The Match-Making Virtues Of A Double Garden
Anne was so flurried by the military incidents attending her return home that she was
almost afraid to venture alone outside her mother's premises. Moreover, the numerous
soldiers, regular and otherwise, that haunted Overcombe and its neighbourhood, were
getting better acquainted with the villagers, and the result was that they were always
standing at garden gates, walking in the orchards, or sitting gossiping just within cottage
doors, with the bowls of their tobacco-pipes thrust outside for politeness' sake, that they
might not defile the air of the household. Being gentlemen of a gallant and most
affectionate nature, they naturally turned their heads and smiled if a pretty girl passed by,
which was rather disconcerting to the latter if she were unused to society. Every belle in
the village soon had a lover, and when the belles were all allotted those who scarcely
deserved that title had their turn, many of the soldiers being not at all particular about
half-an-inch of nose more or less, a trifling deficiency of teeth, or a larger crop of freckles
than is customary in the Saxon race. Thus, with one and another, courtship began to be
practised in Overcombe on rather a large scale, and the dispossessed young men who had
been born in the place were left to take their walks alone, where, instead of studying the
works of nature, they meditated gross outrages on the brave men who had been so good
as to visit their village.
Anne watched these romantic proceedings from her window with much interest, and
when she saw how triumphantly other handsome girls of the neighbourhood walked by
on the gorgeous arms of Lieutenant Knockheelmann, Cornet Flitzenhart, and Captain
Klaspenkissen, of the thrilling York Hussars, who swore the most picturesque foreign
oaths, and had a wonderful sort of estate or property called the Vaterland in their country
across the sea, she was filled with a sense of her own loneliness. It made her think of
things which she tried to forget, and to look into a little drawer at something soft and
brown that lay in a curl there, wrapped in paper. At last she could bear it no longer, and
'Where are you going?' said Mrs. Garland.
'To see the folks, because I am so gloomy!'
'Certainly not at present, Anne.'
'Why not, mother?' said Anne, blushing with an indefinite sense of being very wicked.
'Because you must not. I have been going to tell you several times not to go into the street
at this time of day. Why not walk in the morning? There's young Mr. Derriman would be
'Don't mention him, mother, don't!'
'Well then, dear, walk in the garden.'