utmost Maggie could do, with 
a fierce thrust of her small brown arm, was to push poor little 
pink and white Lucy into the cow-trodden mud. 

Then Tom could not restrain himself, and gave Maggie two 
smart slaps on the arm as he ran to pick up Lucy, who lay cry- 



ing helplessly. Maggie retreated to the roots of a tree a few 
yards off, and looked on impenitently. Usually her repentance 
came quickly after one rash deed, but now Tom and Lucy had 
Inade her so miserable, she was glad to spoil their happiness— 
glad to make every body uncomfortable. Why should she be 
sorry ? Tom was very slow to forgive her, however sorry she 
might have been. 

44 1 shall tell mother, you know, Miss Mag,” said Tom, loudly 
and emphatically, as soon as Lucy was up and ready to walk 
away. It was not Tom’s practice to 44 tell,” but here justice 
clearly demanded that Maggie should be visited with the ut¬ 
most punishment; not that Tom had learned to put his views 
in that abstract form; he never mentioned 44 justice,” and had 
no idea that his desire to punish might be called by that fine 
name. Lucy was too entirely absorbed by the evil that had 
befallen her—the spoiling of her pretty best clothes, and the 
discomfort of being wet and dirty—to tnink much of the cause, 
which was entirely mysterious to her. She could never have 
guessed what she had done to make Maggie angry with her; 
but she felt that Maggie was very unkind and disagreeable, 
and made no magnanimous entreaties to Tom that he wotdd 
not 44 tell,” only running along by his side and crying piteous¬ 
ly, while Maggie sat on the roots of the tree and looked after 
them with her small Medusa face. 

44 Sally,” said Tom, when they reached the kitchen door, and 
Sally looked at them in speechless amaze, with a piece of bread 
and butter in her mouth and a toasting fork in her hand, 
44 Sally, tell mother it was Maggie pushed Lucy into the mud.” 

44 But Lors ha’ massy, how did you get near such mud as 
that ?” said Sally, making a wry face as she stooped down and 
examined the corpus delicti . 

Tom’s imagination had not been rapid and capacious enough 
to include this question among the foreseen consequences, but 
it was no sooner put than he foresaw whither it tended, and 
that Maggie would not be considered the only culprit in the 
case. He walked quietly away from the kitchen door, leaving 
Sally to that pleasure of guessing which active minds notori¬ 
ously prefer to ready-made knowledge. 

Sally, as you are aware, lost no time in presenting Lucy at 
the parlor door, for to have so dirty an object introduced mto 
the house at Garum Firs was too great a weight to be sus¬ 
tained by a single mind. 

44 Goodness gracious!” aunt Pullet exclaimed, after preluding 
by an inarticulate scream; 44 keep her at the door, Sally! Don’t 
brin g h er off the oilcloth, whatever you do.” 

44 Why, she’s tumbled into some nasty mud,” said Mrs. Tul- 



liver, going up to Lucy to examine into the amount of damage 
to clothes for which she felt herself responsible to her sister 

“ If you please, ’um, it was Miss Maggie as pushed her in,” 
said Sally; “ Master Tom’s been and said so, and they must 
ha’ been to the pond, for it’s only there they could ha’ got into 
such dirt.” 

“There it is, Bessy; it’s what I’ve been telling you,” said 
Mrs. Pullet, in a tone of prophetic sadness; 44 it’s your children 
—there’s no knowing what they’ll come to.” 

Mrs. Tulliver was mute, feeling herself a truly wretched 
mother. As usual, the thought pressed upon her that people 
would think that she had done something wicked to deserve 
her maternal troubles, while Mrs. Pullet began to give elabo¬ 
rate directions to Sally how to guard the premises from serious 
injury in the course of removing the dirt. Meantime tea was 
to be brought in by the cook, and the two naughty children 
were to have theirs in an ignominious manner in the kitchen. 
Mrs. Tulliver went out to speak to these naughty children, sup¬ 
posing them to be close at hand; but it was not until after 
some search that she found Tom v leaning with rather a harden¬ 
ed, careless air against the white paling of the poultry-yard, 
and lowering his piece of string on the other side as a means 
of exasperating the turkey-cock. 

‘‘Tom, you naughty boy, where is your sister?” said Mrs. 
Tulliver, in a distressed voice. 

“ I don’t know,” said Tom; his eagerness for justice on Mag¬ 
gie had diminished since he had seen clearly that it could 
hardly be brought about without the injustice of some blame 
on his own conduct. 

“ Why, where did you leave her ?” said his mother, look¬ 
ing round. 

“ Sitting under the tree against the pond,” said Tom, appar¬ 
ently indifferent to every thing but the string and the tur¬ 

“ Then go and fetch her in this minute, you naughty boy. 
And how could you think of going to the pond, and taking 
your sister where there was dirt? You know she’ll do mis¬ 
chief, if there’s mischief to be done.” 

It was Mrs. Tulliver’s way, if she blamed Tom, to refer his 
misdemeanor, somehow or other, to Maggie. 

The idea of Maggie sitting alone by the pond roused an ha¬ 
bitual fear in Mrs. Tulliver’s mind, and she mounted the horse¬ 
block to satisfy herself by a sight of that fatal child, while Tom 
walked—not very quickly—on his way toward her. 

44 They’re such children for the water, mine are,” she said 



aloud, without reflecting that there was no one to hear her; 
“ they’ll be brought in dead and drownded some day. I wish 
that river was far enough.” 

But when she not only failed to discern Maggie, but pres¬ 
ently saw Tom returning from the pool alone, this hovering 
fear entered and took complete possession of her, and she hur¬ 
ried to meet him. 

“Maggie’s nowhere about the pond, mother,” said Tom; 
“ she’s gone away.” 

You may conceive the terrified search for Maggie, and the 
difficulty of convincing her mother that she was not in the 
pond. Mrs. Pullet observed that the child might come to a 
worse end if she lived—there was no knowing; and Mr. Pul¬ 
let, confused and overwhelmed by this revolutionary aspect of 
things—the tea deferred, and the poultry alarmed by the unu¬ 
sual running to and fro—took up his spud as an instrument of 
search, and reached down a key to unlock the goose-pen, as a 
likely place for Maggie to lie concealed in. 

Tom, after a while, started the idea that Maggie was gone 
home (without thinking it necessary to state that it was what 
he should have done himself under the circumstances), and the 
suggestion was seized as a comfort by his mother. 

“ Sister, for goodness’ sake, let ’em puli the horse in the car¬ 
riage and take me home—we shall perhaps find her on the 
road. Lucy can’t walk in her dirty clothes,” she said, looking 
at that innocent victim, who was wrapped up in a shawl, ana 
sitting with naked feet on the sofa. 

Aunt Pullet was quite willing to take the shortest means of 
restoring her premises to order and quiet, and it was not long 
before Mrs. Tulliver was in the chaise, looking anxiously at the 
most distant point before her. What the father would say if 
Maggie was lost, was a question that predominated over every 



Maggie’s intentions, as usual, were on a larger scale than 
Tom had imagined. The resolution that gathered in her mind, 
after Tom and Lucy had walked away, 'was not so simple as 
that of going home. No; she would run away and go to the 
gipsies, and Tom should never see her any more. That was 
by no means a new idea to Maggie; she had been so often 
told she was like a gipsy, and “ half wild,” that when she was 



miserable it seemed to her the only way of escaping opprobri¬ 
um, and being entirely in harmony with circumstances would 
be to live in a little brown tent on the commons: the gipsies, 
she considered, would gladly receive her, and pay her much 
respect on account of her superior knowledge. She had once 
mentioned her views on this point to Tom, and suggested that 
he should stain his face brown, and they should run away to¬ 
gether ; but Tom rejected the scheme with contempt, observ¬ 
ing that gipsies were thieves, and hardly got any thing to eat, 
and had nothing to drive but a donkey. To-day, however, 
Maggie thought her misery had reached a point at which gip- 
sydom was her only refuge, and she rose from her seat on the 
roots of the tree with the sense that this was a great crisis in 
her life; she would rim straight away till she came to Dunlow * 
Common, where there would certainly be gipsies, and cruel 
Tom, and the rest of her relations who found fault with her, 
should never see her any more. She thought of her father as 
she ran along, but she reconciled herself to the idea of parting 
with him by determining that she would secretly send him a 
letter by a small gipsy, who would run away without telling 
where she was, and just let him know that she was well ana 
happy, and always loved him very much. 

Maggie soon got out of breath with running, but by the 
time Tom got to the pond again she was at the distance of 
three long fields, and was on the edge of the lane leading to 
the high road. She stopped to pant a little, reflecting that run¬ 
ning away was not a pleasant thing until one had got quite to 
the common where the gipsies were, but her resolution had • 
not abated: she presently passed through the gate into the 
lane, not knowing where it would lead her, for it was not this 
way that they came from Dorlcote Mill to Garum Firs, and she 
felt all the safer for that, because there was no chance of her 
being overtaken. But she was soon aware, not without trem¬ 
bling, that there were two men coming along the lane in front 
of her: she had not thought of meeting strangers—she had 
been too much occupied with the idea of her friends coming 
after her. The formidable strangers were two shabby-looking 
men with flushed faces, one of them carrying a bundle on a 
stick over his shoulder; but, to her surprise, while she was 
dreading their disapprobation as a runaway, the man with the 
bundle stopped, ana in a half-whining, half-coaxing tone asked 
her if she bad a copper to give a poor man. Maggie had a 
sixpence in her pocket—her Uncle Glegg’s present—which she 
immediately drew out and gave this poor man with a polite 
smile, hoping he would feel very kindly toward her as a gen¬ 
erous person. “ That’s the only money I’ve got,” she said. 



apologetically. “ Thank you, little miss,” said the man, in a 
less respectful and grateful tone than Maggie anticipated, and 
she even observed that he smiled and winked at his compan¬ 
ion. She walked on hurriedly, but was aware that the two 
men were standing still, probably to look after her, and she 
presently heard them laughing loudly. Suddenly it occur¬ 
red to her that they might think she was an idiot: Tom had 
said that her cropped hair made her look like an idiot, and 
it was too painful an idea to be readily forgotten. Besides, 
she had no sleeves on—only a cape and bonnet. It was clear 
that she was not likely to make a favorable impression on pas¬ 
sengers, and she thought she would turn into the fields again, 
but not on the same side of the lane as before, lest they should 
m still be uncle Pullet’s fields. She turned through the first gate 
* that was not locked, and felt a delightful sense of privacy in 
creeping along by hedgerows after her recent humiliating en¬ 
counter. She was used to wandering about the fields by her¬ 
self, and was less timid there than on the high road. Some¬ 
times she had to climb over high gates, but that was a small 
evil; she was getting out of reach very fast, and she should 
probably soon come within sight of Dunlow Common, or at 
least some other common, for she had heard her father say that 
you couldn’t go very far without coming to a common. She 
hoped so, for she was getting rather tired and hungry, and un¬ 
til she reached the gipsies there was no definite prospect of 
bread and butter. It was still broad daylight, for aunt Pullet, 
retaining the early habits of the Dobson family, took tea at 
half past four by the sun, and at five by the kitchen clock; so, 
though it was nearly an hour since Maggie started, there was 
no gathering gloom on the fields to remind her that the night 
would come. Still, it seemed to her that she had been walk¬ 
ing a very great distance indeed, and it was really surprising 
that the common did not come within sight. Hitherto-she 
had been in the rich parish of Garum, where there was a great 
deal of pasture-land, and she had only seen one laborer at a dis¬ 
tance. That was fortunate in some respects, as laborers might 
be too ignorant to understand the propriety of her wanting to 
go to Dunlow Common; yet it would have been better if she 
could have met with some one who would tell her the way 
without wanting to know any thing about her private business. 
At last, however, the green fields came to an end, and Maggie 
found herself looking through the bars of a gate into a lane 
with a wide margin of grass on each side of it. She had nev¬ 
er seen such a wide lane before, and, without her knowing why, 
it gave her the impression that the common could not be far 
off; perhaps it was because she saw a donkey with a log to his 




foot feeding on the grassy margin, for she had seen a donkey 
with that pitiable encumbrance on D unlow Common when she 
had been across it in her father’s gig. She crept through the 
bars of the gate and walked on with new spirit, though not 
without haunting images of Apollyon, and a highwayman with 
a pistol, and a blinking dwarf in yellow, with a mouth from 
ear to ear, and other miscellaneous dangers; for poor little 
Maggie had at once the timidity of an active imagination, and 
the daring that comes from overmastering impulse. She had 
rushed into the adventure of seeking her unknown kindred, the 
gipsies; and now she was in this strange lane, she hardly dared 
look on one side of her, lest she should see the diabolical black¬ 
smith in his leathern apron grinning at her with arms akimbo. 
It was not without aleaping of the heart that she caught sight 
of a small pair of bare legs sticking up, feet uppermost, by the 
side of a hillock; they seemed something hideously preternat¬ 
ural—a diabolical kind of fungus; for she was too much agi¬ 
tated at the first glance to see the ragged clothes, and the dark, 
shaggy head attached to them. It was a boy asleep; and Mag¬ 
gie trotted along fester and more lightly, lest she should wake 
him : it did not occur to her that he was one of her friends 

the gipsies, who in all probability would have very genial man¬ 
ners. But the fact was so, for at the next bend m the lane 
Maggie actually saw the little semicircular black tent, with the 
blue smoke rising before it, which was to be her refuge from 
all the blighting obloquy that had pursued her in civilized life. 
She even saw a tall female figure' by the column of smoke— 
doubtless the gipsy-mother, who provided the tea and other 
groceries; it was astonishing to herself that she did not feel 
more delighted. But it was startling to find the gipsies in a 
lane, after all, and not on a common; indeed, it was rather dis¬ 
appointing ; for a mysterious illimitable common, where there 
were sand-pits to hide in, and one was out of every body’s 
reach, had always made part of Maggie’s picture of gipsy life. 
She went on, however, and thought with some comfort that 
gipsies most likely knew nothing about idiots, so there was no 
danger of their falling into the mistake of setting her down 
at the first glance as an idiot. It was plain she had attract¬ 
ed attention; for the tall figure, who proved to be a young 
woman with a baby on her arm, walked slowly to meet her. 
Maggie looked up in the new face rather tremblingly as it ap¬ 
proached, and was reassured by the thought that her aunt 
Pallet and the rest were right when they called her a gipsy, 
for this face, with the bright dark eyes and the long hair, was 
really something like what she used to see in the glass before 
she cat her hair off. 




“ My little lady, where are yon going to ?” the gipsy said, in 
a tone of coaxing deference. 

It was delightful, and just what Maggie expected: the gip¬ 
sies saw at once that she was a little lady, and were prepared 
to treat her accordingly. 

“Not any farther,” said Maggie, feeling as if she were say¬ 
ing what she had rehearsed in a dream. “ I’m come to stay 
with you, please.” 

“That’s pritty; come, then. Why, what a nice little lady 
you are, to be sure,*” said the gipsy, taking her by the hand 
Maggie thought her very agreeable, but wished she had not 
been so dirty. 

There was quite a group round the fire when they reached 
it. An old gipsy-woman was seated on the ground nursing 
her knees, ana occasionally poking a skewer into the round 
kettle that sent forth an odorous steam: two small shock- 
headed children were lying prone and resting on their elbowB 
something like small sphinxes; and a placid donkey was bend¬ 
ing his head over a tall girl, who, lying on her back, was scratch¬ 
ing his nose and indulging him with a bite of excellent stolen 
hay. The slanting sunlight fell kindly upon them, and the 
scene was very pretty and comfortable, Maggie thought, only 
she hoped they would soon set out the tea-cups. Every thing 
would be quite charming when she had taught the gipsies to 
use a washing-basin, and to feel an interest in books. It was 
a little confusing, though, that the young woman began to 
speak to the old one a language which Maggie did not under¬ 
stand, while the tall girl, who was feeding the donkey, sat up 
and stared at her without offering any salutation. At last the 
old woman said, 

“ What, my pretty lady, are you come to stay with us ? Sit 
ye down, and tell us where you come from.” 

It was just like a story: Maggie liked to be called pretty 
lady and treated in this way. She sat down and said, 

“I’m come from home because I’m unhappy, and I mean to 
be a gipsy. I’ll live with you, if you like, and I can teach you 
a great many things.” 

“ Such a clever little lady,” said the woman with the baby, 
sitting doWn by Maggie, and allowing baby to crawl; “ and 
such a pretty bonnet and frock,” she added, taking off Mag¬ 
gie’s bonnet and looking at it, while she made an observation 
to the old woman in the unknown language. The tall girl 
snatched the bonnet and put it on her own head hind-foremost 
with a grin; but Maggie was determined not to show any 
weakness on this subject, as if she were susceptible about her 



“ I don’t want to wear a bonnet,” she said; “ Fd rather wear 
a red handkerchief like yours” (looking at her friend by her 
side); “my hair was quite long till yesterday, when I cut it 
off; but I dare say it will grow again very soon,” she added 
apologetically, thinking it probable the gipsies had a strong 
prejudice in fayor of long hair. And Maggie had forgotten 
even her hunger at that moment in the desire to conciliate 
gipsy opinion. 

“ Oh, what a nice little lady!—and rich, Pm sure,” said the 
old woman. “Didn’t you live in a beautiful house at home?” 

“ Yes, my home is pretty, and I’m very fond of the river, ? 
where we go fishing; but I’m often very unhappy. I should s 
have liked to bring my books with me, but I came away in a 
hurry, you know. But I can tell you almost every thing there 
is in my books, Fve read them so many times—and that will 
amuse you. And I can tell you something about Geography 
too—that’s about the world we live in—very useful and inter¬ 
esting. Did you ever hear about Columbus ?” 

Maggie’s eyes had begun to sparkle and her cheeks to flush 
—she was really beginning to instruct the gipsies, and gain¬ 
ing great influence over them. The gipsies themselves were 
not without amazement at this talk, though their attention was 
divided by the contents of Maggie’s pocket, which the friend 
at her right hand had by this time emptied without attracting 
her notice. 

“ Is that where you live, my little lady ?” said the old wom¬ 
an, at the mention of Columbus. 

“ Oh no I” said Maggie, with some pitv; “ Columbus was a 
very wonderful man, who found out half the world, and they 
put chains on him, and treated him very badly, you know— 
it’s in my Catechism of Geography—but perhaps it’s rather 
too long to tell before tea. . . : I want my tea so.” 

The last words burst from Maggie, in spite of herself, with a 
sudden drop from patronizing instruction to simple peevishness. 

“Why, she’s hungry, poor little lady,” said the younger 
woman. “ Give her some o’ the cold victual. You’ve been 
walking a good way, Fll be bound, my dear. Where’s your 
home ?” 

“It’s Dorlcote Mill—a good way off,” said Maggie. “My 
father is Mr. Tulliver; but we mustn’t let him know where 1 
am, else he’ll fetch me home again. Where does the queen of 
the gipsies live ?” 

“What! do you want to go to her,my little lady?” said 
the younger woman. The tall girl meanwhile was constantly 
staring at Maggie and grinning. Her maimers were certainly 
not agreeable. 



tt No,” said Maggie; “Pm only thinking that if she isn’t a 
very good queen you might be glad when she died, and you 
could choose another. If I was a queen, I’d be a very good 
queen, and kind to every body.” 

“Here’s a bit o’ nice victual, then,” said the old woman, 
handing to Maggie a lump of dry bread, which she had taken 
from a nag of scraps, and a piece of cold bacon. 

“ Thank you,” said Maggie, looking at the food without tak¬ 
ing it; “ but will you give me some bread and butter and tea 
instead ? I don’t like bacon.” 

“We’ve got no tea nor butter,” said the old woman with 
something like a scowl, as if she were getting tired of coaxing. 

“ Oh, a little bread and treacle would do,” said Maggie. 

“We hadn’t got no treacle,” said the old woman, crossly, 
whereupon there followed a sharp dialogue between the two 
women in their unknown tongue, and one of the small sphinxes 
snatched at the bread and bacon and began to eat it. At this 
moment the tall girl, who had gone a few yards off, came back 
and said something which produced a strong effect. The old 
woman, seeming to forget Maggie’s hunger, poked the skewer 
into the pot with new vigor, and the younger crept under the 
tent, and reached out some platters and spoons. Maggie trem¬ 
bled a little, and was afraid the tears would come into her 

eyes. Meanwhile the tall girl gave a shrill cry, and presently 
came running up the boy, whom Maggie had passed as he was 
sleeping—a rough urchin about the age of Tom. He stared at 
Maggie, and there ensued much incomprehensible chattering. 
She felt very lonely, and was quite sure she should begin to 
cry before long: the gipsies didn’t seem to mind her at all, 
and she felt quite weak among them. But the springing tears 
were checked by a new terror, when two men came up, whose 
approach had been the cause of the sudden excitement. The 
elder of the two carried a bag, which he flung down, address¬ 
ing the women in a loud and scolding tone, which they answer¬ 
ed by a shower of treble sauciness, while a black cur ran bark¬ 

ing up to Maggie, and threw her into a tremor that only found 
a new cause in the curses with which the younger man called 
the dog off, and gave him a rap with a great stick he held in 
his hand. 

Maggie felt that it was impossible she should ever be queen 
of these people, or ever communicate to them amusing ana use¬ 
ful knowledge. 

Both the men now seemed to be inquiring about Maggie, 
for they looked at her, and the tone of the conversation be¬ 
came of that pacific kind which implies curiosity on one side 
and the power of satisfying it on the other. At last the young¬ 
er woman said, in her previous deferential coaxing tone, 



“This nice little lady’s come to live with us; aren’t you 

“ Ay, very glad,” said the younger, who was looking at Mag¬ 
gie’s silver thimble and other small matters that had been tak¬ 
en from her pocket. He returned them all except the thimble 
to the younger woman, with some observation, and she immo* 
diately restored them to Maggie’s pocket, while the men seat¬ 
ed themselves, and began to attack the contents of the kettle 
—a stew of meat and potatoes—which had been taken off the 
fire and turned out into a yellow platter. 

Maggie began to think that Tom must be right about the 
gipsies—they must certainly be thieves, unless the man meant 
to return her thimble by-and-by. She would willingly have 
given it to him, for she was not at all attached to her thimble; 
but the idea that she was among thieves prevented her from 
feeling any comfort in the revival of deference and attention 
toward her—all thieves except Robin Hood were wicked peo¬ 
ple. The woman saw she was frightened. 

“We’ve got nothing nice for a lady to eat,” said the old 
woman, in her coaxing tone. “ And she’s so hungry, sweet 
little lady.” 

“ Here, my dear, try if you can eat a bit o’ this,” said the 
younger woman, handing some of the stew on a brown dish 
with an iron spoon to Maggie, who, remembering that the old 
woman had seemed angry with her for not liking the bread 
and bacon, dared not refuse the stew, though fear had chased 
away her appetite. If her father would but come by in the 
gig and take her up! Or even if Jack the Giant-killer, or Mr. 
Greatheart, or St. George who slew the dragon on the half¬ 
pennies, would happen to pass that way 1 But Maggie thought 
with a sinking heart that these heroes were never seen in the 
neighborhood of St. Ogg’s—nothing very wonderful ever came 

Maggie Tulliver, you perceive, was by no means that well- 
trained, well-informed young person that a small female of 
eight or nine necessarily is in these days: she had only been 
to school a year at St. Ogg’s, and had so few books that she 
sometimes read the dictionary, so that in traveling over her 
small mind you would have found the most unexpected igno¬ 
rance as well as unexpected knowledge. She could have in¬ 
formed you that there was such a word as “polygamy,” and 
being also acquainted with “polysyllable,” she had deduced 
the conclusion that “poly” meant “.many;” but she had had 
no idea that gipsies were not well supplied with groceries, and 
her thoughts generally were the oddest mixture of dear-eyed 
acumen and bund dreams. 



Her ideas about the gipsies had undergone a rapid modifi¬ 
cation in the last five minutes. From having considered them 
very respectful companions, amenable to instruction, she had 
begun to think that they meant perhaps to kill her as Boon as 
it was dark, and cut up her body for gradual cooking: the 
suspicion crossed her that the fierce-eyed old man was m fact 
the devil, who might drop that transparent disguise at any 
moment, and turn either into the grinning blacksmith or else 
a fiery-eyed monster with dragon’s wings. It was no use try¬ 
ing to eat the stew, and yet the thing she most dreaded was 
to offend the gipsies by betraying her extremely unfavorable 
opinion of them, and she wondered with a keenness of interest 
that no theologian could have exceeded, whether, if the devil 
were really present, he would know her thoughts. 

u What! you don’t like the smell of it, my dear,” said the 
young woman, observing that Maggie did not even take a 
spoonful of the stew. “ TW a bit—come.” 

“ No, thank you,” said Maggie, summoning all her force for 
a desperate effort, and trying to smile in a friendly way. “I 
haven’t time, I think—it seems getting darker. I think I must 
go home now, and come again another day, and then I can 
bring you a basket with some jam tarts and nice things.” 

Maggie rose from her seat as she threw out this illusory 
prospect, devoutly hoping that Apollyon was gullible; but her 
hope sank when the old gipsy-woman said, “ Stop a bit, stop a 
bit, little lady; we’ll take you home, all safe, when we’ve done 
supper: you shall ride home, like a lady.” 

Maggie sat down again, with little faith in this ‘promise, 
though she presently saw the tall girl putting a bridle on the 
donkey, and throwing a couple of bags on his back. 

“ Now, then, little missis,” said the younger man, rising, and 
leading the donkey forward, “ tell us where you live—what’s 
the name o’ the place ?” 

“ Dorlcote Mill is my home,” said Maggie, eagerly. “My 
father is Mr.Tulliver—he lives there.” 

“ What! a big mill a little way this side o’ St. Ogg’s ?” 

“ Yes,” said Maggie. “ Is it far off? I think I should like 
to walk there, if you please.” 

“ No, no, it’ll be getting dark; we must make haste. And 
the donkey ’ll carry you as nice as can be—you’ll see.” 

He lifted^ Maggie as he spoke, and set her on the donkey. 
She felt relieved that it was not the old man who seemed to 
be going with her, but she had only a trembling hope that she 
was really going home. 

# “Here’s your pretty bonnet,” said the younger woman, put¬ 
ting that recently despised but now welcome article of cos- 



tome on Maggie’s head; “ and you’ll say we’ve been very good 
to you, won’t you? and what a nice little lady we sand you 

44 Oh yes, thank you,” said Maggie. 44 I’m very much obliged 
to you. But I wish you’d go with me too.” She thought any 
thing was better than going with one of the dreadful men 
alone: it would be more cheerful to be murdered by a larger 

44 Ah! you’re fondest o’ me, aren’t you ?” said the woman. 
44 But I can’t go; you’ll go too fast for me.” 

It now appeared that the man also was to be seated on the 
donkey, holding Maggie before him, and she was as incapable 
of remonstrating against this arrangement as the donkey him- 
sel£ though no nightmare had ever seemed to her more horri¬ 
ble. When the woman had patted her on the back, and said 
44 Good-by,” the donkey, at a* strong hint from the man’s stick, 
set off at a rapid walk along the lane toward the point Maggie 
had come from an hour ago, while the tall girl and the rough 
urchin, also furnished with sticks, obligingly escorted them for 
the first hundred yards, with much screaming and thwacking. 

Not Leonore,in that preternatural midnight excursion with 
her phantom lover, was more terrified than poor Maggie in this 
entirely natural ride on a short-paced donkey, with a gipsy be¬ 
hind her, who considered that he was earning half a crown. 
The red light of the setting sun seemed to have a portentous 
meaning, with which the alarming bray of the second donkey 
with the log on its foot must surely have some connection. 
Two low thatched cottages—the only houses they passed in 
this lane—seemed to add to its dreariness: they had no win¬ 
dows to speak of, and the doors were closed:, it was probable 
that they were inhabited by witches, and it was a relief to find 
that the donkey did not stop there. 

At last—Oh, sight of joy !—this lane, the longest in the 
world, was coming to an end, was opening on a broad high 
road, where there was actually a coach passing! And there 
was a finger-post at the corner: she had surely seen that fin¬ 
ger-post before— 44 To St. egg’s, 2 miles.” The gipsy really 
meant to take her home, then: he was probably a good man, 
after all, and might have been rather hurt at the thought that 
she didn’t like coming with him alone. This idea became 
stronger as she felt more and more certain that she knew the 
road quite well, and she was considering how she might open 
a conversation with the injured gipsy, and not only gratify his 
feelings, but efface the impression of her cowardice, when, as 
they reached a cross-road, Maggie caught sight of some one 
coming on a white-faced horse. 


44 Oh, stop, stop!” she cried out. 44 There’s my father! Oh, 
father, father!” 

The sudden joy was almost painful, and before her father 
reached her she was sobbing. Great was Mr. Tulliver’s won¬ 
der, for he had made a round from Basset, and had not yet 
been home. 

44 Why, what’s the meaning o’ this ?” he said, checking his 
horse, while Maggie slipped from the donkey and ran to her 
father’s stirrup. 

“The little miss lost herself, I reckon,” said the gipsy. 
44 She’d come to our tent at the far end o’ Dunlow Lane, and I 
was bringing her where she said her home was. It’s a good 
way to come arter being on the tramp all day.” 

44 Oh yes, father, he’s been very good to bring me home,” 
said Maggie. 44 A very kind, good man !” 

46 Here, then, my man,” said Mr. Tulliver, taking out five 
shillings. 44 It’s the best day’s work you ever did. I couldn’t, 
afford to lose the little wench; here, lift her up before me.” 

44 Why, Maggie, how’s this—how’s this ?” he said, as they 
rode along, while she laid her head against her father and 
sobbed. 44 How came you to be rambling about and lose your¬ 

44 Oh, father,” sobbed Maggie, 44 1 ran away because I was 
so unhappy—Tom was so angry with me. I couldn’t bear it.” 

44 Pooh! pooh!” said Mr. Tulliver, soothingly, 44 you mustn’t 
think o’ running away from father. What ’ud father do with¬ 
out his little wench ?” 

44 Oh no, I never will again, father—never.” 

Mr. Tulliver spoke his mind very strongly when he reached 
home that evening, and the effect was seen in the remarkable 
fact that Maggie never heard one reproach from her mother, 
or one taunt from Tom, about this foolish business of her run¬ 
ning away to the gipsies. Maggie was rather awe-stricken by 
this unusual treatment, and sometimes thought that her con¬ 
duct had been too wicked to be alluded to. 



In order to see Mr. and Mrs. Glegg at home, we must enter 
the town of St. Ogg’s—that venerable town with the red fluted 
roofs and the broad warehouse gables, where the black ships 
unlade themselves of their burdens from the far north, and 
carry away, in exchange, the precious inland products, the 
well-crushed cheese and the soft fleeces, which my refined 

i *H B MILL ON xh B J^LOSS* 


readers have doubtless become acquainted with through the 
medium of the best classic pastorals. 

It is one of those old, old towns, which impress one as a 
continuation and outgrowth of nature, as much as the nests of 
the bower-birds or the winding galleries of the white ants—a 
town which carries the traces of its long growth and history- 
like a millennial tree, and has sprung up and developed in the 
same spot between the river and the low hill from the time 
when the Roman legions turned their backs on it from the 
camp on the hill-side, and the long-haired searkings came up 
the river and looked with fierce, eager eyes at the fatness of 
the land. It is a town 44 familiar with forgotten years.” The 
shadow of the Saxon hero-king still walks there fitfully, re¬ 
viewing the scenes of his youth and love-time, and is met by 
the gloomier shadow of the dreadful heathen Dane, who was 
stabbed in the midst of his warriors by the sword of an invis¬ 
ible avenger, and who rises on autumn evenings like a white 
mist from his tumulus on the hill, and hovers in the court of 
the old hall by the river-side—the spot where he was thus 
miraculously slain in the days before the old hall was built. 
It was the Normans who began to build that fine old hall, 
which is like the town, telling of thoughts and hands of wide¬ 
ly-sundered generations; but it is all so old that we look with 
loving pardon at its inconsistencies, and are well content that 
they who built the stone oriel, and they who built the Gothic 
facade and towers of finest small brickwork with the trefoil 
ornament, and the windows and battlements defined with stone, 
did not sacrilegiously pull down the ancient half-timbered body 
with its oak-roofed banqueting-hall. 

But older even than this old hall is perhaps the bit of wall 
now built into the belfry of the parish church, and sftid to be 
a remnant of the original chapel dedicated to St. irgg, the pa¬ 
tron saint of this ancient town, of whose history I possess sev¬ 
eral manuscript versions. I incline to the briefest^ince, if it 
should not be wholly true, it is at least likely to contain the 
least falsehood. 44 Ogg, the son of Beorl,” says my private ha- 
giographer, 44 was a boatman, who gained a scanty living by 
ferrying passengers across the River Floss. And it came to 
pa*n one evening, when the winds were high, that there sat 
moaning by the brink of the river a woman with a child in her 
arms; and she was clad in rags, and had a worn and withered 
look, and she craved to be rowed across the river. And the 
men thereabout questioned her, and said, 4 Wherefore dost thou 
desire to cross the river ? Tarry till the morning, and take 
shelter here for the night; so shalt thou be wise, and not fool¬ 
ish.’ Still she went on to mourn and crave. But Ogg, the 

E 2 



son of Beorl, came np and said, ‘I wil l ferry thrr WOWT it is 
enough that thy heart needs it.* Arid Be ISffied her across. 
And it came to pass, when she stepped ashore, that her rags 
were turned into robes of flowing white, and her face became 
bright with exceeding beauty, and there was a glory around 
it, so that she shed a light on the water like the moon in its 
brightness. And she said, 4 Ogg, the son of Beorl, thou art 
blessed in that thou jidat_ ^^*^ag«tion ^ and 
he^ltf siRSed;UHTwast smitten with pity,an ddidststraightMa r 

henceforth ^Tioso steps into thy 
boarshaffbe'm no peril from the storm; and whenever it puts 
forth to the rescue, it shall save the lives both of men and 
beasts.’ And when the floods came, many were saved by rea¬ 
son of that blessing on the boat. But wnen Ogg, the son of 
Beorl, died, behold, in the parting of his soul, the boat loosed 
itself from its moorings, and was floated with the ebbing tide 
in great swiftness to the ocean, and was seen no more. Yet it 
was witnessed in the floods of after-time that at the coming 
on of even, Ogg, the son of Beorl, was always seen with his 
boat upon the wide-spreading waters, and the Blessed Virgin 
sat in the prow, shedding a light around as of the moon in its 
brightness, so that the rowers in the gathering darkness took 
heart and pulled anew.” 

This legend, one sees, reflects from a far-off time the visita¬ 
tion of the floods, which, even when they left human life un¬ 
touched, were widely fatal to the helpless cattle, and swept as 
sudden death over all smaller living things. But the town 
knew worse troubles even than the floods—troubles of the 
civil wars, when it was a continual fighting-place, where first 
Puritans thanked God for the blood of the Loyalists, and then 
Loyalists thanked God for the blood of the Puritans. Many 
honest citizens lost all their possessions for conscience’ sake in 
those times, and went forth beggared from their native town. 
Doubtless there are many houses standing now on which those 
honest citizens turned their backs in sorrow: quaint-gabled 
houses looking on the river, jammed between newer ware¬ 
houses, and penetrated by surprising passages, which turn and 
turn at sharp angles till they lead you out on a muddy strand 
overflowed continually by the rushing tide. Every where the 
brick houses have a mellow look, and in Mrs. Glegg’s day there 
was no incongruous new-fashioned smartness, no plate-glass in 
shop windows, no fresh stucco-facing or other fallacious at¬ 
tempts to make fine old red St. Ogg’s wear the air of a town 
that sprang up yesterday. The shop windows were small and 
unpretending; for the farmers’ wives and daughters who came 
to do their shopping on market-days were not to be withdrawn 



from their regular, well-known shops, and the tradesmen had 
no wares intended for customers who would go on their way 
and be seen no more. Ah 1 even Mrs. Glegg’s day seems far 
back in the past now, separated by changes that widen the 
years. War and the rumor of war had then died out from 
the minds of men, and if they were ever thought of by the 
farmers in drab great-coats, who shook the grain out of their 
sample-bags and buzzed oyer it in the full market-place, it was 
as a state of things that belonged to a past golden age, when 
prices were high. Surely the time was gone forever when the 
broad river could bring up unwelcome ships: Russia was only 
the place where the linseed came from—the more the better— 
making grist for the great vertical mill-stones with their scythe¬ 
like arms, roaring, and grinding, and carefully sweeping as if an 
informing soul was in them. The Catholics, bad harvests, and 
the mysterious fluctuation of trade, were the three evils man¬ 
kind had to fear: even the floods had not been great of late 
years. The mind of St. Ogg’s did not look extensively before 
or after. It inherited a long past without thinking of it, and 
had no eyes for the spirits that walked the streets. Since the 
centuries when St. Ogg with his boat and the Virgin Mother 
at the prow had been seen on the wide water, so many memo¬ 
ries had been left behind, and had gradually vanished like the 
receding hill-tops! Anr | thli P^ p ” PT ? t ^thae-was like the level 
pl aiurW A CTfi men 1 o a e thei* b e B S?firvo lc a noe s and earthquakes, 
tliirrhyijj aft yesterday, and^he-giant forces 

that used to dMcetne earth are forever laid to sleep. The 
days were gone when people could be greatly wrought upon 
by their frith, still less change it: the Catholics were formida- 
, ble because they would lay hold of government and property, 
! and bum men alive; not because any sane and honest parish* 
ioner of St. Ogg’s could be brought to believe in the Pope. 
One aged person remembered how a rude multitude had been 
swayed when John Wesley preached in the cattle-market; but 
for a long while it had not been expected of preachers that 
they should shake the souls of men. An occasional burst of 
fervor in Dissenting pulpits on the subject of infant baptism 
was the only symptom of a zeal unsuited to sober times when 
men had done with change. Protestantism sat at ease, un¬ 
mindful of schisms, careless of proselytism; Dissent was an in¬ 
heritance along with a superior pew and a business connection; 
and Churchmanship only wondefed contemptuously at Dissent 
as a foolish habit that clung greatly to families in the grocery 
and chandlering lines, though not incompatible with prosper¬ 
ous wholesale dealing. But with the Catholic Question had 
come a alight wind of controversy to break the calm; the dr 


the mill on the floss. 

derly rector had become occasionally historical and argument¬ 
ative, and Mr. Spray, the Independent minister, had begun to 
preach political sermons, in winch he distinguished with much 
subtlety between his fervent belief in the right of the Catholics 
to the franchise and his fervent belief in their eternal perdition. 
But most of Mr. Spray’s hearers were incapable of following 
his subtleties, and many old-fashioned Dissenters were much 
pained by his “ siding with the Catholics,” while others thought 
he had better let politics alone. Public spirit was not held in 
high esteem at St. Ogg’s, and men who busied themselves with 
political questions were regarded with some suspicion as dan¬ 
gerous characters: they were usually persons who had little 
or no business of their own to manage, or, if they had, were 
likely enough to become insolvent. 

This was the general aspect of things at St. egg’s in Mrs. 
Glegg’s day, and at that particular period in her family his¬ 
tory when she had had her quarrel with Mr. Tulliver. It was 
a time when ignorance was much more comfortable than at 
«* present, and was received with all the honors in very good so- 
1 ciety without being obliged to dress itself in an elaborate cos- 
i tume of knowledge; a time when cheap periodicals were not, 
and when country surgeons never thought of asking their fe¬ 
male patients if they were fond of reading, but simply took it 
for granted that they preferred gossip; a time when ladies in 
rich silk gowns wore large pockets, in which they carried a 
mutton-bone to secure them against cramp. Mrs. Glegg car¬ 
ried such a bone, which she had inherited from her grandmoth¬ 
er with a brocaded gown that would stand up empty, like a 
suit of armor, and a silver-headed walking-stick; for the Dod¬ 
son family had been respectable for many generations. 

Mrs. Glegg had both a front and a back parlor in her excel¬ 
lent house at St. Ogg’s, so that she had two poi nts of view 
from which she could observe the weaknesses of her.fellow-be¬ 
ings, and re-enforce her thankfulness for her own exceptional 
strength of mind. From her front windows she could look 
down the Tofton Road, leading out of St. Ogg’s, and note the 
growing tendency to “gadding about” in the wives of men 
not retired from business, together with a practice of wearing 
woven cotton stockings, which opened a dreary prospect for 
the coming generation; and from her back windows she could 
look down the pleasant garden and orchard which stretched to 
the river, and observe the folly of Mr. Glegg in spending his 
time among “ them flowers and vegetablesfor Mr. Glegg, 
having retired from active business as a wool-stapler, for the 

C ose of enjoying himself through the rest of his life, had 
i this last occupation so much more severe than his busi- 



ness, that he had been driven into amateur hard labor as a dis¬ 
sipation, and habitually relaxed by doing the work of two or¬ 
dinary gardeners. The economizing of a gardener’s wages 
might perhaps have induced Mrs. Glegg to wink at this folly, 
if it were possible for a healthy female mind even to simulate 
respect for a husband’s hobby. But it is well known that this 
conjugal complacency belongs only to the weaker portion of 
the sex, who are scarcely alive to the responsibilities of a wife 
as a constituted check on her husband’s pleasures, which are 
hardly ever of a rational or commendable land. 

Mr. Glegg on his side, too, had a double source of mental 
occupation, which gave every promise of being inexhaustible. 
On the one hand, he surprised himself by his discoveries in 
natural history, finding that his piece of garden-ground con¬ 
tained wonderful caterpillars, slugs, a»d insects, which, so far 
as he had heard, had never before attracted human observa¬ 

tion ; and he noticed remarkable coincidences between these 
zoological phenomena and the great events of that time—as, 
for example, that before the burning of York Minster there had 
been mysterious serpentine marks on the leaves of the rose- 
trees, together with an unusual prevalence of slugs, which he 
had been puzzled to know the meaning of, until it flashed upon 
him with this melancholy conflagration. (Mr. Glegg had an 
unusual amount of mental activity, which, when disengaged 
from therWbol business, naturally made itself a pathway in 
other directions.) And his second subject of meditation was 
the u contrariness” of the female mind, as typically exhibited, 
in Mrs. Glegg. That a creature made—in a genealogical sense 
—out of a man’s rib, and in this particular case maintained in 
the highest respectability without, any trouble of her own, 
should be normally in a state of contradiction to the blandest/ 
propositions and even to the most accommodating concessions/ 
was a mystery in the scheme of things to which he had often 
in vain sought a clew in the early chapters of Genesis. Mi. 
Glegg had chosen the eldest Miss Dodson as a handsome em¬ 
bodiment of female prudence and thrift, and being himself or 
a money-getting, money-keeping turn, had calculated on much 
conjugal harmony. But in that curious compound, the fem¬ 
inine character, it may easily happen that the flavor is unpleas-j 
ant in spite'of excellent ingredients, and a fine systematic stin-J 
giness may be accompanied with a seasoning that quite spoils 
its relish. Now good Mr. Glegg himself was stingy in thej 
most amiable manner: his neighbors called him “ near,” which 1 
always means that the person in question is a lovable skinflint. 
If you expressed a preference for cheese-parings, Mr. Glegg 
would remember to save them for you, with a good-natured 



delight in gratifying your palate, and he was given to pet all 
animals which required no appreciable keep. There was no 
hnmbug or hypocrisy about Mr. Glegg: his eyes would have 
watered with true feeling over the sale of a widow’s furniture, 
which a five-pound note from his side-pocket would have pre¬ 
vented ; but a donation of five pounds to a person “in a small 
way of life” would have seemed to him a mad kind of lavish¬ 
ness rather than “ charity,” which had always presented itself 
to him as a contribution of small aids, not a neutralizing of 
misfortune. And Mr. Glegg was just as fond of saving other 
people’s money as his own: ne would have ridden as far round 
to avoid a turnpike when his expenses were to be paid for him 
as when they were to come out of his own pocket, and was 
quite zealous in trying to induce indifferent acquaintances to 
adopt a cheap substitute for blacking. This inalienable habit 
of saving, as an end in itself, belonged to the industrious men 
of business of a former generation, who made their fortunes 
slowly, almost as the tracking of the fox belongs to the har¬ 
rier—it constituted them a “race,” which is nearly lost in 
these days of rapid money-getting, when lavishness comes close 
on the back of want. In old-fashioned times, an “independ¬ 
ence” was hardly ever made without a little miserliness as a 
condition, and you would have found that quality in every pro¬ 
vincial district, combined with characters as various as the 
fruits from which we can extract acid. The true Harpagons 
were always marked and exceptional characters; not so the 
worthy tax-payers, who, having once pinched from real neces¬ 
sity, retained even in the midst of their comfortable retire¬ 
ment, with their wall-fruit and wine-bins, the habit of regard¬ 
ing life as an ingenious process of nibbling out one’s livelihood 
without leaving any perceptible deficit, and who would have 
been as immediately prompted to give up a newly-taxed lux¬ 
ury when they had their clear five hundred a year as when 
they had only five hundred pounds of capital. Mr, Glegg was 
one of these men, found so impracticable by chancellors of the 
exchequer; and knowing this, you will be the better able to 
understand why he had not swerved from the conviction that 
he had made an eligible marriage, in spite of the too pungent 
seasoning that nature had given to the eldest Miss Dodson’s 
virtues. A man with an affectionate disposition, who finds a 
wife to concur with his fundamental idea of life, easily comes 
to persuade himself that no other woman would have suited 
him so well, and does a little daily snapping and quarreling 
without any sense of alienation. Mr. Glegg, being of a reflect¬ 
ive turn, and no longer occupied with wool, had much won¬ 
dering meditation on the peculiar constitution of the female 



mind as unfolded to him in his domestic life; and yet he 
thought Mrs. Glegg’s household ways a model for her sex: it 
struck him as a pitiable irregularity in other women if they 
did not roll up their table-napkins with the same tightness and 
emphasis as Mrs. Glegg did, if their pastry had a less leathery 
consistence, and their damson cheese a less venerable hardness 
than hers; nay, even the peculiar combination of grocery and 
drug-like odors in Mrs. Glegg’s private cupboard impressed 
him as the only right thing in the way of cupboard smells. I 
am not sure that he would not have longed for the quarreling 
again, if it had ceased for an entire week; and it is certain that 
an acquiescent mild wife would have left his meditations com¬ 
paratively jejune and barren of mystery. 

Mr. Glegg’s unmistakable kind-heartedness was shown in 
this, that it pained frim more to see his wife at variance with 
others—even with Dolly, the servant—than to be in a state of 
cavil with her himself; and the quarrel between her and Mr. 
Tulliver vexed him so much that it quite nullified the pleasure 
he would otherwise have had in the state of his early cabbages, 
as he walked in his garden before breakfast the next morning. 
Still he went in to breakfast with some slight hope that, now 
Mrs. Glegg had “ slept upon it,” her anger might be subdued 
enough to give way to her usually strong sense of family de¬ 
corum. She had been used to boast that there had never been 
any of those deadly quarrels among the Dodsons which had 
disgraced other families; that no Dodson had ever been “ cut 
off with a shilling,” and no cousin of the Dodsons disowned; 
as, indeed, why should they be ? for they had no cousins who 
had not money out at use, or some houses of their own, at the 
very least. 

There was one evening-cloud which had always disappeared 
from Mrs. Glegg’s brow when she sat at the breakfast-table: 
it was her fuzzy front of curls; for, as she occupied herself in 
household matters in the morning, it would have been a mere 
extravagance to put on any thing so superfluous to the making 
of leathery pastry as a fuzzy curled front. By half past ten 
decorum demanded the front; until then Mrs. Glegg could 
economize it, and society would never be any the wiser. But 
the absence of that cloud only left it more apparent that the 
cloud of severity remained; and Mr. Glegg, perceiving this as 
he sat down to his milk-porridge, which it was his old frugal 
habit to stem his morning hunger with, prudently resolved to 
leave the first remark to Mrs. Glegg, lest, to so delicate an 
article as a lady’s temper, the slightest touch should do mis¬ 
chief. People who seem to enjoy their ill-temper have a way 
of keeping it in fine condition by inflicting privations on them- 



pelves. That was Mrs. Glegg’s way: she made her tea weak¬ 
er than usual this morning, and declined butter. It was a hard 
case that a vigorous mood for quarreling, so highly capable of 
using any opportunity, should not meet with a single remark 
from Mr. Glegg on which to exercise itself. But by-and-by it 
appeared that his silence would answer the purpose, for he 
heard himself apostrophized at last in that tone peculiar to the 
wife of one’s bosom. 

“Well, Mr. Glegg! it’s a poor return I get for making you 
the wife I’ve made you all these years. If this is the way I’m 
to be treated, I’d better ha’ known it before my poor father 
died, and then, when I’d wanted a home, I should ha’ gone 
elsewhere—as the choice was offered to me.” 

Mr. Glegg paused from his porridge and looked up—-not 
with any new amazement, but simply with that quiet, habitual 
wonder with which we regard constant mysteries. 

“ Why, Mrs. G., what have I done now ?” 

“Done now, Mr. Glegg? done nowf .... I’m sorry for 

Not seeing his way to any pertinent answer, Mr. Glegg re¬ 
verted to his porridge. 

“There’s husband’s in the world,” continued Mrs. Glegg, 
after a pause, “ as ’ud have known how to do something dif¬ 
ferent to siding with every body else against their own wives. 
Perhaps I’m wrong, and you can teach me better—but I’ve 
allays heard as it’s the husband’s place to stand by the wife, 
instead o’ rejoicing and triumphing when folks insult her.” 

“Now, what call have you to say that?” said Mr. Glegg, 
rather warmly, for, though a kind man, he was not as meek as 
Moses. “ When did I rejoice or triumph over you ?” 

“There’s ways o’ doing things worse than speaking out plain, 
Mr. Glegg. I’d sooner you’d tell me to my face as you make 
light of me, than try to make out as every body’s in the right 
but me, and come to your breakfast in the morning, as I’ve 
hardly slept an hour this night, and sulk at me as if I was the 
dirt under your feet.” 

“ Sulk at you ?” said Mr. Glegg, in a tone of angry face¬ 
tiousness. You’re like a tipsy man as thinks every body’s 
had too much but himself.” 

“ Don’t lower yourself with using coarse language to me, 
Mr. Glegg! It makes you look very small, though you can’t 
see yourself,” said Mrs. Glegg, in a tone of energetic compas¬ 
sion. “A man in your place should set an example, and talk 
more sensible.” 

“Yes; but will you listen to sense?” retorted Mr. Glegg, 
sharply. “ The best sense I can talk to you is what I said last 



night—as you’re i’ the wrong to think o’ calling in your money, 
when it’s safe enough if you’d let it alone, all because of a bit 
of a tifl^ and I was in hopes you’d ha’ altered your mind this 
morning. But if you’d like to call it in, don’t do it in a hurry 
now, and breed more enmity in the family, but wait till there’s 
a pretty mortgage to be had without any trouble. You’d 
have to set the lawyer to work now to find an investment, and 
make no end o’ expense.” 

Mrs. Glegg felt there was really something in this, but she 
tossed her head and emitted a guttural inteijection to indicate 
that her silence was only an armistice, not a peace. And, in 
fact, hostilities soon broke out again. 

“ Til thank you for my cup o’ tea, now, Mrs. G.,” said Mr. 
Glegg, seeing that she did not proceed to give it him as usual, 
when he had finished his porridge. She lifted the teapot with 
a slight toss of the head, and said, 

“ I’m glad to hear you’ll thank me, Mr. Glegg. It’s little 
thanks I get for what I do for folks i’ this world, though 
there’s never a woman o’ your side i’ the family, Mr. Glegg, 
as is fit to stand up with me, and I’d say it if I was on my 
dying bed. 'Not but what I’ve allays conducted myself civil 
to your kin, and there isn’t one of ’em can say the contrary, 
though my equils they aren’t, and nobody shall make me say 

“ You’d better leave finding fault wi’ my kin till you’ve left 
off quarreling with your own, Mrs. G.,” said Mr. Glegg, with 
angry sarcasm. “ I’ll trouble you for the milk-jug.” 

“ That’s as false a word as ever you spoke, Mr. Glegg,” said 
the lady, pouring out the milk with unusual profuseness, as 
much as to say, if he wanted milk he should have it with a 
vengeance. “ And you know it’s false. I’m not the woman 
to quarrel with my own kin; you may, for I’vo known you 
do it.” 

“ Why, what did you call it yesterday, then, leaving your 
sister’s house in a tantrum ?” 

“I’d no quarrel wi’ my sister, Mr. Glegg, and it’s false to 
say it. Mr. Tulliver’s none o’ my blood, and it was him quar¬ 
reled with me, and drove me out o’ the house. But perhaps 
you’d have had me stay, and be swore at, Mr. Glegg; perhaps 
you was vexed not to hear more abuse and foul language 
poured out upo’ your own wife. But, let me tell you, it’s your 
disgrace.” • 

“ Did ever any body hear the like i’ this parish ?” said Mr. 
Glegg, getting hot. “ A woman, with every thing provided 
for her, and allowed to keep her own money the same as if it 
wtt settled on her, and with a gig new stuffed and lined at no 



end o’ expense, and provided for when I die beyond any thing 
she could expect . ... to go on i’ this way, biting and snap¬ 
ping like a mad dog! It’s beyond every thing as God A’mighty 
should ha’ made women so.” (These last words were uttered 
in a tone of sorrowful agitation. Mr. Glegg pushed his tea 
from him, and tapped the table with both his hands.) 

“ Well, Mr. Glegg! if those are your feelings, it’s best they 
should be known,” said Mrs. Glegg, taking off her napkin, and 
folding it in an excited manner. “ But if you talk o’ my being 
provided for beyond what I could expect, I beg leave to tell 
you as I’d a right to expect a many things as I don’t find. 
And as to my being like a mad dog, it’s well if you’re not cried 
shame on by the county for your treatment of me, for it’s what 
I can’t bear, and I won’t bear—” 

Hero Mrs. Glegg’s voice intimated that she was going to 
cry, and, breaking off from speech, she rang the bell violently. 

“ Sally,” she said, rising from her chair, and speaking in 
rather a choked voice, “ light a fire up stairs, and put the 
blinds down. Mr. Glegg, you’ll please to order what you’d 
like for dinner. I shall have gruel.” 

Mrs. Glegg walked across the room to the small bookcase, 
and took down Baxter’s “ Saints’ Everlasting Rest,” which she 
carried with her up stairs. It was the book she was accus¬ 
tomed to lay open beiore her on special occasions—on wet 
Sunday mornings, or when she heard of a death in the family, 
or when, as in this case, her quarrel with Mr. Glegg had been 
set an octave higher than usual. 

But Mrs. Glegg carried something else up stairs with her, 
which, together with the “ Saints’ Rest” and the gruel, may 
have had some influence in gradually calming her feelings, and 
making it possible for her to endure existence on the ground 
floor shortly before tea-time. This was, partly, Mr. Glegg’s 
suggestion that she would do well to let her five hundred lie 
still until a good investment turned up; and, further, his par¬ 
enthetic hint at his handsome provision for her in case of his 
death. Mr. Glegg, like all men of his stamp, was extremely 
reticent about his will; and Mrs. Glegg, in her gloomier mo¬ 
ments, had forebodings that, like other husbands of whom she 
bad heard, he might cherish the mean project of heightening 
her grief at his death by leaving her poorly ofl^ in which case 
she was firmly resolved that she would have scarcely any 
weeper on her bonnet, and'would cry no more than if he had 
been a^second husband. But if he had really shown her any 
testamentary tenderness, it would be affecting to think of him, 
poor man, when he was gone; and even his foolish fuss about 
the flowers and garden-stuff, and his insistance on the subject 



of snails, would be touching when it was once fairly at an end. 
To survive Mr. Glegg, and talk eulogistically of him as a man 
who might have his weaknesses, but who had done the right 
thing by her, notwithstanding his numerous poor relations— 
to have sums of interest coming in more frequently, and se¬ 
crete it in various corners, baffling to the most ingenious of 
thieves (for, to Mrs. Glegg’s mind, banks and strong-boxes 
would have nullified the pleasure of property—she might as 
well have taken her food in capsules)—finally, to be looked up 
to by her own family and the neighborhood, so as no woman 
can ever hope to-be who has not the praeterite and present 
dignity comprised in being a “ widow well left”—all this made 
anattering and conciliatory view of the future; so that when 
good Mr. Glegg, restored to good-humor by much hoeing, and 
moved by the sight of his wife’s empty chair, with her knitting 
rolled up in the comer, went up‘Stairs to her, and observed 
that the bell had been tolling for poor Mr. Morton, Mrs. Glegg 
answered magnanimously, quite as if she had been an uninjured 
woman, “ Ah! then, there’ll be a good business for somebody 
to take to.” 

Baxter had been open at least eight hours by this time, for 
it was nearly five o’clock; and if people are to quarrel often, 
it follows as a corollaiy that their quarrels can not be protract¬ 
ed beyond certain limits. 

Mr. and Mrs. Glegg talked quite amicably about the Tulli- 
vers that evening. Mr. Glegg went the length of admitting 
that Tulliver was a sad man for getting into hot water, and 
like plough to run through his property; and Mrs. Glegg, 
meeting this acknowledgment half way, declared that it was 
beneath her to take notice of su£h a man’s conduct, and that, 
for her sister’s sake, she would let him keep the five hundred 
a while longer, for when she put it out on a mortgage sho 
should only get four per cent. 



Owing to this new adjustment of Mrs. Glegg’s thoughts, 
Mrs. Pullet found her task of mediation the next day surpris¬ 
ingly easy. Mrs. Glegg, indeed, checked her rather sharply 
for thinking it would be necessary to tell her elder sister wnat 
was the right mode of behavior in family matters. Mrs. Pul¬ 
let’s argument that it would look ill in the neighborhood if 
people should have it in their power to say that there was a 



quarrel in-the family, was particularly offensive. If the family 
name never suffered except through Mrs. Glegg, Mrs. Pullet 
might lay her head on her pillow in perfect confidence. 

44 It’s not to he expected, I suppose,” observed Mrs. Glegg, 
by way of winding up the subject, “as I shall go to the mill 
again before Bessy comes to see me, or as I shall go and fell 
down o’ my knees to Mr. Tulliver and ask his pardon for show¬ 
ing him favors; but I shall bear no malice, and when Mr. Tul¬ 
liver speaks civil to me, I’ll speak civil to him. Nobody has 
any call to tell me what’s becoming.” 

Finding it unnecessary to plead for the Tullivers,it was 
natural that aunt Pullet should relax a little in her anxiety for 
them, and recur to the annoyance she had suffered yesterday 
from the offspring of that apparently ill-fated house. Mrs. 
Glegg heard a circumstantial narrative, to which Mr. Pullet’s 
remarkable memory furnished some items; and while aunt 
Pullet pitied poor Bessy’s bad luck with her children, and ex¬ 
pressed a half-formed project of paying for Maggie’s being sent 
to a distant boarding-school, which would not prevent her be¬ 
ing so brown, but might tend to subdue some other vices- in 
her, aunt Glegg blamed Bessy for her weakness, and appealed 
to all witnesses who should be living when the Tulliver chib 
dren had turned out ill, that she, Mrs. Glegg, had always said 
how it would be from the very first, observing that it was 
wonderful to herself how all her words came true. 

“ Then I may call and tell Bessy you’ll bear no malice, and 
every thing be as it was before?” Mrs.Pullet said, just before 

“Yes, you may, Sophy,” said Mrs. Glegg; 44 you may tell 
Mr. Tulliver, and Bessy too, as I’m not going to behave ill 
because folks behave ill to me; I know it’s my place, as the 
eldest, to set an example in every respect, and I do it. No¬ 
body can say different of me, if they’ll Keep to the truth.” 

Mrs. Glegg being in this state of satisfaction in her own lofty 
magnanimity, I leave you to judge what effect was produced 
on her by the reception of a short letter from Mr. Tulliver that 
very evening, after Mrs. Pullet’s departure, informing her that 
she needn’t trouble her mind about her five hundred pounds, 
for it should be paid back to her in the course of the next 
month at farthest, together with the interest due thereon until 
the time of payment. And furthermore, that Mr. Tulliver had 
no wish to behave uncivilly to Mrs. Glegg, and she was wel¬ 
come to his house whenever she liked to come, but he desired 
no favors from her, either for himself or his children. 

It was poor Mrs. Tulliver who had hastened this catastrophe, 
entirely through that irrepressible hopefulness of hers which 


led her to expect that similar causes may at any time produce 
different results. It had very often occurred in her experience 
that Mr. Tulliver had done something because other people had 
said he was not able to do it, or had pitied him for ms sup¬ 
posed inability, or in any other way piqued his pride; still, she 
thought to-day, if she told him when he came in to tea that 
sister Pullet was gone to try and make every thing up with 
sister Glegg, so that he needn’t think about paying in the 
money, it would give a cheerful effect to the meal. Mr. Tulli¬ 
ver had never slackened in his resolve to raise the money, but 
now he at once determined to write a letter to Mrs. Glegg 
which should cut off all possibility of mistake. Mrs. Pullet 
gone to beg and pray for Aim, indeed! Mr. Tulliver did not 
willingly write a letter, and found the relation between spoken 
and written language, briefly known as spelling, one of the 
most puzzling things in this puzzling world. Nevertheless, 
like all fervid writing, the task was done in less time than usual, 
and if the spelling differed from Mrs. Glegg’s —why, she be¬ 
longed, like himself, to a generation with whom spelling was 
a matter of private judgment. 

Mrs. Glegg did not alter her will in consequence of this let¬ 
ter, and cut off the Tulliver children from their sixth and sev¬ 
enth share in her thousand pounds; for she had her principles. 
No one must be able to say of her when she was dead that she 
had not divided her money with perfect fairness among her 
own kin: in the matter of wills, personal qualities were subor¬ 
dinate to the great fundamental fact of blood; and to be de¬ 
termined in the distribution of your property by caprice, and 
not make your legacies bear a direct ratio to degrees of kin¬ 
ship, was a prospective disgrace that would have embittered 
her life. This had always been a principle in the Dodson fam¬ 
ily ; it was one form of that sense of honor and rectitude which 
was a proud tradition in such families—a tradition which has 
been the salt of our provincial society. 

But, though the letter could not shake Mrs. Glegg’s princi¬ 
ples, it made the family breach much more difficult to mend; 
and as to the effect it produced on Mrs. Glegg’s opinion of Mr. 
Tulliver, she begged to be understood from that time forth that 
she had nothing whatever to say about him: his state of mind, 
apparently, was too corrupt for her to contemplate it for a mo¬ 
ment. It was not until the evening before Tom went to school, 
at the beginning of August, that Mrs. Glegg paid a visit to her 
sister Tumver, sitting in her gig all the while, and showing her 
displeasure by markedly abstaining from all advice and criti¬ 
cism ; for, as she observed to her sister Deane, “ Bessy must 
bear the consequences o’ having such a husband, though I’m 



sorry for her;” and Mrs.Deane agreed that Bessy was piti¬ 

That evening Tom observed to Maggie, “ Oh my! Maggie, 
aunt Glegg’s beginning to come again; Fm glad I’m going to 
school. You'U catch it all now!” 

Maggie was already so full of sorrow at the thought of 
Tom’s going away from her that this playful exultation of his 
•seemed very unkind, and she cried herself to sleep that night. 

Mr. Tulliver’s prompt procedure entailed on him further 
promptitude in finding the convenient person who was desir¬ 
ous of lending five hundred pounds on bond. “It must be no 
client ofWakem’s,” he said to himself, and yet, at the end of 
a fortnight, it turned out to the contrary; not because Mr. 
Tullivers will was feeble, but because external fact was stron¬ 
ger. Wakem’s client was the only convenient person to be 
found. Mr. Tulliver had a destiny as well as CEdipus, and in 
this case he. might plead, like CEdipus, that his deed was in¬ 
flicted on him rather than committed by him* 





tom’s “ FIRST HALF.” 

Tom Tuixiver’s sufferings during the first quarter he was 
at King’s Lorton, raider the distinguished care of the Rev. 
Walter Stelling, were rather severe. At Jacobs’ academy, life 
had not presented itself to him as a difficult problem: there 
were plenty of fellows to play with, and Tom, being good at 
all active games—fighting especially—had that precedence 
among them which appeared to him inseparable from the per¬ 
sonality of Tom Tulliver. Mr. Jacobs himself, familiarly known 
as Old Goggles, from his habit of wearing spectacles, imposed 
no painful awe; and if it was the property of snuffy old hyp¬ 
ocrites like him to write like copperplate and surround their 
signatures with arabesques, to spell without forethought, and 
to spout “My name is Norval” without bungling, Tom, for his 
part, was rather glad he was not in danger of those mean ac¬ 
complishments. He was not going to be a snuffy schoolmaster 
—he, but a substantial man, like his father, who used to go hunt¬ 
ing when he was younger, and rode a capital black mare—as 
pretty a bit of horseflesh as ever you saw: Tom had heard 
what her points were a hundred times. He meant to go hunt¬ 
ing too, and to be generally respected. When people were 
grown up, he considered, nobody inquired about their writing 
and spelling: when he was a man, he should be master of ev¬ 
ery filing, and do just as he liked. It had been very difficult 
for him to reconcile himself to the idea that his school-time was 
to be prolonged, and that he was not to be brought up to his 
father’s business, which he had always thought extremely pleas¬ 
ant, for it was nothing but riding about, giving orders, and go¬ 
ing to market; and he thought that a clergyman would give 
him a great many Scripture lessons, and probably make him 
learn the Gospel and Epistle on a Sunday as well as the Col¬ 
lect. But in the absence of specific information, it was impos- 


the mill on the floss. 

sible for him to imagine that school and a schoolmaster would 
be something entirely different from the academy of Mr. Ja¬ 
cobs. So, not to be at a deficiency in case of his finding genial 
companions, he had taken care to carry with him a small box 
of percussion-caps; not that there was any thing particular to 
be done with them, but they would serve to impress strange 
boys with a sense of his familiarity with gunrf. Thus poor 
Tom, though he saw very clearly through Maggie’s illusions, 
was not without illusions of his own, which were to be cruelly 
dissipated by his enlarged experience at Kind’s Lorton. 

He had not been there a fortnight before it was evident to 
him that life, complicated not only with the Latin grammar, 
but with a new standard of English pronunciation, was a very 
difficult business, made all the more obscure by a thick mist of 
bashfulness. Tom, as you have observed, was never an excep¬ 
tion among boys for ease of address; but the difficulty of enun¬ 
ciating a monosyllable in reply to Mr. or Mrs. Stelling was so 
great, that he even dreaded to be asked at table whether he 
would have more pudding. As to the percussion-caps, he had 
almost resolved, in the bitterness of his heart, that he would 
throw them into a neighboring pond; for not only was he the 
solitary pupil, but he began even to have a certain skepticism 
about guns, and a general sense that his theory of life was un¬ 
dermined. For Mr. Stelling thought nothing of guns, or horses 
either, apparently, and yet it was impossible for Tom to de¬ 
spise Mr. Stelling as he had despised Old Goggles. If there 
was any thing that was not thoroughly genuine about Mr. 
Stelling, it lay quite beyond Tom’s power to detect it: it is 
only by a wide comparison of facts that the wisest full-grown 
man can distinguish well-rolled barrels from more supernal 

Mr. Stelling was a well-sized, broad-chested man, not yet 
thirty, with flaxen hair standing erect, and large lightish-gray 
eyes, which were always very wide open; he had a sonorous 
bass voice, and an air of defiant self-confidence inclining to bra¬ 
zenness. He had entered on his career with great vigor, and 
intended to make a considerable impression on his fellow-men. 
The Rev. Walter Stelling was not a man who would remain 
among the “ inferior clergy” all his life. He had a true British 
determination to push his way in the world. As a schoolmas¬ 
ter, in the first place; for there were capital masterships of 
grammar-schools to be had, and Mr. Stelling meant to have^one 
of them. But as a preacher also, for he meant always to pr$adk 
in a striking manner, so as to have his congregation swelled fefP 
admirers from neighboring parishes, and to produce a great 
sensation whenever he took occasional duty for a brother 



clergyman of minor gifts. The style of preaching he had 
chosen was the extemporaneous, which was held little short of 
the miraculous in rural parishes like King’s Lorton. Some 
passages of Massillon and Bourdaloue, which he knew by heart, 
were really very effective when rolled out in Mr. Stelling’s deep¬ 
est tones; but as comparatively feeble appeals of his own were 
delivered in the same loud and impressive manner, they were 
often thought quite as striking by his hearers. Mr. Stelling’s 
doctrine was of no particular school; if any thing, it had a 
tinge of evangelicalism, for that was “ the telling thing” just 
then in the diocese to which King’s Lorton belonged. In 
short, Mr. Stelling was a man who meant to rise in his profes¬ 
sion, and to rise by merit clearly, since he had no interest be¬ 
yond what might be promised by a problematic relationship 
to a great lawyer who had not yet become lord chancellor. A 
clergyman who has such vigorous intentions naturally gets a 
little into debt at starting; it is not to be expected that he 
will live in the meagre style of a man who means to be a poor 
curate all his life; and if the few hundreds Mr. Timpson ad¬ 
vanced toward his daughter’s fortune did not suffice for the 
purchase of handsome mrniture, together with a stock of wine, 
a grand piano, and the laying out of a superior flower-garden, 
it followed in the most rigorous manner either that these things 
must be procured by some other means, or else that the Rev. 
Mr. Stelling must go without them — which last alternative 
would be an absurd procrastination of the fruits of success, 
where success was certain. Mr. Stelling was so broad-chested 
and resolute that he felt equal to any thing; he would become 
celebrated by shaking the consciences of his hearers, and he 
would by-and-by edit a Greek play, and invent several new 
readings. He had not yet selected the play, for having been 
married little more than two years, his leisure time had been 
much occupied with attentions to Mrs. Stelling; but he had 
told that fine woman what he meant to do some day, and she 
felt great confidence m her husband as a man who understood 
every thing of that sort. 

But the immediate step to future success was to bring on 
Tom Tulliver during his first half year; for, by a singular co¬ 
incidence, there had been some negotiation concerning another 
pupil from the same neighborhood, and it might further a decis¬ 
ion in Mr. Stelling’s favor if it were understood that young Tulli¬ 
ver, who, Mr. Stelling observed in conjugal privacy, was rather a 
rough cub, had made prodigious progress in a snort time. It 
was on this ground tnat he was severe with Tom about his 
lessons: he was clearly a boy whose powers would never be 
developed through the medium of the Latin grammar without 



the application of some sternness. Not that Mr. Stelling was 
a harsh-tempered man—quite the contrary; he was jocose with 
Tom at table, and corrected his provincialisms and his deport¬ 
ment in the most playful manner; but poor Tom was only the 
more cowed and confused by this double novelty, for he had 
never been used to jokes at all like Mr. Stelling’s, and for the 
first time in his life he had a painful sense that he was all wrong 
somehow. When Mr. Stelling said, as the roast beef was being 
uncovered, “ Now, Tulliver, which would you rather decline, 
roast beef or the Latin for it ?” Tom, to whom in his coolest 
moments a pun would have been a hard nut, was thrown into 
a state of embarrassed alarm that made every thing dim to 
him except the feeling that he would rather not have any thing 
to do with Latin: of course he answered “ Roast beef,” where¬ 
upon there followed much laughter and some practical joking 
with the plates, from which Tom gathered that he had in some 
mysterious way refused beef, and, in fact, made himself appear 
“ a silly.” If he could have seen a fellow-pupil undergo these 
painful operations and survive them in good spirits, he might 
sooner have taken them as a matter of course. But there are 
two expensive forms of education, either of which a parent may 
procure for his son by sending him as solitary pupil to a clergy¬ 
man : one is, the enjoyment of the reverend gentleman’s undi¬ 
vided neglect; the other is, the endurance of the reverend gen¬ 
tleman’s undivided attention. It was the latter privilege for 
which Mr. Tulliver paid a high price in Tom’s initiatory months 
at King’s Lorton. 

That respectable miller and maltster had left Tom behind, 
and driven homeward in a state of great mental satisfaction. 
He considered that it was a happy moment for him when he 
had thought of asking Riley’s advice about a tutor for Tom. 
Mr. Stelling’s eyes were so wide open, and he talked in such 
an off-hand, matter-of-fact way, answering every difficult, slow 
remark of Mr. Tulliver’s with, “ I see, my good sir, I see 
“To be sure, to be sure“ You want your son to be a man 
who will make his way in the world,” that Mr. Tulliver was 
delighted to find in him a clergyman whose knowledge was so 
applicable to the every-day affairs of this life. Except Coun¬ 
selor Wylde, whom he had heard at the last sessions, Mr. Tul¬ 
liver thought the Rev. Mr. Stelling was the shrewdest fellow 
he had ever met with—not unlike Wylde, in fact: he had the 
same way of sticking his thumbs in the arm-holes of his waist¬ 
coat. Mr. Tulliver was not by any means an exception in mis¬ 
taking brazenness for shrewdness: most laymen thought Stell¬ 
ing shrewd, and a man of remarkable powers generally; it 
was chiefly by his clerical brethren that he was considered 

T UB M l i 1 it j 017 THK FLOSS# 


rather a dull fellow. But he told Mr. Tulliver several stories 
about “ swing” and incendiarism, and asked his advice about 
feeding pigs in so thoroughly secular and judicious a manner, 
with so much polished glibness of tongue, that the miller 
thought, here was the very thing he wanted for Tom. He 
had no doubt this first-rate man was acquainted with every 
branch of information, and knew exactly what Tom must learn 
in order to become a match for the lawyers—which poor Mr. 
Tulliver himself did not know, and so was necessarily thrown 
for self-direction on this wide kind of inference. It is hardly 
fair to laugh at him, for I have known much more highly-in¬ 
structed persons than he make inferences quite as wide, and 
not at all wiser. 

As for Mrs. Tulliver—finding that Mrs* Stelling’s views as 
to the airing of linen and the frequent recurrence of hunger in 
a growing boy entirely coincided with her own; moreover, 
that Mrs. Stelling, though so young a woman, and only antici¬ 
pating her second confinement, had gone through very nearly 
the same experience as herself with regard to the behavior 
and fundamental character of the monthly nurse, she express¬ 
ed great contentment to her husband, when they drove away, 
at leaving Tom with a woman who, in spite of her youth, seem¬ 
ed quite sensible and motherly, and asked advice as prettily as 
could be. 

“ They must be very well off, though,” said Mrs. Tulliver, 
M for every thing’s as nice as can be all over the house, and 
that watered-silk she had on cost a pretty penny. Sister Pul¬ 
let has got one like it.” 

u Ah!” said Mr. Tulliver, “ he’s got some income besides 
the curacy, I reckon. Perhaps her father allows ’em some¬ 
thing. There’s Tom ’ull be another hundred to him, and not 
much trouble either, by his own account: he says teaching 
comes natural to him. That’s wonderful, now,” added Mr. 
Tulliver, turning his head on one side, and giving his horse a 
meditative tickling on the flank. 

