Miss de Hyde has arrived at Lingham Peveril in search of rustic folk songs.
The next morning, I made my way up to Turmut-top Farm, where I hoped to meet some of the rustics who worked there. From these, I hoped, if not to obtain some songs directly, then at least to gain introduction to such of their fellows who might be able to furnish me with the objects of my quest. I was greeted at the entrance to the farm by a ruddy-faced man in a leather jerkin, who hailed me thus: “What the fizzing blue blazes dost thee want here, then?”. Squire Charlesworth, the owner of the farm, for it was he, on my introducing myself and my purpose, became almost conciliatory, exhorting me to roam his property at my will, only to avoid disturbing his hands at their work, for there was much to be done at this time of year in the fields and barns. Apparently, they were likely to be unoccupied with their labours in the of necessity brief luncheon period, and, though it was obvious the Squire regretted it, during the hours of darkness also. During this discourse, the Squire’s large retriever had taken to nuzzling me quite enthusiastically, and I was glad that I had decided to wear my strongest britches under my petticoats.
(to be continued)