Mary Anerley, by R. D. Blackmore

Chapter XXIII

Love Militant

So far so good. But that noble and exalted condition of the youthful mind which is to itself pure wisdom’s zenith, but to folk of coarse maturity and tough experience “calf-love,” superior as it is to words and reason, must be left to its own course. The settled resolve of a middle-aged man, with seven large-appetited children, and an eighth approaching the shores of light, while baby-linen too often transmitted betrays a transient texture, and hose has ripened into holes, and breeches verify their name, and a knock at the door knocks at the heart — the fixed resolution of such a man to strike a bold stroke, for the sake of his home, is worthier of attention than the flitting fancy of boy and girl, who pop upon one another, and skip through zigzag vernal ecstasy, like the weathery dalliance of gnats.

Lieutenant Carroway had dealt and done with amorous grace and attitude, soaring rapture, and profundity of sigh, suspense (more agonizing than suspension), despair, prostration, grinding of the teeth, the hollow and spectral laugh of a heart forever broken, and all the other symptoms of an annual bill of vitality; and every new pledge of his affections sped him toward the pledge-shop. But never had he crossed that fatal threshold; the thought of his uniform and dignity prevailed; and he was not so mean as to send a child to do what the father was ashamed of.

So it was scarcely to be expected that even as a man he should sympathize deeply with the tender passion, and far less, as a coast-guardsman, with the wooing of a smuggler. Master Robin Lyth, by this time, was in the contraband condition known to the authorities as love; Carroway had found out this fact; but instead of indulging in generous emotion, he made up his mind to nab him through it. For he reasoned as follows; and granting that reason has any business on such premises, the process does not seem amiss.

A man in love has only got one-eighth part of his wits at home to govern the doings of his arms, legs, and tongue. A large half is occupied with his fancy, in all the wanderings of that creature, dreamy, flimsy, anchoring with gossamer, climbing the sky with steps of fog, cast into abysms (as great writers call it) by imaginary demons, and even at its best in a queer condition, pitiful, yet exceeding proud. A quarter of the mental power is employed in wanting to know what the other people think; an eighth part ought to be dwelling upon the fair distracting object; and only a small eighth can remain to attend to the business of the solid day. But in spite of all this, such lads get on about as well as usual. If Bacchus has a protective power, Venus has no less of it, and possibly is more active, as behooves a female.

And surely it was a cold-blooded scheme, which even the Revenue should have excised from an honest scale of duties, to catch a poor fellow in the meshes of love, because he was too sharp otherwise. This, however, was the large idea ripening in the breast of Carroway.

“To-night I shall have him,” he said to his wife, who was inditing of softer things, her eighth confinement, and the shilling she had laid that it would be a boy this time. “The weather is stormy, yet the fellow makes love between the showers in a barefaced way. That old fool of a tanner knows it, and has no more right feeling than if he were a boy. Aha, my Robin, fine robin as you are, I shall catch you piping with your Jenny Wren tonight!” The lieutenant shared the popular ignorance of simplest natural history.

“Charles, you never should have told me of it. Where is your feeling for the days gone by? And as for his coming between the showers, what should I have thought of you if you had made a point of bringing your umbrella? My dear, it is wrong. And I beg you, for my sake, not to catch him with his true love, but only with his tubs.”

“Matilda, your mind is weakened by the coming trial of your nerves. I would rather have him with his tubs, of course; they would set us up for several years, and his silks would come in for your churching. But everything can not be as we desire. And he carries large pistols when he is not courting. Do you wish me to be shot, Matilda?”

“Captain Carroway, how little thought you have, to speak to me in that way! And I felt before dinner that I never should get over it. Oh, who would have the smugglers on her mind, at such a time?”

“My dear, I beg your pardon. Pray exert your strength of mind, and cast such thoughts away from you — or perhaps it will be a smuggler. And yet if it were, how much better it would pay!”

“Then I hope it will, Charles; I heartily hope it will be. It would serve you quite right to be snaring your own son, after snaring a poor youth through his sweetheart.”

“Well, well, time will show. Put me up the flat bottle, Tilly, and the knuckle of pork that was left last night. Goodness knows when I shall be back; and I never like to rack my mind upon an empty stomach.”

