sailor in the Greenland fishing fleet when Waterloo was fought. He is, I am afraid,
a very sceptical person, for when I asked him about the bells at sea and the
White Lady at the abbey he said very brusquely,
"I wouldn't fash masel' about them, miss. Them things be all wore out. Mind, I
don't say that they never was, but I do say that they wasn't in my time. They be
all very well for comers and trippers, an' the like, but not for a nice young lady like
you. Them feet-folks from York and Leeds that be always eatin'cured herrin's and
drinkin' tea an' lookin' out to buy cheap jet would creed aught. I wonder masel'
who'd be bothered tellin' lies to them, even the newspapers, which is full of fool-
I thought he would be a good person to learn interesting things from, so I asked
him if he would mind telling me something about the whale fishing in the old
days. He was just settling himself to begin when the clock struck six, whereupon
he laboured to get up, and said,
"I must gang ageeanwards home now, miss. My grand-daughter doesn't like to
be kept waitin' when the tea is ready, for it takes me time to crammle aboon the
grees, for there be a many of `em, and miss, I lack belly-timber sairly by the
He hobbled away, and I could see him hurrying, as well as he could, down the
steps. The steps are a great feature on the place. They lead from the town to the
church, there are hundreds of them, I do not know how many, and they wind up
in a delicate curve. The slope is so gentle that a horse could easily walk up and
down them.
I think they must originally have had something to do with the abbey. I shall go
home too. Lucy went out, visiting with her mother, and as they were only duty
calls, I did not go.
1 August.--I came up here an hour ago with Lucy, and we had a most interesting
talk with my old friend and the two others who always come and join him. He is
evidently the Sir Oracle of them,and I should think must have been in his time a
most dictatorial person.
He will not admit anything, and down faces everybody. If he can't out-argue them
he bullies them,and then takes their silence for agreement with his views.
Lucy was looking sweetly pretty in her white lawn frock. She has got a beautiful
colour since she has been here.
I noticed that the old men did not lose any time in coming and sitting near her
when we sat down. She is so sweet with old people, I think they all fell in love
with her on the spot. Even my old man succumbed and did not contradict her, but
gave me double share instead. I got him on the subject of the legends , and he
went off at once into a sort of sermon. I must try to remember it and put it down.
"It be all fool-talk, lock, stock, and barrel, that's what it be and nowt else. These
bans an' wafts an' boh-ghosts an' bar-guests an' bogles an' all anent them is only
fit to set bairns an' dizzy women a'belderin'. They be nowt but air-blebs. They, an'
all grims an' signs an' warnin's, be all invented by parsons an' illsome berk-
bodies an' railway touters to skeer an' scunner hafflin's, an' to get folks to do
somethin' that they don't other incline to. It makes me ireful to think o' them. Why,
it's them that, not content with printin' lies on paper an' preachin' them ou t of