Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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The Sussex Cottage- Wife.                109
And here lay the seat of Mrs. Colly's domestic mystery: that hundred pounds, to her mind, was as much in existence as when it lay in good gold and silver at the bottom of a worsted stocking! She had never spent that money—she had never thrown it away, or lost it, or been robbed of it, according to her notion of throwing away or losing or robbing. She had only lent it or invested it, and, accordingly, the hundred pounds was in existence, and was her's and nobody else's!
It would have been a cruel thing to undeceive her, though we doubt if any one could have done that. The saving of that £100 had entered too much into her life—had been the centre round which too many joys and hopes and cares had grown, to be rooted up. And we verily believe the old lady died in the full belief that she—not her husband, though he survived her—not her daughter or daughter's husband, who had borrowed it—not the little building speculation that had swallowed up a good deal of it—was the owner of that £"100, but she—good, honest, hard-working, simple Mrs. Colly!
Our Sussex cottage-wife was a woman of strong affections, or she could not have brought up that large family so well " from a month up'ards." And when boys and girls were grown up and were " doing for themselves," she turned her affections towards her cow. Her husband was a taciturn, eccentric old man—not unlike an old withered crab-apple tree—who never uttered a syllable if he could help it, and who had strange notions of dieting himself on horse-raddish and such-like things. His wife did her duty by him ; but as to love! There might have been a time for such a word ; but it was gone, like the hundred pounds; and now the chief object of Mrs. Colly's affection was her cow. Yes, she had a cow, and not only lived by it, but for it. It was husband, children, friends, neighbours, all! She talked to it, kissed it, fondled it, fed it, and suffered no one else to milk it. She would lead it through the green lanes and let it browse on the road-side grass, lovingly watching it. Its shed was much
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