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sion, you could not have been always right," answered Ryecroft.
Tremaine bit his lip, and for a time it was a hit ; for it was in vain that he thought of explaining the nature of a systematic opposition, which made every question the same: such a boor, he supposed, could not understand it.
Thinking from his silence that he had hit harder than he had, Ryecroft went on: “ To tell you the truth, Squire Tremaine, I am not one of them that thinks Government always in the wrong; though I pay a mort of taxes, too; but I'm for George against all his enemies, whether at home or abroadwhether they be French or English.”
“ This is too silly,” said Tremaine, in a low voice to Evelyn; and then in a louder tone continued, " Why, my good man, do you suppose I'm an enemy to the king, because I oppose bad ministers?"
“ How do I know they are bad?”' returned Ryecroft, roughly : “ others might be worse !"
“ My fate is decided, I see," said Tremaine again to Evelyn; and looking after the horses, added, shall be late home, and gain nothing here."
“ Hear the farmer out,” replied the doctor; assure you he speaks the sense of most of this parish.” “ And of the next too,” added Ryecroft, rubbing
his hands; for he liked a dish of politics as well as any of his betters, and read two evening papers regularly in the week. He then begged them not to be in a hurry, and asked if they would stay where they were, or adjourn to the parlour.
“Oh, here, by all means," said Tremaine.
“ But I must fetch you some ale,” he continued, " and though it may be a bold word, I'll venture to say it's as good as Woodington can shew, for its life.”
Tremaine assured him he never drank ale.
“ So much the worse for you, perhaps,” rejoined the farmer; “ for, excuse my freedom” (looking at him), “you don't look well, not half so ruddy as
Tremaine bowed, and wished himself at home, at Belmont, at the devil, or any where but where he was; but Evelyn sitting down, and Georgina saying she would go and find Mrs. Ryecroft, he had nothing left but to sit down too.
The farmer being forbidden by his rector to fetch any ale, would not however lose his politics.
“ Squire Tremaine” he continued - " but I hope" (looking at Evelyn) “I'm not making too bold.”
" I'll answer for it," said Evelyn. Tremaine again bowed.
« Well then," he went on, 56 with your leave, Squire Tremaine, I would wish to know what you thought of them Nottingham people ?”
“ Why that they were poor, misled, and starving," replied Tremaine; 6 much oppressed, and therefore to be pitied.”
“ I grant you, to be pitied,” rejoined the farmer, “ because we pity them that deserve to be hanged; but did you think them justifiable? how did you vote?”
“ I'm glad that I am not with one of my constituents," said Tremaine; “in truth, my good friend, I did not vote at all; though I do not know the particular question upon which you are catechizing me.
" I mean,” replied the farmer," the question to make it a, hanging matter to force them oaths as they did down our throats. I shall never forget their catching me as I was coming from Nottingham, and with pistols and horsewhips obliged me (God forgive me !) to swear I would never reveal any thing about them, even though they committed murder: and we know that they did commit a many murders in those parts. Now the ministry did very right, in my mind, to make this hanging, without stopping for much of a debate; and yet some of the patriots, as you gentlemen calls yourselves and one another, said it was wrong to be in a hurry, and that there ought to have been more arguing about it. Arguing, indeed ! when our throats might all be cut in the meantime. The upshot is, excuse my boldness, that if you voted
against this, or did not vote at all, which is as bad, why you and I don't agree, Squire, that's all; I hope no offence.”
Tremaine assured him he was not offended—that every one had a right to his opinion.
“ Why that's right,” said Ryecroft ; "only I was a saying, that this was the sort of thing that made me never trust a man the more, for saying he was for the country, only because he was against the government; as you did just now.”
Evelyn smiled. In fact the farmer had got upon his favourite topic—his adventure with the oathmakers,—which he always said had nearly cost him his life; and, as he had a horror of assassination, he was not easily silenced. Strange, however, as it may seem, the reproaches he had cast upon Tremaine put him into better humour with that gentleman; for, rough as he was, he respected all his şuperiors, provided they did not attempt to carry things by force; observing, there must always be proper subordination—a governor and a governed --a master and a servant-and, what was not the least favourite part of the classification, a husband and wife. All had rights too, he said, although in the two latter classes he was not very liberal in allowing them.
Be that as it may, at bottom he respected Tremaine as a gentleman, and his superior, as his
fathers before him (who had all been Tories, from the days of King William) had been in the habit of doing towards Tremaine's family; and he began to feel that he had used his English liberty of speech with sufficient freedom.
As Tremaine's contempt, too, did not shew itself, he took his silence for proof of his own victory, and insensibly, in the true English style, grew better friends with him, as one he had vanquished. With these feelings he exclaimed; “ Squire Tremaine, I hope you will excuse my being so downright; but you know us English think we have a right to speak upon politics: and you yourself say I have a right to my own opinion, which is very true, and shews that your having been so long over the sea has not spoilt you. Now, I confess the truth, I thought it had; and when you sent to me by a whipper-snapper
of lawyer, who I can't abide, to get my consent to the inclosure, which you did not choose to ask for yourself, why d'ye see, I refused him plump.”
“ I know you did," said Tremaine, surprised at what might be coming.
" Why then you see, too, I'll make up for it now, although you and I can never set our horses together about the nation, I see that."
“ What am I to understand by this ?” asked Tremaine.
Why that our worthy rector there, Squire