skirt of the town, a place of orchards and wooded tangle ;
through which there ran a branch of the brimming iiver,
hastening to seek and join the sea, and caught a moment
on its impetuous way, and forced to Avork by the grim mill-
wheels that had churned the foam-bells there for centuries.
The miUhouse was very ancient; its timbers Avere carved
all over into the semblance of shields and helmets, and
crosses, and fleur-dc-li.s, and its frontage was of quaint
pargeted work, black and white, except Avhere the old bla¬
zonries had been.
It had been handed down from sire to son of the same
race through many gencrations^a race hard, keen, un¬
learned, superstitious, and caustic-tongued—a race wedded
to old ways, credulous of legend, chaste of life, cruel of
judgment; harshly strong, yet ignorantly Avcak; a ym-a'
holding dearer its heirloom of loveless, joyless, bigoted
virtue even than those gold and silver pieces wliich had
ever been its passion, hidden away in earthen pipkins under
old apple-roots, or in the crannies of Avail timber, or in
secret nooks of oaken cupboards.
Claude Flamma, the last of this toilsome. God-fearing,
man-begrudging, Norman stock, was true to the type and
the traditions of his people.
He was too ignorant even to read; but priests do not
deem this a fault. He Avas avaricious; but many Avill
honour a miser quicker than a spendthrift. He was cruel;
but in the miirket-[ilace he always took heed to giv(; his
mare a fuU feed, so that if she were pinehcd of li(-r hav in
her stall at home none were the Aviser, for she had no lan¬
guage but that of her AvisLful black <yes ; and this is a
speech to which men stay but little to listen. The shniwd
old, bittei'-tongued, stern-living man Avas leared and re¬
spected with the respect that tear beg(;ts; and in truth he
liad a rigid virtue in his Avay, and was jjroud of it, Avith
scorn for those who found it hard to walk less straifditly
and less circumspectly than himself.
He married late; his wife died in childbirth ; his daught(;r
grew into the perfection of womanhood under the cold
hard, narrow rule of his severity and his superstition, h/
loved her, indeed, Avith as much love as it was jxjs.sible fo
him ever to feel, and Avas proud of her beyond all o''
things; saved for her, toiled for her, muttered ever t^