"Why, what's up in your pretty village, landlord?" he continued, getting down.
"There seems to be quite a stir."
"It's a Methodis' preaching, sir; it's been gev hout as a young woman's a-going to
preach on the Green," answered Mr. Casson, in a treble and wheezy voice, with
a slightly mincing accent. "Will you please to step in, sir, an' tek somethink?"
"No, I must be getting on to Rosseter. I only want a drink for my horse. And what
does your parson say, I wonder, to a young woman preaching just under his
"Parson Irwine, sir, doesn't live here; he lives at Brox'on, over the hill there. The
parsonage here's a tumble-down place, sir, not fit for gentry to live in. He comes
here to preach of a Sunday afternoon, sir, an' puts up his hoss here. It's a grey
cob, sir, an' he sets great store by't. He's allays put up his hoss here, sir, iver
since before I hed the Donnithorne Arms. I'm not this countryman, you may tell
by my tongue, sir. They're cur'ous talkers i' this country, sir; the gentry's hard
work to hunderstand 'em. I was brought hup among the gentry, sir, an' got the
turn o' their tongue when I was a bye. Why, what do you think the folks here says
for 'hevn't you?'--the gentry, you know, says, 'hevn't you'--well, the people about
here says 'hanna yey.' It's what they call the dileck as is spoke hereabout, sir.
That's what I've heared Squire Donnithorne say many a time; it's the dileck, says
"Aye, aye," said the stranger, smiling. "I know it very well. But you've not got
many Methodists about here, surely--in this agricultural spot? I should have
thought there would hardly be such a thing as a Methodist to be found about
here. You're all farmers, aren't you? The Methodists can seldom lay much hold
"Why, sir, there's a pretty lot o' workmen round about, sir. There's Mester Burge
as owns the timber-yard over there, he underteks a good bit o' building an'
repairs. An' there's the stone-pits not far off. There's plenty of emply i' this
countryside, sir. An' there's a fine batch o' Methodisses at Treddles'on--that's the
market town about three mile off--you'll maybe ha' come through it, sir. There's
pretty nigh a score of 'em on the Green now, as come from there. That's where
our people gets it from, though there's only two men of 'em in all Hayslope: that's
Will Maskery, the wheelwright, and Seth Bede, a young man as works at the
"The preacher comes from Treddleston, then, does she?"
"Nay, sir, she comes out o' Stonyshire, pretty nigh thirty mile off. But she's a-
visitin' hereabout at Mester Poyser's at the Hall Farm--it's them barns an' big
walnut-trees, right away to the left, sir. She's own niece to Poyser's wife, an'
they'll be fine an' vexed at her for making a fool of herself i' that way. But I've