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Under the greenwood tree


UndertheGreenwoodTree,byThomasHardy
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Title:UndertheGreenwoodTree
Author:ThomasHardy
ReleaseDate:October28,2004[eBook#2662]
Language:English
Charactersetencoding:ISO-646-US(US-ASCII)

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TranscribedbyDavidPrice,emailccx074@coventry.ac.ukfromthe1912
MacmillanandCo.edition.ProofedbyMargaretRosePrice,DagnyandDavid
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UNDERTHEGREENWOODTREE
or
THEMELLSTOCKQUIRE
ARURALPAINTINGOFTHE
DUTCHSCHOOL
byThomasHardy


PREFACE
ThisstoryoftheMellstockQuireanditsoldestablishedwest-gallerymusicians,
withsomesupplementarydescriptionsofsimilarofficialsinTwoonaTower,A
FewCrustedCharacters,andotherplaces,isintendedtobeafairlytruepicture,
atfirsthand,ofthepersonages,ways,andcustomswhichwerecommonamong
suchorchestralbodiesinthevillagesoffiftyorsixtyyearsago.
Oneisinclinedtoregretthedisplacementoftheseecclesiasticalbandsmenbyan
isolatedorganist(oftenatfirstabarrel-organist)orharmoniumplayer;and
despitecertainadvantagesinpointofcontrolandaccomplishmentwhichwere,
nodoubt,securedbyinstallingthesingleartist,thechangehastendedtostultify
theprofessedaimsoftheclergy,itsdirectresultbeingtocurtailandextinguish
theinterestofparishionersinchurchdoings.Undertheoldplan,fromhalfa
dozentotenfull-grownplayers,inadditiontothenumerousmoreorlessgrownupsingers,wereofficiallyoccupiedwiththeSundayroutine,andconcernedin
tryingtheirbesttomakeitanartisticoutcomeofthecombinedmusicaltasteof
thecongregation.Withamusicalexecutivelimited,asitmostlyislimitednow,
totheparson’swifeordaughterandtheschool-children,ortotheschool-teacher
andthechildren,animportantunionofinterestshasdisappeared.
Thezestofthesebygoneinstrumentalistsmusthavebeenkeenandstayingto
takethem,asitdid,onfooteverySundayafteratoilsomeweek,throughall
weathers,tothechurch,whichoftenlayatadistancefromtheirhomes.They
usuallyreceivedsolittleinpaymentfortheirperformancesthattheirefforts
werereallyalabouroflove.IntheparishIhadinmymindwhenwritingthe
presenttale,thegratuitiesreceivedyearlybythemusiciansatChristmaswere
somewhatasfollows:Fromthemanor-housetenshillingsandasupper;fromthe
vicartenshillings;fromthefarmersfiveshillingseach;fromeachcottagehouseholdoneshilling;amountingaltogethertonotmorethantenshillingsa
headannually—justenough,asanoldexecutanttoldme,topayfortheirfiddlestrings,repairs,rosin,andmusic-paper(whichtheymostlyruledthemselves).
Theirmusicinthosedayswasallintheirownmanuscript,copiedinthe
eveningsafterwork,andtheirmusic-bookswerehome-bound.


Itwascustomarytoinscribeafewjigs,reels,horn-pipes,andballadsinthesame


book,bybeginningitattheotherend,theinsertionsbeingcontinuedfromfront
andbacktillsacredandsecularmettogetherinthemiddle,oftenwithbizarre
effect,thewordsofsomeofthesongsexhibitingthatancientandbroadhumour
whichourgrandfathers,andpossiblygrandmothers,tookdelightin,andisin
thesedaysunquotable.
Theaforesaidfiddle-strings,rosin,andmusic-paperweresuppliedbyapedlar,
whotravelledexclusivelyinsuchwaresfromparishtoparish,comingtoeach
villageabouteverysixmonths.Talesaretoldoftheconsternationoncecaused
amongthechurchfiddlerswhen,ontheoccasionoftheirproducinganew
Christmasanthem,hedidnotcometotime,owingtobeingsnoweduponthe
downs,andthestraitstheywereinthroughhavingtomakeshiftwithwhipcord
andtwineforstrings.Hewasgenerallyamusicianhimself,andsometimesa
composerinasmallway,bringinghisownnewtunes,andtemptingeachchoir
toadoptthemforaconsideration.Someofthesecompositionswhichnowlie
beforeme,withtheirrepetitionsoflines,half-lines,andhalf-words,theirfugues
andtheirintermediatesymphonies,aregoodsingingstill,thoughtheywould
hardlybeadmittedintosuchhymn-booksasarepopularinthechurchesof
fashionablesocietyatthepresenttime.
August1896.
UndertheGreenwoodTreewasfirstbroughtoutinthesummerof1872intwo
volumes.Thenameofthestorywasoriginallyintendedtobe,more
appropriately,TheMellstockQuire,andthishasbeenappendedasasub-title
sincetheearlyeditions,ithavingbeenthoughtunadvisabletodisplaceforitthe
titlebywhichthebookfirstbecameknown.
Inrereadingthenarrativeafteralongintervalthereoccurstheinevitable
reflectionthattherealitiesoutofwhichitwasspunwerematerialforanother
kindofstudyofthislittlegroupofchurchmusiciansthanisfoundinthe
chaptersherepennedsolightly,evensofarcicallyandflippantlyattimes.But
circumstanceswouldhaverenderedanyaimatadeeper,moreessential,more
transcendenthandlingunadvisableatthedateofwriting;andtheexhibitionof
theMellstockQuireinthefollowingpagesmustremaintheonlyextantone,
exceptforthefewglimpsesofthatperishedbandwhichIhavegiveninverse
elsewhere.
T.H.


April1912.


