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and the knuckle of pork that was left last night. Goodness knows when I shall be back; and I never like to rack my mind upon an empty stomach.'
The revenue officer had far to go, and was wise in providing provender. And the weather being on the fall towards the equinox, and the tides running strong and uncertain, he had made up his mind to fare inland, instead of attempting the watery ways. He felt that he could ride, as every sailor always feels; and he had a fine horse upon hire from his butcher, which the king himself would pay for. The inferior men had been sent ahead on foot, with orders to march along and hold their tongues. And one of these men was John Cadman, the self-same man who had descended the cliff without any foot-path. They were all to be ready, with hanger and pistol, in a hole towards Byrsa Cottage.
Lieutenant Carroway enjoyed his ride. There are men to whom excitement is an elevation of the sad and slow mind, which otherwise seems to have nothing to do. And what finer excitement can a good mind have than in balancing the chances of its body tumbling out of the saddle, and evicting its poor self?
The mind of Charles Carroway was wide awake to this, and tenderly anxious about the bad foot in which its owner ended—because of the importance of the stirrups--and all the sanguine vigour of the heart (which seemed to like some thumping) conveyed to the seat of reason little more than a wish to be well out of it. The brave lieutenant holding place, and sticking to it through a sense of duty, and of the difficulty of getting off, remembered to have heard, when quite a little boy, that a man who gazes steadily between his horse's ears cannot possibly tumble off the back. The saying in its wisdom is akin to that which describes the potency of salt upon a sparrow's tail.
While Carroway gloomily pounded the road, with reflection a dangerous luxury, things of even deeper interest took their course at the goal of his endeavours. Mary Anerley, still at exile in the house of the tanner, by reason of her mother's strict coast-guard, had long been thinking that more injustice is done in the world than ought to be; and especially in the matter of free-trade, she had imbibed lax opinions, which may not be abhorrent to a tanner's nature, but were. most unbecoming to the daughter of a farmer orthodox upon his own land, and an officer of King's Fencibles. But how did Mary make. this change, and upon questions of public policy chop sides, as quickly as a clever journal does ? She did it in the way in which all women think, whose thoughts are of any value, by allowing the heart to go to work, being the more active organ, and create large scenery, into which the tempted mind must follow. To anybody whose life has been saved by anybody else, there should arise not only a fine image of the preserver, but a high sense of the service done to the universe, which must have gone into deepest mourning if deprived of number one. And then, almost of necessity, succeeds the investment
of this benefactor to the world at large with all the great qualities needed for an exploit so stupendous. He has done a great deed; he has proved himself to be gallant, generous, magnanimous : shall I, who exist through his grand nobility, listen to his very low enemies? Therefore Robin was an angel now, and his persecutors must be demons.
Captain Lyth had not been slow to enter into his good luck. He knew that Master Popplewell bad a cultivated taste for rare old schnapps, while the partner of his life, and labour, and repose, possessed a desire for the finer kinds of lace. Attending to these points he was always welcome; and the excellent couple encouraged his affection and liberal good-will towards them. But Mary would accept no presents from him, and behaved for a long time very strangely, and as if she would rather keep out of his way. Yet he managed to keep on running after her, as much as she managed to run away; for he had been down now into the hold of his heart, searching it with a dark lantern, and there he had discovered · Mary,' Mary,' not only branded on the hullage of all things, but the pith and pack of everything; and without any fraud upon charter-party, the cargo entire was Mary. Who can tell what
young maid feels, when she herself is doubtful ? Somehow she has very large ideas, which only come up when she begins to think; and too often, after some very little thing, she exclaims that all is rubbish. The key-note of her heart is high, and a lot of things fall below harmony, and notably (if she is not a stupe), some of her own dear love's expressions before she had made up her soul to love him. This is a hard time for almost any man, who feels his random mind dipped into with a spirit-gauge and a saccharometer. But, in spite of all these indications, Robin Lyth stuck to himself; which is the right way to get credit for sticking.
