I have a sincere respect and liking for the Vicar of Gantick–“th’ old Parson Kendall,” as we call him–but have somewhat avoided his hospitality since Mrs. Kendall took up with the teetotal craze. I say nothing against the lady’s renouncing, an she choose, the light dinner claret, the cider, the port (pale with long maturing in the wood) which her table afforded of yore: nor do I believe that the Vicar, excellent man, repines deeply–though I once caught the faint sound of a sigh as we stood together and conned his cider-apple trees, un-garnered, shedding their fruit at random in the long grasses. For his glebe contains a lordly orchard, and it used to be a treat to watch him, his greenish third-best coat stuck all over with apple-pips and shreds of pomace, as he helped to work the press at the great annual cider-making. But I agree with their son, Master Dick, that “it’s rough on the guests.”
Master Dick is now in his second year at Oxford; and it was probably for his sake, to remove temptation from the growing lad, that Mrs. Kendall first discovered the wickedness of all alcoholic drink. Were he not an ordinary, good-natured boy–had he, as they say, an ounce of vice in him–I doubt the good lady’s method might go some way towards defeating her purpose. As things are, it will probably take no worse revenge upon her solicitude than by weaning him insensibly away from home, to use his vacation-times in learning to be a man.