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There has not been a serious offence in the vicinity for years, Miss Austen. The duties of Justice are more honoured in the breach than the observance. " "Not in Bakewell itself," Sir James replied. "But the owner of Penfolds Hall -- Mr. Charles Danforth -- has suffered grievous misfortune in recent months. He has lost no less than four children, the last a stillborn son. " "It is a wonder the people of Bakewell do not believe him cursed," I murmured. "Ah -- but they do! " Sir James looked to my cousin.

Miss Austen has sustained a shock," Mr. Hemming informed him. " Mr. Cooper exclaimed, with a look of consternation. "Not again, Jane! " BUT I WAS SAVED THE NECESSITY OF UNPLEASANT explanation some hours more. Mr. Hemming conveyed me to the relative comfort of the miller's cottage, where I was seated in a hard wooden chair by an ancient woman of obscure dialect. There I sipped some water from a chipped earthenware mug, and gazed out of the unglazed window, and felt my terror ease with the water slipping noisily over the mill-wheel's vanes.

It is a northern custom to divide the fields with stone walls, rather than the hedgerows so suitable to the flat meadows of the South. I found the practise charming, and longed for a hut among the rocks, where I might survey the entire country of a morning, and breathe the clear sweet air. We rolled on, through Ashford-in-the-Water, while my cousin Mr. Cooper was yet lost in slumber, and the sun climbed higher in the cup of sky. Near Blackwell, the road turns north and plunges into the Dale itself, a precipitous and winding drop among the crags towards the torrent of water below.

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