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self, and make haste, too, as it wanted less than an hour to the time appointed for commencement. Pen and Miss Blanchard could repair their toilets at the vicarage hard by.
Bessie hurried out of church, and went to the back, where the lichen-crowned, moss-sutured wall overlooked a little shelving valley which received the Brentbrook, before it entered the Prior's lands. Leaning on this wall the little
. girl wept some very bitter tears, regardless of how they fell on sarçanet or frill. It's very foolish to weep, and weeping is so often due to folly; but our folly is so continuous, that with most of us the habit ceases at an early age. Bessie had been very foolish, no doubt. Let it be forgiven her, for she wept some very sad tears. Her elaborate toilette had been condemned, and her elaborate diction, she suspected, had been ridiculed. He had been there and taken no notice of her. The people round him were disagreeable, proud people, and he was as disagreeable and prouder. Yes, he did look proud ; but he might have smiled or nodded. What was the use of her striving to make herself clever and genteel? what was the use of being good ? and what was the use of anything? She was young, and had a vague knowledge of the fact; but henceforth, throughout her life, what could she do? Her “ studies ” made people disagreeable at home, and gained no respect from anybody else. The “studies ” must be given up, and through all the long years there must be nothing but cooking, and washing, and sewing in alternate but monotonous variety. What did he mean by slighting her? Of course, he was a gentleman, and above her ; but-and here her hand felt for the brooch which had offended Miss Damer's severe ecclesiástical taste. She should hate him now for evermore. What ought she to do first? When people were not friends” with people they must do something, or there is no just satisfaction. She would throw his presents away. Here she took off the scarf, and fastened the brooch in it. No-she would send
them back, or, what would be better, she would write to him and tell him to fetch the unhappy things away. Yes, that would be much better. She would write him a disagreeable note, like her father used to get from Mr. Blanchard's clerk, and then he might come for the brooch and the scarf, and then she would know how to treat him, and then
“Bessie ! Miss Saunders,” said Sid, who had followed her, and was touched by the picture of childish sorrow her face presented. “You have been crying. You know Miss Damer has strict notions on some points. She would not wish to say anything to pain you."
Here Bessie's bottom lip curled outward, and, dropping the kerchief she held, she pressed the backs of her hands to her eyes in an unmistakeably infantine manner. Perhaps, on some other occasion, Sid would have behaved better towards the grief-stricken girl ; but somehow an idea of personal responsibility, and of the dangerous effect of thoughtless words and actions had possessed him ; he simply lifted the scarf from the turf and offered it to her, with the remark that she had better dry her tears, as church time was approaching and it would look childish. Dropping her hands she looked with some irritation at Sid, and took the proffered kerchief; her eyelids remained charged with tears, for she did not use it, but threw it away to where it caught over one of the poles of those bedstead-looking grave-boards. This done, she walked away without speaking.
(To be continued.)
The Last Kentish Rebellion.
KENT, although the most loyal of counties has had more than its fair share of rebellions, but of all the risings against the powers that were, the most singular was that which some fifty years ago opposed civilians to military force. This rising has many of the elements of a comedy, but unfortunately ended too tragically and had too many sad episodes to allow us to speak very lightly of it. In most Kentish rebellions the opposition to constituted authority has come from the more intelligent classes. Classes which had capacity enough to understand wrongs, and courage enough to attempt to right them according to their lights. In the émeute which a couple of generations ago stained the furze and ferns of Bossenden Wood with Kentish blood, the cause was utterly contemptible and the agents still more despicable. But to understand this
. cause and these agents, we must go back a few years to the date of the first Reform Bill.
In August, 1832, an eccentric individual made his appearance at Canterbury and put up at the Rose Inn in that city. Soon the citizens became aware of the fact that they had a great man among them, no less a being than the Count Rothschin Rothschild. The waiter at the Rose declared it, and the landlord affirmed it. It was true that the count, although much given to Scripture dissertation, was rather short of money, but he had £10,000 in bullion in London waiting to be sent for, and the confiding waiter at the Rose, who had saved a little money, was only too glad to advance his lordship sufficient for current needs, on the strength of a promise of an estate or a pension, or both, from the illustrious and pious stranger.
But the stranger proved to be still more illustrious. As Count Rothschild he was only known as a foreign noble, but soon it was learned, from the sympathetic waiter, that the guest of the Rose was an English nobleman, or ought to be, by the title of Lord Courtney of Powderham Castle, near which ancestral mansion was situated the small estate which his lordship had in his eye for the domestic of the Rose, who was calmly contented with the vision of a blissful future where
a travellers should cease from troubling and waiters be at rest. Shortly, however, it appeared that a misconception had arisen. The illustrious stranger explained that he was not Lord Courtney, but Sir William P. Honeywood Courtney, but who would, if he had his rights, which he was still striving for, be no less a personage than the Earl of Devon.
To look at him he might have been anybody, and his appearance had doubtless as much influence on himself as on others. He looked a man of about thirty-five (he told the people he was two thousand years old), rather above the middle size, broad-shouldered, with a muscular but supple and well-knit frame, and with an easy carriage and perfect selfpossession. His hair was dark, parted in the middle (a somewhat striking arrangement in those days), cut short in front, but descending behind in long ringlets. He had a bushy beard, whiskers, and long moustache ; his eyes were small and restless, but the features were very regular and might indeed be called handsome. He was said at the time to be very like the portraits of the Saviour painted by the earlier Italian schools, a presentment which his style of hair tended to perfect, although the eyes and forehead were too mean to compare with the figures of Raphael's ideal canvases.