The revenue officer had far to go, and was wise in providing provender. And the weather being on the fall toward the equinox, and the tides running strong and uncertain, he had made up his mind to fare inland, instead of attempting the watery ways. He felt that he could ride, as every sailor always feels; and he had a fine horse upon hire from his butcher, which the king himself would pay for. The inferior men had been sent ahead on foot, with orders to march along and hold their tongues. And one of these men was John Cadman, the self-same man who had descended the cliff without any footpath. They were all to be ready, with hanger and pistol, in a hole toward Byrsa Cottage.

Lieutenant Carroway enjoyed his ride. There are men to whom excitement is an elevation of the sad and slow mind, which otherwise seems to have nothing to do. And what finer excitement can a good mind have than in balancing the chances of its body tumbling out of the saddle, and evicting its poor self?

The mind of Charles Carroway was wide awake to this, and tenderly anxious about the bad foot in which its owner ended — because of the importance of the stirrups — and all the sanguine vigor of the heart (which seemed to like some thumping) conveyed to the seat of reason little more than a wish to be well out of it. The brave lieutenant holding place, and sticking to it through a sense of duty, and of the difficulty of getting off, remembered to have heard, when quite a little boy, that a man who gazes steadily between his horse’s ears can not possibly tumble off the back. The saying in its wisdom is akin to that which describes the potency of salt upon a sparrow’s tail.

While Carroway gloomily pounded the road, with reflection a dangerous luxury, things of even deeper interest took their course at the goal of his endeavors. Mary Anerley, still an exile in the house of the tanner, by reason of her mother’s strict coast-guard, had long been thinking that more injustice is done in the world than ought to be; and especially in the matter of free trade she had imbibed lax opinions, which may not be abhorrent to a tanner’s nature, but were most unbecoming to the daughter of a farmer orthodox upon his own land, and an officer of King’s Fencibles. But how did Mary make this change, and upon questions of public policy chop sides, as quickly as a clever journal does? She did it in the way in which all women think, whose thoughts are of any value, by allowing the heart to go to work, being the more active organ, and create large scenery, into which the tempted mind must follow. To anybody whose life has been saved by anybody else, there should arise not only a fine image of the preserver, but a high sense of the service done to the universe, which must have gone into deepest mourning if deprived of No. One. And then, almost of necessity, succeeds the investment of this benefactor to the world at large with all the great qualities needed for an exploit so stupendous. He has done a great deed, he has proved himself to be gallant, generous, magnanimous; shall I, who exist through his grand nobility, listen to his very low enemies? Therefore Robin was an angel now, and his persecutors must be demons.

Captain Lyth had not been slow to enter into his good luck. He knew that Master Popplewell had a cultivated taste for rare old schnapps, while the partner of his life, and labor, and repose, possessed a desire for the finer kinds of lace. Attending to these points, he was always welcome; and the excellent couple encouraged his affection and liberal goodwill toward them. But Mary would accept no presents from him, and behaved for a long time very strangely, and as if she would rather keep out of his way. Yet he managed to keep on running after her, as much as she managed to run away; for he had been down now into the hold of his heart, searching it with a dark lantern, and there he had discovered “Mary,” “Mary,” not only branded on the hullage of all things, but the pith and pack of everything; and without any fraud upon charter-party, the cargo entire was “Mary.”

Who can tell what a young maid feels, when she herself is doubtful? Somehow she has very large ideas, which only come up when she begins to think; and too often, after some very little thing, she exclaims that all is rubbish. The key-note of her heart is high, and a lot of things fall below harmony, and notably (if she is not a stupe), some of her own dear love’s expressions before she has made up her soul to love him. This is a hard time for almost any man, who feels his random mind dipped into with a spirit-gauge and a saccharometer. But in spite of all these indications, Robin Lyth stuck to himself, which is the right way to get credit for sticking.

“Johnny, my dear,” said Deborah Popplewell to her valued husband, just about the time when bold Carroway was getting hot and sore upon the Filey Road, yet steadily enlarging all the penance of return, “things ought to be coming to a point, I think. We ought not to let them so be going on forever. Young people like to be married in the spring; the birds are singing, and the price of coal goes down. And they ought to be engaged six months at least. We were married in the spring, my dear, the Tuesday but one that comes next from Easter-day. There was no lilac out, but there ought to have been, because it was not sunny. And we have never repented it, you know.”

“Never as long as I live shall I forget that day,” said Popplewell; “they sent me home a suit of clothes as were made for kidney-bean sticks. I did want to look nice at church, and crack, crack, crack they went, and out came all the lining. Debby, I had good legs in those days, and could crunch down bark like brewers’ grains.”

