Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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108               Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
possessed, and which was Mrs. Colly's boast—for they could all read and write, and she could do neither—is another mystery that we must leave unsolved.
But there was a still greater mystery connected with Mr. and Mrs. Colly: a mystery that made at once the glory and the misery of their latter days. Nay, gentle reader! do not suppose we are going to indulge you in your love of the sensational. We have no tale of murder or robbery or treasure-trove to tell you. These poor people's lives were absolutely destitute of incident: and yet there was a tragical interest in what we are going to relate. It lay in this: Besides having brought up and educated a large family, without help from the parish, this Sussex cottager and his wife had "put by" a hundred pounds! Do not smile! You cannot, perhaps, conceive the amount of labour and privation that that £ 1oo represented. You cannot imagine the depth of joy that it gave, or the magnitude of care and anxiety that it imposed on its possessors. The millionaire may be so rich that he could not, if he wished, cast up the sum of his riches, but he is not, nor ever will be, so rich as the Sussex cottager who has " put by" from his earnings one hundred pounds! And then the care and trouble that attended on that treasure— where to keep it whilst it was being saved, and what to do with it when it was saved; who can sum that up?
Well, our Sussex cotters, like richer people, found a way, or rather had a way found for them. The hundred pounds was disposed of—" invested, the wise it call "—in plain language, was got rid of, chiefly through the medium of a favourite daughter whose husband was not well off, and partly through a Building Society, by the aid of which Mrs. Colly hoped some day to live in a house of her own.
We confess we could never understand the right and the wrong of the matter, though we listened to the history of it a hundred times, except to arrive at this conclusion: that the money was gone—irretrievably gone—as much as though it lay at the bottom of the sea—or more so.
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