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their liberal allowance-some one was ribbon round 'em and little shawls to deputed to call upon the Rector for a keep 'em warm and make 'em all look song. The song was invariably the alike, and very pretty they looked, too, same, and was called "The Tithe Pig." when they came to church-for they all It seems to have been a long song, but had to go to church, you know!" But I have never been able to find out what even then it is significant that there the story was. When it was ended, were, at least, two opposition dame with vociferous applause every man schools going on at the same time rose to his feet, and the Rector, tossing within a mile or so of the first. One a guinea upon the table, retired from of these was started about eighty years the assembly of roisterers, leaving them ago by a Mrs. Skayce, just outside the to spend the guinea as they pleased bounds of our parish. She, too, “was under another chairman. "He wasn't a wonderful great scholar,” and she half a bad little gentleman wasn't Mr. taught her small pupils not only their Aufrere, and he and the lady would do letters, but reading and writing and a kindness to any one—that they would. other polite arts. Mrs. Skayce was, Preach? I don't recollect as any one I gather, a very rigid and terrible old made much o' the preaching in those lady. She charged twopence a week days. We mostly did w'rout it." for every child. She was a very strict
Did the people attend the church? and uncompromising dissenter, and she The impression left upon me by all made it a condition that every one of that I can pick up from tradition is the little mites, from three to six years that, at least as far down as the first old, should accompany her to the Disforty years of the century, everybody senting chapel at Dereham every Sunattended the parish church on Sunday day morning, walking two and two, mornings. Afternoon services appear
hand in hand. Think of that procesto have been rare and evening services sion of little toddlers marching solemnly were unheard of. Working in their along those two miles of dirty road, little gardens on Sunday afternoons with Mrs. Skayce and a neighbor or two appears to have been the universal like-minded with herself bringing up practice; partly because the laborers' the rear, and marching home another hours were much longer then than now, two miles when the ceremony ended and partly because on Sunday after- with "a little prayer"! noons the men had nothing else to do “How many of them were there?" but dig in their little allotments.
"Mostly about thirty of us. You reScarning had a Sunday school many member, don't you, John?" years before those valuable institutions "O'course I do! We stretched a were generally adopted in England. goodish way across Dereham marketHere it seems to have grown out of place. Some on us used to carry the what we should now call an infant little ones for a bit when they was school, which was started by the Rec- tired. But when we got near to Dereto wife and Mrs. Girling about 1810. ham old mother Skayce used to say,
“My grandmother used to keep a "Git on, children!--git on! Two and school for the little uns as was too two-two and two!' and sometimes the. young to go to the free school. And gentlefolks would stop and take notice grandmother used to teach 'em right of us, but old mother Skayce wouldn't well!
She was a wonderful good put up with it. She fared as if she scholar. Mrs. Aufrere used to pay for was a-defying the gentlefolks with her them, and Mrs. Girling she used to stern 'two and two, children-two and give 'em straw bonnets with a bit of two!'”
The youngest of the interlocutors in this little dialogue is just eighty.
Our ancient hostel, the Black Horse, which is now as well conducted roadside inn as well could be, has had a good character, I think, for some fifty or sixty years. But in the first twenty years of the century it was famous for the continual pugilistic encounters that were going on then. The old stories are almost incredible. One old woman assured me that she had known-and my impression is she told
she had seen-"as many as five couples mauling one another” in a single week.
Occasionally these fights were carried on with the most brutal ferocity, and kicking was very frequently part of the game. I have often suspected that the dreadful cases of bad legs, which were so much more common formerly among the old men than they are now, were the results of kicks on the shins given freely in the old days. Some men seem to have had quite a horrible liking for this “sport.” “Why, old X. who was dead afore you came, sir. He'd fight for a tater. But he found his master at last! There was a stranger came in one night; nobody knew who he was; and he sat down and said nothing, and they looked at him and some one said as he looked like a powerful strong sort of man, though he wasn't so very tall neither-and X. he got near him and pickt a quarrel with him. And no one knowed how it began; but before they could get into the yard that travelling-man was too quick for X., and he gripped him in his arms and flung him over the table where they was drinking, and he a’most broke his back. He never was a man no more. And while they was picking him up that stranger made off and no one knew what became of him, and no one asked, as I ever heard. But X, was a cripple for the rest of his life. Lost the use of his legs, I mean. But it took him all
ten years, though, for him to die of his hurt."