PARTTHEFIRST—WINTER
CHAPTERI:MELLSTOCK-LANE
Todwellersinawoodalmosteveryspeciesoftreehasitsvoiceaswellasits
feature.Atthepassingofthebreezethefir-treessobandmoannolessdistinctly
thantheyrock;thehollywhistlesasitbattleswithitself;theashhissesamidits
quiverings;thebeechrustleswhileitsflatboughsriseandfall.Andwinter,
whichmodifiesthenoteofsuchtreesasshedtheirleaves,doesnotdestroyits
individuality.
OnacoldandstarryChristmas-evewithinlivingmemoryamanwaspassingup
alanetowardsMellstockCrossinthedarknessofaplantationthatwhispered
thusdistinctivelytohisintelligence.Alltheevidencesofhisnaturewerethose
affordedbythespiritofhisfootsteps,whichsucceededeachotherlightlyand
quickly,andbythelivelinessofhisvoiceashesanginaruralcadence:
“Withtheroseandthelily
Andthedaffodowndilly,
Theladsandthelassesa-sheep-shearinggo.”
ThelonelylanehewasfollowingconnectedoneofthehamletsofMellstock
parishwithUpperMellstockandLewgate,andtohiseyes,casuallyglancing
upward,thesilverandblack-stemmedbircheswiththeircharacteristictufts,the
palegreyboughsofbeech,thedark-crevicedelm,allappearednowasblackand
flatoutlinesuponthesky,whereinthewhitestarstwinkledsovehementlythat
theirflickeringseemedliketheflappingofwings.Withinthewoodypass,ata
levelanythinglowerthanthehorizon,allwasdarkasthegrave.Thecopsewoodformingthesidesofthebowerinterlaceditsbranchessodensely,evenat
thisseasonoftheyear,thatthedraughtfromthenorth-eastflewalongthe
channelwithscarcelyaninterruptionfromlateralbreezes.
AfterpassingtheplantationandreachingMellstockCrossthewhitesurfaceof
thelanerevealeditselfbetweenthedarkhedgerowslikearibbonjaggedatthe


edges;theirregularitybeingcausedbytemporaryaccumulationsofleaves
extendingfromtheditchoneitherside.
Thesong(manytimesinterruptedbyflittingthoughtswhichtooktheplaceof
severalbars,andresumedatapointitwouldhavereachedhaditscontinuity
beenunbroken)nowreceivedamorepalpablecheck,intheshapeof“Ho-i-i-i-ii!”fromthecrossinglanetoLowerMellstock,ontherightofthesingerwhohad
justemergedfromthetrees.
“Ho-i-i-i-i-i!”heanswered,stoppingandlookinground,thoughwithnoideaof
seeinganythingmorethanimaginationpictured.
“Isthatthee,youngDickDewy?”camefromthedarkness.
“Ay,sure,MichaelMail.”
“Thenwhynotstopforfellow-craters—goingtothyownfather’shousetoo,as
webe,andknowenussowell?”
DickDewyfacedaboutandcontinuedhistuneinanunder-whistle,implying
thatthebusinessofhismouthcouldnotbecheckedatamoment’snoticebythe
placidemotionoffriendship.
Havingcomemoreintotheopenhecouldnowbeseenrisingagainstthesky,his
profileappearingonthelightbackgroundliketheportraitofagentlemanin
blackcardboard.Itassumedtheformofalow-crownedhat,anordinary-shaped
nose,anordinarychin,anordinaryneck,andordinaryshoulders.Whathe
consistedoffurtherdownwasinvisiblefromlackofskylowenoughtopicture
himon.
Shuffling,halting,irregularfootstepsofvariouskindswerenowheardcoming
upthehill,andpresentlythereemergedfromtheshadeseverallyfivemenof
differentagesandgaits,allofthemworkingvillagersoftheparishofMellstock.
They,too,hadlosttheirrotunditywiththedaylight,andadvancedagainstthe
skyinflatoutlines,whichsuggestedsomeprocessionaldesignonGreekor
Etruscanpottery.TheyrepresentedthechiefportionofMellstockparishchoir.
Thefirstwasabowedandbentman,whocarriedafiddleunderhisarm,and
walkedasifengagedinstudyingsomesubjectconnectedwiththesurfaceofthe
road.HewasMichaelMail,themanwhohadhallooedtoDick.
ThenextwasMr.RobertPenny,boot-andshoemaker;alittleman,who,though


ratherround-shouldered,walkedasifthatfacthadnotcometohisown
knowledge,movingonwithhisbackveryhollowandhisfacefixedonthe
north-eastquarteroftheheavensbeforehim,sothathislowerwaist-coat-buttons
camefirst,andthentheremainderofhisfigure.Hisfeatureswereinvisible;yet
whenheoccasionallylookedround,twofaintmoonsoflightgleamedforan
instantfromtheprecinctsofhiseyes,denotingthatheworespectaclesofa
circularform.
ThethirdwasEliasSpinks,whowalkedperpendicularlyanddramatically.The
fourthoutlinewasJosephBowman’s,whohadnownodistinctiveappearance
beyondthatofahumanbeing.Finallycameaweaklath-likeform,trottingand
stumblingalongwithoneshoulderforwardandhisheadinclinedtotheleft,his
armsdanglingnervelesslyinthewindasiftheywereemptysleeves.Thiswas
ThomasLeaf.
“Wherebetheboys?”saidDicktothissomewhatindifferently-matched
assembly.
Theeldestofthegroup,MichaelMail,clearedhisthroatfromagreatdepth.
“Wetoldthemtokeepbackathomeforatime,thinkentheywouldn’tbewanted
yetawhile;andwecouldchoosethetuens,andsoon.”
“FatherandgrandfatherWilliamhaveexpectedyealittlesooner.Ihavejust
beenforarunroundbyEweleaseStileandHollowHilltowarmmyfeet.”
“Tobesurefatherdid!Tobesure’adidexpectus—totastethelittlebarrel
beyondcomparethathe’sgoingtotap.”
“’Odrabbititall!Neverheardawordofit!”saidMr.Penny,gleamsofdelight
appearinguponhisspectacle-glasses,Dickmeanwhilesingingparenthetically—
“Theladsandthelassesa-sheep-shearinggo.”
“Neighbours,there’stimeenoughtodrinkasightofdrinknowaforebedtime?”
saidMail.
“True,true—timeenoughtogetasdrunkaslords!”repliedBowmancheerfully.
Thisopinionbeingtakenasconvincingtheyalladvancedbetweenthevarying
hedgesandthetreesdottingthemhereandthere,kickingtheirtoesoccasionally
amongthecrumpledleaves.Soonappearedglimmeringindicationsofthefew


cottagesformingthesmallhamletofUpperMellstockforwhichtheywere
bound,whilstthefaintsoundofchurch-bellsringingaChristmaspealcouldbe
heardfloatingoveruponthebreezefromthedirectionofLongpuddleand
Weatherburyparishesontheothersideofthehills.Alittlewicketadmittedthem
tothegarden,andtheyproceededupthepathtoDick’shouse.