Perhaps it was because teaching came naturally to Mr. Stell¬ 
ing that he set about it with that uniformity of method and in¬ 
dependence of circumstances which distinguish the actions of 
animals understood to be under the immediate teaching of na¬ 
ture. Mr. Broderip’s amiable beaver, as that charming natur¬ 
alist tells us, busied himself as earnestly in constructing a dam, 
in a room up three pair of stairs in London, as if he had been 
laying his foundation in a stream or lake in Upper Canada. 
It was u Binny’s” function to build: the absence of water or 
qf possible progeny was an accident for which he was not ac¬ 
countable. With the same unerring instinct Mr. 



to work at his natural method of instilling the Eton Grammar 
and Euclid into the mind of Tom Tnlliver. This, he consider¬ 
ed, was the only basis of solid instruction: all other means of 
education were mere charlatanism, and could produce nothing 
better than smatterers. Fixed on this firm basis, a man might 
observe the display of various or special knowledge made by 
irregularly educated people with a pitying smile: all that sort 
of thing was very well, but it was impossible these people 
could form sound opinions. In holding this conviction Mr. 
Stelling was not biased, as some tutors have been, by the ex¬ 
cessive accuracy or extent of his own scholarship; and as to 
his views about Euclid, no opinion could have been freer from 
personal partiality. Mr. Stelling was very far from being led 
astray by enthusiasm, either religious or intellectual; on the 
other hand, he had no secret belief that every thing was hum¬ 
bug. He thought religion was a very excellent thing, and 
Aristotle a great authority, and deaneries and prebends useful 
institutions, and Great Britain the providential bulwark of 
Protestantism, and faith in the unseen a great support to af¬ 
flicted minds: he believed in all these things, as a Swiss hotel- 
keeper believes in the beauty of the scenery around him, and 
in the pleasure it gives to artistic visitors. And in the same 
way Mr. Stelling believed in his method of education: he had 
no doubt that he was doing the very best thing for Mr. Tul- 
liver’s boy. Of course, when the miller talked of “ mapping” 
and “ summing” in a vague and diffident manner, Mr. Stelling 
had set his mind at rest by an assurance that he understood 
what was wanted ; for how was it possible the good man could 
form any reasonable judgment about the matter? Mr. Stell- 
ing’s duty was to teach the lad in the only right way—indeed, 
he knew no other; he had not wasted his time in the acquire¬ 
ment of any thing abnormal. 

He very soon set down poor Tom as a thoroughly stupid 
lad; for though by hard labor he could get particular declen¬ 
sions into his brain, any thing so abstract as the relation be¬ 
tween cases and terminations could by no means get such a 
lodgment there as to enable him to recognize a chance genitive 
or dative. This struck Mr. Stelling as something more than 
natural stupidity; he suspected obstinacy, or, at any rate, in¬ 
difference, and lectured Tom severely on his want of thorough 
application. “ You feel no interest in what you’re doing, sir,” 
Mr. Stelling would say, and the reproach was painfully true. 
Tom had never found any difficulty in discerning a pointer 
from a setter when once he had been told the distinction, and 
his perceptive powers were not at all deficient. I fancy they 
were quite as strong as those of the Rev. Mr. Stelling; for 



Tom could predict with accuracy what number of horses were 
cantering behind him, he could throw a stone right into the 
centre of a given ripple, he could guess to a fraction how many 
lengths of his stick it would take to reach across the play¬ 
ground, and could draw almost perfect squares on his slate 
without any measurement. But Mr. Stelling took no note of 
these things: he only observed that Tom’s facilities failed him 
before the abstractions hideously symbolized to him in the 
pages of the Eton Grammar, and that he was in a state border¬ 
ing on idiocy with regard to the demonstration that two given 
triangles must be equal—though he could discern with great 
pro mptitude and certainty the fact that they were equal. 
W hence Mr. Stelling concluded that Tom’s brain, being pecul¬ 
iarly impervious to etymology and demonstrations, was pecul¬ 
iarly in need of being plowed and harrowed by these patent 
implements: it was his favorite metaphor, that the classics and 
geometry constituted that culture of the mind which prepared 
it for the reception of any subsequent crop. I say nothing 
against Mr. Stelling’s theory: if we are to have one regimen 
for all minds, his seems to me as good as any other. I only 
know it turned out as uncomfortably for Tom Tulliver as if he 
had been plied with cheese in order to remedy a gastric weak¬ 
ness which prevented him from digesting it. It is astonishing 
what a different result one gets by changing the metaphor! 
Once call the brain an intellectual stomach, and one’s ingenious 
conception of the classics and geometry as plows and harrows 
seems to settle nothing. But then it is open to some one else 
to follow great authorities, and call the mind a sheet of white 
paper or a mirror, in which case one’s knowledge of the di¬ 
gestive process becomes quite irrelevant. It was doubtless an 
ingenious idea to call the camel the ship of the desert, but it 
would hardly lead one far in training that useful beast. Oh 
Aristotle! if you had had the advantage of being “the freshest 
modem” instead of the greatest ancient, would you not have 
mingled your praise of metaphorical speech, as a sign of high 
intelligence, with a lamentation that intelligence so* rarely 
shows itself in speech without metaphor—that we can so sel¬ 
dom declare what a thing is except by saying it is something 
else ? 

Tom Tulliver, being abundant in no form of speech, did not 
use* any metaphor to declare his views as to the nature of 
Latin: he never called it an instrument of torture; and it was 
not until he had got on some way in the next half year, and in 
the Delectus, that he was advanced enough to call it a “bore” 
and “beastly stuff.” At present, in relation to this demand 
that he should learn Latin declensions and 


the mill on the floss. 

was in a state of as blank unimaginativeness concerning the 
cause and tendency of his sufferings as if he had been an inno¬ 
cent shrewmouse imprisoned in the split trunk of an ash tree 
in order to cure lameness in cattle. It is doubtless almost in¬ 
credible to instructed minds of the present day that a boy of 
twelve, not belonging strictly to “ the masses,” who are now 
understood to have the monopoly of mental darkness, should 
have had no distinct idea how there came to be such a thing 
as Latin on this earth; yet so it was with Tom. It would 
have taken a long while to make conceivable to him that there 
ever existed a people who bought and sold sheep and oxen, 
and transacted the every-day affairs of life through the medium 
of this language, and still longer to make him understand why 
he should be cartled upon to learn it, when its connection with 
those affairs had become entirely latent. So far as Tom had 
gained any acquaintance with the Romans at Mr. Jacobs’ acad¬ 
emy, his knowledge was strictly correct, but it went no farther 
than the fact that they were “in the hfew Testament;” and 
Mr. Stelling was not the man to enfeeble and emasculate his 
pupil’s mind by simplifying and explaining, or to reduce the 
tonic effect of etymology by mixing it with smattering, ex¬ 
traneous information such as is given to girls. 

Yet, strange to say, under this vigorous treatment Tom be¬ 
came more like a girl than he had ever been in his life before. 
He had a large share of pride, which had hitherto found itself 
very comfortable in the world, despising Old Goggles, and re¬ 
posing in the sense of unquestioned rights; but now this same 
pride met with nothing but bruises and crushings. Tom was 
too clear-sighted not to be aware that Mr. Stelling’s standard 
of things was quite different, was certainly something higher 
in the eyes of the world than that of the people he had been 
living among, and that, brought in contact with it, he, Tom 
Tullivei, appeared uncouth and stupid: he was by no means 
indifferent to this, and his pride got into an uneasy condition 
which quite nullified his boyish self-satisfaction, and gave him 
sometliing of the girl’s susceptibility. He was of a very firm, 
not to say obstinate disposition, but there was no brute-like re¬ 
bellion and recklessness in his nature: the human sensibilities 
predominated, and if it had occurred to him that he could en¬ 
able himself to show some quickness at his lessons, and so ac¬ 
quire Mr. Stelling’s approbation, by standing on one leg for an 
inconvenient length of time, or rapping his head moderately 
against the wall, or any voluntary action of that sort, he would 
certainly have tried it. But no; Tom had never heard that 
these measures would brighten the understanding or strength¬ 
en the verbal memory, and he was not given to hypothesis and 


experiment. It did occur to him that he could perhaps get 
some help by praying for it; but as the prayers he said every 
evening were forms learned by heart, he rather shrank from 
the novelty and irregularity of introducing an extempore pas¬ 
sage on a topic of petition for which he was not aware of any 
precedent. But one day, when he had broken down, for the 
fifth time, in the supines of the third conjugation, and Mr. 
Stelling, convinced that this must be carelessness, since it trans¬ 
cended the bounds of possible stupidity, had lectured him very 
seriously, pointing out that if he failed to seize the present gold¬ 
en opportunity of learning supines, he would have to regret it 
when he became a man, Tom, more miserable than usual, de¬ 
termined to try his sole resource; and that evening, after his 
usual form of prayer for his parents and “little sister” (he had 
begun to pray for Maggie when she was a baby), and that he 
might be able always to keep God’s commandments, he added, 
in the same low whisper, “ and please to make me always re¬ 
member my Latin.” He paused a little to consider how he 
should pray about Euclid—whether he should ask to see what 
it meant, or whether there was any other mental state which 
would be more applicable to the case. But at last he added, 
“And make Mr. Stelling say I sha’n’t do Euclid any more. 

The fact that he got through his supines without mistake 
the next day encouraged him to persevere in this appendix to 
his prayers, and neutralized any skepticism that might have 
arisen from Mr. Stelling’s continued demand for Euclid. But 
his faith broke down under the apparent absence of all help 
when he got into the irregular verbs. It seemed clear that 
Tom’s despair under the caprices of the present tense did not 
constitute a nodus worthy of interference, and since this was 
the climax of his difficulties, where was the use of praying for 
help any longer ? He made up his mind to this conclusion in 
one of his dull, lonely evenings, which he spent in the study, 
preparing his lessons for the morrow. His eyes were apt to 
get dim over the page—though he hated crying, and was 
ashamed of it: he couldn’t help thinking with some affection 
even of Spouncer, whom he used to fight and quarrel with; he 
would have felt at home with Spouncer, and in a condition of 
superiority. And then the mill, and the river, and Yap prick¬ 
ing up his ears, ready to obey the least sign when Tom said 
“ Hoigh!” would all come before him in a sort of calenture, 
when his fingers played absently in his pocket with his great 
knife, and his coil of whip-cord, and other relics of the past. 
Tom, as I said, had never been so much like a girl in his life 
before, and at that epoch of irregular verbs his spirit waa ftx- 



ther depressed by a new means of mental development, which 
had been thought of for him out of school hours. Mrs. Stel- 
ling had lately had her second baby, and as nothing could be 
more salutary for a boy than to feel himself useful, Mrs. Stelling 
considered she was domg Tom a service by setting him to watch 
the little cherub Laura while the nurse was occupied with the 
sickly baby. It was auite a pretty employment for Tom to take 
little Laura out in tne sunniest hour of the autumn day—it 
would help to make him feel that Lorton Parsonage was a 
home for him, and that he was one of the family. The little 
cherub Laura, not being an accomplished walker at present, 
had a ribbon fastened round her waist, by which Tom held her 
as if she had been a little dog during the minutes in which she 
chose to walk; but as these were rare, he was, for the most 
part, carrying this fine child round and round the garden, with¬ 
in sight of Mrs. Stelling’s window—according to orders. If 
any one considers this unfair and even oppressive toward Tom, 
I beg him to consider that there are feminine virtues which are 
with difficulty combined, even if they are not incompatible. 
When the wife of a poor curate contrives, under all her disad¬ 
vantages, to dress extremely well, and to have a style of coif¬ 
fure which requires that her nurse shall occasionally officiate as 
lady’s-maid—when, moreover, her dinner-parties and her draw¬ 
ing-room show that effort at elegance and completeness of ap¬ 
pointment to which ordinary women might imagine a large in¬ 
come necessary, it would be unreasonable to expect of her that 
she should employ a second nurse, or even act as a nurse her¬ 
self. Mr. Stelling knew better: he saw that his wife did won¬ 
ders already, and was proud of her: it was certainly not the 
best thing in the world for young Tulliver’s gait to carry a 
heavy child, but he had plenty of exercise in long walks with 
himself, and next half year Mr. Stelling would see about having 
a drilling-master. Among the many means whereby Mr. Stel¬ 
ling intended to be more fortunate than the bulk of his fellow- 
men, he had entirely given up that of having his own way in 
his own house. What then ? he had married “ as kind a httle 
soul as ever breathed,” according to Mr. Riley, who had been 
acquainted with Mrs. Stelling’s blonde ringlets and smiling de¬ 
meanor throughout her maiden life, and on the strength oi that 
knowledge would have been ready any day to pronounce that 
whatever domestic differences might arise in her married life 
must be entirely Mr. Stelling’s fault. 

If Tom had had a worse disposition, he would certainly have 
hated the little cherub Laura; but he was too kind-hearted a 
lad for that; there was too much in him of the fibre that turns 
to true manliness, and to protecting pity for the weak. I am 



afraid he hated Mrs. Stelling, and contracted a lasting dislike 
to pale blonde ringlets and broad plaits, as directly associated 
with haughtiness of manner and a frequent reference to other 
people’s “ duty.” But he couldn’t help playing with little 
Laura, and liking to amuse her: he even sacrificed his percus¬ 
sion-caps for her sake, in despair of their ever serving a greater 
purpose—thinking the small flash and bang would delict her, 
and thereby drawing down on himself a rebuke from Mrs. 
Stelling for teaching her child to play with fire. Laura was a 
sort of playfellow—and oh how Tom longed for playfellows! 
In his secret heart he yearned to have Maggie with him, and 
was almost ready to dote on her exasperating act of forgetful¬ 
ness ; though, when he was at home, he always represented it 
as a great favor on his part to let Maggie trot by his side on 
his pleasure excursions. 

And before this dreary half year was ended Maggie actually 
came. Mrs. Stelling had given a general invitation for the lit¬ 
tle girl to come and stay with her brother; so, when Mr. Tul- 
liver drove over to King’s Lorton late in October, Maggie came 
too, with the sense that she was taking a great journey, and 
beginning to see the world. It was Mr. Tulliver’s first visit to 
see Tom, for the lad must learn not to think too much about 
home. x 

u Well, my lad,” he said to Tom, when Mr. Stelling had left 
the room to announce the arrival to his wife, and Maggie had 
begun to kiss Tom freely, “ you look rarely! School agrees 
with you.” . 

Tom wished he had looked rather ill. 

“ I don’t think I am well, father,” said Tom; “ I wish you’d 
ask Mr. Stelling not to let me do Euclid: it brings on the 
toothache, I think.” 

(The toothache was the only malady to which Tom had ever 
been subject.) 

. u Euclid, my lad—why, what’s that ?” said Mr. Tulliver.. 

tc Oh, I don’t know: it’s definitions, and axioms, and trian¬ 
gles, and things. It’s a book I’ve got to learn in—there’s no 
sense in it.” 

M Go, go!” said Mr. Tulliver, reprovingly, “ you musn’t say 
so. You must learn what your master tells you. He knows 
what it’s right for you to learn.” 

“TU help you now, Tom,” said Maggie, with a little air of 
patronizing consolation. “ I’m come to stay ever so long, if 
Mrs. Stelling asks me. I’ve brought my box and my pinafores 
—haven’t I, father ?” 

“ You help me, you silly little thing!” said Tom, in such high 
spirits at this announcement that he quite enjoyed the idea, ei 

F 2 



confounding Maggie by showing her a page of Euclid. 44 I 
should like to see you doing one of my lessons! Why, I learn 
Latin too! Girls never learn such things. They’re too silly.” 

44 I know what Latin is very well,” said Maggie, confidently. 
“ Latin’s a language. There are Latin words in the Diction¬ 
ary. There’s bonus, a gift.” 

“Now, you’re just wrong there, Miss Maggie!” said Tom, 
secretly astonished. “ You think you’re very wise! But 4 bo¬ 
nus’ means 4 good,’ as it happens—bonus, bona, bonum.” 

44 Well, that’s no reason why it shouldn’t mean 4 gift,’” said 
Maggie, stoutly. 44 It may mean several things—almost every 
word does. There’s 4 lawn’—it means the grass-plot, as well 
as the stuff pocket-handkerchiefs are made of.” 

44 Well done, little ’un,” said Mr. Tulliver, laughing, while 
Tom felt rather disgusted with Maggie’s knowingness, though 
beyond measure cheerful at the thought that she was going to 
stay with him. Her conceit would soon be overawed by the 
actual inspection of his books. 

Mrs. Stelling, in her pressing invitation, did not mention a 
longer time than a week for Maggie’s stay; but Mr. Stelling, 
who took her between his knees, and asked her where she 
stole her dark eyes from, insisted that she must stay a fort¬ 
night. Maggie thought Mr. Stelling was a charming man, and 
Mr. Tulliver was quite proud to leave his little wench where 
she would have an opportunity of showing her cleverness to 
appreciating strangers. So it was agreed that she should not 
be fetched home till the end of the fortnight. 

44 Now, then, come with me into the study, Maggie,” said 
Tom, as their father drove away. 44 What do you shake and 
toss your head now for, you silly ?” he continued; for, though 
her hair was under a new dispensation, and was brushed 
smoothly behind her ears, she seemed still, in imagination, to 
be tossing it out of her eyes. 44 It makes you look as if you 
were crazy.” 

44 Oh, I can’t help it,” said Maggie, impatiently. 44 Don’t 
tease me, Tom*. Oh, what books!” she exclaimed, as she saw 
the bookcases in the study. 44 How I should like to have as 
many books as that!” 

44 Why, you couldn’t read one of ’em,” said Tom, triumph¬ 
antly. 44 They’re all Latin.” 

44 No they aren’t,” said Maggie. 44 1 can read the back of 
this .... History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Em¬ 

44 Well, what does that mean ? You don’t know,” said Tom, 
wagging his head. 

44 But I could soon find out,” said Maggie, scornfully. 



“ Why, how ?” 

“ I should look inside, and see what it was about.” 

“ You’d better not, Miss Maggie,” said Tom, seeing her 
hand on the volume. “Mr. Steliing lets nobody touch his 
books without leave, and I shall catch it if* you take it out.” 

“Oh, very well! Let me see all your books then,” said 
Maggie, turning to throw her arms round Tom’s neck, and rub 
his cheek with her small round nose. 

Tom, in the gladness of his heart at having dear old Maggie 
to dispute with and crow over again, seized her round the 
waist, and began to jump with her round the large library ta¬ 
ble. Away they jumped with more and more vigor, till Mag¬ 
gie’s hair flew from behind her ears, and twirled about like an 
animated mop. But the revolutions round the table became 
more and more irregular in their sweep, till at last, reaching 
Mr. Stelling’s reading-stand, they sent it thundering down with 
its heavy lexicons to the floor. Happily it was on the ground- 
floor, and the study was a one-stoned wing to the house, so 
that the downfall made no alarming resonance, though Tom 
stood dizzy and aghast for a few minutes, dreading the appear¬ 
ance of Mr. or Mrs. Steliing. 

“ Oh, I say, Maggie,” said Tom at last, lifting up the stand, 
“ we must keep quiet here, you know. If we break any thing, 
Mrs. Steliing ’ll make us cry peccavi.” 

“What’s that?” said Maggie. 

“ Oh, it’s the Latin for a good scolding,” said Tom, not with¬ 
out some pride in his knowledge. 

“Is she a cross woman?” said Maggie. 

“ I believe you!” said Tom, with an emphatic nod. 

“ I think all women are crosser than men,” said Maggie. 
“ Aunt Glegg’s a great deal crosser than Uncle Glegg, and 
mother scolds me more than father does.” 

“Well, you'll be a woman some day,” said Tom, “so you 
needn’t talk.” 

“ But I shall be a clever woman,” said Maggie, with a toss. 

“ Oh, I dare say, and a nasty conceited thing. Every body 
’ll hate you.” 

“ But you oughtn’t to hate me, Tom: it’ll be very wicked 
of you, for I shall be your sister.” 

“ Yes; but if you’re a nasty disagreeable thing, I shall hate 

“ Oh but, Tom, you won’t! I sha’n’t be disagreeable. I 
shall be very good to you—and I shall be good to every body. 
You won’t hate me really, will you, Tom ?’’ 

“ Oh, bother! never mind! Come, it’s time for me to learn 
my lessons. See here! what I’ve got to do,” said Tom, draw- 


the mill oh the floss. 

ing Maggie toward him and showing her his theorem, while 
she pushed her hair behind her ears, and prepared herself to 
prove her capacity of helping him in Euclid. She began to 
read with full confidence in her own powers, but presently, be¬ 
coming quite bewildered, her face flushed with irritation. It 
was unavoidable—she must confess her incompetency, and she 
was not fond of humiliation. 

“It’s nonsense!” she said, “and very ugly stuff; nobody 
need want to make it out.” 

“ Ah! there now, Miss Maggie!” said Tom, drawing the 
book away, and wagging his head at her, “you see you’re not 
so clever as you thought you were.” 

“Oh,” said Magffie, pouting, “I dare say I could make it 
out if I’d learned what goes before, as you have.” 

“But that’s what you just couldn’t, Miss Wisdom,” said 
Tom; “ for it’s all the harder when you know what goes be¬ 
fore ; for then you’ve got to say what definition 3 is, and what 
axiom V. is. But get along with you now; I must go on with 
this. Here’s the Latin Grammar. See what you can make of 

Maggie found the Latin Grammar quite soothing after her 
mathematical mortification; for she delighted in new words, 
and quickly found that there was an English Key at the end, 
which would make her very wise about Latin, at slight ex¬ 
pense. She presently made up her mind to skip the rules in 
the Syntax, the examples became so absorbing. These mys¬ 
terious sentences, snatched from an unknown context—like 
strange horns of beasts, and leaves of unknown plants, brought 
from some far-off region—gave boundless scope to her imagi¬ 
nation, and were all the more fascinating because they were in 
a peculiar tongue of their own, which she could learn to inter¬ 
pret. It was really very interesting—the Latin Grammar that 
Tom had said no girls could learn; and she was proud because 
she found it interesting. The most fragmentary examples 
were her favorites. Mors omnibus est communis would have 
been jejune, only she liked to know the Latin; but the fortu¬ 
nate gentleman whom every one congratulated because he had 
a son “ endowed with such a disposition” afforded her a great 
deal of pleasant conjecture, and she was quite lost in the “thick 
grove penetrable by no star” when Tom called out, 

“ Now, then, Magsie, give us the Grammar!” 

“ Oh, Tom, it’s such a pretty book!” she said, as she jumped 
out of the large arm-chair to give it him; “ it’s much prettier 
than the Dictionary. I could learn Latin very soon. 1 don’t 
think it’s at all hard.” 

“ Oh, I know what you’ve been doing,” said Tom; “ you’ve 



been reading the English at the end. Any donkey can do 

Tom seized the book and opened it with a determined and 
business-like air, as much as to say that he had a lesson to 
learn which no donkeys would find themselves equal to. Mag¬ 
gie, rather piqued, turned to the bookcases to amuse herself 
with puzzling out the titles. 

Presently Tom called to her: 44 Here, Magsie, come and 
hear if I can say this. Stand at that end of the table, where 
Mr. Stelling sits when he hears me.” 

Maggie obeyed and took the open book. 

44 Where do you begin, Tom ?” 

44 Oh, I begin at 6 Appellativa arborum,' because I say all 
over again what I’ve been learning this week.” 

Tom sailed along pretty well for three lines; and Maggie 
was beginning to forget her office of prompter in speculating 
as to what mas could mean, which came twice over, when he 
stuck fast at Sunt etiam volucrum. 

“Don’t tell me, Maggie; Sunt etiam volucrum . . . . Sunt 
etiam volucrum . ... ut ostrea, cetus . . .” 

44 Ho,” said Maggie, opening her mouth and shaking her 

44 Sunt etiam volucrum ,” said Tom, very slowly, as if the 
next words might be expected to come sooner when he gave 
them this strong hint that they were waited for. 

44 O, e, u,” said Maggie, getting impatient. 

44 Oh, I know—hold your tongue,” said Tom. 44 Ceupasser, 
hirundo; Ferarum . . . . ferarum , . Tom took his pen¬ 
cil and made several hard dots with it on his book-cover. . . .” 
44 ferarum . . . .” 

44 Oh dear, oh dear, Tom,” said Maggie, 44 what a time you 
are! Ut . . . .” 

44 Ut , ostrea . . . 

44 No, no,” said Maggie, 44 ut, tigris . . . .” 

44 Oh yes, now I can do,” said Tom; 44 it was tigris, wipes , 
Fd forgotten: ut tigris, vulpes ; et Piscium? 

With some further stammering and repetition, Tom got 
through the next few lines. 

44 Now, then,” he said, 44 the next is what Fve just learned for 
to-morrow. Give me hold of the book a minute.” 

After some whispered gabbling, assisted by the beating of 
his fist on the table, Tom returned the book. 

44 Mascrula nomina in a,” he began. 

44 No, Tom,” said Maggie, 44 that doesn’t come next. It’s 
Nomen non creskens gemttivo . . . .” 

44 Creskens genittivo ,” exclaimed Tom, with a derisive lau^h^ 



for Tom had learned this omitted passage for his yesterday’s 
lesson, and a young gentleman does not require an intimate or 
extensive acquaintance with Latin before he can feel thepiti- 
able absurdity of a false quantity. Creskens genittivo / What 
a little silly you are, Maggie!” 

“Well, you needn’t laugh, Tom, for you didn’t remember it 
at all. I’m sure it’s spelt so; how was I to know ?” 

“Phee-e-e-h! I told you girls couldn’t learn Latin. It’s 
Nomen non crescens genitivo .” 

“Very well, then,” said Maggie, pouting. “I can say that 
as well as you can. And you don’t mind your stops. For 
you ought to stop twice as long at a semicolon as you do at a 
comma, and you make the longest stops where there ought to 
be no stop at alL” 

“ Oh, well, don’t chatter. Let me go on.” 

They were presently fetched to spend the remainder of the 
evening in the drawing-room, and Maggie became so animated 
with Mr. Stelling, who, she felt sure, admired her cleverness, 
that Tom was rather amazed and alarmed at her audacity. 
But she was suddenly subdued by Mr. Stelling’s alluding to a 
little girl of whom he had heard that she once ran away to the 

“What a very odd little girl that must be,” said Mrs. Stell¬ 
ing, meaning to be playful; but a playfulness that turned on 
her supposed oddity was not at all to Maggie’s taste. She 
feared Mr. Stelling, after all, did not think much of her, and 
went to bed in rather low spirits. Mrs. Stelling, she felt, look¬ 
ed at her as if she thought her hair was very ugly because it 
hung down straight behind. 

Nevertheless, it was a very happy fortnight to Maggie, this 
visit to Tom. She was allowed to be in the study while he 
had his lessons, and in her various readings got .very deep into 
the examples in the Latin Grammar. The astronomer who 
hated women generally caused her so much puzzling specula¬ 
tion that she one day asked Mr. Stelling if all astronomers 
hated women, or whether it was only this particular astrono¬ 
mer. But, forestalling his answer, she said, 

“ I suppose it’s all astronomers; because, you know, they 
live up in high towers, and if the women came there, they 
might talk and hinder them from looking at the stars.” 

Mr. Stelling liked her prattle immensely, and they were on 
the best terms. She told Tom she should like to go to school 
to Mr. Stelling, as he did, and learn just the same things. She 
knew she could do Euclid, for she had looked into it again, 
and she saw what ABC meant: they were the names of the 


“ Fm sure you couldn’t do it, now,” said Tom; “ and Fll 
just ask Mr. Stelling if you could.” 

“I don’t mind,” said the little conceited minx. “Ill ask 
him myself.” 

“ Mr. Stelling,” she said, that same evening when they were 
in the drawing-room, “ couldn’t I do Euclid, and all Tom’s les¬ 
sons, if you were to teach me instead of him ?” 

“ No, you couldn’t,” said Tom, indignantly. “ Girls can’t do 
Euclid; can they, sir 

“ They can pick up a little of every thing, I dare say,” said 
Mr. Stelling. “ They’ve a good deal of superficial cleverness; 
but they couldn’t go far into any thing. They’re quick and 

Tom, delighted with this verdict, telegraphed his triumph by 
wagging his head at Maggie behind Mr. Stelling’s chair. As 
for Maggie, she had hardly ever been so mortified. She had 
been so proud to be called “ quick” all her little life, and now 
it appeared that this quickness was the brand of inferiority. 
It would have been better to be slow, like Tom. 

“Ha! ha! Miss Maggie,” said Tom, when they were alone, 
“ you see it’s not such a fine thing to be quick. You’ll never 
go far into any thing, you know.” 

And Maggie was so oppressed by this dreadful destiny that 
she had no spirit for a retort. 

But when this small apparatus of shallow quickness was 
fetched away in the gig by Luke, and the study was once more 
quite lonely for Tom, he missed her grievously. He had real¬ 
ly been brighter, and had got through his lessons better since 
she had been there; and she had asked Mr. Stelling so many 
questions about the Roman empire, and whether there really 
ever was a man who said, in Latin, “ I would not buy it for a 
farthing or a rotten nut,” or whether that had only been turn¬ 
ed into Latin, that Tom had' actually come to a dim under¬ 
standing of the fact that there had once been people upon the 
earth who were so fortunate as to know Latin without learn¬ 
ing it through the medium of the Eton Grammar. This lu¬ 
minous idea was a great addition to his historical acquire¬ 
ments during this half year, which were otherwise confined to 
an epitomized history of the Jews. 

But the dreary half year did come to an end.. How glad 
Tom was to see the last yellow leaves fluttering before the 
cold wind! The dark afternoons and the first December snow 
seemed to him far livelier than the August sunshine; and that 
he might make himself the surer about the flight of the days 
that were carrying him homeward, he stuck twenty-one sticks 
deep in a comer of the garden when he was three weeks from 


the mill on the floss. 

the holidays, and pulled up one every day with a great wrench, 
throwing it to a distance with a vigor of will which would 
have carried it to limbo, if it had been in the nature of sticks 
to travel so far. 

But it was worth purchasing, even at the heavy price of the 
Latin Grammar—the happiness of seeing the bright light in 
the parlor at home, as the gig passed noiselessly over the snow- 
covered bridge; the happiness of passing from the cold air to 
the warmth, and the kisses, and the smiles of that familiar 
hearth, where the pattern of the rug, and the gf&te, and the 
fire-irons were “ first ideas” that it was no more possible to 
criticise than the solidity and extension of matter. There is 
no sense of ease like the ease we felt in those scenes where we 
were born, where objects became dear to us before we had 
hown and where the outer world seemed 

only an extension of our own personality: we accepted and 
loved it as we accepted our own sense of existence and our- 
own limbs. Very commonplace, even ugly, that furniture of 
our early home might look if it were put up to auction; an 
improved taste in upholstery scorns it; and is not the striving 
after something better and better in our surroundings the 
grand characteristic that distinguishes man from the brute— 
or, to satisfy a scrupulous accuracy of definition, that distin¬ 
guishes the British man from the foreign brute ? But heaven 
knows where that striving might lead us if our affections had 
not a trick of twining round those old inferior things—if the 
loves and sanctities of our life had no deep immovable roots 
in memory. One’s delight in an elderberry bush overhanging 
the confused leafage of a hedgerow bank, as a more gladden¬ 
ing sight than the finest cistus or fuchsias preading itself on 
the softest undulating turf, is an entirely unjustifiable prefer¬ 
ence to a landscape-gardener, or to any of those severely reg¬ 
ulated minds who are free from the weakness of any attach¬ 
ment that does not rest on a demonstrable superiority of qual¬ 
ities. And there is no better reason for preferring this elder¬ 
berry bush than that it stirs an early memory—that it is no 
novelty in my life, speaking to me merely through my present 
sensibilities to form and color, but the long companion of my 
existence, that wove itself into my j oys. wh en joys ^wgre vivid. 





Fine old Christmas, with the snowy hair and ruddy face, 
had done his duty that year in the noblest fashion, and had set 
off his rich gifts of warmth and color with all the heightening 
contrast of frost and snow. 

Snow lay on the croft and river-bank in* undulations softer 
than the limbs of infancy; it lay with the neatliest finished bor¬ 
der on every sloping roof, making the dark-red gables stand 
out with a new depth of color; it weighed heavily on the lau¬ 
rels and fir-trees till it fell from them with a shuddering sound; 
it clothed the rough turnip-field with whiteness, and made the 
sheep look like dark blotches; the gates were all blocked up 
with the sloping drifts, and here and there a disregarded four- 
footed beast stood as if petrified “ in unrecumbent sadness 
there was no gleam, no shadow, for the heavens, too, were one 
still, pale cloud—no sound or motion in any thing but the dark 
river, that flowed and moaned like an unresting sorrow. But 
old Christmas smiled as he laid this cruel-seeming spell on the 
out-door world, for he meant to light up home with new bright¬ 
ness, to deepen all the richness of in-door color, and give a 
keener edge of delight to the warm fragrance of food: he 
meant to prepare a sweet imprisonment that would strengthen 
the primitive fellowship of kindred, and make the sunshine of 
familiar human faces as welcome as the hidden daystar. His 
kindness fell but hardly on the homeless—fell but hardly on 
the homes where the hearth was not very warm, and where 
the food had little fragrance; where the human faces had no 
sunshine in them, but rather the leaden, blank-eyed gaze of un¬ 
expectant want. But the fine old season meant well; and if 
he has not learned the secret how to bless men impartially, it 
is because his father Time, with ever-unrelenting purpose, still 
hides that secret in his own mighty, slow-beating heart. 

And yet this Christmas-day, in spite of Tom’s fresh delight 
in home, was not, he thought, somehow or other, quite so hap¬ 
py as it had always been before. The red berries were just as 
abundant on the holly, and he and Maggie had dressed all the 
windows, and mantel-pieces, and picture-frames on Christmas- 
eve with as much taste as ever, wedding the thick-set scarlet 
clusters with branches of the black-berried ivy. Thera haA 



been singing under the windows after midnight—supernatural 
singing, Maggie always felt, in spite of Tom’s contemptuous 
insistence that the singers were old Patch, the parish clerk, 
and the rest of the church choir: she trembled with awe when 
their caroling broke in upon her dreams, and the image of men 
in fustian clothes was always thrust away by the vision of an¬ 
gels resting on the parted cloud. But the midnight chaht had 
helped as usual to lift the morning above the level of common 
days; and then there was the smell of hot toast and ale from 
the kitchen at the breakfast-hour; the favorite anthem, the 
green boughs, and the short sermon, gave the appropriate fes¬ 
tal character to the church-going; and aunt and uncle Moss, 
with all their seven children, were looking like so many re¬ 
flectors of the bright parlor fire when the church-goers came 
back, stamping the snow from their feet. The plum-pudding 
was of the same handsome roundness as ever, and came in 
with the symbolic blue flames around it, as if it had been he¬ 
roically snatched from the nether fires into which it had been 
thrown by dyspeptic Puritans; the dessert was as splendid as 
ever, with its golden oranges, brown nuts, and the crystalline 
light and dark of apple-jelly and damson cheese: in all these 
things Christmas was as it had always been since Tom could 
remember; it was only distinguished, if by any thing, by supe¬ 
rior sliding and snowballs. 

Christmas was cheery, but not so Mr. Tulliver. He was irate 
and defiant; and Tom, though he espoused his father’s quarrels 
and shared his father’s sense of injury, was not without some 
of the feeling that oppressed Maggie when Mr. Tulliver got 
louder and more angry in narration and assertion with the in¬ 
creased leisure of dessert. The attention that Tom might have 
concentrated on his nuts and wine was distracted by a sense 
that there were rascally enemies in the world, and that the 
business of grown-up life could hardly be conducted without a 
good deal of quarreling. Now Tom was not fond of quarrel¬ 
ing, unless it could soon be put an end to by a fair stand-up 
fight with an adversary whom he had every chance of thrash¬ 
ing ; and his father’s irritable talk made him uncomfortable, 
though he never accounted to himself for the feeling, or con¬ 
ceived the notion that his father was faulty in this respect. 

The particular embodiment of the evil principle now excit¬ 
ing Mr. Tulliver’s determined resistance was Mr. Pivart, who, 
having lands higher up the Ripple, was taking measures for 
their irrigation, which either were, or would be, or were bound 
to be (on the principle that water was water) an infringement 
on Mr. Tulliver’s legitimate share of water-power. Dix, who 
had a mill on the stream, was a feeble auxiliary of Old Harry 



compared with Pivart. Dix had been brought to his senses 
by arbitration, and Wakem’s advice had not carried him far; 
no: Dix, Mr. Tulliver considered, had been as good as no¬ 
where in point of law; and in the intensity of his indignation 
against Pivart, his contempt for a baffled adversary like Dix 
began to wear the air of a friendly attachment. He had no 
male audience to-day except Mr. Moss, who knew nothing, as 
he said, of the 44 natur’ o’ mills,” and could only assent to Mr. 
Tulliver’s arguments on the d priori ground of family relation¬ 
ship and monetary obligation; but Mr. Tulliver did not talk 
with the futile intention of convincing his audience—he talked 
to relieve himself; while good Mr. Moss made strong efforts 
to keep his eyes wide open, in spite of the sleepiness which an 
unusually good dinner produced in his hard-worked frame. 
Mrs. Moss, more alive to the subject, and interested in every 
thing that affected her brother, listened and put in a word as 
often as maternal preoccupations allowed. 

44 Why, Pivart’s a new name hereabout, brother, isn’t it ?” 
she said: 44 he didn’t own the land in father’s time, nor yours 
either, before I was married.” 

44 New name ? Yes, I should think it is a new name,” said 
Mr. Tulliver, with angry emphasis. 44 Dorlcote Mill’s been in 
our family a hundred year and better, and nobody ever heard 
of a Pivart meddling with the river, till this fellow came and 
bought Bincome’s farm out of hand, before any body else could 
so much as sajr 4 snap.’ But I’ll Pivart him!” added Mr. Tul¬ 
liver, lifting his glass with a sense that he had defined his res¬ 
olution in an unmistakable manner. 

u You won’t be forced to go to law with him, I hope, broth¬ 
er ?” said Mrs. Moss, with some anxiety. 

44 1 don’t know what I shall be forced to; but I know what 
I shall force him to, with his dikes and erigations, if there’s 
any law to be brought to bear o’ the right side. I know well 
enough who’s at the bottom of it; he’s got Wakem to back 
him and egg him on. I know Wakem tells him the law can’t 
touch him for it, but there’s folks can handle the law besides 
4 Wakem. It takes a big raskil to beat him; but there’s bigger 
to be found, as know more o’ th’ ins and outs o’ the law, else 
how came Wakem to lose Brumley’s suit for him?” 

Mr. Tulliver was a strictly honest man, and proud of being 
honest, but he considered that in law the ends of justice could 
only be achieved by employing a stronger knave to frustrate a 
weaker. Law was a sort of cockfight, in which it was the 
business of injured honesty to get a game bird with the best 
pluck and the strongest spurs. 

44 Gore’s no fool — you needn’t tell me that,” he observed 



presently, in a pugnacious tone, as if poor Gritty had been 
urging that lawyers capabilities; “ but, you see, he isn’t up to 
the law as Wakem is. And water’s a very particular thing— 
you can’t pick it up with a pitchfork. That’s why it’s been 
nuts to Old Harry and the lawyers. It’s plain enough what’s 
the rights and the wrongs of water, if you look at it straight- 
forrard; for a river’s a nver, and if you’ve got a mill, you must 
have water to turn it; and it’s no use telling me, Pivart’s eri- 
gation and nonsense won’t stop my wheel: I know what be¬ 
longs to water better than that. Talk to me o’ what th’ en¬ 
gineers say! I say it’s common sense, as Pivart’s dikes must 
do me an injury. But if that’s their engineering, I’ll put Tom 
to it by-and-by. and he shall see if he can’t find a bit more sense 
in th’ engineering business than what that comes to.” 

Tom, looking round with some anxiety at this announce¬ 
ment of his prospects, unthinkingly withdrew a small rattle 
he was amusing Baby Moss with, whereupon she, being a baby 
that knew her own mind with remarkable clearness, instanta¬ 
neously expressed her sentiments in a piercing yell, and was 
not to be appeased even by the restoration of the rattle, feel¬ 
ing apparently that the original wrong of having it taken from 
her remained in all its force. Mrs. Moss hurried away with 
her into another room, and expressed to Mrs. Tulliver, who 
accompanied her, the conviction that the dear child had good 
reasons for crying; implying that if it was supposed to be the 
rattle that baby clamored for she was a misunderstood baby. 
The thoroughly justifiable yell being quieted, Mrs. Moss look¬ 
ed at her sister-in-law and said, 

“I’m sorry to see brother so put out about this water- 

“ It’s your brother’s way, Mrs. Moss; I’d never any thing 
o’ that sort before I was married,” said Mrs. Tulliver, with a 
half-implied reproach. She always spoke of her husband as 
“ your brother” to Mrs. Moss in any case when his line of con¬ 
duct was not matter of pure admiration. Amiable Mrs. Tul¬ 
liver, who was never angry in her life, had yet her mild share 
of that spirit without which she could hardly have been at 
once a Dodson and a woman. Being always on the defensive 
toward her own sisters, it was natural that she should be keen¬ 
ly conscious of her superiority, even as the weakest Dodson, 
over a husband’s sister, who, besides being poorly ofl£ and in¬ 
clined to “ hang on” her brother, had the good-natured sub¬ 
missiveness of a large, easy-tempered, untidy, prolific woman, 
with affection enough in her not only for her own husband and 
abundant children, but for any number of collateral relations. 

“I hope and pray he won’t go to law,” said Mrs. Moss, 



“ for there’s never any knowing where that ’ll end. And the 
right doesn’t allays win. This Mr. Pivart’s a rich man, by 
what I can make out, and the rich mostly get things their 
own way.” 

“As to that,” said Mrs. Tulliver, stroking her dress down, 
“ Fve seen what riches are in my own family, for my sisters 
have got husbands as can afford to do pretty much what they 
like. But I think sometimes I shall be drove off my head witn 
the talk about this law and erigation; and my sisters lay all 
the fault to me, for they don’t know what it is to marry a man 
like your brother—how should they ? Sister Pullet has her 
own way from morning till night.” 

“Well,” said Mrs. Moss, “I don’t think I should like my 
husband if he hadn’t got any wits of his own, and I had to find 
head-piece for him. It’s a deal easier to do what pleases one’s 
husband than to be puzzling what else one should do.” 

“ If people come to talk o’ doing what pleases their hus¬ 
bands,” said Mrs. Tulliver, with a faint imitation of her sister 
Glegg, “ I’m sure your brother might have waited a long while 
before he’d have found a wife that ’ud have let him have his 
say in every thing, as I do. It’s nothing but law and erigation 
now, from when we first get up in the morning till we go to 
bed at night; and I never contradict him; I only say, ‘Well, 
Mr. Tulliver, do as you like; but whativer you do, don’t go to 
law.’ ” 

Mrs. Tulliver, as we have seen, was not without influence 
over her husband. No woman is; she can always incline him 
to do either what she wishes, or the reverse; and on the com¬ 
posite impulses that were threatening to hurry Mr. Tulliver 
into “law,” Mrs. Tulliver’s monotonous pleading had doubt¬ 
less its share of force; it might even be comparable to that 
proverbial feather which has the credit or discredit of break¬ 
ing the camel’s back; though, on a strictly impartial view, the 
blame ought rather to lie with the previous weight of feathers 
which had already placed the back in such imminent peril that 
an otherwise innocent feather could not settle on it without 
mischief. Not that Mrs. Tulliver’s feeble _ beseeching could 
have had this feather’s weight in virtue of her single personal¬ 
ity ; but whenever she departed from entire assent to her hus¬ 
band, he saw in her the representative of the Dodson family; 
and it was a guiding principle with Mr. Tulliver to let the Dod¬ 
sons know that they were not to domineer over him, or, more 
specifically, that a male Tulliver was far more than equal to 
four female Dodsons, even though one of them was Mrs. 

But not even a direct argument from that typical Dodson 



female herself against his going to law could have heightened 
his disposition toward it so much as the mere thought of Wa¬ 
kem, continually freshened by the sight of the too able attor¬ 
ney on market-days. Wakem, to his certain knowledge, was 
(metaphorically speaking) at the bottom of Pivart’s irrigation: 
Wakem had tried to make Dix stand out, and go to law about 
the dam: it was unquestionably Wakem who had caused Mr. 
Tulliver to lose the suit about the right of road and the bridge 
that made a thoroughfare of his land for every vagabond who 
preferred an opportunity of damaging private property to 
walking like an honest man along the high road: all lawyers 
were more or less rascals, but Wakem’s rascality was of that 
peculiarly aggravated kind which placed itself in opposition to 
that form of right embodied in Mr. Tulliver’s interests and 
opinions. And as an extra touch of bitterness, the injured 
miller had recently, in borrowing the five hundred pounds, 
been obliged to carry a little business to Wakem’s office on 
his own account. A hook-nosed glib fellow! as cool as a cu¬ 
cumber—always looking so sure of his game! And it was 
Vexatious that Lawyer Gore was not more like him, but was 
a bald, round-featured man, with bland manners and fat hands 
—a game-cock that you would be rash to bet upon against 
Wakem. Gore was a sly fellow; his weakness did not ne on 
the side of scrupulosity; but the largest amount of winking 
however significant, is not equivalent to seeing through a stone 
wall; and confident as Mr. Tulliver was in his principle that 
water was water, and in the direct inference that Pivart had 
not a leg to stand on in this affair of irrigation, he had an un¬ 
comfortable suspicion that Wakem had more law to show 
against this (rationally) irrefragable inference than Gore could 
show for it. But then, if they went to law, there was a chance 
for Mr. Tulliver to employ Counselor Wylde on his side, in¬ 
stead of having that admirable bully against him; and the 
prospect of seeing a witness of Wakem’s made to perspire and 
become confounded, as Mr. Tulliver’s witness had once been, 
was alluring to the love of retributive justice. 

Much rumination had Mr. Tulliver on these puzzling subjects 
during his rides on the gray horse—-much turning of the head 
from side to side, as the scales dipped alternately; but the 
probable result was still out of sight, only to be reached through 
much hot argument and iteration in domestic and social life. 
That initial stage of the dispute which consisted in the narra¬ 
tion of the case and the enforcement of Mr. Tulliver’s views 
concerning it throughout the. entire circle of his connections 
would necessarily take time, and at the beginning of February, 
when Tom was going to school again, there were scarcely .any 

the mill on the floss. 


new items to be detected in his father’s statement of the case 
against Pivart, or any more specific indication of the measures 
he was bent on taking against that rash contravener of the 
principle that water was water. Iteration, like friction, is 
likely to generate heat instead of progress, and Mr. Tulliver’s 
heat was certainly more and more palpable. If there had been 
no new evidence on any other point, there had been new evi¬ 
dence that Pivart was as w thick as mud” with Wakem. 

“ Father,” said Tom, one even ing near the end of the holi¬ 
days, 44 uncle Glegg says Lawyer Wakem is going to send his 
son to Mr. Stelling. It isn’t true what they said about his 
going to France. You won’t like me to go to school with 
Wakem’s son, shall you ?” 

44 It’s no matter for that, my boy,” said Mr. Tulliver; 44 don’t 
you learn any thing bad of him, that’s all. The lad’s a poor 
deformed creatur, and takes after his mother in the face: I 
think there isn’t much of his father in him. It’s a sign Wakem 
thinks high o’ Mr. Stelling, as he sends his son to him, and 
Wakem knows meal from bran.” 

Mr. Tulliver in his heart was rather proud of the fact that 
his son was to have the same advantages as Wakem’s, but 
Tom was not at all easy on the point; it would have been 
much clearer if the lawyer’s son had not been deformed, for 
then Tom would have had the prospect of pitching into him 
with all that freedom which is derived from a high moral 



It was a cold, wet January day on which Tom went back to 
school—a day quite in keeping with this severe phase of his 
destiny. If he had not carried in his pocket a parcel of sugar- 
candy and a small Dutch doll for little Laura, there would 
have been no ray of expected pleasure to enliven the general 
gloom. But he liked to think how Laura would put out her 
Bps and her tiny hands for the bits of sugar-candy; and, to 
give the greater keenness to these pleasures of imagination, he 
took out the parcel, made a small hole in the paper, and bit 
off a crystal or two, which had so solacing an effect under the 
confinea prospect and damp odors of the gig-umbrella, that he 
repeated the process more than once on his way. 

44 Well, Tulliver, we’re glad to see you again,” said Mr. 
Stelling, heartily. “Take off your wrappings and come into 
the study till dinner. You’ll find a bright fire there, and a 
new companion.” 



Tom felt in an nnoomfortable flatter as he took off his woolen 
comforter and other wrappings. He had seen Philip Wakem 
at St. Ogg’s, bat had always tamed his eyes away from him as 
quickly as possible. He would have disliked having a deformed 
boy for his companion even if Philip had not been the son of 
a bad man. And Tom did not see how a bad man’s son coaid 
be very good. His own father was a good man, and he would 
readily have fought any one who said the contrary. He was 
in a state of mingled embarrassment and defiance as he fol> 
lowed Mr. Stelling to the study. 

“Here is a new companion for you to shake hands with, 
Tulliver,” said that gentleman on entering the study—“ Mas¬ 
ter Philip Wakem. I shall leave you to make acquaintance by 
yourselves. You already know something of each other,! 
imagine, for you are neighbors at home.” 

Tom looked confused and awkward, while Philip rose and 
glanced at him timidly. Tom did not like to go up and put 
out his hand, and he was not prepared to say, “ How do you 
do ?” on so short a notice. 

Mr. Stelling wisely turned away and closed the door behind 
him: boys’ shyness only wears off in the absence of their elders. 

Philipwas at once too proud and too timid to walk toward 
Tom. He thought, or rather felt, that Tom had an aversion 
to looking at him; every one, almost, disliked looking at him; 
and his deformity was more conspicuous when he walked.- So 
they remained without shaking hands or even speaking, while 
Tom went to the fire and warmed himself, every now and then 
casting furtive glances at Philip, who seemed to be drawing 
absently first one object and then another on a piece of paper 
he had before him. He had seated himself again, and, as he 
drew, was thinking what he could say to Tom, and trying to 
overcome his own repugnance to making the first advances. 

Tom began to look oftener and longer at Philip’s face, for 
he could see it without noticing the hump, and it was really 
not a disagreeable face—veiy old-looking, Tom thought. He 
wondered how much older Philip was than himself. An anat¬ 
omist—even a mere physiognomist—would have seen that the 
deformity of Philip’s spine was not a congenital hump, but the 
result of an accident in infancy; but you do not expect from 
Tom any acquaintance with such distinctions; to him, Philip 
was simply a humpback. He had a vague notion that the de¬ 
formity of Wakem’s son had some relation to the lawyer’s ras¬ 
cality, of which he had so often hearcj his father talk with hot 
emphasis; and he felt, too, a half-admitted fear of him as prob¬ 
ably a spiteful fellow, who, not being able to fight you, had 
cunning ways of doing you a mischief by the sly. There was 

the mill oh the floss. 


a humpbacked tailor in the neighborhood of Mr. Jacobs’ acad¬ 
emy who was considered a very unamiable character, and was 
mnch hooted after by public-spirited boys solely on the ground 
of his unsatisfactory moral qualities, so that Tom was not with¬ 
out a basis of fact to go upon. Still, no face could be more 
unlike that ugly tailor’s than this melancholy boy’s face; the 
brown hair round it waved and curled at the ends like a girl’s: 
Tom thought that truly pitiable. This Wakem was a pale, 
puny fellow, and it was quite clear he would not be able to 
play at any thing worth speaking of; but he handled his pen¬ 
cil in an enviable manner, and was apparently making one 
thing after another without any trouble. What was he draw¬ 
ing? Tom was quite warm now, and wanted something new 
to be going forward. It was certainly more agreeable to have 
an ill-natured humpback as a companion than to stand looking 
out of the study-window at the rain, and kicking his foot 
against the washboard in solitude; something would happen 
every day— 44 a quarrel or something and Tom thought he 
should rather like to show Philip that he had better not try 
his spiteful tricks on him. He suddenly walked across the 
hearth, and looked over Philip’s paper. 

“ Why, that’s a donkey with panniers—and a spaniel, and 
partridges in the corn!” he exclaimed, his tongue being com¬ 
pletely loosed by surprise and admiration. 44 Oh my buttons! 
I wish I could draw like that. I’m to learn drawing this half— 
I wonder if I shall learn to make dogs and donkeys!” 

44 Oh, you can do them without learning,” said Philip; 44 1 
never learned drawing.” 

44 Never learned?” said Tom, in amazement. 44 Why, when 
I make dogs and horses, and those things, the heads and the 
legs won’t come right, though I can see how they ought to be 
very well. I can make houses, and all sorts of chimneys— 
chimneys going all down the wall, and windows in the roof, 
and all that. But I dare say I could do dogs and horses if I 
was to try more,” he added, reflecting that Philip might falsely 
suppose that he was going to 44 knock under,” if he were too 
frank about the imperfection of his accomplishments. 

44 Oh yes,” said Philip, 44 it’s very easy. You’ve o nly to look 
well at things, and draw them over and over again. What you 
do wrong once you can alter the next time.” 

^ 44 But haven’t you been taught any thing?” said Tom, be¬ 
ginning to have a puzzled suspicion that Philip’s crooked back 
might be the source of remarkable faculties. 44 1 thought you’d 
been to school a long while.” 

“Yes,” said Philip, smiling, 44 I’ve been taught Latin, and 
Greek, and mathematics—and writing, and such thinua*” 




“ Oh but, I say, yon don’t like Latin, though, do yon ?” said 
Tom, lowering his voice confidentially. 

“Pretty well; I don’t care much about it,” said Philip. 

“Ah I but perhaps you haven’t got into the Propria* qum 
maribus ,” said Tom, nodding his head sideways, as much as to 
say, “ that was the test: it was easy talking till you came to 

Philip felt some bitter complacency in the promising stupid¬ 
ity of this well-made active-looking boy; but made polite by 
his own extreme sensitiveness, as well as by his desire to con¬ 
ciliate, he checked his inclination to laugh, and said, quietly, 

“I’ve done with the grammar; I don’t learn that any 

“Then you won’t have the same lessons as I shall?” said 
Tom, with a sense of disappointment. 

“ No; but I dare say I can help you. I shall be very glad 
to help you if I can.” 

. Tom did not say “ Thank you,” for he was quite absorbed 
in the thought that Wakem’s son did not seem so spiteful a 
fellow as might have been expected. 

“I say,” he said presently, “ do you love your father?” 

“Yes,” said Philip, coloring deeply; “don’t you-love yours?” 

“ Oh yes.I only wanted to know,” said Tom, rather 

ashamed of himself, now he saw Philip coloring and looking 
uncomfortable. He found much difficulty in adjusting his at¬ 
titude of-mind toward the son of Lawyer Wakem, and it had 
occurred to him that if Philip disliked his father, that fact might 
go some way toward clearing up his perplexity. 

“ Shall you learn drawing now ?” he said, by way of chang¬ 
ing the subject. 

“ No,” said Philip. “ My father wishes me to give all my 
time to other things now.” 

“ What! Latin, and Euclid, and those things ?” said Tom. 

“ Yes,” said Philip, who had left off using his pencil, and was 
resting his head on one hand, while Tom was leaning forward 
on both elbows, and looking with increasing admiration on the 
dog and the donkey. 

“ And you don’t mind that ?” said Tom, with strong curi¬ 

“ No; I like to know what every body else knows. I can 
study what I like by-and-by.” 

“ I can’t think why any body should learn Latin,” said Tom. 
“ It’s no good.” 

“It’s part of the education of a gentleman,” said Philip. 
“All gentlemen learn the same things.” 

“What! do you think Sir John Crake, the master of the 


harriers, knows Latin ?” said Tom, who had often thought he 
should like to resemble Sir John Crake. 

“He learned it when he was a boy, of course,” said Philip. 
44 But I dare say he’s forgotten it.” 

44 Oh, well, I can do that, then,” said Tom, not with any epi¬ 
grammatic intention, but with serious satisfaction at the idea 
that, as far as Latin was Concerned, there was no hinderance to 
his resembling Sir John Crake. 44 Only you’re obliged to re¬ 
member it while you’re at school, else you’ve got to Team ever 
so many lines of 4 Speaker.’ Mr. Stelling’s very particular—did 
you know ? He’ll have you up ten times if you say 4 nam’ for 
* 4 jam:’ he won’t let you go a letter wrong, I can tell you.” 

44 Oh, I don’t mind,” said Philip, unable to choke a laugh; 
can remember things easily. And there are some lessons 
Pm very fond of. I’m very fond of Greek history, and every 
thing about the Greeks. 1 should like to have been a Greek 
and fought the Persians, and then have come home and have 
written tragedies, or else have been listened to by every body 
for my wisdom, like Socrates, and have died a grand death.” 
(Philip, you perceive, was' not without a wish to impress the 
well-made barbarian with a sense of his mental superiority.) 

“Why, were the Greeks great fighters?” said Tom, who 
' saw a vista in this direction. “Is there any thing like David, 
and Goliath, and Samson in the Greek history ? Those are 
the only bits I like iij the history of the Jews.” 

“ Oh, there are very fine stories of that sort about the Greeks 
—about the heroes of early times who killed the wild beasts, 
as Samson did. And in the Odyssey —that’s a beautiful poem 
—there’s a more wonderful giant than Goliath—Polypheme, 
who had only one eye in the middle of his forehead; and 
Ulysses, a little fellow, but very wise and cunning, got a red- 
hot pine-tree and stuck it into this one eye, and made him roar 
like , a thousand bulls.” 

44 Oh what fun!” said Tom, jumping away from the table, 
and stamping first with one leg and then the other. “ I say, 
can you tell me all about those stories ? Because I sha’n’t learn 

Greek, you know.Shall I ?” he added, pausing in his 

stamping with a sudden alarm, lest the contrary might be pos¬ 
sible. 44 Does every gentleman learn Greek ? . . . . Will Mr. 
Stalling make me begin with it, do you think ?” 

44 No, I should think not—very likely not,” said Philip. 
44 But you may read those stories without knowing Greek. 
I’ve got them m English.” 

44 Oh, but I don’t like reading; I’d sooner have you tell them 
me —but only the fighting ones, you know. My sister Mag¬ 
gie is always wanting to tell me stories—but they’re 


the mill on the floss. 

things. Girls 9 stories always are. Can yon tell a good many 
fighting stories ?” 

“ Oh yes,” said Philip, “ lots of them, besides the Greek sto¬ 
ries. I can tell you about Richard Cceur de Lion and Saladin, 
and about William Wallace, and Robert Bruce, and James 
Douglas—I know no end.” 

“You’re older than I am, aren’t you?” said Tom. 

“ Why, how old are you f I’m fifteen.” 

“Pm only going in fourteen,” said Tom. “ But I thrashed 
all the fellows at Jacobs’—that’s where I was before I came 
here. And I beat ’em all at bandy and climbing. And I wish 
Mr. Stelling would let us go fishing. I could show you how 
to fish. You could fish, couldn’t you? It’s only standing, 
and sitting still, you know.” 

Tom, in his turn, wished to make the balance dip in his fa¬ 
vor. This hunchback must not suppose that his acquaintance 
with fighting stories put him on a par with an actual fighting 
hero like Tom Tulliver. Philip winced under this allusion to 
his unfitness for active sports, and he answered almost peev¬ 

“I can’t bear fishing. I think people look like fools sitting 
watching a line hour after hour, or else throwing and throw¬ 
ing, and catching nothing.” 

“AhI but you wouldn’t say they looked like fools when 
they landed a big pike, I can tell you,” said Tom, who had 
never caught any thing that was “ big” in his life, but whose 
imagination was on the stretch with indignant zeal for the 
honor of sport. Wakem’s son, it was plain, had his disagree¬ 
able points, and must be kept in due check. Happily for the 
harmony of this first interview, they were now called to din¬ 
ner, and Philip was not allowed to develop farther his unsound 
views on the subject of fishing. But Tom said to himself that 
was just what he should have expected from a hunchback. 


“the young idea.” 

The alternations of feeling in that first dialogue between 
Tom and Philip continued to mark their intercourse even after 
many weeks or school-boy intimacy. Tom never quite lost the 
feeling that Philip, being the son of a “ rascal,” was his natu¬ 
ral enemy—never thoroughly overcame his repulsion to Philip’s 
deformity: he was a boy who adhered tenaciously to impres¬ 
sions once received: as with all minds in which mere percept 



tion predominates over thought and emotion, the external re¬ 
mained to him rigidly what it was in the first instance. But 
then it was impossible not to like Philip’s company when he 
was in a good humor; he could help one so well in one’s Latin 
exercises, which Tom regarded as a kind of puzzle that could 
only be found out by a lucky chance; and he could tell such 
wonderful fighting stories about Hal of the Wind, for exam¬ 
ple, and other heroes who were especial favorites with Tom, 
because they laid about them with heavy strokes. He had 
small opinion of Saladin, whose cimeter could cut a cushion in 
two in an instant: who wanted to cut cushions ? That was a 
stupid story, and he didn’t care to hear it again. But when 
Robert Bruce, on the black pony, rose in his stirrups, and, lift¬ 
ing his good battle-axe, cracked at once the helmet and the 
skull of the too-hasty knight at Bannockburn, then Tom felt 
all the exaltation of sympathy, and, if he had had a cocoanut 
at hand, he would have cracked it at once with the poker. 
Philip, in his happier moods, indulged Tom to the top of his 
bent, heightening the crash, and bang, and fury of every fight 
with all the artillery of epithets and similes at his command. 
But he was not always in a good humor or happy mood. The 
slight spurt of peevish susceptibility which had escaped him 
in their first interview was a symptom of a perpetually-recur¬ 
ring mental ailment—half of it nervous irritability, half of it 
the heart-bitterness produced by the sense of his deformity. 
In these fits of susceptibility, every glance seemed to him to be 
charged either with offensive pity or with ill-repressed disgust; 
at the very least it was an indifferent glance, and Philip felt 
indifference as a child of the South feels the chill air of a 
northern spring. Poor Tom’s blundering patronage when 
they were out of doors together would sometimes make him 
turn upon the well-meaning lad quite savagely, and his eyes, 
usually sad and quiet, would flash with any thing but playful 
lightning. No wonder Tom retained his suspicions of the 

But Philip’s self-taught skill in drawing was another link be¬ 
tween them; for Tom found, to his disgust, that his new draw¬ 
ing-master gave him no dogs and donkeys to draw, but brooks, 
and rustic bridges, and ruins, all with a general softness of 
black-lead surface, indicating that nature, if any thing, was 
rather satiny; and as Tom’s feeling for the picturesque in 
land was at present quite latent, it is not surprising that Mr. 
Goodrich’s productions seemed to him an uninteresting form 
of art. Mr. Tulliver, having a vague intention that Tom 
should be put to some business which included the drawing 
out of plans and maps, had complained to Mr. ^ 



saw him at Madport, that Tom seemed to be learning nothing 
of that sort; whereupon that obliging adviser had suggested 
that Tom should have drawing-lessons. Mr. Tulliver must not 
mind paying extra for drawing: let Tom be made a good 
draughtsman, and he would be able to turn his pencil to any 
purpose. So it was ordered that Tom should have drawing- 
lessons ; and whom should Mr. Stelling have selected as a mas¬ 
ter if not Mr. Goodrich, who was considered quite at the head 
of his profession within a circuit of twelve miles-round King’s 
Lorton ? By which means Tom learned to make an extreme¬ 
ly fine point to his pencil, and to represent landscape with a 
“ broad generality,” which, doubtless from a narrow tendency 
in his mind to details, he thought extremely dull. 

All this, you remember, happened in those dark ages when 
there were no schools of design—before schoolmasters were 
invariably men of unscrupulous integrity, and before the cler¬ 
gy were all men of enlarged minds and varied culture. In 
those less-favored days, it is no fable that there were other 
clergymen besides Mr. Stelling who had narrow intellects and 
large wants, and whose income, by a logical confusion to which 
Fortune, being a female as well as blindfold, is peculiarly liable, 
was proportioned, not to their wants, but to their intellect— 
with which income has clearly no inherent relation. The prob¬ 
lem these gentlemen had to solve was to readjust the propor¬ 
tion between their wants and their income; and since wants 
are not easily starved to death, the simpler method appeared 
to be—to raise their income. There was but one way of do¬ 
ing this: any of those low callings in which men were obliged 
to do good work at a low price were forbidden to clergymen: 
was it their fault that their only resource was to turn out very 
poor work at a high price ? Besides, how should Mr. Stelling 
be expected to know that education was a delicate and difficult 
business, any more than an animal endowed with a power of 
boring a hole through a rock should be expected to have wide 
views of excavation ? Mr. Stelling’s faculties had been early 
trained to boring in a straight line, and he had no faculty to 
spare; But among Tom’s contemporaries, whose fathers cast 
their sons on clerical instruction to find them ignorant after 
many days, there were many far less lucky than Tom Tulliver. 
Education was almost entirely a matter of luck—usually of ill 
luck—in those distant days. The state of mind in which you 
take a billiard-cue or a dice-box in your hand is one of sober 
certainty compared with that of old-fashidned fathers, like Mr. 
Tulliver, when they selected a school or a tutor for their sons. 
Excellent men, who had been forced all their lives to spell on 
an impromptu-phonetic system, and having carried on a suo- 



cessful business in spite of this disadvantage, had acquired 
money enough to give their sons a better start in life than 
they had had themselves, must necessarily take their chance 
as to the conscience and the competence of the schoolmaster 
whose circular fell in their way, and appeared to promise so 
much more than they would ever have thought of asking for, 
including the return of linen, fork, and spoon. It was happy 
for them if some ambitious draper of their acquaintance had 
not brought up his son to the Church, and if that young gen¬ 
tleman, at the age of four-and-twenty, had not closed his col¬ 
lege dissipations by an imprudent marriage: otherwise these 
innocent fathers, desirous of doing the best by their offspring, 
could only escape the draper’s son by happening to be on the 
foundation of a grammar-school as yet unvisited by commis¬ 
sioners, where two or three boys could have, all to tnemselves, 
the advantages of a large and lofty building, together with a 
head-master, toothless, dim-eyed, and deaf, whose erudite indis¬ 
tinctness and inattention were engrossed by them at the rate 
of three hundred pounds a head—a ripe scholar, doubtless, 
when first appointed; but all ripeness beneath the sun has a 
further stage less esteemed in the market. 

Tom Tulliver, then, compared with many other British 
youths of his time who have since had to scramble through 
life with some fragments of more or less relevant knowledge, 
and a great deal of strictly relevant ignorance, was not so very 
unlucky. Mr. Stelling was a broad-chested, healthy man, with 
the bearing of a gentleman, a conviction that a growing boy 
required a sufficiency of beef, and a certain hearty kindness in 
him that made him like to see Tom looking well and enjoying 
his dinrfer; not a man of refined conscience, or with any deep 
sense of the infinite issues belonging to every-day duties; not 
quite competent to his high offices; but incompetent gentle¬ 
men must live, and without private fortune it is difficult to see 
how they could all live genteelly if they had nothing to do with 
education or government. Besides, it was the fault of Tom’s 
mental constitution that his faculties could not be nourished 
on the sort of knowledge Mr. Stelling had to communicate. 
A boy born with a deficient power of apprehending signs and 
abstractions must suffer the penalty of his congenital deficien¬ 
cy, just as if he had been born with one leg shorter than the 
other. A method of education sanctioned by the long prac¬ 
tice of our venerable ancestors was not to give way before the 
exceptional dullness of a boy who was merely living at the 
time then present. And Mr. Stelling was convinced that a 
boy so stupid at signs and abstractions must be stupid at every 
thing else, even if that reverend gentleman could have taught 


him every thing else. It was the practice of our venerable 
ancestors to apply that ingenious instrument the thumb-screw, 
and to tighten and tighten it in order to elicit non-existent 
facts: they had a fixed opinion to begin with, that the facts 
were existent, and what had they to do but to tighten the 
thumb-screw ? In like manner, Mr. Stelling had a fixed opin¬ 
ion that all boys with any capacity could learn what it was the 
only regular thing to teach: if they were slow the thumb-screw 
must be tightened—the exercises must be insisted on with in¬ 
creased severity, and a page of Virgil be awarded as a penalty, 
to encourage and stimulate a too languid inclination to Latin 

Nevertheless, the thumb-screw was relaxed a little during 
this second half year. Philip was so advanced in his studies, 
and so apt, that Mr. Stelling could obtain credit by his facility, 
which required little help, much more easily than by .the 
troublesome process of overcoming Tom’s dullness. Gentle¬ 
men with broad chests and ambitious intentions do sometimes 
disappoint their friends by failing to carry the world before 
them. Perhaps it is that high achievements demand some 
other unusual qualification besides an unusual desire for high 
prizes; perhaps it is that these stalwart gentlemen are rather 
indolent, their divince particulum auros being obstructed from 
soaring by a too hearty appetite. Some reason or other there 
was why Mr. Stelling deferred the execution of many spirited 
projects—why he did not begin the editing of his Greek play, 
or any other work of scholarship, in his leisure hours, but, after 
turning the key of his private study with much resolution, sat 
down to one of Theodore Hook’s novels. Tom was gradually 
allowed to shuffle through his lessons with less rigor, and^ 
having Philip to help him, he was able to make some show of 
having applied his mind in a confused and blundering way, 
without being cross-examined into a betrayal that his mind 
had been entirely neutral in the matter. He thought school 
much more bearable under this modification of circumstances; 
and he went on contentedly enough, picking up a promiscuous 
education chiefly from things that were not intended as educa¬ 
tion at all. What was understood to be his education was 
simply the practice of reading, writing, and spelling, carried 
on by an elaborate appliance of unintelligible ideas, and by 
much failure in the effort to learn by rote. 

Nevertheless, there was a visible improvement in Tom un¬ 
der this training; perhaps because he was not a boy in the 
abstract, existing solely to illustrate the evils of a mistaken 
education, but a boy made of flesh and blood, with dispositions 
not entirely at the mercy of circumstances. 

There was a great improvement in his bearing, for example. 



and some credit on this score was due to Mr. Poulter, the vil¬ 
lage schoolmaster, who, being an old Peninsular soldier, was 
employed to drill Tom—a source of high mutual pleasure. 
Mr. Poulter, who was understood by the company at the 
Black Swan to have once struck terror into the hearts of the 
French, was no longer personally formidable. He had rather 
a shrunken appearance, and was tremulous in the mornings, 
not from age, but from the extreme perversity of the King’s 
Lorton boys, which nothing but gin could enable him to sus¬ 
tain with any firmness. Still, he carried himself with martial 
erectness, had his clothes scrupulously brushed, and his trow- 
sers tightly strapped; and on the Wednesday and Saturday 
afternoons, when he came to Tom, he was always inspired 
with gin and old memories, which gave him an exceptionally 
spirited air, as of a superannuated charger who hears the drum. 
The drilling-lessons were always protracted by episodes of war¬ 
like narrative, much more interesting to Tom than Philip’s 
stories out of the Iliad; for there were no cannon in the 
Iliad, and, besides, Tom had felt some disgust on learning that 
Hector and Achilles might possibly never have existed. But 
the Duke of Wellington was really alive, and Bony had not 
been long dead; therefore Mr. Poulter’s reminiscences of the 
Peninsular War were removed from all suspicion of being 
mythical. v Mr. Poulter, it appeared, had been a conspicuous 
figure at Talavera, and had contributed not a little to the pe¬ 
culiar terror with which his regiment of infantry was regarded 
by the enemy. On afternoons, when his memory was more 
stimulated than usual, he remembered that the Duke of Wel¬ 
lington had (in strict privacy, lest jealousies should be awak¬ 
ened) expressed his esteem for that fine fellow Poulter. The 
very surgeon who attended him in the hospital after he had 
received his gun-shot wound had been profoundly impressed 
with the superiority of Mr. Poulter’s flesh: no other flesh 
would have healed in any thing like the same time. On less 
personal matters connected with the important warfare in 
which he had been engaged, Mr. Poulter was more reticent, 
only taking care not to give the weight of his authority to any 
loose notions concerning military history. Any one who pre¬ 
tended to a knowledge of what occurred at the siege of Bada- 
jos was especially an object of silent pity to Mr. Poulter; he 
wished that prating person had been run down, and had the 
breath trampled out of him at the first go off, as he himself 
had; he might talk about the siege of Badajos then! Tom 
did not escape irritating his drilling-master occasionally by his 
curiosity concerning other military matters than Mi*. Poulter’s 
personal experience. 



“And General Wolfe, Mr. Poulter—wasn’t he a wonderful 
fighter?” said Tom, who held the notion that all the martial 
heroes commemorated on the public-house signs were engaged 
in the war with Bony. 

“ Not at all I” said Mr. Poulter, contemptuously. “ Noth¬ 
ing o’ the sort! . . . Heads up 1” he added, in a tone of stem 
command, which delighted Tom, and made him feel as if he 
were a regiment in his own person. 

“No, no!” Mr. Poulter would continue, on coming to a 
pause in his discipline. “ They’d better not talk to me about 
General Wolfe. He did nothing but die of his wound; that’s 
a poor haction, I consider. Any other man ’ud have died o’ 

the wounds I’ve had.One of my sword-cuts ’ud ha’ killed 

a fellow like General Wolfe.” 

“ Mr. Poulter,” Tom would say, at any allusion to the sword, 

“I wish you’d bring your sword and do the sword-exercise!” 

For a long while Mr. Poulter only shook his head in a sig¬ 
nificant mann er at this request, and smiled patronizingly, as 
Jupiter may have done when Semele urged her too ambitious 
request. But one afternoon, when a sudden shower of heavy 
rain had detained Mr. Poulter twenty minutes longer than 
usual at the Black Swan, the Sword was brought—just for Tom 
to look at. 

“ And this is the real sword you fought with in all the bat¬ 
tles, Mr. Poulter ?” said Tom, handling tne hilt. “ Has it ever 
cut a Frenchman’s head off?” 

“ Head off? Ah! and would, if he’d had three heads.” 

“ But you had a gun and bayonet besides ?” said Tom. “ I 
should like the gun and bayonet best, because you could shoot 
’em first and spear ’em after. Bang! Ps-s-s-s!” Tom gave 
the requisite pantomime to indicate the double enjoyment of 
pulling the trigger and thrusting the spear. 

“ Ah! but the sword’s the thing when you come to close • 
fighting,” said Mr. Poulter, involuntarily falling in with Tom’s 
enthusiasm, and drawing the sword so suddenly that Tom 
leaped back with much agility. 

“ Oh but, Mr. Poulter, if you’re going to do the exercise,” 
said Tom, a little conscious that he had not stood his ground 
as became an Englishman, “ let me go and call Philip. He’ll 
like to see you, you know.” 

