Carey had finished her business with the banker, she generally went upstairs to have a little chat with his sister; and while the ladies talked of parish
matters, the curate or the new bonnet of Mrs.
'Well, you know,' said the Deputy Lock, shrugging his shoulders with his hands in his pockets, and shaking his head in a sulkily ominous manner, 'the parish authorities down town will have it out of you, if you go on, you may take your Alfred David.'
'They'll make you pay, as fur as your money will go,' pursued the Deputy, 'for your relief as a Casual and for your being passed to your Parish.'
'Oh, Master, Master,' returned Betty Higden, I've fought against the Parish and fled from it, all my life, and I want to die free of it!'
You might be took with your deadness again, half a mile off--or half of half a quarter, for the matter of that--and then it would be asked, Why did that there honest Deputy Lock, let her go, instead of putting her safe with the Parish? That's what a man of his character ought to have done, it would be argueyfied,' said the Deputy Lock, cunningly harping on the strong string of her terror; 'he ought to have handed her over safe to the Parish.
But now that he was enveloped in the old calico robes which had grown yellow in the same service, he was badged and ticketed, and fell into his place at once--a parish
child--the orphan of a workhouse--the humble, half-starved drudge--to be cuffed and buffeted through the world--despised by all, and pitied by none.
Some of these days there will be an accident happen, and when the register's lost, then the parish will find out the value of my copy.' He used to take his pinch of snuff after that, and look about him as bold as a lord.
Every parish church, you know, has a vestry-clerk and a parish-clerk.
I'm not a tipplin' man nor a drunkard-- nobody can say it on me--but I like a extry quart at Easter or Christmas time, as is nat'ral when we're goin' the rounds a- singin', an' folks offer't you for nothin'; or when I'm a- collectin' the dues; an' I like a pint wi' my pipe, an' a neighbourly chat at Mester Casson's now an' then, for I was brought up i' the Church, thank God, an' ha' been a parish clerk this two-an'-thirty year: I should know what the church religion is."
You go on doing your duty, as parish clerk and sexton, as well as you've always done it, and making those capital thick boots for your neighbours, and things won't go far wrong in Hayslope, depend upon it."
"Your Reverence is very good to say so; an' I'm sensable as, you not livin' i' the parish, there's more upo' my shoulders."
Not that it was one of those barren parishes
lying on the outskirts of civilization--inhabited by meagre sheep and thinly-scattered shepherds: on the contrary, it lay in the rich central plain of what we are pleased to call Merry England, and held farms which, speaking from a spiritual point of view, paid highly-desirable tithes.
Under the church of that there parish
lie my ancestors--hundreds of 'em--in coats of mail and jewels, in gr't lead coffins weighing tons and tons.
The vicar of their pleasant rural parish was not a controversialist, but a good hand at whist, and one who had a joke always ready for a blooming female parishioner.
It was not that any harm could be said concerning the vicar of that charming rural parish to which Dorlcote Mill belonged; he was a man of excellent family, an irreproachable bachelor, of elegant pursuits,--had taken honors, and held a fellowship.