He dashed into the place, and drew up at the house where several persons were collected.
As he came up, a singular group issued forth: a man with a pig-whip, driving four children--the eldest not above seven years old--and carrying an infant in his arms. The little imps were clad in shoes, night-gowns, night-caps, and a blanket apiece, and were shivering and whining at being turned out of bed into the night air.
Ransome asked the man what was the matter
One of the by-standers laughed, and said, satirically, Ousely dam was to burst that night, so all the pigs and children were making for the hill.
The man himself, whose name was Joseph Galton, explained more fully.
"Sir," said he, "my wife is groaning, and I am bound to obey her. She had a dream last night she was in a flood, and had to cross a plank or summut. I quieted her till supper; but then landlord came round and warned all of us of a crack or summut up at dam. And so now I am taking this little lot up to my brother's. It's the foolishest job I ever done: but needs must when the devil drives, and it is better so than to have my old gal sour her milk, and pine her suckling, and maybe fret herself to death into the bargain."
Ransome seized on the information, and rode on directly to the village inn. He called the landlord out, and asked him what he had been telling the villagers. Was there any thing seriously amiss up at the reservoir?
"Nay, I hope not," said the man; "but we got a bit of a fright this afternoon. A young man rode through, going down to Hillsborough, and stopped here to have his girth mended; he had broke it coming down our hill. While he was taking a glass he let out his errand; they had found a crack in the embankment, and sent him down to Hillsborough to tell Mr. Tucker, the engineer. Bless your heart, we should never have known aught about it if his girth hadn't broke." He added, as a reason for thinking it was not serious that Mr. Tucker had himself inspected the dam just before tea-time, and hadn't even seen the crack. It was a laboring man who had discovered it, through crossing the embankment lower down than usual. "But you see, sir," said he, in conclusion, "we lie very low here, and right in the track; and so we mustn't make light of a warning. And, of course, many of the workmen stop here and have their say; and, to tell you the truth, one or two of them have always misliked the foundation that embankment is built on: too many old landslips to be seen about. But, after all, I suppose they can empty the dam, if need be; and, of course, they will, if there is any danger. I expect Mr. Tucker up every minute."
to have a good idea of time, was employed to strike the
Maggie hastened out, and said to Tom; “Father is lying
Mr. Tulliver had been going down in it; and in Mrs. Deane’s
“Well, well,” said Mr. Tulliver, “if he’s good
Max realized that he must lower his head if he would follow.
at the first movement of the sword. “You’ll hurt yourself;