“ What! the humpbacked lad ?” said Mr. Poulter, contempt¬ 
uously. “ What’s the use of his looking on ?” 

“ Oh, but he knows a great deal about fighting,” said Tom; 

“ and how they used to fight with bows and arrows, and bat¬ 

“Let him come, then. I’ll show him somethings different 



from his bows and arrows,” said Mr. Poulter, coughing, and 
drawing himself up, while he gave a little preliminary play to 
his wrist. 

Tom ran in to Philip, who was enjoying his afternoon’s holi¬ 
day at the piano in the drawing-room, picking out tones for 
himself and singing them. He was supremely happy, perched 
like an amorphous bundle on the high stool, with ms head 
thrown back, his eyes fixed on the opposite cornice, and his 
lips wide open, sending forth, with all his might, impromptu 
syllables to a tune of Arne’s, which had hit his fancy. 

“ Come, Philip,” said Tom, bursting in; “ don’t stay roaring 
4 la la’ there—come and see old Poulter do his sword-exercise 
in the carriage-house!” 

The jar of this interruption—the discord of Tom’s tones 
coming across the notes to which Philip was vibrating in soul 
and body, would have been enough to unhinge his temper, 
even if there had been no question of Poulter the drilling-mas¬ 
ter ; and Tom, in the hurry of seizing something to say to pre¬ 
vent Mr. Poulter from thinking he was afraid of the sword 
when he sprang away from it, had alighted on this proposition 
to fetch Philip, though he knew well enough that Philip hated 
to hear him mention his drilling-lessons. Tom would never 
have done so inconsiderate a thing except under the severe 
stress of his personal pride. 

Philip shuddered visibly as he paused from his music. Then 
turning red, he said, with violent passion, 

“Get away,you lumbering idiot! Don’t come bellowing 
at me; you’re not fit to speak to any thing but a cart-horse 1” 

It was not the first time Philip had been made angry by 
him, but Tom never before had been assailed with verbal mis¬ 
siles that he understood so well. 

“ I’m fit to speak to something better than you, you poor- 
spirited imp!” said Tom, lighting up immediately at Philip’s 
fire. “ You know I won’t nit you, because you’re no better 
than a girl. But I’m an honest man’s son, and your father’s a 
rogue—every body says so!” 

Tom flung out of the room, and slammed the door after him, 
made strangely heedless by his anger; for to slam doors with¬ 
in the hearing of Mrs. Stelling, who was probably not far off, 
was an offense only to be wiped out by twenty lines of Virgil. 
In fact, that lady did presently descend from her room, in 
double wonder at the noise and the subsequent cessation of 
Philip’s music. She found him sitting in a heap on the has¬ 
sock, and crying bitterly. 

u What’s the matter, Wakem ? What was that noise about? 
Who dammed the door ?” 


the mill on the floss. 

Philip looked up, and hastily dried his eyes. “ It was Tol¬ 
liver who came in .... to ask me to go out with him.” 

“And what are you in trouble about?” said Mrs.Stelling. 

Philip was not her favorite of the two pupils; he was less 
obliging than Tom, who was made useful in many ways. Still 
his father paid more than Mr. Tulliver did, and she meant him 
to feel that she behaved exceedingly well to him. Philip, how¬ 
ever, met her advances toward a good understanding very 
much as a caressed mollusc meets an invitation to show him¬ 
self out of his shell.* Mrs. Stelling was not a loving, tender¬ 
hearted woman; she was a woman whose skirt sat well, who 
adjusted her waist and patted her ourls with a preoccupied air 
when she inquired after your welfare. These things, doubt¬ 
less, represent a great social power, but it is not the power of 
love—and no other power could win Philip from his personal 

He said, in answer to her question, “ My toothache came on, 
and made me hysterical again.” 

This had been the fact once, and Philip was glad of the rec¬ 
ollection—it was like an inspiration to enable him to excuse 
his crying. He had to accept eau de Cologne, and to refuse 
creosote in consequence; but that was easy. 

Meanwhile Tom, who had for the first time sent a poisoned 
arrow into Philip’s heart, had returned to the carriage-house, 
where he found Mr. Poulter, with a fixed and earnest eye, 
wasting the perfections of his sword-exercise on probably ob¬ 
servant but inappreciative rats. But Mr. Poulter was a host 
in himself; that is to say, he admired himself more than a 
whole army of spectators could have admired him. He took 
no notice of Tom’s return, being too entirely absorbed in the 
cut and thrust—the solemn one, two, three, four; and Tom, 
not without a slight feeling of alarm at Mr. Poulter’s fixed eye 
and hungry-lookmg sword, which seemed impatient for some¬ 
thing else to cut besides the air, admired the performance from 
as great a distance as possible. It was not until Mr. Poulter 
paused and wiped the perspiration from his forehead that Tom 
felt the full charm of the sword-exercise, and wished it to be 

“ Mr. Poulter,” said Tom, when the sword was being finally 
sheathed, “ I wish you’d lend me your sword a little while to 

“No, no, young gentleman,” said Mr.Poulter, shaking his 
head decidedly, “ you might do yourself some mischief with it.” 

“No,I’m sure I wouldn’t—I’m sure I’d take care and not 
hurt myself. I shouldn’t take it out of the sheath much, but I 
could ground arms with it, and all that.” 



“ No, no, it won’t do, I tell you; it won’t do,” said Mr. 
Poulter, preparing to depart. “ What ’ud Mr. Stelling say to 

“Oh, I say, do, Mr. Poulter! I’d give you my five-shilling 
piece if you’d let me keep the sword a week. Look here l” 
said Tom, reaching out the attractively large round of silver. 
The young dog calculated the effect as well as if he had been 
a philosopher. 

“Well,” said Mr. Poulter, with still deeper gravity, “you 
must keep it out of sight, you know.” 

“ Oh yes, I’ll keep it under the bed,” said Tom, eagerly, “ or 
else at the bottom of my large box.” 

“And let me see, now, whether you can draw it out of the 
sheath without hurting yourself.” 

That process having been gone through more than once, 
Mr. Poulter felt that he had acted with scrupulous conscien¬ 
tiousness, and said, “ Well, now, Master Tulliver, if I take the 
crown-piece, it is to make sure as you’ll do no mischief with the 

“ Oh no, indeed, Mr. Poulter,” said Tom, delightedly hand¬ 
ing him the crown-piece, and grasping the sword, which, he 
thought, might have been lighter with advantage. 

“ But if Mr. Stelling catches you carrying it in,” said Mr. 
Poulter, pocketing the crown-piece provisionally while he raised 
this new doubt. 

“ Oh, he always keeps in his up-stairs study on Saturday 
afternoons,” said Tom, who disliked any thing sneaking, but 
was not. disinclined to a little stratagem in a worthy cause. 
So he carried off the sword in triumph, mixed with dread— 
dread that he might encounter Mr. or Mrs. Stelling—to his 
bed-room, where, after some consideration, he hid it in the 
closet behind some hanging clothes. That night he fell asleep 
in the thought that he would astonish Maggie with it when 
she came—tie it round his waist with his red comforter, and 
make her believe that the sword was his own, and that he was 
going to be a soldier. There was nobody but Maggie who 
would be silly enough to believe him, or whom he dared allow 
to know that he had a sword; and Maggie was really coming 
next week to see Tom, before she went to a boarding-school 
with Lucy. 

If you think a lad of thirteen would not have been so child¬ 
ish, you must be an exceptionally wise man, who, although you 
are devoted to a civil calling, requiring you to look bland 
rather than formidable, yet never, since you had a beard, threw 
yourself into a martial attitude, and frowned before the look¬ 
ing-glass. It is doubtful whether our soldiers 


the mill ok the floss. 

tained if there were not pacific people at home who like to 
fancy themselves soldiers. War, like other dramatic spectacles, 
might possibly cease for want of a “ public.” 


Maggie’s second visit. 

This last breach between tbe two lads was not readily 
mended, and for some time they spoke to each other no more 
than was necessary. Their natural antipathy of temperament 
made resentment an easy passage to hatred, and in Philip the 
transition seemed to have begun: there was no malignity m his 
disposition, but there was a susceptibility that made him pecul¬ 
iarly liable to a strong sense of repulsion. The ox—we may 
venture to assert it on the authority of a great classic—is not 
given to use his teeth as an instrument of Attack; and Tom 
was an excellent bovine lad, who ran at questionable objects in 
a truly ingenuous bovine manner; but he had blundered on 
Philip’s tenderest point, and had caused him as much acute 
pain as if he had studied the means with the nicest precision 
and the most envenomed spite. Tom saw no reason why they 
should not make up this quarrel as they had done many others, 
by behaving as if nothing had happened; for though he had 
never before said to Philip that his father was a rogue, this 
idea had so habitually made part of his feeling as to the rela¬ 
tion between himself and his dubious schoolfellow, whom he 
could neither like nor dislike, that the mere utterance did not 
make such an epoch to him as it did to Philip. - And he had a 
right to say so, when Philip hectored over him, and called him 
names. But, perceiving that his first advances toward amity 
were not met, he relapsed into his least favorable disposition 
toward Philip, and resolved never to appeal to him either about 
drawing or exercises again. They were only so far civil to 
each other as was necessary to prevent their state of feud from 
being observed by Mr. Stelling, who would have “put down” 
such nonsense with great vigor. 

When Maggie came, however, she could not help looking 
with growing interest at the new schoolfellow, although he 
was the son of that wicked Lawyer Wakem, who made her 
father so angry. She had arrived in the middle of school-hours, 
and had sat by while Philip went through his lessons with Mr. 
Stelling. Tom, some weeks ago, had sent her word that Philip 
knew no end of stories—not stupid stories like hers; and she 
was convinced now, from her own observation, that he must 


T clever; she hoped he would think her rather clever too, 
*he came to talk to him. Maggie, moreover, had rather 
Alness f° r deformed things: she preferred the wry-neck- \ 
ttbs, because it seemed to her that the lambs whicn were \ 
strong and well made wouldn’t mind so much about be¬ 
lted ; and she was especially fond of petting objects that 
Id think it very delightful to be petted by her. She loved 
. very dearly, but she often wished that he cared more about 
oving him. 

W I think Philip Wakem seems a nice boy, Tom,” she said, 
when they went out of the study together into the garden, to 
pass the interval before dinner. “ He couldn’t choose his fa¬ 
ther, you know; and I’ve read of very bad men who had good 
sons, as well as good parents who had bad children. And if 
Philip is good, I think we ought to be the more sorry for him 
because his father is not a good man. You like him, don’t 

44 Oh, he’s a queer fellow,” said Tom, curtly, 44 and he’s as 
sulky as he can be with me, because I told him his father was 
a rogue. And I’d a right to tell him so, for it was true; and 
he began it, with calling me names. But you stop here by 
yourself a bit, Magsie, mil you? I’ve got something I want 
to do up stairs.” 

44 Can’t I go too?” said Maggie, who, in this first day of 
meeting again, loved Tom’s shadow. 

44 No, it’s something I’ll tell you about by-and-by—not yet,” 
said Tom, skipping away. 

In the afternoon the boys were at their books in the study, 
preparing the morrow’s lessons, that they might have a holi¬ 
day in the evening in honor of Maggie’s arrival. Tom was 
hanging over his Latin grammar, moving his lips inaudibly 
like a strict but impatient Catholic repeating his tale of pater¬ 
nosters ; and Philip, at the other end of the room, was busy 
with two volumes, with a look of contented diligence that ex¬ 
cited Maggie’s cnriosity; he did not look at all as if he were 
learning a lesson. She sat on a low stool at nearly a right 
angle with the two boys, watching first one and then the other; 
and Philip, looking off his book once toward the fireplace, 
caught the pair of questioning dark eyes fixed upon him. He 
thought this sister of Tollivers seemed a nice little thing, quite 
unlike her brother; he wished he had a little sister. What 
was it, he wondered, that made Maggie’s dark eyes remind 
Jiim of the stories about princesses being turned into animals? 
.I think it was that her eyes were full of unsatisfied in¬ 
telligence, and unsatisfied, beseeching affection. 

M 1 say, Magsie,” said Tom at last, shutting hi& bootea wAl 



putting them away with the energy and decision of a perfect 
master in the art of leaving ofl^ “I’ve done my lessons now. 
Come up stairs with me.” 

“ What is it ?” said Maggie, when they were outside the 
door, a slight suspicion crossing her mind as she remembered 
Tom’s preliminary visit up stairs. 44 It isn’t a trick you’re go¬ 
ing to play me now ?” 

44 No, no, Maggie,” said Tom, in his most coaxing tone, 44 it’s 
something you’ll like ever so.” 

He put Ins arm round her neck, and she put hers round his 
waist, and, twined together in this way, they went up stairs. 

44 I say, Magsie, you must not tell any body, you knpw,” said 
Tom, w else I shall get fifty lines.” 

44 Is it alive ?” said Maggie, whose imagination had settled 
for the moment on the idea that Tom kept a ferret clandes¬ 

44 Oh, I sha’n’t tell you,” said he. 44 Now you go into that 
comer and hide your face, while I reach it out,” he added, as 
he locked the bedroom door behind them. 44 I’ll tell you when 
to turn round. You mustn’t squeal out, you know.” 

44 Oh, but if you frighten me, I shall,” said Maggie, begin¬ 
ning to look rather serious. 

44 You won’t be frightened, you silly thing,” said Tom. 44 Go 
and hide your face, and mind you don’t peep.” 

44 Of course I sha’n’t peep,” said Maggie, disdainfully; and 
she buried her face in the pillow like a person of strict honor. 

But Tom looked round warily as he walked to the closet; 
then he stepped into the narrow space, and almost closed the 
door. Maggie kept her face buried without the aid of prin¬ 
ciple, for in that dream-suggestive attitude she had soon for¬ 
gotten where she was, and her thoughts were busy with the 
poor deformed boy, who was so clever, when Tom called out, 
44 N o w, then, Magsie!” 

Nothing but long meditation and preconcerted arrangement 
of effects could have enabled Tom to present so striking a fig¬ 
ure as he did to Maggie when she looked up. Dissatisfied 
with the pacific aspect of a face which had no more than the 
faintest hint of flaxen eyebrow, together with a pair of amiable 
blue-gray eyes and round pink cheeks that refused to look 
formidable, let him frown as he would before the looking-glass 
—(Philip had once told him of a man who had a horse-shoe 
frown, and Tom had tried with all his frowning-might to make 
a horse-shoe on his forehead)—he had had recourse to that 
unfailing source of the terrible, burnt cork, and had made him¬ 
self a pair of black eyebrows that met in a satisfactory man¬ 
ner over his nose, and were matched by a less carefully adjust- 



ed blackness about the chin. He had wound a red handker¬ 
chief round his cloth cap to give it the air of a turban, and his 
red comforter across his breast as a scarf—an amount of red 
which, with the tremendous frown on his brow, and the decision 
with which he grasped the sword, as he held it with the point 
resting on the ground, would suffice to convey an approximar 
tive idea of his tierce and bloodthirsty disposition. 

Maggie looked bewildered for a moment, and Tom enjoyed 
that moment keenly; but in the next, she laughed, clapped her 
hands together, ana said, 44 Oh, Tom, you’ve made yourself like 
Bluebeard at the show.” 

It was clear she had not been struck with the presence of 
the sword—it was not unsheathed. Her frivolous mind re¬ 
quired a more direct appeal to its sense of the terrible, and 
Tom prepared for his master-stroke. Frowning with a double 
amount of intention, if not of corrugation, he (carefully) drew 
the sword from its sheath and pointed it at Maggie. 

44 Oh, Tom, please don’t,” exclaimed Maggie, in a tone of sup¬ 
pressed dread, shrinking away from him into the opposite cor¬ 
ner ; “ I shall scream, I’m sure I shall. Oh don’t! I wish I’d 
never come up stairs.” 

The corners of Tom’s mouth showed an inclination to a smile 
of complacency that was immediately checked as inconsistent 
with the severity of a great warrior. Slowly he let down the 
'scabbard on the floor, lest it should make too much noise, and 
then said, sternly, 

“ I’m the Duke of Wellington ! March !” stamping forward 
with the right leg a little bent, and the sword still pointing to¬ 
ward Maggie, who, trembling, and with tear-filled eyes, got 
upon the bed, as the only means of widening the space between 

Tom, happy in this spectator of his military performances, 
even though the spectator was only Maggie, proceeded, with 
the utmost exertion of his force, to such an exhibition of the 
cut and thrust as would necessarily be expected of the Duke 
of Wellington. 

44 Tom, I will not bear it—I will scream,” said Maggie, at the 
first movement of the sword. 44 You’ll hurt yourself; you’ll cut 
your head off!” 

44 One—two,” said Tom, resolutely, though at “two” his 
wrist trembled a little. 44 Three,” came more slowly, and with 
it the sword swung downward, and Maggie gave a loud shriek. 
The sword had Mien, with its edge on Tom’s foot, and in a 
moment after he had fallen too. Maggie leaped from the bed, 
still shrieking, and immediately there was a rush of footsteps 
toward the room. Mr. Stelling, from his up-stairs 



the first to enter. He found both the children on the floor. 
Tom had fainted, and Maggie was shaking him by the collar 
of his jacket, screaming, with wild eyes. She thought he was 
dead, poor child! and yet she shook him, as if that would bring 
him back to life. In another minpte she was sobbing with joy 
because Tom had opened his eyes: she couldn’t sorrow yet 

( that he had hurt his foot—it seemed as if all happiness lay in 
his being alive. 



Poor Tom bore his severe pain heroically, and was resolute 
in not “telling” of Mr.Poulter more than was unavoidable: 
the five-shilling piece remained a secret even to Maggie. But 
there was a terrible dread weighing on his mind—so terrible 
that he dared not even ask the question which might bring the 
fatal “yes”—he dared not ask the surgeon or Mr. Stelling, 
“ Shall I be lame, sir ?” He mastered himself so as not to cry 
out at the pain, but when his foot had been dressed, and he was 
left alone with Maggie seated by his bedside, the children sob¬ 
bed together with their heads laid on the same pillow. Tom 
was thinking of himself walking about on crutches, like the* 
wheelwright’s son; and Maggie, who did not guess what was 
in his mind, sobbed for company. It had not occurred to the 
surgeon or to Mr. Stelling to anticipate this dread in Tom’s 
mind, and to reassure him by hopeful words. But Philip 
watched the surgeon out of the house, and waylaid Mr. Stall¬ 
ing to ask the very question that Tom had not dared to ask 
for himself. 

“I beg your pardon, sir, but does Mr. Askem say Tulliver 
will be lame ?” 

“ Oh no, oh no,” said Mr. Stelling, “ not permanently—only 
for a little while.” 

“ Did he tell Tulliver so, sir, do you think ?” 

“ No, nothing was said to him on the subject.” 

“ Then may I go and tell him, sir ?” 

“ Yes, to be sure; now you mention it, I dare say he may 
be troubling about that. Go to his bedroom, but be very qui¬ 
et at present.” 

a It had been Philip’s first thought when he heard of the ac¬ 
cident—“ Will Tulliver be lame ? It will be very hard for him 
if he is”—and Tom’s hitherto unforgiven offenses were wash¬ 
ed out by that pity. Philip felt that they were no longer in a 



state of repulsion, but were being drawn into a common cur¬ 
rent of suffering and sad privation. His imagination did not 
dwell on the outward calamity and its future effect on Tom’s 
life, but it made vividly present to him the state of Tom’s feel¬ 
ing : he had only lived fourteen years, but those, years had, 
most of them, been steeped in the sense of a lot irremediably 

w Mr. Askem says you’ll soon be all right again, Tulliver, did 
you know ?” he said, rather timidly, as he stepped gently up 
to Tom’s bed. 44 I’ve just been to ask Mr. Stelling, and he 
says you’ll walk as well as ever again by-and-by.” 

Tom looked up with that momentary stopping of the breath 
which comes with a sudden joy; then he gave a long sigh, 
and turned his blue-gray eyes straight on Philip’s face, as he 
had not done for a fortnight or more. As for Maggie, this in¬ 
timation of a possibility she had not thought of before affected 
her as a new trouble; the bare idea of Tom’s being always 
lame overpowered the assurance that such a misfortune was 
not likely to befall him, and she clung to him and cried afresh. 

44 Don’t be a little silly, Magsie,” said Tom, tenderly, feeling 
very brave now. 44 I shall soon get well.” 

44 Good-by, Tulliver,” said Philip, putting out his small, del¬ 
icate hand, which Tom clasped immediately with his more sub¬ 
stantial fingers. 

“I say,” said Tom, 44 ask Mr. Stelling to let you come and 
sit with me sometimes, till I get up again, Wakem—and tell 
me about Robert Bruce, you know.” 

After that, Philip spent all his time out of school-hours with 
Tom and Maggie. Tom liked to hear fighting stories as much 
as ever, but he insisted strongly on the fact that those great 
fighters, who did so many wonderful things and came off un¬ 
hurt, wore excellent armor from head to foot, which made 
fighting easy work, he considered. He should not have hurt 
his foot if he had had an iron shoe on. He listened with great 
interest to a new story of Philip’s about a man who had a very 
bad wound in his foot, and cried out so dreadfully with the 
pain that his friends could bear with him no longer, but put 
him ashore on a desert island, with nothing but some wonder¬ 
ful poisoned arrows to kill animals with for food. 

44 I didn’t roar out a bit, you know,” Tom said, 44 and I dare * 
say my foot was as bad as his. It’s cowardly to roar.” 

But Maggie would have it that when any thing hurt you 
very much, it was quite permissible to cry out, and it was 
cruel of people not to bear it. She wanted to know if Philoc- 
tetes had a sister, and why she didn’t go with him on the des¬ 
ert island and take care of him. 


the mill on the floss. 

One day, soon after Philip had told this story, he and Mag¬ 
gie were m the study alone together while Tom’s foot was be¬ 
ing dressed. Philip was at his books, and Maggie, after saun¬ 
tering idly round the room, not caring to do any tiling in par¬ 
ticular, because she would soon go to Tom again, went and 
leaned on the table near Philip to see what he was doing, for 
they were quite old friends now, and perfectly at home with 
each other. 

“ What are you reading about in Greek ?” she said. “ It’s 
poetry—I can see that, because the lines are so short.” 

“ It’s about Philoctetes—the lame man I was telling you of 
yesterday,” he answered, resting his head on bis hand and 
looking at her, as if he were not at all sorry to be interrupted. 
Maggie, in her absent way, continued to lean forward, resting 
on her arms and moving her feet about, while her dark eyes 
got more and more fixed and vacant, as if she had quite for¬ 
gotten Philip and his book. 

“ Maggie,” said Philip, after a minute or two, still leaning on 
his elbow and looking at her, “ if you had had a brother like 
me, do you think you should have loved him as well as Tom ?” 

Maggie started a little on being roused from her revery, and 
said, “ What ?” Philip repeated his question. 

“ Oh yes, better,” she answered immediately. “ No, not 
better, because I don’t think I could love you better than Tom. 
But I should be sorry —so sorry —for you.” 

Philip colored: he had meant to imply, would she love him 
as well in spite of his deformity, and yet, when she alluded to 
it so plainly, he winced under her pity. Maggie, young as she 
was, felt her mistake. Hitherto she nad instinctively behaved 
as if she were quite unconscious of Philip’s deformity: her own 
keen sensitiveness and experience under family criticism suf¬ 
ficed to teach her this, as well as if she had been directed by 
the most finished breeding. 

“ But you are so very clever, Philip, and you can play and 
sing,” she added, quickly. “I wish you were my brother. 
I’m very fond of you. And you would stay at home with me 
when. Tom went out, and you would teach me every thing— 
wouldn’t you? Greek and every thing?” 

“ But you’ll go away soon, and go to school, Maggie,” said 
Philip, “ and then you’ll forget all about me, and not care for 
me any more. And then I shall see you when you’re grown 
up, and you’ll hardly take any notice of me.” 

“ Oh no, I sha’n’t forget you, I’m sure,” said Maggie, shak¬ 
ing her head very seriously. “ I never forget any thing, and 
I think about every body when Pm away from them. I think 
about poor Yap—he’s got a lump in his throat, and Luke Bays 


he’ll die. Only don’t you tell Tom, because it will vex him so. 
You never saw Yap: he’s a queer little dog; nobody cares 
about him but Tom and me.” 

“Do as much about me as you do about Yap, 
Maggie ?” said Philip, smiling rather sadly. 

“ Oh yes, I should think so,” said Maggie, laughing. 

“ Pm very fond of ycm, Maggie; I shall never forget yow,” 
said Philip, “ and when I’m very unhappy, I shall always think 
of you, and wish I had a sister with dark eyes, just like yours.” 

“ Why do you like my eyes ?” said Maggie, well pleased. 
She had never heard any one but her father speak of her eyes 
as if they had merit. 

“ I don’t know,” said Philip. “ They’re not like any other 
eyes. They seem trying to speak—trying to speak kindly. I 
don’t like other people to look at me much, but I like you to 
look at me, Maggie.” 

“ Why, I think you’re fonder of me than Tom is,” said Mag¬ 
gie, rather sorrowfully. Then, wondering how she could con¬ 
vince Philip that she could like him just as well, although he 
was crooked, she said, 

“Should you like me to kiss you, as I do Tom? I will, if 
you like.” 

“ Yes, very much: nobody kisses me.” 

Maggie put her arm round his neck and kissed him quite 
earnestly. \ 

“ There, now,” she said, “ I shall always remember you, and 
kiss you when I see you again, if it’s ever so long. But I’ll 
go now, because I think Mr. Askem’s done with Tom’s foot.” 

When their father came the second time, Maggie said to 
him, “ Oh father, Philip Wakem is so very good to Tom—he 
is such a clever boy, and I do love him. And you love him 
too, Tom, don’t you? Say you love him,” she added, en- 
treatingly. . 

Tom colored a little as he looked at his father and said, “I 
sha’n’t *be friends with him when I leave school, father, but 
we’ve made it up now, since my foot has been bad, and he’s 
tau ght me to play at draughts, and I can beat him.” 

“Well, well,” said Mr. Tulliver, “ if he’s good to you, try 
and make him amends, and be good to him. He’s a poor 
crooked creatur, and takes after ms dead mother. But don’t 
you be getting too thick with him—he’s got his father’s blood 
m him too. Ay, ay, the gray colt may chance to kick like his 
black sire.” 

The jarring natures of the two boys effected'what Mr. Till- 
liver’s admonition alone might have failed to effect: in spite 
of Philip’s new kindness, and Tom’s answering regard m \5caa 



time of his trouble, they never became dose friends. When 
Maggie was gone, and when Tom by-ancUby began to walk 
about as usual, the friendly warmth that had been kindled by 
pity and gratitude died out by degrees, and left them in their 
old relation to each other. Philip was often .peevish and con¬ 
temptuous ; and Toil’s more specific and kindly impressions 
gradually melted into the old background of suspicion and dis¬ 
like toward him as a queer fellow, a humpback, and the son 
of a rogue. If boys and men are to be welded together in the 
glow of transient feeling, they must be made of metal that 
will mix, else they inevitably fall asunder when the heat dies 



So Tom went on even to the fifth half year—till he was 
turned sixteen—at King’s Lorton, while Maggie was growing, 
with a rapidity which her aunts considered highly reprehensi¬ 
ble, at Miss Firniss’s boarding-school in the ancient town of 
Laceham on the Floss, with cousin Lucy for her companion* 
In her early letters to Tom she had always sent her love to 
Philip, and asked many questions about him, which were an¬ 
swered by brief sentences about Tom’s toothache, and a turf- 
house which he was helping to build in the garden, with other 
items of that kind. She was pained to hear Tom say in the 
holidays that Philip was as queer as ever again, and often cross: 
they were no longer very good friends, she perceived; and 
when she reminded Tom that he ought always to love Philip 
for being so good to him when his foot was bad, he answered, 
“ Well, it isn’t my fault: I don’t do any thing to. him.” She 
hardly ever saw Philip during the remainder of their school- 
life ; m the Midsummer holidays he was always away at the 
sea-side, and at Christmas she could only meet him at long in¬ 
tervals in the streets of St. Ogg’s. When they did meet, she 
remembered her promise to kiss him, but, as a young lady who 
had been at a boarding-school, she knew now that such a greet¬ 
ing was out of the question, arid Philip would not expect it. 
The promise was void, like so many other sweet, illusory prom¬ 
ises of our childhood; void as promises made in Eden before 
the seasons were divided, and when the starry blossoms grew 
side by side with the ripening peach—impossible to be fulfilled 
when the golden gates had been passed. 

But when their father was actually engaged in the long- 



threatened lawsuit, and Wakem, as the agent at once of Pivart 
and Old Harry, was acting against him, even Maggie felt, with 
some sadness, that they were not likely ever to have any inti¬ 
macy with Philip again: the very name of Wakem made her 
father angry, and she had once heard him say, that if that 
crookbacked son lived to inherit his father’s ill-gotten gains, 
there would be a curse upon him. “ Have as little to do with 
him at school as you can, my lad,” he said to Tom; and the 
command was obeyed the more easily because Mr. Stelling by 
this time had two additional pupils; for, though this gentle¬ 
man’s rise in the world was not of that meteor-like rapidity 
which the admirers of his extemporaneous eloquence had ex¬ 
pected for a preacher whose voice demanded so wide a sphere, 
he had yet enough of growing prosperity to enable him to in¬ 
crease his expenditure in continued disproportion to his in¬ 

As for Tom’s school course, it went on with mill-like monot¬ 
ony, his mind continuing to move with a slow, half-stifled pulse 
in a medium of uninteresting or unintelligible ideas. But each 
vacation he brought home larger and larger drawings with the 
satiny rendering of landscape, and water-colors in vivid greens, 
together with manuscript books full of exercises and problems, 
in which the handwriting was all the finer because he gave his 
whole mind to it. Each vacation he brought home a new book 
or two, indicating his progress through different stages of his¬ 
tory, Christian doctrine, and Latin literature; and that pas¬ 
sage was not entirely without result, besides the possession of 
the books. Tom’s ear and tongue had become accustomed to 
a great many words and phrases which are understood to be 
signs of an educated condition; and though he had never real¬ 
ly applied TusTmnd to any one of his lessons, the lessons had 
left a deposit of vague, fragmentary, ineffectual notions. Mr. 
Tolliver, seeing signs of acquirement beyond the reach of his 
own criticism, thought it was probably all right with Tom’s 
education: he observed, indeed, that there were no maps, and 
not enough “ summingbut he made no formal complaint to 
Mr. Stelling. It was a puzzling business, this schooling; and 
if he took Tom away, where could he send him with better 

By the time Tom had reached his last quarter at King’s Lor- 
ton, jbhe years had made striking changes in him since the day 
we saw nhn returning from Mr. Jacobs’ academy. He was a 
tall youth now, carrying himself without the least awkward¬ 
ness, and speaking without more shyness than was a becoming 
symptom of blended diffidence and pride: he wore his tail-coat 
andnis stand-up collars, and watched the down on his 'mXk 



eager impatience, looking every day at his virgin razor, with 
which he had provided himself in the last holidays. Philip 
had already left—at the autumn quarter—that he might go to 
the south for the winter, for the sake of his health; and this 
change helped to give Tom the unsettled, exultant feeling that 
usually belongs to the last months before leaving school. This 
quarter, too, there was some hope of his father’s lawsuit being 
decided: that made the prospect of home more entirely pleas¬ 
urable ; for Tom, who had gathered his view of the case from 
his father’s conversation, had no doubt that Pivart would be 

Tom had not heard any thing from home for some weeks— 
a fact which did not surprise him, for his father and mother 
were not apt to manifest their affection in unnecessary letters 
—when, to his great surprise, on the morning of a dark cold 
day near the end of November, he was tola, soon after en¬ 
tering the study at nine oxlock, that his sister was in the 
drawing-room. It was Mrs. Stelling who had come into the 
study to tell him, and she left him to enter the drawing-room 

Maggie, too, was tall now, with braided and coiled hair: 
she was almost as tall as Tom, though she was only thirteen; 
and she really looked older than he aid at that moment. She 
had thrown off her bonnet, her heavy braids were pushed back 
from her forehead, as if it would not bear that extra load, and 
her young face had a strangely worn look as her eyes turned 
anxiously toward the door. When Tom entered she did not 
speak, but only went up to him, put her arms round his neck, 
and kissed him earnestly. He was used to various moods of 
hers, and felt no alarm at the unusual seriousness of her greet- 

“ Why, how is it you’re come so early this cold morning, 
Maggie ? Did you come in the gig ?” said Tom, as she back¬ 
ed toward the sofa, and drew him to her side. 

“No, I came by the coach. I’ve walked from the turn¬ 

“ But how is it you’re not at school ? The holidays have 
not begun yet ?” 

“ Father wanted me at home,” said Maggie, with a slight 
trembling of the lip. “ I came home three or four days ago.” 

“ Isn’t my father well ?” said Tom, rather anxiously. 

“Not quite,” said Maggie. “He’s very unhappy, Tom. 
The lawsuit is ended, and I came to tell you, because I thought 
it would be better for you to know it before you came home, 
and I didn’t like only to send you a letter.” 

“My father hasn’t lost ?” said Tom, hastily, springing from 



the sofa, and standing before Maggie with his hands suddenly 
thrust in his pockets. 

“Yes, dear Tom,” said Maggie, looking up at him with 

Tom was silent a minute or two, with his eyes fixed on the 
floor. Then he said, 

“ My father will have to pay a good deal of money, then?” 

“ Yes,” said Maggie, rather faintly. 

“Well, it can’t be helped,” said Tom, bravely, not transla¬ 
ting the loss of a large sum of money into any tangible results. 
“ But my father’s very much vexed, I dare say ?” he added, 
looking at Maggie, and thinking that her agitated face was 
only part of her girlish way of taking things. 

“Yes,” said Maggie, again faintly. Then, urged to fuller 
speech by Tom’s freedom from apprehension, she said loudly 
and rapidly, as if the words would burst from her, “ Oh, Tom, 
he will lose the mill, and the land, and every thing; he will 
have nothing left.” 

Tom’s eyes flashed out one look of surprise at her before he 
turned pale and trembled visibly. He said nothing, but sat 
down on the sofa again, looking vaguely out of the opposite 

Anxiety about the future had never entered Tom’s mind. 
His father had always ridden a good horse, and had the cheer¬ 
ful, confident air of a man who has plenty of property to fall 
back upon. Tom had never dreamed that his father would 
“ fail;” that was a form of misfortune which he had always 
heard spoken of as a deep disgrace, and disgrace was an idea 
that he could not associate with any of his relations, least of 
all with his father. A proud sense of family respectability was 
part of the very air Tom had been born and brought up in. 
He knew there were people in St. Ogg’s who made a show 
without money to support it, and he had always heard such 
people spoken of by his own friends with contempt and repro¬ 
bation. He had a strong belief, which was a life-long habit, 
and required no definite evidence to rest on, that his father 
could spend a great deal of money if he chose; and since his 
education at Mr. Stelling’s had given him a more expensive 
view of life, he had often thought that when he got older he 
would make a figure in the world, with his horse, and dogs, 
and saddle, and other accoutrements of a fine young man, and 
show himself equal to any of his contemporaries at St. Ogg’s, 
who might consider themselves a grade above him in society, 
because their fathers were professional men, or had large oil- 
mills. As to the prognostics and head-shaking of his aunts 
and uncles, they had never produced the least effect on 




except to make him think that aunts and uncles were disagree¬ 
able society: he had heard them find fault in much the same 
way as long as he could remember. His father knew better 
than they did. 

The down had come on Tom’s lip, yet his thoughts and ex¬ 
pectations had been hitherto only the reproduction, in changed 
forms, of the boyish dreams in which he had lived three years 
ago. He was awakened now with a violent shock. 

Maggie was frightened at Tom’s pale, trembling silence. 
There was something else to tell him—something worse. She 
threw her arms round him at last, and said, with a half sob, 

44 Oh Tom—dear, dear Tom, don’t fret too much; try and 
bear it well.” 

Tom turned his cheek passively to meet her entreating kiss¬ 
es, and there gathered a moisture in his eyes, which he just 
rubbed away with his hand. The action seemed to rouse him, 
for he shook himself and said, 44 I shall go home with you, Mag¬ 
gie. Didn’t my father say I was to go ?” 

44 No, Tom, father didn’t wish it,” said Maggie, her anxiety 
about his feeling helping her to master her agitation. What 
would he do when she told him all ? 44 But mother wants you 

to come — poor mother!—she cries so. Oh, Tom, it’s very 
dreadful at home.” 

Maggie’s lips grew whiter, and she began to tremble almost 
as Tom had done. The two poor things clung closer to each 
other—both trembling—the one at an unshapen fear, the other 
at the image of a terrible certainty. When Maggie spoke, it 
was hardly above a whisper. 

44 And . . . and .... poor father . . . .” 

Maggie could not utter it. But the suspense was intolera¬ 
ble to Tom. A vague idea of going to prison, as a consequence 
of debt, was the shape his fears had begun to take. 

44 Where’s my father ?” he said, impatiently. 44 TeU me, 

44 He’s at home,” said Maggie, finding it easier to reply to 
that question. 44 But,” she added, after a pause , 44 not him¬ 
self. . . . He fell off his horse. . . . He has known nobody but 

me ever since.He seems to have lost his senses. 

Oh, father, father . . . .” 

With these last words Maggie’s sobs burst forth with the 
more violence for the previous struggle against them. Tom 
felt that pressure of the heart which forbids tears: he had no 
distinct vision of their troubles as Maggie had, who had been 
at home ; he only felt the crushing weight of what seemed un¬ 
mitigated misfortune. He tightened Ins arm almost convuls¬ 
ively round Maggie as she sobbed, but his fece looked rigid and 


tearless—his eyes blank—as if a black curtain of cloud had 
suddenly fallen on his path. 

But Maggie soon checked herself abruptly: a single thought 
had acted on her like a startling sound. 

“We must set out, Tom—we must not stay—father will 
miss me—we must be at the turnpike at ten to meet the coach.” 
She said this with hasty decision, rubbing her eyes, and rising 
to seize her bonnet. 

Tom at once felt the same impulse, and rose too. “Wait a 
minute, Maggie,” he said. 44 1 must speak to Mr. Stelling, and 
then we’ll go.” 

He thought he must go to the study where the pupils were, 
but on his way he met Mr. Stelling, who had heard from his 
wife that Maggie appeared to be in trouble when she asked for 
her brother; and, now that he thought the brother and sister 
had been alone long enough, was coming to inquire and offer 
his sympathy. 

44 Please, sir, I must go home,” Tom said, abruptly, as he met 
Mr. Stelling in the passage. 44 1 must go back with my sister 
directly. My father’s lost his lawsuit—he’s lost all his prop¬ 
erty—and he’s very ill.” 

Mr. Stelling felt like a kind-hearted man; he foresaw a prob¬ 
able money loss for himself, but this had no appreciable share 
in his feeling, while he looked with grave pity at the brother 
and sister for whom youth and sorrow had begun together. 
When he knew how Maggie had come, and how eager she was 
to get home again, he hurried their departure, only whispering 
something to Mrs. Stelling, who had followed him, and who 
immediately left the room. 

Tom and Maggie were standing on the door-step, ready to 
set out, when Mrs. Stelling came with a little basket, which 
she hung on Maggie’s arms, saying, “Do remember to eat 
something on the way, dear.” Maggie’s heart went out to¬ 
ward this woman whom she had never liked, and she kissed 
her silently. It was the first sign within the poor child of that 
new sense which is the gift of sorrow—that susceptibility to 
the bare offices of humanity which raises them into a bond of 
loving fellowship, as to haggard men among the icebergs the 
mere presence of an ordinary comrade stirs the deep fouritains 
of affection. 

Mr. Stelling put his hand on Tom’s shoulder and said, 44 God 
bless you, my boy; let me know how you get on.” Then he 
pressed Maggie’s hand; but there were no audible good-bys. 
Tom had so often thought how joyful he should be the day ho 
left school “for good!” And now his school-years seemed 
like a holiday that had come to an end. 


the mill on the floss. 

The two slight youthful figures soon grew indistinct on 
the distant road—were soon lost behind the projecting hedge¬ 

They had gone forth together into their new life of sorrow, 
and they would never more see the sunshine undimmed by re¬ 
membered cares. They had entered the thorny wilderness, 
and the golden gates of their childhood had forever dosed be¬ 
hind them. 






When Mr. Tulliver first knew the fact that the lawsuit was 
decided against him, and that Pivart and Wakem were tri¬ 
umphant, every one who happened to observe him at the time 
thought that, for so confident and hot-tempered a man, he bore 
the blow remarkably well. He thought so himself; he thought 
he was going to show that if Wakem or any body else consid¬ 
ered him crushed, they would find themselves mistaken. He 
could not refuse to see that the costs of this protracted suit 
would take more than he possessed to pay them; but he ap¬ 
peared to himself to be full of expedients by which he could 
ward off any results but such as were tolerable, and could avoid 
the appearance of breaking down in the world. All the obsti¬ 
nacy and defiance of his nature, driven out of their old chan¬ 
nel, found a vent for themselves in the immediate formation of 

S \ by which he would meet his difficulties, and remain Mr. 

ver of Dorlcote Mill in spite of them. There was such a 
rush of projects in his brain, that it was no wonder his face 
was flushed when he came away from his talk with his attor¬ 
ney, Mr. Gore, and mounted his horse to ride home from Lin- 
dum. There was Furley, who held the mortgage on the land 
—a reasonable fellow, who would see his own interest, Mr. Tul¬ 
liver was convinced, and who would be glad not only to .pur¬ 
chase the whole estate, including the mill and homestead, but 
would accept Mr. Tulliver as tenant, and be willing to advance 
money to be repaid with high interest out of the profits of the 
business, which would be made over to him, Mr. Tulliver only 
taking enough barely to maintain himself and his family. Who 
would neglect such a profitable investment? Certainly not 
Furley, for Mr. Tulliver had determined that Furley should 
meet his views with the utmost alacrity; and there are men 
whose brains have not yet been dangerously heated by th&Vsgv 



of a lawsuit, who are apt to see in their own interests or de¬ 
sires a motive for other men’s actions. There was no doubt 
(in the miller’s mind) that Furley would do just what was de¬ 
sirable ; and if he did—why, things would not be so very much 
worse. Mr. Tulliver and his family must live more meagrely 
and humbly, but it would only be till th6 profits of the business 
had paid off Furley’s advances, and that might be while Mr. 
Tulliver had still a good many years of life before him. It was 
clear that the costs of the suit could be paid without his being 
obliged to turn out of his old place, and look like a ruined man. 
It was certainly an awkward moment in his affairs. There was 
that suretyship for poor Riley, who had died suddenly last 
April, and left nis friend saddled with a debt of two hundred 
and fifty pounds—a fact which had helped to make Mr. Tulli- 
ver’s banking book less pleasant reading than a man might de¬ 
sire toward Christmas. Well! he had never been one of those 
poor-spirited sneaks who would refuse to give a helping hand 
to a fellow-traveler in this puzzling world. The really vexa¬ 
tious business was the fact that some months ago the creditor 
who had lent him the five hundred pounds to repay Mrs. Glegg 
had become uneasy about his money (set on by Wakem, of 
course), and Mr. Tulliver, still confident that he should gain his 
suit, and finding it eminently inconvenient to raise the said sum 
until that desirable issue had taken place, had rashly acceded 
to the demand that he should give a bill of sale on his house¬ 
hold furniture, and some other effects, as'security in lieu of the 
bond. It was all one, he had said to himself; he should soon 
pay off the money, and there was no harm in giving that se¬ 
curity more than another. But now the consequences of this 
bill of sale occurred to him in a new light, and he remembered 
that the time was close at hand when it would be enforced un¬ 
less the money were repaid. Two months ago he would have 
declared stoutly that he would never be beholden to his wife’s 
friends; but now he told himself as stoutly that it was nothing 
but right and natural that Bessy should go to the Pullets and 
explain the thing to them : they would hardly let Bessy’s fu r- 
nituje be sold, and it might be security to Pullet if he advanced 
the money—there would, after all, be no gift or favor in the 
matter. Mr. Tulliver would never have asked for any thing 
from so poor-spirited a fellow for himself, but Bessy might do 
so if she liked. * " 

It is precisely the proudest and most obstinate men who are 
the most liable to shift their position and contradict themselves 
in this sudden manner: every thing is easier to them than to 
face the simple fact that they have been thoroughly defeated, 
and must begin life anew. And Mr. Tulliver, you perceive, 


1 15 

though nothing more than a superior miller and maltster, was 
as proud and obstinate as if he had been a very lofty^fferson- 
age, in whom such dispositions might be a source of that con¬ 
spicuous, far-echoing tragedy, which sweeps the stage in regal 
robes, and makes the dullest chronicler sublime. The pride 
and obstinacy of millers, and other insignificant people, whom 
you pass unnoticingly on the road every day, have their trag¬ 
edy too; but it is of that unwept, hidden sort, that goes on 
from generation to generation, and leaves no record—such trag¬ 
edy, perhaps, as lies in the conflicts of young souls, hungry for 
joy, under a lot made suddenly hard to them, under the dreari¬ 
ness of a home where the morning brings no promise with it, 
and where the un expectant discontent of worn and disappoint¬ 
ed parents weighs on the children like a damp, thick air, in 
which all the functions of life are depressed; or such tragedy 
as lies in the slow or sudden death that follows on a bruised 
passion, though it maybe a death that finds only a parish fu¬ 
neral. There are certain animals to which tenacity of position 
is a law of life—they can never flourish again after a single 
wrench; and there are certain human beings to whom predom¬ 
inance is a law of life—they can only sustain humiliation so 
long as they can refuse to believe in it, and, in their own con¬ 
ception, predominate still. 

Mr. Tulliver was still predominating in his own imagination 
as he approached St. Ogg’s, through which he had to pass on 
his way homeward. But what was it that suggested to him, 
as he saw the Laceham coach entering the town, to follow it 
to the coach-office, and get the clerk there to write a letter, 
requiring Maggie to come home the very next day ? Mr. Tul- 
liveris own hand shook too much under his excitement for him 
to write himself, and he wanted the letter to be given to the 
coachman to deliver at Miss Firniss’s school in the morning. 
There was a craving which he would not account for to him¬ 
self to have Maggie near him—without delay—she must come 
back by the coach to-morrow. 

To Mrs. Tulliver, when he got home, lie would admit no dif¬ 
ficulties, and scolded down her burst of grief on hearing that 
the lawsuit was lost by angry assertions that there was noth¬ 
ing to grieve about. He said nothing to her that night about 
the bill of sale, and the application to Mrs. Pullet, for he had 
kept her in ignorance of the nature of that transaction, and 
had explained the necessity for taking an inventory of the 
goods as a matter connected with his will. The possession 
of a wife conspicuously one’s inferior in intellect is, like other 
high privileges, attended with a few inconveniences, and, among 
the rest, with the occasional necessity for using 



The next day Mr. Tulliver was again on horseback in the 
afternoon on his way to Mr. Gore’s office at St. Ogg’s. Gore 
was to have seen Furley in the morning, and to have sounded 
him in relation to Mr. Tulliver’s affairs. But he had not gone 
half way when he met a clerk from Mr. Gore’s office, who was 
bringing a letter to Mr. Tulliver. Mr. Gore had been prevent¬ 
ed by a sudden call of business from waiting at his office to 
see Mr. Tulliver, according to appointment, but would be at 
his office at eleven to-morrow morning, and meanwhile had 
sent some important information by letter. 

44 Oh!” said Mr. Tulliver, taking the letter, but not opening 
it. 44 Then tell Gore I’ll see him to-morrow at eleven;” and 
he turned his horse. 

The clerk, struck with Mr. Tulliver’s glistening excited 
glance, looked after him for a few moments, and then rode 
away. The reading of a letter was not the affair of an instant 
to Mr. Tulliver; he took in the sense of a statement very slow¬ 
ly through the medium of written or even printed characters; 
so he had put the letter in his pocket, thinking he would open 
it in his arm-chair at home. But by-and-by it occurred to him 
that there might be something in the letter Mrs. Tulliver must 
not know about, and if so, it would be better to keep it out of 
her sight altogether. He stopped his horse, took out the let¬ 
ter, and read it. It was only a short letter; the substance was, 
that Mr. Gore had ascertained, on secret but sure authority, 
that Furley had been lately much straitened for money, and 
had parted with his securities—among the rest, the mortgage 
on Mr. Tulliver’s property, which he had transferred to—Wa- 

In half an hour after this Mr. Tulliver’s own wagoner found 
him lying by the road-side insensible, with an open letter near 
him, and his gray horse snuffing uneasily about him. 

When Maggie reached home that evening, in obedience to 
her father’s call, he was no longer insensible. About an hour 
before he had become conscious, and after vague, vacant looks 
around him, had muttered something about 44 a letter,” which 
he presently repeated impatiently. At the instance of Mr. 
Turnbull, the medical man, Gore’s letter was brought and laid 
on the bed, and the previous impatience seemed to be allayed. 
The stricken man lay for some time with his eyes fixed on the 
letter, as if he were trying to knit up his thoughts by its help. 
But presently a new wave of memory seemed to have come 
and swept the other away; he turned his eyes from the letter 
to the door, and after looking uneasily, as if striving to see 
something bis eyes were too dim for, he said, 44 The little 



He repeated the words impatiently from time to time, ap¬ 
pearing entirely unconscious of every thing except this one 
importunate want, and giving no sign of knowing his wife or 
any one else; and poor Mrs. Tulliver, her feeble faculties al¬ 
most paralyzed by this sudden accumulation of troubles, went 
backward and forward to the gate to see if the Laceham coach 
were coming, though it was not yet time. 

But it came at last, and set down the poor anxious girl, 
no longer the “little wench” except to her father’s fond 

“ Oh mother, what is the matter ?” Maggie said, with pale 
lips, as her mother came toward her crying. She didn’t think 
her father was ill, because the letter had come at his dictation 
from the office at St. Ogg’s. 

But Mr. Turnbull came now to meet her: a medical man is 
the good angel of the troubled house, and Maggie ran toward 
the kind old friend, whom she remembered as long as she 
could remember any thing, with a trembling, questioning look. 

“ Don’t alarm yourself* too much, my dear,” he said, taking 
her hand. “Your father has had a sudden attack, and has not 
quite recovered his memory. But he has been asking for you, 
and it will do him good to see you. Keep as quiet as you 
can; take off your things, and come up stairs with me.” 

Maggie obeyed, with that terrible beating of the heart which 
makes existence seem only a painful pulsation. The very quiet¬ 
ness with which Mr. Turnbull spoke had frightened her sus¬ 
ceptible imagination. Her father’s eyes were still turned un¬ 
easily toward the door when she entered and met the strange, 
yea rning, helpless look that’had been seeking her in vain. 
With a sudden flash and movement, he raised himself in the 
bed—she rushed toward him, and clasped him with agonized 

Poor child! it was very early for her to know one of those 
supreme moments in life when all we have hoped or delighted 
in, all we can dread or endure, falls away from our regard as 
insignificant—is lost, like a trivial memory, in that simple, 
primitive love which knits us to the beings who have been 
nearest to us in their times of helplessness or of anguish. 

But that flash of recognition had been too great a strain on 
the father’s bruised, enfeebled powers. He sank back again 
in renewed insensibility and rigidity, which lasted for many 
hours, and was only broken by a flickering return of conscious¬ 
ness, in which he took passively every thing that? was given to 
him, and seemed to have a sort of infantine satisfaction in Mag¬ 
gie’s near presence—such satisfaction as a baby has when it is 
returned to the nurse’s lap. 

H 2 



Mrs. Tulliver sent for her sisters, and there was much wail¬ 
ing and lifting up of hands below stairs; both uncles and aunts 
saw that the ruin of Bessy and her family was as complete as 
they had ever foreboded it, and there was a general family 
sense that a judgment had fallen on Mr. Tulliver, which it 
would be an impiety to counteract by too much kindness. 
But Maggie heard little of this, scarcely ever leaving her fa¬ 
ther’s bedside, where she sat opposite him with her hand on 
his. Mrs. Tulliver wanted to have Tom fetched home, and 
seemed to be thinking more of her boy even than of her hus¬ 
band ; but the aunts and uncles opposed this. Tom was bet¬ 
ter at school, since Mr. Turnbull said there was no immediate 
danger, he believed. But at the end of the second day, when 
Maggie had become more accustomed to her father’s fits of 
insensibility, and to the expectation that he would revive from 
them, the thought of Tom had become urgent with her too; 
and when her mother sat crying at night and saying, u My 
poor lad .... it’s nothing but right he should come home 
Maggie said, 44 Let me go for him, and tell him, mother: I’ll 
go to-morrow morning if father doesn’t know me and want 
me. It would be soiiard for Tom to come home and not know 
any thing about it beforehand.” 

And the next morning Maggie went, as we have seen. Sit¬ 
ting on the coach on their way home, the brother and sister 
talked to each other in sad, interrupted whispers. 

“They say Mr. Wakem has got a mortgage or something 
on the land, Tom,” said Maggie. 44 It was the letter with that 
news in it that made father ill, they think.” 

44 1 believe that scoundrel’s been planning all along to ruin 
my father,” said Tom, leaping from the vaguest impressions to 
a definite conclusion. 44 I’ll make him feel for it when I’m a 
man. Mind you never speak to Philip again.” 

44 Oh, Tom!” said Maggie, in a tone of sad remonstrance; 
but she had no spirit to dispute any thing then, still less to vex 
Tom by opposing him. 

*’ \ 



When the coach set down Tom and Maggie, it was five 
hours since he had started from home, and she was thi nkin g 
with some trembling that her father had perhaps missed her, 
and asked for 44 the little wench” in vain. She thought of no 
other change that might have happened. 



She hurried along the gravel-walk and entered the house be¬ 
fore Tom; but in the entrance she was startled by a strong 
smell of tobacco. The parlor door was ajar—that was where 
the smell came from. It was very strange: could any visitor' 
be smoking at a time like this ? Was her mother there ? If 
so, she must be told that Tom was come. Maggie, after this 
pause of surprise, was only in the act of opening the door when 
Tom came up, and they both looked in the parlor together. 
There was a coarse, dingy man, of whose face Tom had some 
vague recollection, sitting in his father’s chair, smoking, with 
a jug and glass beside him. 

The truth flashed on Tom’s mind in an instant. To “ have 
the bailiff in the house,” and “ to be sold up,” were phrases 
which he had been used to, even as a little boy: they were 
part of the disgrace and misery of “ failing,” of losing all one’s 
money, and being ruined—sinking into the condition of poor 
working people. It seemed only natural this should happen 
since his father had lost all his property, and he thought of no 
more special cause for this particular form of misfortune than 
the loss of the lawsuit. But the immediate presence of this 
disgrace was so much keener an experience to Tom than the 
worst form of apprehension, that he felt at this moment as if 
his real trouble had only just begun: it was a touch on the ir¬ 
ritated nerve compared with its spontaneous dull aching. 

“ How do you do, sir ?” said the man, taking the pipe out 
of his mouth, with rough, embarrassed civility. The two young 
startled faces made him a little uncomfortable. 

But Tom turned away hastily without speaking: the sight 
was too hateful. Maggie had not understood the appearance 
of this stranger, as Tom had. She followed him, whispering, 
“ Who can it be, Tom ? what is the matter ?” Then, with a 
sudden undefined dread lest this stranger might have some¬ 
thing to do with a change in her father, she rushed up stairs, 
checking herself at the bedroom door to throw off her bonnet, 
and enter on tiptoe. All was silent there: her father was ly¬ 
ing, heedless oi every thing around him, with his eyes closed 
as when she had left him. A servant was there, but not her 

“Where’s my mother?” she whispered. The servant did 
not know. 

Maggie hastened out, and said to Tom, “ Father is lying 
quiet; let us go and look for my mother. I wonder where 
sne is.” 

Mrs. Tulliver was not down stairs—not in any of the bed¬ 
rooms. There was but one room below the attic which Maggie 
had left unsearched: it was the store-room, where bsc Tnsj&ar 



kept all her linen, and all the precious “ best things," that were 
only unwrapped and brought out on special occasions. Tom, 
preceding Maggie as they returned along the passage, opened 
the door of this room, and immediately said, “Mother!" 

Mrs. Tulliver was seated there with all her laid-up treasures. 
One of the linen-chests was open: the silver teapot was un¬ 
wrapped from its many folds of paper, and the best china was 
laid out on the top of the closed linen-chest; spoons, and skew¬ 
ers, and ladles were spread in rows on the shelves; and the 
poor woman was shaking her head and weeping, with a bitter 
tension of the mouth, over the mark, 44 Elizabeth Dodson,” on 
the corner of some table-cloths she held in her lap. 

She dropped them, and started up as Tom spoke. 

“ Oh my boy, my boy P’ she said, clasping him round the 
neck. “ To think as I should live to see this day! We’re 
ruined .... every thing’s going to be sold up .... to think 
as your father should ha’ married me to bnng me to this! 
We’ve got nothing .... we shall be beggars .... we must 
go to the work-house . . . .” 

She kisse<TEm, then seated herself again, and took another 
table-cloth on her lap, unfolding it a little way to look at the 
pattern, while the children stood by in mute wretchedness, their 
minds quite filled for the moment with the words 44 beggars" 
and u work-house.” 

44 To think o’ these cloths as I spun myself," she went on, 
lifting things out and turning them over with an excitement 
all the more strange and piteous because the stout blonde 
woman was usually so passive: if she had been ruffled before, 
it was at the surface merely: 44 and Job Haxey wove ’em, and 
brought the piece home on his back, as I remember standing 
at the door and seeing him come, before I ever thought o’ 
marrying your father! And the pattern as I chose myself— 
and bleached so beautiful, and I marked ’em so as nobody ever 
saw such marking—they must cut the cloth to get it out, for 
it’s a particular stitch. And they’re all to be sold—and go into 
strange people’s houses, and perhaps be cut with the knives, 
and wore out before I’m dead. You’ll never have one of’em, 
my boy," she said, looking up at Tom with her eyes full of 
tears, 44 and I meant ’em for you. I wanted you to have all o’ 
this pattern. Maggie could have had the large check—it never 
shows so well when the dishes are on it.” 

Tom was touched to the quick, but there was an angry re¬ 
action immediately. His face flushed as he said, 

“But will my aunts let them be sold, mother? Do they 
know about it ? They’ll never let your linen go, will they ? 
Haven’t vou sent to them?" 



“ Yes, I sent Luke directly they’d put the bailies in, and 
your aunt Pullet’s been—and, oh dear, oh dear, she cries so, 
and says your father’s disgraced my family, and made it the 
talk o’ the country; and she’ll buy the spotted cloths for her¬ 
self because she’s never had so many as she wanted o’ that 
pattern, and they sha’n’t go to strangers; but she’s got more 
checks a’ready nor she can do with.” (Here Mrs. Tulliver be¬ 
gan to lay back the table-cloths in the chest, folding and strok¬ 
ing them automatically.) “And your uncle Glegg’s been too, 
and he says things must be bought in for us to lie down on, 
but he must talk to your aunt; and they’re all coming to con¬ 
sult.But I know they’ll none of ’em take my chany,” 

she added, turning toward the cups and saucers—“ for they 
all found fault with ’em when I bought ’em, ’cause o’ the small 
gold sprig all over ’em, between the flowers. But there’s none 
of ’em got better chany, not even your aunt Pullet herself— 
and I bought it wi’ my own money as I’d saved ever since I 
was turned fifteen; and the silver teapot, too—your father 
never paid for ’em. And to think as he should ha’ married 
me, and brought me to this.” 

Mrs. Tulliver burst out crying afresh, and she sobbed with 
her handkerchief at her eyes a few moments, but then remov¬ 
ing it, she said id a deprecating way, still half sobbing, as if 
she were called upon to speak before she could command her 

“ And I did say to him times and times, ‘ Whativer you do, 
don’t go to law’—and what more could I do ? I’ve had to sit 
by while my own fortin’s been spent, and what should ha’ been 
my children’s too. You’ll have niver a penny, my boy .... 
but it isn’t your poor mother’s fault.” 

She put out one arm toward Tom, looking up at him pite¬ 
ously with her helpless, childish blue eyes. The poor lad went 
to her and kissed her, and she clung to him. For the first 
time Tom thought of his father with some reproach. His nat¬ 
ural inclination to blame, hitherto kept entirely in abeyance 
toward his father by the predisposition to think him always 
right, simply on the ground that he was Tom Tulliver’s father, 
was turned into this new channel by his mother’s plaints, 
and with his indignation against Wakem there began to mingle 
some indignation of another sort. Perhaps his father might 
have helped bringing them all down in the world, and making 
people talk of them with contempt; but no one should talk 
long of Tom Tulliver with contempt. The natural strength 
and firmness of his nature was beginning to assert itself, urged 
by the double stimulus of resentment against his aunts, and 
tne sense that he must behave like a man and take case 
mother. v 



“ Don’t fret, mother,” he said, tenderly. “ I shall soon be 
able to get money: I’ll get a situation of some sort.” 

“ Bless you, my boy!” said Mrs. Tulliver, a little soothed. 
Then, looking round sadly, “ But I shouldn’t ha’ minded so 
much if we could ha’ kept the things wi’ my name on ’em.” 

Maggie had witnessed this scene with gathering anger. 
The implied reproaches against her father—her father, who 
was lying there in a sort of living death—neutralized all her 
pity for griefs about table-cloths and china; and her anger on 
her father’s account was heightened by some egoistic resent¬ 
ment at Tom’s silent concurrence with her mother in shutting 
her out from the common calamity. She had become almost 
indifferent to her mother’s habitual depreciation of her, but 
she was keenly alive to any sanction of it, however passive, 
that she might suspect in Tom. Poor Maggie was by no 
means made up of unalloyed devotedness, but put forth large 
claims for herself where she loved strongly. She burst out at 
last in an agitated, almost violent tone, “ Mother, how can you 
talk so ? as if you cared only for things with your name on, 
and not for what has my father’s name too—and to care about 
any thing but dear father himself, when he’s lying there, and 
may never speak to us again! Tom, you ought to say so too 
—you ought not to let any one find fault with my father.” 

Maggie, almost choked with mingled grief and anger, left the 
room, and took her old place on her father’s bed. Her heart 
went out to him with a stronger movement than ever at the 
thought that people would blame him. Maggie hated blame; 
she had been blamed all her life, and nothing had come of it 
but evil tempers. Her father had always defended and ex¬ 
cused her, and her loving remembrance of his tenderness was 
a force within her that would enable her to do or bear any 
thing for his sake. 

Tom was a little shocked at Maggie’s outburst—telling him 
as well as his mother what it was right to do 1 She ought to 
have learned better than have those hectoring, assuming man¬ 
ners by this time. But he presently went into his lather’s 
room, and the sight there touched him in a way that effaced 
the slighter impressions of the previous hour. When Maggie 
saw how he was moved, she went to him and put her arm 
round his neck as he sat by the bed, and the two children for¬ 
got every thing else in the sense tjiat they had one father and 
one sorrow. 





It was at eleven o’clock the next morning that the aunts 
and uncles came to hold their consultation. The fire was 
lighted in the large parlor, and poor Mrs. Tulliver, with a con¬ 
fused impression that it was a great occasion, like a funeral, 
unbagged the bell-rope tassels, and unpinned the curtains, ad¬ 
justing them in proper folds—looking round and shaking her 
head sadly at the polished tops and legs of the tables, which 
sister Pullet herself could not accuse of insufficient brightness. 

Mr. Deane was not coming—he was away on business; but 
Mrs. Deane appeared punctually in that handsome new gig 
with the head to it, and the livery-servant driving it, which 
had thrown so clear a light on several traits in her character to 
some of her female friends in St. Ogg’s. Mr. Deane had been 
advancing in the world as rapidly as Mr. Tulliver had been 
going down in it; and in Mrs. Deane’s house, the Dodson lin¬ 
en and plate were beginning to hold quite a subordinate posi¬ 
tion, as a mere supplement to the handsomer articles of the 
same kind, purchased in recent years; a change which had 
caused an occasional coolness in the sisterly intercourse be¬ 
tween her and Mrs. Glegg, who felt that Susan was getting 
“ like the rest,” and there would soon be little of the true Dod¬ 
son spirit surviving except in herself, and, it might be hoped, 
in those nephews who supported the Dodson name on the fam¬ 
ily land far away in the Wolds. People who live at a distance! 
are naturally less faulty than those immediately under our own I 
eyes; and it seems superfluous, when we consider the remote 
geographical position of the Ethiopians, and how very little the 
Greeks had to do with them, to inquire further why Homer 
calls them “ blameless.” 

Mrs. Deane was the first to arrive; and when she had taken 
her seat in the large parlor, Mrs. Tulliver came down to her 
with her comely face a little distorted, nearly as it would have 
been if she had been crying: she was not a woman who could 
shed abundant tears except in moments when the prospect of 
losing her furniture became unusually vivid, but she felt how 
unfitting it was to be quite calm under present circumstances; 

“ Oh sister, what a world this is I” she exclaimed as she en¬ 
tered ; w what trouble, oh dear I” 



Mrs. Deane was a thin-lipped woman, who made small well- 
considered speeches on peculiar occasions, repeating them aft¬ 
erward to her husband, and asking him if she had not spoken 
very properly. 

“Yes, sister,” she said, deliberately, “this is a changing 
world, and we don’t know to-day what may happen to-mor¬ 
row. But it’s right to be prepared for all things, and if trou¬ 
ble’s sent, to remember as it isn’t sent without a cause. Tm 
very sorry for you as a sister, and if the doctor orders jelly for 
Mr. Tulliver, I hope you’ll let me know: I’ll send it willingly. 
For it is but right he should have proper attendance while 
he’s ill.” 

“ Thank you, Susan,” said Mrs. Tulliver, rather faintly, with¬ 
drawing her fat hand from her sister’s thin one. “ But there’s 
been no talk o’ jelly yet.” Then, after a moment’s pause, she 
added, “ There’s a dozen o’ cut jelly-glasses up stairs.... I 
Shall niver put jelly into ’em no more.” 

Her voice was rather agitated as she uttered the last words, 
but the sound of wheels diverted her thoughts. Mr. and Mrs. 
Glegg were come, and were almost immediately followed by 
Mr. and Mrs. Pullet. 

Mrs. Pullet entered crying, as a compendious mode, at all 
times, of expressing what were her views of life in general, 
and what, in brief, were the opinions she held concerning the 
particular case before her. 

Mrs. Glegg had on her fuzziest front, and garments which 
appeared to have had a recent resurrection from rather a creasy 
form of burial; a costume selected with the high moral pur¬ 
pose of instilling perfect humility into Bessy and her children. 

“ Mrs. G., won’t you come nearer the fire ?” said her hus¬ 
band, unwilling to take the more comfortable seat without of¬ 
fering it to her. 

“ You see I’ve seated myself here, Mr. Glegg,” returned this 
superior woman; “ you can roast yourself, if you like.” 

“Well,” said Mr. Glegg, seating himself good-humoredly, 
“ and how’s the poor man up stairs ?” 

“ Dr. Turnbull thought him a deal better this morning,” 
said Mrs. Tulliver; “ he took more notice, and spoke to me; 
but he’s never known Tom yet—looks at the poor lad as if he 
was a stranger, though he said something once about Tom 
and the pony. The doctor says his memory’s gone a long 
way back, and he doesn’t know Tom because he’s thinking of 
him when he was little. Eh dear, eh dear!” 

u I doubt it’s the water got on his brain,” said aunt Pullet, 
turning round from adjusting her cap in a melancholy way at 
the pier-glass. “ It’s much if he ever gets up again; and if 



he does, he’ll most like be childish, as Mr. Carr was, poor man! 
They fed him with a spoon as if he’d been a baby for three 
year. He’d quite lost the use of his limbs; but then he’d got 
a Bath chair, and somebody to draw him; and that’s what you 
won’t have, I doubt, Bessy.” 

“Sister Pullet,” said Mrs. Glegg, severely, “if I understand 
right, we’ve come together this morning to advise and consult 
about what’s to be done in this disgrace as has fallen upon the 
family, and not to talk o’ people as don’t belong to us. Mr. 
Carr was none of our blood, nor noways connected with us, as 
I’ve ever heared.” 

“ Sister Glegg,” said Mrs. Pullet, in a pleading tone, draw¬ 
ing on her gloves again, and stroking the fingers in an agitated 
manner, “ if you’ve got any thing disrespectful to say o’ Mr. 
Carr, I do beg of you as you won’t say it to me. ./know what 
he was,” she added, with a sigh; “his breath was short to 
that degree as you could hear him two rooms off.” 

“Sophy!” said Mrs. Glegg, with indignant disgust, “you 
do talk o’ people’s complaints till it’s quite undecent. But I 
say again, as I said before, I didn’t come away from home to 
talk about acquaintance, whether they’d short breath or long. 
If we aren’t come together for one to hear what the other ’ull 
do to save a sister and her children from the parish, /shall go 
back. One can’t act without the other, I suppose; it isn’t to 
be expected as I should do every thing.” 

“Well, Jane,” said Mrs. Pullet, “I don’t see as you’ve been 
so very forrard at doing. So far as I know, this is the first 
time as here you’ve been, since it’s been known as the bailiff’s 
in the house; and I was here yesterday, and looked at all 
Bessy’s linen and things, and I told her I’d buy in the spotted 
table-cloths. I couldn’t speak fairer; for as for the teapot as 
she doesn’t want to go out o’ the family, it stands to sense I 
can’t do with two silver teapots, not if it hadn't a straight 
spout—but the spotted damask I was allays fond on.” 

“ I wish it could be managed so as my teapot and chany and 
the best casters needn’t be put up for sale,” said poor Mrs. 
Tulliver, beseechingly, “ and the sugar-tongs, the first things 
ever I bought.” 

“ But that can’t be helped, you know,” said Mr. Glegg. “If 
one o’ the family chooses to buy ’em in, they can, but one thing 
must be bid for as well as another.” 

“ And it isn’t to be looked for,” said tmcle Pullet, with un¬ 
wonted independence of idea, “ as your own family should pay 
more for things nor they’ll fetch. They may go for an old 
song by auction.” 

“Oh dear, oh dear,” said Mrs. Tulliver, “to think o’ my 


the mill on the floss. 


chany being sold i’ that way—and I bought it when' I was 
married, iust as you did yours, Jane and Sophy; and I know 
you didn’t like mine, because o’ the sprig, but I was fond of it; 
and there’s never been a bit broke, for I’ve washed it myself— 
and there’s the tulips on the cups, and the roses, as any body 
might go and look at ’em for pleasure. You wouldn’t like 
your chany to go for an old song and be broke to pieces, though 
yours has got no cdlor in it, Jane—it’s all white and fluted, and 
didn’t cost so much as mine. And there’s the casters—sister 
Deane, I can’t think but you’d like to have the casters, for Fve 
heard you say they’re pretty.” 

“Well, I’ve no objection to buy some of the best things,” 
said Mrs. Deane, rather loftily; “ we can do with extra things 
in our house.” 

“ Best things!” exclaimed Mrs. Glegg with severity, which 
had gathered intensity from her long silence. “ It drives me 
past patience to hear you all talking o’ best things, and buying 
m this, that, and the other, such as silver and chany. You 
must bring your mind to your circumstances, Bessy, and not 
be thinking o’ silver and chany ; but whether you shall get so 
much as a flock bed to lie on, and a blanket to cover you, and 
a stool to sit on. You must remember, if you get ’em, it’ll be 
because your friends have bought ’em for you, for you’re de¬ 
pendent upon them for every thing; for your husband lies 
there helpless, and hasn’t got a penny i’ the world to call his 
own. And it’s for your own good I say this; for it’s right you 
should feel what your state is, and what disgrace your hus¬ 
band’s brought on your own family, as you’ve got to look to 
for every thing—and be humble in your own mind.” 

Mrs. Glegg paused, for speaking with much energy for the 
good of others is naturally exhausting. Mrs. Tulliver, always 
borne down by the family predominance of sister Jane, who 
had made her wear the yoke of a younger sister in tender 
years, said pleadingly, 

“ I’m sure, sister, I’ve never asked any body to do any thing, 
only buy things as it ’ud be a pleasure to ’em to have, so as 
they mightn’t go and be spoiled i’ strange houses. I never 
asked any body to buy the things in for me and my children; 
though there’s the linen I spun, and I thought when Tom was 
bora—I thought one o’ the first things when he was lying i’ 
the cradle, as all the things I’d bought wi’ my own money, and 
been so careful of, ’ud go to him. But I’ve said nothing as I 
wanted my sisters to pay their money for me. What my hus¬ 
band has done for his sister’s unknown, and we should ha’ 
been better off this day if it hadn’t been as he’s lent money 
and never asked for it again.” 



u Come, come,” said Mr. Glegg, kindly, “ don’t let ns make 
things too dark. What’s done can’t be undone. We shall 
make a shift among ns to buy what’s sufficient for you; though, 
as Mrs. G. says, they must be useful, plain things. We mustn’t 
be thinking o’ what’s unnecessary. A table, and a chair or 
two, and kitchen things, and a good bed, and suchlike. Why, 
I’ve seen the day when I shouldn’t ha’ known myself if I’d lain 
on sacking i’stead o’ the floor. We get a deal o’ useless things 
about us only because we’ve got the money to spend.” 

“ Mr. Glegg,” said Mrs. G., “ if you’ll be kind enough to let 
me speak, i’stead o’ taking the words out o’ my mouth—I was 
going to say, Bessy, as it’s fine talking for you to say as you’ve 
never asked us to buy any thing for you; let me tell you, you 
ought to have asked us. Pray, how are you to be purvided 
for if your own family don’t help you ? You must go to the 
parish if they didn’t. And you ought to know that, and keep 
it in mind, and ask us humble to do what we can for you, 
i’stead o’ saying, and making a boast, as* you’ve never asked us 
for any thing.” 

“ You talked o’ the Mosses, and what Mr. Tulliver’s done 
for ’em,” said uncle Pullet, who became unusually suggestive 
where advances of money were concerned. “Haven’t they 
been anear you ? They ought to do something as well as 
other folks; and if he’s lent ’em money, they ought to be made 
to pay it back.” 

“ Yes, to be sure,” said Mrs. Deane; “ I’ve been thinking so. 
How is it Mr. and Mrs. Moss aren’t here to meet us ? It is 
but right they should do their share.” 

“ Oh dear!” said Mrs. Tulliver, “ I never sent ’em word 
about Mr. Tulliver, and they live so back’ard among the lanes 
at Basset, they niver hear any thing only when Mr. Moss 
comes to market. But I niver gave ’em a thought. I wonder 
Maggie didn’t, though, for she was allays so fond of her aunt 

“ Why don’t your children come in, Bessy ?” said Mrs. Pul¬ 
let, at the mention of Maggie. u They should hear what then* 
aunts arid uncles have got to say; and Maggie—when it’s me 
as have paid for half her schooling, she ought to think more 
of her aunt Pullet nor of aunt Mosses. I may go off sudden 
when I get home to-day—there’s no telling.” 

