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      Of course there was a reconciliation. Such things had begun to loom rather large in Reuben's married life. He had never had reconciliations with Naomithe storms had not been fierce enough to warrant a special celebration of the calms. But he and Rose were always being[Pg 277] reconciled. At first he had looked upon these episodes as sweets of matrimony, more blessed than any amount of honeymoon, but now he had gone a stage further and saw them merely as part of the domestic ritualthat very evening when he held Rose and the baby together in his big embrace he knew that in a day or two he would be staling the ceremony by another repetition.The yeoman muttered an excuse; but his speech betrayed him.

      "I dunno."

      With many tears, and the help of the kindly farmer's daughter at Eggs Hole, who acted as penwoman, Bessie wrote a letter to Robert in the Battery gaol:

      "Alas!" said Lucy, "I am not sinless."

      Margaret raised her bright blue eyes, that had been as yet hidden by the long dark lashes, and the downcast lids; but, meeting the bold fixed gaze of the baron, they were instantly withdrawn, and the deep blush of one unaccustomed to the eyes of strangers, suffused her cheek and brow, and even her neck.

      I shall see you to-morrow afternoon, then, he said. Perhaps you will bring your sister with you, as you tell me she is a book-lover too.



      "Master Calverly, you will find no man to act more faithfully by you than John Byles. You have been a good friend to me, and I would do any thing to serve you, butyou see a man can't stifle conscience all at once."Meantime he cast covetous and hopeful eyes on the Grandturzel inclosure. Realf was doing nothing with it, and his affairs were not so prosperous as they used to be.[Pg 388] His abandonment of the struggle had not changed his luck, and a run of bad luckthe usual farmer's tale of poor harvests, dead cows, blighted orchards, and low priceshad plunged Grandturzel nearly as deep as Odiam had once been. Realf had shown himself without recuperative powers; he economised, but inefficiently, and Reuben foresaw that the day would come when he would be forced to part with some of his land. He was in no immediate hurry for this, as he would be all the readier to spend his money in a few years' time, but occasionally he gave himself the treat of going up to the Grandturzel inclosure and inspecting it from the fence, planning exactly what he would do with it when it was his.


      He was free of them at last, galloping down the Landgate hill towards Rye Foreign.We must find a wife for him, she said. I dare say we shall be able to fit him out with a wife. He seems a polite sort of young man too. I shouldnt wonder if plenty of our Bracebridge young ladies would be willing to become Mrs Silverside, or whatever the mans name is.