CHAPTERII:THETRANTER’S
Itwasalonglowcottagewithahippedroofofthatch,havingdormerwindows
breakingupintotheeaves,achimneystandinginthemiddleoftheridgeand
anotherateachend.Thewindow-shutterswerenotyetclosed,andthefire-and
candle-lightwithinradiatedforthuponthethickbushesofboxandlaurestinus
growinginclumpsoutside,anduponthebareboughsofseveralcodlin-trees
hangingaboutinvariousdistortedshapes,theresultofearlytrainingasespaliers
combinedwithcarelessclimbingintotheirboughsinlateryears.Thewallsof
thedwellingwereforthemostpartcoveredwithcreepers,thoughthesewere
ratherbeatenbackfromthedoorway—afeaturewhichwaswornandscratched
bymuchpassinginandout,givingitbydaytheappearanceofanoldkeyhole.
Lightstreamedthroughthecracksandjointsofoutbuildingsalittlewayfrom
thecottage,asightwhichnourishedafancythatthepurposeoftheerectionmust
berathertoveilbrightattractionsthantoshelterunsightlynecessaries.The
noiseofabeetleandwedgesandthesplinteringofwoodwasperiodicallyheard
fromthisdirection;andatsomelittledistancefurtherasteadyregularmunching
andtheoccasionalscurrofaropebetokenedastable,andhorsesfeedingwithin
it.
Thechoirstampedseverallyonthedoor-stonetoshakefromtheirbootsany
fragmentofearthorleafadheringthereto,thenenteredthehouseandlooked
aroundtosurveytheconditionofthings.Throughtheopendoorwayofasmall
innerroomontherighthand,ofacharacterbetweenpantryandcellar,wasDick
Dewy’sfatherReuben,byvocationa“tranter,”orirregularcarrier.Hewasa
stoutfloridmanaboutfortyyearsofage,whosurveyedpeopleupanddown
whenfirstmakingtheiracquaintance,andgenerallysmiledatthehorizonor
otherdistantobjectduringconversationswithfriends,walkingaboutwitha
steadysway,andturningouthistoesveryconsiderably.Beingnowoccupiedin
bendingoverahogshead,thatstoodinthepantryreadyhorsedfortheprocessof
broaching,hedidnottakethetroubletoturnorraisehiseyesattheentryofhis
visitors,wellknowingbytheirfootstepsthattheyweretheexpectedold
comrades.


Themainroom,ontheleft,wasdeckedwithbunchesofhollyandother
evergreens,andfromthemiddleofthebeambisectingtheceilinghungthe
mistletoe,ofasizeoutofallproportiontotheroom,andextendingsolowthatit
becamenecessaryforafull-grownpersontowalkrounditinpassing,orrunthe
riskofentanglinghishair.ThisapartmentcontainedMrs.Dewythetranter’s
wife,andthefourremainingchildren,Susan,Jim,Bessy,andCharley,
graduatinguniformlythoughatwidestagesfromtheageofsixteentothatof
fouryears—theeldestoftheseriesbeingseparatedfromDickthefirstbornbya
nearlyequalinterval.
SomecircumstancehadapparentlycausedmuchgrieftoCharleyjustpreviousto
theentryofthechoir,andhehadabsentlytakendownasmalllooking-glass,
holdingitbeforehisfacetolearnhowthehumancountenanceappearedwhen
engagedincrying,whichsurveyledhimtopauseatthevariouspointsineach
wailthatweremorethanordinarilystriking,forathoroughappreciationofthe
generaleffect.Bessywasleaningagainstachair,andglancingundertheplaits
aboutthewaistoftheplaidfrockshewore,tonoticetheoriginalunfadedpattern
ofthematerialastherepreserved,herfacebearinganexpressionofregretthat
thebrightnesshadpassedawayfromthevisibleportions.Mrs.Dewysatina
brownsettlebythesideoftheglowingwoodfire—soglowingthatwitha
heedfulcompressionofthelipsshewouldnowandthenriseandputherhand
uponthehamsandflitchesofbaconliningthechimney,toreassureherselfthat
theywerenotbeingbroiledinsteadofsmoked—amisfortunethathadbeen
knowntohappennowandthenatChristmas-time.
“Hullo,mysonnies,hereyoube,then!”saidReubenDewyatlength,standing
upandblowingforthavehementgustofbreath.“Howtheblooddopuffupin
anybody’shead,tobesure,a-stoopinglikethat!Iwasjustgoingouttogateto
harkforye.”Hethencarefullybegantowindastripofbrownpaperrounda
brasstapheheldinhishand.“Thisinthecaskhereisadropo’therightsort”
(tappingthecask);“’tisarealdropo’cordialfromthebestpickedapples—
Sansoms,Stubbards,Five-corners,andsuch-like—youd’mindthesort,
Michael?”(Michaelnodded.)“Andthere’sasprinklingoftheythatgrowdown
bytheorchard-rails—streakedones—railappleswed’call’em,as’tisbythe
railstheygrow,andnotknowingtherightname.Thewater-ciderfrom’emisas
goodasmostpeople’sbestcideris.”
“Ay,andofthesamemaketoo,”saidBowman.“‘Itrainedwhenwewrungit
out,andthewatergotintoit,’folkwillsay.But’tison’yanexcuse.Watered
cideristoocommonamongus.”


“Yes,yes;toocommonitis!”saidSpinkswithaninwardsigh,whilsthiseyes
seemedtobelookingatthecaseinanabstractformratherthanatthescene
beforehim.“Suchpoorliquordomakeaman’sthroatfeelverymelancholy—
andisadisgracetothenameofstimmilent.”
“Comein,comein,anddrawuptothefire;nevermindyourshoes,”saidMrs.
Dewy,seeingthatallexceptDickhadpausedtowipethemuponthedoor-mat.
“Iamgladthatyou’vesteppedup-alongatlast;and,Susan,yourundownto
GrammerKaytes’sandseeifyoucanborrowsomelargercandlesthanthese
fourteens.TommyLeaf,don’tyebeafeard!Comeandsithereinthesettle.”
Thiswasaddressedtotheyoungmanbeforementioned,consistingchieflyofa
humanskeletonandasmock-frock,whowasveryawkwardinhismovements,
apparentlyonaccountofhavinggrownsoveryfastthatbeforehehadhadtime
togetusedtohisheighthewashigher.
“Hee—hee—ay!”repliedLeaf,lettinghismouthcontinuetosmileforsometime
afterhismindhaddonesmiling,sothathisteethremainedinviewasthemost
conspicuousmembersofhisbody.
“Here,Mr.Penny,”resumedMrs.Dewy,“yousitinthischair.Andhow’syour
daughter,Mrs.Brownjohn?”
“Well,IsupposeImustsayprettyfair.”Headjustedhisspectaclesaquarterof
aninchtotheright.“Butshe’llbeworsebeforeshe’sbetter,’ab’lieve.”
“Indeed—poorsoul!Andhowmanywillthatmakeinall,fourorfive?”
“Five;they’veburiedthree.Yes,five;andshenotmuchmorethanamaidyet.
Shedoknowthemultiplicationtableonmistakablewell.However,’twastobe,
andnonecangainsayit.”
Mrs.DewyresignedMr.Penny.“WonderwhereyourgrandfatherJamesis?”
sheinquiredofoneofthechildren.“Hesaidhe’ddropinto-night.”
“Outinfuel-housewithgrandfatherWilliam,”saidJimmy.
“Nowlet’sseewhatwecando,”washeardspokenaboutthistimebythetranter
inaprivatevoicetothebarrel,besidewhichhehadagainestablishedhimself,
andwasstoopingtocutawaythecork.
“Reuben,don’tmakesuchamesso’tappingthatbarrelasismostlymadeinthis