“If I’d had my way,” said Mrs. Glegg, “the children ’ud 
ha’ been in the room from the first. It’s time they knew who 
they’ve to talk to, and it’s right as somebody should talk to 
’em and let ’em know their condition i’ life, and what they’re 
come down to, and make ’em feel as they’ve got to suffer for 
their father’s faults.” 



44 Well, m go and fetch ’em, sister,” said Mrs. Tulliver, re¬ 
signedly. She was quite crushed now, and thought of the 
treasures in the store-room with no other feeling than blank 

She went up stairs to fetch Tom and Maggie, who were both 
in their father’s room, and was on her way down again, when 
the sight of the store-room door suggested a new thought to 
her. She went toward it, and left the children to go down by 

The aunts and uncles appeared to have been in warm dis¬ 
cussion when the brother and sister entered—both with shrink¬ 
ing reluctance; for though Tom, with a practical sagacity 
which had been roused into activity by the strong stimulus of 
the new emotions he had undergone since yesterday, had been 
turning over in his mind a plan which he meant to propose to 
one of his aunts or uncles, he felt by no means amicably toward 
them, and dreaded meeting them all at once as he would have 
dreaded a large dose* of concentrated physic, which was but 
just endurable in small draughts. As for Maggie, she was pe¬ 
culiarly depressed this morning: she had been called up, after 
brief rest, at three o’clock, and had that strange dreamy wea¬ 
riness which comes from w atching in a sick-room through the 
chill hours of early twilight and breaking day, in which the 
outside daylight life seems to have no importance, and to be a 
mere margin to the hours in the darkened chamber. Their 
entrance interrupted the conversation. The shaking of hands 
was a melancholy and silent ceremony, till uncle Pullet ob¬ 
served, as Tom approached him, 

“ Well, young sir, we’ve been talking as we should want 
your pen and ink; you can write rarely now, after all your 
schooling, I should think.” 

“Ay, ay,” said uncle Glegg, with admonition which he 
meant to be kind, u we must look to see the good of all this 
schooling, as your father’s sunk so much money in, now— 

“ ‘ When land is gone and money spent, 

Then learning is most excellent.’ 

Now’s the time, Tom, to let us see the good o’ your learning. 
Let us see whether you can do better than I can, as have made 
my fortin’ without it. But I began wi’ doing with little, you 
see; I could live on a basin o’ porridge and a crust o’ bread 
and cheese. But I doubt high living and high learning ’ull 
make it harder for you, young man, nor it was for me.” 

“ But he must do it,” interposed aunt Glegg, energetically, 
“ whether it’s hard or no. He hasn’t got to consider what’s 
hard; he must consider as he isn’t to trusten to his fiiends to 
keep him in idleness and luxury; he’s got to bear the fruits 



of his father’s misconduct, and bring his mind to fare hard and 
to work hard. And he must be humble and grateful to his 
aunts and uncles for what they’re doing for his mother and fa- 
ther, as must be turned out into the streets and go to the work- 
house if they didn’t help ’em. And his sister, too,” continued 
Mrs. Glegg, looking severely at Maggie, who had sat down on 
the sofa by her aunt Deane, drawn to her by the sense that she 
was Lucy’s mother, “ she must make up her mind to be hum¬ 
ble and work; for there’ll be no servants to wait on her any 
more—she must remember that. She must do the work o’ the 
house, and she must respect and love her aunts as have done 
so much for her, and saved their money to leave to their 
nepheys and nieces.” 

Tom was still standing before the table in the centre of the 
group. There was a heightened color in his face, and he was 
very far from looking humbled, but he was preparing to say, 
in a respectful tone, something he had previously meditated, 
when the door opened and his mother re-entered. 

Poor Mrs. Tulliver had in her hands a small tray, on which 
she had placed her silver teapot, a specimen teacup and saucer, 
the casters, and sugar-tongs. 

“ See here, sister,” she said, looking at Mrs. Deane, as she set 
the tray on the table, “ I thought, perhaps, if you looked at the 
teapot again—it’s a good while since you saw it—you might 
like the pattern better; it makes beautiful tea, and there’s a 
stand ana every thing: you might use it for every day, or -else 
lay it by for Lucy when she goes to housekeeping. I should 
be so loth for ’em to buy it at the Golden Lion,” said the poor 
woman, her heart swelling, and the tears coming, “ my teapot 
as I bought when I was married, and to think o’ its being 
scratched, and set before the travelers and folks, and my let¬ 
ters on it—see here, E. D.—and every body to see ’em.” 

“ Ah! dear, dear!” said aunt Pullet, shaking her head with 
deep sadness, “it’s very bad—to think o’ the family initials 
going about every where—it niver was so before: you’re a 
very unlucky sister, Bessy. But what’s the use o’ buying the 
teapot, when there’s the linen, and spoons, and every thing to 
go, and some of ’em with your full name—and when it’s got 
that straight spout too.” 

“ As to disgrace o’ the family,” said Mrs. Glegg, “ that can’t 
be helped wi’ buying teapots. The disgrace is for one o’ the 
family to ha’ married a man as has brought her to beggary. 
The disgrace is as they’re to be sold up. We can’t hinder the 
country from knowing that.” 

Maggie had started up from the sofa at the allusion to her 
father, but Tom saw her action and flushed face in time to pre- 


the mill om the floss. 

vent her from speaking. “ Be quiet, Maggie,” he said, author¬ 
itatively’, poshing her aside. It was a remarkable manifesta¬ 
tion of self-command and practical judgment in a lad of fifteen, 
that, when his aunt Glegg ceased, he began to speak in a 
qniet and respectful manner, though with a good deal of trem¬ 
bling in his voice; for his mother’s words had cot him to the 

‘•Then, aunt,” he said, looking straight at Mrs. Glegg, “if 
you think it’s a disgrace to the family that we should be sold 
up, wouldn’t it be better to prevent it altogether ? And if 
you and my aunt Pullet,” he continued, looking at the latter, 
“ think of leaving any money to me and Maggie, wouldn’t it 
be better to give it now, and pay the debt weVe going to be 
sold up for, and save my mother from parting with her furni¬ 
ture ?” 

There was silence for a few moments, for every one, includ¬ 
ing Maggie, was astonished at Tom’s sudden manliness of tone. 
Uncle Glegg was the first to speak. 

“ Ay, ay, young man—come now! You show some notion 
o’ things. But there’s the interest, you must remember; your 
aunts get five per cent, on their money, and they’d lose that 
if they advanced it: you haven’t thought o’ that.” 

“ I could work and pay that every year,” said Tom, prompt¬ 
ly. “ I’d do any thing to save my mother from parting with 
her things.” 

“ Well done!” said uncle Glegg, admiringly. He had been 
drawing Tom out rather than reflecting on the practicability 
of his proposal. But he had produced the unfortunate result 
of irritating his wife. 

“Yes, Mr. Glegg!” said that lady, with angry sarcasm. 
“ It’s pleasant work for you to be giving my money away, as 
you’ve pretended to leave at my own disposial. And my 
money, as was my own father’s gift, and not yours, Mr. Glegg; 
and I’ve saved it, and added to it myself, and had more to put 
out almost every year, and it’s to go and be sunk in other 
folks’s furniture, and encourage ’em in luxury and extrava¬ 
gance as they’ve no means of supporting; and Fm to alter my 
will, or have a codicil made, and leave two or three hundred 
less behind me when I die—me as have allays done right and 
been careful, and the eldest o’ the family; and my money’s to 
go and be squandered on them as have had the same chance 
as me, only they’ve been wicked and wasteful. Sister Pullet, 
you may do as you like, and you may let your husband rob you 
back again o’ the money he’s given you, but that isn’t my 

“La, Jane, how fiery you are!” said Mrs. Pullet. “Fm 



sure you’ll have the blood in your head, and have to be cup¬ 
ped. I’m sorry for Bessy and her children—I’m sure I think 
of ’em o’ nights dreadful, for I sleep very bad wi’ this new 
medicine; but it’s no use for me to think o’ doing any thing 
if you won’t meet me half way.” 

“ Why, there’s this to be considered,” said Mr. Glegg. “ It’s 
no use to pay off this debt and save the furniture, when there’s 
all the law debts behind, as ’ud take every shilling, and more 
than could be made out o’ land and stock, for I’ve made that 
out from Lawyer Gore. We’d need save our money to keep 
the poor man with, instead o’ spending it on furniture as he 
can neither eat nor drink. You will be so hasty, Jane, as if I 
didn’t know what was reasonable.” 

“Then speak accordingly, Mr. Glegg!” said his wife, with 
slow, loud emphasis, bending her head toward him signifi¬ 

Tom’s countenance had fallen during this conversation, and 
his lip quivered; but he was determined not to give way. He 
would behave like a man. Maggie, on the contrary, after her 
momentary delight in Tom’s speech, had relapsed into her state 
of trembling indignation. Her mother had been standing close 
by Tom’s side, and had been clinging to his arm ever since he 
had last spoken; Maggie suddenly started up and stood in 
front of them, her eyes flashing like the eyes of a young lion¬ 

“ Why do you come, then,” she burst out, “ talking and in¬ 
terfering with us and scolding us, if you don’t mean to do any 
thing to help my poor mother—your own sister—if you’ve no 
feeling for her when she’s in trouble, and won’t part with any 
thing, though you would never miss it, to save her from pain ? 
Keep away from us, then, and don’t come to find fault with 
my father—he was better than any of you—he was kind—he 
would have helped you, if you had been in trouble. Tom and 
I don’t ever want to have any of your money, if you won’t 
help my mother. We’d rather not have it; we’ll do without 

Maggie, having hurled her defiance at aunts and uncles in 
this way, stood still, with her large dark eyes glaring at them, 
as if she were ready to await all consequences. 

Mrs. Tulliver was frightened; there was something porten¬ 
tous in this mad outbreak; she did not see how life could go 
on after it. Tom was vexed; it was no me to talk so. The 
aunts were silent with surprise for some moments. At length, 
in a case of aberration such as this, comment presented itself 
as more expedient than any answer. 

“ You haven't seen the end o’ your trouble wi’ that child.* 



Bessy,” said Mrs. Pullet; “ she’s beyond every thing for bold¬ 
ness and unthankfulness. It’s dreadful. I might ha’ let alone 
paying for her schooling, for she’s worse nor ever.” 

“It’s no more than what I’ve allays said,” followed Mrs. 
Glegg. “ Other folks may be surprised, but Fm not. Fvc 
said over and over again—years ago I’ve said—- 4 Mark my 
words, that child ’ull come to no good: there isn’t a bit of our 
family in her.’ And as for her having so much schooling, I 
never thought well o’ that. I’d my reasons when I said I 
wouldn’t pay any thing toward it.” 

“ Come, come,” said Mr. Glegg, “ let’s waste no more time 
in talking—let’s go to business. Tom now, get the pen and 

While Mr. Glegg was speaking, a tall dark figure was seen 
hurrying past the window. ^ 

“Why, there’s Mrs. Moss,” said Mrs. Tulliver. “The bad 
news must ha’ reached her, thenand she went out to open 
the door, Maggie eagerly following her. 

“That’s fortunate,” said Mrs. Glegg. “She can agree to 
the list o’ things to be bought in. It’s but right she should 
do her share when it’s her own brother.” 

Mrs. Moss was in too much agitation to resist Mrs. TuBi- 
ver’s movement as she drew her into the parlor automatically, 
without reflecting that it was hardly kind to take her among 
so many persons in the first painful moment of arrival. The 
tall, worn, dark-haired woman was a strong contrast to the 
Dodson sisters as she entered in her shabby dress, with her 
shawl and bonnet looking as if they had been hastily huddled 
on, and with that entire absence of self-consciousness which 
belongs to keenly-felt trouble. Maggie was clinging to her 
arm; and Mrs. Moss seemed to notice no one else except Tom, 
whom she went straight up to and took by the hand. 

“ Oh my dear children,” she burst out, “ you’ve no call to 
think well o’ me; I’m a poor aunt to you, for Fm one o’ them 
as take all and give nothing. How’s my poor brother?” 

“ Mr. Turnbull thinks he’ll get better,” said Maggie. “ Sit 
down, aunt Gritty. Don’t fret.” , 

“ Oh my sweet child, I feel torn i’ two,” said Mrs. Moss, al¬ 
lowing Maggie to lead her to the sofa, but still not seeming 
to notice the presence of the rest. “We’ve three hundred 
pounds o’ my brother’s money, and now he wants it, and you 
all want it, poor things—and yet we must be sold up to pay 
it; and there’s my poor children—eight of ’em, and the little 
un of all can’t speak plain. And I feel as if I was a robber. 
But I’m sure I’d no thought as my brother . . . .” 

The poor woman was interrupted by a rising sob. 



44 Three hundred pounds! Oh dear, dear,” said Mrs. Tulli¬ 
ver, who, when she had said that her husband had done 44 un¬ 
known” things for his. sister, had not had any particular sum 
in her mind, and felt a wife’s irritation at having been kept in 
the dark. 

“ What madness, to be sure!” said Mrs. Glegg. 44 A man 
with a family! He’d no right to lend his money i’ that way; 
and without security, I’ll be bound, if the truth was known.” 

Mrs. Glegg’s voice had arrested Mrs. Moss’s attention, and, 
looking up, she said, 

44 Yes, there was security; my husband gave a note for it. 
We’re not that sort o’ people, neither of us, as ’ud rob my 
brother’s children; and we looked to paying back the money 
when the times got a bit better.” 

“ Well, but now,” said Mr. Glegg, gently, 44 hasn’t your hus¬ 
band no way o’ raising this money ? Because it ’ud be a little 
fortin’, like, for these folks, if we can do without Tulliver’s 
being made a bankrupt. Your husband’s got stock: it is but 
right he should raise the money, as it seems to me—not but 
what I’m sorry for you, Mrs. Moss.” 

44 Oh sir, you don’t know what bad luck my husband’s had 
with his stock. The farm’s suffering so as never was for want 
o’ stock; and we’ve sold all the wheat, and we’re behind with 
our rent .... not but what we’d like to do what’s right, and 
I’d sit up and work half the night, if it ’ud be any good .... 
but there’s them poor children .... four of’em such little 
uns . . . .” 

u Don’t cry so, aunt—don’t fret,” whispered Maggie, who 
had kept hold of Mrs. Moss’s hand. 

44 Did Mr. Tulliver let you have the money all at once?” 
said Mrs. Tulliver, still lost to the conception of things which 
had been 44 going on” without her knowledge. 

44 No; at twice,” said Mrs. Moss, rubbing her eyes, and mak¬ 
ing an effort to restrain her tears. 44 The last was after my bad 
illness four years ago, as every thing went wrong, and there 
was a new note made then. What with illness ana bad luck, 
I’ve been nothing but cumber all my life.” 

44 Yes, Mi's. Moss,” said Mrs. Glegg, with decision, 44 yours is 
a very unlucky family; the more’s the pity for my sister.” 

44 1 set off in the cart as soon as ever I heard o’ what had 
happened,” said Mrs. Moss, looking at Mrs. Tulliver. 44 1 should 
never ha’ staid away all this while if you’d thought well to let 
me know. And it isn’t as I’m thinking all about ourselves, 
and nothing about my brother—only the money was so on my 
mind, I couldn’t help speaking about it. And my husband 
and me desire to do the right thing, sir,” she added, looking at 



Mr. Glegg, “ and we’ll make shift and pay the money, come 
what will, if that’s all my brother’s got to trust to. We’ve 
been used to trouble, and don’t look for much else. It’s only 
the thought o’ my poor children pulls me i’ two.” 

“ Why, there’s this to be thought on, Mrs. Moss,” said Mr. 
Glegg, “ and its right to warn you: if Tulliver’s made a bank¬ 
rupt, and he’s got a note of hand of your husband’s for three 
hundred pounds,you’ll be obliged to pay it: th’ assignees ’ull 
come on you for it.” 

“ Oh dear, oh dear!” said Mrs. Tulliver, thinking of the bank¬ 
ruptcy, and not of Mrs. Moss’s concern in it. Poor Mrs. Moss 
herself listened in trembling submission, while Maggie looked 
with bewildered distress at Tom to see if he showed any signs 
of understanding this trouble, and caring about poor aunt 
Moss. Tom was only looking thoughtful, with his eyes on the 

“ And if he isn’t made bankrupt,” continued Mr. Glegg, w as 
I said before, three hundred pounds ’ud be a little fortm’ for 
him, poor man. We don’t know but what he may be partly 
helpless, if he ever gets up again. Pm very sorry if it goes 
hard with you, Mrs. Moss; but my opinion is, looking at it one 
way, it’ll be right for you to raise the money; and looking at it 
th’ other way, you’ll be obliged to pay it. You won’t think 
ill o’ me for speaking the truth.” 

“ Uncle,” said Tom, looking up suddenly from his meditative 
view of the table-cloth, “ I don’t think it would be right for 
my aunt Moss to pay the money, if it would be against my 
father’s will for her to pay it—would it ?” 

Mr. Glegg looked surprised for a moment or two before he 
said, M Why, no, perhaps not, Tom; but then he’d ha’ destroyed 
the note, you know. We must look for the note. What makes 
you think it ’ud be against his will ?” 

“ Why,” said Tom, coloring, but trying to speak firmly, in 
spite of a boyish tremor, “ I remember quite well, before I went 
to school to Mr. Stelling, my father said to me one night, when 
we were sitting by the fire together, and no one else was in 
the room . . . .” 

Tom hesitated a little, and then went on. 

“He said something to me about Maggie, and then he said, 
‘I’ve always been good to my sister, though she married 
against my will—and I’ve lent Moss money; but I shall never 
think of distressing him to pay it—I’d rather lose it. My chil¬ 
dren must not mind being the poorer for that.’ And now my 
father’s ill, and not able to speak for himself, I shouldn’t like 
any thing to be done contrary to what he said to me.” 

“Well, but, then, my boy,” said uncle Glegg, whose good 



feeling led him to enter into Tom’s wish, bnt who could not at 
once shake off* his habitual abhorrence of such recklessness as 
destroying securities, or alienating any thing important enough 
to make an appreciable difference in a man’s property, “we 
should have to make away wi’ the note, you know, if we’re to 
guard against what may happen, supposing your father’s made 
bankrupt . . . 

“Mr. Glegg,” interrupted his wife severely, “mind what 
you’re saying. You’re putting yourself very forrard in other 
folks’s business. If you speak rash, don’t say it was my fault.” 

“That’s such a thing as I never heard of before,” said uncle 
Pullet, who had been making haste with his lozenge in order 
to express his amazement; “ making away with a note! I 
should think any body could set the constable on you for it.” 

44 Well, but,” said Mrs. Tulliver, “ if the note’s worth all that 
money, why can’t we pay it away, and save my things from 
going away? We’ve no call to meddle with your uncle and 
aunt Moss, Tom, if you think your father ’ud be angry when 
he gets well.” • 

Mrs. Tulliver had not studied the question of exchange, and „ 
-was straining her mind after original ideas on the subject. 

“Pooh! pooh! pooh! you women don’t understand these 
things,” said uncle Glegg. “ There’s no way o’ making it safe 
for Mr. and Mrs. Moss but destroying the note.” 

“ Then I hope you’ll help me to do it, uncle,” said Tom, 
earnestly. “ If my father shouldn’t get well, I should be very 
unhappy to think any thing had been done against his will that 
I could hinder. And I’m sure he meant me to remember what 
he said that evening. I ought to obey my father’s wish about - 
his property.” 

Even Mrs. Glegg could not withhold her approval from 
Tom’s words: she felt that the Dodson blood was certainly 
speaking in him, though, if his father had been a Dodson, there 
would never have been this wicked alienation of money. Mag¬ 
gie would hardly have restrained herself from leaping on Tom’s 
neck if her aunt Moss had not prevented her by herself rising 
and taking Tom’s hand, while she said, with rather a choked 

44 You’D never be the poorer for this, my dear boy, if there’s 
a God above; and if the money’s wanted for your father, Moss 
and me ’uU pay it, the same as if there was ever such security. 
We’D do as we’d be done by; for if my children have got no 
other luck, they’ve got an honest father and mother.” 

' “Well,” said Mr. Glegg, who had been meditating after 
Tom’s words, “we shouldn’t be doing any wrong by the cred¬ 
itors, supposing your father was bankrupt. I’ve been thinking 


the mill on the floss. 

o’ that, for Fve been a creditor myself^ and seen no end o’ 
cheating. If he meant to give your aunt the money before 
ever he got into this sad work o 9 la wing, it’s the same as if 
he 9 d made away with the note himself; for he 9 d made up his 
mind to be that much poorer. But there’s a deal o’ things to 
be considered, young man," Mr. Glegg added, looking admon- 
ishingly at Tom, “ when you come to money business, and you 
may be taking one man’s dinner away to make another man’s 
breakfast. You don’t understand that, I doubt ?” 

“ Yes I do,” said Tom, decidedly. “ I know if I owe money 
to one man, I’ve no right to give it to another. But if my ra¬ 
ther had made up his mind to give my aunt the money before 
he was in debt, he had a right to do it.” 

“Well done, young man! I didn’t think you’dbeen so sharp,” 
said uncle Glegg, with much candor. “But perhaps your fa¬ 
ther did make away with the note. Let us go and Bee if we 
can find it in the chest.” 

“ It’s in my father’s room. Let us go too, aunt Gritty,” 
whispered Maggie. 



Mr. Tolliver, even between the fits of spasmodic rigidity 
which had recurred at intervals ever since he had been found 
fallen from his horse, was usually in so apathetic a condition 
that the exits and entrances into his room were not felt to be 
of great importance. He had lain so still, with his eyes dosed, 
all this morning, that Maggie told her aunt Moss she must not 
expect her father to take any notice of them. 

They entered very quietly, and Mrs. Moss took her seat near 
the head of the bed, while Maggie sat in her old place on the 
bed, and put her hand on her father’s, without causing any 
change in nis face. 

Mr. Glegg and Tom had also entered, treading softly, and 
were busy selecting the key of the oak chest from the bunch 
which Tom had brought from his father’s bureau. They suc¬ 
ceeded in opening the chest, which stood opposite the foot of 
Mr. Tulliver’s bed, and propping the lid with the iron holder, 
without much noise. 

“ There’s a tin box,” whispered Mr. Glegg; “ he’d most like 
put a small thing like a note in there. Lift it out, Tom; but 
I’ll just lift up these deeds—they’re the deeds o’ the house and 
mill, I suppose—and see what there is under ’em.” 



Mr. Glegg had lifted out the parchments, and had fortunate¬ 
ly drawn back a little, when the iron holder gave way, and 
the heavy lid fell with a loud bang, that resounded over the 

Perhaps there was something in that sound more than the 
mere fact of the strong vibration that produced the instanta¬ 
neous effect on the frame of the prostrate man, and for the 
time completely shook off the obstruction of paralysis. The 
chest had belonged to his father and his fathers father, and it 
had always been rather a solemn business to visit it. All long- 
known objects, even a mere window-fastening or a particular 
door-latch, have sounds which are a sort of recognized voice 
to us—a voice that will thrill and awaken, when it has been 
used to touch deep-lying fibres. In the same moment, when 
all the eyes in the room were turned upon him, he started up 
and looked at the chest, the parchments in Mr. Glegg’s hand, 
and Tom holding the tin box, with a glance of perfect con¬ 
sciousness and recognition. 

“ What are you going to do with those deeds ?” he said, in 
his ordinary tone of sharp-questioning whenever he was irri¬ 
tated. “ Come here, Tom. What do you do, going to my 

Tom obeyed, with some trembling: it was the first time his 
father had recognized him. But instead of saying any thing 
more to him, his father continued to look with a growing dis¬ 
tinctness of suspicion at Mr. Glegg and the deeds. 

“ What’s been happening, then ?” he said, sharply. “ What 
are you meddling with my deeds for ? Is Wakem laying hold 
of every thing ? . . . . Why don’t you tell me what you’ve 
been ardoing” he added, impatiently, as Mr. Glegg advanced to 
the foot of the bed before speaking. 

“ No, no, friend Tulliver,” said Mr. Glegg, in a soothing tone, 
“nobody’s getting hold of any thing as yet. We only came 
to look and see what was in the chest. You’ve been ill, you 
know, and we’ve had to look after things a bit. But let’s 
hope you’ll soon be well enough to attend to every thing your- 

Mr. Tulliver looked round him meditatively—at Tom, at Mr. 
Glegg, and at Maggie; then suddenly appearing aware that 
some one was seated by his side at the head of the bed, he 
turned sharply round and saw his sister. 

“ Eh, Gritty!” he said, in the half-sad, affectionate tone in 
which he had been wont to speak of her. “ What! you’re 
there, are you ? How could you manage to leave the chil¬ 

“ Oh, brother I” said good Mrs. Moss, too impulsive to be 



prudent, “Pm thankful Fm come now to see yon yourself 
again; I thought you’d never know us any more.” 

“ What! have l had a stroke ?” said Mr. TuUiver, anxiously, 
looking at Mr. Glegg. 

“A fall from your horse—shook you a bit—that’s all, I 
think,” said Mr. Glegg. “ But you’ll soon get over it, let’s 

Mr. Tulliver fixed his eyes on the bed-clothes, and remained 
silent for two or three minutes. A new shadow came over his 
face. He looked up at Maggie first, and said in a lower tone, 
“ You got the letter, then, my wench ?” 

“ Yes, father,” she said, kissing him with a full heart. She 
felt as if her father were come back to her from the dead, and 
her yearning to show him how she had always loved him could 
be fulfilled. 

“ Where’s your mother ?” he said, so preoccupied that he re¬ 
ceived the kiss as passively as some quiet animal might have 
received it. 

“ She’s down stairs with my aunts, father; shall I fetch 
her ?” 

Tom. You’ll be badly of£ I doubt. But you must see and 

r iy every body. And mind—there’s fifty pound o’ Luke’s as 
put into the business—he gave it me a bit at a time, and he’s 
got nothing to show for it. You must pay him first thing.” 

IJncle Glegg involuntarily shook his head, and looked more 
concerned than ever; but Tom said firmly, 

“ Yes, father. And haven’t you a note from my uncle Moss 
for three hundred pounds ? We came to look for that. What 
do you wish to be done about it, father ?” 

“ Ah! Fm glad you thought o’ that, my lad,” said Mr. Tul¬ 
liver. “ I allays meant to be easy about that money, because 
o’ your aunt. You mustn’t mind losing the money, if they can’t 
pay it—and it’s like enough they can’t. The note’s in that box, 
mind! I allays meant to be good to you, Gritty,” said Mr. Tul¬ 
liver, turning to his sister; “ but, you know, you aggravated 
me when you would have Moss.” 

At this moment Maggie re-entered with her mother, who 
came in much agitated by the news that her husband was 
quite himself again. 

> “Well, Bessy,” he said, as she kissed him, “you must for- 

you mind this: 

• you’ve 


got the chance, you make Wakem smart. If you don’t, you’re 
a good for nothing son. You might horsewhip him—but he’d 
set the law on you: the law’s made to take care o’ raskills.” 

Mr. Tulliver was getting excited, and an alarming flush was 
on his face. Mr. Glegg wanted to say something soothing, 
but he was prevented by Mr. Tulliver’s speaking again to his 
wife. u They’ll make a shift to pay every thing, Bessy,” he 
said, “ and yet leave you your furniture; and your sisters ’ll 
do something for you .... and Tom ’ll grow up .... though 
what he’s to be I don’t know .... I’ve done what I could.... 
I’ve given him a eddication .... and there’s the little wench, 
she’ll get married .... but it’s a poor tale ....” 

The sanative effect of the strong vibration was exhausted, 
and with the last words the poor man fell again, rigid and in¬ 
sensible. Though this was only a recurrence of what had hap¬ 
pened before, it struck all present as if it had been death, not 
only from its contrast with the completeness of the revival, 
but because his words had all had reference to the possibility 
that his death was near. But with poor Tulliver death was 
not to be a leap; it was to be a long descent under thickening 

Mr. Turnbull was sent for; but when he heard what had 
passed, he said this complete restoration, though only tempo¬ 
rary, was a hopeful sign, proving that there was no permanent 
lesion to prevent ultimate recovery. 

Among the threads of the past which the stricken man had 
gathered up, he had omitted the bill of sale; the flash of mem¬ 
ory had only lit up prominent ideas, and he sank into forget¬ 
fulness again with half his humiliation unlearned. 

But Tom was clear upon two points—that his uncle Moss’s 
note must be destroyed, and that Luke’s money must be paid, 
if in no other way, out of his own and Maggie’s money now in 
the Savings’ Bank. There were subjects, you perceive, on 
which Tom was much quicker than on the niceties of classical 
construction, or the relations of a mathematical demonstration. 



The next day, at ten o’clock, Tom was on his way to St. 
Ogg’s to "see his uncle Deane, who was to come home last 
night, his aunt had said; and Tom had made up his mind that 
his uncle Deane was the right person to ask for advice about 
getting some employment. He was in a great way of busi- 



ness; he had not the narrow notions of nnele Glegg; and he 
had risen in the world on a scale of advancement which ac¬ 
corded with Tom’s ambition. 

It was a dark, chill, misty morning, likely to end in rain— 
one of those mornings when even happy people take refuge in 
their hopes. And 'tom was very unhappy: he felt the humil¬ 
iation, as well as the prospective hardships of his lot, with all 
the keenness of a proud nature; and with all his resolute du¬ 
tifulness toward his father there mingled an irrepressible in¬ 
dignation against him which gave misfortune the less endura¬ 
ble aspect of a wrong. Since these were the consequences pf 
going to law, his father was really blamable, as his aunts and 
uncles had always said he was; and it was a significant indi¬ 
cation of Tom’s character, that though he thought his aunts 
ought to do something more for his mother, he felt nothing 
like Maggie’s violent resentment against them for showing no 
eager tenderness and generosity. There were no impulses in 
Tom that led him to expect what did not present itself to him 
as a right to be demanded. Why should people give away 
their money plentifully to those who had not taken care of 
their own money? Tom saw some justice in severity; and 
all the more, because he had confidence in himself that he 
should never deserve that just severity. It was very hard 
upon him that he should be put at this disadvantage in life by 
his father’s want of prudence; but he was not going to com¬ 
plain and to find fault with people because they did not make 
every thing easy for him. He would ask no one to help him 
more than to give him work and pay him for it. Poor Tom 
was not without his hopes to take refuge in under the chill 
damp imprisonment of the December fog which seemed only 
like a part of his home troubles. At sixteen, the mind that 
has the strongest affinity for fact can not escape illusion and 
self-flattery; and Tom, in sketching his future, had no other 
guide in arranging his facts than the suggestions of his own 
brave self-reliance. Both Mr. Glegg and Mr. Deane, he knew, 
had been very poor once: he did not want to save money 
slowly and retire on a moderate fortune like his uncle Glegg, 
but he would be like his uncle Deane—get a situation in some 
great house of business and rise fast. He had scarcely seen 
any thing of his uncle Deane for the last three years—the two 
families had been getting wider apart; but for this very rea¬ 
son Tom was the more hopeful about applying to him. His 
uncle Glegg, he felt sure, would never encourage any spirited 
project, but he had a vague imposing idea of the resources at 
his uncle Deane’s command. He had heard his father say, 
long ago, how Deane had made himself so valuable to Guest 



& Co. that they were glad enough to offer him a share in the 
business: that was what Tom resolved he would do. It was 
intolerable to think of being poor and looked down upon all 
one’s life. He would provide for his mother and sister, and 
make every one say that he was a man of high character. He 
leaped over the years in this way, and in the haste of strong 
purpose and strong desire did not see how they would be 
made up of slow days, hours, and minutes. 

By the time he had crossed the stone bridge over the Floss, 
and was entering St. Ogg’s, he was thinking that he would 
buy his father’s mill and land again when he was rich enough, 
and improve the house and live there: he should prefer it to 
any smarter, newer place, and he could keep as many horses 
and dogs as he liked. 

Walking along the street with a firm, rapid step, at this 
point in his reverie he was startled by some one who had 
crossed without his notice, and who said to him, in a rough, 
familiar voice, 

“Why, Master Tom, how’s your father this morning?” It 
was a publican of St. Ogg’s—one of his father’s customers. 

Tom disliked being spoken to just then; but he said civilly, 
“He’s still very ill, thank you.” 

“Ay, it’s been a sore chance for you, young man, hasn’t it? 
—this lawsuit turning out against him,” said the publican, 
with a confused beery idea of being good-natured. 

Tom reddened and passed on: he would have felt it like 
the handling of a bruise, even if there had been the most po¬ 
lite and delicate reference to his position. 

“That’s Tulliver’s son,” said the publican to a grocer stand¬ 
ing on the adjacent door-step. 

“Ah!” said the grocer, “I thought I knew his features, 
like. He takes after his mother’s familv: she was a Dod¬ 
son. He’s a fine, straight youth; what’s he been brought 
up to ?” 

“ Oh! to turn up his nose at his father’s customers, and be 
a fine gentleman—not much else, I think.” 

Tom, roused from his dream of the future to a thorough 
consciousness of the present, made all the greater haste to 
reach the warehouse offices of Guest & Co., where he expect¬ 
ed to find his uncle Deane. But this was Mr. Deane’s morn¬ 
ing at the bank, a clerk told him, with some contempt for his 
ignorance: Mr. Deane was not to be found in River Street on 
a Thursday morning. 

At the bank Tom was admitted into.the private room where 
his uncle was, immediately after sending in his name. Mr. 
Deane was auditing accounts; but he looked up as Tom en- 

I 2 



tered, and, putting ont his hand, said, “Well, Tom, nothing 
fresh the matter at home, I hope ? How’s your father ?” 

“ Much the same, thank you, uncle,” said Tom, feeling nerv¬ 
ous. “But I want to speak to you, please, when you’re at 

“ Sit down, sit down,” said Mr. Deane, relapsing into his ac¬ 
counts, in which he and the managing clerk remained so ab¬ 
sorbed for the next half hour that Tom began to wonder 
whether he should have to sit in this way till the bank dosed 
—there seemed so little tendency toward a conclusion in the 
quiet monotonous procedure of these sleek, prosperous men of 
business. Would nis uncle give him a place in the bank? it 
would be very dull, prosy work, he thought, writing there for¬ 
ever to the loud clicking of a time-piece. He preferred some 
other way of getting rich. But at last there was a change: 
his uncle took a pen and wrote something with a flourish at 
the end. 

“ You’ll just step up to Tony’s now, Mr. Spence, win you ?” 
said Mr. Deane, and the dock suddenly became less loud and 
deliberate in Tom’s ears. 

“Well, Tom,” said Mr. Deane, when they were alone, turn¬ 
ing his substantial person a little in his chair, and taking out 
his snuff-box, “ what’s the business, my boy—what’s the busi¬ 
ness?” Mr. Deane, who had heard from his wife what had 
passed the day before, thought Tom was come to appeal to 
nim for some means of averting the sale. * 

“ I hope you’U excuse me for troubling you, unde,” said 
Tom, coloring, but speaking in a tone winch, though tremu¬ 
lous, had a certain proud independence in it, “ but I thought 
you were the best person to advise me what to do.” 

“Ah?” said Mr. Deane, reserving his pinch of snuffy and 
looking at Tom with new attention; “ let us hear.” 

“ I want to get a situation, uncle, so that I may earn some 
money,” said Tom, who never fell into circumlocution. 

“A situation ?” said Mr. Deane, and then took his pinch of 
snuff with elaborate justice to each nostril. Tom thought 
snuff-taking a most provoking habit. 

“Why, let me see—how old are you?” said Mr.Deane, as 
he threw himself backward again. 

“ Sixteen—I mean, I am going in seventeen,” said Tom, hop¬ 
ing his uncle noticed how much beard he had. 

“ Let me see—your father had some notion of making you 
an engineer, I think ?” 

“ But I don’t think Lcould get any money at that for a long 
while, could I?” 

“That’s true; but people don’t get much money at any 



thing, my boy, when they’re only sixteen. You’ve had a good 
deal of schooling, however: I suppose you’re pretty well up 
in accounts, eh? You understand book-keeping?” 

“No,” said Tom, rather falteringly. “I was in Practice. 
But Mr. Stelling says I write a good hand, uncle. That’s my 
writing,” added Tom, laying on the table a copy of the list he 
had made yesterday. 

“Ah! that’s good—that’s good. But, you see, the best 
hand in the world ’ll not get you a better place than a copy¬ 
ing-clerk’s, if you know nothing of book-keeping—nothing of 
accounts. And a copying-clerk’s a cheap article. But what 
have you been learning at school, then ?” 

Mr. Deane had not occupied himself with methods of educa¬ 
tion, and had no precise conception of what went forward in 
expensive schools. 

“We learned Latin,” said Tom, pausing a little between 
each item, as if he were turning over the books in his school- 
desk to assist his memory—“ a good deal of Latin; and the 
last year I did Themes, one week in Latin and one in English; 
and Greek and Roman History; and Euclid; and I began Al¬ 
gebra, but I left it off again; and we had one day every week 
for Arithmetic. Then I used to have drawing-lessons; and 
there were several other books we either read or learned out 
ofy English Poetry, and Horae Paulinae, and Blair’s Rhetoric, 
the last half.” 

Mr. Deane tapped his snuff-box again, and screwed up his 
mouth: he felt in the position of many estimable persons when 
they had read the New Tariff and found how many commod¬ 
ities were imported of which they knew nothing: like a cau¬ 
tious man of business, he was not going to speak rashly of a 
raw material in which he had no experience. But the pre¬ 
sumption was, that if it had been good for any thing, so suc¬ 
cessful a man as himself would hardly have been ignorant of 
it. About Latin he had an opinion, and thought that in case 
of another war, since people would no longer wear hair-pow¬ 
der, it would be well to put a tax upon Latin, as a luxury 
much run upon by the higher classes, and not telling at all on 
the ship-owning department. - But, for what he knew, Horse 
Paulinae might be something less neutral. On the whole, this 
list of acquirements gave him a sort of repulsion toward poor 

4 4 Well,” he said at last, in rather a cold, sardonic tone, 
“you’ve had three years at these things—you must be pretty 
strong in ’em. Hadn’t you better take up some line where 
they’ll come in handy?” 

Ton* colored, and burst out, with new energy, 


THE lm.T, ON THE FL06S. 

u Fd rather not have any employment of that sort, uncle. I 
don't like Latin and those things. I don't know what I could 
do with them unless I went as usher in a school, and I don't 
know them well enough-for that; besides, I would as soon car¬ 
ry a pair of panniers. I don’t want to be that sort of person. 
I should like to enter into some business where I can get on— 
a manly business, where I should have to look after things, and 
get credit for what I did. And I shall want to keep my moth¬ 
er and sister.” 

“ Ah! young gentleman,” said Mr. Deane, with that tend¬ 
ency to repress youthful hopes which stout and successful men 
of fifty find one of their easiest duties, “ that’s sooner said than 
done—sooner said than done.” 

“But didn’t you get on in that way, unde?” said Tom, a 
little irritated that Mr. Deane did not enter more rapidly into 
his views. “ I mean, didn’t you rise from one place to anoth¬ 
er through your abilities and good conduct ?” 

“Ay, ay, sir,” said Mr. Deane, spreading himself in his chair 
a little, and entering with great readiness into a retrospect of 
his own career. “But I’ll tell you how I got on. It wasn’t 
by getting astride a stick, and thinking it would turn into a 
horse if I sat on it long enough. I kept my eyes and ears 
open, sir, and I wasn’t too fond of my own back, and I made 
my master’s interest my own. Why, only looking into what 
went on in the mill, I found out how there was a waste of five 
hundred a year that might be hindered. Why, sir, I hadn’t 
more schooling to begin with than a charity-boy; but I saw 
pretty soon that I couldn’t'get on far without mastering ac¬ 
counts, and I learned ’em between working hours, after Fd 
been unlading. Look here.” Mr. Deane opened a book, and 
pointed to the page. “ I write a good hand enough, and I’ll 
match any body at all sorts of reckoning by the head, and I 
got it all by hard work, and paid for it out of my own earnings 
—often out of my own dinner and supper. And I looked into 
the nature of all the things we had to do with in the business, 
and picked up knowledge as I went about my work, and turn¬ 
ed it over in my head. Why, I’m no mechanic—I never pre¬ 
tended to be—but I’ve thought of a thing or two that the me¬ 
chanics never thought of, and it’s made a fine difference in our 
returns. And there isn’t an article shipped or unshipped at 
our wharf but I know the quality of it. If I got places, sir, it 
was because I made myself fit for ’em. If you want to slip 
into a round hole, you must make a ball of yourself—that’s 
where it is.” 

Mr. Deane tapped his box again. He had been led on by 
pure enthusiasm in his subject, and had really forgotten what 



bearing this retrospective survey had on his listener. He had 
found occasion for saying the same thing more than once be¬ 
fore, and was not distinctly aware that he had not his port 
wine before him. 

“ Well, uncle,” said Tom, with a slight complaint in his tone, 
“that’s what I should like to do. Can’t I get on in the same 
way ?” 

“ In the same way ?” said Mr. Deane, eying Tom with quiet 
deliberation. “ There go two or three questions to that, Mas¬ 
ter Tom. That depends on what sort of material you are, to 
begin with, and whether you’ve been put into the right mill. 
But I’ll tell you what it is: your father went the wrong way 
to work in giving vou an education. It wasn’t my business, 
and I didn’t interfere; but it is as I thought it would be. 
You’ve had a sort of learning that’s all very well for a young 
fellow like our Mr. Stephen Guest, who’ll have nothing to do 
but sign checks all his life, and may as well have Latin inside 
his head as any other sort of stuffing.” 

“But, uncle,” said Tom, earnestly, “I don’t see why the 
Latin need hinder me from getting on in business. I shall soon 
forget it all; it makes no difference to me. I had to do my 
lessons at school; but I always thought thev’d never be of any 
use to me afterward—I didn’t care about them.” 

“Ay, ay, that’s all very well,” said Mr. Dearie; “but it 
doesn’t alter what I was going to say. Your Latin and rig¬ 
marole may soon dry off you, but you’ll be but a bare stick 
after that. Besides, it has whitened your hands and taken the 
rough work out of you. And what do you know ? Why, 
you know nothing about book-keeping, to begin with, and not 
so much of reckoning as a common shopman. You’ll have to 
begin at a low round of the ladder, let me tell you, if you 
mean to get on in life. It’s no use forgetting the education 
your father’s been paying for, if you don’t give yourself a new 
un ” 

Tom bit his lips hard; he felt as if the tears were rising, and 
he would rather die than let them. 

“ You want me to help you to a situation,” Mr. Deane went 
on; “ well, I’ve no fault to find with that. I’m willing to do 
something for you. But you youngsters nowadays think 
you’re to begin with living wefl and working easy: you’ve no 
notion of running afoot before you get on horseback. Now, 
you must remember what‘you are—you’re a lad of sixteen, 
trained to nothing particular. There’s he aps of your sort, like 
so many pebbles, made to fit in nowhere. Well, you might be 
apprenticed to some business—a chemist’s and druggist’s per¬ 
haps : your Latin might come in a bit there .... 



Tom was going to speak, but Mr. Deane put up his hand 
and said, 

“ Stop! hear what I’ve got to say. You don’t want to be 
a ’prentice—I know, I know—you want to make more haste 
—and you don’t want to stand behind a counter. But if you’re 
a copying-clerk, you’ll have to stand behind a desk, and stare 
at your ink and paper all day: there isn’t much outlook there, 
and you won’t be much wiser at the end of the year than at 
the beginning. The world isn’t made of pen, ink, and paper, 
and if you’re to get on in the world, young man, you must 
know what the world’s made of. Now the best chance for 
you ’ud be to have a place on a wharf, or in a warehouse, where 
you’d learn the smell o’ things; but you wouldn’t like that, 
I’ll be bound; you’d have to stand cold and wet, and be 
shouldered about by rough fellows. You’re too fine a gentle¬ 
man for that.” 

Mr. Deane paused and looked hard at Tom, who certainly 
felt some inward struggle before he could reply. 

U I would rather do what will be best for me in the end, sir; 
I would put up with what was disagreeable.” 

“ That’s well, if you can carry it out. But you must remem¬ 
ber it isn’t only laying hold of a rope—you must go on pull¬ 
ing. It’s the mistake you lads make that have got nothing 
either in your brains or your pocket, to think you’ve got a 
better start in the world if you stick yourselves in a place 
where you can keep your coats clean, and have the shop- 
wenches take you for fine gentlemen. That wasn’t the way 
I started, young man: when I was sixteen, my jacket smelt 
of tar, and I wasn’t afraid of handling cheeses. That’s the 
reason I can wear good broadcloth now, and have my legs 
under the same table with the heads of the best firms in St. 

Uncle Deane tapped his box, and seemed to expand a little 
under his waistcoat and gold chain as he squared his shoulders 
in the chair. 

“ Is there any place at liberty that you know of now, unde, 
that I should do for ? I should like to set to work at once,” 
said Tom, with a slight tremor in his voice. 

“ Stop a bit—stop a bit; we mustn’t be in too great a hurry. 
You must bear in mind, if I put you in a place you’re a bit 
young for, because you happen to be my nephew, I shall be 
responsible for you. And there’s no better reason, you know, 
than your being my nephew, because it remains to be seen 
whether you’re good for any thing.” 

46 I hope I should never do you any discredit, unde,” said 
Tom, hurt, as all boys are at the statement of the unpleasant 


truth that people feel no ground for trusting them. 44 1 care 
about my own credit too much for that.” 

44 Well done,Tom, well done! That’s the right spirit, and 
I never refuse to help any body, if they’ve a mind to do them¬ 
selves justice. There’s a young man of two-and-twenty I’ve 
got my eye on now. I shall do what I can for that young 
man—he’s got some pith in him. But then, you see, he’s made 
good use of his time—a first-rate calculator—can tell you the 
cubic contents of any thing in no time, and put me up the other 
day to a new market for Swedish bark: he’s uncommonly 
knowing in manufactures, that young fellow.” 

44 Fd better set about learning book-keeping, hadn’t I, 
uncle ?” said Tom, anxious to prove his readiness to exert him¬ 

44 Yes, yes, you can’t do amiss there. But... ah! Spence, 
you’re back again. Well, Tom, there’s nothing more to be 
said just now, I think, and I must go to business again. Good- 
by. Remember me to your mother.” 

Mr. Deane put out his hand with an air of friendly dismiss¬ 
al, and Tom had not courage to ask another question, especial¬ 
ly in the presence of Mr. Spence. So he went out again into 
the cold damp air. He had to call at his uncle Glegg’s about 
the money in the Savings’ Bank, and by the time he set out 
again the mist had thickened, and he could not see very far 
before him; but going along River Street again, he was start¬ 
led, when he was within two yards of the projecting side of a 
shop window, by the words 44 Dorlcote Mill” in large letters 
on a hand-bill, placed as if on purpose to stare at him. It was 
the catalogue of the sale to take place the next week—it was 
a reason for hurrying faster out of the town. 

Poor Tom formed no visions of the distant future as he made 
his way homeward; he only felt that the present was very 
hard. It seemed a wrong toward him that his uncle Deane 
had no confidence in him—did not see at once that he should 
acquit himself well, which Tom himself was as certain of as of 
the daylight. Apparently he, Tom Tulliver, was likely to be 
held of small account in the world, and for the first time he 
felt a sinking of heart under the sense that he really was very 
ignorant, and could do very little. Who was that enviable 
young man, that could tell the cubic contents of things in no 
time, and make suggestions about Swedish bark ? Swedish 
bark! Tom had been used to be so entirely satisfied with 
himself in spite of his breaking down in a demonstration, and 
construing nunc iliac promite vires , as 44 now promise those 
men •” but now he suddenly felt at a disadvantage, because he 
knew less than some one else knew. There must be a world 



of things connected with that Swedish bark, which, if he only 
knew them, might have helped him to get on. It would have 
been much easier to make a figure with a spirited horse and a 
new saddle. 

Two hours ago, as Tom was walking to St. Ogg’s, he saw 
the distant future before him as he might have seen a tempt¬ 
ing stretch of smooth sandy beach beyond a belt of flinty 
shingles; he was on the grassy bank then, and thought the 
shingles might soon be passed. But now his feet were on the 
sharp stones; the belt of shingles had widened, and the stretch 
of sand had dwindled into narrowness. 

“What did my uncle Deane say, Tom?” said Maggie,put¬ 
ting her arm through Tom’s as he was warming himself rather 
drearily by the kitchen fire. “ Did he say he would give you 
a situation ?” 

“No, he didn’t say that. He didn’t quite promise me any 
thing; he seemed to think I couldn’t have a very good situa¬ 
tion. I’m too young.” 

“ But didn’t he speak kindly, Tom?” 

“ Kindly ? Pooh! what’s the use of talking about that ? I 
wouldn’t care about his speaking kindly if I could get a situa¬ 
tion. But it’s such a nuisance and bother—I’ve been at school 
all this while learning Latin and things—not a bit of good to 
me—and now my uncle says I must set about learning book¬ 
keeping and calculation, and those things. He seems to make 
out I’m good for nothing.” 

Tom’s mouth twitched with a bitter expression as he looked 
at the fire. 

“ Oh what a pity we haven’t got Dominie Sampson,” said 
Maggie, who couldn’t help mingling some gayety with their 
sadness. “ If he had taught me book-keeping by double entry 
and after the Italian method, as he did Lucy Bertram, I could 
teach you, Tom.” 

“ You teach! Yes, I dare say. That’s always the tone you 
take,” said Tom. 

“ Dear Tom, I was only joking,” said Maggie, putting her 
cheek against his eoat-sleeve. 

“ But it’s always the same, Maggie,” said Tom, with the 
little frown he put on when he was about to be justifiably se¬ 
vere. “ You’re always setting yourself up above me and every 
one else, and I’ve wanted to tell you about it several times. 
You ought not to have spoken as you did to my uncles and 
aunts—you should leave it to me to take care of my mother 
and you, and not put yourself forward. You think you know 
better than any one, but you’re almost always wrong. I can 
judge much better than you can.” 



Poor Tom! he had just come from being lectured and made 
to feel his inferiority: the reaction of his strong, self-asserting 
nature must take place somehow, and here was a case in which 
he could justly show himself dominant. Maggie’s cheek flush¬ 
ed and her lip quivered with conflicting resentment and affec¬ 
tion, and a certain awe as well as admiration of Tom’s firmer 
and more effective character. She did not answer immediate¬ 
ly ; very angry words rose to her lips, but they were driven 
back again, and she said at last, 

“ You often think Fm conceited, Tom, when I don’t mean 
what I say at all in that way. I don’t mean to put myself 
above you—I know you behaved better than I did yesterday. 
But you are always so harsh to me, Tom.” 

With the last words the resentment was rising again. 

“ No, I’m not harsh,” said Tom, with severe decision; “ Fm 
always kind to you; and so I shall be—I shall always take 
care of you. But you must mind what I say.” 

Their mother came in now, and Maggie rushed away, that 
her burst of tears, which she felt must come, might not happen 
till she was safe up stairs. They were very bitter tears: every 
body in the world seemed so harsh and unkind to Maggie: 
there was no indulgence, no fondness, such as she imagined 
when she fashioned the world afresh in her own thoughts. In 
books there were people who were always agreeable or tender, 
and delighted to do things that made one happy, and who did 
not show their kindness by finding fault. The world outside 
the books was not a happy one, Maggie felt: it seemed to be 
a world where people behaved the best to those they did not 

E retend to love, and that did not belong to them. And if life 
as no love in it, what else was there for Maggie? Nothing 
but poverty and the companionship of her mother’s narrow 
griefo--perhaps of her father’s heart-cutting childish depend¬ 
ence. There is no hopelessness so sad as that of early youth, 
when the soul is made up of wants, and has no long memories, 
no superadded life in the life of others, though we who look on 
think lightly of such premature despair, as if our vision of the 
future lightened the blind sufferer’s present. 

Maggie in her brown frock, with her eyes reddened and her 
heavy hair pushed back, looking from the bed where ber father 
lay to the dull walls of this sad chamber which was the centre 
or her world, was a creature full of eager, passionate longings 
for all that was beautiful and glad; thirsty for all knowledge; 
with an ear straining after dreamy music that died away and 
would not come near to her; with a blind, unconscious veam- 
ing for something that would link together the wonderful im- 



pressions of this mysterious life, and give her soul a sense of 
home in it. 

No wonder, when there is this contrast between the out¬ 
ward and the inward, that painful collisions come of it. 



In that dark time of December the sale of the household 
furniture lasted beyond the middle of the second day. Mr. 
Tulliver, who had begun, in his intervals of consciousness, to 
manifest an irritability which often appeared to have as a di¬ 
rect effect the recurrence of spasmodic rigidity and insensibil¬ 
ity, had lain in this living death throughout the critical houiB 
wnen the noise of the sale came nearest to his chamber. Mr. 
Turnbull had decided that it would be a less risk to let him 
remain where he was than to move him to Luke’s cottage—a 
plan which the good Luke had proposed to Mrs. Tulliver, 
thinkin g it would be very bad if the master were 46 to waken 
up” at the noise of the sale; and the wife and children had sat 
imprisoned in the silent chamber, watching the large prostrate 
figure on the bed, and trembling lest the blank face should sud¬ 
denly fehow some response to the sounds which fell on their 
own ears with such obstinate, painful repetition. 

But it was over at last—that time of importunate certainty 
and eye-straining suspense. The sharp sound of a voice, al¬ 
most as metallic as the rap that followed it, had ceased; the 
tramping of footsteps on the gravel had died out. Mrs. Tolli¬ 
ver’s blonde face seemed aged ten years by the last thirty 
hours: the poor woman’s mmd had been busy divining when 
her favorite things were being knocked down by the terrible 
hammer; her heart had been fluttering at the thought that first 
one thing and then another had gone to be identified as hers 
in the hateful publicity of the Golden Lion; and all the while 
she had to sit and make no sign of this inward agitation. Such 
things bring lines in well-rounded faces, and broaden the streaks 
of white among the hairs that once looked as if they had been 
dipped in pure sunshine. Already, at three o’clock, Kezia, the 
good-hearted, bad-tempered housemaid, who regarded all peo¬ 
ple that came to the sale as her personal enemies, the dirt on 
whose feet was of a peculiarly vile quality, had begun to scrub 
and swill with an energy much assisted by a continual low 
muttering against “ folks as came to buy up other folks’s 



things,” and made light of 44 scrazing” the tops of mahogany 
tables over which better folks than themselves had had to— 
suffer a waste of tissue through evaporation. She was not 
scrubbing indiscriminately, for there would be further dirt of 
the same atrocious kind made by people who had still to fetch 
away their purchases; but she was bent on bringing the par¬ 
lor, where that “ pipe-smoking pig” the bailiff had sat, to such 
an appearance of scant comfort as could be given to it by clean¬ 
liness and the few articles of furniture bought in for tne fam¬ 
ily. Her mistress and the young folks should have their tea 
in it that night, Kezia was determined. 

It was between five and six o’clock, near the usual tea-time, 
when she came up stairs and said that Master Tom was want¬ 
ed. The person who wanted him was in the kitchen, and in 
the first moments, by the imperfect fire and candlelight, Tom 
had not even an indefinite sense of any acquaintance with the 
rather broad-set but active figure, perhaps two years older 
than himself, that looked at him with a pair of blue eyes set 
in a disk of freckles, and pulled some curly red locks with a 
strong intention of respect. A low-crowned oil-skin-covered 
hat, and a certain shiny deposit of dirt on the rest of the cos¬ 
tume, as of tablets prepared for writing upon, suggested a call¬ 
ing that had to do with boats; but this did not help Tom’s 

“ Sarvant, Mister Tom,” said he of the red locks, with a 
smile which seemed to break through a self-imposed air of 
melancholy. 44 You don’t know me again, I doubt,” he went 
on, as Tom continued to look at him inquiringly; “ but Fd like 
to talk to you by yourself a bit, please. 

44 There’s a fire i’ the parlor, Master Tom,” said Kezia, who 
objected to leaving the kitchen in the crisis of toasting. 

u Come this way, then,” said Tom, wondering if this young 
fellow belonged to Guest & Co.’s wharf; for his imagination 
ran continually toward that particular spot, and uncleDeane 
might any time be sending for him to say that there was a sit¬ 
uation at liberty. 

The bright me in the parlor was the only light that showed 
the few chairs, the bureau, the carpetless floor, and the one 
table—no, not the one table; there was a second table in a 
comer, with a large Bible and a few other books upon it. It 
was this new strange bareness that Tom felt first, before he 
thought of looking again at the face which was also lit up by 
the fire, and which stole a half-shy, questioning glance at him 
as the entirely strange voice said, 

44 Why, you don’t remember Bob, then, as you gen the pock¬ 
et-knife, Mr. Tom ?” 



The rough-handled pocket-knife was taken out in the mmm 
moment, and the largest blade opened by way of irresistible 

44 What! Bob Jakin!” said Tom, not with any cordial de¬ 
light, for he felt a little ashamed of that early intimacy sym¬ 
bolized by the pocket-knife, and was not at all sure that Bob’s 
motives for recalling it were entirely admirable. 

“Ay, ay, Bob Jakin—if Jakin it must be, ’cause there’s so 
many Bobs, as you went arter the squerrils with that day as 
I plumped right down from the bough, and bruised my flnina 
a good un; but I got the squerril tight for all that, an’ a scrat- 
ter it was. An’ this littlish blade’s broke, you see, but I 
wouldn’t hev a new un put in, ’cause they might be cheatin’ 
me an’ givin’ me another knife istid, for there isn’t such a blade 
i’ the country—it’s got used to my hand, like. An’ there was 
niver nobody else gen me nothin’ but what I got by my own 
sharpness, only you, Mr. Tom; if it wasn’t Bill Fawks as gen 
me the terrier pup istid o’ drowndin’ it, an’ I had to jaw him 
a good un afore he’d give it me.” 

Bob spoke with a sharp and rather treble volubility, and got 
through his long speech with surprising dispatch, giving the 
blade of his knife an affectionate rub on his sleeve when he had 

“ Well, Bob,” said Tom, with a slight air of patronage, the 
foregoing reminiscences having disposed him to be as friendly 
as was becoming, though there was no part of his acquaintance 
with Bob that he remembered better than the cause of their 
parting quarrel, “is there any thing I can do for you?” 

“ Why, no, Mr. Tom,” answered Bob, shutting up his knife 
with a click and returning it to his pocket, where he seemed 
to be feeling for something else. “ I shouldn’t ha’ come back 
upon you now ye’re i’ trouble, an’ folks say as the master, as I 
used to frighten the birds for, an’ he flogged me a bit for fun 
when he catched me eatin’ the turnip, as they say he’ll niver 
lift up his yead no more—I shouldn’t ha’ come now to ax you 
to gi’ me another knife, ’cause you gen me one afore. If a 
chap gives me one black eye, that’s enough for me; I sha’n’t 
ax him for another afore I sarve him out; an’ a good turn’s 
worth as much as a bad un, anyhow. I shall niver grow 
down’ards again, Mr. Tom, an’ you war the little chap as I 
liked the best when I war a little chap, for all you leathered 
me, and wouldn’t look at me again. There’s Dick Brumby, 
there, I could leather him as much as I’d a mind; but lors! 
you get tired o’ leatherin’ a chap when you can niver make 
him see what you want him to shy at. I’n seen chaps as ’ud 
stand starin’ at a bough till their eyes shot out afore they’d 

the mill on the floss. 213 

see as a bird’s tail warn’t a leaf, It’s poor work goin’ wi’ such 
raff; but you war allays a rare un at shying, Mr. Tom, an’ I 
could trusten to you for droppin’ down wi’ your stick in the 
nick o’ time at a runnin’ rat, or a stoat, or that, when I war 
a-beatin’ the bushes.” 

Bob had drawn out a dirty cafivas bag, and would perhaps 
not have paused just then if Maggie had not entered the room 
and darted a look of surprise and curiosity at him, whereupon 
he pulled his red locks again with due respect. But the next 
moment the sense of the altered room came upon Maggie with 
a force that overpowered the thought of Bob’s presenoe. Her 
eyes had immediately glanced from him to the place where 
the bookcase had hung: there was nothing now but the ob¬ 
long unfaded space on the wall, and below it the small table 
with the Bible and the few other books. 

44 Oh, Tom,” she burst out, clasping her hands, “ where are 
the books? I thought my uncle Glegg said he would buy 
tjiem—didn’t he? Are those all they’ve left us?” 

44 I su ppos e so,” said Tom, with a sort of desperate indiffer¬ 
ence. 44 Why should they buy many books when they bought 
bo little furniture ?” 

44 Oh but, Tom,” said Maggie, her eyes filling with tears as 
she rushed up to the table to see what books had been rescued, 

44 our dear old Pilgrim’s Progress that you colored with your j 
little paints; and that picture of Pilgrim with a mantle on, j 
looking just like a turtle—oh dear!” Maggie went on, half I 
Bobbing as she turned over the few books. 44 1 thought we ! 
should never part with that while we lived: every thing is 
going away from us; the end of our lives will have nothing in 
it like the beginning!” 

Maggie turned away from the table and threw herself into 
a chair with the big tears ready to roll down her cheeks— 
quite blinded to the presence of Bob, who was looking at her 
with the pursuant gaze of an intelligent dumb animal, with 
perceptions more perfect than his comprehension. 

44 Well, Bob,” said Tom, feeling that the subject of the books 
was unseasonable, 44 1 suppose you just came to see me because 
we’re in trouble? That was very good-natured of you.” 

44 I’ll tell you how it is, Master Tom,” said Bob, beginning 
to untwist his canvas bag. 44 You see, Fn been with a barge 
this two ’ear—that’s how Fn been gettin’ my livin’—if it 
wasn’t when I was tentin’ the furnace, between whiles, at 
Torry’s mill. But a fortni’t ago I’d a rare bit o’ luck—I allays 
thought I was a lucky chap, for I niver set a trap but what I 
catched so’thing; but this wasn’t a trap; it was a fire i’ Ter¬ 
ry’s mill, an’ I doused it, else it ’ud ha’ set th’ oil alight, an’ 



the genelman gen me ten suvreigns—he gen me ’em himself 
last week. An 9 he said first I was a sperrited chap; but I 
knowed that afore; but then he oats wi’ the ten suvreigns, 
an’ that war surnmat new. Here they are—all but one!” 
Here Bob emptied the canvas bag on the table. “ An’ when 
I’d got ’em, my head was all of a boil like a kettle o’ bipth, 
thinkin’ what sort o’ life I should take to—for there war a 
many trades Td thought on; for as for the barge, Pm dean 
tired out wi’t, for it pulls the days out till they are as long as 
pigs’ chitterlings. An’ I thought first Td ha’ ferrets an* dogs, 
an’ be a rat-ketcher; an’ then I thought as I should like a big¬ 
ger way o’ life, as I didn’t know so well; for I’n seen to fife 
bottom o’ rat-ketching; an’ I thought an’ thought till at last I 
settled Pd be a packman, for they’re knowin’ fellers, the pack¬ 
men are; an’ I’d cany the lightest things I could i’ my pack; 
an’ there’d be a use for a feller’s tongue, as is no use neither 
wi’ rats nor barges. An’ I should go about the country fir 
an’ wide, an’ come round the women wi’ my tongue, an’ get 
my dinner hot at the public—lore! it ’ud be a lovely life !** 

Bob paused, and then said, with defiant decision, as if reso¬ 
lutely turning his back on that paradisaic picture, 

“But I don’t mind about it not a chip! An’ Pn changed 
one o’ the suvreigns to buy my mother a goose for dinner, an’ 
I’n bought a blue plush wescoat an’ a seal-skin cap; for if I 
meant to be a packman, I’d do it respectable. But I don’t 
mind about it not a chip! My yead isn’t a turnup, an’ I shall 
p’r’aps have a chance o’ dousing another fire afore long. Tm 
a lucky chap. So I’ll thank you to take the nine suvreigns, 
Mr. Tom, and set yoursen up with ’em somehow—if it’s true 
as the master’s broke. They mayn’t go fur enough, but they’ll 

Tom was touched keenly enough to forget his pride and sus¬ 

“ You’re a very kind fellow, Bob,” he said, coloring, with 
that little, diffident tremor in his voice which gave a certain 
charm even to Tom’s pride and severity, “ and I sha’n’t forget 
you again, though I didn’t know you this evening. But I 
can’t take the nine sovereigns. I should be taking your little 
fortune from you, and they wouldn’t do me much good either.” 

“ Wouldn’t they, Mr.Tom?” said Bob, regretfully. “Now 
don’t say so ’cause you think I want ’em. I aren’t a poor 
chap. My mother gets a good penn’orth wi’ picking featners 
an’ things; an’ if she eats nothin’ but bread an’ water, it runs 
to fat. An’ I’m such a lucky chap; an’ I doubt you aren’t 
quite so lucky, Mr. Tom—th’ old master isn’t, anyhow—an’ so 
you might take a slice o’ my luck, an’ no harm done. Lots! 



I found a leg o’ pork i’ the river one day: it had tumbled out 
o’ one o’ them round-stemed Dutchmen, I’ll be bound. Come, 
think better on it, Mr. Tom, for old ’quinetance sake, else I shall 
think you bear me a grudge.” 

Bob pushed the sovereigns forward, but before Tom could 
speak, Maggie, clasping her hands, and looking penitently at 
Bob, said, 

44 Oh, I’m so sorry, Bob—I never thought you were so good. 
Why, I think you’re the kindest person m the world!” 

Bob had not been aware of the injurious opinion for which 
Maggie was performing an inward act of penitence, but he 
smiled with pleasure at this handsome eulogy, especially from 
a young lass who, as he informed his mother that evening, had 
44 such uncommon eyes, they looked somehow as they made him 
feel nohow.” 

44 No, indeed, Bob, I can’t take them,” said Tom; 44 but don’t 
think I feel your kindness less because I say no. I don’t want 
to take any thing from any body, but to work my own way. 
And those sovereigns wouldn’t help me much—they wouldn’t, 
really—if 1 were to take them. Let me shake hands with you 

Tom put out his pink palm, and Bob was not slow to place 
his hard, grimy hand within it. 

44 Let me put the sovereigns in the bag again,” said Mag¬ 
gie; 44 and you’ll come and see us when you’ve bought your 
pack, Bob.” 

44 It’s like as if I’d come out o’ make-believe, o’ purpose to 
show ’em you,” said Bob, with an air of discontent, as Maggie 
gave him the bag again, 44 a-taking ’em back i’ this way. lam 
a bit of a Do, you how; but it isn’t that sort o’ Do: it’s on’y 
when a feller’s a big rogue, or a big flat, I like to let him in a 
bit, that’s all.” 

44 Now don’t you be up to any tricks, Bob,” said Tom, 44 else 
you’ll get transported some day.” 

44 No, no, not me, Mr.Tom,” said Bob, with an air of cheer¬ 
ful confidence. 44 There’s no law again’ fleabites. If I wasn’t 
to take a fool in now and then, he’d niver get any wiser. But, 
lors! hev a suvreign to buy you and miss summat, on’y for a 
token—just to match mv pocket-knife.” 

While Bob was spealring he laid down the sovereign, and 
resolutely twisted up his bag again. Tom pushed back the 
gold ana said, 44 No, indeed,Bob; thank you heartily; but I 
can’t take it.” And Maggie, taking it between her fingers, 
held it up to Bob, and said, more persuasively, 

44 Not now—but perhaps another time. Ii ever Tom or my 
lather wants help that you can give, we’ll let you know—won’t 



we,Tom? That’s what you would like—to have us always 
depend on you as a friend that we can go to—isn’t it, Bob 

“ Yes, miss, and thank you,” said Bob, reluctantly taking the 
money; “that’s what I’d like—any thing as you like. An’ I 
wish you good-by, miss, and good luck, Mr. Tom, and thank 
you for shaking hands wi’ me, though you wouldn’t take the 

Kezia’s entrance, with very black looks, to inquire if she 
shouldn’t bring in the tea now, or whether the toast was to 
get hardened to a brick, was a seasonable check on Bob’s flux 
of words, and hastened his parting bow. 



The days passed, and Mr. Tolliver showed, at least to the 
eyes of the medical man, stronger and stronger symptoms of a 
gradual return to his normal condition: the paralytic obstruc¬ 
tion was, little by little, losing its tenacity, and the mind was 
rising from under it with fitful struggles, like a living creature 
making its way from under a great snowdrift, that slides and 
slides again, and shuts up the newly-made opening. 

Time would have seemed to creep to the watchers by the 
bed if it had only been measured by the doubtful distant hope 
which kept count of the moments within the chamber; but it 
was measured for them by a fast-a ppro aching dread which 
made the nights come too quickly. While Mr. Tulliver was 
slowly becoming himself again, his lot was hastening toward 
its moment of most palpable change. The taxing-masters had 
done their work like any respectable gunsmith conscientiously 
preparing the musket, that, duly pointed by a brave arm, will 
spoil a life or two. Allocators, filing of bills in Chancery, de¬ 
crees of sale, are legal chain-shot or bomb-shells that can never 
hit a solitary mark, but must fall with widespread shattering. 
So deeply inherent is it in this life of ours that men have to 
suffer for each other’s sins, so inevitably diffusive is human 
suffering, that even justice makes its victims, and we can con¬ 
ceive no retribution that does not spread beyond its mark'in 
pulsations of unmerited pain. 

By the beginning of the second week in January the bills 
were out advertising the sale, under a decree of Chancery, of 
Mr. Tulliver’s farming and other stock, to be followed by a side 
of the mill and land, held in the proper after-dinner hour at the 
Golden Lion. The miller himself, unaware of the lapse of time, 



fancied himself still in that first stage of his misfortunes when 
expedients might be thought of; and often in his conscious 
hours talked in a feeble, disjointed manner of plans he would 
carry out when he “ got well.” The wife ana children were 
not without hope of an issue that would at least save Mr. Tul- 
liver from leaving the old spot, and seeking an entirely strange 
life. For uncle Deane had been induced to interest himself m 
this stage of the business. It would not, he acknowledged, be 
a bad speculation for Guest and Co. to buy Dorlcote Mill, and 
carry on the business, which was a good one, and might be in¬ 
creased by the addition of steam-power, in which case Tulliver 
might be retained as manager. Still Mr. Deane would say 
nothing decided about the matter: the fact that Wakem held 
the mortgage on the land might put it into his head to bid for 
the whole estate, and further, to outbid the cautious firm of 
Guest and Co., who did not carry on business on sentimental 
grounds. Mr. Deane was obliged to tell Mrs. Tulliver some¬ 
thing to that effect when he rode over to the mill to inspect 
the books in company with Mrs. Glegg; for she haci observed 
that “ if Guest and Co. would only think about it, Mr.Tulliver’s 
father and grandfather had been carrying on Dorlcote Mill long 
before the oil-mill of that firm had been so much as thought 
of.” Mr. Deane, in reply, doubted whether that was precisely 
the relation between the two mills which would determine 
their value as investments. As for uncle Glegg, the thing lay 
quite beyond his imagination ; the good-natured man felt sin¬ 
cere pity for the Tulliver family, but his money was all locked 
up in excellent mortgages, and he could run no risk; that 
would be unfair to his own relatives; but he had made up his 
mind Tulliver should have some new flannel waistcoats which 
he had himself renounced in favor of a more elastic commodity, 
and that he would buy Mrs. Tulliver a pound of tea now and 
then; it would be a journey which his benevolence delighted 
in beforehand to carry the tea, and see her pleasure on being 
assured it was the best black. 

Still it was clear that Mr. Deane was kindly disposed toward 
the Tullivers. One day he had brought Lucy, who was come 
home for the Christmas holidays, and the little blonde angel- 
head had pressed itself against Maggie’s darker cheek with 
many lasses and some tears. These fair slim daughters keep 
up a tender spot in the heart of many a partner in a respecta¬ 
ble firm, and perhaps Lucy’s anxious pitying questions about 
her poor cousins helped to make uncle Deane more prompt in 
finding Tom a temporary place in the warehouse, and in put¬ 
ting him in the way of getting evening lessons in book-keep- 
ing and calculation. 




That might have cheered the lad and fed his hopes a little, 
if there had not come at the same time the much-dreaded blow 
of finding that his father must be a bankrupt after all; at least, 
the creditors must be asked to take less than their due, which 
to Tom’s untechnical mind was the same thing as bankruptcy. 
His father must not only be said to have “ lost his property,” 
but to have “ failed”—the word that carried the worst oblo¬ 
quy to Tom’s mind. For when the defendant’s chum for costs 
had been satisfied, there would remain the friendly bill of Mr. 
Gore, and the deficiency at the bank, as well as the other debts, 
which would make the assets shrink into unequivocal dispro¬ 
portion : “ not more than ten or twelve shillings in the pound,” 
predicted Mr. Deane, in a decided tone, tightening his lips; 
and the words fell on Tom like a scalding liquid, leaving a 
continual smart. 

He was sadly in want of something to keep up his spirits a 
little in the unpleasant newness of his position, suddenly trans¬ 
ported from the easy carpeted ennui of study-hours at Mr. 
Stelling’s, and the busy idleness of castle-building in a “last 
half” at school, to the companionship of sacks and hides, and 
bawling men thundering down heavy weights at his elbow. 
The first step toward getting on in the world was a chill, 
dusty, noisy affair, and implied going without one’s tea in or¬ 
der to stay in St. Ogg’s and have an evening lesson from a one- 
armed elderly clerk, in a room smelling strongly of bad tobac¬ 
co. Tom’s young pink and white face had its colors veiy much 
deadened by the time he took off his hat at home, and sat 
down with keen hunger to his supper. No wonder he was a 
little cross if his mother or Maggie spoke to him. 