There are men now living in various parts of Kent who can very well remember the excitement which this visitor caused, his grotesque dresses, and fervid speeches, and singular actions. Many people in Canterbury regarded him with a mixture of awe and enthusiasm, deeming him as one either endowed with great wealth, or as an inspired delegate from above; in either case he was a man considered worth knowing and supporting, from either a temporal or a spiritual point of view.
An election, the first under the new Reform Bill, took place in Canterbury, in December, 1832, and many of the citizens were somewhat shocked and troubled when Sir William P. H. Courtney, knight of Malta, was nominated as a candidate. His platform was a strange one, but strange as it was, it was
sufficiently sweeping and benevolent to secure not a few adherents. Mr. Watson polled 850, Lord Fordwich 820, while Sir W. Courtney polled 374. Although rejected by the city he did not discontinue his activity and prodigal promises. A few days after the election he went over from Dover to Boulogne in an open boat, and returned, after a few hairbreadth 'scapes, to Canterbury.
The next scene moves a little north. In February, 1833, a smuggling vessel had been chased round the North Foreland by a revenue cutter, and after a chase, during which the pursued vessel threw three contraband casks overboard, the bold mariners who had illegally brought spirits across the vasty deep, were seized and taken to Chatham, where they were tried for smuggling. At this point Sir W. P. H. Courtney somewhat unexpectedly appeared, acting for the defence, and in one case volunteering evidence. He swore that he had followed the revenue cutter from Deal in an open boat, and that the casks which the smugglers were alleged to have thrown overboard, were in situ before either vessel approached the spot where they were found. Sir William was not believed, the smugglers were convicted, and it was soon known in Canterbury that the Government intended to prosecute the Knight of Malta for perjury.
On this, the waiter at the Rose beginning to feel heart-sick at deferred hope, and doubtful as to the divine mission of the knight, became pressing for the money he had advanced to the prospective proprietor of Powderham Castle, and disliking the way in which his importunities were met by Bible quotations, made no more ado, but charged the gallant gentleman with obtaining money under false pretences. Amid much excitement Sir William was committed for trial at the City Sessions, but, at the instance of the counsel for the prosecution, the defendant was released on recognisances, the trial for perjury being still pending.
At the end of July in that year he was brought up at Maidstone for trial on the charge of perjury, and although Captain Gordon, R.N., Mr. Francis, and half-a-dozen others, gave evidence as to his character, and although his counsel explained that the defendant was not to be judged by northern standards, inasmuch as he “had slept in the tent of the Arab and braved the scimetar of the Turk," the hon. "knight" was convicted, and sentenced by Mr. Justice Parke to three months' imprisonment and seven years' transportation. Sir William, however, did not live seven years, but unfortunately Kent had not yet heard the last of him.
This rather severe sentence had the effect of drawing the
attention of the authorities to his case, and after being imprisoned a little while the Knight of Malta was removed to Barming Heath Asylum as a certified lunatic. It now transpired that Sir William was the son of a Mr. Thom, and had been a spirit merchant and malster in Truro, Cornwall, from which place he had mysteriously disappeared about 1830.
Four years after his consignment to Barming Asylum, his father and step-mother, having secured the interest of one or two local members of parliament, interviewed Lord John Russell, then Home Secretary, who ordered the release of Sir William, alias John Nicholls Thom, on condition that the father should exercise due control and supervision over his son, in view of a fresh outbreak of insanity. Mr. Thom gave the required promise, but seemed unable to keep it, for “ Sir William was soon heard of again in the neighbourhood of Canterbury. His excesses proved, however, too much for the tolerance of one of his chief supporters, Mr. Francis, of Boughton, with whom he had been living, and Sir William, about the beginning of 1838, retired to the farm house of one Culver, who lived at Bossenden Farm.
Whilst at this place the knight developed extravagances which had been less prominent during his residence with Mr. Francis. There was much soreness felt against the new Poor Law at the time, and Sir William, who delighted to be a leader of men, found plenty of material at hand with which to form a band of devoted followers, Bossenden Farm becoming the central propaganda of a new faith which was to reduce social inequalities in this world and the next, to provide a competence to all who held “the truth,” and to assure them of ultimate salvation. He secured a number of followers in the Blean, the women, it is said, being his most enthusiastic supporters, and early in May preparations were made for "a demonstration," the object of which cannot now be well defined, nor probably could they have been defined by any one who took part in it.
"Sir William,” however, provided himself with pistols and shot and a huge cavalry sword, which was carefully sharpened, and a flag of white and blue with a rampant lion, worked probably by the fair fingers of valour-loving damsels, was furnished for the expedition.
On Sunday, May 27th, a few of his followers were anointed by him at a well in Waterham to make them invulnerable, and on the Monday “Sir William " left Culver's farm at Boughton attended by an increasing number of devotees. A loaf of bread was divided and placed on a pole, and, thus headed, the procession went through Fairbrook to Goodnestone, near Faversham, Courtney directing it on a horse covered with an