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Bristol Bells A Story of the Eighteenth Century   By: (1830-1899)

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[Illustration: THE MUNIMENT ROOM, S. MARY REDCLIFFE.]

Bristol Bells

A STORY OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

BY

EMMA MARSHALL

AUTHOR OF 'BRISTOL DIAMONDS,' 'THE TOWER ON THE CLIFF,' 'HER SEASON IN BATH,' ETC.

The budding floweret blushes at the light, The meads are dappled with the yellow hue, In daisied mantle is the mountain dight, The tender cowslip bendeth with the dew.

CHATTERTON.

LONDON SEELEY AND CO. LIMITED ESSEX STREET, STRAND 1892

PREFACE

The incidents in the life of Thomas Chatterton which are introduced into this story are gathered chiefly from Mr Masson's exhaustive essay and a biography of the poet by Mr Chatterton Dix.

In these books full details may be found of the pathetic life, misdirected genius, and tragic death of the boy poet.

Several citizens of Bristol, who are connected with his sad history, appear in the following tale; the other characters are wholly imaginary.

WOODSIDE LEIGH WOODS, CLIFTON, February 1892.

CONTENTS.

CHAP. PAGE

I. LONGING FOR FLIGHT, 1

II. THE SQUIRE, 13

III. AN ELEGY, 28

IV. THE LETTER DELIVERED, 39

V. THE ORCHARD GATE, 48

VI. THE SYMPATHY OF POVERTY, 58

VII. CONSULTATION, 68

VIII. THE SONGS OF ROWLEY THE PRIEST, 77

IX. THE POET'S FRIENDS, 87

X. A LONG RESPITE, 99

XI. CHRISTMAS AT THE FARM, 109

XII. THE FINAL BLOW, 118

XIII. AN UNSUCCESSFUL SUIT, 128

XIV. ON THE HILLSIDE, 137

XV. THE LAST EVENING, 152

XVI. FORGIVENESS, 164

XVII. THE LAST, 176

Bristol Bells

CHAPTER I

LONGING FOR FLIGHT.

'Grandfather! I want to speak to you; please listen.'

'Well, who said I would not listen? But speak up, Biddy.'

The old man put his hand to his ear, and his granddaughter leaned over the back of his chair.

'Don't call me Biddy, grandfather. I am Bryda.'

'Bryda! Phew! Your poor mother was called Biddy, and you ain't better than she was that I know of.'

'Well, never mind; but this is what I want to say, and Betty is quite of my mind. Do let me go to Bristol. Jack Henderson heard old Mrs Lambert say she would like a bright, sharp girl to help her in the house, and I am bright and sharp, grandfather!'

'I daresay, and make you a drudge!'

'No; I shouldn't be a drudge. I should be treated well, and you know Mrs Lambert is a relation.'

'Relation! that's very pretty, when she has taken no heed of you for years. No, no; stay at home, Biddy, and put such silly stuff out of your head. Goody Lambert may find somebody else not my granddaughter. Come! it's about supper time. Where's Bet? She doesn't want to gad about; she knows when she is well off.'

Bryda pouted, and darted out of the large parlour of Bishop's Farm into the orchard, where the pink and white blossoms of the trees were all smiling in the westering sunshine of the fair May evening.

The level rays threw gleams of gold between the thickly serried ranks of the old trees many of them with gnarled, crooked branches, covered with white lichen some, more recently planted, spreading out straight boughs the old and young alike all covered with the annual miracle of the spring's unfailing gift of lovely blossoms, which promised a full guerdon of fruit in after days.

In and out amongst the trees Bryda threaded her way, sometimes brushing against one of the lower boughs, which shed its pink and white petals on her fair head as she passed... Continue reading book >>




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