But all this time Mrs. Tulliver was brooding over a scheme 
by which she, and no one else, would avert the result most to 
be dreaded, and prevent Wakem from entertaining the purpose 
of bidding for the mill. Imagine a truly respectable and ami¬ 
able hen, by some portentous anomaly taking to reflection and 
inventing combinations by which she might prevail on Hodge 
not to wring her neck, or send her and her chicks to market: 
the result could hardly be other than much cackling and flut¬ 
tering. Mrs. Tulliver, seeing that every thing had gone wrong, 
had begun to think that she had been too passive in life, and 
that, if she had applied her mind to busmess, and taken a 
6trong resolution now and then, it would have been all the bet¬ 
ter for her and her family. Nobody, it appeared, had thought 
of going to speak to Wakem on this busmess of the mill; and 
yet, Mrs. Tulliver reflected, it would have been quite the 
shortest method of securing the right end. It would have 
been of no use, to be sure, for Mr. Tulliver to go, even if he had 



,been able and willing; for he had been “ going to law against 
Wakem” and abusing him for the last ten years; Wakem was 
always likely to have a spite against him. And now that Mrs. 
Tulliver had come to the conclusion that her husband was very 
much in the wrong to bring her into this trouble, she was in¬ 
clined to think that his opinion of Wakem was wrong too. 
To be sure, Wakem had “put the bailies in the house, and sold 
them up;” but she supposed he did that to please the man 
that lent Mr. Tulliver the money, for a lawyer had more folks 
to please than one, and he wasn’t likely to put Mr. Tulliver, 
who had gone to law with him, above every body else in the 
world. The attorney might be a very reasonable man—why 
not ? He had married a Miss Clint, and at the time Mrs. Tul¬ 
liver had heard of that marriage, the summer when she wore 
her blue satin spencer, and had not yet any thoughts of Mr. 
Tulliver, she knew no harm of Wakem. And certainly toward 
herself—whom he knew to have been a Miss Dodson—it was 
out of all possibility that he could entertain any thing but good¬ 
will, when it was once brought home to his observation that 
she, for her part, had never wanted to go to law, and, indeed, 
was at present disposed to take Mr. Wakem’s view of all sub¬ 
jects rather than her husband’s. In fact, if that attorney saw 
a respectable matron like herself disposed “ to give him good 
words,” why shouldn’t he listen to her representations ? For 
she would put the matter clearly before him, which had never 
been done yet. And he would never go and bid for the mill 
on purpose to spite her, an innocent woman, who thought it 
likely enough that she had danced with him in their youth at 
Squire Darleigh’s, for at those big dances she had often and 
often danced with young men whose names she had forgotten. 

Mrs. Tulliver hid these reasonings in her own bosom; for 
when she had thrown out a hint to Mr. Deane and Mr. Glegg 
that she wouldn’t mind going to speak to Wakem herself, they 
had said, “No, no,no,” and “Pooh! pooh!” and “Let Wakem 
alone,” in the tone of men who were not likely to give a candid 
attention to a more definite exposition of her project; still less 
dared she mention the plan to Tom and Maggie, for “ the chil¬ 
dren were always so against every thing their mother said 
and Tom, she observed, was almost as much set against Wakem 
as his father was. But this unusual concentration of thought 
naturally gave Mrs. Tulliver an unusual power of device and 
determination; and a day or two before the sale, to be held at 
the Golden Lion, when there was no longer any time to be lost, 
she carried out her plan by a stratagem. There were pickles 
in question—a large stock of pickles and ketchup which Mrs. 
Tulliver possessed, and which Mr. Hyndmarsh, the 


the mill on the floss. 

would certainly purchase if she could transact the business in 
a personal interview, so she would walk with Tom to St. Ogg^ 
that morning; and when Tom urged that she might let the 
pickles be at present—he didn’t like her to go about just yet— 
she appeared so hurt at this conduot in her son, contradicting 
her about pickles which she had made after the family receipts 
inherited from his own grandmother, who had died when his 
mother was a little girl, that he gave way, and they walked 
together until she turned toward Danish Street, where Mr. 
Hyndmarsh retailed his grocery, not far from the offices of 
Mr. Wakem. 

That gentleman was not yet come to his office: would Mrs. 
Tulliver sit down by the fire in his private room and wait for 
him ? She had not long to wait before the punctual attorney 
entered, knitting his brow with an examining glance at the 
stout blonde woman who rose, courtesying deferentially—a 
tallish man, with an aquiline nose and abundant iron-gray hair. 
You have never seen Mr. Wakem before, and are possibly won¬ 
dering whether he was really as eminent a rascal, and as crafty, 
bitter an enemy of honest humanity in general, and of Mr. Tul¬ 
liver in particular, as he is represented to be in that eidolon 
or portrait of him which we have seen to exist in the miller’s 

It is clear that the irascible miller was a man to interpret 
any chance shot that grazed him as an attempt on his own life, 
and was liable to entanglements in this puzzling world, which, 
due consideration had to his own infallibility, required the hy¬ 
pothesis of a very active diabolical agency to explain them. 
It is still possible to believe that the attorney was not more 
guilty toward him than an ingenious machine, which performs 
its work with much regularity, is guilty toward the rash man 
who, venturing too near it, is caught up by some fly-wheel or 
other, and suddenly converted into unexpected sausages. 

But it is really impossible to decide this question by a glance 
at his person: the lines and lights of the human countenance 
are like other symbols—not always easy to read without a 
key. On an a priori view of Wakem’s aquiline nose, which 
offended Mr. Tulliver, there was not more rascality than in the 
shape of his stiff shirt collar, though this too, along with his 
nose, might have become fraught with damnatory meaning 
when once the rascality was ascertained. 

“ Mrs. Tulliver, I think ?” said Mr. Wakem. 

“ Yes, sir. Miss Elizabeth Dodson as was.” 

“ Pray be seated. You have some business with me ?” 

“ Well, sir, yes,” said Mrs. Tulliver, beginning to feel alarm¬ 
ed at her own courage, now she was really in presence of the 



formidable man, and reflecting that she had not settled with 
herself how she should begin. Mr. Wakem felt in his waist¬ 
coat pockets, and looked at her in silence. 

“ I hope, sir,” she began at last—“ I hope, sir, you’re not 
a-thinking as I bear you any ill will because o’ my husband’s 
losing his lawsuit, and the bailies being put in, and the linen 
being sold—oh dear! .... for I wasn’t brought up in that 
way. I’m sure you remember my father, sir, for he was dose 
friends with Squire Darleigh, and we allays went to the dances 
there—the Miss Dodsons—nobody could be more looked on— 
and justly, for there was four of us, and you’re quite aware as 
Mrs. Glegg and Mrs. Deane are my sisters. And as for going 
to law, and losing money, and having sales before you’re dead, 
I never saw any thing o’ that before I was married, nor for a 
long while after. And I’m not to be answerable for my bad 
luck i’ marrying out o’ my own family into one where the 
goings-on was different. And as for being drawn in t’ abuse 
you as other folks abuse you, sir, that I niver was, and nobody 
can say it of me.” 

Mrs. Tulliver shook her head a little, and looked at the hem 
of her pocket-handkerchief. 

“ I’ve no doubt of what you say, Mrs. Tulliver,” said Mr. 
Wakem, with cold politeness. “But you have some question 
to ask me ?” 

“Well, sir, yes. But that’s what I’ve said to myself—I’ve 
said you’d have some nat’ral feeling; and as for my husband, 
as hasn’t been himself for this two months, I’m not ^-defending 
him, in no way, for being so hot about th’ erigation—not but 
what there’s worse men, for he never wronged nobody of a 
shilling nor a penny, not willingly; and as for his fieriness and 
lawing, what could I do ? And him struck as if it was with 
death when he got the letter as said you’d the hold upo’ the 
land. But I can’t believe but what you’ll behave as a gentle¬ 

“ What does all this mean, Mrs. Tulliver ?” said Mr. Wakem, 
rather sharply. “ What do you want to ask me ?” 

“ Why, sir, if you’ll fee so good,” said Mrs. Tulliver, starting 
a little, and speaking more hurriedly, “ if you’ll be so good as 
not to buy the mill an’ the land—the land wouldn’t so much 
matter, only my husband ’ull be like mad at your having it.” 

Something like a new thought flashed across Mr. Wakem’s 
face as he said, “Who told you I meant to buy it?” 

“ Why, sir, it’s none o’ my inventing; and I should never 
ha’ thought of it, for my husband, as ought to know about the 
law, he allays used to say as lawyers had never no call to buy 
any thing—either lands or houses—for they allays got ’em into 




their hands other ways. An 5 1 should think that ’ud be the 
way with you, sir; and I niver said as you’d be the man to do 
contrairy to that.” 

“Ah! well, who was it that did say so?” said Wakem, 
opening his desk, and moving things about, with the accom¬ 
paniment of an almost inaudible whistle. 

“ Why, sir, it was Mr. Glegg and Mr. Deane, as have all the 
management; and Mr. Deane thinks as Guest & Co. ’ud buy 
the mill and let Mr. Tulliver work it for ’em, if you didn’t bid 
for it and raise the price. And it ’ud be such a thing for my 
husband to stay where he is, if he could get his living; for it 
was his father’s before him, the mill was, and his grandfather 
built it, though I wasn’t fond o’ the noise of it when first I was 
married, for there was no mills in our family—not the Dod¬ 
sons—and if I’d known as the mills had so much to do with 
the law, it wouldn’t have been me as ’ud have been the first 
Dodson to marry one; but I went into it blindfold, that I did, 
Crigation and every thing.” 

“ What! Guest and Co. would keep the mill in their own 
hands, I suppose, and pay your husband wages ?” 

“ Oh dear, sir, it’s hard to think of,” said poor Mrs. Tulliver, 
a little tear making its way, “ as my husband should take 
wage. But it ’ud look more like what used to be, to stay at 
the mill than to go any where else; and if you’ll only think— 
if you was to bid for the mill and buy it, my husband might 
be struck worse than he was before, and niver get better again 
as he’s getting now.” 

“Well, but if I bought the mill, and allowed your husband 
to act as my manager in the same way, how then ?” said Mr. 

“ Oh, sir, I doubt he could niver be got to do it, not if the 
very mill stood still to beg and pray of him. For your name’s 
like poison to him, it’s so as never was; and he looks upon it 
as you’ve been the ruin of him all along, ever since you set the 
law on him about the road through the meadow—that’s eight 
year ago, and he’s been going on ever since—as I’ve allays 
told him he was wrong . . .” 

“He’s a pig-headed, foul-mouthed fool!” burst out Mr. 
Wakem, forgetting himself. 

. “ Oh dear, sir1” said Mrs. Tulliver, frightened at a result so 
different from the one which she had fixed her mind on; “I 
wouldn’t wish to contradict you, but it’s like enough he’s 
changed his mind with this illness—he’s forgot a many things 
he used to talk about. And you wouldn’t like to have a corpse 
on your mind if he was to die; and they do say as it’s allays 
unlucky when Dorlcote Mill changes hands, and the water 



might all run away, and then . . . not as Fm wishing yon any 
ill Tuck, sir, for I forgot to tell you as I remember your wed¬ 
ding as if it was yesterday—Mrs. Wakem was a Miss Clint, I 
know that; and my boy, as there isn’t a nicer, handsomer, 
straighter boy nowhere, went to school with your son . . 

Mr. Wakem rose, opened the door, and called to one of his 

“ You must excuse me for interrupting you, Mrs. Tulliver; 
I have business that must be attended to, and I think there is 
nothing more necessary to be said.” 

“ But if you would bear it in mind, sir,” said Mrs. Tulliver, 
rising, “ and not run against me and my children; and Fm not 
denying Mr. Tulliver’s been in the wrong, but has been pun¬ 
ished enough, and there’s worse men, for it’s been giving to 
other folks has been his fault. He’s done nobody any harm 
but himself and his family—the more's the pity; and I go and 
look at the bare shelves every day, and think where all my 
things used to stand.” 

“ Yes, yes, Fll bear it in mind,” said Mr. Wakem, hastily, 
looking toward the open door. 

“And if you’d please not to say as I’ve been to speak to 
you, for my son ’ud be very angry with me for demeaning 
myself, I know he would, and I’ve trouble enough without 
being scolded by my children.” 

Poor Mrs. Tulliver’s voice trembled a little, and she could 
make no answer to the attorney’s “ good morning,” but courte- 
sied and walked out in silence. 

“ Which day is it that Dorlcote Mill is to be sold ? Where’s 
the bill?” said Mr. Wakem to his clerk when they were alone. 

“Next Friday is the day—Friday, at six o’clock.” 

“ Oh! just run to Winship’s, the auctioneer, and see if he’s 
at home. I have some business for him: ask him to come 

Although, when Mr. Wakem entered his office that morn¬ 
ing, he had no intention of purchasing Dorlcote Mill, his mind 
was already made up: Mrs. Tulliver had suggested to him 
several determining motives, and his mental glance was very 
rapid: he was one of those men who can be prompt without 
being rash, because their motives run in fixed tracks, and they 
have no need to reconcile conflicting aims. 

To suppose that Wakem had the same sort of inveterate 
hatred toward Tulliver that Tulliver had toward him, would 
be like supposing that a pike and a roach can look at each oth¬ 
er from a similar point of view. The roach necessarily abhors 
the mode in which the pike gets his living, and the pike is 
likely to think nothing further even of the most indigpmt»ww&L 



than that he is excellent good eating; it could only be when 
the roach choked him that the pike could entertain a strong 
personal animosity. If Mr. Tulliver had ever seriously injured 
or thwarted the attorney, Wakem would not have refused him 
the distinction of being a special object of his vindictiveness. 
But when Mr. Tulliver called Wakem a rascal at the market 
dinner-table, the attorney’s clients were not a whit inclined to 
withdraw their business from him; and i£ when Wakem him¬ 
self happened to be present, some jocose cattle-feeder, stimu¬ 
lated by opportunity and brandy, made a thrust at him by al¬ 
luding to old ladies’ wills, he maintained perfect sangfroid, and 
knew quite well that the majority of substantial men then pres¬ 
ent were perfectly content with the fact that “ Wakem was 
Wakem;” that is to say, a man who always knew the step¬ 
ping-stones that would carry him through very muddy bits of 
practice. A man who had made a large fortune, had a hand¬ 
some house among the trees at Tofton, and decidedly the finest 
stock of port wine in the neighborhood of St. Ogg’s, was likely 
to feel himself on a level with public opinion. And I am not 
sure that even honest Mr. Tulliver himself, with his general 
view of law as a cockpit, might not, under opposite circum¬ 
stances, have seen a fine appropriateness in the truth that 
“ Wakem was Wakem,” since I have understood from per¬ 
sons versed in history that mankind is not disposed to look 
narrowly into the conduct of great victors when their victory 
is on the right side. Tulliver, then, could be no obstruction 
to Wakem; on the contrary, he was a poor devil whom the 
lawyer had defeated several times—a hot-tempered fellow, who 
would always give you a handle against him. Wakem’s con¬ 
science was not uneasy because he had used a few tricks 
against the miller: why should he hate that unsuccessful plain¬ 
tiff—that pitiable, furious bull entangled in the meshes of a 

Still, among the various excesses to which human nature is 
subject, moralists have never numbered that of being too fond 
of the people who openly revile us. The successful Yellow 
candidate for the borough of Old Topping, perhaps, feels no 
pursuant meditative hatred toward the Blue editor who con¬ 
soles his subscribers with vituperative rhetoric against Yellow 
men who sell their country, and are the demons of private life; 
but he might not be sorry, if law and opportunity favored, to 
kick that Blue editor to a deeper shade of his favorite color. 
Prosperous men take a little vengeance now and then, as they 
take a diversion, when it comes easily in their way, and is no 
hinderance to business; and such small unimpassioned revenges enormous effect in life, ru nnin g through all degrees of 



pleasant infliction, blocking the fit men out of places, and black¬ 
ening characters in unpremeditated talk. Still more, to see 
people who have been only insignificantly offensive to us re¬ 
duced in life and humiliated without any special efforts of 
ours, is apt to have a soothing, flattering influence: Provi¬ 
dence, or some other prince of this world, it appears, has un¬ 
dertaken the task of retribution for us; and really, by an 
agreeable constitution of things, our enemies, somehow, dorCt 

Wakem was not without this parenthetic vindictiveness to¬ 
ward the uncomplimentary miller; and, now Mrs. Tulliver had 
put the notion mto his head, it presented itself to him as a 
pleasure to do the very thing that would cause Mr. Tulliver 
the most deadly mortification—and a pleasure of a complex 
kind, not made up of crude malice, but mingling with it the 
relish of self-approbation. To see an enemy humiliated gives 
a certain contentment, but this is jejune compared with the 
highly blent satisfaction of seeing him humiliated by your be¬ 
nevolent action or concession on his behalf. This is a sort of 
revenge which falls into the scale of virtue, and Wakem was 
not without an intention of keeping that scale respectably fill¬ 
ed. He had once had the pleasure of putting an old enemy 
of his into one of the St. Ogg’s alma-houses, to the rebuilding 
of which he had given a large subscription; and here was an 
opportunity of providing for another by making him his own 
servant. Such things give a completeness to prosperity, and 
contribute elements of agreeable consciousness that are not 
dreamed of by that short-sighted, overheated vindictiveness, 
which goes out of its way to wreak itself in direct injury. 
And Tulliver, with his rough tongue filed by a sense of obliga¬ 
tion, would make a better servant than any chance fellow who 
was cap-in-hand for a situation. Tulliver was known to be a 
man of proud honesty, and Wakem was too acute not to be¬ 
lieve in the existence of honesty. He was given to observing 
individuals, not of judging them according to maxims, and no 
one knew better than he that all men were not like himself. 
Besides, he intended to overlook the whole business of land 
and mill pretty closely: he was fond of these practical rural 
matters. But there were good reasons for purchasing Dorl- 
cote Mill quite apart from anjr benevolent vengeance on the 
miller. It was really a capital investment; besides, Guest and 
Co. were going to bid for it. Mr. Guest and Mr. Wakem 
were on friendly dining terms, and the attorney liked to pre¬ 
dominate over a ship-owner and mill-owner who was a little 
too loud in the town affairs as well as in his table-talk.^ For 
Wakem was not a mere man of business: be 

K 2 


the mill on the floss. 

a pleasant fellow in the upper circles of St. Ogg’s—chatted 
amusingly over his port wine, did a little amateur arming, and 
had certainly been an excellent husband and father: at church, 
when he went there, he sat under the handsomest of mural 
monuments erected to the memory of his wife. Most men 
would have married again under his circumstances, but he was 
said to be more tender to his deformed son than most men 
were to their best-shapen offspring. Not that Mr. Wakem 
had not other sons besides Philip; but toward them he held 
only a chiaroscuro parentage, and provided for them in a grade 
of fife duly beneath his own. In this fact, indeed, there lay 
the clenching motive to the purchase of Dorlcote Mill. While 
Mrs. Tulliver was talking, it had occurred to the rapid-minded 
lawyer, among all the other circumstances of the case, that 
this purchase would, in a few years to come, furnish a highly 
suitable position for a certain favorite lad whom he meant to 
bring on in the world. 

These were the mental conditions on which Mrs. Tulliver 
had undertaken to act persuasively, and had foiled; a fact 
which may receive some illustration from the remark of a great 
philosopher, that fly-fishers fail in preparing their bait so as to 
make it alluring in the right quarter, for want of a due ac¬ 
quaintance with the subjectivity of fishes. 



It was a clear frosty January day on which Mr. Tulliver 
first came down stairs; the bright sun on the chestnut boughs 
and the roofs opposite his window had made him impatiently 
declare that he would be caged up no longer: he thought 
every where would be more cheery under this sunshine than 
his bedroom; for he knew nothing of the bareness below, 
which made the flood of sunshine importunate, as if it had an 
unfeeling pleasure in showing the empty places, and the marks 
where well-known objects once had been. The impression on 
his mind that it was but yesterday when he received the letter 
from Mr. Gore was so continually implied in his talk, and the 
attempts to convey to him the idea that many weeks had pass¬ 
ed and much had happened since then, had been so soon swept 
away by recurrent forgetfulness, that even Mr. Turnbull had 
begun to despair of preparing him to meet the facts by previ¬ 
ous knowledge. The full sense of the present could only be 
imparted gradually by new experience—not by mere words. 


22 1 

which must remain weaker than the impressions left by the 
old experience. This resolution to come down stairs was 
heard with trembling by the wife and children. Mrs. Tulliver 
said Tom must not go to St. Ogg’s at the usual hour—he must 
wait and see his father down stairs; and Tom complied, though 
with an intense inward shrinking from the painful scene. The 
hearts of all three had been more deeply dejected than ever 
during the last few days. For Guest and Co. had not bo ugh t 
the mill: both mill and land had been knocked down to Wa- 
kem, who had been over the premises, and had laid before Mr. 
Deane and Mr. Glegg, in Mrs. Tulliver’s presence, his willing¬ 
ness to employ Mr. Tulliver, in case of his recovery, as a mana¬ 
ger of the business. This proposition had occasioned much 
family debating. Uncles and aunts were almost unanimously 
of opinion that such an offer ought not to be rejected when 
there was nothing in the way but a feeling in Mr. Tulliver’s 
mind, which, as neither aunts nor uncles shared it, was regard¬ 
ed as entirely unreasonable and childish—indeed, as a trans¬ 
ferring toward Wakem of that indignation and hatred which 
Mr. Tulliver ought properly to have directed against himself 
for his general quarrelsomeness, and his special exhibition of 
it in going to law. Here was an opportunity for Mr. Tulliver 
to -provide for his wife and daughter without any assistance 
from his wife’s relations, and without that too evident descent 
into pauperism which makes it annoying to respectable people 
to meet the degraded member of the family by the wayside. 
Mr. Tulliver, Mrs. Glegg considered, must be made to feel, 
when he came to his right mind, that he could never humble 
himself enough; for that had come which she had always fore¬ 
seen would come of his insolence in time past “to them as 
were the best friends he’d got to look to.” Mr. Glegg and Mr. 
Deane were less stern in their views, but they both of them 
thought Tulliver had done enough harm by his hot-tempered 
crotchets, and ought to put them out of the question wnen a 
livelihood was offered him: Wakem showed a right feeling 
about the matter —he had no grudge against Tulliver. Tom 
had protested against entertaining the proposition: he shouldn’t 
like his father to be under Wakem; he thought it would look 
mean-spirited; but his mother’s main distress was the utter 
impossibility of ever “ turning Mr. Tulliver round about Wa¬ 
kem,” or getting him to hear reason—no, they would all have 
to go and live in a pigsty on purpose to spite Wakem, who 
spoke “ so as nobody could be fairer.” Indeed Mrs. Tulliver’s 
mind was reduced to such confusion by living' in this strange 
medium of unaccountable sorrow, against which she con&Hfe 
allj appealed by asking,“ Oh dear, haoe\ V* ^ 



serve worse than other women ?” that Maggie began to sus¬ 
pect her poor mother’s wits were quite going. 

“ Tom,” she said, when they were out of their father’s room 
together, “ we must try to make father understand a little of 
what has happened before he goes down stairs. But we must 
get my mother away. She will say something that will do 
harm. Ask Kezia to fetch her down, and keep her engaged 
with something in the kitchen.” 

Kezia was equal to the task. Having declared her intention 
oi Staying till the master could get about again, “ wage or no 
wage,"” she had found a certain recompense in keeping a strong 
hand over her mistress, scolding her for “ moithering” herself, 
and going about all day without changing her cap, and look¬ 
ing as if 6he was “ mushed.” Altogether, this time of trouble 
was rather a Satumalian time to Kezia: she could scold her 
betters with unreproved freedom. On this particular occa¬ 
sion there were drying clothes to be fetched in: she wished to 
know if one pair of hands could do every thing in-doors and 
out, and observed that she should have thought it would be 
good for Mrs. Tulliver to put on her bonnet, and get a breath 
of fresh air by doing that needful piece of work. Poor Mrs. 
Tulliver went submissively down stairs: to be ordered about 
by a servant was the last remnant of her household dignities 
—she would soon have no servant to scold her. 

Mr. Tulliver was resting in his chair a little after the fatigue 
of dressing, and Maggie and Tom were seated near him, when 
Luke entered to ask if he should help master down stairs. 

“Ay, ay, Luke, stop a bit — sit down,” said Mr. Tulliver, 
pointing his stick toward a chair, and looking at him with that 
pursuant gaze which convalescent persons often have for those 
who have tended them, reminding one of an infant gazing 
about after its nurse; for Luke had been a constant night- 
watcher by his master’s bed. 

“ How’s the water now, eh, Luke ?” said Mr. Tulliver. “ Dix 
hasn’t been choking you up again, eh ?” 

“ No, sir, it’s all right.” 

“ Ay, I thought not: he won’t be in a hurry at that again, 
now Riley’s been to settle him. That was what I said to Riley 
yesterday .... I said . . . .” 

Mr. Tulliver leaned forward, resting his elbows on the arm¬ 
chair, and looking on the ground as if in search of something 
—striving after vanishing images like a man struggling against 
a doze. Maggie looked at Tom in mute distress—their fa¬ 
ther’s mind was so far off the present, which would by-and-by 
thrust itself on his wandering consciousness! Tom was almost 
ready to rush away, with that impatience of painful emotion 



which makes one of the differences between youth and maiden, 
man and woman. 

“ Father,” said Maggie, laying her hand on his, 44 don’t you 
remember that Mr. Riley is dead ?” 

44 Dead ?” said Mr. Tulliver, sharply, looking in her face with 
a strange, examining glance. 

44 Yes, he died of apoplexy nearly a year ago; I remember 
hearing you say you had to pay money for him; and he left his 
daughters badly off—one of them is under-teacher at MissFir- 
niss’s, where Fve been to school, you know . . . .” 

44 Ah ?” said her father, doubtfully, still looking in her face. 
But as soon as Tom began to speak he turned to look at him 
with the same inquiring glances, as if he were rather surprised 
at the presence of these two young people. Whenever his 
mind was wandering in the far past, he fell into this oblivion 
of their actual faces: they were not those of the lad and the lit¬ 
tle wench who belonged to that past. 

44 It’s a long while since you had the dispute with Dix, far 
ther,” said Tom. 44 1 remember your talking about it three 
years ago, before I went to school at Mr. Stelling’s. I’ve been 
at school there three years; don’t you remember ?” 

Mr. Tulliver threw himself back again, losing the childish 
outward glance under a rush of new ideas, which diverted him 
from external impressions. 

44 Ay, ay,” he said, after a minute or two, 44 Fve paid a deal 
o’ money .... I was determined my son should have a good 
eddication: I’d none myself, and Fve felt the miss of it. And 
he’ll want no other fortin’: that’s what I say .... if Wakem 
was to get the better of me again . . . .” 

The thought of Wakem roused new vibrations, and after a 
moment’s pause he began to look at the coat he had on, and to 
feel in his side-pocket. Then he turned to Tom, and said in his 
old sharp way, 44 Where have they put Gore’s letter ?” 

It was close at hand in a drawer, for he had often asked for 
it before. 

44 You know what there is in the letter, father ?” said Tom, 
as he gave it to him. 

44 To be sure I do,” said Mr. Tulliver, rather angrily. 44 What 
o’ that ? If Furley can’t take to the property, somebody else 
can: there’s plenty o’ people in the world besides Furley. But 
it’s hindering—my not being well: go and tell ’em to get the 
horse in the gig, Luke; I can get down to St. Ogg’s well 
enough—Gore’s expecting me.” 

44 No, dear father!” Maggie burst out entreatingly, 44 it’s a 
very long while since all that: you’ve been ill a great many 
weeks—more than two months—every 




Mr. Tulliver looked at them all three alternately with a start¬ 
led gaze: the idea that much had happened of which he knew 
nothing had often transiently arrested him before, bat it came 
upon him now with entire novelty. 

44 Yes, father,” said Tom, in answer to the gaze. “You 
needn’t trouble your mind about business until you are quite 
well; every thing is settled about that for the present—about 
the mill, and the land, and the debts.” 

44 What’s settled, then ?” said his father, angrily. 

44 Don’t you take on too much about it, sir,” said Luke. 
44 You’d ha’paid ivery body if you could—that’s what I said 
to Master Tom—I said you’a ha’ paid ivery body if you 

Good Lukfe felt, after the manner of contented hard-work¬ 
ing men whose lives have been spent in servitude, that sense 
of natural fitness in rank which made his master’s downfall a 
tragedy to him. He was urged, in his slow way, to say some¬ 
thing that would express his share in the family sorrow, and 
these words, which he had used over and over again to Tom 
when he wanted to decline the full payment of his fifty pounds 
out of the children’s money, were the most ready to his 
tongue. They were just the words to lay the most painful 
hold on his master’s bewildered mind. 

44 Paid every body,” he said, with vehement agitation, his 
face flushing, and his eye lighting up. 44 Why .... what 
.... have they made me a bankrupt 

44 Oh father, dear father!” said Maggie, who thought that 
terrible word really represented the fact, 44 bear it well—be¬ 
cause we love you—your children will always love you. Tom 
will pay them all; he says he will, when he’s a man.” 

She felt her father beginning to tremble; his voice trembled 
too, as he said, after a few moments, 

44 Ay, my little wench, but I shall never live twice o’er.” 

44 But perhaps you will live to see me pay every body, fa- 
ther,” said Tom, speaking with a great effort. 

44 Ay! my lad,” said Mr. Tulliver, shaking his head slowly, 
44 but what’s broke can never be whole again: it ’ud be your 
doing, not mine.” Then, looking up at him, 44 YouHre only six¬ 
teen—it’s an up-hill fight for you—but you mustn’t throw it 
at your father; the raskills have been too many for him. Fve 
given you a good eddication—that’ll start you.” 

Something in his throat half choked the last words; the flush 
which had alarmed his children because it had so often pre¬ 
ceded a recurrence of paralysis had subsided, and his face look¬ 
ed pale and tremulous. Tom said nothing; he was still strug- 
gling against his inclination to rush away. His father remain- 



ed quiet a minute or two, but his mind did not seem to be 
wandering again. 

“ Have they sold me up, then ?” he said, more calmly, as if 
he were possessed simply by the desire to know what had hap¬ 

“ Every thing is sold, father; but we don’t*know all about 
the mill and the land yet,” said Tom, anxious to ward off any 
question leading to the fact that Wakem was the purchaser. 

“ You must not be surprised to see the room look very bare 
down stairs, father,” said Maggie; “but there’s your chair and 
the bureau— they're not gone. 

“Let us go—help me down, Luke—I’ll go and see every 
thing,” said Mr. TuUiver, leaning on his stick, and stretching 
out his other hand toward Luke. 

“Ay, sir,” said Luke, as he gave his arm to his master, 
“ you’ll make up your mind to’t a bit better when you’ve seen 
ivery thing—you’ll get used to’t. That’s what my mother 
says about her shortness o’ breath—she says she’s made friends 
wi’t now, though she fought agin it sore when it fust come 

Maggie ran on before to see that all was right in the dreary 
parlor, where the fire, dulled by the frosty sunshine, seemed 
part of the general shabbiness. She turned her father’s chair, 
and pushed aside the table to make an easy way for him, and • 
then stood with a beating heart to see him enter and look 
round for the first time. Tom advanced before him, carrying 
the leg-rest, and stood beside Maggie on the hearth. Of those 
two young hearts Tom’s suffered the most unmixed pain, for 
Maggie, with all her keen susceptibility, yet felt as if the sor¬ 
row made larger room for her love to flow in, and gave breath¬ 
ing-space to her passionate nature. No true boy feels that: 
he would rather go and slay the Nemean lion, or perform any 
round of heroic labors, than endure perpetual appeals to his 
pity for evils over which he can make no conquest. 

Mr. Tulliver paused just inside the door, resting on Luke, 
and looking round him at all the bare places, which for him 
were'filled with the shadows of departed objects—the daily 
companions of his life. His faculties seemed to be renewing 
their strength from getting a footing on this demonstration of 
the senses. 

“ Ah!” he said, slowly, moving toward his chair, “ they’ve 
sold me up .... they’ve sold me up.” 

Then seating himself, and laying down his stick, while Luke 

left the room, he looked round again. 

“ They’n left the big Bible,” he said. “ It’s got every things 
in—when I was bom and married—bring it 



The quarto Bible was laid open before him at the fly-leafi 
and while he was reading with slowly-traveling eyes, Mrs. 
Tulliver entered the room, but stood in mute surprise to find 
her husband down already, and with the great Bible before 

“ Ah!” he said, looking at a spot where his finger rested, 
“my mother was Margaret Beaton — she died when she was 
forty-seven: hers wasn’t a long-lived family: we’re our moth¬ 
er’s children—Gritty and me are; we shall go to our last bed 
before long.” 

He seemed to be pausing over the record of his sister’s 
birth and marriage, as if it were suggesting new thoughts to 
them; then he suddenly looked up at Tom, and said, in a 
sharp tone of alarm, 

“ They haven’t come upo’ Moss for the money as I lent him, 
have they ?” 

“No, father,” said Tom, “the note was burnt.” 

Mr. Tulliver turned his eyes on the page again, and present¬ 
ly said, 

“ Ah! . . . . Elizabeth Dodson .... it’s eighteen years since 
I married her . . . .” 

“ Come next Ladyday,” said Mrs. Tulliver, going up to his 
side and looking at the page. 

Her husband fixed his eyes earnestly on her face. 

“ Poor Bessy,” he said, “ you was a pretty lass then—every 
body said so—and I used to think you kept your good looks 
rarely. But you’re sorely aged .... don’t you bear me ill will 
.... I meant to do well by you ... .We promised one anoth¬ 
er for better or for worse. 

“ But I never thought it ’ud be so for worse as this,” said 
poor Mrs. Tulliver, with the strange, scared look that had 
come over her of late, “ and my poor father gave me away... 
and to come on so all at once .. . .” 

“ Oh mother,” said Maggie, “ don’t talk in that way.” 

“No, I know you won’t let your poor mother speak .... 
that’s been the way all my life .... your father never mind¬ 
ed what I said .... it ’ud have been o’ no use for me to beg 
and pray .... and it ’ud be no use now, not if I was to go 
down o’ my hands and knees ... 

“ Don’t say so, Bessy,” said Mr. Tulliver, whose pride, in 
these first moments of humiliation, was in abeyance to the 
sense of some justice in his wife’s reproach. “ If there’s any 
thing left as I could do to make you amends, I wouldn’t say 
you nay.” 

“ Then we might stay here and get a living, and I might 
keep among my own sisters .... and me been such a good 



wife to you, and never crossed you from week’s end to week’s 
end .... and they all say so .... they say it ’ud be nothing 
but right.... only you’re so turned against Wakem.” 

“ Mother,” said Tom, severely, “ this is not the time to talk 
about that.” 

“ Let her be,” said Mr. Tulliver. “ Say what you mean, 

“ WTiy, now the mill and the land’s all Wakem’s, and he’s 
got every thing in his hands, what’s the use o’ setting your 
face against him when he says you may stay here, and speaks 
as fair as can be, and says you may manage the business, and 
have thirty shilling a-week, and a horse to ride about to mar¬ 
ket ? And where have we got to put our heads ? . We must 
go into one o’ the cottages in the village .... and me and my 
children brought down to that.... and all because you must 
set your mind against folks till there’s no turning you.” 

Mr. Tulliver had sunk back in his chair trembling. 

“ You may do as you like wi’ me, Bessy,” he said, in a low 
voice; “ I’n been the bringing of you to poverty .... this 
world’s too many for me .... Pm naught but a bankrupt— 
it’s no use standing up for any thing now.” 

“ Father,” said Tom, “ I don’t agree with my mother or my 
uncles, and I don’t think you ought to submit to be under 
Wakem. I get a pound a-week now, and you can find some¬ 
thing else to do when you get well.” 

“Say no more, Tom, say no more; I’ve had enough for this 
day. Give me a kiss, Bessy, and let us bear one another no 

ill will: we shall never be young again.This world’s 

been too many for me.” 



That first moment of renunciation and submission was fol¬ 
lowed by days of violent struggle in the miller’s mind, as the 
gradual access of bodily strength brought with it increasing 
ability to embrace in one view all the conflicting conditions 
under which he found himself. Feeble limbs easily resign 
themselves to be tethered, and when we are subdued by sick¬ 
ness it seems possible for us to fulfill pledges which the old 
vigor comes back and breaks. There were times when poor 
Tulliver thought the fulfillment of his promise to Bessy was 
something quite too hard for human nature: he had promised 
her without knowing what she was going to say: she might as 


THE mttx oh the floss. 

well have asked him to carry a ton weight on his back. But, 
again, there were many feelings arguing on her side,'besides the 
sense that life had been made hard to her by having married 
him. He saw a possibility, by much pinching, of saving mon¬ 
ey out of his salary toward paying a second dividend to his 
creditors, and it would not be easy elsewhere to get a situation 
such as he could fill. He had led an easy life, ordering much 
and working little, and had no aptitude for any new business. 
He must perhaps take to day-labor, and his wife must hare help 
from her sisters—a prospect doubly bitter to him, now they 
had let all Bessy’s precious things be sold, probably because 
they liked to set her against him by making her feel that he 
had brought her to that pass. He listened to their admonitory 
talk, when they came to urge on him what he was bound to 
do for poor Bessy’s sake, with averted eyes, that every now 
and then flashed on them furtively when their backs were turn¬ 
ed. Nothing but the dread of needing their help could have 
made it an easier alternative to take their advice. 

But the strongest influence of all was the love of the old 
premises where he had run about when he was a boy, just as 
Tom had done after him. The Tullivers had lived on this spot 
for generations, and he had sat listening on a low stool on win¬ 
ter evenings while his father talked of the old half-timbered 
mill that had been there before the last great floods, which 
damaged it so that his grandfather pulled it down and built 
the new one. It was when he got able to walk about and look 
at all the old objects that he felt the strain of this clinging af¬ 
fection for the old home as part of his life—part of himself. He 
couldn’t bear to think of himself living on any other spot than 
this, where he knew the sound of every gate and door, and felt 
that the shape and color of every roof, and weather-stain, and 
broken hillock was good, because his growing senses had been 
fed on them. Our instructed vagrancy, which has hardly time 
to linger by the hedgerows, but runs away early to the trop¬ 
ics, and is at home with palms and banyans—which is nourish¬ 
ed on books of travel, and stretches the theatre of its imagina¬ 
tion to the Zambesi, can hardly get a dim notion of what an 
old-fashioned man like Tulliver felt for this spot, where all his 
memories centred, and where life seemed like a familiar smooth- 
handled tool that the fingers clutch with loving ease. And 
just now he was living in that freshened memory of the far- 
off time which comes to us in the passive hours of recovery 
from sickness. 

“Ay, Luke,” he said, one afternoon, as he stood looking 
over the orchard gate, “ I remember the day they planted those 
^e-trees. My father was a huge mau for planting—it was 

the mill on the floss. 


like a merry-making to him to get a cart full o’ young trees— 
and I used to stand i’ the cold with him, and follow him about 
like a dog.” 

Then he turned round, and, leaning against the gate-post, 
looked at the opposite buildings. 

44 The old mill ’ud miss me, I think, Luke. There’s a story 
as when the mill changes hands the river’s angry—I’ve heard 
my father say it many a time. There’s no telling whether 
there mayn’t be summat in the story, for this is a puzzling 
world, and Old Harry’s got a finger in it: it’s been too many 
for me, I know.” 

44 Ay, sir,” said Luke, with soothing sympathy, 44 what wi’ 
the rust on the wheat, an’ the firin’ o’ the ricks an’ that, as Fve 
seen i’ my time, things often looks comical: there’s the bacon 
fat wi’ our last pig runs away like butter; it leaves naught but 
a scratchin’.” 

44 It’s just as if it was yesterday, now,” Mr. Tulliver went on, 
44 when my father began the malting. I remember, the day 
they finished the malt-house, I thought summat great was to 
come of it; for we’d a plum-pudding that day and a bit of a 
feast, and I said to my mother—she was a fine dark-eyed wom¬ 
an, my mother was—the little wench ’ull be as like her as two 
peas.” Here Mr. Tulliver put his stick between his legs, and 
took out his snuff-box, for the greater enjoyment of this anec¬ 
dote, which dropped from him in fragments, as if he every oth¬ 
er moment lost narration in vision. 44 I was a little chap no 
higher much than my mother’s knee—she was sore fond of us 
chddren, Gritty and me—and so I said to her, c Mother,’ I said, 
4 shall we have plum-pudding every day because o’ the malt- 
house ?’ She used to tell me o’ that till her dying day. She 
was but a young woman when she died, my mother was. But 
it’s forty good year since they finished the malt-house, and it 
isn’t many days out of ’em all as I haven’t looked out into the 
yard there the first thing in the morning—all weathers, from 
year’s end to year’s end. I should go off my head in a new 
place. I should be like as if I’d lost my way. It’s all hard, 
whichever way I look at it—the harness ’ull gall me—but it 
’ud be summat to draw along the old road istead of a new un.” 

44 Ay, sir,” said Luke, 44 you’d be a deal better here nor in 
some new place. I can’t abide new, places mysen: things is 
allays awk’ard—narrow-wheeled waggins, belike, and the stiles 
all another sort, an’ oat-cake i’ some places, tow’rt th’ head o’ 
the Floss, there. It’s poor work changing your country-side.” 

44 But I doubt, Luke, they’ll be for getting rid o’ Ben, and 
making you do with a lad—and I must help a bit wi’ the mill. 
Ton’ll have a worse place.” 


THE wttx ON THE FL068* 

“ Ne’er mind, sir,” said Luke, “ I sha’n’t plague my sen. Fn 
been wi’ you twenty year, an’ you can’t get twenty year wi’ 
whislin’ for ’em, no more nor you can make the trees grow: 
you man wait till God A’mighty sends ’em. I can’t abide new 
victual nor new faces, Jcan’t—you niver know but what they’ll 
gripe you.” 

The walk was finished in silence after this, for Luke had dis: 
burdened himself of thoughts to an extent that left his conver¬ 
sational resources quite barren, and Mr. Tulliver had relapsed 
from his recollections into a painful meditation on the choice 
of hardships before him. Maggie noticed that he was unusu¬ 
ally absent that evening at tea, and afterward he sat leaning 
forward in his chair, looking at the ground, moving his lips, 
and shaking his head from time to time. Then he looked hard 
at Mrs. Tulliver, who was knitting opposite him, then at Mag¬ 
gie, who, as she bent over her sewing, was intensely conscious 
of some drama going forward in her father’s mind. Suddenly 
he took up the poker and broke the large coal fiercely. 

“ Dear heart! Mr. Tulliver, what can you be thinking of?” 
said his wife, looking up in alarm: “ it’s very wasteful, break¬ 
ing the coal, and we’ve got hardly any large coal left, and I 
don’t know where the rest is to come from.” 

“I don’t think you’re quite so well to-night, are you, fa¬ 
ther ?” said Maggie; “ you seem uneasy.” 

“ Why, how is it Tom doesn’t come ?” said Mr. Tulliver, im¬ 

“ Dear heart! is it time ? I must go and get his supper,” 
said Mrs. Tulliver, laying down her knitting and leaving the 

“It’s nigh upon half past eight,” said Mr. Tulliver. “He’ll 
be here soon. Go—go and get the big Bible, and open it at 
the beginning, where every thing’s set down. And get the 
pen and ink.” 

Maggie obeyed, wondering; but her father gave no further 
orders, and only sat listening for Tom’s footfall on the gravel, 
apparently irritated by the wind, which had risen and was roar¬ 
ing so as to drown all other sounds. There was a strange 
light in his eyes that rather frightened Maggie: she began to 
wish that Tom would come too. 

“ There he is, then,” said Mr. Tulliver, in an excited way, 
when the knock came at last. Maggie went to open the door, 
but her mother came out of the kitchen hurriedly, saying, 
“ Stop a bit, Maggie, I’ll open it.” 

Mrs. Tulliver had begun to be a little frightened at her boy, 
but she was jealous of every office others did for him. 

“Your supper’s ready by the kitchen fire, my boy,” she 



said, as he took off his hat and coat. “ You shall have it by 
yourself, just as you like, and I won’t speak to you.” 

“ I think my father wants Tom, mother,” said Maggie; “ he 
must come into the parlor first.” 

Tom entered with his usual saddened evening face, but his 
eyes fell immediately on the open Bible and the inkstand, and 
he glanced with a look of anxious surprise at his father, who 
was saying, 

u Come, come, you’re late—I want you.” 

“ Is there any thing the matter, father ?” said Tom. 

“You sit down, all of you,” said Mr.Tulliver, peremptorily. 
u And, Tom, sit down here; I’ve got something for you to 
write i’ the Bible.” 

They all three sat down, looking at him. He began to speak 
slowly, looking first at his wife. 

“ I’ve made up my mind, Bessy, and I’ll be as good as my 
word to you. There’s the same grave made for us to lie down 
in, and we mustn’t be bearing one another ill will. I’ll stop in 
the old place, and I’ll serve under Wakem—and I’ll serve him 
like an honest man: there’s no Tulliver but what’s honest, 
mind that,Tom.” Here his voice rose: “They’ll have it to 
throw up against me as I paid a dividend; but it wasn’t my 
fault—it was because there’s raskills in the world. They’ve 
been too many for me, and I must give in. I’ll put my neck 
in harness—for you’ve a right to say as I’ve brought you into 
trouble, Bessy—and I’ll serve him as honest as if he was no 
raskill: I’m an honest man, though I shall never hold my head 
up no more. I’m a tree as is broke—a tree as is broke.” 

He paused and looked on the ground. Then suddenly rais¬ 
ing his head, he said, in a louder yet deeper tone, 

“ But I won’t forgive him! I know what they say—he nev¬ 
er meant me any harm: that’s the way Old Harry props up 
the raskills: he’s been at the bottom of every thing—but he’s 
a fine gentleman—I know, I know. I shouldn’t ha’ gone to 
law, they say. But who made it so as there was no arbitratin’, 
and no justice to be got ? It signifies nothing to him—I know 
that: he’s one o’ them fine gentlemen as get money by doing 
business for poorer folks, and when he’s made beggars of ’em 
he’ll give ’em charity. I won’t forgive him! I wish he might 
be punished with shame till his own son ’ud like to forget him. 
I wish he may do summat as they’d make him work at the 
treadmill! But he won’t; he’s too big a raskill to let the law 
lay hold on him. And you min'd this, Tom, you never forgive 
him neither, if you mean to be my son. There’ll maybe come 
a time when you may make him feel—it’ll never come to me 
—Tn got my head under the yoke. How write—wvvte 
the Bible.” 


the hill on the floss. 

“ Oh, father, what ?” said Maggie, sinking down by his knee 
pale and trembling. “ It’s wicked to curse and bear malice.” 

“It isn’t wicked,I tell you,” said her father, fiercely. “It’s 
wicked as the raskills should prosper—it’s the devil’s doing. 
Do as I tell you, Tom. Write.” 

“ What am I to write, father ?” said Tom, with gloomy sub¬ 

“ Write as your father, Edward Tulliver, took service under 
John Wakem, the man as had helped to ruin him, because I’d 
promised my wife to make her what amends I could for her 
trouble, and because I wanted to die in th’ old place, where I 
was born and my father was bom. Put that i’ the right words 
—you know how—and then write as I don’t forgive Wakem 
for all that; and for all I’ll serve him honest, I wish evil may 
befall him. Write that.” 

There was a dead silence as Tom’s pen moved along the 
paper: Mrs. Tulliver looked scared, and Maggie trembled like 
a leaf. 

“Now let me hear what you’ve wrote,” said Mr. Tulliver. 
Tom read aloud slowly. 

“ Now write—write as you’ll remember what Wakem’s done 
to your father, and you’ll make him and his feel it, if ever the 
day comes. And sign your name Thomas Tulliver.” 

“Oh no, father, dear father!” said Maggie, almost choked 
with fear. “You shouldn’t make Tom write that.” 

“ Be quiet, Maggie,” said Tom. “ I shall write it.” 





Journeying down the Rhone on a summer’s day, you have 
perhaps felt the sunshine made dreary by those ruined villages 
which stud the banks in certain parts of its course, telling how 
the swift river once rose, like an angry, destroying god, sweep¬ 
ing down the feeble generations whose breath is in their nos¬ 
trils, and making their dwellings a desolation. Strange con¬ 
trast, you may have thought, between the effect produced on 
ns by these dismal remnants of commonplace houses, which in 
their best days were but the sign of a sordid life, belonging in 
all its details ta our own vulgar era, and the effect produced 
by those ruins on the castled Rhine, which have crumbled and 
mellowed into such harmony with the green and rocky steeps, 
that they seem to have a natural fitness, like the mountain 

E ine; nay, even in the day when they were built they must 
ave had this fitness, as if they had been raised by an earth- 
born race, who had inherited from their mighty parent a sub¬ 
lime instinct of form. And that was a day of romance! If 
those robber barons were somewhat grim and drunken ogres, 
they had a certain grandeur of the wild beast in them—they 
were forest boars with tusks, tearing and rending, not the or¬ 
dinary domestic grunter; they represented the demon forces 
forever in collision with beauty, virtue, and the gentle uses of 
life; they made a fine contrast in the picture with the wander¬ 
ing minstrel, the soft-lipped princess, the pious recluse, and the 
timid Israelite. That was a time of color, when the sunlight 
fell on glancing steel and floating banners; a time of adventure 
and fierce struggle—nay, of living religious art and religious 
enthusiasm; for were not cathedrals built in those days, and 
did not great emperors leave their Western palaces to die be¬ 
fore the infidel strong-holds in the sacred East ? Therefore it 
is that these Rhine castles thrill me with a sense of poetry •. 



they belong to the grand historic life of humanity, and raise 
up for me the vision of an epoch. But these dead-tinted, hol¬ 
low-eyed, angular skeletons of villages on the Rhone oppress 
me with the feeling that human life—very much of it—is a 
narrow, ugly, groveling existence, which even calamity does 
not elevate, but rather tends to exhibit in all its bare vulgarity 
of conception; and I have a cruel conviction that the lives 
these ruins are the traces of were part of a gross sum of ob¬ 
scure vitality, that will be swept into the same oblivion with 
the generations of ants and beavers. 

Perhaps something akin to this oppressive feeling may have 
weighed upon you in watching this old-fashioned family life 
on the banks of the Floss, which even sorrow hardly suffices 
to lift above the level of the tragi-comic. It is a sordid life, 
you say, this of the Tullivers and Dodsons, irradiated by no 
sublime principles, no romantic visions, no active, self-renounc¬ 
ing faith—moved by none of those wild, uncontrollable pas¬ 
sions which create the dark shadows of misery and crime— 
without that primitive rough simplicity of wants, that hard, 
submissive, ill-paid toil, that childlike spelling-out of what Na¬ 
ture has written, which gives its poetry to peasant life. Here 
one has conventional worldly notions and habits without in¬ 
struction and without polish—surely the most prosaic form of 
human life: proud respectability m a gig of unfashionable 
build: worldliness without side-dishes. Observing these peo¬ 
ple narrowly, even when the iron hand of misfortune has 
shaken them from their unquestioning hold on the world, one 
sees little trace of religion, still less of a distinctively Christian 
creed. Their belief in the Unseen, so far as it manifests itself 
at all, seems to be rather of a pagan kind; their moral notions, 
though held with strong tenacity, seem to have no standard 
beyond hereditary custom. You could not live among such 
people; you are stifled for want of an outlet toward something 
beautiful, great, or noble; you are irritated with these dull 
men and women, as a kind of population out of keeping with 
the earth on which they live—with this rich plain where the 
great river flows forever onward, and links the small pulse of 
the old English town with the beatings of the world’s mighty 
heart. A vigorous superstition, that lashes its gods or lashes 
its own back, seems to be more congruous with the mystery 
of the human lot than the mental condition of these emmet¬ 
like Dodsons and Tullivers. 

I share with you this sense of oppressive narrowness; but 
it is necessary that we should feel it, if we care to understand 
how it acted on the lives of Tom and Maggie—how it has act¬ 
on young natures in many generations, that in the onward 



tendency of human things have risen above the mental level 
of the generation before them, to which they have been never¬ 
theless tied by the strongest fibres of their hearts. The suffer¬ 
ing, whether of martyr or victim, which belongs to every his¬ 
torical advance of mankind, is represented in this way in every 
town, and by hundreds of obscure hearths; and we need not 
shrink from this comparison of small things with great; for 
does not science tell us that its highest striving is after the 
ascertainment of a unity which shall bind the smallest things 
with the greatest ? In natural science, I have understood, 
there is nothing petty to the mind that has a large vision of 
relations, and to which every single object suggests a vast 
sum of conditions. It is surely the same with the observation 
of human life. 

Certainly the religious and moral ideas of the Dodsons and 
Tullivers were of too specific a kind to be arrived at deduct¬ 
ively from the statement that they were part of the Protestant 
population of Great Britain. Their theory of life had its core 
of soundness, as all theories must have on which decent and 
prosperous families have been reared and have flourished; but 
it had the very slightest tincture of theology. If, in the maiden 
days of the Dodson sisters, their Bibles opened more easily at 
some parts than others, it was because of dried tulip-petals, 
which had been distributed quite impartially, without prefer¬ 
ence for the historical, devotional, or doctrinal.* Their religion 
was of a simple, semi-pagan kind, but there was no heresy in 
it—if heresy properly means choice—for they didn’t know there 
was any other religion, except that of chapel-goers, which ap¬ 
peared to run in families, like asthma. How should they know? 
The vicar of their pleasant rural parish was not a controver¬ 
sialist, but a good hand at whist, and one who had a joke al¬ 
ways ready for a blooming female parishioner. The religion 
of the Dodsons consisted in revering whatever was customary 
and respectable: it was necessary to be baptized, else one could 
not be buried in the church-yard, and to take the sacrament 
before death as a security against more dimly understood 
perils; but it was of equal necessity to have the proper pall¬ 
bearers and well-cured hams at one’s funeral, and to leave an 
unimpeachable will. A Dodson would not be taxed with the 

omission of any thing that was becoming, or that belonged to 
that eternal fitness of things which was plainly indicated in the 
practice of the most substantial parishioners and in the family 
traditions, such as obedience to parents, faithfulness to kindred, 
industry, rigid honesty, thrift, the thorough scouring of wooden 
and copper utensils, the hoarding of coins likely to disappear 
from tne currency, the production of first-rate commodities for 


the market, and the general preference for whatever was home¬ 
made. The Dodsons were a very proud race, and their pride 
lay in the utter frustration of all desire to tax them with a 
breach of traditional duty or propriety. A wholesome pride 
in many respects, since it identified honor with perfect integ¬ 
rity, thoroughness of work, and faithfulness to admitted roles; 
and society^ owes some worthy qualities in many of her mem¬ 
bers to mothers of the Dodson class, who made their butter 
and their fromenty well, and would have felt disgraced to make 
it otherwise. To be honest and poor was never a Dodson 
motto, still less to seem rich though being poor; rather, the 
family badge was to be honest and rich; and not only rich, 
but richer than was supposed. To live respected, and have 
the proper bearers at your funeral, was an achievement of the 
ends of existence that would be entirely nullified i£ on the 
reading of your will, you sank in the opinion of your fellow- 
men either by turning out to be poorer than they expected, or 
by leaving your money in a capricious manner, without strict 
regard to degrees of kin. The right thing must always he 
done toward kindred. The right thing was to correct ^jthem 
severely if they were other than a credit of the family, bat still 
not to alienate from them the smallest rightful share in the 
family shoe-buckles and other property. A conspicuous qual¬ 
ity in the Dodson character was its genuineness: its vices and 
virtues alike were phases of a proud, honest egoism, which had 
a hearty dislike to whatever made against its own credit and 
interest, and would be frankly hard of speech to inconvenient 
“ kin,” but would never forsake or ignore them—would not let 
them want bread, but only require them to eat it with bitter 

The same sort of traditional belief ran in the Tulliver veins, 
but it was carried in richer blood, having elements of generous 
imprudence, warm affection, and hot-tempered rashness. Mr. 
Tulliver’s grandfather had been heard to say that he was de¬ 
scended from one Ralph Tulliver, a wonderfully clever fellow, 
who had ruined himself. It is likely enough that the clever 
Ralph was a high liver, rode spirited horses, and was very de¬ 
cidedly of his own opinion. On the other hand, nobody had 
ever heard of a Dodson who had ruined himself: it was not the 
way of that family. 

fif such were the views of life on which the Dodsons and 
Tullivers had been reared in the praiseworthy past of Pitt and 
.high prices, you will infer from what you already know con¬ 
cerning the state of society in St. Ogg’s, that there had been 
no highly modifying influence to act on them in their maturer 
ll fe. It was still possible, even in that later time of anti-Catholic 



preaching, for people to hold many pagan ideas, and believe 
themselves good Church-people notwithstanding; so we need 
hardly feel any surprise at the fact that Mr. Tulliver, though a 
regular church-goer, recorded his vindictiveness on the fly-leaf 
of his Bible. It was not that any harm could be said concern¬ 
ing the vicar of that charming rural parish to which Dorlcote 
Mill belonged: he was a man of excellent family, an irreproach¬ 
able bachelor, of elegant pursuits, had taken honors, and held a 
fellowship. Mr. Tulliver regarded him with dutiful respect, as 
he did every thing else belonging to the Church-service; but 
he considered that Church was one thing and common sense 
another, and he wanted nobody to tell him what common sense 
was. Certain seeds which are required to find a nidus for 
themselves under unfavorable circumstances have been sup¬ 
plied by nature with an apparatus of hooks, so that they will 
get hold of very unreceptive surfaces. The spiritual seed 
which had been scattered over Mr. Tulliver had apparently 
been destitute of any corresponding provision, and had slipped 
off* to the winds again, from a total absence of hooks. 



There is something sustaining in the very agitation that 
accompanies the first shocks of trouble, just as an acute pain 
is often a stimulus, and produces an excitement which is tran- I 
sient strength. It is in the slow, changed life that follows— i 
in the time when sorrow has become stale, and has no longer \ 
an emotive intensity that counteracts its pain—in the time * 
when day follows day in dull unexpectant sameness, and trial is j 
a dreary routine—it is then that despair threatens; it is then / 
that the peremptory hunger of the soul is felt, and eye and ear j 
are strained after some unlearned secret of our existence, which i 
shall give to endurance the nature of satisfaction. 

This time of utmost need was come to Maggie, with her 
short span of thirteen years. To the usual precocity of the 
girl she added that early experience of struggle, of conflict 
between the inward impulse and outward fact, which is the lot 
of every imaginative and passionate nature; and the years since 
she hammered the nails into her wooden Fetish among the 
worm-eaten shelves of the attic had been filled with so eager a 
life in the triple world of Reality, Books, and Waking Dreams, 
that Maggie was strangely old for her years in every thing 
except in her entire want of that prudence and self-command 



which were the qualities that made Tom manly‘in the midst 
^ of his intellectual boyishness. And now her lot was beginning 
S to have a still, sad monotony, which threw her more than ever 
^ on her inward self. Her father was able to attend to business 
again, his affairs were settled, and he was acting as Wakem’s 
manager on the old spot. Tom went to and fro every morn¬ 
ing and evening, and became more and more silent in the short 
intervals at homfe: what was there to say ? One day was like 
another, and Tom’s interest in life, driven back and crushed on 
every other side, was concentrating itself into the one channel 
of ambitious resistance to misfortune. The peculiarities of his 
father and mother were very irksome to him now they were 
laid bare of all the softening accompaniments of an easy, pros¬ 
perous home; for Tom had very clear prosaic eyes, not apt to 
be dimmed by mists of feeling or imagination. Poor Mrs.Tul- 
liver, it seemed, would never recover her old self—her placid 
household activity: how could she? The objects among which 
her mind had moved complacently were all gone—all the little 
hopes, and schemes, and speculations, all the pleasant little cares 
about her treasures which had made this world quite compre¬ 
hensible to her for a quarter of a century, since she had made 
her first purchase of the sugar-tongs, had been suddenly snatch¬ 
ed away from her, and she remained bewildered in this empty 
life. Why that should have happened to her which had not 
happened to other women, remained an insoluble question by 
which she expressed her perpetual ruminating comparison of 
the past with the present. It was piteous to see the comely 
blonde stout woman getting thinner and more worn under a 
bodily as well as mental restlessness, which made her often 
wander about the empty house after her work was done, until 
Maggie, becoming alarmed about her, would seek her, and bring 
her down by telling her how it vexed Tom that she was injur¬ 
ing her health by never sitting down and resting herself. Yet 
amid this helpless imbecility there was a touching trait of hum¬ 
ble, self-devoting maternity, which made Maggie feel tenderly 
toward her poor mother amid all the little wearing griefs 
caused by her mental feebleness. She would let Maggie do 
none of the work that was heaviest and most soiling to the 
hands, and was quite peevish when Maggie attempted to re¬ 
lieve her from her grate-brushing and scouring: 44 Let it alone, 
my dear; your hands ’ull get as hard as hard,” she would say: 
“ it’s your mother’s place to do that. I can’t do the sewing— 
my eyes fail me.” And she would still brush and carefully 
tend Maggie’s hair, which she had become reconciled to, in 
spite of its refusal to curl, now it was so long and massy. Mag¬ 
gie was not her pet child, and, in general, would have been 

much better if she had been quite different; yet^T ® 

heart, so bruised in its small personal desires, foufc . 
to rest on in the life of this young thing, and the mother, Jittlo 
herself with wearing out her own hands to save the hanac^ 
had so much more life in them. 

But the constant presence of her mother’s regretful bewff5 
derment was less painful to Maggie than that of her father’s 
sullen incommunicative depression. As long as the paralysis 
was upon him, and it seemed as if he might always be in a 
childlike condition of dependence — as long as he was still 
only half awakened to his trouble, Maggie had felt the strong 
tide of pitying love almost as an inspiration, a new power, that 
would make the most difficult life easy for his sake; but now, 
instead of childlike dependence, there had come a taciturn, 
hard concentration of purpose, in strange contrast with his cld 
vehement communicativeness and high spirit; and this lasted 
from day to day, and from week to week, the dull eye never 
brightening with any eagerness or any joy. It is something 
cruelly incomprehensible to youthful natures, this sombre same* 
ness in middle-aged and elderly people, whose life has resulted 
in disappointment and discontent, to whose faces a smile be¬ 
comes so strange that the sad lines all about the lips and brow 
seem to take no notice of it, and it hurries away again for want 
of a welcome. “ Why will they not kindle up and be glad 
sometimes ?” thinks young elasticity. “ It would be so easy, 
if they only liked to do it.” And these leaden clouds that 
never part are apt to create impatience even in the filial affec¬ 
tion that streams forth in nothing but tenderness and pity in 
the time of more obvious affliction. 

Mr. Tulliver lingered nowhere away from home: he hurried 
away from market, he refused all invitations to stay and chat, 
as in old times, in the houses where he called on business. 
He could not be reconciled with his lot: there was no attitude 
in which his pride did not feel its bruises; and in all behavior 
toward him, whether kind or cold, he detected an allusion to 
the change in his circumstances. . Even the days in which 
Wakem came to ride round the land and inquire into the 
business were not so black to him as those market-days on 
which he had met several creditors who had accepted a com¬ 
position from him. To save something toward the repayment 
of those creditors was the object toward which he was now 
bending all his thoughts and efforts; and under the influence 
of this all-compelling demand of his nature, the somewhat pro¬ 
fuse man, who hated to be stinted or to stint any one else in 
his own house, was gradually metamorphosed into the keen¬ 
eyed grudger of morsels. Mrs. Tulliver could not economize 



which we J’®^ g fy him in their food and firing, and he would 
ot his in ^Jg himself but what was of the coarsest quality. Tom, 
*° unimpressed and strongly repelled by his father’s sullen- 
°’\^nnd the dreariness of home, entered thoroughly into his 
j|^?fer’s feelings about paying the creditors ; and the poor lad 
brought his first quarter’s money, with a delicious sense of 
e^iievement, and gave it to his father to put into the tin box 
which held the savings. The little store of sovereigns in the 
tin box seemed to be the only sight that brought a faint beam 
of pleasure into the miller’s eyes—faint and transient, for it 
was soon dispelled by the thought that the time would be 
long—perhaps longer than life—before the narrow savings 
could remove the hateful incubus of debt. A deficit of more 

than five hundred pounds, with the accumulating interest, 
seemed a deep pit to fill with the savings from thirty shillings 
a week, even when Tom’s probable savings were to be added. 
On this point there was entire community of feeling in the four 
widely differing beings who sat round the dying lire of sticks, 
which made a cheap warmth for them on the verge of bed¬ 
time. Mrs. Tulliver carried the proud integrity of the Dod¬ 
sons in her blood, and had been brought up to think that to 
wrong people of their money, which was another phrase for 
debt, was a sort of moral pillory: it would have been wicked¬ 
ness, to her mind, to have run counter to her husband’s desire 
to “ do the right thing,” and retrieve his name. She had a 
confused dreamy notion that, if the creditors were all paid, 
her plate and linen ought to come back to her; but she had 
an inbred perception that while people owed money they were 
unable to pay, they couldn’t rightly call any thing their own. 
She murmured a little that Mr. Tulliver so peremptorily re¬ 
fused to receive any thing in repayment from Mr. and Mrs. 
Moss ; but to all his requirements of household economy she 
was submissive to the point of denying herself the cheapest 
indulgences of mere flavor : her only rebellion was to smuggle 
into the kitchen something that would make rather a better 
supper than usual for Tom. 

These narrow notions about debt, held by the old-fashioned 
Tullivers, may perhaps excite a smile on the faces of many 
readers in these days of wide commercial views and wide 
philosophy, according to which every thing rights itself with¬ 
out any trouble of ours: the fact that my tradesman is out of 
pocket by me is to be looked at through the serene certainty 
that somebody else’s tradesman is in pocket by somebody else; 
and since there must be bad debts in the world, why, it is 
mere egoism not to like that we in particular should make 
them instead of our fellow-citizens. I am t ellin g the history 


of very simple people, who had never had any illuminating 
doubts as to personal integrity and honor. 

Under all this grim melancholy and narrowing concentration 
of desire, Mr. Tulliver retained the feeling toward his “ little 
wench” which made her presence a need to him, though it 
would not suffice to cheer him. She was still the desire of his 
eyes; but the sweet spring of fatherly love was now mingled 
with bitterness, like every thing else. When Maggie laid 
down her work at night, it was her habit to get a low stool 
and sit by her father’s knee, leaning her cheek against it. 
How she wished he would stroke her head, or give some sign 
that he was soothed by the sense that he had a daughter who 
loved him! But now she got no answer to her little caresses 
either from her father or from Tom—the two idols of her life. 
Tom was weary and abstracted in the short intervals when he 
was at home, and her father was bitterly preoccupied with the 
thought that the girl was growing up—was shooting up into 
a woman; and hoV was she to do well in life ? She had a 
poor chance for marrying, down in the world as they were. 
And he hated the thought of her marrying poorly, as her aunt 
Gritty had done: that would be a thing to make him turn in 
his grave—the little wench so pulled down by children and 
toil as her aunt Moss was. When uncultured minds, confined 
to a narrow range of personal experience, are under the press¬ 
ure of continued misfortune, their inward life is apt to become 
a perpetually repeated round of sad and bitter thoughts; the 
same words, the same scenes are revolved over and over again, 
the same mood accompanies them—the end of the year finds 
them as much what they were at the beginning as if they 
were machines set to a recurrent series of movements. 

The sameness of the days was broken by few visitors. Un¬ 
cles and aunts paid only short visits now; of course, they 
could not stay to meals, and the constraint caused by Mr. Tul- 
liver’s savage silence, which seemed to add to the hollow res¬ 
onance of the bare uncarpeted room when the aunts were 
talking, heightened the unpleasantness of these family visits on 
all sides, and tended to make them rare. As for other ac¬ 
quaintances—there is a chill air surrounding those who are 
down in the world, and people are glad to get away from 
them, as from a cold room: human beings, mere men and 
women, without furniture, without any thing to offer you, who 
have ceased to count as any body, present an embarrassing ne¬ 
gation of reasons for wishing to see them, or of subjects on 
which to converse with them. At that distant day there was 
a drqary isolation in the civilized Christian society of these 
realms for fa mili es that had dropped below their original level. 



unless they belonged to a sectarian Church, which gets some 
warmth of brotherhood by walling in the sacred fire. 



One afternoon, when the chestnuts were coining into flower, 
Maggie had brought her chair outside the front door, and was 
seated there with a book on her knees. Her dark eyes had 
wandered from the book, but they did not seem to be enjoying 
the sunshine which pierced the screen of jasmine on the pro¬ 
jecting porch at her right, and threw leafy shadows on her 
pale round cheek; they seemed rather to be searching for some¬ 
thing that was not disclosed by the sunshine. It had^been a 
more miserable day than usual: her father, after a visit of 
Wakem’s, had had a paroxysm of rage, in which for some tri¬ 
fling fault he had beaten the boy who served in the mill. Once 
before, since his illness, he had had a similar paroxysm, in 
which he had beaten his horse, and the scene had left a last¬ 
ing terror in Maggie’s mind. The thought had risen that some 
time or other he might beat her mother if she happened to 
speak in her feeble way at the wrong moment. The keenest 
of all dread with her was lest her father should add to his pres¬ 
ent misfortune the wretchedness of doing something irretriev¬ 
ably disgraceful. The battered school-book of Tom’s which 
she held on her knees could give her no fortitude under the 
pressure of that dread, and again and again her eyes had filled 
with tears as they wandered vaguely, seeing neither the chest¬ 
nut trees nor the distant horizon, but only future scenes of 

Suddenly she was roused by the sound of the opening gate 
and of footsteps on the gravel. It was not Tom who was en¬ 
tering, but a man in a seal-skin cap and a blue plush waistcoat, 
carrying a pack on his back, and followed closely by a bull-ter¬ 
rier of brindled coat and defiant aspect. 

M Oh, Bob, it’s you!” said Maggie, starting up with a smile 
of pleased recognition, for there had been no abundance of 
kind acts to efface the recollection of Bob’s generosity; M I’m 
so glad to see you.” 

“ Thank you, miss,” said Bob, lifting his cap and showing a 
delighted face, but immediately relieving himself of some ac¬ 
companying embarrassment by looking down at his dog, and 
saying in a tone of disgust, “ Get out wi’ you, you thunderin’ 



“ My brother is not at home yet, Bob,” said Maggie; u he is 
always at St. Ogg’s in the daytime.” 

“ Well, miss,” said Bob, “ I should be glad to see Mr. Tom; 
but that isn’t just what I’m come for—look here !” 

Bob was in the act of depositing his pack on the door-step, 
and with it a row of small books fastened together with string. 
Apparently, however, they were not the object to which he 
wished to call Maggie’s attention, but rather something which 
he had carried under his arm, wrapped in a red handkerchief. 

“ See here!” he said again, laying the red parcel on the oth¬ 
ers and unfolding it; u you won’t think I’m a-making too free, 
miss, I hope, but I lighted on these books, and I thought they 
might make up to you a bit for them as you’ve lost; for I 
heared you speak o’ picturs—an’ as forpicturs, look here!” 

The opening of the red handkerchief had disclosed a super¬ 
annuated “ Keepsake” and six or seven numbers of a M Portrait 
Gallery,” in royal octavo; and the emphatic request to look re¬ 
ferred to a portrait of George the Fourth in all the majesty of 
his depressed cranium and voluminous neckcloth. 

“ There’s all sorts o’ genelmen here,” Bob went on, turning 
over the leaves with some excitement, “ wi’ all sorts o’ noses 
—an’ some bald an’ some wi’ wigs—Parlament genelmen, I 
reckon. An’ here,” he added, opening the “ Keepsake,” “Aere’s 
ladies for you, some wi’ curly hair and some wi’ smooth, an’ 
some a-smiling wi’ their heads o’ one side, an’ some as if they 
was goin’ to cry—look here—a-sitting on the ground out o’ 
door, dressed like the ladies I’n seen get out o’ the carriages 
at the balls in th’ Old Hall there. My eyes, I wonder what 
the chaps wear as go a-courtin’ ’em! I sot up till the clock 
was gone twelve last night a-lookin’ at ’em—I did—till they 
stared at me out o’ the picturs as if they’d know when I spoke 
to ’em. They’ll be more fittin’ company for you, miss; and the 
man at the book-stall, he said they banged ivery thing for pic¬ 
turs—he said they was a fust-rate article.” 

“ And you’ve bought them for me, Bob ?” said Maggie, deep¬ 
ly touched by this simple kindness. “ How very, very good of 
you! But I’m afraid you gave a great deal of money for 

“ Not me!” said Bob. “ I’d ha’ gev three times the money, 
if they’ll make up to you a bit for them as was sold away from 
you, miss. For I’n niver forgot how you looked when you 
fretted about the books bein’ gone; it’s stuck by me as if it 
was a pictur hingin’ before me. An’ when I see’d the book 
open upo’ the stall, wi’ the lady lookin’ out of it wi’ eyes a bit 
like your’n when you was frettin’—you’ll excuse my takin’ the 
liberty, miss—I thought I’d make free to buy it for you, an’ 

L 2 


THE mttt, OK THE FL068. 

then I bought the books full o’ genelmen to match—an 1 then” 
—here Bod took up the small stringed packet of books—“ I 
thought you might like a bit more print as well as the picturs, 
an’ I got these for a say-so—they’re cram-full o’ print, an’ I 
thought they’d do no harm cornin’ along wi’ these better-most 
books. An’ I hope you won’t say me nay, an’ tell me as you 
won’t have ’em, like Mr. Tom did wi’ the suvreigns.” 

44 No, indeed, Bob,” said Maggie, 44 I’m very thankful to you 
for thinking of me, and being so good to me and Tom. I don’t 
think any one ever did such a kind thing for me before. I 
haven’t many friends who care for me.” 

“ Hev a dog, miss—they’re better friends nor any Christian,” 
said Bob, laying down his pack again, which he had taken up 
with the intention of hurrying away; for he felt considerable 
shyness in talking to a young lass like Maggie, though, as he 
usually said of himself, 44 his tongue overrun him” when he be¬ 
gan to speak. 44 I can’t give you Mumps, ’cause he’d break 
his heart to go away from me—-eh, Mumps, what do you say, 
you riff-raff?” (Mumps declined to express himself more dif¬ 
fusely than by a single affirmative movement of his tail.) 44 But 
I’d get you a pup, miss, an’ welcome.” 

44 No, thank you, Bob. We have a yard-dog, and I mayn’t 
keep a dog of my own.” 

“ Eh, that’s a pity; else there’s a pup—if you didn’t mind 
about it not bein’thoroughbred : it’s mother acts in the Punch 
show—an uncommon sensable bitch—she means more sense 
wi’ her bark nor half the chaps can put into their talk from 
breakfast to sundown. There’s one chap carries pots—a poor 
low trade as any on the road—he says, 4 Why, Toby’s naught 
but a mongrel—there’s naught to look at in her.’ But I says 
to him, 4 Why, what are you yoursen but a mongrel ? There 
wasn’t much pickin’ o’ your feyther an’ mother, to look at you.’ 
Not but what I like a bit o’ breed myself, but I can’t abide to 
see one cur grinnin’ at another. I wish you good evenin’, 
miss,” added Bob, abruptly taking up his pack again, under 
the consciousness that his tongue was acting m an undisciplined 

‘‘Won’t you come in the evening some time,and see my 
brother, Bob ?” said Maggie. 

44 Yes, miss, thank you—another time. You’ll give my duty 
to him, if you please. Eh, he’s a fine-growed chap, Mr. Tom 
is; he took to growin’ i’ the legs, an’Z didn’t.” 

The pack was down again now, the hook of the stick having 
somehow gone wrong. 