house,”Mrs.Dewycriedfromthefireplace.“I’dtapahundredwithoutwasting
morethanyoudoinone.Suchasquizzlingandsquirtingjobas’tisinyour
hands!There,healwayswassuchaclumsymanindoors.”
“Ay,ay;Iknowyou’dtapahundredbeautiful,Ann—Iknowyouwould;two
hundred,perhaps.ButIcan’tpromise.Thisisa’oldcask,andthewood’srotted
awayaboutthetap-hole.ThehusbirdofafellerSamLawson—thateverI
shouldcall’nsuch,nowhe’sdeadandgone,poorheart!—tookmeincompletely
uponthefeatofbuyingthiscask.‘Reub,’sayshe—’aalwaysusedtocallme
plainReub,pooroldheart!—‘Reub,’hesaid,sayshe,‘thattherecask,Reub,is
asgoodasnew;yes,goodasnew.’Tisawine-hogshead;thebestport-winein
thecommonwealthhavebeeninthattherecask;andyoushallhaveenforten
shillens,Reub,’—’asaid,sayshe—‘he’sworthtwenty,ay,five-and-twenty,if
he’sworthone;andanironhooportwoputroundenamongthewoodoneswill
makeenworththirtyshillensofanyman’smoney,if—’”
“IthinkIshouldhaveusedtheeyesthatProvidencegavemetouseaforeIpaid
anytenshillensforajimcrackwine-barrel;asaintissinnerenoughnottobe
cheated.But’tislikeallyourfamilywas,soeasytobedeceived.”
“That’sastrueasgospelofthismember,”saidReuben.
Mrs.Dewybeganasmileattheanswer,thenalteringherlipsandrefoldingthem
sothatitwasnotasmile,commencedsmoothinglittleBessy’shair;thetranter
havingmeanwhilesuddenlybecomeoblivioustoconversation,occupying
himselfinadeliberatecuttingandarrangementofsomemorebrownpaperfor
thebroachingoperation.
“Ah,whocanbelievesellers!”saidoldMichaelMailinacarefully-cautious
voice,bywayoftiding-overthiscriticalpointofaffairs.
“Nooneatall,”saidJosephBowman,inthetoneofamanfullyagreeingwith
everybody.
“Ay,”saidMail,inthetoneofamanwhodidnotagreewitheverybodyasarule,
thoughhedidnow;“Iknoweda’auctioneeringfelleronce—averyfriendly
feller’awastoo.AndsoonehotdayasIwaswalkingdownthefrontstreeto’
Casterbridge,jistbelowtheKing’sArms,Ipasseda’openwinderandseehim
inside,stuckuponhisperch,a-sellingoff.Ijistnoddedtoeninafriendlyway
asIpassed,andwentmyway,andthoughtnomoreaboutit.Well,nextday,asI
wasoilenmybootsbyfuel-housedoor,ifaletterdidn’tcomewi’abillcharging


mewithafeather-bed,bolster,andpillers,thatIhadbidforatMr.Taylor’ssale.
Theslim-facedmartelhadknocked’emdowntomebecauseInoddedtoenin
myfriendlyway;andIhadtopayfor’emtoo.Now,Iholdthatthatwascoming
itveryclose,Reuben?”
“’Twasclose,there’snodenying,”saidthegeneralvoice.
“Tooclose,’twas,”saidReuben,intherearoftherest.“AndastoSamLawson
—poorheart!nowhe’sdeadandgonetoo!—I’llwarrant,thatifsobeI’vespent
onehourinmakinghoopsforthatbarrel,I’vespentfifty,firstandlast.That’s
oneofmyhoops”—touchingitwithhiselbow—“that’soneofmine,andthat,
andthat,andallthese.”
“Ah,Samwasaman,”saidMr.Penny,contemplatively.
“Samwas!”saidBowman.
“Especiallyforadrapo’drink,”saidthetranter.
“Good,butnotreligious-good,”suggestedMr.Penny.
Thetranternodded.Havingatlastmadethetapandholequiteready,“Now
then,Suze,bringamug,”hesaid.“Here’slucktous,mysonnies!”
Thetapwentin,andtheciderimmediatelysquirtedoutinahorizontalshower
overReuben’shands,knees,andleggings,andintotheeyesandneckofCharley,
who,havingtemporarilyputoffhisgriefunderpressureofmoreinteresting
proceedings,wassquattingdownandblinkingnearhisfather.
“There’tisagain!”saidMrs.Dewy.
“Deviltakethehole,thecask,andSamLawsontoo,thatgoodcidershouldbe
wastedlikethis!”exclaimedthetranter.“Yourthumb!Lendmeyourthumb,
Michael!Ramitinhere,Michael!Imustgetabiggertap,mysonnies.”
“Idditcoldinthidetehole?”inquiredCharleyofMichael,ashecontinuedina
stoopingposturewithhisthumbinthecork-hole.
“Whatwonderfuloddsandendsthatchielhasinhisheadtobesure!”Mrs.
Dewyadmiringlyexclaimedfromthedistance.“Ilayawagerthathethinks
moreabouthow’tisinsidethatbarrelthaninalltheotherpartsoftheworldput
together.”


