"Well, you know Missis always said they were poor and quite despicable:
and they may be poor; but I believe they are as much gentry as the Reeds
are; for one day, nearly seven years ago, a Mr. Eyre came to Gateshead
and wanted to see you; Missis said you were at school fifty miles off; he
seemed so much disappointed, for he could not stay: he was going on a
voyage to a foreign country, and the ship was to sail from London in a
day or two. He looked quite a gentleman, and I believe he was your
"What foreign country was he going to, Bessie?"
"An island thousands of miles off, where they make wine--the butler did
"Madeira?" I suggested.
"Yes, that is it--that is the very word."
"So he went?"
"Yes; he did not stay many minutes in the house: Missis was very high
with him; she called him afterwards a 'sneaking tradesman.' My Robert
believes he was a wine-merchant."
"Very likely," I returned; "or perhaps clerk or agent to a