# “ You don’t call Mumps a cur, I suppose ?” said Maggie, di¬ 
vining that any interest she showed in Mumps would be grati¬ 
fying to his master. 



tc No, miss, a fine way off that,” said Bob, with a pitying 
smile“Mumps is as fine a cross as you’ll see any where along 
the Floss, an’ I’n been up it wi’ the barge times enoo. Why, 
the gentry stops to look at him; but you won’t catch Mumps 
a-looking at the gentry much: he minds his own business, he 

The expression of Mumps’s face, which seemed to be toler¬ 
ating the superfluous existence of objects in general, was 
strongly confirmatory of this high praise. 

“He looks dreadfully surly,” said Maggie. “ Would he let 
me pat him ?” 

“Ay, that would he, and thank you. He knows his com¬ 
pany, Mumps does. He isn’t a dog as ’ull be caught wi’ gin¬ 
ger bread ; he’d smell a thief a good deal stronger nor the gin¬ 
gerbread—he would. Lors, I talk to him by th* hour together 
when I’m walking i’ lone places, and if I’n done a bit o’ mis¬ 
chief I allays tell him. I’n got no secrets but what Mumps 
knows ’em. He knows about my big thumb, he does.” 

“ Your big thumb—what’s that, Bob ?” said Maggie. 

“ That’s what it is, miss,” said Bob, quickly, exhibiting a 
singularly broad specimen of that difference between the man 
and the monkey. “ It tells i’ measuring out the flannel, you 
see. I carry flannel, ’cause it’s light for my pack, an’ it’s dear 
stuffy you see, so a big thumb tells. I clap my thumb at the 
end o’ the yard and cut o’ the hither side of it, and the old 
women aren’t up to’t.” 

“ But, Bob,” said Maggie, looking serious, “ that’s cheating: 
I don’t like to hear you say that.” 

“ Don’t you, miss ?” said Bob, regretfully. “ Then I’m sorry 
I said it. But I’m so used to talking to Mumps, an’ he doesn’t 
mind a bit o’ cheating when it’s them skinflint women as hag¬ 
gle an haggle, an’ ’ud like to get their flannel for nothing, an’ 
’ud niver ask theirselves how I got my dinner out on’t. I 
niver cheat any body as doesn’t want to cheat me, miss—lors, 
I’m a honest chap, I am; only I must hev a bit o’ sport, an’ 
now I don’t go wr the ferrets, I’n got no varmint to come over 
but them haggling women. I wish you good-evening, miss.” 

“ Good-by, Bob. Thank you very much for bringing me 
the books. And come again to see Tom.” 

“ Yes, miss,” said Bob, moving on a few steps; then turning 
half round, he said, “ I’ll leave off that trick wi’ my big thumb 
if you don’t think well on me for it, miss—but it ’ud be a pity, 
it would. I couldn’t find another trick so good—an’ what’ud 
be the use o’ havin’ a big thumb ? It might as well ha’ been 

Maggie, thus exalted into Bob’s directing Madonna, laughed 

the hill on the floss. 


in spite of herself; at which her worshiper’s bine eyes twinkled 
too, and under these favoring auspices he touched his oap and 
walked away. 

The days of chivalry are not gone, notwithstanding Burke’s 
grand dirge over them: they live still in that far-off worship 
paid by many a youth and man to the woman of whom he 
never dreams that he shall touch so much as her little finger 
or the hem of her robe. Bob, with the pack on his back, had 
os respectful an adoration for this dark-eyed maiden as if he 
had been a knight in armor calling aloud on her name as he 
pricked on to the fight. 

That gleam of merriment soon died away from Maggie’s 
face, and perhaps only made the returning gloom deeper by 
contrast. She was too dispirited even to like answering ques¬ 
tions about Bob’s present of books, and she carried them away 
to her bedroom, laying them down there and seating herself 
on her one stool, without caring to look at them just yet. She 
leaned her cheek against the window-frame, and thought that 
the light-hearted Bob had a lot much happier than hers. 

Maggie’s sense of loneliness and utter privation of joy had 
deepened with the brightness of advancing spring. All the 
favorite outdoor nooks about home, which seemed to have 
done their part with her parents in nurturing and cherishing 
her, were now mixed up with the home-sadness, and gathered 
no smile from the sunshine. Every affection, every delight the 
poor child had had, was like an aching nerve to her. There 
was no music for her any more—no piano, no harmonized 
voices, no delicious stringed instruments, with their passionate 
cries of imprisoned spirits sending a strange vibration through 
her frame. And of all her school-life there was nothing left 
her now but her little collection of school-books, which she 
turned over with a sickening sense that she knew them all, 
and they were all barren of comfort. Even at school she had 
often wished for books with more in them: every thing she 
learned there seemed like the ends of long threads that snapped 
immediately. And now, without the indirect charm of school- 
emulation, Tdl6maque was mere bran; so were the hard, dry 
questions on Christian doctrine: there was no flavor in them 
—no strength. Sometimes Maggie thought she could have 
been contented with absorbing fancies: if she could have had 
all Scott’s novels and all Byron’s poems, then, perhaps, she 
might have found happiness enough to dull her sensibility to 
her actual daily life. And yet .... they were hardly what 
she wanted. She could make dream-worlds of her own; but 
no dream-world would satisfy her now. She wanted some ex¬ 
planation of this hard, real life: the unhappy-looking father, 



seated at the dull breakfast-table; the childish, bewildered 
mother; the little sordid tasks that filled the hours, or the 
more oppressive emptiness of weary joyless leisure; the need 
of some tender, demonstrative love; the cruel sense that Tom 
didn’t mind what she thought or felt, and that they were no 
longer playfellows together; the privation of all pleasant things 
that had come to her more than to others—she wanted some 
key that would enable her to understand, and, in understand¬ 
ing, endure, the heavy weight that had fallen on her young 
heart. If she had been taught “ real learning and wisdom, 
such as great men knew,” she thought she should have held 
the secrets of life; if she had only books, that she might learn 
for herself what wise men knew! Saints and martyrs had 
never interested Maggie so much as sages and poets. She 
knew little of saints and martyrs, and had gathered, as a gen¬ 
eral result of her teaching, that they were a temporary provi* 
sion against the spread of Catholicism, and had all died at Smith- 

In one of these meditations, it occurred to her that she had 
forgotten Tom’s school-books, which had been sent home in 
his trunk. But she found the stock unaccountably shrunk 
down to the few old ones which had been well thumbed—the 

Latin Dictionary and Grammar, a Delectus, a torn Eutropius, 
the well-worn Virgil, Aldrich’s Logic, and the exasperating 
Euclid. Still, Latin, Euclid, and Logic would surely be a con¬ 
siderable step in masculine wisdom—in that knowledge which 
made men contented, and even glad to live. Not that the 

made men contented^and even glad to live. Not that the 
yearning for effectual wisdom was quite unmixed: a certain 
mirage would now and then rise on the desert of the future, 
in which she seemed to see herself honored for her surprising 
attainments. And so the poor child, with her soul’s hunger 
and her illusions of self-flattery, began to nibble at this thick- 
rinded fruit of the tree of knowledge, filling her vacant hours 
with Latin, geometry, and the forms of the syllogism, and feel¬ 
ing a gleam of triumph now and then that her understanding 
was quite equal to these peculiarly masculine studies. For a 
week or two she went on resolutely enough, though with an 
occasional sinking of heart, as if she had set out toward the 
Promised Land alone, and found it a thirsty, trackless, uncer¬ 
tain journey. In the severity of her early resolution, she would 
take Aldrich out into the fields, and tnen look off her book 

toward the sky, where the lark was twinkling, or to the reeds 
and bushes by the river, from which the water-fowl rustled 
forth on its anxious, awkward flight, with a startled sense that 
the relation between Aldrich and this living world was ex¬ 
tremely remote for her. The discouragement deepened as the 



days went on, and the eager heart gained fester and fester on 
the patient mind. Somehow, when she sat at the window with 
her book, her eyes would fix themselves blankly on the out¬ 
door sunshine: then they would fill with tears, and sometimes, 
if her mother was not in the room, the studies would all end 
in sobbing. She rebelled against her lot, she fainted under 
its loneliness, and fits even of anger and hatred toward her fa¬ 
ther and mother, who were so unlike what she would have 
them to be—toward Tom, who checked her, and met her 
thought or feeling always by some thwarting difference— 
would flow out over affections and conscience like a lava- 
stream, and frighten her with the sense that it was not diffi¬ 
cult for her to become a demon. Then her brain would be 
busy with wild romances of flight from home in search of 
something less sordid and dreary: she would go to some great 
man—Walter Scott, perhaps—and tell him how wretched and 
how clever she was, and he would surely do something for her. 
But, in the middle of her vision, her father would perhaps enter 
the room for the evening, and, surprised that she still sat with¬ 
out noticing him, would say, complainingly, “ Come, am I to 
fetch my slippers myself?” The voice pierced through Mag¬ 
gie like a sword: there was another sadness besides her own, 
and she had been thinking of turning her back on it and for- 
saking it. 

This afternoon, the sight of Bob’s cheerful freckled face had 
given her discontent a new direction. She thought it was 
part of the hardship of her life that there was laid upon her 
the burden of larger wants than others seemed to feel—that 
she had to endure this wide, hopeless yearning for that some¬ 
thing, whatever it was, that was greatest and best on this 
earth. She wished she could have been like Bob, with his 
easily satisfied ignorance, or like Tom, who had something to 
do on which he could fix his mind with a steady purpose, and 
disregard every thing else. Poor child! as she leaned her 
head against the window-frame, with her hands clasped tighter 
and tighter, and her foot beating the ground, she was as lone¬ 
ly in her trouble as if she had been the only girl in the civilized 
world of that day who had come out of her school-life with a 
soul untrained for inevitable struggles—with no other part of 
her inherited share in the hard-won treasures of thought, which 
generations of painful toil have laid up for the race of men, 
than shreds and patches of feeble literature and false history— 
with much futile information about Saxon and other kings of 
doubtful example, but unhappily quite without that knowledge 
of the irreversible laws within and without her, which, gov¬ 
erning the habits, becomes morality, and, developing the feel- 

the mill on the floss. 


ings of submission and dependence, becomes religion—as lone¬ 
ly in her trouble as if every other girl besides herself had been 
cherished and watched over by elder minds, not forgetful of 
their own early time, when need was keen and impulse strong. 

At last Maggie’s eyes glanced down on the books that lay 
on the window-shelf, and she half forsook her reverie to turn 
over listlessly the leaves of the “ Portrait Gallerybut she 
soon pushed this aside to examine the little row of books tied 
together with string. “ Beauties of the Spectator,” w Rasse- 
las,” “Economy of Human Life,” “Gregory’s Letters” — she 
knew the sort of matter that was inside all these: the “ Chris¬ 
tian Year”—that seemed to be a hymn-book, and she laid it 
down again; but Thomas a Kempis f —the name had come 
across her in her reading, and she felt the satisfaction, which 
every one knows, of getting some ideas to attach to a name 
that strays solitary in the memory. She took up the little, 
old, clumsy book with some curiosity: it had the corners 
turned down in many places, and some hand, now forever 
quiet, had made at certain passages strong pen and ink marks^ 
long since browned by time. Maggie turned from leaf to leaf, 
and read where the quiet hand pomted. . .. “ Know that the 
love of thyself doth hurt thee more than any thing in the 

world.If thou seekest this or that, and wouldst be here 

or there to enjoy thy own will and pleasure, thou shalt never 
be quiet nor free from care; for in every thing somewhat will 
be wanting, and in every place there will be some that will 

cross thee.Both above and below, which way soever thou 

dost turn thee, every where thou shalt find the Cross; and 
every where of necessity thou must have patience, if thou wilt 

have inward peace, and enjoy an everlasting crown.If 

thou desire to mount unto this height, thou must set out cour¬ 
ageously, and lay the axe to the root, that thou mayst pluck 
up and destroy that hidden inordinate inclination to thyself, 
and unto all private and earthly good. On this sin, that a' 
man inordinately loveth himself, almost all dependeth, whatso¬ 
ever is thoroughly to be overcome; which evil being once 
overcome and subdued, there will presently ensue great peace 
and tranquillity.It is but little thou sufferest in compari¬ 

son of them that have suffered so much, were so strongly 
tempted, so grievously afflicted, so many ways tried and ex¬ 
ercised. Thou oughtest therefore to call to mind the more 
heavy sufferings of others, that thou mayst the easier bear thy 
little adversities. And if they seem not little unto thee, be¬ 
ware lest thy impatience be the cause thereoT..... Blessed 
are those ears that receive the whispers of the divine voice, 
and listen not to the whisperings of the world. Blessed are 


the mtlt, OK THE FL068. 

those ears which hearken not unto the voice which soundeth 
outwardly, but unto the Truth which teacheth inwardly... ” 

A strange thrill of awe passed through Maggie while she 
read, as if she had been wakened in the night by a strain of 
solemn music, telling of beings whose souls had. been astir 
while hers was in stupor. She went on from one brown mark 
to another, where the quiet hand seemed to point, hardly con¬ 
scious that she was reading—seeming rather to listen while a 
low voice said, 

“Why dost thou here gaze about, since this is not the place 
of thy rest? In heaven ought to be thy dwelling, and all 
earthly things are to be looked on as they forward thy jour¬ 
ney thither. All things pass away, and thou together with 
them. Beware thou cleave not unto them, lest thou be en¬ 
tangled and perish.If a man should give all his sub¬ 

stance, yet it is as nothing. And if he should do great pen¬ 
ances, yet are they but little. And if he should attain to all 
knowledge, he is yet far off And if he should be of great 
virtue, and very fervent devotion, yet is there much wanting; 
to wit, one thing, which is most necessary for him. What is 
that ? That having left all, he leave himself, and go wholly 

out of himself, and retain nothing of self-love.I have 

often said unto thee, and now again I say the same, Forsake 
thyself, resign thyself, and thou shalt enjoy much inward 
peace.Then shall all vain imaginations, evil perturba¬ 

tions, and superfluous cares fly away; then shall immoderate 
fear leave thee, and inordinate love shall die.” 

Maggie drew a long breath and pushed her heavy hair back, 
as if to see a sudden vision more clearly. Here, then, was a 
secret of life that would enable her to renounce all other se¬ 
crets—here was a sublime height to be reached without the 
help of outward things—here was insight, and strength, and 
conquest to be won by means entirely within her own soul, 
where a supreme Teacher was waiting to be heard. It flashed 
through her like the suddenly apprehended solution of a prob¬ 
lem, that all the miseries of her young life had come from fix¬ 
ing her heart on her own pleasure, as if that were the central 
necessity of the universe; and for the first time she saw the 
possibility of shifting the position from which she looked at 
the gratification of her own desires, of taking her stand out of 
herself, and looking at her own life as an insignificant part of 
a divinely-guided whole. She read on and on in the old book, 
devouring eagerly the dialogues with the invisible Teacher, 
the pattern of sorrow, the source of all strength; returning to 
it after she had been called away, and reading till the sun went 
down behind the willows. With all the hurry of an imagina- 



tion that could never rest in the present, she sat in the deep¬ 
ening twilight forming plans of self-humiliation and entire de¬ 
votedness, and, in the ardor of first discovery, renunciation 
seemed to her the entrance into that satisfaction which she 
had so long been craving in vain. She had not perceived— 
how could she until she had lived longer ?—the inmost truth 
of the old monk’s outpourings, that renunciation remains sor¬ 
row, though a sorrow borne willingly. Maggie was still pant¬ 
ing for happiness, and was in ecstasy because she had found 
the key to it. She knew nothing of doctrines and systems— 
of mysticism or quietism; but this voice out of the far-off Mid¬ 
dle Ages was the direct communication of a human soul’s be¬ 
lief and experience, and came to Maggie as an unquestioned 

I suppose that is the reason why the small old-fashioned 
book, for which you need only pay sixpence at a book-stall, 
works miracles to this day, turning bitter waters into sweet- 0 
ness, while expensive sermons and treatises, newly issued, ^ 
leave all things as they were before. It was written down by 
a hand that waited for the heart’s prompting; it is the chron- ^ 
icle of a solitary hidden anguish, struggle, trust, and triumph, 
not written on velvet cushions to teach endurance to those who 
are treading with bleeding feet on the stones. And so it re¬ 
mains to all time a lasting record of human needs and human 
consolations; the voice of a brother who, ages ago, felt, and 
suffered, and renounced, in the cloister, perhaps, with serge 
gown and tonsured head, with much chanting and long fasts, 
and with a fashion of speech different from ours, but under the 
same silent far-off heavens, and with the same passionate de¬ 
sires, the same strivings, the same failures, the same weari¬ 

In writing the history of unfashionable families, one is apt 
to fall into a tone of emphasis which is very far from being the 
tone of good society, where principles and beliefs are not only 
of an extremely moderate kind, but are always presupposed, 
no subjects being eligible but such as can be touched with a 
light and graceful irony. But then, good society has its clar¬ 
et and its velvet carpets, its dinner-engagements six weeks 
deep,* its opera and its faery ball-rooms; rides off its ennui on 
thorough-bred horses, lounges at the club, has to keep clear of 
crinoline vortices, gets its science done by Faraday, and its re¬ 
ligion by the superior clergy, who are to be met in the best 
houses; how should it have time or need for belief and empha¬ 
sis ? But good society, floated on gossamer wings of light 
irony, is of very expensive production, requiring nothing less 
than a wide ana arduous national life condensed in unfragrant 

deafening factories, cramping itself in mines, sweating at fur¬ 
naces, grinding, hammering, weaving under more or less op 
pression of carbonic acid, or else spread over sheep-walks, and 
scattered in lonely houses and huts on the clayey or chalky 
corn-lands, where the rainy days look dreary. This wide na¬ 
tional life is based entirely on emphasis—the emphasis of want, 
which urges it into all the activities necessary for the mainte¬ 
nance of good society and light irony; it spends its heavy years 
often in a chill, uncarpeted fashion, amid family discord un- 
softened by long corridors. Under such circumstances, there 
are many among its myriads of souls who have absolutely | 
needed an emphatic belief; life in this unpleasurable shape de¬ 
manding some solution even to unspeculative minds, just as yon 
inquire into the stuffing of your couch when any thing galls 
you there, whereas eider-down and perfect French springs ex¬ 
cite no question. Some have an emphatic belief in alcohol, 
and seek their ekstasis or outside standing-ground in gin; but 
the rest require something that good society calls “ enthusi¬ 
asm,” something that will present motives in an entire absence 
of high prizes, something that will give patience and feed hu¬ 
man love when the limbs ache with weariness, and human 
looks arc hard upon us—something, clearly, that lies outside 
personal desires, that includes resignation for ourselves and 
active love for what is not ourselves. Now and then, that 
sort of enthusiasm finds a far-echoing voice that comes from 
an experience springing out of the deepest need. And it wan 
by being brought within the long lingering vibrations of such 
a voice that Maggie, with her girl’s face and unnoted sorrows, 
found an effort and a hope that helped her through years of 
loneliness, making out a faith for herself without the aid of 
established authorities and appointed guides; for they were 
not at hand, and her need was pressing. From what you 
know of her, you will not be surprised that she threw some 
exaggeration and willfulness, some pride and impetuosity even 
into her self-renunciation: her own life was still a drama for 
her, in which she demanded of herself that her part should be 
played with intensity. And so it came to pass that she often 
lost the spirit of humility by being excessive in the outward 
act; she often strove after too high a flight, and came down 
with her poor little half-fledged wings dabbled in the mud. 
For example, she not only determined to work at plain sew¬ 
ing, that she might contribute something toward the fund in 
the tin box, but she went, in the first instance, in her zeal of 
self-mortification, to ask for it at a linen-shop in St. Ogg^s, in¬ 
stead of getting it in a more quiet and indirect way, and could 
see nothing but what was entirely wrong and unkind, nay, 



persecuting, in Tom’s reproof of her for this unnecessary act. 
u I don’t like my sister to do such things,” said Tom; u I’ll 
take care that the debts are paid, without your lowering your¬ 
self in that way.” Surely there was some tenderness and 
bravery mingled with the worldliness and self-assertion of that 
little speech; but Maggie held it as dross, overlooking the 
grains of gold, and took Tom’s rebuke as one of her outward 
crosses. Tom was very hard to her, she used to think, in her 
long night-watchings—to her who had always loved him so; 
and then she strove to be contented with that hardness, and 
to require nothing. That is the path we all like when we set 
out on on; ^Tj^rni ths puth of mwtijrrHnrr 

whf™ ■■ grew ;rather l 1 — * 

steep highway of tolerance, just allowance, and qel£h lame T 
wh ere therej geyng faffy hnnnra fro worn. 

THe dftTTJooEs, Virgil, Euclid, and Aldrich—that wrinkled 
fruit of the tree of knowledge—had been all laid by, for Mag¬ 
gie had turned her back on the vain ambition to share the 
thoughts of the wise. In her first ardor she flung away the 
books with a sort of triumph that she had risen above the 
need of them; and if they had been her own, she would have 
burned them, believing that she would never repent. She 
read so eagerly and constantly in her three books, the Bible, 
Thomas k Kempis, and the “ Christian Year” (no longer reject¬ 
ed as a “ hymn-book”), that they filled her mind with a con¬ 
tinual stream of rhythmic memories; and she was too ardent¬ 
ly learning to see all nature and life in the light of her new 
faith to need any other material for her mind to work on, as 
she sat with her well-plied needle, making shirts and other 
complicated stitchings falsely called “ plain”—by no means 
plain to Maggie, since wristband, and sleeve, and the like had 
a capability of being sewed in wrong side outward in moments 
of mental wandering. 

Hanging diligently over her sewing, Maggie was a sight 
any one might have been pleased to look at. That new inward 
life of hers, notwithstanding some volcanic upheavings of im¬ 
prisoned passions, yet shone out in her face with a tender soft 
light that mingled itself as added loveliness with the gradual¬ 
ly enriched color and outline of her blossoming youth. Her 
mother felt the change in her with a sort of puzzled wonder 
that Maggie should be “ growing up so goodit was amaz¬ 
ing that this once “ contrairy” child was become so submis¬ 
sive, so backward to assert her own will. Maggie used to 
look up from her work and find her mother’s eyes fixed upon 
her; they were watching and waiting for the large young 
glance, as if her elder frame got some needful warmth from it. 



The mother was getting fond of her tall, brown girl, the only 
bit of furniture now on which she could bestow her anxiety 
and pride; and Maggie, in spite of her own ascetic wish to 
have no personal adornment, was obliged to give way to her 
mother about her hair, and submit to have the abundant black 
locks plaited into a coronet on the summit of her head, after 
the pitiable fashion of those antiquated times. 

“Let your mother have that bit o’ pleasure, my dear,” said 
Mrs. Tulliver; “ I’d trouble enough with your hair once.” 

So Maggie, glad of any thing that would soothe her mother, 
and cheer their long day together, consented to the vain dec¬ 
oration, and showed a queenly head above her old frocks— 
steadily refusing, however, to look at herself in the glass. Mrs. 
Tulliver liked to call the father’s attention to Maggie’s hair 
and other unexpected virtues, but he had a brusque reply to 

“ I knew well enough what she’d be before now—it’s noth¬ 
ing new to me. But it’s a pity she isn’t made o’ commoner 
stuff; she’ll be thrown away, I doubt: there’ll be nobody to 
marry her as is fit for her.” 

And Maggie’s graces of mind and body fed his gloom. He 
sat patiently enough while she read him a chapter, or said 
something timidly when they were alone together about 
trouble being turned into a blessing. He took it all as part 
of his daughter’s goodness, which made his misfortune the sad¬ 
der to him because they damaged her chance in life. In a 
mind charged with an eager purpose and an unsatisfied vin¬ 
dictiveness, there is no room for new feelings: Mr. Tulliver 
did not want spiritual consolation; he wanted to shake off the 
degradation of debt, and to have his revenge. 





The family sitting-room was a long room with a window at 
each end; one looking towards the croft and along the Rip¬ 
ple to the banks of the Floss, the other into the mill-yard. 
Maggie was sitting with her work against the latter window 
when she saw Mr. Wakem entering the yard, as usual, on his 
fine black horse; but not alone, as usual. Some one was with 
him—a figure in a cloak, on a handsome pony. Maggie had 
hardly time to feel that it was Philip come back, before they 
were in front of the window, and he was raising his hat to her; 
while his father, catching the movement by a side-glance, 
looked sharply round at them both. 

Maggie hurried away from the window and carried her 
work up-stairs; for Mr. Wakem sometimes came in and 
inspected the books, and Maggie felt that the meeting with 
Philip would be robbed of all pleasure in the presence of the 
two fathers. Some day, perhaps, she should see him when 
they could just shake hands, and she could tell him that 
she remembered his goodness to Tom, and the things he had 
said to her in the old days, though they could never be friends 
any more. It was not at all agitating to Maggie to see Philip 
again: she retained her childish gratitude and pity towards 
him, and remembered his cleverness; and in the early weeks t 
of her loneliness she had continually recalled the image of him 
among the people who had been kind to her in life; often 
wishing she had him for a brother and a teacher, as they had 
fancied it might have been, in their talk together. But that 
sort of wishing had been banished along with other dreams 
that savored of seeking her own will; and she thought, besides, 
that Philip might be altered by his life abroad—he might have 
become worldly, and really not care about her saying any¬ 
thing to him now. And yet, his face was wonderfully little 
altered—it was only a larger, more manly copy of the pale 



small-featured boy’s face, with the grey eyes and the boyish 
waving brown hair: there was the old deformity to awaken 
the ola pity; and after all her meditations, Maggie felt that 
she really should like to say a few words to him. He might 
still be melancholy, as he always used to be, and like her to 
look at him kindly. She wondered if he remembered how he 
used to like her eyes; with that thought Maggie glanced 
towards the square looking-glass which was condemned to 
hang with its face towards the wall, and she half-started from 
her seat to reach it down; but she checked herself and 
snatched up her work, trying to repress the rising wishes by 
forcing her memory to recall snatches of hymns, until she saw 
Philip and his father returning along the road, and she could 
go down again. 

It was far on in June now, and Maggie was inclined to 
lengthen the daily walk which was her one indulgence; but 
this day and the following she was so busy with work which 
must be finished that she never went beyond the gate, and 
satisfied her need of the open air by sitting out of doors. 
One of her frequent walks, when she 'was not obliged to go 
to St. Ogg’s, was to a spot that lay beyond what was called 
the “Hill ”—an insignificant rise of ground crowned by trees, 
lying along the side of the road which ran by the gates of 
Dorlcote Mill. Insignificant I call it, because in height it was 
hardly more than a bank; but there may come moments when 
Nature makes a mere bank a means towards a fateful result, 
and that is why I ask you to imagine this high bank crowned 
with trees, making an uneven waff for some quarter of a mile 
along the left side of Dorlcote Mill and the pleasant fields 
behind it, bounded by the murmuring Ripple. Just where 
this line of bank sloped down again to the level, a by-road 
turned off and led to the other side of the rise, where it was 
broken into very capricious hollows and mounds by the work¬ 
ing of an exhausted stone-quarry—so long exhausted that 
both mounds and hollows were now clothed with brambles 
and trees, and here and there by a stretch of grass which a 
few sheep kept close-nibbled. In her childish days Maggie 
held this place, called the Red Deeps, in very great awe, and 
needed all her confidence in Tom’s bravery to reconcile her 
to an excursion thither—visions of robbers and fierce animals 
haunting every hollow. But now it had the charm for her 
which any broken ground, any mimic rock and ravine,.have for 
the eyes that rest habitually on the level; especially in sum¬ 
mer, when she could sit on a grassy hollow under the shadow 
of a branching ash, stooping aslant from the steep above her, 
and listen to the hum of insects, like tiniest bells on the gar 



ment of Silence, or see the sunlight piercing the distant 
boughs, as if to chase and drive home the truant heavenly 
blue of the wild hyacinths. In this June time too, the dog- 
roses were in their glory, and that was an additional reason 
why Maggie should direct her walk to the Red Deeps, rather 
than to any other spot, on the first day she was free towan- 
der at her will—a pleasure she loved so well, that sometimes, 
in her ardors of renunciation, she thought she ought to deny 
herself the frequent indulgence in it. 

You may see her now, as she walks down the favorite turn¬ 
ing, and enters the Deeps by a narrow path through a group 
of Scotch firs—her tall figure and old lavender-gown visible 
through an hereditary black-silk shawl of some wide-meshed 
net-like material; and now she is sure of being unseen, she 
takes of her bonnet and ties it over her arm. One would 
certainly suppose her to be farther on in life than her seven¬ 
teenth year—perhaps because of the slow resigned sadness of 
the glance, from which all search and unrest seem to have 
departed, perhaps because her broad-chested figure has the 
mould of early womanhood. Youth and health have with¬ 
stood well the involuntary and voluntary hardships of her 
lot, and the nights in which she has lain on the hard floor for 
a penance have left no obvious trace: the eyes are liquid, the 
brown cheek is firm and rounded, the full lips are red. With 
her dark coloring and jet crown surmounting her tall figure, 
she seems to have a sort of kinship with the grand Scotch 
firs, at which she is looking up as if she lov ed them well^ 
Yet one^haa-a-eensey of uneamess in looking at her—a Sense 
of glfiaaents,-nf mhinh n CofijgtPtt « wv mi ittf mt v•- 

surely there is a hushed expression, such as one often sees in 
older faces under borderless caps, out of keeping with the 
resistant youth, which one expects to flash out in a sudden, 
passionate glance, that will dissipate all the quietude, like a 
damped fire leaping out again when all seemed safe. 

But Maggie herself was not uneasy at this moment. She 
was calmly enjoying the free air, while she looked up at the 
old fir-trees, and thought that those broken ends of branches 
were the records of past storms, which had only made the 
red stems soar higher. But while her eyes were still turned 
upward, she became conscious of a moving shadow cast by 
the evening sun on the grassy path before her, and looked 
down with a startled gesture to see Philip Wakem, who first 
raised his hat, and then, blushing deeply, came forward to her 
and put out his hand. Maggie, too, colored with surprise, 
which soon gave way to pleasure. She put out her hand and 
looked down pt the deformed figure before her with frank 

eyes, filled lor the moment with nothing but the memory of 
her child’s feelings—a memory that was always strong in her. 
She was the first to speak. 

“You startled me,” she said, smiling faintly; “I never 
meet any one here. How came you to be walking here? 
Did you come to meet me 

It was impossible not to perceive that Maggie felt herself a 
child again. 

“ Yes, I did,” said Philip, still embarrassed: “I wished to 
see you very much. I watched a long while yesterday on the 
bank near your house to see if you would come out, but you 
never came. Then I watched a^ain to-day, and when I saw 
the way you took, I kept you in sight and came down the 
bank, behind there. I hope you will not be displeased with 

“ Ho,” said Maggie, with simple seriousness, walking on, 
as if she meant Philip to accompany her, “ Pm very glad you 
came, for I wished very much to have an opportunity of speak¬ 
ing to you. I’ve never forgotten how good you were long 
ago to Tom, and me too ; but I was not sure that you would 
remember us so well. Tom and I have had a great deal of 
trouble since then, and I think that makes one think more of 
what happened before the trouble came.” 

“I can’t believe that you have thought of me so much as 
f have thought of you,” said Philip, timidly. “ Do you know, 
when I was away, I made a picture of you as you looked that 
morning in the study when you said you would not forget 

Philip drew a large miniature-case from his pocket', and 
opened it. Maggie saw her old self leaning on a table, with 
her black locks, hanging down behind her ears, looking into 
space with strange, dreamy eyes. It was a water-color sketch, 
of real merit as a portrait. 

“ Oh dear,” said Maggie, smiling, and flushed with pleasure, 
“ what a queer little girl I was ! I remember myself with my 
hair in that way, in that pink froGk. I really was like a 
gypsy. I daresay I am now,” she added, after a little pause; 
“ am I like what you expected me to be ?” 

The words might have been those of a coquette, but the 
full bright glance Maggie turned on Philip was not that of a 
coquette. She really did hope he liked her face as it was now, 
but it was simply the rising again of her innate delight in 
admiration and love. Philip met her eyes and looked at her 
in silence for a long moment, before he said, quietly, “Ho, 

The light died out a little from Maggie’s face, and there 



was a slight trembling of the lip. Her eyelids fell lower, but 
she did not turn away her head, and Philip continued to look 
at her. Then he said, slowly— 

“ You are very much more beautiful than I thought you 
would be.” 

“ Am I ?” said Maggie, the pleasure returning in a deeper 
flush. She turned her face away from him ana took some 
steps, looking straight before her in silence, as if she were 
adjusting her consciousness to this new idea. Girls are so 
accustomed to think of dress as the main ground of vanity, 
that, in abstaining from the looking-glass, Maggie had thought 
more of abandoning all care for adornment than of renounc¬ 
ing the contemplation of her face. Comparing herself with 
elegant, wealthy young ladies, it had not occurred to her that 
she could produce any effect with her person. Philip seemed 
to like the silence well. He walked by her side, watching her 
face, as if that sight left no room for any other wish. They 
had passed from among the fir-trees, and had now come to a 
green hollow almost surrounded by an amphitheatre of the 
pale pink dog-roses. But as the light about them had bright¬ 
ened, Maggie’s face had lost its glow. She stood still when 
they were in the hollows, and, looking at Philip again, she said 
in a serious, sad voice— 

“ I wish we could have been friends—I mean, if it would 
have been good and right for us. But that is the trial I have 
to bear in everything: I may not keep anything I used to love 
when I was little. The old books went; and Tom is different r 
—and my father. It is like death. I must part with every-' ^ 
thing I cared for when I was a child. And I must part with f 
you: we must never take any notice of each other again. 
That was what I wanted to speak to you for. I wanted to let 
you know that Tom and I can’t do as we like about such 
things, and that if I behave as if I had forgotten all about 
you, it is not out of envy or pride-^or—or any bad feeling.” 

Maggie spoke with more and more sorrowful gentleness as 
she went on, and her eyes began to fill with tears. The deep¬ 
ening expression of pain on Philip’s face gave him a stronger 
resemblance to his boyish selfj and made the deformity appeal 
more strongly to her pity. 

u I know—I see all that you mean,” he said, in a voice that 
had become feebler from discouragement: “ I know what 
there is to keep us apart on both sides. But it is not right, 
Maggie—don’t you be angry with me, I am so used to call 
you Maggie in my thoughts—it is not right to sacrifice every¬ 
thing to other people’s unreasonable feelings. I would give 
up a great deal for my father; but I would not give up a 




friendship or—or an attachment of any sort, in obedience to 
any wish of his that I didn’t recognise as right.” 

“ I don’t know,” said Maggie, musingly. “ Often, when I 
have been angry and discontented, it has seemed to me that I 
was not bound to give up anything; and I have gone on 
thinking till it has seemed to me that I could think away all 
my duty. But no good has ever come of that—it was an 
evil state of mind. I’m quite sure that whatever I might do, 
I should wish in the end that I had gone without anything for 
myself rather than have made my father’s life harder to him.’ 1 

“ But would it make his life harder, if we were to see each 
other sometimes ?” said Philip. He was going to say some¬ 
thing else, but checked himself. 

“ Oh, I’m sure he wouldn’t like it. Don’t ask me why, 01 
anything about it,” said Maggie, in a distressed tone. “ My 
father feels so strongly about some things. He is not at all 

“No more am I,” said Philip, impetuously: “I am not 

“ Why ?” said Maggie, gently. “ At least—I ought not to 
ask—but I’m very, very sorry.” 

Philip turned to walk on, as if he had not patience to stand 
still any longer, and they went out of the hollow, winding 
amongst the trees and bushes in silence. After that last word 
of Philip’s, Maggie could not bear to insist immediately on 
their parting. 

“ I’ve been a great deal happier,” she said at last, timidly, 
“ since I have given up thinking about what is easy and plea¬ 
sant, and being discontented because I couldn’t have my own 
will. Ouf life is determined for us—and it m a koo tfae mind 
very free when we give up wishing, and only think of bearing 
what is laid upon us, and doing what is given us to do.” 

“ But I can’t give up wishing,” said Philip, impatiently. 
“ It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing 
while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we 
feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them. 
How can we ever be satisfied without them until our feelings 
are deadened ? I delight in fine pictures—I long to be able 
to paint such. I strive and strive, and can’t produce what I 
want. That is pain to me, and always wiU be pain, until my 
faculties lose their keenness, like aged eyes. Then there are 
many other things I long for ”—here Philip hesitated a little, 
and then said—“ things that other men have, and that will 
always be denied me. My life will have nothing great or 
beautiful in it; I would rather not have lived.” 

“ Oh, Philip,” said Maggie, “ I wish you didn’t feel so.” 



But her heart began to beat with something of Philip’s dis¬ 

“ Well, then,” said he, turning quickly round and fixing his 
grey eyes entreatingly in her face, u I should be contented to 
live, if you would let me see you sometimes.” Then, checked 
by a fear which her face suggested, he looked away again, 
and said more calmly, “ I have no friend to whom I can tell 
everything—no one who cares enough about me; and if I 
could only see you now and then, and you would let me talk 
to you a little, and show me that you cared for me—and that 
we may always be friends in heart, and help each other—then 
I might come to be glad of life.” 

“ But how can I see you, Philip ?” said Maggie, falteringly. 
(Could she really do him good ? It would be very hard to 
say “ good-by” this day, and not speak to him again. Here 
was a new interest to vary the days—it was so much easier 
to renounce the interest before it came.) 

“ If you would let me see you here sometimes—walk with 
you here—I would be contented if it were only once or twice 
in a month. That could injure no one’s happiness, and it 
would sweeten my life. Besides,” Philip went on, with all 
the inventive astuteness of love at one-and-twenty, “ if there 
is any enmity between those who belong to us, we ought all 
the more to try and quench it by our friendship—I mean, that 
by our influence on both sides we might bring about the 
healing of the wounds that have been made in the past, if I 
could know everything about them. And I don’t believe 
there is any enmity in my own father’s mind: I think he has 
proved the contrary.” 

Maggie shook her head slowly, and was silent, under con¬ 
flicting thoughts. It seemed to her inclination, that to see 
Philip now and then, and keep up the bond of friendship with 
him, was something not only innocent, but good: perhaps 
she might really help him to find contentment, as she had 
found it. The voice that said this made sweet music to 
Maggie; but athwart it there came an urgent monotonous 
warning from another voice which she had been learning to 
obey: the warning that such interviews implied secresy—im¬ 
plied doing something she would dread to be discovered in— 
something that, if discovered, must cause anger and pain; 
and that the adLmission of anything so near doubleness would 
act as a spiritual blight. Yet the music would swell out 
again, like chimes borne onward by a recurrent breeze, per¬ 
suading her that the wrong lay all in the faults and weaknesses 
of others, and that there was such a thing as futile sacrifice 
for one to the injury of another. It was very cruel for Philip 



that he should be shrunk from, because of an unjustifiable 
vindictiveness towards his father—poor Philip, whom some 
people would shrink from only because he was deformed. 
The idea that he might become her lover, or that her meeting 
him could cause disapproval in that light, had not occurred 
to her; and Philip saw the absence of this idea clearly enough 
—saw it with a certain pang, although it made her consent 
to his request the less unlikely. There was bitterness to him 
in the perception that Maggie was almost as frank and uncon¬ 
strained towards him as when she was a child. 

“ I can’t say either yes or no,” she said at last, turning 
round and walking towards the way she had come; u I must 
wait, lest I should decide wrongly. I must seek for guid¬ 

“ May I come again, then—to-morrow—or the next day— 
or next week ?” 

“ I think I had better write,” said Maggie, faltering again. 
“ I have to go to St. Ogg’s sometimes, and I can put the 
letter in the post.” 

“ O no,” said Philip, eagerly; w that would not be so well 
My father might see the letter—and—he has not any enmity, 
I believe, but he views things differently from me: he thinks 
a great deal about wealth and position. Pray let me come 
here once more. Tell me when it shall be; or if you can’t 
tell me, I will come as often as I can till I do see you.” 

“I think it must be so, then,” said Maggie, “for I can’t be 
certain of coming here any particular evening.” " 

Maggie felt a great relief in adjourning the decision. She 
was free now to enjoy the minutes of companionship: she 
almost thought she might linger a little; the next time they 
met she should have to pain Philip by telling him her deter¬ 

“ I can’t help thinking,” she said, looking smilingly at him, 
after a few moments of silence, “ how strange it is that we 
should have met and talked to each other, just as if it had 
been only yesterday when we parted at Lorton. And yet we 
must both be very much altered in those five years—I think 
it is five years. How was it that you seemed to have a sort 
of feeling that I was the same Maggie ?—I was not quite so 
sure that you would be the same: I know you are so clever, 
and you must have seen and learnt so much to fill your mind: 
I was not quite sure you would care about me now.” 

“ I have never had any doubt that you would be the same, 
whenever I might see you,” said Philip. “ I mean, the same 
in everything that made me like you better than any one else. 
I don’t want to explain that: I don’t t hink any of the strong- 



est effects our natures are susceptible of can can ever be 
explained. We can neither detect the process by which they 
are arrived at, nor the mode in which they act on us. The 
greatest of painters only once painted a mysteriously divine 
child; he couldn’t have told how he did it, and we can’t tell 
why we feel it to be divine. I think there are stores laid up 
in our human nature that our understandings can make no 
complete inventory of. Certain strains of music affect me so 
strangely—I can never hear them without changing my whole 
attitude of mind for a time, and if the effect would last, I 
might be capable of heroisms.” 

44 Ah I I know what you mean about music— I feel so,” 
said Maggie, clasping her hands with her old impetuosity. 
“ At least,” she added, in a saddened tone, “ I used to feel so 
when I had any music: I never have any now, except the 
organ at church.” 

44 And you long for it, Maggie ?” said Philip, looking at her 
with affectionate pity. 44 Ah, you can have very little that is 
beautiful in your life. Have you many books ? You were so 
fond of them when you were a little girl.” 

They were come back to the hollow, round which the dog- 
roses grew, and they both paused under the charm of the 
faery evening light, reflected from the pale-pink clusters. 

“ Ho, I have given up books,” said Maggie, quietly, 44 except 
a very, very few.” 

Philip had already taken from his pocket a small volume, 
and was looking at the back, as he said— 

44 Ah, this is the second volume, I see, else you might have 
liked to take it home with you. I put it in my pocket 
because I am studying a scene for a picture.” 

Maggie had looked at the back too, and saw the title: it 
revived an old impression with overmastering force. 

444 The Pirate,’ ” she said, taking the book from Philip’s 
hands. 44 Oh, I began that once; I read to where Minna is 
walking with Cleveland, and I could never get to read the 
rest. I went on with it in my own head, and I made several 
endings; but they were all unhappy. I could never make a 
happy ending out of that beginning. Poor Minna! I wonder 
what is the real end. For a long while I couldn’t get my 
mind away from the Shetland Isles—I used to feel the wind 
blowing on me from the rough sea.” 

Maggie spoke rapidly, with glistening eyes. 

44 Take that volume home with you, Maggie,” said Philip, 
watching her with delight. 44 1 don’t want it now. I shall 
make a picture of you instead—you, among the Scotch firs 
and the slanting shadows.” 



Mag gie had not heard a word he had said: she was 
absorbed in a page at which she had opened. But suddenly 
she closed the book, and gave it back to Philip, shaking her 
head with a backward movement, as if to say “ avaunt ” to 
floating visions. 

“Do keep it, Maggie,” said Philip, entreatingly; “it will 
give you pleasure.” 

“ No, thank you,” said Maggie, putting it aside with her 
hand, and walking on. “ It would make me in love with this 
world again, as I used to be—it would make me long to see 
and know many things—it would make me long for a full 

“But you will not always be shut up in your present lot: 
why should you starve your mind in that way ? It is narrow 
asceticism—I don’t like to see you persisting in it, Maggie. 
Poetry and art and knowledge are sacred and pure.” 

“ But not for me—not for me,” said Maggie, walking more 
hurriedly. “ Because I should want too much. I must wait 
—this life will not last long.” 

“Don’t hurry away from me without saying ‘good-by,’ 
Maggie,” said Philip, as they reached the group of Scotch 
firs, and she continued still to walk along without speaking. 
“ I must not go any farther, I think, must I ? ” 

“ Oh no, I forgot; good-by,” said Maggie, pausing, and 
putting out her hand to him. The action brought her feeling 
back in a strong current to Philip ; and after they had stood 
looking at each other in silence for a few moments, with their 
hands clasped, she said, withdrawing her hand, 

“I’m very grateful to you for thinking of me all those 
years. It is very sweet to have people love us. What a 
wonderful, beautiful thing it seems that God should have made 
your heart so that you could care about a queer little girl 
whom you only knew for a few weeks. I remember saying 
to you, that I thought you cared for me more than Tom did.” 

“ Ah, Maggie,” said Philip, almost fretfully, “ you would 
never love me so well as you love your brother.” 

“ Perhaps not,” said Maggie, simply; “ but then, you know, 
the first thing I ever remember in my life is standing with 
Tom by the side of the Floss, while he held my hand: every¬ 
thing before that is dark to me. But I shall never forget 
you—though we must keep apart.” 

“ Don’t say so, Maggie,” said Philip. “ If I kept that little 
girl in my mind for five years, didn’t I earn some part in her ? 
She ought not to take herself quite away from me.” 

“ Not if I were free,” said Maggie ; “ but I am not—I must 
submit.” She hesitated a moment and then added, “ An d I 



wanted to say to you, that you had better not take more 
notice of my brother than just bowing to him. He once told me 
not to speak to you again, and he doesn’t change his mind. 
. . . Oh dear, the sun is set. I am too long away. Good- 
by.” She gave him her hand once more. 

“ I shall come here as often as I can, till I see you again, 
Maggie. Have some feeling for me as well as for others.” 

“ Yes, yes, I have,” said Maggie, hurrying away, and quickly 
disappearing behind the last fir-tree; though Philip’s gaze 
after her remained immovable for minutes, as if he saw her 

Maggie went home, with an inward conflict already begun; 
Philip went home to do nothing but remember and hope. 
You can hardly help blaming him severely. He was four or 
five years older than Maggie, and had a ftill consciousness of 
his feeling towards her to aid him in foreseeing the character 
his contemplated interviews with her would bear in the opinion 
of a third person. But you must not suppose that he was 
capable of a gross selfishness, or that he could have been 
satisfiec^vithout persuading himself that he was seeking to 
infuse some happmess into Maggie’s life—seeking this even 
more than any direct ends for himself. He could give her 
sympathy—he could give her help. There was not the 
slightest promise of love towards him in her manner; it was 
nothing more than the sweet girlish tenderness she had shown 
him when she was twelve: perhaps she would never love him 
—perhaps no woman ever could love him; well, then, he 
would endure that; he should at least have the happiness of 
seeing her—of feeling some nearness to her. And he clutched 
passionately the possibility that she might love him: perhaps 
the feeling would grow, if she could come to associate him 
with that watchful tenderness which her nature would be so 
keenly alive to. If any woman could love him, surely Maggie 
was that woman: there was such wealth of love in her, and 
there was no one to claim it all. Then—the pity of it, that a 
mind like hers should be withering in its very youth, like a 
young forest tree, for want of the light and space it was 
formed to flourish in! Could he not hinder that, by persuad¬ 
ing her out of her system of privation ? He would be her 
guardian angel; he would do anything, bear anything for her 
sake—except not seeing her. 



While Maggie’s life-struggles had lain almost entirely within 
her own soul, one shadowy army fighting another, and. the 
slain shadows for ever rising again, Tom was engaged in a 
dustier, noisier warfare, grappling with more substantial 
obstacles, and gaining more definite conquests. So it has been 
since the days of Hecuba, and of Hector, Tamer of horses: 
inside the gates, the women with streaming hair and uplifted 
hands offering prayers, watching the world’s combat from 
afar, fillin g their long, empty days with memories and fears: 
outside, the men in fierce struggle with things divine and 
human, quenching memory in the stronger light of purpose, 
losing the sense of dread and even of wounds m the hurrying 
ardor of action. * 

From what you have seen of Tom, I think he is not a youth 
of whom you would prophesy failure in anything he had 
thoroughly wished: the wagers are likely to be on his side, 
notwithstanding his small success in the classics. For Tom 
had never desired success in this field of enterprise; and for 
getting a fine flourishing growth Of stupidity there is nothing 
like pouring out on a mind a good amount of subjects in 
which it feels no interest. But now Tom’s strong will bound 
together his integrity, his pride, his family regrets, and his 
personal ambition, and made them one force, concentrating 
his efforts and surmounting discouragements. His uncle 
Deane, who watched him closely, soon began to conceive hopes 
of him, and to be rather proud that he had brought into the 
employment of the firm a nephew who appeared to be made 
of such good commercial stuff. The real kindness of placing 
him in the warehouse first was soon evident to Tom, in the 
hints his uncle began to throw out, that after a time he might 
perhaps be trusted to travel at certain seasons, and buy in for 
the firm various vulgar commodities with which I need not 
shock refined ears in this place ; and it was doubtless with a 
view to this that Mr. Deane, when he expected to take his 
wine alone, would tell Tom to step in and sit with him an 
hour, and would pass that hour in much lecturing and cate¬ 
chising concerning articles of export and import, with an 
occasional excursus of more indirect utility on the relative 
advantages to the merchants of St. Ogg’s of having goods 



brought in their own and in foreign bottoms—a subject cm 
which Mr. Dean, as a shipowner, naturally threw off a few 
sparks when he got warmed with talk and wine. Already, in 
the second year, Tom’s salary was raised ; but all, except the 
price of his dinner and clothes^ went home into the tin box; 
and he shunned comradeship, lest it should lead him into 
expenses in spite of himself. Not that Tom was moulded on 
the spoony type of the Industrious Apprentice; he had a 
very strong appetite for pleasure—would have liked to be a 
Tamer of horses, and to make a distinguished figure in all 
neighboring eyes, dispensing treats and benefits to others with 
well-judged liberality, and being pronounced one of the finest 
young fellows of those parts; nay, he determined to achieve 
these things sooner or later; but his practical shrewdness told 
him that the means to such achievements could only lie for him 
in present abstinence and self-denial: there were certain mile¬ 
stones to be passed, and one of the first was the payment of 
his father’s debts. Having made up his mind on that point, he 
strode along without swerving, contracting some rather satur¬ 
nine sternness, as a young man is likely to do who has a prema¬ 
ture call upon him for self-reliance. Tom felt intensely that 
common cause with his father which springs from family pride, 
and was bent on being irreproachable as a son; but his grow¬ 
ing experience caused him to pass much silent criticism on the 
rashness and imprudence of his father’s past conduct; their 
dispositions were not in sympathy, and Tom’s face showed 
little radiance during his few home hours. Maggie had an 
awe of him, against which she struggled as something unfair 
to her consciousness of wider thoughts and deeper motives; 
but it was of no use to struggle. A character at unity with 
itself—-that performs what it intends, subdues every counter¬ 
acting impulse, and has no visions beyond the distinctly possi¬ 
ble—is strong by its very negations. 

You may imagine that Tom’s more and more obvious 
unlikeness to his lather was well fitted to conciliate the mater¬ 

nal aunts and uncles; and Mr. Deane’s favorable reports and 
predictions to Mr. Glegg concerning Tom’s qualifications for 
business, began to be discussed amongst them with various 
acceptance. He was likely, it appeared, to do the familv 
credit, without causing it any expense and trouble. Mrs. Pul¬ 
let had always thought it strange if Tom’s excellent com¬ 
plexion, so entirely that of the Dodsons, did not argue a cer¬ 
tainty that he would turn out well, his juvenile errors of run¬ 
ning down the peacock, and general disrespect to his aunts, 
only indicating a tinge of TulHver blood which he had doubt¬ 
less outgrown. Mr. Glegg, who had contracted a cautious 



liking for lom ever since his spirited and sensible behavior 
when the execution was in the house, was now wanning into 
a resolution to further his prospects actively—some time, 
when an opportunity offered of doing so in a prudent manner, 
without ultimate loss; but Mrs. Glegg observed that she was not 
given to speak without book, as some people were; that those 
who said least were most likely to find their words made good; 
and when the right moment came, it would be seen who could 
do something better than talk. Uncle Pullet, after silent 
meditation for a period of several lozenges, came distinctly 
to the conclusion, that when a young man was likely to do 
well, it was better not to meddle with him. 

Tom, meanwhile, had shown no disposition to rely on any 
one but himself, though, with a natural sensitiveness towards 
all indications of favorable opinion, he was glad to see his unde 
Glegg look in on him sometimes in a friendly way during 
business hours, and glad to be invited to dine at his house, 
though he usually preferred declining on the ground that he 
was not sure of being punctual. But about a year ago, some¬ 
thing had occurred which induced Tom to test > his unde 
Glegg’s friendly disposition. 

Bob Jakin, who rarely returned from one of his rounds with¬ 
out seeing Tom and Maggie, awaited him on the bridge as he 
was coming home from St. Ogg’s one evening, that they might 
have a little private talk. He took the liberty of asking if 
Mr. Tom had ever thought of making money by trading a bit 
on his own account. Trading, how ? Tom wished to know. 
Why, by sending out a bit of a cargo to foreign ports; because 
Bob had a particular friend who had offered to do a little 
business for him in that way in Laceham goods, and would be 
glad to serve Mr. Tom on the same footing. Tom was inte¬ 
rested at once, and begged for full explanation; wondering he 
had not thought of this plan before. He was so well pleased 
with the prospect of a speculation that might change the slow 
process of addition into multiplication, that he at once deter¬ 
mined to mention the matter to his father, and get his consent 
to appropriate some of the savings in the tin box to the 
purchase of a small cargo. He would rather not have con¬ 
sulted his father, but he had just paid his last quarter’s money 
into the tin box, and there was no other resource. All the 
savings were there; for Mr. Tulliver would not consent to put 
the money out at interest lest he should lose it. Since he had 
speculated in the purchase' of some corn and had lost by it, he 
could not be easy without keeping the money under his 

Tom approached the subject carefully, as he was seated on 



the hearth with his father that evening, and Mr. Tulliver 
listened, leaning forward in his arm-chair and looking np in 
Tom’s face with a sceptical glance. His first impulse was to 
give a positive refusal, but he was in some awe of Tom’s 
wishes, and since he had had the sense of being an “ unlucky” 
father, he had lost some of his old peremptoriness, and deter¬ 
mination to be master. He took the key of the bureau from 
his pocket, got out the key of the large chest, and fetched 
down the tin box—slowly, as if he were trying to defer the 
moment of a painful parting. Then he seated himself against 
the table, and opened the box with that little padlock-key 
which he fingered in his waistcoat pocket in all vacant mo¬ 
ments. There they were, the dingy bank-notes and the bright 
sovereigns, and he counted them out on the table—only a 
hundred and sixteen pounds in two years, after all the 

“How much do you want, then?” he said, speaking as if 
the words burnt his lips. 

“ Suppose I begin with the thirty-six pounds, father?” said 

Mr. Tulliver separated this sum from the rest, and keeping 
his hand over it, said— 

“ It’s as much as I can save out o’ my pay in a year.” 

“Yes, father: it is such slow work—saving out of the 
little money we get. And in this way we might double our 

“Ay, my lad,” said the father, keeping his hand on the 
money, “ but you might lose it—you might lose a year o’ my 
life—and I haven’t got many.” 

Tom was silent. 

“ And you know I wouldn’t pay a dividend with the first 
hundred, because I wanted to see it all in a lump—and when 
I see it, I’m sure on’t. If you trust to luck, it’s sure to be 
against ine. It’s Old Harry’s got the luck in his hands; and 
ifl lose one year, I shall never pick it up again—death ’ull o’er- 
take me.” 

Mr. Tulliver’s voice trembled, and Tom was silent for a few 
minutes before he said— 

“ Ill give it up, father, since you object to it so strongly.” 

But, unwilling to abandon the scheme altogether, he deter¬ 
mined to ask his unde Glegg to venture twenty pounds, on 
condition of receiving five per cent, of the profits. That was 
really a very small thing to ask. So when Bob called the next 
day at the wharf to know the decision, Tom proposed that 
they should go together to his uncle Glegg’s to open the busi¬ 
ness; for his diffident pride clung to him, and made him feel 



that Bob’s tongue would relieve him from some embar¬ 

Mr. Glegg, at the pleasant hour of four in the afternoon of 
a hot August day, was naturally counting his wall-fruit to 
assure himself that the sum total had not varied since yester¬ 
day. To him entered Tom, in what appeared to Mr. Glegg 
very questionable companionship: that of a man with a pack 
on his back—for Bob was equipped for a new journey—and 
of a huge brindled bull-terrier, who walked with a slow sway¬ 
ing movement from side to side, and glanced from under Ins 
eyelids with a surly indifference which might after all be a 
cover to the most offensive designs. Mr. Glegg’s spectacles, 
which had been assisting him in counting the fruit, made these 
suspicious details alarmingly evident to him. 

u Heigh! heigh! keep that dog back, will you ?” he shouted, 
snatching up a stake and holding it before him as a shield 
when the visitors were within three yards of him. 

u Get out wi’ you, Mumps,” said Bob, with a kick. w He’s 
as quiet as a lamb, sir,”—an observation which Mumps corro¬ 
borated by a low growl as he retreated behind his master’s 

“ Why, whatever does this mean, Tom ?” said Mr. Glegg. 
“ Have you brought information about the scoundrels as cut 
my trees ?” If Bob came in the character of u information,” 
Mr. Glegg saw reasons for tolerating some irregularity. 

“No, sir,” said Tom: “I came to speak to you about a 
little matter of business of my own.” 

“ Ay—well—but what has this dog got to do with it ?” said 
the old gentleman, getting mild again. 

“ It’s my dog, sir,” said the ready Bob. “ An’ it’s me as 
put Mr. Tom up to the bit o’ business ; for Mr. Tom’s been a 
friend o’ mine iver since I was a little chap : fust thing ivir I 
did was frightenin’ the birds for th’ old master. An’ if a bit 
o’ luck turns up, I’m allays thinkin’ if I can let Mr. Tom have 
a pull at it. An’ it’s a downright roarin’ shame, as when he’s 
got the chance o’ making a bit o’ money wi’ sending goods 
out—ten or twelve per zent clear, when freight an’ commis¬ 
sion’s paid—as he shouldn’t lay hold o’ the chance for want o’ 
money. An’ when there’s the Laceham goods—lore! they’re 
made o’ purpose for folks as want to send out a little carguy; 
light, an’ take up no room—you may pack twenty pound so 
as you can’t see the passill: an’ they’re manifacturs as please 
fools, so I reckon they aren’t like to want a market. An’ I’d 
go to Laceham an’ buy in the goods for Mr. Tom along wi’ 
my own. An’ there’s the shupercargo o’ the bit of a vessel 
as is goin’ to take ’em out—I know him partic’lar; he’s a 



solid man, an’ got a family i’ the town here. Salt, his name 
is—an’ a briny chap he is too—an’ if you don’t believe me, I 
can take you to him.” 

Uncle Glegg stood open-mouthed with astonishment at this 
unembarrassed loquacity, with which his understanding could 
hardly keep pace. He looked at Bob, first over his spectacles, 
then through them, then over them again; while Tom, doubt¬ 
ful of his uncle’s impression, began to wish he had not brought 
this singular Aaron or mouthpiece: Bob’s talk appeared less 
seemly, now some one besides himself was listening to it. 

“ You seem to be a knowing fellow,” said Mr. Glegg, at 

“ Ay, sir, you say true,” returned Bob, nodding his head 
aside ; “ I think my head’s all alive inside like an old cheese, 
for I’m so full o’ plans, one knocks another over. If I hadn’t 
Mumps to talk to, I should get top-heavy an’ tumble in a fit. 
I suppose it’s because I niver went to school much. That’s 
what I jaw my old mother for. I says c you should ha’ sent 
me to school a bit more, 5 I says—‘ an’ then I could ha’ read i’ 
the books like fun, an’ kep’ my head cool an’ empty.’ Lors, 
she’s fine an’ comfor’ble now, my old mother is: she ates her 
baked meat an’ taters as often as she likes. For I’m gettin’ 
so full o’ money, I must hev a wife to spend it for me. But 
it’s botherin’, a wife is—and Mumps mightn’t like her.” 

Uncle Glegg, who regarded himself as a jocose man since 
he had retired from business, was beginning to find Bob amus¬ 
ing, but he had still a disapproving observation to make which 
kept his face serious. 

“ Ah,” he said, “ I should think you’re at a loss for ways o’ 
spending your money, else you wouldn’t keep that big dog, 
to eat as much as two Christians. It’s shameful—shameful 1 ” 
But he spoke more in sorrow than in anger, and quickly 
added— # * 

“ But, come now, let’s hear more about this business, Tom. 
I suppose you want a little sum to make a venture with. 
But where’s all your own money ? You don’t spend it all 
—eh ? ” 

“ Ho, sir,” said Tom coloring; “but my father is unwilling 
to risk it, and I don’t like to press him. If I could get twenty 
or thirty pounds to begin with, I could pay five per cent, for 
it, and then I could-gradually make a little capital of my own, 
and do without a loan.” 

“ Ay .... ay,” said Mr. Glegg, in an approving tone; 
“ that’s not a bad notion, and I won’t say as I wouldn’t be 
your man. But it’ll be as well for me to see this Salt, as you 
talk on. And then .... here’s this friend o’ yours offers 



buy the goods for you. Perhaps you’ve got somebody to 
stand surety for you if the money’s put into your hands ?” 
added the cautious old gentleman, looking over his spectacles 
at Bob. 

“I don’t think that’s necessary, uncle,” said Tom. “At 
least, I mean it would not be necessary for me, because I 
know Bob well; but perhaps it would be right for you to 
have some security.” 

u You get your per centage out o’ the purchase, I suppose ?” 
said Mr. Glegg, looking at Bob. 

“No, sir,” said Bob, rather indignantly; “ I didn’t offer to 
get a apple for Mr. Tom, o’ purpose to hev a bite out of it 
myself. When I play folks tricks there’ll be more fun in ’em 
nor that.” 

“Well, but it’s nothing but right you should have a small 
per centage,” said Mr. Glegg. “ I’ve no opinion o’ transac¬ 
tions where folks do things for nothing. It allays looks 

“ Well, then,” said Bob, whose keenness saw at once what 
was implied, “ I’ll tell you what I get by’t, an’ it’s money in 
my pocket in the end:—I make myself look big, wi’ makin’ a 
bigger purchase. That’s what I’m thinking on. Lors! I’m 
a ’cute chap—I am.” 

“ Mr. Glegg, Mr. Glegg,” said a severe voice from the 
open parlor window, “ pray are you coming in to tea ?—or 
are you going to stand talking with packmen till you get 
murdered in the open daylight ?” 

“ Murdered ?” said Mr. Glegg; “ what’s the woman talk¬ 
ing of? Here’s -your nephey Tom come about a bit o’ 

“ Murdered—yes—it isn’t many ’sizes ago, since a packman 
murdered a young woman in a lone place, and stole her 
thimble, and threw her body into a ditch.” 

“Nay, nay,” said Mr. Glegg, soothingly, “you’re thinking 
o’ the man wi’ no legs, as drove a dog-cart.” 

“ Well, it’s the same thing, Mr. Glegg—only you’re fond o’ 
contradicting what I say; and if my nephey’s come about 
business, it ’ud be more fitting if you’d bring him into the 
house, and let his aunt know about it, instead o’ whispering in 
comers, in that plotting, underminding way.” 

“Well, well,” said Mr. Glegg, “we’ll come in now.” 

“You needn’t stay here,” said the lady to Bob, in a loud 
voice, adapted to the moral not the physical distance between 
them. “We don’t want anything. I don’t deal wi’ packmen. 

* Mind you shut the gate after you.” 

“Stop a bit; not so fast,” said Mr. Glegg: “I haven’t 



done with this young man yet. Come in, Tom; come in,” 
he added, stepping in at the French window. 

“Mr. Glegg,” said Mrs. G., in a fatal tone, “if you’re 
going to let that man and his dog in on my carpet, before 
my very face, be so good as to let me know. A wife’s 
got a right to ask that, I hope.” 

“ Don’t you be uneasy, mum,” said Bob, touching his cap. 
He saw at once that Mrs. Glegg was a bit of game worth 
running down, and longed to be at the sport; “ we’U stay 
out upo’ the gravel here—Mumps and me will. Mumps 
knows his company—he does. I might hish at him by th’ 
hour together, before he’d fly at a real gentlewoman like you. 
It’s wonderful how he knows which is the good-looking 
ladies—and’s partic’lar fond of ’em when they’ve good 
shapes. Lors!” added Bob, laying down his pack on the 
gravel, “ it’s a thousand pities sugh a lady as you shouldn’t 
deal with a packman, i’stead o’ goin’ into these newfangled 
shops, where there’s half-ardozen fine gents wi’ their chins 
propped up wi’ a stiff stock, a-looking like bottles wi’ orna¬ 
mental stoppers, an’ all got to get their dinner out of a bit o’ 
calico: it stan’s to reason you must pay three times the price 
you pay a packman, as is the nat’ral way o’ gettin’ goods— 
an’ pays no rent, an’ isn’t forced to throttle himself till the 
lies are squeezed out on him, whether he will or no. But 
lors! mum, you know what it is better nor I do— you can see 
through them shopmen, I’ll be bound.” 

“Yes, I reckon I can, and through the packmen too,” 
observed Mrs. Glegg, intending to imply that Bob’s flattery 
had produced no effect on her ; while her husband, standing 
behind her with his hands in his pockets and legs apart, 
winked and smiled with conjugal delight at the probability of 
his wife’s being circumvented. 

“ Ay, to be sure, mum,” said Bob. “ Why, you must ha’ 
dealt wi’ no end o’ packmen when you war a young lass— 
before the master here had the luck to set eyes on you. I 
know where you lived, I do—seen th’ house many a time— 
close upon Squire Darleigh’s—a stone house wi’ steps . . . .” 

“ Ah, that it had,” said Mrs. Glegg, pouring out the tea. 
“You know something o’ my family then .... are you 
akin to that packman with a squint in his eye, as used to 
bring th’ Irish linen ?” 

“ Look you there now!” said Bob, evasively. “ Didn’t I 
know as you’d remember the best bargains you’ve made in 
your life was made wi’ packmen ? Why, you see, even a 
squintin’ packman’s better nor a shopman as can see straight. 
Lors! if I’d had the luck to call at the stone house wi* my 



pack, as lies here,"—stooping and thumping the'bundle 
emphatically with his fist ,— 44 an 9 th’ handsome young lasses 
all stannin 9 out on the stone steps, it 9 nd ha’ been summst 
like openin’ a pack—that would. It’s on*y the poor houses 
now as a packman calls on, if it isn’t for the sake o’ the sar- 
vant-maids. They’re paltry times—these are. Why, mum, 
look at the printed cottons now, an’ what they was when you 
wore ’em—why, yon wouldn’t put such a thing on now, I 
can see. It must be first-rate quality—the manifactur as 
you’d buy—sunwnat as ’ud wear as well your own faitures.” 

44 Yes, better quality nor any you’re like to carry: you’ve 
got nothing first-rate but brazenness, YU be bound,” said Mrs. 
Glegg, with a triumphant sense of her insurmountable sagacity. 
44 Mr. Glegg, are you going ever to sit down to your tea? 
Tom, there’s a cup for you.” 

44 You speak true there, mum,” said Bob. 44 My pack isn’t 
for ladies like you. The time’s gone by for that. Bargains 
picked up dirt cheap! A bit o’ damage here an’ there, as can 
be cut out, or else never seen i’ the wearin’; but not fit to 
offer to rich folks as can pay for the look o’ things as nobody 
sees. I am not the man as ’ud offer t’ open my pack to you, 
mum: no, no; I’m a imperent chap, as you say—these times 
makes folks imperent—but I’m not up to the mark o’ that.” 

44 Why, what goods do you carry in your pack?” said Mrs. 
Glegg. 44 Fine-colored things, I suppose—shawls an’ that ?” 

44 All sorts, mum, all sorts,” said Bob, thumping his bundle: 
44 but let us say no more about that, if you please. I’m here 
upo’ Mr. Tom’s business, an’ I’m not the man to take up the 
time wi’ my own.” 

44 And pray, what is this business as is to be kept from me?” 
said Mrs. Glegg, who, solicited by a double curiosity, was 
obliged to let the one-half wait. 

44 A little plan o’ nephey Tom’s here,” said good-natured 
Mr. Glegg; 44 and not altogether a bad ’un, I think. A little 
plan for making money: that’s the right sort o’ plan for 
young folks as have got their foilin’ to make, eh, Jane ?” 

44 But I hope it isn’t a plan where he expects iverything to 
be done for him by his friends: that’s what the young folks 
think of mostly nowadays. And pray, what has this packman 
got to do wi’ what goes on in our family ? Can’t you speak 
for yourself, Tom, and let your aunt know things, as a nephey 

44 This is Bob Jakin, aunt,” said Tom, bridling the irritation 
that aunt Glegg’s voice always produced. 44 Tve known him 
ever since we were little boys. He’s a very good fellow, and 
always ready to do me a kindness. And he has had some 



experience in sending goods out—a small part of a cargo as 
a private speculation; and he thinks if 1 could begin to do a 
little in the same way, I might make some money. A large 
interest is got in that way.” 

a Large int’rest ?” said aunt Glegg, with eagerness; “ and 
what do you call large int’rest ?” 

“Ten or twelve per cent.^Bob says, Writer expenses are 

“ Then why wasn’t I let to know o’ such things before, Mr. 
Glegg ?” said Mrs. Glegg, turning to her husband, with a 
deep grating tone of reproach. ~ “ Haven’t you allays told me 
as there was no getting more nor five per cent.” 

<<r Pooh, pooh, nonsense, my good woman,” said Mr. Glegg. 
“ You couldn’t go into trade, could you ? You can’t get 
more than five per cent, with security.” 

“ But I can turn a bit o’ money for you, an’ welcome, 
mum,” said Bob, “ if you’d like to risk it—not as there’s any 
risk to speak on. But if you’d a mind to lend a bit o’ money 
to Mr. Tom, he’d pay you six or seven per zent, an’ get a 
trifle for himself as well; an’ a good-natur’d lady like you 
’ud like the feel o’ the money better if your nephey took part 
on it.” 

“ What do you say, Mrs. G. ?” said Mr. Glegg. “ I’ve a 
notion, when I’ve made a bit more inquiry, as I shall perhaps 
start Tom here with a bit of a nest-egg—he’ll pay me mt’rest, 
you know—an’ if you’ve got some little sums lyin’ idle twisted 
up in a stockin’ toe, or that . . . .” 

“ Mr. Glegg, it’s beyond iverything! You’ll go and give 
information to the tramps next, as they may come and rob 

“Well, well, as I was sayin’, if you like to join me wi’ 
twenty pounds, you can—I’ll make it fifty. That’ll be a 
pretty good nest-egg—eh, Tom?” 

“ You’re not counting on me, Mr. Glegg, I hope,” said his 
wife. “You could do fine things wi’ my money I don’t 

“Very well,” said Mr. Glegg, rather snappishly, “then 
we’ll do without you. I shall go with you to see this Salt,” 
he added, turning to Bob. 

“ And now, I suppose, you’ll go all the other way, Mr. 
Glegg,” said Mrs. G., “ and want to shut me out o’ my own 
nephey’s business. I never said I wouldn’t put money into it 
—I don’t say as it shall be twenty pounds, though you’re so 
ready to say it for me—but he’ll see some day as his aunt’s in 
the right not to risk the money she’s saved for him till it’s 
proved as it won^t be lost.” 



44 Ay, that’s a pleasant sort o’ risk, that is,” said Mr. Glegg, 
indiscreetly winking at Tom, who couldn’t avoid smiling. 
But Bob stemmed tne injured lady’s outburst. 

44 Ay, mum,” he said, admiringly, “you know what’s what 
—you do. An’ it’s nothing but fair. You see how the first 
bit of a job answers, an’ then you’ll come down handsome. 
Lors, it’s a fine thing to hev good kin. I got my bit of a nest- 
egg, as the master calls it, all by my own sharpness—ten suv- 
reigns it was—wi’ dousing the fire at Torry’s mill, an’ it’s growed 
an’ growed by a bit an’ a bit, till I’n got a matter o’ thirty pound 
to lay out, besides makin’ my mother comfor’ble. I should 
get more, on’y I’m such a soft wi’ the women—I can’t help 
lettin’ ’em hev such good bargains. There’s this bundle, 
now” (thumping it lustily), 44 any other chap ’ud make a pretty 
penny out on it. But me! .. .. lore, I shall sell ’em for 
pretty near what I paid for ’em.” 

44 Have you got a bit of good net now?” said Mrs. Glegg, 
in a patronising tone, moving from the tea-table, and folding 
her napkin. 

44 Eh, mum, not what you’d think it worth your while to 
look at. I’d scorn to show it you. It ’ud be an insult to 

44 But let me see,” said Mrs. Glegg, still patronising. 44 If 
they’re damaged goods, they’re like enough to be a bit the 
better quality.” 

44 No, mum. I know my place,” said Bob, lifting up his 
pack and shouldering it. 44 I’m not going t’ expose the low¬ 
ness o’ my trade to a lady like you. Packs is come down i’ 
the world: it ’ud cut you to th’ heart to see the difference. 
I’m at your sarvice, sir, when you’ve a mind to go an’ see 

44 All in good time,” said Mr. Glegg, really unwilling to cut 
short the dialogue. 44 Are you wanted at the whar£ Tom ?” 

44 No, sir; I left Stowe in my place.” 

44 Come, put down your pack, and let me see,” said Mrs. 
Glegg, drawing a chair to the window, and seating herself 
with much dignity. 

44 Don’t you ask it, mum,” said Bob, entreatingly. 

44 Make no more words,” said Mrs. Glegg, severely, 44 but 
do as I tell you.” 

44 Eh, mum, I’m loth—that I am,” said Bob, slowly deposit¬ 
ing his pack on the step, and beginning to untie it with 
unwilling fingers. 44 But what you order shall be done” 
(much fumbling in pauses between the sentences). 44 It’s not 

as you’ll buy a single thing on me.I’d be sorry for you 

to do it .... for think o’ them poor women up i’ the villages 



there, as niver stir a hundred yards from home .... it ud be 
a pity for anybody to buy up their bargains. Lors, it’s as - 
good as a junketing to ’em when they see me wi’ my pack 
.... an’ I shall niver pick up such bargains for ’em again; 
Least ways, I’ve no time now, for I’m off to Laceham. See 
here, now,” Bob went on, becoming rapid again, and holding 
up a scarlet woollen kerchief with an embroidered wreath in 
the corner; “ here’s a thing to make a lass’s mouth water, an’ 
on’y two shillin’—an’ why ? Why, ’cause there’s a bit of a 
moth-hole i’ this plain end. Lors, I think the moths an’ the 
mildew was sent by Providence o’ purpose to cheapen the 
goods a bit for the good-lookin’ women as han’t got much 
money. If it hadn’t been for the moths, now, every hanki- 
cher on ’em ’ud ha’ gone to the rich handsome ladies, like you, 
mum, at five shilliri’ a-piece—not a farthin’ less; but what 
does the moth do ? Why, it nibbles off three shillin’ o’ the 
price i’ no time, an’ then a packman like me can carry’t to the 
poor lasses as live under the. dark thack, to make a bit of a 
blaze for ’em. Lors, it’s as good as a fire, to look at such a 
hankicher! ” 

Bob held it at a distance for admiration, but Mrs, Glegg 
said sharply— 

“Yes, but nobody wants a fire this time o’ year. Put 
these colored things by—let me look at your nets, if you’ve 
got ’em.” 

