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Chapter 32
1802---This September I was invited to devastate the moors of a friend in the north, and
on my journey to his abode, I unexpectedly came within fifteen miles of Gimmerton. The
hostler at a roadside public house was holding a pail of water to refresh my horses, when
a cart of very green oats, newly reaped, passed by, and he remarked:
"Yon's frough Gimmerton, nah! They're allas three wick after other folk wi' ther harvest."
"Gimmerton?" I repeated---my residence in that locality had already grown dim and
dreamy. "Ah! I know. How far is it from this?"
"Happen fourteen mile o'er th' hills; and a rough road," he answered.
A sudden impulse seized me to visit Thrushcross Grange. It was scarcely noon, and I
conceived that I might as well pass the night under my own roof as in an inn. Besides, I
could spare a day easily to arrange matters with my landlord, and thus save myself the
trouble of invading the neighbourhood again. Having rested awhile, I directed my servant
to enquire the way to the village; and, with great fatigue to our beasts, we managed the
distance in some three hours.
I left him there, and proceeded down the valley alone. The grey church looked grayer,
and the lonely churchyard lonelier. I distinguished a moor sheep cropping the short turf
on the graves. It was sweet, warm weather---too warm for travelling; but the heat did not
hinder me from enjoying the delightful scenery above and below: had I seen it nearer
August, I'm sure it would have tempted me to waste a month among its solitudes. In
winter nothing more dreary, in summer nothing more divine, than those glens shut in by
hills, and those bluff, bold swells of heath.
I reached the Grange before sunset, and knocked for admittance; but the family had
retreated into the back premises, I judged, by one thin, blue wreath curling from the
kitchen chimney, and they did not hear. I rode into the court. Under the porch, a girl of
nine or ten sat knitting, and an old woman reclined on the house-steps, smoking a
meditative pipe.
"Is Mrs. Dean within?" I demanded of the dame.
"Mistress Dean? Nay!" she answered, "shoo doesn't bide here: Shoo's up at th' Heights."
"Are you the housekeeper, then?" I continued.
"Eea, aw keep th' house," she replied.