Allpersonspresentputonaspeakingcountenanceofadmirationforthe
clevernessalludedto,inthemidstofwhichReubenreturned.Theoperationwas
thensatisfactorilyperformed;whenMichaelaroseandstretchedhisheadtothe
extremestfractionofheightthathisbodywouldallowof,tore-straightenhis
backandshoulders—thrustingouthisarmsandtwistinghisfeaturestoamassof
wrinklestoemphasizethereliefaquired.Aquartortwoofthebeveragewas
thenbroughttotable,atwhichallthenewarrivalsreseatedthemselveswith
wide-spreadknees,theireyesmeditativelyseekingoutanyspeckorknotinthe
boarduponwhichthegazemightprecipitateitself.
“Whateverisfathera-bidingoutinfuel-housesolongfor?”saidthetranter.
“Neversuchamanasfatherfortwothings—cleavingupolddeadapple-tree
woodandplayingthebass-viol.’A’dpasshislifebetweenthetwo,that’a
would.”Hesteppedtothedoorandopenedit.
“Father!”
“Ay!”rangthinlyfromroundthecorner.
“Here’sthebarreltapped,andwealla-waiting!”
Aseriesofdullthuds,thathadbeenheardwithoutforsometimepast,now
ceased;andafterthelightofalanternhadpassedthewindowandmade
wheelingraysupontheceilinginsidetheeldestoftheDewyfamilyappeared.

CHAPTERIII:THEASSEMBLEDQUIRE
WilliamDewy—otherwisegrandfatherWilliam—wasnowaboutseventy;yetan
ardentvitalitystillpreservedawarmandroughenedbloomuponhisface,which
remindedgardenersofthesunnysideofariperibstone-pippin;thoughanarrow
stripofforehead,thatwasprotectedfromtheweatherbylyingabovethelineof
hishat-brim,seemedtobelongtosometownman,sogentlemanlywasits
whiteness.Hiswasahumorousandkindlynature,notunmixedwithafrequent
melancholy;andhehadafirmreligiousfaith.Buttohisneighbourshehadno
characterinparticular.Iftheysawhimpassbytheirwindowswhentheyhad
beenbottlingoffoldmead,orwhentheyhadjustbeencalledlong-headedmen
whomightdoanythingintheworldiftheychose,theythoughtconcerninghim,
“Ah,there’sthatgood-heartedman—openasachild!”Iftheysawhimjustafter
losingashillingorhalf-a-crown,oraccidentallylettingfallapieceofcrockery,
theythought,“There’sthatpoorweak-mindedmanDewyagain!Ah,he’snever


donemuchintheworldeither!”Ifhepassedwhenfortuneneithersmilednor
frownedonthem,theymerelythoughthimoldWilliamDewy.
“Ah,so’s—hereyoube!—Ah,MichaelandJosephandJohn—andyoutoo,
Leaf!amerryChristmasall!Weshallhaveararelog-woodfiredirectly,Reub,
toreckonbythetoughnessofthejobIhadincleaving’em.”Ashespokehe
threwdownanarmfuloflogswhichfellinthechimney-cornerwitharumble,
andlookedatthemwithsomethingoftheadmiringenmityhewouldhave
bestowedonlivingpeoplewhohadbeenveryobstinateinholdingtheirown.
“Comein,grandfatherJames.”
OldJames(grandfatheronthematernalside)hadsimplycalledasavisitor.He
livedinacottagebyhimself,andmanypeopleconsideredhimamiser;some,
ratherslovenlyinhishabits.Henowcameforwardfrombehindgrandfather
William,andhisstoopingfigureformedawell-illuminatedpictureashepassed
towardsthefire-place.Beingbytradeamason,heworealonglinenapron
reachingalmosttohistoes,corduroybreechesandgaiters,which,togetherwith
hisboots,graduatedintintsofwhitish-brownbyconstantfrictionagainstlime
andstone.Healsoworeaverystifffustiancoat,havingfoldsattheelbowsand
shouldersasunvaryingintheirarrangementasthoseinapairofbellows:the
ridgesandtheprojectingpartsofthecoatcollectivelyexhibitingashade
differentfromthatofthehollows,whichwerelinedwithsmallditch-like
accumulationsofstoneandmortar-dust.Theextremelylargeside-pockets,
shelteredbeneathwideflaps,bulgedoutconvexlywhetheremptyorfull;andas
hewasoftenengagedtoworkatbuildingsfaraway—hisbreakfastsanddinners
beingeateninastrangechimney-corner,byagardenwall,onaheapofstones,
orwalkingalongtheroad—hecarriedinthesepocketsasmalltincanisterof
butter,asmallcanisterofsugar,asmallcanisteroftea,apaperofsalt,anda
paperofpepper;thebread,cheese,andmeat,formingthesubstanceofhismeals,
hangingupbehindhiminhisbasketamongthehammersandchisels.Ifa
passer-bylookedhardathimwhenhewasdrawingforthanyofthese,“My
buttery,”hesaid,withapinchedsmile.
“Bettertryovernumberseventy-eightbeforewestart,Isuppose?”saidWilliam,
pointingtoaheapofoldChristmas-carolbooksonasidetable.
“Wi’allmyheart,”saidthechoirgenerally.
“Numberseventy-eightwasalwaysateaser—always.Icanmindhimeversince
Iwasgrowingupahardboy-chap.”


“Buthe’sagoodtune,andworthaminto’practice,”saidMichael.
“Heis;thoughI’vebeenmadenoughwi’thattuneattimestoseizeenandtear
enalltolinnit.Ay,he’sasplendidcarrel—there’snodenyingthat.”
“Thefirstlineiswellenough,”saidMr.Spinks;“butwhenyoucometo‘O,thou
man,’youmakeamesso’t.”
“We’llhaveanothergointoen,andseewhatwecanmakeofthemartel.Halfan-hour’shammeringatenwillconquerthetoughnessofen;I’llwarnit.”
“’Odrabbititall!”saidMr.Penny,interruptingwithaflashofhisspectacles,and
atthesametimeclawingatsomethinginthedepthsofalargeside-pocket.“If
sobeIhadn’tbeenasscatter-brainedandthirtingillasachiel,Ishouldhave
calledattheschoolhousewi’abootasIcamupalong.Whateveriscomingto
meIreallycan’testimateatall!”
“Thebrainhasitsweaknesses,”murmuredMr.Spinks,wavinghishead
ominously.Mr.Spinkswasconsideredtobeascholar,havingoncekeptanightschool,andalwaysspokeuptothatlevel.
“Well,Imustcallwithenthefirstthingto-morrow.AndI’llemptmypocketo’
thislasttoo,ifyoudon’tmind,Mrs.Dewy.”Hedrewforthalast,andplacedit
onatableathiselbow.Theeyesofthreeorfourfollowedit.
“Well,”saidtheshoemaker,seemingtoperceivethattheinteresttheobjecthad
excitedwasgreaterthanhehadanticipated,andwarrantedthelast’sbeingtaken
upagainandexhibited;“now,whosefootdoyesupposethislastwasmadefor?
ItwasmadeforGeoffreyDay’sfather,overatYalburyWood.Ah,many’sthe
pairo’bootshe’vehadoffthelast!Well,when’adied,Iusedthelastfor
Geoffrey,andhaveeversince,thoughalittledoctoringwaswantedtomakeit
do.Yes,averyqueernaturedlastitisnow,’ab’lieve,”hecontinued,turningit
overcaressingly.“Now,younoticethatthere”(pointingtoalumpofleather
braddedtothetoe),“that’saverybadbunionthathe’vehadeversince’awasa
boy.Now,thisremarkablelargepiece”(pointingtoapatchnailedtotheside),
“showsa’accidenthereceivedbythetreadofahorse,thatsquashedhisfoot
a’mosttoapomace.Thehorseshoecamfull-buttonthispoint,yousee.Andso
I’vejustbeenovertoGeoffrey’s,toknowifhewantedhisbunionalteredor
madebiggerinthenewpairI’mmaking.”
Duringthelatterpartofthisspeech,Mr.Penny’slefthandwanderedtowardsthe