“ Eh, mum, I told you how it ’ud be,” said Bob, flinging 
aside the colored things with an air of desperation. “I 
knowed it ’ud turn again’ you to look at such paltry articles 
as I carry. Here’s a piece o’ figured muslin now—what’s the 
use o’ your lookin’ at it ? You might as well look at poor 
folks’s victual, mum—it ’ud on’y take away your appetite. 
There’s a yard i’ the middle on’t as the pattern’s all missed— 
lors, why it’s a muslin as the Princess Yictoree might ha’ 
wore—but,” added Bob, flinging it behind him on to the turf, 
as if to save Mrs. Glegg’s eyes, “ it’ll be bought up by th’ 
huckster’s wife at Fibb’s End—that’s where t$’ll go—ten shil¬ 
lin’ for the whole lot—ten yards, countin’ the damaged ’un— 
five-an’-twenty shillin’ ’ud ha’ been the price—not a penny 
less. But I’ll say no more, mum; it’s nothing to you—a piece 
o’ muslin like that; you can afford to pay three times the 
money for a thing as isn’t half so good. It’s nets you talked 
on; well, I’ve got a piece as ’ull serve you to make fun on .. .” 

“Bring me that muslin,” said Mrs. Glegg: “it’s a buff— 
I’m partial to buff.” 

“ Eh, but a damaged thing,” said Bob, in a tone of depre¬ 
cating disgust. “ You’d do nothing with it. 



give it to the cook, I know you would—an 9 it ’ud be a pity— 
she’d look too much like a lady in it—it’s unbecoming for 

“ Fetch it and let me see you measure it,” said Mrs. Glegg, 

Bob obeyed with ostentatious reluctance. 

“ See what there is over measure!” he said, holding forth the 
extra half-yard, while Mrs. Glegg was busy examining the 
damaged yard, and throwing her head back to see how for 
the fault would be lost on a distant view. 

u I’ll give you six shilling for it,” she said, throwing it down 
with the air of a person who mentions an ultimatum. 

“ Didn’t I tell you now, mum, as it ’ud hurt your feelings 
to look at my pack ? That damaged bit’s turned your sto¬ 
mach now—I see it has,” said Bob, wrapping the muslin up 
with the utmost quickness, and apparently about to fasten up 
his pack. “ You’re used to seein’ a different sort o’ article 
carried by packmen, when you lived at the Stone House. 
Packs is come down i’ the world; I told you that: my goods 
are for common folks. Mrs. Pepper ’ull give me ten shillin’ 
for that muslin, an’ be sorry as I didn’t ask her more. Such 
articles answer i’ the wearin’—they keep their color till the 
threads melt away i’ the wash-tub, an’ that won’t be while 
JT’m a young un.” 

“Well, seven shilling,” said Mrs. Glegg. 

“ Put it out o’ your mind, mum, now do,” said Bob. “Here’s 
a bit o’ net, then, for you to look at before I tie up my pack: 
just for you to see what my trade’s come to: spotted and 
sprigged, you see, beautiful, but yallow—’s been lyin’ by an’ 
got the wrong color. I could niver ha’ bought such net, if it 
hadn’t been yallow. Lors, it’s took me a deal o’ study to 
know the vally o’ such articles; when I begun to carry a pack, 
I was as ignirant as a pig—net or calico was all the same to 
me. I thought them things the most vally as was the thick¬ 
est. I was took in dreadful—for I’m a straitforrard chap- 
up to no tricks, mum. I can on’y say my nose is my own, for 
if I went beyond, I should lose myself pretty quick. An’ I 
gev five-an’-eightpence for that piece o’ net—if I was to tell 
y’ anything else I should be tellin’ you fibs: an’ five-an’-eight¬ 
pence I shall ask for it—not a penny more—for it’s a woman’s 
article, an’ I like to ’commodate the women. Five-an’-eight¬ 
pence for six yards—as cheap as if it was only the dirt on it 
as was paid for.” 

“ I don’t mind having three yards of it,” said Mrs. Glegg. 

“ Why, there’s but six altogether,” said Bob. u No, mum, 
it isn't worth your while; you can go to the shop to-morrow 



an* get the same pattern ready whitened. It’s on’y three 
times the money—what’s that to a ladylike you?” He gave 
an emphatic tie to his bundle. 

“ Come, lay me out that muslin,” said Mrs. Glegg. “ Here’s 
eight shilling for it.” 

“You will be jokin’, mum,” said Bob, looking up with a 
laughing face; “ I see’d you was a pleasant lady when I fast 
come to the winder.” 

“ Well, put it me out,” said Mrs. Glegg, peremptorily. 

“ But if I let you have it for ten shillin’, mum, you’ll be 
so good as not tell nobody. I should be a laaghin’-stock—the 
trade ’ud hoot me, if they knowed it. I’m obliged to make 
believe as I ask more nor I do for my goods, else they’d Aid 
out I was a flat. I’m glad you don’t insist upo’ buyin’ the 
net, for then I should ha’ lost my two best bargains for Mrs. 
Pepper o’ Fibb’s End—an’ she’s a rare customer.” 

“Let me look at the net again,” said Mrs. Glegg, yearning 
after the cheap spots and sprigs, now they were vanishing. 

“Well, I can’t deny you , mum,” said Bob, handing it out. 
“ Eh! see what a pattern now! Real Laceham goods. Now, 
this is the sort o’ article I’m lecommendin’ Mr. Tom to send 
out. Lors, it’s a fine thing for anybody as has got a bit o’ 
money—these Laceham goods’ud make it breed like maggits. 
If I was a lady wi’ a bit o’ money!—why, I know one as put 
thirty pound into them goods—a lady wi’ a cork leg; but as 
sharp—you wouldn’t catch her runnin’ her head into a sack: 
she'd see her way clear out o’ anything afore she’d be in a 
hurry to start. Well, she let out thirty pound to a young 
man in the drapering line, and he laid it out i’ Laceham goods, 
an’ a shupercargo o’ my acquinetance (not Salt) took ’em out, 
an’ she got her eight per zent fast go off—an’ now you can’t 
hold her but she must be sendin’ out carguies wi’ eveiy ship, 
till she’s gettin’ as rich as a Jew. Bucks her name is—she 
doesn’t live i’ this town. Now then, mum, if you’ll please to 
give me the net. . . .” 

“ Here’s fifteen shilling, then, for the two,” said Mrs. Glegg. 
“ But it’s a shameful price.” 

“ Nay, mum, you’ll niver say that when you’re upo’ your 
knees i’ church i’ five years’ time. I’m makm’ you a present 
o’ th’ articles—I am, indeed. That eightpence shaves off my 
profit as clean as a razor. Now then, sir,” continued Bob, 
shouldering his pack, “ if you please, I’ll be glad to go and 
see about makin’ Mr. Tom’s fortin’. Eh, I wish I’d got 
another twenty pound to lay out for mysen: I shouldn’t stay 
to say my Catechism afore I know’d what to do wi’t.” 

“ stop a bit, Mr v Glegg,” said the lady, Y&t 



took his hat, “you never vritt give me the chance o’ speaking. 
You’ll go a wav now, and finish everything about this business, 
and come back and tell me it’s too late for me to speak. As 
if I wasn’t my nephey’s own aunt, and th’ head o’ the family 
on his mother’s side ! and laid by guineas, all full weight, for 
him —as he’ll know who to respect when I’m laid in my ! 

“ Well, Mrs. G., say what you mean,” said Mr. G., hastily. 

“Well, then, I desire as nothing may be done without my 
knowing. I don’t say as I shan’t venture twenty pounds, if 
you make out as everything’s right and safe. And if I do, 
Tom,” concluded Mrs. Glegg, turning impressively to her 
nephew, “ I hope you’ll allays bear it in mind and be grateful 
for such an aunt. I mean you to pay me interest, you know— 

I don’t approve o’ giving; we niver looked for that in my 

“ Thank you, aunt,” said Tom, rather proudly. “ I prefer 
having the money only lent to me.” 

“ Very well: that’s the Dodson sperrit,” said Mrs. Glegg, 
rising to get her knitting with the sense that any further 
remark after this would be bathos. 

Salt—that eminently “ briny chap”—having been discovered 
in a cloud of tobacco smoke at the Anchor Tavern, Mr. Glegg 
commenced inquiries which turned out satisfactorily enough 
to warrant the advance of the “nest-egg,” to which aunt 
Glegg contributed twenty pounds; and in this.modest begin- 
ning you see the ground of a fact which might otherwise 
surprise you, namely, Tom’s accumulation of a fund, unknown 
to his father, that promised in no very long time to meet the 
more tardy process of saving, and quite cover the deficit. 
When once his attention had been turned to this source of 
gain, Tom determined to make the most of it, and lost no 
opportunity of obtaining information and extending his small 
enterprises. In not telling his father, he was influenced by 
that strange mixture of opposite feelings which often gives 
equal truth to those who blame an action and those who 
admire it: partly, it was that disinclination to confidence 
which is seen between near kindred—that family repulsion 
which spoils the most sacred relations of our lives; partly, it 
was the desire to surprise his father with a great joy. He 
did not see that it would have been better to soothe the 
interval with a new hope, and prevent the delirium of a too 
sudden elation. 

At the time of Maggie’s first meeting with Philip, Tom had 
already nearly a hundred and fifty pounds of his own capital, 
and while they were walking by the evening light in the Red 



Deeps, he, by the same evening light, was riding into Laceham, 
proud of being on his first Journey on behalf of Guest and 
Co., and revolving in his mind all the chances that by the end 
of another year he should have doubled his gains, lifted off 
the obloquy of debt from his father’s name, and perhaps—for 
he should be twenty-one—have got a new start for himself, 
on a higher platform of employment. Did he not deserve it? 
He was quite sure that he did. 



I said that Maggie went home that evening from the Red 
Deeps with a mental conflict already begun. You have seen 
clearly enough, in her interview with Philip, what that conflict 
was. Here suddenly was an opening in the rocky wall which 
shut in the narrow valley of humiliation, where all her pros¬ 
pect was the remote unfathomed sky; and some of the 
memory-haunting earthly delights were no longerjout of her 
reach. She might have books, converse, affection—she might 
hear tidings of the world from which her mind had not yet 
lost its sense of exile; and it would be a kindness to Philip 
too, who was pitiable—clearly not happy; and perhaps here 
was an opportunity indicated for making her mind more 
worthy of its highest service—perhaps the noblest, completest 
devoutness could hardly exist without some width of know¬ 
ledge: must she always live in this resigned imprisonment ? 
It was so blameless, so good a thing that there should be 
friendship between her and Philip; the motives that forbade 
it were so unreasonable—so unchristian! But the severe 
monotonous warning came again and again—that she was 
losing the simplicity and clearness of her life by admitting a 
ground of concealment, and that, by forsaking the simple rule 
of renunciation* she was throwing herself under the seductive 
guidance of illimitable wants. She thought she had won 
strengtfiTto obey the warning before she allowed herself the 
next week to turn her steps in the evening to the Red Deeps. 
But while she was resolyed to say an. affectionate farewell to 
Philip, how she looked forward to that evening walk in the 
still, fleckered shade of the hollows, away from all that was 
harsh and unlovely; to the affectionate admiring looks that 
would meet her; to the sense of comradeship that childish 
memories would give to wiser, older talk \ to 



tfrrtr Philip would care to hear everything die said, which no 
one else cared for! It was a half-hoar that it would be very 
hard to turn her back upon, with the sense that there would 
be no other like it. Yet she said what she meant to say; she 
looked firm as well as sad. 

“ Philip, I have made up my mind—it is right that we 
should give each other up, in everything but memory. I 
could not see you without concealment—stay, I know what 
you are going to say—it is other people’s wrong feelings that 
make concealment necessary; but concealment is bad, however 
it may be caused. I feel that it would be bad for me, for us 
both. And then, if our secret were discovered, there would 
be nothing but misery—dreadful anger; and then we must 
part after all, and it would be harder, when we were used to 
seeing each other.” 

Philip’s face had flushed, and there was a momentary eager* 
ness of expression, as if he had been about to resist this deci¬ 
sion with all his might. But he controlled himself and said 
with assumed calmness, “ Well, Maggie, if we must part, let 
us try and forget it for one halfhour: let us talk together a 
little while—for the last time.” 

He took her hand, and Maggie felt no reason to withdraw 
it: his quietness made her all the more sure she had given him 
great pain, and she wanted to show him how unwillingly she 
had given it. They walked together hand in hand in silence. 

“ Let us sit down in the hollow,” said Philip, “ where we 
stood the last time. See how the dog-roses have strewed the 
ground, and spread their opal petals over it!” 

They .sat down at the roots of the slanting ash. 

. “ I’ve begun my picture of you among the Scotch firs, Mag¬ 
gie,” said Philip, “ so you must let me study your face a little, 
while you stay—since I am not to see it again. Please, turn 
your head this way.” 

This was said in an entreating voice, and it would have been 
very hard of Maggie to refuse. The full lustrous face, with 
the bright black coronet, looked down, like that of a divinity 
well pleased to be worshipped, on the pale-hued, small-featured 
face that was turned up to it. 

“ I shall be sitting for my second portrait, then,” she said, 
smiling. “ Will it be larger than the other ? ” 

u Oh yes, much larger. It is an oil-painting. You will look 
like a tall Hamadryad, dark and strong and noble, just issued 
from one of the fir-trees, when the stems are casting their 
afternoon shadows on the grass.” 

p^Y ou seem to think more of painting than of anything now. 



44 Perhaps I do,” said Philip, rather sadly; 44 hut I think of 
too many things—sow all sorts of seeds, and get no great 
harvest from any one of them. I’m cursed with susceptibility 
in every direction, and effective faculty in none. I care for 
painting and music; I care for classic literature, and mediaeval 
literature, and modem literature: I flutter all ways, and fly 
in none.” 

44 But surely that is a happiness to have so many tastes—to 
enjoy so many beautiful things—when they are within your 
reach,” said Maggie, musingly. 44 It always seemed to me a > 
sort of clever stupidity only to have one sort of talent—almost 1 
like a carrier-pigeon.” 

44 It might be a happiness to have many tastes if I were like 
other men,” said Phmp, bitterly. 44 1 might get some power 
and distinction by mere mediocrity, as they do; at least I 
should get those middling satisfactions which make men con¬ 
tented to do without great ones. I might think society at St. 
Ogg’s agreeable then. But nothing could make life worth 
the purchase-money of pain to me, but some faculty that would 
lift me above the dead level of provincial existence. Yes— 
there is one thing: a passion answers as well as a faculty.” 

Maggie did not hear the last words: she was struggling 
against the consciousness that Philip’s words had set her own 
discontent vibrating again as it used to do. 

44 1 understand what you mean,” she said, 44 though I know 
so much less than you do. I used to think I could never bear 
life if it kept on being the same every day; and I must always 
be doing things of no consequence, and never know anything 
greater. But, dear Philip, I think we are only like children, 
that some one who is wiser is taking care of Is it not right 
to resign ourselves entirely, whatever may be denied us ? I 
have found great peace in that for the last two or three years 
—even joy in subduing my own will.” 

44 Yes, Maggie,” said Philip, vehemently; 44 and you are 
shutting yourself up in a narrow self-delusive fanaticism, which 
is only a way of escaping pain by starving into dulness all the 
highest powers of your nature. Joy and peace are not resig¬ 
nation ; resignation is the willing endurance of a pain that is 
not allayed—that you don’t expect to be allayed. Stupefac¬ 
tion is not resignation: and it is stupefaction to remain in 
ignorance—to shut up all the avenues by which the life of 
your fellow-men might become known to you. I am not re¬ 
signed : I am not sure that life is long enough to learn that 
lesson. You are not resigned: you are only trying to stupefy 

Maggie’s lips trembled; she felt there eoma 







wliat Philip said, and yet there was a deeper consciousness 
that for any immediate application it had to her conduct, it 
was’no better than fhlsity. Her double impression corre¬ 
sponded to the double impulse of the speaker. Philip seri¬ 
ously believed what he said, but he said it with vehemence 
because it made an argument against the resolution that 
opposed his wishes. But Maggie’s face, made more child-like 
by the gathering tears, touched him with a tenderer, less ego¬ 
istic feeling. He took her hand and said gently— 

“ Don’t let us think of such things in this short half-hour, 
Maggie. Let us only care about being together. ... We 
shall be friends in spite of separation. ... We shall always 
think of each other. I shall be glad to live as long as you are 
alive, because I shall think there may always come a time 
when I can—when you will let me help you in some way.” 

44 What a dear, good brother you would have been, Philip,” 
said Maggie, smiling through the haze of tears. 44 1 think 
you would have made as much fuss about me, and been as 
pleased for me to love you, as would have satisfied even me. 
You would have loved me well enough to bear with me, and 
forgive me everything. That was what I always longed that 
Tom should do. I was never satisfied with a little of any¬ 
thing. That is why it is better for me to do without earthly 
happiness altogether. ... I never felt that I had enough music 

_I wanted more instruments playing together—I wanted 

voices to be fuller and deeper. Do you ever sing now, 
Philip?” she added abruptly, as if she had forgotten what 
went before. 

44 Yes,” he said, 44 every day, almost. But my voice is only 
middling—like everything else in me.” 

44 Oh, sing me something—just one song. I may listen to 
that, before I go—something you used to sing at Lorton on 
a Saturday afternoon, when we had the drawing-room all to 
ourselves, and I put my apron over my head to listen.” 

“/know,” said Philip, and Maggie buried her face in her 
hands, while he sang, sotto voce , 44 Love in her eyes sits play¬ 
ing and then said, 44 That’s it, isn’t it ?” 

“ Oh no, I won’t stay,” said Maggie, starting up. 44 It will 
only haunt me. Let us walk, Philip. I must go nome.” 

She moved away, so that he was obliged to rise and follow 

“ Maggie,” he said, in a tone of remonstrance, 44 don’t per- 
jgjt in this wilful, senseless privation. It makes me wretched 
10 see you benumbing and cramping your nature in this way. 
You were so full of life when you were a child: I thought 
«pr y br illiant woman—all wit and bright imagina- 



tion. And it flashes out in your face still, until you draw 
that veil of dull quiescence over it.” 

“ Why do you speak so bitterly to me, Philip?” said 

“Because I foresee it will not end well: you can never 
carry on this self-torture.” 

“I shall have strength given me,” said Maggie, tremu¬ 

“ No, you will* not, Maggie: no one has strength given to 
do what is unnatural. It is mere cowardice to seek safety in 
negations. No character becomes strong in that way. You 
will be thrown into the world some day, and then every 
rational satisfaction of your nature that you deny now, will 
assault you like a savage appetite.” 

Maggie started and paused, looking at Philip with alarm 
in her lace. 

“Philip, how dare you shake me in this way? You are a 
tempter.” < 

“ No, I am not; but love gives insight, Maggie, and insight 
often gives foreboding. Listen to me —let me supply you 
with books; do let me see you sometimes—be your brother 
and teacher, as you said at Lorton. It is less wrong that you 
should see me than that you should be committing this long 

Maggie felt unable to speak. She shook her head and 
walked on in silence, till they came to the end of the Scotch 
firs, and she put out her hand in sign of parting. 

“ Do you banish me from this place for ever, then, Maggie ? 
Surely I may come and walk in it sometimes ? If I meet you 
by chance, there is no concealment in that ? ” 

It is the moment when our resolution seems about to 
become irrevocable—when the fatal iron gates are about to 
close upon us—that tests our strength. Then, after hours of 
clear reasoning and firm conviction, we snatch at any sophistry 
that will nullify our long struggles, and bring us the defeat 
that we love better than victory. 

Maggie felt her heart leap at this subterfuge of Philip’s, 
and there passed over her face that almost imperceptible 
shock which accompanies any relief. He saw it, and they 
parted in silence. 

Philip’s sense of the situation was too complete for him not 
to be visited with glancing fears lest he had been intervening 
too presumptuously in the action of Maggie’s conscience— 
perhaps for a selfish end. But no !—he persuaded himself his 
end was not selfish. He had little hope that Maggie would 
ever return the strong feeling he had for her \ 



better for Maggie’s future life, when these petty family 
obstacles to her freedom had disappeared, that the present 
should not be entirely sacrificed, and that she should have 
some opportunity of culture—some interchange with a mind 
above the vulgar level of those she was now condemned to 
live with. If we only look far enough off for the consequences 
of our actions, we can always find some point in the com¬ 
bination of results, by which those actions can be justified: 
by adopting the point of view of a Providence who arranges 
results, or of a philosopher who traces them, we shall find it 
possible to obtain perfect complacency in choosing to do what 
is most agreeable to us in the present moment. And it was 
in this way, that Philip justified his subtle efforts to overcome 
Maggie’s true prompting against a concealment that would 
introduce doubleness into her own mind, and might cause new 
misery to those who had the primary natural claim on her. 
But there was a surplus of passion in him that made him half 
independent of justifying motives. His longing to see Maggie, 
and make an element in her life, had in it some of that 
savage impulse to snatch an offered joy, which springs from 
a life in which the mental and bodily constitution have made 
pain predominate. He had not his full share in the common 
good of men: he could not even pass muster with the insignia 
Scant, but must be singled out for pity, and excepted from 
what was a matter of course with others. Even to Maggie 
he was an exception : it was clear that the thought of his being 
her lover had never entered her mind. 

Do not think too hardly of Philip. Ugly and deformed 
people have great need of unusual virtues, because they are 
likely to be extremely uncomfortable without them: but the 
theory that unusual virtues spring by a direct consequence 
out of personal disadvantages, as animals get thicker wool in 
severe climates, is perhaps a little overstrained. The tempta¬ 
tions of beauty are much dwelt upon, but I fancy they only 
bear the same relation to those of ugliness, as the temptation 
to excess at a feast, where the delights are varied for eye and 
ear as well as palate, bears to the temptations that assail the 
desperation of hunger. Does not the Hunger Tower stand 
as the type of the utmost trial to what is human in us ? 

Philip had never been soothed by that mother’s love which 
flows out to us in the greater abundance because our need is 
greater, which clings to us the more tenderly because we are 
the less likely to be winners in the game of life; and the 
sense of his father’s affection and indulgence towards him was 
marred by the keener perception of his father’s faults. Kept 
aloof from all practical life as Philip had been, and by nature 



half-feminine in sensitiveness, he had some of the woman’s 
intolerant repulsion towards worldliness and the deliberate 
pursuit of sensual enjoyment; and this one strong natural tie 
, in his life—his relation as a son—was like an aching limb to 
him. Perhaps there is inevitably something morbid in a 
human being who is in any way unfavorably excepted from 
ordinary conditions, until the good force has had time to 
triumph; and it has rarely had time for that at two-and 
twenty. That force was present in Philip in much strength, 
but the sun himself looks feeble through the morning mists. 



E arly in the following April, nearly a year after that dubi¬ 
ous parting you have just witnessed, you may, if you like, 
again see Maggie entering the Red Deeps through the group 
of Scotch firs. But it is early afternoon and not evening, and 
the edge of sharpness in the spring air makes her draw her 
large shawl close about her and trip along rather quickly; 
though she looks round, as usual, that she may take in the 
sight of her beloved trees. There is a more eager inquiring 
look in her eyes than there was last June, and a smile is hover¬ 
ing about her lips, as if some playful speech were awaiting the 
right hearer. The hearer was not long in appearing. 

44 Take back your Corinnef ’ said Maggie, drawing a book 
from under her shawl. 44 You were right in telling me she 
would do me no good; but you were wrong in thinking I 
should wish to be like her.” 

44 Wouldn’t you really like to be a tenth Muse, then, Mag¬ 
gie ?” said Philip, looking up in her face as we look at a first 
parting in the clouds that promises us a bright heaven once 

“Not at all,” said Maggie, laughing. 44 The Muses were 
uncomfortable goddesses, I think—obliged always to carry 
rolls and musical instruments about with them. If I carried 
a harp in this climate, you know, I must have a green baize 
cover for it—and I should be sure to leave it behind me by 

44 You agree with me in not liking Corinne, then ?” 

44 1 didn’t finish the book,” said Maggie. 44 As soon as I 
came to the blond-haired young lady reading in the park, I 
shut it up, and determined to read no further. \ foresaw 



that light-complexioned girl would win away all the love from 
Corinne and make her miserable. I’m determined to read no 
more books where the blond-haired women carry away all the 
happiness. I should begin to have a prejudice against them. 
If you could give me some story, now, where the dark woman 
triumphs, it would restore the balance. I want to avenge 
Rebecca and Flora Mac-Ivor, and Minna and all the rest of the 
dark unhappy ones. Since you are my tutor, you ought to 
preserve my mind from prejudices—you are always arguing 
against prejudices.” 

“ Well, perhaps you will avenge the dark women in your 
own person, and carry away all the love from your cousin 
Lucy. She is sure to have some handsome young man of St. 
Ogg’s at her feet now: and you have only to shine upon him 
—your fair little cousin will be quite quenched in your 

“ Philip, that is not pretty of you, to apply my nonsense to 
anything real,” said Maggie, looking hurt. “As if I, with my 
old gowns and want of all accomplishments, could be a rival 
of dear little Lucy, who knows and does all sorts of charming 
things, and is ten times prettier than I am—even if I were 
odious and base enough to wish to be her rival. Besides, I 
never go to aunt Deane’s when any one is there: it is only 
because dear Lucy is good, and loves me, that she comes to 
see me, and will have me to go to see her sometimes.” 

“Maggie,” said Philip, with surprise, “it is not like you to 
take playfulness literally. You must have been in St. Ogg’s 
this morning, and brought away a slight infection of dul- 

“Well,” said Maggie, smiling, “if you meant that for a 
joke, it was a poor one; but I thought it was a very good 
reproof. I thought you wanted to remind me that I am vain, 
and wish every one to admire me most. But it isn’t for that, 
that I’m jealous for the dark women—not because I’m dark 
myself. It’s because I always care the most about the unhappy 
people: if the blonde girl were forsaken, I should like her best. 
I always take the side of the rejected lover in the stories.” 

“ Then you would never have the heart to reject one your¬ 
self—should you, Maggie ?” said Philip, flushing a little. 

“ I don’t know,” said Maggie hesitatingly. Then with a 
bright smile—“ I think perhaps I could if he were very con¬ 
ceited ; and yet, if he got extremely humiliated afterwards, I 
should relent.” 

“I’ve often wondered, Maggie,” Philip said, with some 
effort, “ whether you wouldn’t really be more likely to love a 
man that other women were not likely to love.” 


“ That would depend on what they didn’t like him for,” 
’said Maggie laughing. “He might be very disagreeable. 
He might look at me through an eye-glass stuck in his eye, 
making a hideous face, as young Torry does. I should think 
other women are not fond of that; but I never felt any pity 
for young Torry. I’ve never any pity for conceited people, 
because I think they carry their comfort about with them.” 

“ But suppose, Maggie—suppose it was a man who was not 
conceited—who felt he had nothing to be conceited about— 
who had been marked from childhood for a peculiar kind of 
suffering—and to whom you were the day-star of his life— 
who loved you, worshipped you, so entirely that he felt it 
happiness enough for him if you would let him see you at rare 
moments . . . .” 

Philip paused with a pang of dread lest his confession should 
cut short this very happiness—a pang of the same dread that 
had kept his love mute through long months. A rush of self- 
consciousness told him that he was besotted to have said all 
this. Maggie’s manner this morning had been as uncon¬ 
strained ana indifferent as ever. 

But she was not looking indifferent now. Struck with the 
unusual emotion in Philip’s tone, she had turned quickly to 
look at him, and as he went on speaking, a great change came 
over her face—a flush and slight spasm of the features such 
as we see in people who hear some news that will require 
them to readjust their conceptions of the past. She was quite 
silent, and, walking on towards the trunk of a fallen tree, she 
sat down, as if she had no strength to spare for her muscles. 
She was trembling. 

“ Maggie,” said Philip, getting more and more alarmed in 
every fresh moment of silence, “ I was a fool to say it—forget 
that I’ve said it. I shall be contented if things can be as they 

The distress with which he spoke, urged Maggie to say 
something. “ I am so surprised, Philip—I had not thought 
of it.” And the effort to say this brought the tears down too. 

“ Has it made you hate me, Maggie ?” said Philip impetu¬ 
ously. “ Do you think Pm a presumptuous fool ?” 

“ Oh, Philip!” 6aid Maggie, “how can you think I have such 
feelings ?—as if I were not grateful for any love. But. . . but 
I had never thought of your being my lover. It seemed so far 
off—like a dream—only like one of the stories one imagines— 
that I should ever have a lover.” 

“ Then can you bear to think of me as your lover, Maggie ?” 
said Philip, seating himself by her and taking her hand, in the 
elation of a sudden hope. “ Do you love 




Maggie turned rather pale: this direct question seemed not 
easy to answer. But her eyes met Philip’s, which were in this 
moment liquid and beautiful with beseeching love. She spoke 
with hesitation, yet with sweet, simple, girlish tenderness. 

“I think I could hardly love any one better: there is 
nothing but what I love you for.” She paused a little while, 
and then added, “ But it will be better for us not to say any 
more about it—won’t it, dear Philip ? You know we couldn’t 
even be friends, if our friendship were discovered. I have 
never felt that I was right in giving way about seeing your— 
though it has been so precious to me in some ways; and now 
the fear comes upon me strongly again, that it will lead to 

“ But no evil has come, Maggie; and if you had been 
guided by that fear before, you would only have lived through 
another dreary benumbing year, instead of reviving into your 
real self.” 

Maggie shook her head. “ It has been very sweet, I know 
—all the talking together, and the books, and the feeling that 
I had the walk to look forward to, when I could tell you the 
thoughts that had come into my head while I was away from 
you. But it has made me restless: it has made me think a 
great deal about the world; and I have impatient thoughts 
again—I get weary of my home—and then it cuts me to the 
heart afterwards, that I should ever have felt weary of my 
father and mother. I think what you call being benumbed 
was better—better for me—for then my selfish desires were 

Philip had risen again and was walking backwards and 
forwards impatiently. 

“ No, Maggie, you have wrong ideas of self-conquest, as 
I’ve often told you. What you call self-conquest—blinding 
and deafening yourself to all but one train of impressions—is 
only the culture of monomania in a nature like yours.” 

He had spoken with some irritation, but now he sat down 
by her again, and took her hand. 

“ Don’t think of the past now, Maggie ; think only of our 
love. If you can really cling to me with all your heart, every 
obstacle will be overcome in time: we need only wait. I can 
live on hope. Look at me, Maggie; tell me again, it is pos¬ 
sible for you to love me. Don’t look away from me to that 
cloven tree; it is a bad omen.” 

She turned her large dark glance upon him with a sad 

“ Come, Maggie, say one kind word, or else you were better 
to me at Lorton. You asked me if I should like you t# kiss 



me —don’t you remember?—and you promised to kiss me 
when you met me again. You never kept the promise.” 

The recollection of that childish time came as a sweet relief 
to Maggie. It made the present moment less strange to her. 
She kissed him almost as simply and quietly as she had done 
when she was twelve years old. Philip’s eyes flashed with 
delight, but his next words were words of discontent. 

“You don’t seem happy enough, Maggie: you are forcing 
yourself to 6ay you love me, out of pity.” 

“No, Philip,” said Maggie, shaking her head, in her old 
childish way; “ I’m telling you the truth. It is all new and 
strange to me; but I don’t think I could love any one better 
than I love you. I should like always to live with you—to 
make you happy. I have always been happy when I have 
been with you. There is only one thing I will not do for 
your sake: I will never do anything to wound my father. 
You must never ask that from me.” 

“No, Maggie: I will ask nothing—I will bear everything— 
I’ll wait another year only for a kiss, if you will only give me 
the first place in your heart.” 

“No,” said Maggie, smiling, “I won’t make you wait so 
long as that.” But then, looking serious again, she added, as 
she rose from her seat— 

“ But what would your own father say, Philip ? Oh, it is 
quite impossible we can ever be more than friends—brother 
and sister in secret, as we have been. Letus give up thinking 
of everything else.” 

“No, Maggie, I can’t give you up—unless you are de¬ 
ceiving me—unless you really only care for me as if I were 
your brother. Tell me the truth.” 

“Indeed I do, Philip. What happiness have I ever had 
so great as being with you ?—since 1 was a little girl—the 
days Tom was good to me. And your mind is a sort of world 
to me: you can tell me all I want to know. I think I should 
never be tired of being with you.” 

They were walking hand in hand, looking at each other; 
Maggie, indeed, was hurrying along, for she felt it time to be 
gone. But the sense that their parting was near, made her 
more anxious lest she should have unintentionally left some 
painful impression on Philip’s mind. It was one of those 
dangerous moments when speech is at once sincere and 
deceptive—when feeling, rising high above its average depth, 
leaves flood-marks which are never reached again. 

They stopped to part among the Scotch firs. 

“Then my life will be filled with hope, Maggie—and I 
shall be happier than other men, in spite of sKa 

N 2 



belong to each other—for always—whether we are apart or 

“ Yes, Philip: I should like never to part: I should like to 
make your life very happy.” 

“Iam waiting for something else—I wonder whether it 
will come.” 

Maggie smiled, with glistening tears, and then stooped her 
tall head to kiss the pale face that was full of pleading, timid 
love—like a woman’s. 

She had a moment of real happiness then—a moment of 
belief that, if there were sacrifice in this love, it was all the 
richer and more satisfying. 

She turned away and hurried home, feeling that in the 
hour since she had trodden this road before, a new era had 
begun for her. The tissue of vague dreams must now get 
narrower and narrower, and all the threads of thought and 
emotion be gradually absorbed in the woof of her actual 
daily life. 



Secrets are rarely betrayed or discovered according to 
any programme our fear has sketched out. Fear is almost 
always haunted by terrible dramatic scenes, which recur in 
spite of the best-argued probabilities against them; and dur¬ 
ing a year that Maggie had had the burthen of concealment 
on her mind, the possibility had continually presented itself 
under the form of a sudden meeting with her father or Tom 
when she was walking with Philip in the Red Deeps. She 
was aware that this was not one of the most likely events; 
but it was the scene that most completely symbolised her 
inward dread. Those slight indirect suggestions which are 
dependent on apparently trivial coincidences and incalculable 
states of mind, are the favorite machinery of Fact, but are 
not the stuff in which imagination is apt t o work. 

Certainly one of the persons about whom Maggie’s fears 
were farthest from troubling themselves was her aunt Pullet, 
on whom, seeing that she did not live in St. Ogg’s, and was 
neither sharp-eyed nor sharp-tempered, it would surely have 
been quite whimsical of them to fix rather than on aunt 
Glegg. And yet the channel of fatality—the pathway of the 
lightning —was no other than aunt Pullet. She did not live 



at St. Ogg’s, but the road from Garum Firs lay by the Red 
Deeps, at the end opposite that by which Maggie entered. 

The day after Maggie’s last meeting with Philip, being a 
Sunday on which Mr. Pullet was bound to appear in funeral 
hat-band and scarf at St. Ogg’s church, Mrs. Pullet made this 
the occasion of dining with sister Glegg, and taking tea with 
poor sister Tulliver. Sunday was the one day in the week on 
which Tom was at home in the afternoon; and to-day the 
brighter spirits he had been in of late had flowed over in 
unusually cheerful open chat with his father, and in the invi¬ 
tation, “ Come, Magsie, you come too!” when he strolled 
out with his mother in the garden to see the advancing 
cherry-blossoms. He had been better pleased with Maggie 
since she had been less odd and ascetic; he was even getting 
rather proud of her: several persons had remarked in his 
hearing that his sister was a very fine girl. To-day there 
was a peculiar brightness in her face, due in reality to an 
under-current of excitement, which had as much doubt and 
pain as pleasure in it; but it might pass for a sign of 
happiness. • 

“ You look very well, my dear,” said aunt Pullet, shaking 
her head sadly, as they sat round the tea-table. “ I niver 
thought your girl ’ud be so good-looking, Bessy. But you 
must wear pink, my dear: that blue thing as your aunt 
Glegg gave you turns you into a crowflower. Jane never was 
tasty. Why don’t you wear that gown o’ mine ?” 

“ It is so pretty and so smart, aunt. I think it’s too showy 
for me—at least for my other clothes, that I must wear 
with it.” 

“ To be sure, it ’ud be unbecoming if it wasn’t well known 
you’ve got them belonging to you as can afford to give you 
such things when they’ve done with ’em themselves. It 
stands to reason I must give my own niece clothes now and 
then—such things as I buy every year, and never wear any¬ 
thing out. And as for Lucy, there’s no giving to her, for 
she’s got everything o’ the choicest: sister Deane may well 
hold her head up, though she looks dreadful yallow, poor 
thing—I doubt this liver-complaint ’ull carry her off. That’s 
what this new vicar, this Dr. Kenn, said in the funeral ser¬ 
mon to-day.” 

“ Ah, he’s a wonderful preacher, by all account—isn’t he, 
Sophy ? ” said Mrs. Tulliver. 

“ Why, Lucy had got a collar on this blessed day,” con¬ 
tinued Mrs. Pullett, with her eyes fixed in a ruminating man¬ 
ner, “ as I don’t say I haven’t got as good, but I must look 
out my best to match it.” 



44 Miss Lucy’s called the bell o’ St. Ogg’s, they say: that’s a 
cur’ous word,” observed Mr. Pullet, on whom the mysteries 
of etymology sometimes fell with an oppressive weight. 

44 Pooh I” said Mr. Tulliver, jealous for Maggie, “she’s a 
small thing, not much of a figure. But fine feathers make fine 
birds. I see nothing to admire so much in those diminitive 
women; they look silly by the side o’ the men—out o’ pro¬ 
portion. When I chose my wife, I chose her the right size— 
neither too little nor too big.” 

The poor wife, with her withered beauty, smiled compla¬ 

44 But the men aren’t all. big,” said unde Pullet, not with¬ 
out some self-reference; 44 a young fellow may be good-looking 
and yet not be a six-foot, like Master Tom here.” 

44 Ah, it’s poor talking about littleness and bigness,—any¬ 
body may think it’s a mercy they’re straight,” said aunt 
Pullet. 44 There’s that mis-made son o’ Lawyer Wakem’s— 
I saw him at church to-day. Dear, dear! to think o’ the 
property he’s like to. have; and they say he’s very queer and 
lonely—doesn’t like mutfh company. I shouldn’t wonder if he 
goes out of his mind; for we never come along the road but 
he’s a-scrambling out o’ the trees and brambles at the Red 

This wide statement, by which Mrs. Pullet represented the 
feet that she had twice seen Philip at the spot indicated, pro¬ 
duced an effect on Maggie which was all the stronger because 
Tom sate opposite her, and she was intensely anxious to look 
indifferent. At Philip’s name she had blushed, and the blush 
deepened every instant from consciousness, until the mention 
of the Red Deeps made her feel as if the whole secret were 
betrayed, and she dared not even hold her tea-spoon lest she 
should show how she trembled. She sat with her hands 

clasped under the table, not daring to look round. Happily, 
her father was seated on the same side with herself beyond 
her uncle Pullet, and could not see her face without stooping 
forward. Her mother’s voice brought the first relief—turning 
the conversation; for Mrs. Tulliver was always alarmed when 
the name of Wakem was mentioned in her husband’s presence. 
Gradually Maggie recovered composure enough to look up; 
her eyes met Tom’s, but he turned away his head immediately; 
and she went to bed that night wondering if he had gathered 
any suspicion from her confusion. Perhaps not: perhaps he 
would think it was only her alarm at her aunt’s mention of 
Wakem before her father: that was the interpretation her 
mother had put on it. To her father, Wakem was like a 
disfiguring disease, of which he was obliged to endure the 



consciousness, but was exasperated to have the existence 
recognised by others; and no amount of sensitiveness in her 
about her father could be surprising, Maggie thought. 

But Tom was too keen-sighted to rest satisfied with such 
an interpretation: he had seen clearly enough that there was 
something distinct from anxiety about her father in Maggie’s 
excessive confusion. In trying to recall all the details that 
could give shape to his suspicions, he remembered only lately 
hearing his mother scold Maggie for walking in the Red Deeps 
when the ground was wet, and bringing home shoes clogged 
with red soil: still Tom, retaining all his old repulsion for 
Philip’s deformity, shrank from attributing to his sister the 
probability of feeling more than a friendly interest in such an 
unfortunate exception to the common run of men. Tom’s 
was a nature which had a sort of superstitious repugnance to 
everything exceptional. A love for a deformed man would be 
odious in any woman—in a sister intolerable. But if she had 
been carrying on any kind of intercourse whatever with Philip, 
a stop must be put to it at once: she was disobeying her 
father’s strongest feelings and her brother’s express commands, 
besides compromising herself by secret meetings. He left 
home the next morning in that watchful state of mind which 
turns the most ordinary course of things into pregnant coinci¬ 

That afternoon, about half-past three o’clock, Tom was 
standing on the wharf, talking with Bob Jakin about the 
probability of the good ship Adelaide coming in, in a day or 
two, with results highly important to both of them. 

“ Eh,” said Bob, parenthetically, as he looked over the fields 
on the other side of the river, “ there goes that crooked young 
Wakem. I know him or his shadder as far off as I can see 
’em ; I’m allays lighting on him o’ that side the river.” 

A sudden thought seemed to have darted through Tom’s 
mind. “ I must go, Bob,” he said, “ I’ve something to attend 
to,” hurrying off to the warehouse, where he left notice for 
some one to take his place—be was called away home on 
peremptory business. 

The swiftest pace and the shortest road took him to the 
gate, and he was pausing to open it deliberately, that he 
might walk into the house with an appearance of perfect 
composure, when Maggie came out at the front door in 
bonnet and shawl. His conjecture was fulfilled, and he waited 
for her at the gate. She started violently when she saw him. 

“ Tom, how is it you are come home ? Is there anything 
the matter ?” Maggie spoke in a low tremulous voice. 

“ I’m come to walk with yon to the Red v&rsN. 


the hill on the floss. 

Philip Wakem,” said Tom, the central fold in his brow, which 
had become habitual with him, deepening as he spoke. 

Maggie stood helpless—pale and cold. By some means, 
then, Tom knew everything. At last she said, “ Pm not 
going,” and turned round. 

“ Yes, you are; but I want to speak to you first. Where 
is my father ?” 

“ Out on horseback.” 

“ And my mother ?” 

“In the yard, I think, with the poultry.” 

“ I can go in, then, without her seeing me ?” 

They walked in together, and Tom, entering the parlor, 
said to Maggie, “ Come in here.” 

She obeyed, and he closed the door behind her. 

“ Now, Maggie, tell me this instant everything that has 
passed between vou and Philip Wakem?” 

“ Does my father know anything ?” said Maggie, still trem¬ 

“ No,” said Tom, indignantly. “ But he shall know, if you 
attempt to use deceit towards me any further.” 

“ I don’t wish to use deceit,” said Maggie, flushing into 
resentment at hearing this word applied to her conduct. 

“ Tell me the whole truth then.” 

“ Perhaps you know it.” 

“ Never mind whether I know it or not. Tell me exactly 
what has happened, or my father shall know everything.” 

“ I tell it for my father’s sake, then.” 

“ Yes, it becomes you to profess affection for your father, 
when you have despised his strongest feelings.” 

“ You never do wrong, Tom,” said Maggie, tauntingly. 

“Not if I know it,” answered Tom, with proud sincerity. 
“ But I have nothing to say to you, beyond this: tell me what 
has passed between you and Philip Wakem. When did you 
first meet him at the Red Deeps ?” 

“ A year ago,” said Maggie, quietly. Tom’s severity gave 
her a certain fund of defiance, and kept her sense of 'error 
in abeyance. “ You need ask me no more questions. We 
have been friendly a year. We have met and walked together 
often. He has lent me books.” 

“ Is that all ?” said Tom, looking straight at her with his 

Maggie paused a moment; then, determined to make an 
and of Tom’s right to accuse her of deceit, she said haughtily— 

“ No, not quite all. On Saturday he told me that he loved 
me. I didn’t think of it before then—I had only thought of 
him as an old friend.” 



44 And you encouraged him ?” said Tom, with an expression 
of disgust. 

“ I told him that I loved him too.” 

Tom was silent a few moments, looking on the ground and 
frowning, with his hands in his pockets. At last he looked 
up, and said, coldly— 

“Now, then, Maggie, there are but two courses for you 
to take: either you vow solemnly to me, with your hand on 
my father’s Bible, that you will never have another meeting 
or speak another word in private with Philip Wakem, or you 
refuse, and I tell my father everything; and this month, when 
by my exertions he might be made happy once more, you 
will cause him the blow of knowing that you are a disobedi¬ 
ent, deceitful daughter, who throws away her own respecta¬ 
bility by clandestine meetings with the son of a man that has 
helped to ruin her father. Choose !” Tom ended with cold 
decision, going up to the large Bible, drawing it forward, and 
opening it at the fly-leaf, where the writing was. 

It was a crushing alternative to Maggie. 

“ Tom,” she said, urged out of pride into pleading, “ don’t 
ask me that. I will promise you to give up all intercourse 
with Philip, if you will let me see him once, or even only 
write to him and explain everything—to give it up as long as 
it would ever cause any pain to my father. ... I feel some¬ 
thing for Philip too. He is not happy.” 

“I don’t wish to hear anything of your feelings; I have 
said exactly what I mean: choose—and quickly, lest my 
mother should come in.” 

“ If I give you my word, that will be as strong a bond to 
me as if I laid my hand on the Bible. I don’t require that to 
bind me.” 

“ Do what I require,” said Tom. “ I can’t trust you, Ma^- 
gie. There is no consistency in you. Put your hand on this 
Bible, and say, ‘I renounce all private speech and intercourse 
with Philip Wakem from this time forth.’ Else you will 
bring shame on us all, and grief on my father; and what is 
the uSe of my exerting myself and giving up everything else 
for the sake of paying my father’s debts, if you are to bring 
madness and vexation on him, just when he might be easy 
and hold up his head once more ? ” 

“ Oh, Tom— will the debts be paid soon ?” said Maggie, 
clasping her hands, with a sudden flash of joy across her 

“ If things turn out as I expect,” said Tom. “ But,” he 
added, his voice trembling with indignation, “ while I have 
been contriving and working that my father 


the MTTX on the floss. 

peace of mind before he dies—working for the respectability 
of our family—you have done all you can to destroy both.” 

Maggie felt a deep movement of compunction: for the 
moment, her mind ceased to contend against what she felt to 
be cruel and unreasonable, and in her self-blame she justified 
her brother. 

“ Tom,” she said, in a low voice, “ it was wrong of me—but 
I was so lonely—and I was sorry for Philip. And I think 
enmity and hatred are wicked.” 

“Nonsense!” said Tom. “Your duty was dear enough. 
Say no more; but promise, in the words I told you.” 

“ I must speak to Philip once more.” 

“ You will go with me now and speak to him.” 

“ I give you my word not to meet him or write to him 
again without your knowledge. That is the only thing I will 
say. I will put my hand on the Bible if you like.” 

“ Say it, then.” 

Maggie laid her hand on the page of manuscript and 
repeated the promise. Tom closed the book, and said, “ Now, 
let us go.” 

Not a word was spoken as they walked along. Maggie was 
suffering in anticipation of what Philip was about to suffer, 
and dreading the galling words that would fall on him from 
Tom’s lips; but she felt it was in vain to attempt anything 
but submission. Tom had his terrible clutch on her con¬ 
science and her deepest dread : she writhed under the demon¬ 
strable truth of the character he had given to her conduct, 
and yet her whole soul rebelled against it as unfair from its 
incompleteness. He, meanwhile, felt the impetus of his indig¬ 
nation diverted towards Philip. He did not know how muen 
of an old boyish repulsion and of mere personal pride and 
animosity was concerned in the bitter severity of the words 
by which he meant to do the duty of a son and a brother. 
Tom was not given to inquire subtly into his own motives, any 
more than into other matters of an intangible kind; he was 
quite sure that his oifrn motives as well as actions were good, 
else he would have nothing to do with them. 

Maggie’s only hope was that something might, for the first 
time, have prevented Philip from coming. Then there would 
be delay—then she might get Tom’s permission to write to 
him. Her heart beat with double violence when they got 
under the Scotch firs. It was the last moment of suspense, 
she thought; Philip always met her soon after she got beyond 
them. But they passed across the more open green space, 
and entered a narrow bushy path by the mound. Another 
turning, and they came so close upon him that both Tom and 



Philip stopped suddenly'within a yard of each other. There 
was a moment’s silence, in which Philip darted a look of 
inquiry at Maggie’s face. He saw an answer there, in the 
pale parted lips, and the terrified tension of the large eyes. 
Her imagination, always rushing extravagantly beyond an 
immediate impression, saw her tall strong brother grasping 
the feeble Philip bodily, crushing him and trampling on him. 

44 Do you call this acting the part of a man and a gentleman, 
sir ? ” Tom said, in a voice of harsh scorn, as soon as Philip’s 
eyes were turned on him again. 

44 What do you mean ? ” answered Philip, haughtily. 

44 Mean ? Stand farther from me, lest I should lay hands 
on you, and I’ll tell you what I mean. I mean, taking advan¬ 
tage of a young girl’s foolishness and ignorance to get her to 
have secret meetings with you. I mean, daring to trifle with 
the respectability of a family that has a good and honest name 
to support.” 

44 I deny that,” interrupted Philip, impetuously. 44 I could 
never trifle with any thing that affected your sister’s happi¬ 
ness. She is dearer to me than she is to you; I honor her 
more than you can ever honor her; I would give up my life 
to her.” 

44 Don’t talk high-flown nonsense to me, sir! Do you mean 
to pretend that you didn’t know it would be injurious to her 
to meet you here week after week ? Do you pretend you 
had any right to make professions of love to her, even if you 
had been a fit husband for her, when neither her father nor 
your father would ever consent to a marriage between you ? 
And you — you to try and worm yourself into the affections of 
a handsome girl who is not eighteen, and has been 6hut out 
from the world by her father’s misfortunes I That’s your 
crooked notion of honor, is it ? I call it base treachery—I 
call it taking advantage of circumstances to win what’s too 
good for you—what you’d never get by fair means.” 

44 It is manly of you to talk in this way to mef' said Philip, 
bitterly, his whole frame shaken by violent emotions. 44 Giants 
have an immemorial right to stupidity and insolent abuse. 
Tou are incapable even of understanding what I feel for your 
sister. I feel so much for her that I could even desire to be 
at friendship with you.” 

44 1 should be very sorry to understand your feelings,” said 
Tom, with scorching contempt. 44 What I wish is that you 
should understand me —that I shall take care of my sister, and 
that if you dare to make the least attempt to come near her, 
or to write to her, or to keep the slightest hold on her mind, 
your puny, miserable body, that ought to bw* 



modesty into your mind, shall not prot ect you. I’ll thrash 
you—I’ll hold you up to public scorn. Who wouldn’t laugh 
at the idea of your turning lover to a fine girl ?” 

“ Tom, I will not bear it—1 will listen no longer,” Maggie 
burst out in a convulsed voice. 

“ Stay, Maggie!” said Philip, making a strong effort to 
speak. Then, looking at Tom, “ You have dragged your sis¬ 
ter here, I suppose, that she may stand by while you threaten 
and insult me. These naturally seemed to you the right 
means to influence me. But you are mistaken. Let your 
sister speak. If she says she is bound to give me up, I shall 
abide by her wishes to tne slightest word.” 

“ It was for my father’s sake, Philip,” said Maggie implor¬ 
ingly. “ Tom threatens to tell my farther—and he couldn’t 
bear it: I have promised, I have vowed solemnly, that we 
will not have any intercourse without my brother’s know¬ 

“ It is enough, Maggie. I shall not change; but I wish 
you to hold yourself entirely free. But trust me—remember 
that I can never seek for anything but good to what belongs 
to you.” 

“Yes,” said Tom, exasperated by this attitude of Philip’s, 
“ you can talk of seeking good for her and what belongs to 
her now: did you seek her good before ?” 

“ I did—at some risk, perhaps. But I wished her to have 
a friend for life—who would cherish her, who would do her 
more justice than a coarse and narrow-minded brother, that 
she has always lavished her affections on.” 

“ Yes, my way of befriending her is different from yours; 
and I’ll tell you what is my way. I’ll save her from disobey¬ 
ing and disgracing her father: I’ll save her from throwing 
herself away on you—from making herself a laughing-stock— 
from being flouted by a man like your father, because she’s 
not good enough for his son. You know well enough what 
sort of justice and cherishing you were preparing for her. 
I’m not to be imposed upon by fine words: I can see what 
actions mean. Come away, Maggie.” 

He seized Maggie’s wrist as he spoke, and she put out her 
left hand. Philip clasped it in an instant, with one eager 
look, and then hurried away. * 

Tom and Maggie walked on in silence for some yards. He 
was still holding her wrist tightly, as if he were compelling a 
culprit from the scene of action. At last Maggie, with a 
violent snatch, drew her hand away, and her pent-up, long- 
gathered irritation burst into utterance. 

“ Don’t suppose that I think you are right, Tom, or that I 


30 1 

bow to your will. I despise the feelings you have shown in 
speaking to Philip : I detest your insulting, unmanly allusions 
to his deformity. You have been reproaching other people 
all your life—you have been always sure you yourself are 
right: it is because you have not a mind large enough to see 
that there is anything better than your own conduct and your 
own petty aims.” 

“ Certainly,” said Tom, coolly. “ I don’t see that your con¬ 
duct is better, or your aims either. If your conduct and Philip 
Wakem’s conduct has been right, why are you ashamed of 
its being known ? Answer me that. I know what I have 
aimed at in my cpnduct, and I’ve succeeded: pray, what 
good has your conduct brought to you or any one else ?” 

“I don’t want to defend myself,” said Maggie, still with 
vehemence: “ I know I have been wrong—often, continually. 
But yet, sometimes when I have done wrong, it has been 
because I have feelings that you would be the better for, if 
you had them. If you were in fault ever—if you had done 
anything very wrong, I should be sorry for the pain it 
brought you; I should not want punishment to be heaped on 
you. But you have always enjoyed punishing me—you have 
always been hard and cruel to me : even when I was a little 
girl, and always loved you better than any one else in the 
world, you would let me go crying to bed without forgiving 
me. You have no pity: you have no sense of your own 
imperfection and your own sins. It is a sin to be hard; it is 
not fitting for a mortal—for a Christian. You are nothing 
but a Pharisee. You thank God for nothing but your own 
virtues—you think they are great enough to win you every¬ 
thing else. You have not even a vision of feelings by the 
side of which your shining virtues are mere darkness!” 

“ Well,” said Tom, with cold scorn, “ if your feelings are 
so much better than mine, let me see you show them in some 
other way than by conduct that’s likely to disgrace us all— 
than by ridiculous flights first into one extreme and then into 
another. Pray, how have you shown your love, that you . 
talk of, either to me or my father ? By disobeying and 
deceiving us. I have a different way of snowing my affec¬ 

“ Because you are a man, Tom, and have power, and can 
do something in the world.” 

“ Than if you can do nothing, submit to those that can.” 

“ So I will submit to what I acknowledge and feel to be 
right. I will submit even to what is unreasonable from my 
father, but I will not submit to it from you. You boast of 
your virtues as if they purchased you a rigj\t» to 



unmanly asyou’ve been to-day. Don’t suppose I would give 
up Philip Wakem in obedience to you. The deformity you 
insult would make me cling to him and care for him the 

“ Very well—that is your view of things,” said Tom, more 
coldly than ever; “ you need say no more to show me what a 
wide distance there is between us. Let us remember that in 
future, and be silent.” 

Tom went back to St. Ogg’s, to fulfil an appointment with 
his uncle Deane, and receive directions about a journey on 
which he was to set out the next morning. 

Maggie went up to her own room to pour out all that 
indignant remonstrance, against which Tom’s mind was dose 
barred, in bitter tears. Tffien, when the first burst of unsatis¬ 
fied anger was gone by, came the recollection of that quiet 
time before the pleasure which had ended in to-day’s misery 
had perturbed tne clearness and simplicity of her life. She 
used to think in that time that she had made great conquests, 
and won a lasting stand on serene heights above worldly 
temptations and conflict. And here she was down again in 
the thick of a hot strife with her own and others’ passions. 
Life was not so short, then, and perfect rest was not so near 
as she had dreamed when she was two years younger. There 
was more struggle for her—perhaps more falling. K she had 
felt that she was entirely wrong, and that Tom had been 
entirely right, she could sooner have recovered more inward 
harmony; but now her penitence and submission were con¬ 
stantly obstructed by resentment that would present itself to 
her no otherwise than as a just indignation. Her heart bled 
for Philip: she went on recalling the insults that had been 
flung at him with so vivid a conception of what he had felt 
under them, that it was almost like a sharp bodily pain to her, 
making her beat the floor with her foot, and tighten her fingers 
on her palm. 

And yet, how was it that she was now and then conscious 
of a certain dim background of relief in the forced separation 
from Philip ? Surely it was only because the sense of a deli¬ 
verance from concealment was welcome at any cost. 



Three weeks later, when Dorlcote Mill was at its prettiest 
moment in all the year—the great chestnuts in blossom, and 
the grass all deep and daisied—Tom Tulliver came home to 
it earlier than usual in the evening, and as he passed over the 
bridge, he looked with the old deep-rooted affection at the 
respectable red brick-house, which always seemed cheerful 
and inviting outside, let the rooms be as bare and the hearts 
as sad as they might, inside. There is a very pleasant light 
in Tom’s blue-grey eyes as he glances at the house-windows: 
that fold in his brow never disappears, but it is not unbecom¬ 
ing ; it seems to imply a strength of will that may possibly be 
without harshness, when the eyes and mouth have their gen¬ 
tlest expression. His firm step becomes quicker, and the. cor¬ 
ners of his mouth rebel against the compression whieh is 
meant to forbid a smile. 

The eyes in the parlor were not turned towards the bridge 
just then, and the group there was sitting in unexpectant silence 
—Mr. Tulliver in his armchair, tired with a long ride, and 
ruminating with a worn look, fixed chiefly on Maggie, who 
was bendmg over her sewing while her mother was making 
the tea. 

They all looked up with surprise when they heard the well- 
known foot. 

“ Why, what’s up now, Tom ?” said his father. u You’re 
a bit earlier than usual.” 

“ Oh, there was nothing more for me to do, so I came away. 
Well, mother!” 

Tom went up to his mother and kissed her, a sign of unu¬ 
sual good-humor with him. Hardly a word or look had passed 
between him and Maggie in all the three weeks; but his 
usual incommunicativeness at home prevented this from being 
noticeable to their parents. 

“ Father,” said Tom, when they had finished tea, “ do you 
know exactly how much money there is in the tin box ?” 

“ Only a hundred and ninety-three pound,” said Mr. Tul¬ 
liver. “ You’ve brought less o’ late—but young fellows like 
to have their own way with their money. Thou^A Y 


do as I liked before I was of age.” He spoke with rather 
timid discontent. 

“ Are you quite sure that’s the sum, father f” said Tom: 
“ I wish you would take the trouble to fetch the tin box down. 
I think you have perhaps made a mistake.” 

“ How should I make a mistake ?” said his father, sharply. 
“ I’ve counted it often enough: but I can fetch it, if you won’t 
believe me.” 

It w as always an incident Mr. Tulliver liked, in his gloomy 
life, to fetch the tin box and count the money. 

“ Don’t go out of the room, mother,” said Tom, as he saw 
her moving when his father was gone upstairs. 

“ And isn’t Maggie to go ?” said Mrs. Tulliver, M because 
somebody must take away the things.” 

“ Just as she likes,” said Tom, indifferently. 

That was a cutting word to Maggie. Her heart had leaped 
with the sudden conviction that Tom was going to tell their 
father the debts could be paid—and Tom would have let her 
be absent when that news was told! But she carried away 
the tray, and came back immediately. The feeling of injury 
on her own behalf could not predominate at that moment. 

. Tom drew to the corner of the table near his father when 
the tin box was set down and opened, and the red evening 
li^ht falling on them made conspicuous the worn, sour gloom 
of the dark-eyed father and the suppressed joy in the face of 
the fair-complexioned son. The mother and Maggie sat at 
the other end of the table, the one in blank patience, the 
other in palpitating expectation. 

Mr. Tulliver counted out the money, setting it in order on 
the table, and then said glancing sharply at Tom— 

“There, now ! you see I was right enough.” 

He paused, looking at the money with bitter despondency. 

“ There’s more nor three hundred wanting—it’ll be a fine 
while before I can save that. Losing that forty-two pound 
wi’ the corn was a sore job. This world’s been too many for 
me. It’s took four year to lay this by—it’s much if I’m 

above ground for another four year.I must trusten to 

you to pay ’em,” he went on with a trembling voice, “ if you 

Keep i’ the same mind now you’re co min g o’ age .But 

you’re like-enough to bury me first.” 

He looked up in Tom’s face with a querulous desire for 
some assurance. 

“ No, father,” said Tom, speaking with energetic decision, 
though there was tremor discernible in his voice too, “ you 
will live to see the debts all paid. You shall pay them with 
your own hand.” 



His tone implied something more than mere hopefulness or 
resolution. A slight electric shock seemed to pass through 
Mr. Tulliver, and he kept his eyes fixed on Tom with a look 
of eager inquiry, while Maggie, unable to restrain herself, 
rushed to her father’s side and knelt down by him. Tom 
was silent a little while before he went on. 

“ A good while ago, my uncle Glegg lent me a little money 
to trade with, and that has answered. I have three hundred 
and twenty pounds in the bank.” 

His mother’s arms were round his neck as soon as the last 
words were uttered, and she said, halficrying— 

“ Oh, my boy, I knew you’d make iverything right again, 
when you got a man.” 

But his father was silent: the flood of emotion hemmed in 
all power of speech. Both Tom and Maggie were struck 
with fear lest the shock of joy might even be fatal. But the 
blessed relief of tears came. The broad chest heaved, the 
muscles of the face gave way, and the grey-haired man burst 
into loud sobs. The fit of weeping gradually subsided, and 
he sat quiet, recovering the regularity of his breathing. At 
last he looked up at his wife and said, in a gentle tone— 

“ Bessy, you must come and kiss me now—the lad has made 
you amends. You’ll see a bit o’ comfort again belike.” 

When she had kissed him7 and he had held her hand a 
minute, his thoughts went back to the money. 

“ I wish you’d brought me the money to look at, Tom,” he 
said, fingering the sovereigns on the table; “ I should ha’ felt 

“ You shall see it to-morrow, father,” said Tom. “ My 
uncle Deane has appointed the creditors to meet to-morrow 
at the Golden Lion, and he has ordered a dinner for them at 
two o’clock. My uncle Glegg and he will both be there. It 
was advertised in the Messenger on Saturday.” 

“ Then Wakem knows on’t!’’ said Mr. Tulliver, his eye 
kindling with triumphant fire. “Ah!” he went on, with a 
long-drawn guttural enunciation, taking out his snuff-box, the 
only luxury he had left himself, and tapping it with some¬ 
thing of his eld air of defiance—“ I’ll get from under his 
thumb now—though I must leave th’ old mill. I thought 

I could ha’ held out to die here—but I can’t.We’ve 

got a glass o’ nothing in the house, have we, Bessy ?” 

“ Yes,” said Mrs. Tulliver, drawing out her much-reduced 
bunch of keys, “ there’s some brandy sister Deane brought 
me when I was ill.” 

“ Get it me, then, get it me. I feel a bit weak.” • 

“Tom, my lad,” he said, in a stronger voice, 



taken some brandy-and-water, “you shall make a speech to 
»em. I’ll tell ’em it’s you as got the best part o’ the money. 
They’ll see I’m honest at last, and ha 9 got an honest son. 
Ah! Wakem ’ud be fine and glad to have a son like mine— ft 
fine straight fellow—i’stead o’ that poor crooked creator I 
You’ll prosper i’ the world, my lad; you’ll maybe see the 
day when Wakem and his son ’ull be a round or two below 
you. You’ll like enough be ta’en into partnership, as your j 
uncle Deane was before you—you’re in the right way fort; | 
and then there’s nothing to hinder your getting rich. .... 
And if ever you’re rich enough—mind this— try and get th’ 
old mill again.” 

Mr. Tulliver threw himself back in his chair: his mind, 
which had so long been the home of nothing but bitter dis¬ 
content and foreboding, suddenly filled, by the magic of joy, 
with visions of good fortune. But some subtle influence 
prevented him from foreseeing the good fortune as happening 
to himself. 

“ Shake hands wi’ me, my lad,” he said, suddenly putting 
out his hand. “ It’s a great thing when a man can be proud 
as he’s got a good son. I’ve had that luck.” 

Tom never lived to taste another moment so delicious as 
that; and Maggie couldn’t help forgetting her own grievances. 
Tom was good ; and in the sweet humility that springs in us 
all in moments of true admiration and gratitude, she felt that 
the faults he had to pardon in her had never been redeemed, 
as his faults were. She felt no jealousy this evening that, for 
the first time, she seemed to be thrown into the background 
in her father’s mind. 

There was much more talk before bed-time. Mr. Tulliver 
naturally wanted to hear all the particulars of Tom’s trading 
adventures, and he listened with growing excitement and 
delight. He was curious to know what had been said on 
every occasion—if possible, what had been thought; and Bob 
Jakin’s part in the business threw him into peculiar outbursts 
of sympathy with the triumphant knowingness of that remark¬ 
able packman. Bob’s juvenile history, so far as it had come 
under Mr. Tulliver’s knowledge, was recalled with that sense 
of astonishing promise it displayed, which is observable in til 
reminiscences of the childhood of great men. 

It was well that there was this interest of narrative to keep 
under the vague but fierce sense of triumph over Wakem, 
which would otherwise have been the channel his joy would 
have rushed into with dangerous force. Even as it was, that 
feeling from time to time gave threats of its ultimate mastery, 
in sudden bursts of irrelevant exclamation. 



It was long before Mr. Tolliver got to sleep that night, and 
the sleep, when it came, was filled with vivid dreams. At 
half-past five o’clock in the morning, when Mrs. Tulliver was 
already rising, he alarmed her by starting up with a sort of 
smothered shout, and looking around in a bewildered way at 
the walls of the bedroom. 

“What’s the matter, Mr. Tulliver?” said his wife. He 
looked at her, still with a puzzled expression, and said at 

“Ah!—I was dreaming .... did I make a noise ? .... I 
thought I’d got hold of mm.” 



Mr. Tulliver was an essentially sober man—able to take 
his glass and not averse to it, but never exceeding the bounds 
of moderation. He had naturally an active Hotspur tempera¬ 
ment, which did not crave liquid fire to set it a-glow; his 
impetuosity was usually equal to an exciting occasion without 
any such reinforcements; and his desire for the brandy-and- 
water implied that the too sudden joy had fallen with a dan¬ 
gerous shock on a frame depressed by four years of gloom 
and unaccustomed hard fare. But that first doubtful totter¬ 
ing moment passed, he seemed to gather strength with his 
gathering excitement; and the next day, when he was seated 
at table with his creditors, his eye kindling and his cheek 
flushed with the consciousness that he was about to make an 
honorable figure once more, he looked more like the proud, 
confident, warm-hearted and warm-tempered Tulliver of old 
times, than might have seemed possible to any one who had 
met him a week before, riding along as had been his wont for 
the last four years since the sense of failure and debt had been 
upon him—with his head hanging down, casting brief, unwill¬ 
ing looks on those who forced themselves on his notice. He 
made his speech, asserting his honest principles with his old 
confident eagerness, alluding to the rascals and the luck that 
had been against him, but that he had triumphed over, to some 
extent, by hard efforts and the aid of a good son; and wind- 
ing up with the story of how Tom had got the best part of 
the needful money. But the streak of irritation and hostile 
triumph seemed to melt for a little while into purer {&&ss&| 
pride and pleasure, when, Tom’s health having neen 




and unde Deane having taken occasion to aa y a few words of 
eulogy on his general character and conduct, Tom hirn^f got 
up and made the single speech of his life. It could haraly 
have been briefer; he thanked the gentlemen for the honor 
they had done him. He was glad that he had been able to 
help his father in proving his integrity and regaining his 
honest name; and, for his owh part, he hoped he should never 
undo that work and disgrace that name. But the applause 
that followed was so great, and Tom looked so gentlemanly 
as well as tall and straight, that Mr. Tulliver remarked, in an 
explanatory manner, to his friends on his right and left, that 
he had spent a deal of money on his son’s education. 

The party broke up in very sober fashion at five o’clock. 
Tom remained in St. Ogg’s to attend to some business, and 
Mr. Tulliver mounted his horse to go home, and describe the 
memorable things that had been said and done, to “poor 
Bessy and the little wench.” The air of excitement that 
hung about him was but faintly due to good cheer or any 
stimulus but the potent wine of triumphant joy. He did not 
choose any back street to-day, but rode slowly, with uplifted 
head and free glances, along the principal street all the way 
to the bridge. Why did he not happen to meet Wakemf 
The want of that coincidence vexed him, and set his mind at 
work in an irritating way. Perhaps Wakem was gone out 
of town to-day on purpose to avoid seeing or hearing any¬ 
thing of an honorable action, which might well cause him 
some unpleasant twinges. If Wakem were to meet him then, 
Mr. Tulliver would look straight at him, and the rascal would 
perhaps be forsaken a little by his cool domineering impu¬ 
dence. He would know by-and-by that an honest man was 
not going to serve him any longer, and lend his honesty to 
fill a pocket already full of dishonest gains. Perhaps the luck 
was beginning to turn; perhaps the devil didn’t always hold 
the best cards in this world. 

Simmering in this way, Mr. Tulliver approached the yard- 
gates . of Dorlcote Mill, near enough to see a well-known 
figure coming out of them on a fine black horse. - They met 
about fifty yards from the gates, between the great chestnuts 
and elms and the high bank. 

“ Tulliver,” said Wakem, abruptly, in a haughtier tone than 
usual, “what a fool’s trick you did—spreading those hard 
lumps on that Far Close. I told you how it would be; but 
you men never learn to farm with any method.” 

“Oh!” said Tulliver, suddenly boiling up. “Get some- 
bodyelse to farm for you, then, as ’ll ask you to teach him.” 

“Tou have been drinking, I suppose,” said Wakem, really 



believing that this was the meaning of Tulliver’s flashed face 
and sparkling eyes. 

“No, I’ve not been drinking,” said Tolliver; “I want no 
drinking to help me make op my mind as I’ll serve no longer 
under a scoundrel.” 

“ Very well! you may leave my premises to-morrow, then: 
hold your insolent tongue and let me pass.” (Tulliver was 
backing his horse across the road to hem Wakem in.) 

“ No, I shan't let you pass,” said Tulliver, getting fiercer. 
“ I shall tell you what I think of you first. You’re too big a 
raskill to get hanged—you’re . . .” 

“ Let me pass, you ignorant brute, or I’ll ride over you.” 

Mr. Tulliver spurring his horse and raising his whip, made 
a rush forward, and Wakem’s horse rearing and staggering 
backward, threw his rider from the saddle and sent him side¬ 
ways on the ground. Wakem had had the presence of mind 
to loose the bridle at once, and as the horse only staggered a 
few paces and then stood still, he might have risen and 
remounted without more inconvenience than a bruise and a 
shake. But before he could rise, Tulliver was off his horse 
too. The sight of the long-hated predominant man down and 
in his power, threw him into a frenzy of triumphant vengeance, 
which seemed to give him preternatural agility and strength. 
He rushed on Wakem, who was in the act of trying to 
recover his feet, grasped him by the left arm so as to press 
Wakem’s whole weight on the right arm which rested on the 
ground, and flogged him fiercely across the back with his 
riding-whip. Wakem shouted for help, but no help came, until 
a womans scream was heard, and the cry of “ Father, father!” 

Suddenly, Wakem felt, something had arrested Mr. Tulli¬ 
ver’s arm; for the flogging ceased, and the grasp on his own 
arm was relaxed. 

“ Get away with you—go 1” said Tulliver, angrily. But it 
was not to Wakem that he spoke. Slowly the lawyer rose, 
and, as he turned his head, saw that Tulliver’s arms were 
being held by a girl—rather by the fear of hurting the girl 
that clung to him with all her young might. 

. “ Oh, Luke—mother—come and help Mr. Wakem l” Maggie 
oried, as she heard the longed-for footsteps. 

“ Help me on to that low horse,” said Wakem to Luke, 
“ then I shall perhaps manage: though—confound it—I think 
this arm is sprained.” 

With some difficulty, Wakem was heaved on to Tulliver’s 
horse. Then he turned towards the miller and said, white 
with rage, “ You’ll suffer for this, sir. Your daughter is a 
witness that you’ve assaulted me.” 



“I don’t care," said Mr. Tolliver, in a thick, fierce voice; 
“go and show them your back, and tell ’em I thrashed you. 
Tell ’em I’ve made things a bit more even i’ the world.” 

“ Bide my horse home with me,” said Wakem to Luke. 
“ By the Toften Ferry—not through the town.” 

“ Father, come in!” said Maggie, imploringly. Then, seeing 
that Wakem had ridden off, ana that no further violence was 
possible, she slackened her hold and burst into hysteric sobs, 
while poor Mrs. Tulliver stood by in silence, quivering with 
fear. But Maggie became conscious that as she was slacken¬ 
ing her hold, her father was beginning to grasp her and lean 
on her. The surprise checked her sobs. 

“ I feel ill—feintish,” he said. “ Help me in, Bessy—I’m 
giddy—I’ve a pain i’ the head.” 

He walked in slowly, propped by his wife and daughter, 
and tottered into his arm-chair. The almost purple flush had 
given way to paleness, and his hand was cold. 

“ Hadn’t we better send for the doctor ?” said Mrs. Tulliver. 

He seemed to be too feint and suffering to hear her; but 
presently, when she said to Maggie, “ Go and see for some¬ 
body to fetch the doctor,” he looked up at her with full com¬ 
prehension, and said, “ Doctor ? no—no doctor. It’s my head 
—that’s all. Help me to bed.” 

Sad ending to the day that had risen on them all like a 
beginning of better times! But mingled seed must bear a 
mingled crop. 