There is something not only sad and horrible about this kind of thing, but something even disgusting and revolting in the hideous callousness that fol. lowed upon familiarity with all these fierce encounters. Happily they have all passed away from among us during the last sixty or seventy years. And no wise man can be other than thankful that it is so.
But while the fear of the law has done its work in making our people incomparably more respectable and orderly than their sires, they have lost something, too. They have lost all that spontaneity which, while it led now and then to a great deal of mischief and practical joking, yet gave scope to the development of eccentricities of character and to the free play of such rollicking fun and riotous mirth as were the natural outcome of mere high spirits. Many of our elders had a few old songs which they sang over and over again at the rough merry-makings and harvest suppers. Old Harry Judd had a very favorite song entitled "The Blues," which the old folks are never tired of talking of. When he was long past seventy it was a sight to see the roguish twinkle of his sly old eyes when you mentioned his famous song. But for all my trying I never could get him to sing it to me-not a verse of it! He went so far as to chuckle at the mention of his vocal powers. But he had got ashamed of it, too; though from all I have heard, there was nothing to be ashamed of in his song. Only the time for singing had passed away, and it is and must be hard to sing with real effect a roaring old ballad in cold blood to an audience of one, and that one the parson.
Dancing has almost become a dead art in our Norfolk villages, and I do not hesitate to say that this has been a loss and not a gain among the people.
On the occasion of the Queen's Jubilee "Oh, I don't know. You must go to in 1887, some one I forget who--in- Betsy Upton. She'll tell you all about sisted on our having a dance in the him." meadow where the feasting was car- So to Betsy Upton I repaired, and a ried on. Only two oldish women and highly interesting account she gave me the son of one of them could be pre- of Bright Trollop, which I hope my vailed on to show off. But the figures readers will forgive me for introducand the turn-abouts and the Terpsi- ing in this connection. chorean "fandangles,” which they went "Who was Bright Trollop, Betsy?" through, were wonderful to see, and as “Who? He my great-grandthey warmed up to their work the dear father, and you may see his stone in the old women seemed to throw themselves churchyard. You've heard talk of back into the merry days of their youth 'Trollop's Folly'-you must ha' done!" and to forget the years that had passed On my expressing my absolute ignosince hornpipes and reels and rough rance of Mr. Bright Trollop and of his minuets were the fashion.
sayings or doings, I was favored witb As matters stand now among the following story. our country folk everybody is like everybody else, and everything that Before I tell it, however, I must needs approaches eccentricity of character is express my belief that Charles Dickens frowned upon as something not quite can hardly have been ignorant of some proper. The tremendous forces of re- of the talk about Trollop's eccentrici. pression which have been steadily at ties when he described the "Castle" in work for the last sixty or seventy years Great Expectations," which Wemmick have reduced the pleasures of the had constructed for himself with his countryfolk to a minimum, and ban- own hands at Walworth. ished from our midst those more or Probably Dickens heard the gossip less harmless diversions—from skittles about our Scarning mansion in one of upwards—which gave some outlet for his East Anglian pilgrimages. Be that the exuberant vitality of their grand- as it may. The following is a narrative fathers. As one growled out to me in of facts. his indignation at not being allowed to make a short cut across the railroad Brightmore Trollop began life as a on his way home from his work: "You carver in wood, during the first half mayn't do this, and you mayn't do that, of the eighteenth century, and attained and you mayn't do the other now; till such fame for his skill that he managed you don't know what you may do. to scrape together quite a little fortune. Them ten commandments was bad "There used to be lots o' things as enough, but there was only ten on 'em. Bright Trollop carved in the gentleWho's a-going to say what you may
folks' houses at one time. I've heerd do now? Lawk a mussy! they won't my mother talk of 'em often-sich as let you die quiet in your bed soon, chairs and great bedsteads. There was w'rout calling in the parish doctor to one beautiful great carved bedstead as say whether your time's come! Why, I remember when I was a little girl, they'd a shut up old Bright Trollop in but I can't tell what came of it.” the asylum if he'd been alive now. Having made his pile, Bright Trollop They'd ha' said he wasn't fit to take gave up his carving and settled in care of his-self, that they would!" Skeorn's Inga, about the year 1750, I pricked up my ears.
taking a farm of about a hundred acres, "Who was Bright Trollop?"