“And so you could now, my dear, every bit as well. Scarcely any of the young men have your legs. How thankful we ought to be for them — and teeth! But everything seems to be different now, and nobody has any dignity of mind. We sowed broad beans, like a pigeon’s foot-tread, out and in, all the way to church.”

“The folk can never do such things now; we must not expect it of such times, my dear. Five-and-forty years ago was ninety times better than these days, Debby, except that you and I was steadfast, and mean to be so to the end, God willing. Lord! what are the lasses that He makes now?”

“Johnny, they try to look their best; and we must not be hard upon them. Our Mary looks well enow, when she hath a color, though my eyes might ‘a been a brighter blue if I never hadn’t took to spectacles. Johnny, I am sure a’most that she is in her love-time. She crieth at night, which is nobody’s business; the strings of her night-cap run out of their starch; and there looks like a channel on the pillow, though the sharp young hussy turns it upside down. I shall be upsides with her, if you won’t.”

“Certainly it shall be left to you; you are the one to do it best. You push her on, and I will stir him up. I will smuggle some schnapps into his tea to-night, to make him look up bolder; as mild as any milk it is. When I was taken with your cheeks, Debby, and your bit of money, I was never that long in telling you.”

“That’s true enow, Johnny; you was sarcy. But I’m thinking of the trouble we may get into over at Anerley about it.”

“I’ll carry that, lass. My back’s as broad as Stephen’s. What more can they want for her than a fine young fellow, a credit to his business and the country? Lord! how I hate them rough coast-riders! it wouldn’t be good for them to come here.”

“Then they are here, I tell you, and much they care. You seem to me to have shut your eyes since ever you left off tanning. How many times have I told you, John, that a sneaking fellow hath got in with Sue? I saw him with my own eyes last night skulking past the wicket-gate; and the girl’s addle-pate is completely turned. You think her such a wonder, that you won’t hearken. But I know the women best, I do.”

“Out of this house she goes, neck and crop, if what you say is true, Deb. Don’t say it again, that’s a kind, good soul; it spoils my pipe to think of it.”

Toward sundown Robin Lyth appeared, according to invitation. Dandy as he generally was, he looked unusually smart this time, with snow-white ducks and a velvet waistcoat, pumps like a dressing-glass, lace to his shirt, and a blue coat with gold buttons. His keen eyes glanced about for Mary, and sparkled as soon as she came down; and when he took her hand she blushed, and was half afraid to look at him; for she felt in her heart that he meant to say something, if he could find occasion; but her heart did not tell her what answer she would make, because of her father’s grief and wrath; so she tried to hope that nothing would be said, and she kept very near her good aunt’s apron-string. Such tactics, however, were doomed to defeat. The host and hostess of Byrsa Cottage were very proud of the tea they gave to any distinguished visitor. Tea was a luxury, being very dear, and although large quantities were smuggled, the quality was not, like that of other goods so imported, equal or superior to the fair legitimate staple. And Robin, who never was shy of his profession, confessed that he could not supply a cup so good.

“You shall come and have another out-of-doors, my friend,” said his entertainer, graciously. “Mary, take the captain’s cup to the bower; the rain has cleared off, and the evening will be fine. I will smoke my pipe, and we will talk adventures. Things have happened to me that would make you stare, if I could bring myself to tell them. Ah yes, I have lived in stirring times. Fifty years ago men and women knew their minds; and a dog could eat his dinner without a damask napkin.”

Master Popplewell, who was of a good round form, and tucked his heels over one another as he walked (which indicates a pleasant self-esteem), now lit his long pipe and marched ahead, carefully gazing to the front and far away; so that the young folk might have free boot and free hand behind him. That they should have flutters of loving-kindness, and crafty little breaths of whispering, and extraordinary gifts of just looking at each other in time not to be looked at again, as well as a strange sort of in and out of feeling, as if they were patterned with the same zigzag — as the famous Herefordshire graft is made — and above all the rest, that they should desire to have no one in the world to look at them, was to be expected by a clever old codger, a tanner who had realized a competence, and eaten many “tanner’s pies.” The which is a good thing; and so much the better because it costs nothing save the crust and the coal. But instead of any pretty little goings on such as this worthy man made room for, to tell the stupid truth, this lad and lass came down the long walk as far apart and as independent of one another as two stakes of an espalier. There had not been a word gone amiss between them, nor even a thought the wrong way of the grain; but the pressure of fear and of prickly expectation was upon them both, and kept them mute. The lad was afraid that he would get “nay,” and the lass was afraid that she could not give it.

