The period of the story is the last quarter of the nineteenth century. No particular years are intended. The time occupied by the incidents of the first Book is about six months, of the Second Book about six months, of the Third Book about six months; then there is an interval of half a year, and the time occupied by the incidents of the Fourth Book is about six weeks.
, who was severe, the smile of Aunt Rachel, who was sentimental, and the yawn of Cornelius Kewley, the clerk who was always sleepy, lived again in the roguish, rippling face. She remembered some of her mother's French songs, and seeing a street-singer one day, she established herself in the market-place in that character, with grown people on their knees around her, ready to fall on her and kiss her and call her Phonodoree, the fairy. But she did not forget to go round for the ha'pennies either.
At ten she was a tomboy, and marched through the town at the head of an army of boys, playing on a comb between her teeth and flying the vicar's handkerchief at the end of his walking-stick. In these days she climbed trees and robbed orchards (generally her own) and imitated boys' voices, and thought it tyranny that she might not wear trousers. But she wore a sailor's blue stocking-cap, and it brightened existence when, for economy's sake and for the sake of general tidiness, she was allowed to wear a white woo