cider-cup,asifthehandhadnoconnectionwiththepersonspeaking;and
bringinghissentencetoanabruptclose,allbuttheextrememarginofthe
bootmaker’sfacewaseclipsedbythecircularbrimofthevessel.
“However,Iwasgoingtosay,”continuedPenny,puttingdownthecup,“Iought
tohavecalledattheschool”—herehewentgropingagaininthedepthsofhis
pocket—“toleavethiswithoutfail,thoughIsupposethefirstthingto-morrow
willdo.”
Henowdrewforthandplaceduponthetableaboot—small,light,andprettily
shaped—upontheheelofwhichhehadbeenoperating.
“Thenewschoolmistress’s!”
“Ay,noless,MissFancyDay;asneatalittlefigureoffunaseverIsee,andjust
husband-high.”
“NeverGeoffrey’sdaughterFancy?”saidBowman,asallglancespresent
convergedlikewheel-spokesuponthebootinthecentreofthem.
“Yes,sure,”resumedMr.Penny,regardingthebootasifthatalonewerehis
auditor;“’tisshethat’scomehereschoolmistress.Youknowedhisdaughterwas
intraining?”
“Strange,isn’tit,forhertobehereChristmasnight,MasterPenny?”
“Yes;butheresheis,’ab’lieve.”
“Iknowhowshecomeshere—soIdo!”chirrupedoneofthechildren.
“Why?”Dickinquired,withsubtleinterest.
“Pa’sonMayboldwasafraidhecouldn’tmanageusallto-morrowatthedinner,
andhetalkedo’gettingherjisttocomeoverandhelphimhandabouttheplates,
andseewedidn’tmakepigsofourselves;andthat’swhatshe’scomefor!”
“Andthat’stheboot,then,”continueditsmenderimaginatively,“thatshe’llwalk
tochurchinto-morrowmorning.Idon’tcaretomendbootsIdon’tmake;but
there’snoknowingwhatitmayleadto,andherfatheralwayscomestome.”
There,betweenthecider-mugandthecandle,stoodthisinterestingreceptacleof
thelittleunknown’sfoot;andaveryprettybootitwas.Acharacter,infact—the
flexiblebendattheinstep,theroundedlocalitiesofthesmallnestlingtoes,


scratchesfromcarelessscampersnowforgotten—all,asrepeatedinthetell-tale
leather,evidencinganatureandabias.Dicksurveyeditwithadelicatefeeling
thathehadnorighttodosowithouthavingfirstaskedtheownerofthefoot’s
permission.
“Now,neighbours,thoughnocommoneyecanseeit,”theshoemakerwenton,
“amaninthetradecanseethelikenessbetweenthisbootandthatlast,although
thatissodeformedashardlytorecalloneofGod’screatures,andthisisoneof
asprettyapairasyou’dgetforten-and-sixpenceinCasterbridge.Toyou,
nothing;but’tisfather’svootanddaughter’svoottome,asplainashouses.”
“Idon’tdoubtthere’salikeness,MasterPenny—amildlikeness—afantastical
likeness,”saidSpinks.“ButIhan’tgotimaginationenoughtoseeit,perhaps.”
Mr.Pennyadjustedhisspectacles.
“Now,I’lltellyewhathappenedtomeonceonthisverypoint.Youusedto
knowJohnsonthedairyman,William?”
“Ay,sure;Idid.”
“Well,’twasn’toppositehishouse,butalittlelowerdown—byhispaddock,in
fronto’ParkmazePool.Iwasa-bearingacrosstowardsBloom’sEnd,andloand
behold,therewasamanjustbroughtouto’thePool,dead;hehadun’rayedfora
dip,butnotbeingabletopitchitjusttherehadgoneinflopoverhishead.Men
lookedaten;womenlookedaten;childrenlookedaten;nobodyknoweden.He
wascoveredwi’asheet;butIcatchedsightofhisvoot,justshowingoutasthey
carriedenalong.‘Idon’tcarewhatnamethatmanwentby,’Isaid,inmyway,
‘buthe’sJohnWoodward’sbrother;Icansweartothefamilyvoot.’Atthatvery
momentupcomesJohnWoodward,weepingandteaving,‘I’velostmybrother!
I’velostmybrother!’”
“Onlytothinkofthat!”saidMrs.Dewy.
“’Tiswellenoughtoknowthisfootandthatfoot,”saidMr.Spinks.“’Tislongheaded,infact,asfarasfeetdogo.Iknowlittle,’tistrue—Isaynomore;but
showmeaman’sfoot,andI’lltellyouthatman’sheart.”
“Youmustbeaclevererfeller,then,thanmankindinjineral,”saidthetranter.
“Well,that’snothingformetospeakof,”returnedMr.Spinks.“Amanlivesand
learns.MaybeI’vereadaleafortwoinmytime.Idon’twishtosayanything


