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it would prevent my loving Him. As for Peveril, she knew I was not so stupid as to fail to notice his patience : he never grumbled or became fretful in his wretched toothaches, but bore them in silence. When he fell clattering downstairs or got stung all over, he never cried, but picked himself up apologetically, and ignored his bruises or bumps. He did not blame the stairs for causing his fall : I should have kicked each step with vehement resentment of its treachery.
BESIDES the people we knew at Llanberwyn there were others whom we only saw.
For instance, a stoutish copper-coloured lady, with big gold hoops in her much bigger ears, and raiment of great splendour and great range of colour. She was fond of sunning herself in the road where I was taken to walk, but brandished a minute parasol of lavender silk, octagonal, with a deep fringe like a bed-valence; she clanked with bracelets, and had gold brooches as big round as the top of a tumbler ; also a waistbelt (doubtless of pure gold) clasped with crown jewels. She often patted my head with a large hand in a grass-green kid glove and called me (I understood) a Piccadilly. And that (I also understood) was because she was a Macaroon. I thought her a very large one, but though partial to them (Miss Minshall often had them for tea), I felt no cannibalistic desire to eat her. That she herself was of cannibal descent I thought only too probable ; though personally she was amiable and smiling to a degree. She did not live at Llanberwyn, but was staying at "The Hand,” having crossed to Europe in search of consolation for a wealthy husband--not very recently departed, I should judge by her puce
bonnet (with pink flowers inside), her ruby satin skirt, and her russet-brown velvet mantle. She once enquired if I liked toys, and I
sure she was longing-warm-hearted creature as she was-to buy me half a dozen. But my unhesitating reply that I should prefer a little live pig discouraged her, as she doubted whether my Mamma would approve-a doubt strongly confirmed by Mazy. Mazy was the only nurse I ever remember, and she was only, I think, a sort of day-boarder ; she was quite delightful, and I was sure she was really an angel in spite of her Welsh accent, except on that one occasion when I was a little displeased with her interference between me and my pig. I longed to bring that pig up, in my bed, where I could so easily have fed it on ricepudding-which I detested, but believed to be eminently nutritious. It was my firm intention to put its tail in curl-papers every night-but Mazy smashed my dream to atoms; in which capacity she has had innumerable successors to this day.
Once, too, we saw a whole cavalcade of gypsies pass through the village under our windows, and the impression they made on me was so deep and lasting that “Dromina was the result nearly fifty years afterwards. There were at least seventy of them, and they were not at all the dirty poverty-stricken creatures, almost like tramps, that I find people usually associating with the idea of gypsies. They were all well dressed in an outlandish, picturesque fashion, and the women and children all rode on sleek mules ; some of the men were also riding, while some led the mules by their bridles : the harness was of good leather, bright with brass, instead of being mere rope ; and we were told that the King and Queen of the Gypsies were among them. I, at all events, believed it instantly, and fixed on a handsome and rather proud-looking couple as their Majesties. At Gracechurch, five years or so later, I came across the same sort of gypsies again : for one winter a whole camp of them settled down in a big field, duly rented, outside the town, and remained for several weeks, and we
visited them and found them very interesting. The old woman, Roma, and the girls, Agar and Macha, in “Dromina,” are idealized, but not unlike, portraits of acquaintances we made in the gypsy camp on that darkening afternoon of winter forty-five years ago. The gypsy King and Queen were certainly in that camp, and I think it is likely enough that the two parties, alike in numbers, those at Gracechurch and those we had seen at Llanberwyn, were the same. I can quite understand that critics who have seen only the ordinary roadside gypsy should find my description of the camp near Dromina Castle absurdly fantastic, but I do not think they would, had they my memory of the gypsy procession through Llanberwyn and the big gypsy camp outside Gracechurch.
"Dromina ’ is your best book, by far the most rich romance,” said a lady to its author,
but I can't swallow your fine gypsies, for I've seen plenty and smelt them-a hundred yards off !”
Well, our Gracechurch gypsies were perfectly clean, and the smell of their graceful and becoming raiment was only that of smoke and wood fires. The women and girls held themselves proudly, and walked with a free