‘Here, lass, I’ll gi’ thee that.’
In a moment Milly’s eyes flashed light, and the bloom of the moorland flower reflected itself in the blush of her cheeks. Throwing up both hands, and wild with a tide of new life, she cried:
‘Nurse! nurse! Sithee—a yethbob—a yethbob!’
From that hour commenced Milly’s convalescence. What medicine and nursing failed to accomplish was carried to a successful issue by ‘a tuft of heather.’ For Milly did not die—indeed, she still lives; and although unable to roam and romp the moors that lie in great sweeps around her cottage home, she sits and looks at ‘th’ angels’ een’—as she still calls the stars—believing that in those heavenly watchers are the eyes that slumber not, nor sleep.
Owd Enoch’s flute.
It was a sunny afternoon in June, and old Enoch, sitting in the shade of the garden bushes, called forth sweet tones from his flute. No score was before him; that from which he played was scored on his heart. Being in that sweet mood when
Bring sad thoughts to the mind,’
he was living over again, in the melodies that he played, his chequered past. Forms moved before him to the music, and faces, long since dust, smiled at him, and held converse with him, as the plaintive notes rose and fell and died away. Winds, sweetened by their sweep over miles of ling and herbage, and spiced with the scents of the garden-flowers that like a zone of colour encircled him, kissed his lips, and stole therefrom his melodies, bearing them onwards to the haunts of the wild fowl, or letting them fall where brooklets from the hills sang their silvery songs. Along the path by which he sat, all fringed with London-pride, the leaves spread dappled shadows—a mosaic of nature fit for the tread of angels or the dance of fairy sprites. Beyond the fence that fringed the little cottage rolled great waves of upland, shimmering in the heat of the midsummer glare—that hot breathing of the earth when wooed too fiercely by her wanton paramour, the sun—while the horizon discovered lines of dreamy sweep all crowned with haze, the vestibules to other hills grander and more distant.
As the afternoon passed its golden hours, it passed them in companionship with the notes of old Enoch’s flute. Oblivious to the time, oblivious to the surroundings, the musician heard not an approaching step, nor knew that a listener stood behind the garden bushes, with ear responsive to his melodies. How long he would have played, how long his listener would have remained undiscovered, it is hard to say—perhaps until the dews fell and the stars glimmered. This was not to be, however, for forth from the cottage door came his wife, who, with voice drowning the strain of the flute, cried:
‘Enoch, owd lad! dun yo’ see th’ parson?’