'Johnny, my dear,' said Deborah Popplewell to her valued husband, just about the time when old Carroway was getting hot and sore upon the Filey road, yet steadily enlarging all the penance of return; "things ought to be coming to a point, I think. We ought not to let them so be going on for ever. Young people like to be married in the spring; the birds are singing, and the price of coals goes down. And they ought to be engaged six months at least. We were married in the spring, my dear, the Tuesday but one that comes next from Easter-day. There was no lilac out, but there ought to have been, because it was not sunny. And we have never repented it,
.' • Never as long as I live shall I forget that day,' said Pepplewell; “they sent me home a suit of clothes as were made for kidney-beansticks. I did want to look nice at church, and crack, crack, crack they went, like a sausage in a frying-pan. Debby, I had good legs in those days, and could crunch down bark like brewer's grains.'
• And so you could now, my dear, every bit as well. Scarcely any
them—and teeth! But everything seems to be different now, and nobody has any dignity of mind. We sowed broad beans, like a pigeon's foot tread, out and in, all the way to church.
• The folk can never do such things now; we must not expect it of such times, my dear. Five-and-forty years ago was ninety times better than these days, Debby, except that you and I was steadfast, and mean to be so to the end, God willing. Lord! what are the lasses that He makes now?' • Johnny, they try to look their best; and we must not be hard
Our Mary looks well enow, when she hath a colour; though my eyes might a' been a brighter blue, if I never hadn't took to spectacles. Johnny, I am sure a'most that she is in her love-time. She crieth at night, which is nobody's business; the strings of her nightcap run out of their starch; and there looks like a channel on the pillow, though the sharp young hussey turns it upside down. I shall be upsides with her, if you won't.'
• Certainly it shall be left to you; you are the one to do it best. You push her on, and I will stir him up. I will smuggle some schnapps into his tea to-night, to make him look up bolder; as mild as any milk it is.
When I was taken with your cheeks, Debby, and your bit of money, I was never that long in telling you.'
“That's true enow, Johnny; you was sarcy. But I'm thinking of the trouble we may get into, over at Anerley about it.'
• I'll carry that, lass. My back's as broad as Stephen's. What more can they want for her than a fine young fellow, a credit to his business and the country? Lord! how I hate them rough coastriders; it wouldn't be good for them to come here.' • Then they are bere, I tell you, and much they care.
You seem to me to have shut your eyes since ever you left off tanning. How many times have I told you, John, that a sneaking fellow hath got in with Sue? I saw him with my own eyes last night skulking past the wicket-gate; and the girl's addle-pate is completely turned. You think her such a wonder, that you won't hearken. But I know the women best, I do.'
• Out of this house she goes, neck and crop, if what you say is true, Deb. Don't say it again, that's a kind, good soul; it spoils my pipe to think of it.'
Towards sundown Robin Lyth appeared, according to invitation. Dandy as he generally was, he looked unusually smart this time, with snow-white ducks, and a velvet waistcoat, pumps like a dressingglass, lace to his shirt, and a blue coat with gold buttons. His keen eyes glanced about for Mary, and sparkled as soon as she came down; and when he took her hand, she blushed, and was half afraid to look at him; for she felt in her heart that he meant to say something, if he could find occasion ; but her heart did not tell her what answer she would make, because of her father's grief and wrath ; so she tried to hope that nothing would be said, and she kept very near her good
The host and hostess of Byrsa Cottage were very proud of the tea they gave to any distinguished visitor. Tea was a luxury, being very dear; and although large quantities were smuggled, the quality was not, like that of other goods so imported, equal or superior to the fair legitimate staple. And Robin, who never was shy of his profession, confessed that he could not supply a cup so good.
• You shall come and have another out of doors, my friend,' said his entertainer graciously. Mary, take the captain's cup to the bower; the rain has cleared off, and the evening will be fine. I will smoke my pipe, and we will talk adventures. Things have happened to me that would make you stare, if I could bring myself to tell them. Ah, yes! I have lived in stirring times. Fifty years ago men and women knew their minds; and a dog could eat his dinner without a damask napkin.'