with a farmhouse that is all but the most picturesque little dwelling in the park of his, he acquired a very wide parish to this day. He took it into his renown. People used to come for miles head to lay out a garden, not on his to pay Mr. Trollop a visit. “The gentle own farm but about a quarter of a mile folk they was proud of him, I've heerd off; and I suspect he must have bought say, and they'd do anything for old the little patch of ground from one of Bright, as they called him.” Sometimes the small owners, of whom there were the old man, when he saw them comso many in those days. The farming ing, would give his house a turn. Lo! business did not give sufficient employ- There was no door and no window to ment to his active mind, and he spent be seen, for “there was a kind of a all bis spare time upon his garden. In wooden wall, as you may say, that process of time he had surrounded his fitted all round that inside chamberlittle freehold [?] with a very thick like a great overcoat of boards, as you hedge "such as no one couldn't see may say.” The would-be visitors, after through," and being a very ingenious knocking at the overcoat for a while, personage he contrived a kind of laby- would be greeted by the voice of old rinth “and gravel walks going all sorts Bright bidding them to go round to the of ways;" and he dug what he'd call a door, which they never found until he lake-"that wasn't no better nor a pit." was pleased to give his revolving house
“Yes it were! That were a pond! a turn, then the door came into sight, I've often heerd tell of the pond. That and old Bright stood looking out of the weren't no pit. Why, that weren't no window laughing at the gentlefolks. more nor a yard deep, and folks said Mr. Trollop prided himself greatly upon as he puddled it wi' clay his-self.” his gooseberries and his apples. There
The subtle distinction between a pond never were such gooseberries. But and a pit must be left. "Bright, he'd when a dish of these giants was used to call it his lake. Why, they was brought upon the table it was as likely always a-talking of Trollop's Folly as not to disappear suddenly. How, when we was young."
no one could imagine. Also In the midst of this earthly Para- there were occasions when the palace dise there was a little round house smelt very strong, indeed, of apples, which Mr. Trollop had built with his and Bright would assure his callers own hands. It had a door and a win- that there were sacks of them, and dow and was full of "all sorts of curi- any one who could find them should ous things as Bright had got together, have the very best of them to take and that got to be so heavy at last that away. Of course nobody ever did find when he was an old man he couldn't them till Bright showed them how. move it as he used."
That was part of the game. One device Move it? Was it on wheels?
of the old man he was exquisitely this palace of delights was fixed in some pleased with putting in practice. A miraculous way on a table and it turned visitor would declare that it was time upon a swivel. “Nobody never could to go home now. Then there came a make out how he did it. He was that creaking sound “of that there swivel.” crafty as he kind o' puzzled 'em all!" The party rose to go. They opened the Having exercised his genius for many door-the only door--and to their horror years upon this splendid palace and they found themselves facing the
1 As far as I can make out from my informants the little house was moved about in the same way as the sails of a windmill were swung round to catch every change of wind. The
mechanism which Trollop invented, however, was in some way concealed from view by the screeo which the overcoat afforded.
"lake,” whose wide expanse and fath- Register as “an aged farmer." Some omless depth appalled them. They of his handiwork and many of the were actually at its very edge. “Oh! trees he had planted, appear to have Mr. Trollop, we can't get out that way. remained for people to stare at and It is the wrong door. What shall we talk about till the railway ran through do?" etc., etc. Whereupon the creak- or near The Folly, and though the place ing “of that there swivel” began again; is not, and never will be, "as 'twas and the gentlefolks departed, having afore,” yet the new has, perhaps, imby some other miraculous process been proved upon the old. provided with an apple a-piece and in high spirits at their escape from the What a very dull world it will be uncanny devices of the wizard and all when there remains no more folly in it. the perils of The Folly.
What a dreary life it will be when all "Ah! But that was a wonderful picturesqueness has become eliminated; place! I've heerd the old people tell when a horrible monotony of universal all sorts of wonderful stories about conformity makes it unlawful and imTrollop's Folly. And that was a rare possible for men and women to differ pity as that wasn't kept up. But you from one another in anything; when see as the last of they Trollops, he there are no more queer characters outwent on bad and he had to go. It side the lunatic asylums; when all the was just as old Bright kind o' prophe- birds sing the same songs and dress sied, for he'd carved in big letters on
alike in the winter and in the summer; The Folly
when all the men and women speak
the same language, and all the dear When I'm dead and come no more
quaint varieties of dialect have become This place will be as 'twas afore.
eliminated, when all the dogs wag the
same tails, and-saddest consummation Brightmore Trollop died on the 27th of all-when all the elders tell the same of March, and was buried on the 30th stories, and none of these stories have of March, 1802. He is described in the any point or interest in them. The Nineteenth century.
ON BEING STYLED “PRO-BOER.”
Friend, call me what you will: no jot care I;