The bower was quite at the end of the garden, through and beyond the pot-herb part, and upon a little bank which overhung a little lane. Here in this corner a good woman had contrived what women nearly always understand the best, a little nook of pleasure and of perfume, after the rank ranks of the kitchen-stuff. Not that these are to be disdained; far otherwise; they indeed are the real business; and herein lies true test of skill. But still the flowers may declare that they do smell better. And not only were there flowers here, and little shrubs planted sprucely, but also good grass, which is always softness, and soothes the impatient eyes of men. And on this grass there stood, or hung, or flowered, or did whatever it was meant to do, a beautiful weeping-ash, the only one anywhere in that neighborhood.

“I can’t look at skies, and that — have seen too many of them. You young folk, go and chirp under the tree. What I want is a little rum and water.”

With these words the tanner went into his bower, where he kept a good store of materials in moss; and the plaited ivy of the narrow entrance shook with his voice, and steps, and the decision of his thoughts. For he wanted to see things come to a point, and his only way to do it was to get quite out of sight. Such fools the young people of the age were now!

While his thoughts were such, or scarcely any better, his partner in life came down the walk, with a heap of little things which she thought needful for the preservation of the tanner, and she waddled a little and turned her toes out, for she as well was roundish.

“Ah, you ought to have Sue. Where is Sue?” said Master Popplewell. “Now come you in out of the way of the wind, Debby; you know how your back-sinew ached with the darning before last wash.”

Mrs. Popplewell grumbled, but obeyed; for she saw that her lord had his reasons. So Mary and Robin were left outside, quite as if they were nothing to any but themselves. Mary was aware of all this manoeuvring, and it brought a little frown upon her pretty forehead, as if she were cast before the feet of Robin Lyth; but her gentleness prevailed, because they meant her well. Under the weeping-ash there was a little seat, and the beauty of it was that it would not hold two people. She sat down upon it, and became absorbed in the clouds that were busy with the sunset.

These were very beautiful, as they so often are in the broken weather of the autumn; but sailors would rather see fair sky, and Robin’s fair heaven was in Mary’s eyes. At these he gazed with a natural desire to learn what the symptoms of the weather were; but it seemed as if little could be made out there, because everything seemed so lofty: perhaps Mary had forgotten his existence.

Could any lad of wax put up with this, least of all a daring mariner? He resolved to run the cargo of his heart right in, at the risk of all breakers and drawn cutlasses; and to make a good beginning he came up and took her hand. The tanner in the bower gave approval with a cough, like Cupid with a sneeze; then he turned it to a snore.

“Mary, why do you carry on like this?” the smuggler inquired, in a very gentle voice. “I have done nothing to offend you, have I? That would be the last thing I would ever do.”

“Captain Lyth, you are always very good; you never should think such things of me. I am just looking at a particular cloud. And who ever said that you might call me ‘Mary’?”

“Perhaps the particular cloud said so; but you must have been the cloud yourself, for you told me only yesterday.”

“Then I will never say another word about it; but people should not take advantage.”

“Who are people? How you talk! quite as if I were somebody you never saw before. I should like you just to look round now, and let me see why you are so different from yourself.”

Mary Anerley looked round; for she always did what people liked, without good reason otherwise; and if her mind was full of clouds, her eyes had little sign of them.

“You look as lovely as you always do,” said the smuggler, growing bolder as she looked at something else. “You know long ago what my opinion of you is, and yet you seem to take no notice. Now I must be off, as you know, to-night; not for any reason of my own, as I told you yesterday, but to carry out a contract. I may not see you for many months again; and you may fall in love with a Preventive man.”

“I never fall in love with anybody. Why should I go from one extreme to the other? Captain Carroway has seven children, as well as a very active wife.”

“I am not afraid of Carroway, in love or in war. He is an honest fellow, with no more brains than this ash-tree over us. I mean the dashing captains who come in with their cutters, and would carry you off as soon as look.”

“Captain Lyth, you are not at all considering what you say: those officers do not want me — they want you.”

