Chapter 39665315

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberI
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1898-04-23
Page Number2
Word Count767
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleLaunceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)
Trove TitleThe Children in the Snow. A True Story
article text

FOR THE CHILDREN. THE CHILDREN IN THE SNOW. iA Triue Story. CHAPTER I. More than half a celntury ago the little valley of Easedale, -in the Lake district, was the scene 'of certain curi ous and tragical occurrences, which eaccite;l mich interest and commisera tion. Easedale has been describcd as one of the, most impressive solitudes amongst th'e Westmorelanlid mountains. Possibly change.,hlas since.come to it, but for merly only" .iome half-dozen houses were scattei'ed about the floor of the valley, and its miniature fields and meadows were divided and parcelled otat, now by thick. heildgerows, now by little sparkling bi'ooks or "becks," not too, broad for a child to leap across, and now by close lines and groups of wild growiirng'birch,' alder, holly, mountaiin ash, and hazel, that broke up the level look of the land, drid cheered the winter season by the bright, scarlet of their berries.: The humid climate gave a lain-like appearance to: the small fields, and a-barrier 'of mountains, their heads usually muffled in mists, screened the valley from the winds, while practically they permitted ap proach to' it but fronm one quarter- :Grasmere. Other access, might be ob tained by miles tand miles' of rough walking and. steep climbing ovier the mountains, but there was little to en courage enterprise and exertion of this descriptiron. Eascdalev was only a beau ful little valley among the mountains, and as a rule no one ever attempt.ed to enter its precincts but by the pathwty frontm Grasmere. In this solitude dwelt George and Sarah Green, homely, hardworking peasant people, with a numerous family of young children. They were respected in theo' neighb'ourhood for their iin dustry, for' the contentment with which they sustained their trying lot, and for the decency and propriety with which they managed to' maintain their 'children and to send thenih comfortably attired to the parish school at Gras mere. It was the' winter-time; the snow lay thick upon the ground. There was little to induce people to wander far from their homes and hearths. But life was monotonous iii the Lake dis trict.' Any small unusual .matter in such a, dearth of events was entitled to rank as a thing of importance. A sale of domestic furniture had been an noinced- to take -place at the house of of some proprietor in La:ngdale, at a distance; from the dottage of the Greens of about five or. six miles-the journey ing being'niade by daylight, and the mist upon the hills not. obscuring the footwavy. A sale was an 'occurrence of much interest thereabout. It was the custom for the whole: neighbourhood to assemble en " such' an occasion-not necessarily to,makes prchamses, but at any rate to look on and take an inte rest in such purchases . as might be made. The a~uction was regarted as a kind of social rendezvous, at which people separated by many miles of mountain land might encoutter each uther, and interchange news and rural gossip. But for some such meetings the dwellers in the different valleys of the district might not have heard of each other for months-perhaps years. Then open house was kept at these sales. It was to attend a sale of this kind the Greens had journe.ycd from their cottage. They probably would not have withheld their presence for any consideration. It would have been un neighbourly to have stayed away. They would, perhaps, have affronted their friends by so doing, to, say nothing of depriving themselves of much-prized entertainment; but it was long past sunset when the auction had con eluded, and the time arrived for gene ral separation. The Greens were lowly people, and their presence was not much regarded. Only it was .femem bered afterwards that remonstra.uces had arisen from various quarters as to the intention of the Greens to retrace their path of thel morning, and to de scend into EEaseda.le over the mountains above Langdalehead. The' opposition to their plan was not likely -to- have beein very obstinate. All the guests were busy about their own departure. The meeting gradually melted and dis persed-"scaled off" as the northern phrase has it. Besides, the Greens were mature, steady people. They kniw the country'if anybody did. They were n'otto be surpassed in local iniformation, at any rate.- Still it was said that prdfesedito follow the counsel of crt-aiia of their fi-Bhmns, ini rearnrd to the choice of roads,. and in a'oidaonce of thee:most perilous paths. They were .last sseta, however, by the atendanits at the sale.quitting the rude casrriage vway, abid"in:'a,~fl for the steep 'side of .the mountain' .. ;