THE service over, my companions and myself returned towards the encampment by the way we came. Some of the humble part of the congregation laughed and joked at us as we passed. Mr. Petulengro and his wife, however, returned their laughs and jokes with interest. As for Tawno and myself, we said nothing: Tawno, like most handsome fellows, having very little to say for himself at any time; and myself, though not handsome, not being particularly skilful at repartee. Some boys followed us for a considerable time, making all kinds of observations about gypsies; but as we walked at a great pace, we gradually left them behind, and at last lost sight of them. Mrs. Petulengro and Tawno Chikno walked together, even as they had come; whilst Mr. Petulengro and myself followed at a little distance.
"That was a very fine preacher we heard," said I to Mr. Petulengro, after we had crossed the stile into the fields.
"Very fine indeed, brother," said Mr. Petulengro; "he is talked of far and wide for his sermons; folks say that there is scarcely another like him in the whole of England."
"He looks rather melancholy, Jasper."
"He lost his wife several years ago, who, they say, was one of the most beautiful women ever seen. They say that it was grief for her loss that made him come out mighty strong as a preacher; for, though he was a clergyman, he was never heard of in the pulpit before he lost his wife; since then, the whole country has rung with the preaching of the clergyman of M----- as they call him. Those two nice young gentlewomen, whom you saw with the female childer, are his daughters."
"You seem to know all about him, Jasper. Did you ever hear him preach before?"
"Never, brother; but he has frequently been to our tent, and his daughters too, and given us tracts; for he is one of the people they call Evangelicals, who give folks tracts which they cannot read
"You should learn to read, Jasper."