“Then they shall get neither; they may trust me for that. But, Mary, do tell me how your heart is; you know well how mine has been for ever such a time. I tell you downright that I have thought of girls before —”

“Oh, I was not at all aware of that; surely you had better go on with thinking of them.”

“You have not heard me out. I have only thought of them; nothing more than thinking, in a foolish sort of way. But of you I do not think; I seem to feel you all through me.”

“What sort of a sensation do I seem to be? A foolish one, I suppose, like all those many others.”

“No, not at all. A very wise one; a regular knowledge that I can not live without you; a certainty that I could only mope about a little —”

“And not run any more cargoes on the coast?”

“Not a single tub, nor a quarter bale of silk; except, of course, what is under contract now; and, if you should tell me that you can not care about me —”

“Hush! I am almost sure that I hear footsteps. Listen, just a moment.”

“No, I will not listen to any one in the world but you. I beg you not to try to put me off. Think of the winter, and the long time coming; say if you will think of me. I must allow that I am not, like you, of a respectable old family. The Lord alone knows where I came from, or where I may go to. My business is a random and up-and-down one, but no one can call it disreputable; and if you went against it, I would throw it up. There are plenty of trades that I can turn my hand to; and I will turn it to anything you please, if you will only put yours inside it. Mary, only let me have your hand; and you need not say anything unless you like.”

“But I always do like to say something, when things are brought before me so. I have to consider my father, and my mother, and others belonging to me. It is not as if I were all alone, and could do exactly as I pleased. My father bears an ill-will toward free trade; and my mother has made bad bargains, when she felt sure of very good ones.”

“I know that there are rogues about,” Robin answered, with a judicial frown; “but foul play never should hurt fair play; and we haul them through the water when we catch them. Your father is terribly particular, I know, and that is the worst thing there can be; but I do not care a groat for all objections, Mary, unless the objection begins with you. I am sure by your eyes, and your pretty lips and forehead, that you are not the one to change. If once any lucky fellow wins your heart, he will have it — unless he is a fool — forever. I can do most things, but not that, or you never would be thinking about the other people. What would anybody be to me in comparison with you, if I only had the chance? I would kick them all to Jericho. Can you see it in that way? can you get hot every time you think of me?”

“Really,” said Mary, looking very gently at him, because of his serious excitement, “you are very good, and very brave, and have done wonders for me; but why should I get hot?”

“No, I suppose it is not to be expected. When I am in great peril I grow hot, and tingle, and am alive all over. Men of a loftier courage grow cold; it depends upon the constitution; but I enjoy it more than they do, and I can see things ten times quicker. Oh, how I wish I was Nelson! how he must enjoy himself!”

“But if you have love of continual danger, and eagerness to be always at it,” said Mary, with wide Yorkshire sense, much as she admired this heroic type, “the proper thing for you to do is to lead a single life. You might be enjoying all the danger very much; but what would your wife at home be doing? Only to knit, and sigh, and lie awake.”

Mary made a bad hit here. This picture was not at all deterrent; so daring are young men, and so selfish.

“Nothing of that sort should ever come to pass,” cried Robin, with the gaze of the head of a household, “supposing only that my wife was you. I would be home regularly every night before the kitchen clock struck eight. I would always come home with an appetite, and kiss you, and do both my feet upon the scraper. I would ask how the baby was, and carry him about, and go ‘one, two, three,’ as the nurses do, I would quite leave the government to put on taxes, and pay them — if I could — without a word of grumble. I would keep every rope about the house in order, as only a sailor knows how to do, and fettle my own mending, and carry out my orders, and never meddle with the kitchen, at least unless my opinion was sought for concerning any little thing that might happen to be meant for me.”

“Well,” exclaimed Mary, “you quite take my breath away. I had no idea that you were so clever. In return for all these wonders, what should poor I have to do?”

“Poor I would only have to say just once, ‘Robin, I will have you, and begin to try to love you.’”

“I am afraid that it has been done long ago; and the thing that I ought to do is to try and help it.”

What happened upon this it would be needless to report, and not only needless, but a vast deal worse — shabby, interloping, meddlesome and mean, undignified, unmanly, and disreputably low; for even the tanner and his wife (who must have had right to come forward, if anybody had) felt that their right was a shadow, and kept back as if they were a hundred miles away, and took one another by the hand and nodded, as much as to say: “You remember how we did it; better than that, my dear. Here is your good health.”