large,mindyou;butnevertheless,maybeIhave.”
“Yes,Iknow,”saidMichaelsoothingly,“andalltheparishknows,thatye’ve
readsommatofeverythinga’most,andhavebeenagreatfillerofyoungfolks’
brains.Learning’saworthything,andye’vegotit,MasterSpinks.”
“Imakenoboast,thoughImayhavereadandthoughtalittle;andIknow—it
maybefrommuchperusing,butImakenoboast—thatbythetimeaman’shead
isfinished,’tisalmosttimeforhimtocreepunderground.Iamoverforty-five.”
Mr.Spinksemittedalooktosignifythatifhisheadwasnotfinished,nobody’s
headevercouldbe.
“Talkofknowingpeoplebytheirfeet!”saidReuben.“Rotme,mysonnies,
then,ifIcantellwhatamanisfromallhismembersputtogether,oftentimes.”
“Butstill,lookisagooddeal,”observedgrandfatherWilliamabsently,moving
andbalancinghisheadtillthetipofgrandfatherJames’snosewasexactlyina
rightlinewithWilliam’seyeandthemouthofaminiaturecavernhewas
discerninginthefire.“Bytheway,”hecontinuedinafreshervoice,andlooking
up,“thatyoungcrater,theschoolmis’ess,mustbesungtoto-nightwi’therest?
Ifherearisasfineasherface,weshallhaveenoughtodotobeup-sideswith
her.”
“Whataboutherface?”saidyoungDewy.
“Well,astothat,”Mr.Spinksreplied,“’tisafaceyoucanhardlygainsay.Avery
goodpinkface,asfarasthatdogo.Still,onlyaface,whenallissaidand
done.”
“Come,come,EliasSpinks,sayshe’saprettymaid,andhavedonewi’her,”said
thetranter,againpreparingtovisitthecider-barrel.

CHAPTERIV:GOINGTHEROUNDS
Shortlyafterteno’clockthesinging-boysarrivedatthetranter’shouse,which
wasinvariablytheplaceofmeeting,andpreparationsweremadeforthestart.
Theoldermenandmusiciansworethickcoats,withstiffperpendicularcollars,
andcolouredhandkerchiefswoundroundandroundthenecktilltheendcameto
hand,overallwhichtheyjustshowedtheirearsandnoses,likepeoplelooking
overawall.Theremainder,stalwartruddymenandboys,weredressedmainly


insnow-whitesmock-frocks,embroideredupontheshouldersandbreasts,in
ornamentalformsofhearts,diamonds,andzigzags.Thecider-mugwasemptied
fortheninthtime,themusic-bookswerearranged,andthepiecesfinallydecided
upon.Theboysinthemeantimeputtheoldhorn-lanternsinorder,cutcandles
intoshortlengthstofitthelanterns;and,athinfleeceofsnowhavingfallen
sincetheearlypartoftheevening,thosewhohadnoleggingswenttothestable
andwoundwispsofhayroundtheiranklestokeeptheinsidiousflakesfromthe
interioroftheirboots.
Mellstockwasaparishofconsiderableacreage,thehamletscomposingitlying
atamuchgreaterdistancefromeachotherthanisordinarilythecase.Hence
severalhourswereconsumedinplayingandsingingwithinhearingofevery
family,evenifbutasingleairwerebestowedoneach.TherewasLower
Mellstock,themainvillage;halfamilefromthiswerethechurchandvicarage,
andafewotherhouses,thespotbeingratherlonelynow,thoughinpast
centuriesithadbeenthemostthickly-populatedquarteroftheparish.Amile
north-eastlaythehamletofUpperMellstock,wherethetranterlived;andat
otherpointsknotsofcottages,besidessolitaryfarmsteadsanddairies.
OldWilliamDewy,withthevioloncello,playedthebass;hisgrandsonDickthe
trebleviolin;andReubenandMichaelMailthetenorandsecondviolins
respectively.Thesingersconsistedoffourmenandsevenboys,uponwhom
devolvedthetaskofcarryingandattendingtothelanterns,andholdingthe
booksopenfortheplayers.Directlymusicwasthetheme,oldWilliameverand
instinctivelycametothefront.
“Nowmind,neighbours,”hesaid,astheyallwentoutonebyoneatthedoor,he
himselfholdingitajarandregardingthemwithacriticalfaceastheypassed,
likeashepherdcountingouthissheep.“Youtwocounter-boys,keepyourears
opentoMichael’sfingering,anddon’tyegostrayingintothetreblepartalongo’
Dickandhisset,asyedidlastyear;andmindthisespeciallywhenwebein
‘Arise,andhail.’BillyChimlen,don’tyousingquitesoravingmadasyoufain
would;and,allo’ye,whateveryedo,keepfrommakingagreatscuffleonthe
groundwhenwegoinatpeople’sgates;butgoquietly,soastostrikeupallofa
sudden,likespirits.”
“FarmerLedlow’sfirst?”
“FarmerLedlow’sfirst;therestasusual.”
“And,Voss,”saidthetranterterminatively,“youkeephouseheretillabouthalf-


pasttwo;thenheatthemetheglinandciderinthewarmeryou’llfindturnedup
uponthecopper;andbringitwi’thevictualstochurch-hatch,asth’stknow.”
*****
Justbeforetheclockstrucktwelvetheylightedthelanternsandstarted.The
moon,inherthirdquarter,hadrisensincethesnowstorm;butthedense
accumulationofsnow-cloudweakenedherpowertoafainttwilight,whichwas
ratherpervasiveofthelandscapethantraceabletothesky.Thebreezehadgone
down,andtherustleoftheirfeetandtonesoftheirspeechechoedwithanalert
reboundfromeverypost,boundary-stone,andancientwalltheypassed,even
wherethedistanceoftheecho’soriginwaslessthanafewyards.Beyondtheir
ownslightnoisesnothingwastobeheard,savetheoccasionalbarkoffoxesin
thedirectionofYalburyWood,orthebrushofarabbitamongthegrassnowand
then,asitscamperedoutoftheirway.
Mostoftheoutlyinghomesteadsandhamletshadbeenvisitedbyabouttwo
o’clock;theythenpassedacrosstheoutskirtsofawoodedparktowardthemain
village,nobodybeingathomeattheManor.Pursuingnorecognizedtrack,great
carewasnecessaryinwalkinglesttheirfacesshouldcomeincontactwiththe
low-hangingboughsoftheoldlime-trees,whichinmanyspotsformeddense
over-growthsofinterlacedbranches.
“Timeshavechangedfromthetimestheyusedtobe,”saidMail,regarding
nobodycantellwhatinterestingoldpanoramaswithaninwardeye,andletting
hisoutwardglancerestontheground,becauseitwasasconvenientapositionas
any.“Peopledon’tcaremuchaboutusnow!I’vebeenthinkingwemustbe
almostthelastleftinthecountyoftheoldstringplayers?Barrel-organs,andthe
thingsnextdoorto’emthatyoublowwi’yourfoot,havecomeinterriblyoflate
years.”
“Ay!”saidBowman,shakinghishead;andoldWilliam,onseeinghim,didthe
samething.
“More’sthepity,”repliedanother.“Timewas—longandmerryagonow!—
whennotoneofthevarmitswastobeheardof;butitservedsomeofthequires
right.Theyshouldhavestucktostringsaswedid,andkeptoutclarinets,and
doneawaywithserpents.Ifyou’dthriveinmusicalreligion,sticktostrings,
saysI.”
“Stringsbesafesoul-lifters,asfarasthatdogo,”saidMr.Spinks.