In half an hour after his father had lain down Tom came 
home. Bob Jakin was with him—come to congratulate “ the 
old master,” not without some excusable pride that he had 
had his share in bringing about Mr. Tom’s good-luck; and Tom 
had thought his father would like nothing better, as a finish 
to the day, than a talk with Bob. But now Tom could only 
spend the evening in gloomy expectation of the unpleasant 
consequences that must follow on this mad outbreak of his 
father’s long-smothered hate. After the painful news had 
been told, he sat in silence: he had not spirit nor inclination 
to tell his mother and sister anything about the dinner—they 
hardly cared to ask it. Apparently the mingled thread in 
the web of their life was so curiously twisted together, that 
there could be no joy without a sorrow coming close upon it. 
Tom was dejected by the thought that his exemplary effort 
must always be baffled by the wrong-doing of others: Maggie 
was living through, over and over again, the agony of the 
moment in which she had rushed to throw herself on her 
father’s arm—with a vague, shuddering foreboding of wretched 
scenes to come. Not one of the three felt any particular 



alarm about Mr. Tulliver’s health: the symptoms did not 
recall his former dangerous attack, and it seemed only a neces¬ 
sary consequence that his violent passion and effort of strength, 
after many hours of unusual excitement, should have made 
him feel ill. Rest would probably cure him. 

Tom, tired out by his active day, fell asleep soon, and slept 
soundly: it seemed to him as if he had only just come to bed, 
when he waked to see his mother standing by him in the grey 
light of early morning. 

44 My boy, you must get up this minute: I’ve sent for the 
doctor, and your father wants you and Maggie to come to him. ” 

44 Is he worse, mother ?” 

44 He’s been very ill all night with his head, but he doesn’t 
say it’s worse—he only said sudden , 4 Bessy, fetch the boy 
and girl. Tell ’em to make haste.’ ” 

Maggie and Tom threw on their clothes hastily in the chill 
grey light, and reached their father’s room almost at the same 
moment. He was watching for them with an expression of 
pain on his brow, but with sharpened anxious consciousness 
in his eyes. Mrs. Tulliver stood at the foot of the bed, fright¬ 
ened and trembling, looking worn and aged from disturbed 
rest. Maggie was at the bedside first, but her father’s glance 
was towards Tom, who came and stood next to her. 

44 Tom, my lad, it’s come upon me as I shan’t get up again 
.... This world’s been too many for me, my lad, but you’ve 
done what you could to make things a bit even. Shake hands 
wi’ me again, my lad, before I go away from you.” 

The father and son clasped hands and looked at each other 
an instant. Then Tom said, trying to speak firmly— 

44 Have you any wish, father—that I can fulfil, when ....” 

44 Ay, my lad .... you’ll try and get the old mill back.” 

44 Yes, father.” 

44 And there’s your mother—you’ll try and make her amends, 
all you can, for my bad luck...... and there’s the little 

wench ....” 

The father turned his eves on Maggie with a still more 
eager look, while she, with a bursting heart, sank on her 
knees, to be closer to the dear, time-worn free which had been 
present with her through long years, as the sign of her deep¬ 
est love and hardest trial. 

44 You must take care of her, Tom .... don’t you fret, my 
wench .... there’ll come somebody as’ll love you and take 
your part.... and you must be good to her, my lad. I was 
good to my aster. Kiss me, Maggie.... Come, Bessy.... 
You’ll manage to pay for a brick grave, Tom, so as your 
mother and me can lie together.” 



He looked away from them all when he had said this, and 
lay silent for some minutes, while they stood watching him, 
not daring to move. The morning light was grow in g dearer 
for them, and they could see the heaviness gathering in his 
face, and the dulness in his eyes. But at last he looked 
towards Tom and said— 

“I had my turn—I beat him. That was nothing but fair. 
I never wanted anything but what was fair.” 

“But, father, dear father,” said Maggie, an unspeakable 
anxiety predominating over her grie£ “you forgive him— 
you forgive every one now ?” 

He did not move his eyes to look at her, but he said— 

“No, my wench. I don’t forgive him..What’s 

forgiving to do ? I can’t love a raskill . . . 

His voice had become thicker; but he wanted to say more, 
and moved his lips again and again, struggling in vain to 
speak. At length the words forced their way. 

“Does God forgive raskills? .... but if He does. He 
won’t be hard wi’ me.” 

His hands moved uneasily, as if he-wanted them to remove 
some obstruction that weighed upon him. Two or three times 
there fell from him some broken words— 

“This world’s .... too many .... honest man . . . . 
puzzling . . . .” 

Soon they merged into mere mutterings; the eyes had 
ceased to discern; and then came the final silence. 

But not of death. For an hour or more the chest heaved, 
the loud hard breathing continued, getting gradually slower, 
as the cold dews gathered on the brow. 

At last there was total stillness, and poor Tolliver’s dimly- 
lighted soul had for ever ceased to be vexed with the painful 
riddle of this world. 

Help was come now: Luke and his wife were there, and 
Mr. Turnbull had arrived, too late for everything but to say, 
“ This is death.” 

Tom and Maggie went down-stairs together into the room 
where their father’s place was empty. Their eyes turned to 
the same spot, and Maggie spoke: 

“Tom, forgive me—let us always love each other,” and 
they clung and wept together. 





The well-furnished drawing-room, with the open grand piano, 
and the pleasant outlook down a sloping garden to a boat¬ 
house by the side of the Floss, is Sir. Deane’s. The neat 
littlejady in mourning, whose light-brown ringlets are falling 
over the colored embroidery with which her fingers are busy, 
is of course Lucy Deane; and the fine young man who is 
leaning down from his chair to snap the scissors in the ex¬ 
tremely abbreviated lace of the u King Charles ” lying on the 
young lady’s feet, is no other than Mr. Stephen Guest, whose 
diamond ring, attar of roses, and air of nonchalant leisure, at 
twelve o’clock in the day, are the graceful and odoriferous 
result of the largest oil-mill and the most extensive wharf in 
St. Ogg’s. There is an apparent triviality in the action with 
the scissors, but your discernment perceives at once that there 
is a design in it which makes it eminently worthy of a large¬ 
headed, long-limbed young man; for you see that Lucy wants 
the scissors, and is compelled, reluctant as she may be, to 
shake her ringlets back, raise her soft hazel eyes, smile play¬ 
fully down on the face that is so very nearly on a level with 
her knee, and holding out her little shell-pink palm, to say— 

“ My scissors, please, if you can renounce the great plea¬ 
sure oi persecuting my poor Minny.” 

The foolish scissors have slipped too &r over the knuckles, it 
seems, and Hercules holds out his entrapped fingers hope¬ 

“ Confound the scissors! The oval lies the wrong way, 
please draw them off for me.” 

“ Draw them off with your other hand,” says Miss Lucy, 

“ Oh, but that’s my left hand: I’m not left-handed.” Lucy 
laughs, and the scissors are drawn off with gentle touches 
from tiny tips, which naturally dispose Mr. Stephen for & 



tition da capo . Accordingly he watches for the release of the 
scissors, that he may get them into his possession again. 

M No, do,” said Lucy, sticking them in her hand, “you 
shall not have my scissors again—you have strained them 
already. Now don’t set Minny growling again. Sit up and 
behave properly, and then I will tell you some news.” 

“ What is that ? ” said Stephen, throwing himself back and 
hanging his right arm over the comer of his chair. He might 
have been sitting for his portrait, which would have repre¬ 
sented a rather striking young man of five-and-twenty, with 
a square forehead, short dark-brown hair standing erect, with 
a slight wave at the end, like a thick crop of com, and a half- 
ardent, half-sarcastic glance from under his well-marked hori¬ 
zontal eyebrows. “ Is it very important news ? ” 

“ Yes—very. Guess.” 

w You are going to change Minny’s diet, and give him three 
ratafias soaked in a dessert-spoonful of cream daily.” 

“ Quite wrong.” 

“ Well, then, Dr. Kenn has been preaching against buck¬ 
ram, and you ladies have all been sending him a round-robin, 
saying— c This is a hard doctrine; who can bear it ? * ” 

“ For shame ! ” said Lucy, adjusting her little mouth 
gravely. M It is rather dull of you not to guess my news, 
because it is about something I mentioned to you not very 
long ago.” 

“ But you have mentioned many things to me not long ago. 
Does your feminine tyranny require that when you say the 
thing you mean is one of several things, I should know it 
immediately by that mark ?” 

“ Yes, I know you think I am silly.” 

“ I think you are perfectly charming.” 

“ And my silliness is part of my charm ? ” 

“ I didn’t say that.” 

“ But I know you like women to be rather insipid. Philip 
Wakem betrayed you: he said so one day when you were 
not here.” 

“ Oh, I know Phil is fierce on that point; he makes it 
quite a personal matter. I think he must be love-sick for 
some unknown lady—some exalted Beatrice whom he met 

“ By the by! ” said Lucy, pausing in her work, u it has just 
occurred to me that I have never found out whether my 
cousin Maggie will object to see Philip, as her brother does. 
Tom will not enter a room where Philip is, if he knowB it: 
perhaps Maggie may be the same, and then we shan’t be able 
to sing our glees—shall we ? ’’ 



44 What! is your cousin coming to stay with you?” said 
Stephen, with a look of slight annoyance. 

44 Yes; that was my news which you have forgotten. She’s 
going to leave her situation, where she has been nearly two 
years, poor thing—ever since her father’s death; and she will 
stay with me a month or two—many months, I hope.” 

44 And am I bound to be pleased at that news ? ” 

44 Oh no, not at all,” said Luoy, with a little air of pique. 
44 1 am pleased, but that, of course, is no reason why you 
should be pleased. There is no girl in the world I love so 
well as my cousin Maggie.” 

44 And you will be inseparable, I suppose, when she comes. 
There will be no possibility of a tdte-d-tUe with you any more, 
unless you can find an admirer for her, who will pair off with 
her occasionally. What is the -ground of dislike to Philip ? 
He might have been a resource.” 

44 It is a family quarrel with Philip’s father. There were 
very painful circumstances, I believe. I never quite under¬ 
stood them, or knew them all. My uncle Tulliver was unfor¬ 
tunate and lost all his property, and I think he considered Mr. 
Wakem was somehow the cause of it. Mr. Wakem bought 
Dorlcote Mill, my uncle’s old place, where he always lived. 
You must remember my uncle Tulliver, don’t you ? ” 

44 No,” said Stephen, with rather supercilious indifference. 
44 I’ve always known the name, and I daresay I knew the man 
by sight, apart from his name. I know half the names and 
faces m the neighborhood in that detached, disjointed way.” 

44 He was a very hot-tempered man. I remember, when I 
was a little girl, and used to go to see my cousins, he often 
frightened me by talking as if he were angry. Papa told me 
there was a dreadful quarrel, the very day before my uncle’s 
death, between him and Mr. Wakem, but it was hushed up. 
That was when you were in London. Papa says my uncle 
was quite mistaken in many ways: his mind had become em¬ 
bittered. But Tom and Maggie must naturally feel it very 
painful to be reminded of these things. They have had so 
much—so very much trouble. Maggie was at school with me 
six years ago, when she was fetched away because of her 
father’s misfortunes, and she has hardly had any pleasure 
since, I think. She has been in a dreary situation m a school 
since uncle’s death, because she is determined to be indepen¬ 
dent, and not live with aunt Pullet; and I could hardly wish 
her to come to me then, because dear mamma was ill, and 
everything was so sad. That is why I want her to come to me 
now, and nave a long, long holiday.” 

44 Very sweet and angelic of you,” said Stephen, looking 



her with an admiring smile; “ and all the more so if she has 
the conversational qualities of her mother.” 

44 Poor aunty! You are cruel to ridicule her. She is very 
valuable to mo, I know. She manages the house beautifully— 
much better than any stranger would—and she was a great 
comfort to me in mamma’s illness.” 

44 Yes, but in point of companionship, one would prefer that 
she should be represented by her brandy-cherries and cream- 
cakes. I think with a shudder that her daughter will always 
be present in person, and have no agreeable proxies of that 
kind—a fat, blonde girl, with round blue eyes, who will Btare 
at us silently.” 

44 Oh yes 1” exclaimed Lucy, laughing wickedly and clapping 
her hands, 44 that is just my cousin Maggie. You must have 
seen her 1” 

44 No, indeed: I’m only guessing what Mrs. Tolliver’s 
daughter must be; and then if she is to banish Philip, our 
only apology for a tenor, that will be an additional bore.” 

44 But I hope that may not be. I think I will ask you to call 
on Philip and tell him Maggie is coming to-morrow. He is 
quite aware of Tom’s feeling, and always keeps out of his way; 
so he will understand, if you tell him, that I asked you to warn 
him not to come until I write to ask him.” 

44 1 think you had better write a pretty note for me to take: 
Phil is so sensitive, you know, the least thing might frighten 
him off coming at all, and we had hard work to get him. I 
can never induce him to come to the Park : he doesn’t like my 
sisters, I think. It is only your faery touch that can lay his 
ruffled feathers.” 

Stephen mastered the little hand that was straying towards 
the table, and touched it lightly with his lips. Little Lucy 
felt proud and happy. She and Stephen were in that stage of 
courtship which makes the most exquisite moment of youth, 
the freshest blossom-time of passion—when each is sure of the 
other’s love, but no format declaration has been made, and all 
is mutual divination, exalting the most trivial word, the light¬ 
est gesture, into thrills delicate and delicious as wafted jasmine 
scent. The explicitness of an engagement wears off this finest 
edge of susceptibility]: it is jasmine gathered and presented in 
a large bouquet. 

44 But it is really odd that you should have hit so exactly on 
Maggie’s appearance and manners,” said the cunning Lucy, 
moving to reach her desk, 44 because she might have been like 
her brother, you know; and Tom has not round eyes; and he 
is as far as possible from staring at people.” 

44 Oh, I suppose he is like the father: he seems to be as 



proud as Lucifer. Not a brilliant companion though. I should 

“ I like Tom. He gave me my Minny when I lost Lido; 
and papa is very fond of him: he says Tom has excellent prin¬ 
ciples. It was through him that his father was able to pay all 
his debts before he died.” 

“ Oh, ah; I’ve heard about that. I heard your father and 
mine talking about it a little while ago, after dinner, in one of 
their interminable discussions about business. They think of 
doing something for young Tulliver: he saved them from a 
considerable loss by riding home in some marvellous way, like 
Turpin, to bring them news about the stoppage of a bank, or 
something of that sort. But I was rather drowsy at the 

Stephen rose from his seat, and sauntered to the piano, 
humming in falsetto, “ Graceful Consort,” as he turned over 
the volume of “The Creation,” which stood open on the desk. 

“ Come and sing this,” he said, when he saw Lucy rising. 

w What! ‘ Graceful Consort ?’ I don’t think it suits your 

“ Never mind; it exactly suits my feeling, which, Philip will 
have it, is the grand element of good singing. I notice men 
with indifferent voices are usually of that opinion.” , 

“ Philip burst into one of his invectives against ‘ The 
Creation 9 the other day,” said Luoy, seating herself at,the 
piano. “He says it has a sort of sugared complacency and 
flattering make-believe in it, as if it were written for the 
birthday f§te of a German Grand-Duke.” 

“ Oh, pooh I He is the fallen Adam with a soured temper. 
We are Adam and Eve unfallen, in paradise. Now, then—the 
fecitative, for the sake of the moral. You will sing the whole 
duty of woman— 4 And from obedience grows my pride and 
happiness. 9 99 

“ Oh no, I shall not respect an Adam who drags the tempo, 
as you will,” said Lucy, beginning to play the duet. 

Surely the only courtship unshaken by doubta and fears, 
must be that in which the lovers can sing together. The 
sense of mutual fitness that springs from the two deep notes 
fulfilling expectation just at the right moment between the 
notes of the silvery soprano, from the perfect accord of 
descending thirds and fifths, from the preconcerted loving 
chase of a fugue, is likely enough to supersede any immediate 
demand for less impassioned forms of agreement. The con¬ 
tralto will not care to catechise the bass; the tenor will foresee 
no embarrassing dearth of remark in evenings spent with the 
lovely soprano. In the provinces, too, where musio was so 



scarce in that remote time, how could the musical people 
avoid falling in love with each other ? Even political prmciple 
must have been in danger of relaxation under such circum¬ 
stances ; and a violin, faithful to rotten boroughs, must have 
been tempted to fraternise in a demoralising way with a 
reforming violoncello. In this case, the linnet-throated soprano, 
and the full-toned bass, singing, 

“ With thee delight is ever new, 

With thee is life incessant bliss,” 

believed what they sang all the more because they sang it* 

44 Now for Raphael’s great song,” said Lucy, when they 
had finished the auet. “ You do the 4 heavy beasts’ to per¬ 

44 That sounds complimentary,” said Stephen, looking at his 
watch. 44 By Jove, it’s nearly half-past one. Well, I can just 
sing this.” 

Stephen delivered with admirable ease the deep notes 
representing the tread of the heavy beasts: but when a 
singer has an audience of two, there is room for divided senti¬ 
ments. Minny’s mistress was charmed; but Minny, who had 
intrenched himself, trembling, in his basket as soon as the 
muffle began, found this thunder so little to his taste that he 
leaped out and scampered under the remotest chiffonihre^ as 
the most eligible place in which a small dog could await the 
crack of doom. 

44 Adieu, ‘graceful consort,’”- said Stephen, buttoning his 
coat across when he had done singing, and smiling down from 
his tall height, with the air of rather a patronising lover, at the 
little lady on the music-stool. 44 My bliss is not incessant, for 
I must gallop home. I promised to be there at lunch.” 

44 You will not be able to call on Philip, then ? It is of no 
consequence: I have said everything in my note.” 

44 You will be engaged with your cousin to-morrow, I 
suppose ?” 

44 Yes, we are going to have a little family-party. My 
cousin Tom will dine with us; and poor aunty will have her 
two children together for the first time. It will be very 
pretty; I think a great deal about it.” 

44 But I may come the next day ?” 

44 Oh yes! Come and be introduced to my cousin Maggie 
—though you can hardly be said not to have seen her, you 
have described her so well.” 

44 Good-by, then.” And there was that slight pressure of 
the hands, and momentary meeting of the eyes, which will 



often leave a little lady with a slight flash and gpaile on her 
face that do not subside immediately when the door is closed, 
and with an inclination to walk up and down the room rather 
than to seat herself quietly at her embroidery, or other 
rational and improving occupation. At least this was the 
effect on* Lucy; and you will not, I hope, consider it an indi¬ 
cation of vanity predominating over more tender impulses, 
that she just glanced in the chimney-glass as her walk brought 
her near it. The desire to know that one has not looked an 
absolute fright during a few hours of conversation, may be 
construed as lying within the bounds of a laudable benevolent 
consideration for others. And Lucy had so much of this 
benevolence in her nature that I am inclined to think her 
small egoisms were impregnated with it, just as there are 
people not altogether unknown to you, whose small benevo¬ 
lences have a predominant and somewhat rank odor of egoism. 
Even now, that she is walking up and down with a little 
triumphant flutter of her girlish heart at the sense that she is 
loved by the person of chief consequence in her small world, 
you may see in her hazel eyes an ever-present sunny benignity, 
in which the momentary harmless flashes of personal vanity 
are quite lost; and if she is happy in thinking of her lover, it 
is because the thought of him mingles readily with all the 
gentle affections and good-natured offices with which she Alls 
her peaceful days. Even now, her mind, with that instan¬ 
taneous alternation which makes two currents of feeling or 
imagination seem simultaneous, is glancing continually from 
Stephen to the preparations she has omy half finished in 
Maggie’s room. Cousin Maggie should be treated as well as 
the grandest lady visitor—nay, better, for she should have 
Lucy’s best prints and drawings in her bedroom, and the very 
finest bouquet of spring flowers on her table. Maggie would 
enjoy all that—she was so fond of pretty things! And there 
was poor aunt Tulliver, that no one made any account of-—she 
was to be surprised with the present of a cap of superlative 
quality, and to have her health drunk in a gratifying manner, 
for which Lucy was going to lay a plot with her father this 
evening. Clearly, she had not time to indulge in long reveries 
about her own happy love-affairs. With this thought she 
walked towards the door, but paused there. 

“What’s the matter, then, Minny?” she said, stooping in 
answer to some whimpering of that small quadruped, and 
lifting his glossy head against her pink cheek. “Did you 
think I was going without you ? Come, then, let us go and 
see Sindbad.” 

Sindbad was Lucy’s chestnut horse, that she always •&&. 



with her own hand when he was turned out in the paddock. 
She was fond of feeding dependent creatures, and knew the 
private tastes of all the animals about the house, delighting 
m the little rippling sounds of her canaries when their beaks 
were busy with fresh seed, and in the small nibbling pleasures 
of certain animals which, lest she should appear tocr trivial, I 
will here call “ the more familiar rodents.” 

Was not Stephen Guest right in his decided opinion that 
this slim maiden of eighteen was quite the sort of wife a man 
would not be likely to repent of marrying ?—a woman who 
was loving and thoughtful for other women, not giving them 
Judas-kisses with eyes askance on their welcome defects, but 
with real care and vision for their half-hidden pains and 
mortifications, with long ruminating enjoyment of little plea¬ 
sures prepared for them ? Perhaps the emphasis of his admi¬ 
ration did not fall precisely on this rarest quality in her— 
perhaps he approved his own choice of her chiefly because 
she did not strike him as a remarkable rarity. A man likes 
his wife to be pretty; well, Lucy was pretty, but not to a 
maddening extent. A man likes his wife to be accomplished, 
gentle, affectionate, and not stupid; and Lucy had all these 
qualifications. Stephen was not surprised to find himself in 
love with her, ana was conscious of excellent judgment in 
preferring her to Miss Leybum, the daughter of the county 
member, although Lucy was only the daughter of his father’s 
subordinate partner; besides, he had had to defy and over¬ 
come a slight unwillingness and disappointment in his father 
and sisters—a circumstance which gives a young man an 
agreeable consciousness of his own dignity. Stephen was 
aware that he had sense and independence enough to choose 
the wife who was likely to make him happy, unbiassed by any 
indirect considerations. He meant to choose Lucy: she was 
a little darling, and exactly the sort of woman he had always 
most admired. 



“ He is very clever, Maggie,” said Lucy. She was kneel¬ 
ing on a footstool at Maggie’s feet, after placing that dark 
lady in the large crimson-velvet chair. “ I feel sure you will 
like him. I hope you will.” 

“I shall be very difficult to please,” said Maggie, smiling, 


and bolding up one of Lucy’s long curls, that the sunlight 
might shine through it. “ A gentleman who thinks he is good 
enough for Lucy must expect to be sharply criticised.” 

“ Indeed, he’s a great deal too good for me. And some¬ 
times, when he is away, I almost think it can’t really be that 
he loves me. But I can never doubt it when he is with me— 
though I couldn’t bear any one but you to know that I feel 
in that way, Maggie.” 

“ Oh, then, if I disapprove of him, you can give him up, 
since you are not engaged,” said Maggie with playful 

“I would rather not be engaged. When people are 
engaged, they begin to think of being married soon,” said 
Lucy, too thoroughly preoccupied to notice Maggie’s joke; 
“ and I should like everything to go on for a long while just 
as it is. Sometimes I am quite frightened lest Stephen 
should say that he has spoken to papa; and from something 
that fell from papa the other day, I feel sure he and Mr. 
Guest are expecting that. And Stephen’s sisters are very 
civil to me now. At first, I think they didn’t like his paying 
me attention; and that was natural. It does seem out of 
keeping that I should ever live in a great place like the Park 
House—such a little, insignificant thing as I am.” 

“ But people are not expected to be large in proportion to 
the houses they live in, like snails,” said Maggie, laughing. 
“ Pray, are Mr. Guest’s sisters giantesses ?” 

“ Oh no} and not handsome—that is, not very,” said Lucy, 
half-penitent at this uncharitable remark. “But he is—at 
least he is generally considered very handsome.” 

“Though you are unable to share that opinion?” 

“ Oh‘, I don’t know,” said Lucy, blushing pink over brow 
and neck. “ It is a bad plan to raise expectation; you will 
perhaps be disappointed. But I have prepared a charming 
surprise for him ; I shall have a glorious laugh against him. 
I snail not tell you what it is, though.” 

Lucy rose from her knees and went to a little distance, 
holding her pretty head on one side, as if she had been 
arranging Maggie for a portrait, and wished to judge of the 
general effect. 

“ Stand up a moment, Maggie.” 

“What is your pleasure now?” said Maggie, smiling 
languidly as she rose from her chair and looked down on her 
slight aerial cousin, whose figure was quite subordinate to her 
faultless drapery of silk and crape. 

Lucy kept her contemplative attitude a moment or two in 
silenoe, and then said— 



“ I can’t think what witchery it is in von, Maggie, that 
makes you look best in shabby clothes; though you really 
must have a new dress now. But do you know, last night I 
was trying to fancy you in a handsome fashionable dress, and 
do what I would, that old limp merino would oome back as 
the only right thing for you. I wonder if Marie Antoinette 
looked all the grander when her gown was darned at the 
elbows. Now, u I were to put anything shabby on, I should 
be quite unnoticeable—I should be a mere rag.” 

“Oh, quite,” said Maggie, with mock gravity. “You 
would be liable to be swept out of the room with the cob¬ 
webs and carpet-dust, ana to find yourself under the grate, 
like Cinderella. Mayn’t I sit down now?” 

“ Yes, now you may,” said Lucy, laughing. Then, with an 
air of serious reflection, unfastening her huge jet brooch, 
“ But you must change brooches, Maggie; that little butter¬ 
fly looks silly on you.” 

“ But won’t that mar the charming effect of my consistent 
shabbiness ?” said Maggie, seating herself submissively, while 
Lucy knelt again and unfastened the contemptible butterfly. 
“ I wish my mother were of your opinion, for she was fretting 
last night because this is my best frock. I’ve been saving my 
money to pay for some lessons: I shall never get a better 
situation without more accomplishments.” 

Maggie gave a little sigh. 

“ Now, don’t put on that sad look again,” said Lucy, pin¬ 
ning the large brooch below Maggie’s fine throat. “ You’re 
forgetting that you’ve left that dreary schoolroom behind 
you, and have no little girls’ clothes to mend.” 

“ Yes,” said Maggie. “ It is with me as I used to think it 
would be with the poor uneasy white bear I saw at the show. 
I thought he must have got so stupid with the habit of turn- 
ing backwards and forwards in that narrow space, that he 
would keep doing it if they set him free. One gets a bad 
habit of being unhappy.” 

“But I shall put you under a discipline of pleasure that will 
make you lose that bad habit,” said Lucy, sticking the black 
butterfly absently in her own collar, while her eyes met Mag¬ 
gie’s affectionately. 

“ You ‘dear, tiny thing,” said Maggie, in one of her bursts 
of loving admiration, “ you enjoy other people’s happiness so 
much, I believe you would do without any of your own. I 
wish I were like you.” 

“ I’ve never been tried in that way,” said Lucy. “ Fve 
always been so happy. I don’t know whether I could bear 
much trouble; I never had any but poor mamma’s death. 



Ton have been tried, Maggie; and I’m sure you feel for 
other people quite as much as I do.” 
j “ No, Lucy,” said Maggie, shaking her head slowly, “ I don’t 
‘ enjoy their happiness as you do—else I should be more con¬ 
tented. I do feel for them when they are in trouble; I don’t 
think I could ever bear to make any one wnhappy; and yet I 
often hate myself because I get angry sometimes at the sight 
of happy people. I think I get worse as I get older—more 
selfish. That seems very dreadful.” 

“ Now, Maggie! ” said Lucy, in a tone of remonstrance, “ I 
don’t believe a word of that. It is all a gloomy fancy— just 
because you are depressed by a dull, wearisome life.” 

“Well, perhaps it is,” said Maggie, resolutely clearing away 
the clouds from her fhce with a bright smile, and throwing 
herself backward in her chair. “ Perhaps it comes from the 
school diet—watery rice-pudding spiced with Pinnock. Let us 
hope it will give way before my mother’s custards and this 
charming Geoflrey Crayon.” 

Maggie took up the * Sketch Book,” which lay by her on 
the table. 

“Do I look fit to be seen with this little brooch?” said 
Lucy, going to survey the effect in the chimney-glass. 

“ Oh no, Mr. Guest will be obliged to go out of the room 
again if he sees you in it. Pray make haste and put another 

Lucy hurried out of the room, but Maggie did not take the 
opportunity of opening her book: she let it tall on her knees, 
while her eyes wandered to the window, where she could see 
the sunshine falling on the rich clumps of spring flowers and on 
the long hedge of laurels—and beyond, the silvery breadth 
of the dear old Floss, that at this distance seemed to be sleep¬ 
ing in a morning holiday. The sweet fresh garden scent came 
through the open window, and the birds were busy flitting 
and alighting, gurgling and singing. Yet Maggie’s eyes began 
to fill with tears. The sight of the old scenes had made the 
rush of memories so painful, that even yesterday she had only 
been able to rejoice in her mother’s restored comfort and 
Tom’s brotherly friendliness as we rejoice in good news of 
friends at a distance, rather than in the presence of a happi¬ 
ness which we share. Memory and imagination urged upon 
her a sense of privation too Keen to let her taste what was 
offered in the transient present: her future, she thought, was 
likely to be worse than her past, for after her years of con¬ 
tented renunciation, she had slipped back into desire and 
longing: she found joyless days of distasteful occupation harder 
and harder—she found the image of the intense and varied 



life she yearned for, and despaired of, becoming more and 
more importunate. The sound of the opening door roused her, 
and, hastily wiping away her tears, she began to turn over 
the leaves of her book. ^ 

“ There is one pleasure, I know, Maggie, that your deepest 
dismalness will never resist,” said Lucy, beginning to speak as 
soon as she entered the room. “ That is music, and 1 mean 
you to have quite a riotous feast of it. I mean you to get up 
your playing again, which used to be so much better than 
mine, when we were at Laceham.” 

44 You would have laughed to see me playing the little girls’ 
tunes over and over to them, when I took them to practice,” 
said Maggife, “just for the sake of fingering the dear keys 
again. But I don’t know whether I could play anything more 
difficult now than 4 Begone, dull care! ’” 

44 1 know what a wild state of joy you used to be in when 
the glee-men came round,” said Lucy, taking up her embroi¬ 
dery, 44 and we might have all those old glees that you used to 
love so, if I were certain that you don’t feel exactly as Tom 
does about some things.” 

44 1 should have thought there was nothing you might be 
more certain of,” said Maggie, smiling. 

44 1 ought rather to have said, one particular thing. Because 
if you feel just as he does about that, we shall want a third 
voice. St. Ogg’s is so miserably provided with musical gen¬ 
tlemen. There are really only Stephen and Philip Wakem 
who have any knowledge of music, so as to be able to sing a 

Lucy had looked up from her work as she uttered the last 
sentence, and saw that there was a change in Maggie’s 

44 Does it hurt you to hear the name mentioned, Maggie ? 
If it does, I will not speak of him again. I know Tom will 
not see him if he can avoid it.” 

. 44 1 don’t feel at all as Tom does on that subject,” said Mag¬ 
gie, rising and going to the window as if she wanted to see 
more of the landscape. 44 I’ve always liked Philip Wakem 
ever since I was a little girl, and -saw him at Lorton. He was 
so good when Tom hurt his foot.” 

44 Oh, I’m so glad!” said Lucy. 44 Then you won’t mind his 
coming sometimes, and we can have mucn more music than 
we could without him. Pm very fond of poor Philip, only I 
wish he were not so morbid about his deformity. I suppose 
it is his deformity that makes him so sad—and sometimes bit¬ 
ter. It is certainly very piteous to see his poor little crooked 
body and pale face among great atroug people.” 



“But, Lucy,” said Maggie, trying to arrest the prattling 
stream .... 

“ Ah, there is the door bell. That must be Stephen,” Lucy 
went on, not noticing Maggie’s faint effort to speak. w One 
of the things I most admire in Stephen is, that he makes a 
greater friend of Philip than any one.” 

It was too late for Maggie to speak now: the drawing-room 
door was opening, and Minny was already growling in a small 
way at the entrance of a tall gentleman, who went up to Lucy 
and took her hand with a half-polite, half-tender glance and tone 
of inquiry, which seemed to indicate that he was unconscious 
of any other presence. 

u Let me introduce you to my cousin, Miss Tulliver,” said 
Lucy, turning with wicked enjoyment towards Maggie, who 
now approached from the farther window. “ This is Mr. Ste¬ 
phen Guest.” 

For one instant Stephen could not conceal his astonishment 
at the sight of this tall dark-eyed nymph with her jet-black 
coronet of hair; the next, Maggie felt herself, for the first 
time in her life, receiving the tribute of a very deep blush and 
a very deep bow from a person towards whom she herself 
was conscious of timidity. This new experience was very 
agreeable to her—so agreeable, that it almost effaced her 
previous emotion about Philip. There was a new brightness 
m her eyes, and a very becoming flush on her cheek, as she 
seated herself. 

“ I hope you perceive what a striking likeness you drew 
the day before yesterday,” said Lucy, with a pretty laugh of 
triumph. She enjoyed her lover’s confusion—the advantage 
was usually on his side. 

“ This designing cousin of yours quite deceived me, Miss 
Tulliver,” said Stephen, seating himself* by Lucy, and stooping 
to play with Minny—only looking at Maggie furtively. “ She 
said you had light hair and blue eyes.” 

“ Nay, it was you who said so,” remonstrated Lucy. “ I 
only refrained from destroying your confidence in your own 

“ I wish I could always err in the same way, 1 ’ said Stephen, 
“ and find reality so much more beautiful than my preconcep¬ 

u Now you have proved yourself equal to the occasion,” 
said Maggie, “ and said what it was incumbent on you to say 
under the circumstances.” 

She flashed a slightly defiant look at him: it was clear to 
her that he had been drawing a satirical portrait of her 
beforehand. Lucy had said he was inclined to be satirical^ 



and Maggie had mentally supplied the addition—“ and rather 

“ An alarming amount of devil there,” was Stephen’s first 
thought. The second, when she had bent over her work, 
was, “ I wish she would look at me again. 9 ’ The next was, 
to answer: 

“ I suppose all phrases of mere compliment have their turn 
to be true. A man is occasionally grateful when he says 
‘ thank you. 9 It’s rather hard upon him that he must use the 
same words with which all the world declines a disagreeable 
invitation—don’t you think so, Miss Tulliver ?” 

“ No,” said Maggie, looking at him with her direct glance; 
“ if we use common words on a great occasion, they are the 
more striking, because they are felt at once to have a parti¬ 
cular meaning, like old banners, or everyday clothes, hung up 
in a sacred place.” 

“Then my compliment ought to be eloquent,” said Stephen, 
really not quite knowing what he said while Maggie looked 
at him, “ seeing that therwords were so far beneath the occa¬ 

“No compliment can be eloquent, except as an expression 
of indifference,” said Maggie, flushing a little. 

Lucy was rather alarmed: she thought Stephen and Mag¬ 
gie were not going to like each other. She had always feared 
lest Maggie should appear too odd and clever to please 
that critical gentleman. “Why, dear Maggie,” she inter¬ 
posed, “ you have always pretended that you are too fond of 
being admired, and now, I think, you are angry because some 
one ventures to admire you.” 

“ Not at all,” said Maggie; “ I like too well to feel that I 
am admired, but compliments never make me feel that.” 

“I will never pay you a compliment again, Miss Tulliver,” 
said Stephen. 

“ Thank you; that will be a proof of respect.” 

Poor Maggie! She was so unused to society that she 
could take nothing as a matter of course, and had never in 
her life spoken from the lips merely, so that she must neces¬ 
sarily appear absurd to more experienced ladies, from the 
excessive feeling she was apt to throw into very trivial inci¬ 
dents. But she was even conscious herself of a little absur¬ 
dity in this instance. It was true, she had a theoretic objection 
to compliments, and had once said impatiently to Philip, that 
she didn’t see why women were to be told with a simper that 
they were beautiful, any more than old men were to be told 
that they were venerable: still, to be so irritated by a com¬ 
mon practice in the case of a stranger like Mr. Stephen Quest, 


and to care about his having spoken slightingly of her before 
he had seen her, was certainly unreasonable, and as soon as 
she was silent she began to be ashamed of herself. It did not 
occur to her that her irritation was due to the pleasanter 
emotion which preceded it, just as when we are satisfied with 
a sense of glowing warmth, an innocent drop of cold water 
may fall upon us as a sudden smart. 

Stephen was too well-bred not to seem unaware that the 
previous conversation could have been felt embarrassing, and 
at once began to talk of impersonal matters, asking Lucy if 
she knew when the bazaar was at length to take place, so that 
there might be some hope of seeing her rain the influence of 
her eyes on objects more grateful than those worsted flowers 
that were growing under her fingers. 

“ Some day next month, I believe,” said Lucy. “ But your 
sisters are doing more for it than I am: they are to have the 
largest stall.” 

“ Ah, yes; but they carry on their manufactures in their 
own sitting-room, where I don’t intrude on them. I see you 
are not addicted to the fashionable vice of fancy-work, Miss 
Tulliver,” said Stephen, looking at Maggie’s plain hemming. 

“ No,” said Maggie, “ I can do nothing more difficult or 
more elegant than shirt-making.” 

“ And your plain sewing is so beautiful, Maggie,” said Lucy, 
“ that I think 1 shall beg a few specimens of you to show as 
fancy-work. Your exquisite sewing is quite a mystery to me 
—you used to dislike that sort of work so much in old 
» days.” 

“ It is a mystery easily explained, dear,” said Maggie, look¬ 
ing up quietly. “ Plain sewing was the only thing I could 
get money by; so I was obliged to try and do it well.” 

Lucy, good and simple as she was, could not help blushing 
a little: she did not quite like that Stephen should know that 
—Maggie need not have mentioned it. Perhaps there was 
some pride in the confession: the pride of poverty that will 
not be ashamed of itself. But if Maggie had been the queen 
of coquettes she could hardly have invented a means of giving 
greater piquancy to her beauty in Stephen’s eyes: I am not 
sure that the quiet admission of plain sewing and poverty 
would have done alone, but assisted by the beauty, they made 
Maggie more unlike other women even than she had seemed 
at first. 

“ But I can knit, Luoy,” Maggie went on, “ if that will be 
of any use for your bazaar.” 

u Oh yes, of infinite use. I shall set you to work with 
scarlet wool to-morrow. But your sister is the most enviable 



person,” continued Lucy, turning to Stephen, “ to have the 
talent of modelling. She is doing a wondering bust of Dr. 
Kenn entirely from memory.” 

“Why, if she can remember to put the eyes very near 
together, and the corners of the mouth very far apart, the 
likeness can hardly fail to be striking in St. Ogg’s.” 

“Now, that is very wicked of you,” said Lucy, looking 
rather hurt. “ I didn’t think you would speak disrespectfully 
of Dr. Kenn.” 

“ I say anything disrespectful of Dr. Kenn ? Heaven for¬ 
bid ! But I am not bound to respect a libellous bust of him. 

I think Kenn one of the finest fellows in the world. I don’t 
care much about the tall candlesticks he has put on the com¬ 
munion-table, and I shouldn’t like to spoil my temper by 
getting up to early prayers every morning. But he’s the only 
man I ever knew personally who seems to me to have any¬ 
thing of the real apostle in him—a man who has eight hun¬ 
dred a-year, and is contented with deal furniture ana boiled 
beef because he gives away two-thirds of his income. That was 
a very fine thing of him—taking into his house that poor lad 
Grattan who shot his mother by accident. He sacrifices more 
time than a less busy man could spare, to save the poor fellow 
from getting into a morbid state of mind about it. He takes 
the lad out with him constantly, I see.” 

“That is beautiful,” said Maggie, who had let her work 
fall, and was listening with keen interest. “ I never knew any 
one who did such things.” 

“And one admires that sort of action in Kenn all the • 
more,’’ said Stephen, “because his manners in general are 
rather cold and severe. There’s nothing sugary and maudlin 
about him.” 

“ Oh, I think he’s a perfect character!” said Lucy with 
pretty enthusiasm. 

“ No, there I can’t agree with you,” said Stephen, shaking 
his head with sarcastic gravity. 

“ Now, what fault can you point out in him ? ” 

“ He’s an Anglican.” 

“Well, those are the right views, I think,” said Lucy, 

“ That settles the question in the abstract,” said Stephen, 

“ but not from a parliamentary point of view. He has set the 
Dissenters and the Church people by the ears; and a rising 
senator like myself, of whose services the country is very 
much in need, will find it inconvenient when he puts up for 
the honor of representing St. Ogg’s in parliament.” 

“Do you really think of that? ” said Lucy, her eyes bright- 



ening with a proud pleasure that made her neglect the argu¬ 
mentative interests of Anglicanism. 

“ Decidedly—whenever old Mr. Leybum’s public spirit and 
gout induce him to give way. My father’s heart is set on it; 
and gifts like mine, you know ”—here Stephen drew himself 
up, and rubbed his large white hands over his hair with pipe¬ 
ful self-admiration—“ gifts like mine involve great responsibi¬ 
lities. Don’t you think so, Miss Tulliver ? ” 

“ Yes,-’ said Maggie, smiling, but not looking up; “ so much 
fluency and self-possession should not be wasted entirely on 
private occasions.” 

“ Ah, I see how much penetration you have,” said Stephen. 

“ You have discovered already that I am talkative and impu¬ 
dent. Now superficial people never discern that—owing to 
my manner, I suppose.” 

“ She doesn’t look at me when I talk of myself,” he 
thought, while his listeners were laughing. “ I must try other 

Did Lucy intend to be present at the meeting of the Book 
Club next week ? was the next question. Then followed the 
recommendation to choose Southey’s “ Life of Cowper,” unless 
she were inclined to be philosophical, and startle the ladies of 
St. Ogg’s by voting for one of the Bridgewater Treatises. Of 
course Lucy wished to know what these alarmingly learned 
books were; and as it is always pleasant to improve the minds 
of ladies by talking to them at ease on subjects of which they 
know nothing, Stephen became quite brilliant in an account 
of Buokland’s Treatise, which he had just been reading. He 
was rewarded by seeing Maggie let her work fall, and gradu¬ 
ally get so absorbed in his wonderful geological story that she 
sat looking at him, leaning forward with crossed arms, and 
with an entire absence of self-consciousness, as if he had been 
the 8nuffiest of old professors, and she a downy-lipped alum¬ 
nus. He was so fascinated by this clear, large gaze, that at 
last he forgot to look away from it occasionally towards Lucy; 
but she, sweet child, was only rejoicing that Stephen was 
proving to Maggie how clever he was, and that they would 
certainly be good friends after all. 

“ I will bring you the book, shall I, Miss Tulliver ?” said 
Stephen, when he found the stream of his recollections running 
rather shallow. “ There are many illustrations in it that you 
will like to see.” 

“ Oh, thank you,” said Maggie, blushing with returning 
self-consciousness at this direct address, and taking up her 
work again. 

“ No, no,” Lucy interposed. “ I must forbid your plun@8% 



Maggie in books. I shall never get her away from them; I 
and I want her to have delicions ao-nothing days, filled with 
boating, and chatting, and riding, and driving: that is the 
holiday she needs.” 

“Apropos!” said Stephen, looking at his watch. “Shall 
we go ont for a row on the river now ? The tide will suit for 
us to go the Tofton way, and we can walk back.” 

That was a delightful proposition to Maggie, for it was 
years since she had been on the river. When she was gone 
to put on her bonnet, Lucy lingered to give an order to the 
servant, and took the opportunity of telling Stephen that 
Maggie had no objection to seeing Philip, so that it was a 
pity she had sent that note the day before yesterday. But 
she would write another to-morrow and invite him. 

“ I’ll call and beat him up to-morrow,” said Stephen, “and 
bring him with me in the evening, shall I ? My sisters will 
want to call on you when I tell them your cousin is with you. 

I must leave the field clear for them in the morning.” 

“ Oh, yes, pray bring him,” said Lucy. “ And you witt like 
Maggie, shan’t you ?” she added, in a beseeching tone. “ Isn’t 
she a dear, noble-looking creature ?” 

“ Too tall,” said Stephen, smiling down upon her, “ and a 
little too fiery. She is not my type of woman, you know.” 

Gentlemen, you are aware, are apt to impart these impru¬ 
dent confidences to ladies concerning their unfavorable opinion 
of sister fair ones. That is why so many women have the 
advantage of knowing that they are secretly repulsive to men 
who have self-denyingly made ardent love to them. And 
hardly anything could be more distinctively characteristic of 
Lucy, than that she both implicitly believed what Stephen 
said, and was determined that Maggie should not know it. 
But you, who have a higher logic than the verbal to guide 
you, have already foreseen, as the direct sequence to that 
unfavorable opinion of Stephen’s, that he walked down to the 
boat-house calculating, by the aid of a vivid imagination, that 
Maggie must give him her hand at least twice in consequence 
of this pleasant boating plan, and that a gentleman who wishes 
ladies to look at him is advantageously situated when he is 
rowing them in a boat. What then ? Had he fallen in love 
with this surprising daughter of Mrs. Tulliver at first sight ? 
Certainly not. Such passions are never heard of in real life. 
Besides, he was in love already, and half-engaged to the dear¬ 
est little creature in the world; and ho was not a man to 
make a fool of himself in any way. But when one is five- 
and-twenty, one has not chalk-stones at one’s finger-ends 
that the touch of a handsome girl should be entirely indifier- 


S3 1 

ent. It was perfectly natural and safe to admire beauty and 
enjoy looking at it—at least under such circumstances as the 
present. And there was really something very interesting 
about this girl, with her poverty and troubles: it was grati¬ 
fying to see the friendship between the two cousins. Gene¬ 
rally, Stephen admitted, he was not fond of women who had 
any peculiarity of character—but here the peculiarity seemed 
of a superior kind; and provided one is not obliged to marry 
such women, why, they certainly make a variety in sooial 

Maggie did not fulfil Stephen’s hope by looking at him dur¬ 
ing the first quarter of an hour: her eyes were too full of the 
old banks that she knew so well. She felt lonely, cut off from 
Philip—the only person who had ever seemed to love her 
devotedly, as she had always longed to be loved. But pre¬ 
sently the rhythmic movement of the oars attracted her, 
and she thought she should like to learn how to row. This 
roused her from her reverie, and she asked if she might take 
an oar. It appeared that she required much teaching, and she 
became ambitious. The exercise brought the warm blood 
into her cheeks, and made her inclined to take her lesson 

“ I shall not be satisfied until I can manage both oars, and 
row you and Lucy,” she said, looking very bright as she step¬ 
ped out of the boat. Maggie, we know, was apt to forget the 
thing she was doing, and she had chosen an inopportune mo¬ 
ment for her remark: her foot slipped, but happily Mr. Stephen 
Guest held her hand, and kept her up with a firm grasp. 

“ You have not hurt yourself at all, I hope ? ” he said, bend¬ 
ing to look in her face with anxiety. It was very charming 
to be taken care of in that kind graceful manner by some one 
taller and stronger than one’s-self. Maggie had never felt just 
in the same way before. 

When they reached home again, they found uncle and aunt 
Pullet seated with Mrs. Tulliver in the drawing-room, and 
Stephen hurried away, asking leave to come again in the 

“And pray bring with you the volume of Purcell that you 
took away,” said Lucy. “ I want Maggie to hear your best 

Aunt Pullet, under the certainty that Maggie would be 
invited to go out with Lucy, probably to Paw: House, was 
much shocked at the shabbiness of her clothes, which, when 
witnessed by the higher society at St. Ogg’s, would be a 
discredit to the family, that demanded a strong and prompt 
remedy; end the consultation as to what would be most suvV 



able to this end from among the superfluities of Mrs. Pullet’s 
wardrobe, was one that Lucy as well as Mrs. Tulliver entered 
into with some zeal. Maggie must really have an evening 
dress as soon as possible, and she was about the same height 
as aunt Pullet. 

“ But she’s so much broader across the shoulders than I am 
—it’s very ill-convenient,” said Mrs. Pullet, “ else she might 
wear that beautiful black brocade o’ mine without any altera¬ 
tion; and her arms are beyond everything,” added Mrs. 
Pullet, sorrowfully, as she lifted Maggie’s large round arm. 
“ She’d never get my sleeves on.” 

“ Oh never mind that, aunt: pray send us the dress,” said 
Lucy. “I don’t mean Maggie to have long sleeves, and I 
have abundance of black lace for trimming. Her arms will 
look beautiful.” 

“ Maggie’s arms are a pretty shape,” said Mrs. Tulliver. 
“ They’re like mine used to be—only mine was never brown: 
I wish she’d had our family skin.” 

“Nonsense, aunty 1” said Lucy, patting her aunt Tulliver’s 
shoulder, “you don’t understand those things. A painter 
would think Maggie’s complexion beautiful.” 

“May be, my dear,” said Mrs. Tulliver, submissively. 
“ You know better than I do. Only when I was young a 
brown skin wasn’t thought well on among respectable folks.” 

“ No,” said uncle Pullet, who took intense interest in the 
ladies’ conversation, as he sucked his lozenges. “ Though 
there was a song about the ‘ Nut-brown Maid,’ too ; I think 
she was crazy—crazy Kate—but I can’t justly remember.” 

“ Oh dear, dear!” said Maggie, laughing, but impatient; 
“ I think that will be the end of my brown skin, if it is always 
to be talked about so much.” 



W hen Maggie went up to the bedroom that night, it appeared 
that she was not at all inclined to undress. She set down her 
candle on the first table that presented itself, and began to 
walk up and down her room, which was a large one, with a 
firm, regular, and rather rapid step, which showed that the 
exercise was the instinctive vent of strong excitement. Her 
eyes and cheeks had an almost feverish brilliancy; her head 
was thrown backward, and her hands were clasped with the 



palms outward, and with that tension of the arms which is apt 
to accompany mental absorption. 

Had anything remarkable happened ? 

Nothing that you are not likely to consider in the highest 
degree unimportant. She had been hearing some fine music 
sung by a fine bass voice—but then it was sung in a provin¬ 
cial, amateur fashion, such as would have left your critical ear 
much to desire. And she was conscious of having been 
looked at a great deal, in rather a-furtive manner, from beneath 
a pair of well-marked horizontal eyebrows, with a glance that 
seemed somehow to have caught the vibratory influence of 
the voice. Such things could have had no perceptible effect 
on a thoroughly well-educated young lady, with a perfectly 
balanced. mind, who had had all the advantages of fortune, 
training, and refined society. But if Maggie had been that 
young lady, you would probably have known nothing about 
her: her life would have had so few vicissitudes that it could 
hardly have been written; for the happiest women, like the 
happiest nations, have no history. 

In poor Maggie’s highly-strung, hungry nature—-just come 
away from a third-rate schoolroom, with all its jarring sounds 
and petty round of tasks—these apparently trivial causes had 
the effect of rousing and exalting her imagination in a way 
that was mysterious to herself. It was not that she thought 
distinctly of Mr. Stephen Guest, or dwelt on the indications 
that he looked akhteF-witft admiration; it was rather that she 

Q an d beauty 

Tfcgttg^mittgled all the 

pmripy flCrtTromance she had ever read, or had ever woven in 
her. dfa ea ray - ye vorio a. Her mind glanced back once or twice 
to the time when she had courted privation, when she had 
thought all longing, all impatience, was subdued; but that 
condition seemed irrecoverably gone, and she recoiled from 
the remembrance of it. No prayer, no striving now, would 
bring back that negative peace ; the battle of her life, it 
seemed, was not to be decided in that short and easy way— 
by perfect renunciation at the very threshold of her youth. 
The music was vibrating in her still—-Purcell’s music, with its 
wild pa&ion and fancy—and she could not stay in the recollec¬ 
tion of that bare, lonely past. She was in her brighter 
aerial world again, when a little tap came at the door: of 
course it was her cousin, who entered in ample white dressing- 

44 Why, Maggie, you naughty child, haven’t you begun to 
undress ? ” said Lucy, in astonishment. 44 1 promised not to 
come and talk to you, because I thought you must be tired* 



But here you are, looking as if you were ready to dress for a 
ball. Come, come, get on your dressing-gown, and unplait 
your hair.” 

“ Well, you are not very forward,” retorted Maggie, 
hastily, reaching her own pink cotton gown, and looking at 
Lucy’s light-brown hair brushed back in curly disorder. 

“ Oh, I have not much to do. I shall sit down and talk to 
you, till I see you are really on the way to bed.” 

While Maggie stood and unplaited her long black hair over 
her pink drapery, Lucy sat down near the toilette-table, watch¬ 
ing her with affectionate eyes, and head a little aside, like a 
pretty spaniel. If it appears to you at all incredible that young 
ladies should be led on to talk confidentially in a situation of 
this kind, I will beg you to remember that human life furnishes 
many exceptional cases. 

“You really have enjoyed the music to-night, haven’t you, 
Maggie ?” 

“ Oh yes, that is what prevents me from feeling sleepy. I 
think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always 
have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my 
limbs and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without 
effort, when I am filled with music. At other times one is 
conscious of carying a weight.” 

“ And Stephen has a splendid voice, hasn’t he ? ” 

“Well, perhaps we are neither of us judges of that,” said 
Maggie, laughing, as she seated herself and tossed her long 
hair back. “ You are not impartial, and I think any barrel- 
organ splendid.” 

“ But tell me what you think of him, now. Tell me exactly 
—good and bad too.” 

“ Oh, I think you should humiliate him a little. A lover 
should not be so much at ease, and so self-confident. He ought 
to tremble more.” 

“ Nonsense, Maggie ! As if any one could tremble at me ! 
You think he is conceited—I see that. But you don’t dislike 
him, do you ? ” 

“Dislike him 1 No. Am I in the habit of seeing such 
charming people, that I should be very difficult to please ? 
Besides, how could I dislike any one that promised to make 
you happy, you dear thing! ” Maggie pinched Lucy’s dim¬ 
pled chin. 

“We shall have more music to-morrow evening,” said Lucy, 
looking happy already, “ for Stephen will bring Philip Wakem 
with him.” 

“ Oh Lucy, I can’t see him,” said Maggie, turning pale. 
“At least, I could not see him without Tom’s leave.” 



“ Is Tom such a tyrant as that ? ” said Lucy, surprised. 

“ I’ll take the responsibility, then—tell him it was my fault.” 

“But, dear,” said Maggie, falteringly, “I promised Tom 
very solemnly—before my father’s death—I promised him I 
would not speak to Philip without his knowledge and consent. 
And I have a great dread of opening the subject with Tom— 
of getting into a quarrel with him again.” 

“ But I never heard of anything so strange and unreason¬ 
able. What harm can poor Philip have done ? May I speak 
to Tom about it?” 

“ Oh no, pray don’t, dear,” said Maggie. “ I’ll go to him 
myself to-morrow, and tell him that you wish Philip to come. 
I’ve thought before of asking him to absolve me from my 
promise, but I’ve not had the courage to determine on it.” 

They were both silent for some moments, and then Lucy 

“ Maggie, you have secrets from me, and I have none from 

Maggie looked meditatively away from Lucy. Then she 
turned to her and said, “ I should like to tell you about Philip. 
But, Lucy, you must not betray that you know it to any one 
—least of all to Philip himself, or to Mr. Stephen Guest.’’ 

The narrative lasted long, for Maggie had never before 
known the relief of such an outpouring: she had never before 
told Lucy anything of her inmost life; and the sweet face 
bent towards her with sympathetic interest, and the little hand 
pressing hers, encouraged her to speak on. On two points 
only she was not expansive. She did not betray fully what 
still rankled in her mind as Tom’s great offence—the insults 
he had heaped on Philip. Angry as the remembrance still 
made her, she could not bear that any one else should know it 
all—both for Tom’s sake and Philip’s. And she could not 
bear to tell Lucy of the last scene between her father and 
Wakem, though it was this scene which she had ever since 
felt to be a new barrier between herself and Philip. She 
merely 6aid, she saw now that Tom was, on the whole, right 
in regarding any prospect of love and marriage between her 
and Philip as put out of the question by the relation of the 
two families. Of course Philip’s father would never consent. 

“ There, Lucy, you have had my story,” said Maggie^ smil¬ 
ing, with the tears in her eyes. “You see I am like Sir 
Andrew Ague-cheek —I was adored once.” 

“ Ah, now I see how it is you know Shakespeare and every¬ 
thing, and have learned so much since you left school; which 
always seemed to me witchcraft before—part of your general 
uncanniness,” said Lucy. 



She mused a little with her eyes downward, and then added, 
looking at Maggie, “ It is very beautiful that you should love 
Philip: I never thought such a happiness would befall him. 
And m my opinion, you ought not to give him up. There are 
obstacles now; but they may be done away witn in time.” 

Maggie shook her head. 

“ Yes, yes,” persisted Lucy; “ I can’t help being hopeful 
about it. There is something romantic in it—out of the com¬ 
mon way—-just what everything that happens to you ought 
to be. And Philip will adore you like a husband in a fairy 
tale. Oh, I shall puzzle my small brain to contrive some plot 
that will bring everybody into the right mind, so that you may 
marry Philip, when I marry—somebody else. Wouldn’t that 
be a pretty ending to all my poor, poor Maggie’s troubles ?” 

Maggie tried to smile, but shivered, as if she felt a sudden 

“Ah, dear, you are cold,” said Lucy. “You must go to 
bed ; and so must I. I dare not think what time it is.” 

They kissed each other, and Lucy went away—possessed 
of a confidence which had a strong influence over her sub¬ 
sequent impressions. Maggie had been thoroughly sincere : 
her nature had never found it easy to be otherwise. But 
confidences are sometimes blinding, even when they are 



Maggie was obliged to go to Tom’s lodgings in the middle 
of the day, when he would be coming in to dinner, else she 
would not have found him at home. He was not lodging 
with entire strangers. Our friend Bob Jakin had, with 
Mumps’s tacit consent, taken not only a wife about eight 
months ago, but also one of those queer old houses pierced 
with surprising passages, by the water-side, where, as he 
observed, his wife and mother could keep themselves out of 
mischief by letting out two “ pleasure-boats,” in which he 
had invested some of his savings, and by taking in a lodger 
for the parlor and spare bedroom. Under these circumstan¬ 
ces, what could be better for the interests of all parties, 
sanitary considerations apart, than that the lodger should be 
Mr. Tom? 5 

It was Bob’s wife who opened the door to Maggie. She 



was a tiny woman, with the general physiognomy of a Dutch 
doll, looting, in comparison with Bob’s mother, who filled up 
the passage in the rear, very much like one of those human 
figures which the artist finds conveniently standing near a 
colossal statue to show the proportions. The tiny woman 
curtsied and looked up at Maggie with some awe as soon as 
she had opened .the door; but the words, “ Is my brother at 
home?” which Maggie uttered smilingly, made her turn 
round with sudden excitement, and say— 

“ Eh, mother, mother—tell Bob !—it’s Miss Maggie I 
Come in, Miss, for goodness do,” she went on, opening a 
side-door, and endeavoring to flatten her person against the 
wall to make the utmost space for the visitor. 

Sad recollections crowded on Maggie as she entered the 
small parlor, which was now all that poor Tom had to call by 
the name of “ home ”—that name which had once, so many 
years ago, meant for both of them the same sum of dear 
familiar objects. But everything was not strange to her in 
this new room: the first thing her eyes dwelt on was the 
large old Bible, and the sight was not likely to disperse the 
old memories. She stood without speaking. 

“ If you please to take the privilege o’ sitting down, Miss,” 
said Mrs. Jakin, rubbing her apron over a perfectly clean 
chair, and then lifting up the corner of that garment and 
holding it to her face with an air of embarrassment, as she 
looked wonderingly at Maggie. 

“ Bob is at home, then ?” said Maggie, recovering herself, 
and smiling at the bashful Dutch doll. 

“ Yes, Mss; but I think he must be washing and dressing 
himself—I’ll go and see,” said Mrs. Jakin, disappearing. 

But she presently came back walking with new courage a 
little way behind her husband, who showed the brilliancy of 
his blue eyes and regular white teeth in the doorway, bowing 

“How do you do, Bob?” said Maggie, coming forward 
and putting out her hand to him; “ I always meant to pay 
your wife a visit, and I shall come another day on purpose 
for that, if she will let me. But I was obliged to come to¬ 
day, to speak to my brother.” 

u He’ll be in before long, Mss. He’s doin’ finelv, Mr. Tom 
is : he’ll be one o’ the first men hereabouts—you’ll ^ee that.” 

“Well, Bob, I’m sure he’H be indebted to you, whatever 
he becomes: he said so himself only the other night, when 
he was talking of you.” 

“ Eh, Miss, that’s his wav o’ takin’ it. But I think the 
more on’t when he says a thing, because his tongue doesn’t 




overshoot him as mine does. Lors! I’m no better nor i 
tilted bottle, I arn’t—I can’t stop mysen when once I begin 
But you look rarely, Miss—it does me good to see you. What 
do you say now, Prissy?”—here Bob turned to his wife. 
44 Isn’t it all come true as I said ? Though there isn’t many 
sorts o’ goods as I can’t over-praise when I set my tongue 

Mrs. Bob’s small nose seemed to be following the example 
of her eyes in turning up reverentially towards Maggie, but 
she was able now to smile and curtsy, and say, 44 I’d looked 
forrard like aenything to seein’ you, Miss, for my husband’s 
tongue’s been runnin’ on you, like as if he was light-headed, 
iver since first he came a courtin’ on me.” 

44 Well, well,” said Bob, looking rather silly. 44 Go an’ see 
after the taters, else Mr. Tom ’ull have to wait for ’em. 

44 1 hope Mumps is friendly with Mrs. Jakin, Bob,” said 
Maggie, smiling. 44 1 remember you used to say, he wouldn’t 
like your marrying.” 

44 Eh, Miss,” said Bob grinning, 44 he made up his mind to’t 
when he see’d what a little un she was. He pretends not to 
see her mostly, or else to think as she isn’t full-growed. But 
about Mr. Tom, Miss,” said Bob, speaking lower and looking 
serious, 44 he’s as close as a iron biler, he is; but I’m a ’cutish 
chap, an’ when I’ve left off carrying my pack, an’ am at a 
loose end, I’ve got more brains nor I know what to do wi’, 
an’ I’m forced to busy myself wi’ other folks’s insides. An’ it 
worrets me as Mr. Tom ’ull sit by himself so glumpish, a-knittin’ 
his brow, an’ a lookin’ at the fire of a night. He should be a 
bit livelier now—a fine young fellow like him. My wife says, 
when she goes in sometimes, an’ he takes no notice of her, he 
sits lookin’ into the fire, and frownin’ as if he was watchin’ 
folks at work in it.” 

44 He thinks so much about business,” said Maggie. 

44 Ay,” said Bob, speaking lower; 44 but do you think it’s 
nothin’ else, Miss ? He’s close, Mr. Tom is; but I’m a ’cute 
chap, I am, an’ I thought tow’rt last Christmas as I’d found 
out a soft place in him. It was about a little black spaniel— 
a rare bit o’ breed—as he made a fuss to get. But since then 
summat’s come over him, as he’s set his teeth agin’ things 
more nor iver, for all he’s had such good-luck. An’ I wanted 
to tell you , Miss, ’cause I thought you might work it out of 
him a bit, now you’re come. He’s a deal too lonely an’ 
doesn’t go into company enough.” 

44 I’m afraid I have very little power over him, Bob,” said 
Maggie, a good deal moved by Bob’s suggestion. It was a 
totally new idea to her mind, that Tom could have his love 



troubles. Poor fellow!—and in love with Lucy too! But it 
was jjerhaps a mere fancy of Bob’s too officious brain. The 
present of the dog meant nothing more than cousinship and 
gratitude. But Bob had already said, “ Here’s Mr. Tom,” 
and the outer door was opening. 

“ There’s no time to spare, Tom,” said Maggie, as soon as 
Bob had left the room. “ I must tell you at once what I came 
about, else I shall be hindering you from taking your dinner.” 

Tom stood with his back against the chimney-piece, and 
Maggie was seated opposite the light. He noticed that she 
was tremulous, and he had a presentiment of the subject she 
was going to speak about. The presentiment made ms voice 
colder and harder as he said, “ What is it ?” 

This tone roused a spirit of resistance in Maggie, and she 
put her request in quite a different form from the one she had 
predetermined on. She rose from her seat, and, looking 
straight at Tom, said— 

“ I want you to absolve me from my promise about Philip 
Wakem. Or rather, I promised you not to 6ee him without 
telling you. I am come to tell you that I wish to see him.” 

u V ery well,” said Tom, still more coldly. 

But Maggie had hardly finished speaking in that chill, de¬ 
fiant manner, before she repented, and felt the dread of aliena¬ 
tion from- her brother. 

“ Not for myself, dear Tom. Don’t be angry. I shouldn’t 
have asked it, only that Philip, you know, is a friend of Lucy’s, 
and she wishes him to come—has invited him to come this 
evening; and I told her I couldn’t see him without telling 
you. I shall only see him in the presence of other people. 
There will never be anything secret between us again.” 

Tom looked away from Maggie, knitting his brow more 
strongly for a little while. Then lie turned to her and said, 
slowly and emphatically— 

“ You know what is my feeling on that subject, Maggie. 
There is no need for my repeating anything I said a year ago. 
While my father was living, I felt bound to use the utmost 
power over you, to prevent you from disgracing him as well 
as yourself and all of us. But now I must leave you to your 
own choice. You wish to be independent—you told me so 
after my father’s death. My opinion is not changed. If you 
think of Philip Wakem as a lover again, you must give up 

u I doxi’t wish it, dear Tom—at least as things are: I see 
that it would lead to misery. But I shall soon go away to 
another situation, and I should like to be friends with him 
again while I am here. Lucy wishes it.” . -J 

P 2 




The severity of Tom’s face relaxed a little. 

44 1 shouldn’t mind your seeing him occasionally at my uncle’s 
—I don’t want you to make a fuss on the subject. But I 
have no confidence in you, Maggie. You would be led away 
to do anything.” 

That Vas a cruel word. Maggie’s lip began to tremble. 

44 Why will you say that, Tom ? It is very hard of you. 
Have I not done and borne everything as well as I could? 
And I have kept my word to you—when—when .... My 
life has not been a happy one, any more than yours.” 

She was obliged to be childish—the tears would come. 
When Maggie was not angry, she was as dependent on kind 
^ or cold words as a daisy on the sunshine or the cloud: the 
need of being loved would always subdue her, as in old days 
it subdued her in the worm-eaten attic. The brother’s good¬ 
ness came uppermost at this appeal, but it could only show 
itself in Tom’s fashion. He put his hand gently on her arm, 
and said in the tone of a kind pedagogue— 

“Now listen to me, Maggie. I’ll tell you what I mean. 
You’re always in extremes—you have no judgment and self- 
command ; and yet you think you know best, and will not 
submit to be guided. You know I didn’t wish you to take a 
situation. My aunt Pullet was willing to give you a good 
home, and you might have lived respectably amongst your 
relations, until I could have provided a home for you with my 
mother. And that is what I should like to do. I wished my 
sister to be a lady, and I would always have taken care of 
you, as my father desired, until you were well married. But 
your ideas and mine never accord, and you will not give way. 
Yet you might have sense enough to see that a brother, who 

f oes out into the world and mixes with men, necessarily 
nows better what is righl and respectable for his sister than 
she can know herself. You think I am not kind; but my 
kindness can only be directed by what I believe to be good for 

44 Yes—I know—dear Tom,” said Maggie, still half-sobbing, 
but trying to control her tears. 44 I know you would do a 
great deal for me: I know how you work and don’t spare 
yourself. I am grateful to you. But, indeed, you can’t quite 
judge for me—our natures are very different. You don’t 
know how differently things affect me from what they do you.” 

44 Yes, I do know: I know it too well. I know how aiffer- 
ently you must feel about all that affects our family, and your 
own dignity as a young woman, before you could t hink of 
receiving secret addresses from Philip Wakem. If it was not 
disgusting to me in every other way, I should objeot to my 



sister’s name being associated for a moment with that of a 
young man whose father must hate the very thought of us all, 
and would spurn you. With any one but you, I should think 
it quite certain that what you witnessed just before my father’s 
death, would secure you from ever thinking again of Philip 
Wakem as a lover. But I <}on’t feel certain of it with you— 
I never feel certain about any thing with you . At one time 
you take pleasure in a sort of perverse self-denial, and at 
another you have not resolution to resist a thing that you 
know to be wrong.” 

There was a terrible cutting truth in Tom’s words—that 
hard rind of truth which is discerned by unimaginative, unsym¬ 
pathetic minds. Maggie always writhed under this judgment 
of Tom’s: she rebelled and was humiliated in the same 
moment: it seemed as if he held a glass before her to show 
her her own folly and weakness—as if he were a prophetic voice 
predicting her future fallings—and yet, all the while, she 
judged him in return: she said inwardly that he was narrow 
and unjust, that he was below feeling those mental needs which 
were often the source of the wrong-doing or absurdity that 
made her life a planless riddle to him. 

She. did not answer directly : her heart was too full, and 
she sat down, leaning her arm on the table. It was no use 
trying to make Tom feel that she was near to him. He 
always repelled her. Her feeling under his words was com¬ 
plicated by the allusion to the last scene between her father 
and Wakem; and at length that painful, solemn memory sur 
mounted the immediate grievance. No! She did not think 
of such things with frivolous indifference, and Tom must not 
accuse her of that. She looked up at him with a grave, 
earnest gaze, and said— 

“ I can’t make you think better of me, Tom, by anything I 
can say. But I am not so shut out from all your feelings as 
you believe me to be. I see as well as you do, that from our 
position with regard to Philip’s father—not on other grounds 
—it would be unreasonable—it would be wrong for us to 
entertain the idea of marriage ; and I have given up thinking 

of him as a lover.Iam telling you the truth, and you 

have no right to disbelieve me: I have kept my word to you, 
and you have never detected me in a falsehood. I should not 
only not encourage, I should carefully avoid any intercourse 
with Philip on any other footing than that of quiet friendship. 
You may think that I am unable to keep my resolutions; but 
at least you ought not to treat me with hard contempt on the 
ground of faults that I have not committed yet.” 

* l Well, Maggie,” said Tom, softening under this appeal, “ l 



don’t want to overstrain matters. I think, all things con¬ 
sidered, it will be best for you to see Philip Wakem, if Lucy 
wishes him to come to the house. I believe what you say—at 
least you believe it yourself I know: I can only warn you. 
I wish to be as good a brother to you as yon will let me.” 

There Was a little tremor in Tom’s voice as he uttered the 
last words, and Maggie’s ready affection came back with as 
sadden a glow as when they were children, and bit their cake 
together as a sacrament of conciliation. She rose and laid her 
hand on Tom’s shoulder. 

“ Dear Tom, I know you mean to be good. I know you 
have had a great deal to bear, and have done a great deal. I 
should like to be a comfort to yon—not to vex yon. You 
don’t think I’m altogether naughty, now, do you ?” 

Tom smiled at the eager face: his smiles were very pleasant 
to see when they did come, for the grey eyes could be tender 
underneath the frown. 

“No, Maggie.” 

“ I may turn out better than you expect,” 

“ I hope you will.” 

“ And may I come some day and make tea for yon, and see 
this extremely small wife of Bob’s again ?” 

“Yes; but trot away now, for I’ve no more time to spare,” 
said Tom, looking at his watch. 

“ Not to give me a kiss ?” 

Tom bent to kiss her cheek, and then said— 

“ There ! Be a good girl. I’ve got a great deal to think 
of to-day. I’m going to have a long consultation with my 
uncle Deane this afternoon.” 

“You’ll come to aunt Glegg’s to-morrow? We’re going 
all to dine early, that we may go there to tea. You must 
come: Lucy told me to say so.” 

“ Oh, pooh ! I’ve plenty else to do,” said Tom, pulling Ins 
bell violently, and bringing down the small bell-rope. 

“ I’m frightened—I shall run away,” said Maggie, making a 
laughing retreat; while Tom, with masculine philosophy, 
flung the bell-rope to the farther end of the room—not very 
far either: a touch of human experience which I flatter myself 
will come home to the bosoms of not a few substantial or dis¬ 
tinguished men who were once at an early stage of their rise 
in the world, and were cherishing very large hopes in very 
small lodgings. 



“And now we’ve settled this N ewcastle business, Tom,” said 
Mr. Deane, that same afternoon, as they were seated in the 
private room at the Bank together, “there’s another matter I 
want to talk to you about. Since you’re likely to have rather 
a smoky unpleasant time of it at Newcastle for the next few 
weeks, you’ll want a good prospect of some sort to keep up 
your spirits.” 

Tom waited less nervously than he had done on a former 
occasion in this apartment, while his uncle took out his snuff¬ 
box and gratified each nostril with deliberate impartiality. 

“ You see, Tom,” said Mr. Deane, at last, throwing himself 
backward, “ the world goes on at a smarter pace now than it 
did when I was a young fellow. Why, sir, forty years ago, 
when I was much such a strapping youngster as you, a man 
expected to pull between the shafts the best part of his life, 
before he got the whip in his hand. The looms went slowish, 
and fashions didn’t alter quite so fast: I’d a best suit that 
lasted me six years. Everything was on a lower sdale, sir— 
in point of expenditure, I mean. It’s this steam, you see, that 
has made the difference: it drives on every wheel double pace, 
and the wheel of fortune along with ’em, as our Mr. Stephen 
Guest said at the anniversary dinner (he hits these things off 
wonderfully, considering he’s seen nothing of business). I 
don’t find fault with the change, as some people do. Trade, 
sir, opens a man’s eyes; and if the population is to get thicker 
upon the ground, as it’s doing, the world must use its wits at 
inventions of one sort or other. I know I’ve done my share 
as an ordinary man of business. Somebody has said it’s a fine 
thing to make two ears of corn grow where only one grew 
before; but, sir, it’s a fine thing, too, to further the exchange 
of commodities, and bring the grains of com to the mouths 
that are hungry. And that’s our line of business; and I con¬ 
sider it as honorable a position as a man can hold!, to be con¬ 
nected with it.” 

Tom knew that the affair his uncle had to speak of was not 
urgent; Mr. Deane was too shrewd and practical a man to 
allow either his reminiscences or his snuff to impede the pro* 



gress of trade. Indeed, for the last month or two, there had 
been hints thrown out to Tom which enabled him to guess 
that he was going to hear some proposition for bis own benefit. 
With the beginning of the last speech he bad stretched out 
bis legs, thrust his hands in his pockets, and prepared himself 
for some introductory diffuseness, tending to show that Mr. 
Deane had succeeded by his own merit, and that what he had 
to say to young men in general was, that if they didn’t 
succeed too, it was because of their own demerit. He was 
rather surprised, then, when his uncle put a direct question 
to him. 

“ Let me see—it’s going on for seven years now since you 
applied to me for a situation—eh, Tom ?” 

“ Yes, sir; I’m three-and-twenty now,” said Tom. 

“ Ah—it’s as well not to say that, though; for you’d pass 
for a good deal older, and age tells well in business. I remem¬ 
ber your coming very well: I remember I saw there was 
some pluck in you, and that was what made me give you 
encouragement. And I’m happy to say, I was right—Fm not 
often deceived. I was naturally a little shy at pushing my 
nephew, but I’m happy to say you’ve done me credit, sir; 
and if I’d a son o’ my