This being so, and the time so sacred to the higher emotions, even the boldest intruder should endeavor to check his ardor for intrusion. Without any inkling of Preventive Force, Robin and Mary, having once done away with all that stood between them, found it very difficult to be too near together; because of all the many things that each had for to say. They seemed to get into an unwise condition of longing to know matters that surely could not matter. When did each of them first feel sure of being meant only for the other nobler one? At first sight, of course, and with a perfect gift of seeing how much loftier each was than the other; and what an extraordinary fact it was that in everything imaginable they were quite alike, except in the palpable certainty possessed by each of the betterness of the other. What an age it seemed since first they met, positively without thinking, and in the very middle of a skirmish, yet with a remarkable drawing out of perceptions one anotherward! Did Mary feel this, when she acted so cleverly, and led away those vile pursuers? and did Robin, when his breath came back, discover why his heart was glowing in the rabbit-hole? Questions of such depth can not be fathomed in a moment; and even to attempt to do any justice to them, heads must be very long laid together. Not only so, but also it is of prime necessity to make sure that every whisper goes into the proper ear, and abides there only, and every subtlety of glance, and every nicety of touch, gets warm with exclusive reciprocity. It is not too much to say that in so sad a gladness the faculties of self-preservation are weak, when they ought to be most active; therefore it should surprise nobody (except those who are so far above all surprise) to become aware that every word they said, and everything (even doubly sacred) that they did, was well entered into, and thoroughly enjoyed, by a liberal audience of family-minded men, who had been through pretty scenes like this, and quietly enjoyed dry memory.

Cadman, Ellis, and Dick Hackerbody were in comfortable places of retirement, just under the combing of the hedge; all waiting for a whistle, yet at leisure to enjoy the whisper, the murmur, or even the sigh, of a genuine piece of “sweet-hearting.” Unjust as it may be, and hard, and truly narrow, there does exist in the human mind, or at least in the masculine half of it, a strong conviction that a man in love is a man in a scrape, in a hole, in a pitfall, in a pitiful condition, untrue for the moment to the brotherhood of man, and cast down among the inferior vessels. And instead of being sorry for him, those who are all right look down, and glory over him, with very ancient gibes. So these three men, instead of being touched at heart by soft confessions, laid hard hands to wrinkled noses.

“Mary, I vow to you, as I stand here,” said Robin, for the fiftieth time, leading her nearer to the treacherous hedge, as he pressed her trembling hand, and gazed with deep ecstasy into her truthful eyes, “I will live only to deserve you, darling. I will give up everything and everybody in the world, and start afresh. I will pay king’s duty upon every single tub; and set up in the tea and spirit line, with his Majesty’s arms upon the lintel. I will take a large contract for the royal navy, who never get anything genuine, and not one of them ever knows good from bad —”

“That’s a dirty lie, Sir. In the king’s name I arrest you.”

Lieutenant Carroway leaped before them, flourishing a long sword, and dancing with excitement, in this the supreme moment of his life. At the same instant three men came bursting through the hedge, drew hangers, and waited for orders. Robin Lyth, in the midst of his love, was so amazed, that he stood like a boy under orders to be caned.

“Surrender, Sir! Down with your arms; you are my prisoner. Strike to his Majesty. Hands to your side! or I run you through like Jack Robinson! Keep back, men. He belongs to me.”

But Carroway counted his chicks too soon; or at any rate he overlooked a little chick. For while he was making fine passes (having learned the rudiments of swordsmanship beyond other British officers), and just as he was executing a splendid flourish, upon his bony breast lay Mary. She flung her arms round him, so that move he could not without grievously tearing her; and she managed, in a very wicked way, to throw the whole weight of two bodies on his wounded heel. A flash of pain shot up to his very sword; and down he went, with Mary to protect him, or at any rate to cover him. His three men, like true Britons, stood in position, and waited for their officer to get up and give orders.

These three men showed such perfect discipline that Robin was invited to knock them down, as if they had simply been three skittles in a row; he recovered his presence of mind and did it; and looking back at Mary, received signal to be off. Perceiving that his brave love would take no harm — for the tanner was come forth blustering loudly, and Mrs. Popplewell with shrieks and screams enough to prevent the whole Preventive Service — the free-trader kissed his hand to Mary, and was lost through the bushes, and away into the dark.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/blackmore/rd/mary/chapter23.html

Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31