“Yetthere’sworsethingsthanserpents,”saidMr.Penny.“Oldthingspassaway,
’tistrue;butaserpentwasagoodoldnote:adeeprichnotewastheserpent.”
“Clar’nets,however,bebadatalltimes,”saidMichaelMail.“OneChristmas—
yearsagonenow,years—Iwenttheroundswi’theWeatherburyquire.’Twasa
hardfrostynight,andthekeysofalltheclar’netsfroze—ah,theydidfreeze!—
sothat’twaslikedrawingacorkeverytimeakeywasopened;andtheplayerso’
’emhadtogointoahedger-and-ditcher’schimley-corner,andthawtheir
clar’netseverynowandthen.Anicicleo’spethungdownfromtheendofevery
man’sclar’netaspanlong;andastofingers—well,there,ifye’llbelieveme,we
hadnofingersatall,toourknowing.”
“Icanwellbringbacktomymind,”saidMr.Penny,“whatIsaidtopoorJoseph
Ryme(whotookthetreblepartinChalk-NewtonChurchfortwo-and-fortyyear)
whentheythoughtofhavingclar’netsthere.‘Joseph,’Isaid,saysI,‘depend
upon’t,ifsobeyouhavethemtootingclar’netsyou’llspoilthewholeset-out.
Clar’netswerenotmadefortheserviceoftheLard;youcanseeitbylookingat
’em,’Isaid.Andwhatcameo’t?Why,souls,theparsonsetupabarrel-organ
onhisownaccountwithintwoyearso’thetimeIspoke,andtheoldquirewent
tonothing.”
“Asfaraslookisconcerned,”saidthetranter,“Idon’tformypartseethata
fiddleismuchnearerheaventhanaclar’net.’Tisfurtheroff.There’salwaysa
rakish,scampishtwistaboutafiddle’slooksthatseemstosaytheWickedOne
hadahandinmakingo’en;whileangelsbesupposedtoplayclar’netsinheaven,
orsom’atlike’em,ifyemaybelievepicters.”
“RobertPenny,youwasintheright,”brokeintheeldestDewy.“Theyshould
ha’stucktostrings.Yourbrass-manisaraftingdog—wellandgood;yourreedmanisadabatstirringye—wellandgood;yourdrum-manisararebowelshaker—goodagain.ButIdon’tcarewhohearsmesayit,nothingwillspakto
yourheartwi’thesweetnesso’themanofstrings!”
“Stringsforever!”saidlittleJimmy.
“Stringsalonewouldhaveheldtheirgroundagainstallthenewcomersin
creation.”(“True,true!”saidBowman.)“Butclarinetswasdeath.”(“Death
theywas!”saidMr.Penny.)“Andharmonions,”Williamcontinuedinalouder
voice,andgettingexcitedbythesesignsofapproval,“harmonionsandbarrelorgans”(“Ah!”andgroansfromSpinks)“bemiserable—whatshallIcall’em?
—miserable—”


“Sinners,”suggestedJimmy,whomadelargestrideslikethemen,anddidnot
lagbehindliketheotherlittleboys.
“Miserabledumbledores!”
“Right,William,andsotheybe—miserabledumbledores!”saidthechoirwith
unanimity.
Bythistimetheywerecrossingtoagateinthedirectionoftheschool,which,
standingonaslighteminenceatthejunctionofthreeways,nowrosein
unvaryinganddarkflatnessagainstthesky.Theinstrumentswereretuned,and
allthebandenteredtheschoolenclosure,enjoinedbyoldWilliamtokeepupon
thegrass.
“Numberseventy-eight,”hesoftlygaveoutastheyformedroundina
semicircle,theboysopeningthelanternstogetaclearerlight,anddirectingtheir
raysonthebooks.
Thenpassedforthintothequietnightanancientandtime-wornhymn,
embodyingaquaintChristianityinwordsorallytransmittedfromfathertoson
throughseveralgenerationsdowntothepresentcharacters,whosangthemout
rightearnestly:
“RememberAdam’sfall,
OthouMan:
RememberAdam’sfall
FromHeaventoHell.
RememberAdam’sfall;
Howhehathcondemn’dall
InHellperpetual
Therefortodwell.
RememberGod’sgoodnesse,
OthouMan:
RememberGod’sgoodnesse,
Hispromisemade.
RememberGod’sgoodnesse;
HesentHisSonsinlesse
Ourailsfortoredress;
Benotafraid!


InBethlehemHewasborn,
OthouMan:
InBethlehemHewasborn,
Formankind’ssake.
InBethlehemHewasborn,
Christmas-dayi’themorn:
OurSaviourthoughtnoscorn
Ourfaultstotake.
GivethankstoGodalway,
OthouMan:
GivethankstoGodalway
Withheart-mostjoy.
GivethankstoGodalway
Onthisourjoyfulday:
Letallmensingandsay,
Holy,Holy!”
Havingconcludedthelastnote,theylistenedforaminuteortwo,butfoundthat
nosoundissuedfromtheschoolhouse.
“Fourbreaths,andthen,‘O,whatunboundedgoodness!’numberfifty-nine,”
saidWilliam.
Thiswasdulygonethrough,andnonoticewhateverseemedtobetakenofthe
performance.
“Goodguideus,surely’tisn’ta’emptyhouse,asbefellusintheyearthirty-nine
andforty-three!”saidoldDewy.
“Perhapsshe’sjistcomefromsomemusicalcity,andsneersatourdoings?”the
tranterwhispered.
“’Odrabbither!”saidMr.Penny,withanannihilatinglookatacornerofthe
schoolchimney,“Idon’tquitestomachher,ifthisisit.Yourplainmusicwell
doneisasworthyasyourothersortdonebad,a’b’lieve,souls;sosayI.”
“Fourbreaths,andthenthelast,”saidtheleaderauthoritatively.“‘Rejoice,ye
TenantsoftheEarth,’numbersixty-four.”
Attheclose,waitingyetanotherminute,hesaidinaclearloudvoice,ashehad
saidinthevillageatthathourandseasonforthepreviousfortyyears—“Amerry


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