Master Popplewell, who was of a good round form, and tucked his heels over one another as he walked (which indicates a pleasant selfesteem), now lit his long pipe and marched ahead, carefully gazing to the front and far away; so that the young folk might have freeboot and free-hand behind him. That they should have flutters of loving-kindness, and crafty little breaths of whispering, and extraordinary gifts of just looking at each other in time not to be looked at again, as well as a strange sort of in and out of feeling, as if they were patterned with the same zig-zag—as the famous Herefordshire graft is made and above all the rest, that they should desire to have no one in the world to look at them, was to be expected by a clever old codger, a tanner who had realised a competence, and eaten many
tanner's pies. The which is a good thing; and so much the better, because it costs nothing save the crust and the coal. But instead of any pretty little goings on, such as this worthy man made room forto tell the stupid truth, this lad and lass came down the long walk as far apart and as independent of one another as two stakes of an espalier. There had not been a word gone amiss between them, nor even a thought the wrong way of the grain; but the pressure of fear, and of prickly expectation, was upon them both, and kept them mute. The lad was afraid that he would get nay;' and the lass was afraid that she could not give it.
The bower was quite at the end of the garden, through and beyond the pot-herb part, and upon a little bank which overhung a little lane. Here in this corner a good woman had contrived what women nearly always understand the best, a little nook of pleasure and of perfume, after the rank ranks of the kitchen-stuff. Not that these are to be disdained; far otherwise, they indeed are the real business, and herein lies true test of skill. But still the flowers may declare that they do smell better. And not only were there flowers here, and little shrubs planted sprucely, but also good grass ; which is always softness, and soothes the impatient eyes of men. this grass there stood, or hung, or flowered, or did whatever it was meant to do, a beautiful weeping ash, the only one anywhere in that
"I can't look at skies, and that-have seen too many of them. You young folk, go and chirp under the tree. What I want is a little rum and water.'
With these words the tanner went into his bower, where he kept a good store of materials in moss; and the plaited ivy of the narrow entrance shook with his voice, and steps, and the decision of his thoughts. For he wanted to see things come to a point, and his only way to do it was to get quite out of sight. Such fools the young people of the age were now!
While his thoughts were such, or scarcely any better, his partner in life came down the walk, with a heap of little things which she thought needful for the preservation of the tanner; and she waddled a little and turned her toes out, for she, as well, was roundish.
"Ah, you ought to have Sue! Where is Sue?' said Master Popplewell. Now come you in out of the way of the wind, Debby; you know that your back sinew ached with the darning before last wash.'
Mrs. Popplewell grumbled, but obeyed, for she saw that her lord had his reasons. So Mary and Robin were left outside, quite as if they were nothing to any but themselves. Mary was aware of all this maneuvring, and it brought a little frown upon her pretty forehead, as if she were cast before the feet of Robin Lyth; but her gentleness prevailed, because they meant her well. Under the weeping ash there was a little seat, and the beauty of it was that it would not hold two people. She sat down upon it, and became absorbed in the clouds that were busy with the sunset.
These were very beautiful, as they so often are in the broken weather of the autumn; but sailors would rather see fair sky, and Robin's fair heaven was in Mary's eyes. At these he gazed with a natural desire to learn what the symptoms of the weather were; but it seemed as if little could be made out there, because everything seemed so lofty; perhaps Mary had forgotten his existence.
Could any lad of wax put up with this, least of all a daring mariner? He resolved to run the cargo of his heart right in, at the risk of all breakers and drawn cutlasses ; and to make a good beginning he came up and took her hand. The tanner in the bower gave approval with a cough, like Cupid with a sneeze; then he turned it to a snore.
• Mary, why do you carry on like this?' the smuggler inquired in a very gentle voice. I have done nothing to offend you, have I? That would be the last thing I would ever do.'
• Captain Lyth, you are always very good ; you never should think such things of me. I am just looking at a particular cloud. And who ever said that you might call me “Mary”?'
Perhaps the particular cloud said so; but you must have been the cloud yourself, for you told me only yesterday.'
Then I will never say another word about it; but people should not take advantage.'