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had as many as he liked for asking; but what flavour would they have thus possessed ? Moreover, he bore a noble spite against the gardener, whose special pride was in that pear-wall; and Pet more than once had the joy of beholding him thrash his own innocent son, for the dark disappearance of Beurré and Bergamot. Making good use of this experience, he stole his way down the steep glenside, behind the low fence of the garden, until he reached the bottom, and the brushwood by the stream. Here he stopped to observe again, and breathe, and get his spirit up. The glassy water looked as cold as death; and if he got cramp in his feet, how could he run ? he could see no other way but wading, of approaching the cottage unperceived.
Now fortune (whose privilege it is to cast mortals into the holes that most misfit them) sometimes, when she has got them there, takes pity, and contemptuously lifts them. Pet was in a hole of hardship, such as his dear mamma never could have dreamed of, and such as his nurture and constitution made trebly disastrous for him. He had taken a chill from his ambush, and fright, and the cold wind over the snow of the moor; and now the long wading of that icy water might have ended upon the shores of Acheron. However, he was just about to start upon that passage--for the spirit of his race was up-when a dull grating sound, as of footsteps crunching grit, came to his prettily concave ears.
At this sound Lancelot Carnaby stopped from his rash venture into the water, and drew himself back into an ivied bush, which served as the finial of the little garden-hedge. Peeping through this, he could see that the walk from the cottage to the hedge was newly sprinkled with grey wood-ash, perhaps to prevent the rain from lodging, and the snow from lying there. Heavy steps of two old men (as Pet, in the insolence of young days, called them) fell upon the dull soft crust, and ground it, heel and toe-heel first, as stiff joints have it—with the bruising snip a hungry cow makes, grazing wiry grasses. One of them must be Insie's dad,' said Pet to himself, as he crouched more closely behind the hedge; which of them, I wonder? Well, the tall one, I suppose, to go by the height of that Maunder. And the other has only one arm ; and a man with one arm could never have built their house. They are coming to sit on that hench ; I shall hear every word they say, and learn some of their secrets, that I never could get out of Insie one bit of. But I wonder who that other fellow is.'
That other fellow, in spite of his lease, would promptly have laid his surviving hand to the ear of Master Lancelot, or any other eavesdropper ; for a sturdy and resolute man was he, being no less than our ancient friend, and old soldier, Jack of the Smithies.
And now was verified that homely proverb, that listeners never hear good of themselves.
Sit down, my friend,' said the elder of the twain, a man of rough
careless humour, which generally comes from a life of adventures, and a long acqnaintance with the world's caprice. 'I have brought you here, that we may be undisturbed. Little pitchers have long ears. My daughter is as true as steel; but this matter is not for her at present. You are sure, then, that Sir Duncan is come home at last ? And he wished that I should know it?'
“Yes, sir, he wished that you should know it. So soon as I told him that you was here, and leading what one may call this queer life, he slapped his thigh like this here-for he hath a downright way of everything—and he said, “Now Smithies, so soon as you get home, go and tell him that I am coming. I can trust him as I trust myself; and glad I am for one old friend, in the parts I am such a stranger to. Years and years I have longed to know what was become of my old friend Bart.” Tears was in his eyes, your Honour ; Sir Duncan hath seen such a mighty lot of men, that his heart cometh up to the few he hath found deserving of the name, sir.'
“You said that you saw him at York, I think ?'
• Yes, sir, at the business house of his agent, one Master Geoffrey Mordacks. He come there quite unexpected, I believe, to see about something else he hath in hand; and I got a message to go there at
I save his life once in India, sir, from one of they cursed Sours, which made him take heed of me, and me of him. And then it come out where I come from, and why; and the both of us spoke the broad Yorkshire together, like as I dea naa care to do to home. After that he got on wonderful, as you know; and I stuck to him through the whole of it, from luck as well as liking ; till if I had gone out to see to his breeches, I could not very well have knowed more of him. And I tell you, sir, not to regard him for a Yordas. He hath a mind far above them lot; though I was born under them, to say And you
think that he will come and recover his rights, in spite of his father's will against him. I know nothing of the ladies of the Hall; but it seems a hard thing to turn them out, after being there so long
· Who was turned out first, they or him? Five and twenty years of tent, open sky, jungle, and who knows what, for him—but eiderdown, and fireside, and fat of land for them! No, no, sir : whatever shall happen there, will be God's own justice.'
Of His justice who shall judge?' said Insie's father quietly. “But is there not a young man grown, who passes for the heir with every
“Ay, that there is; and the best game of all will be neck and crop for that scamp. A bully, a coward, a puling milksop, is all the character he beareth. He giveth himself born airs, as if every inch of the Riding belonged to him. He hath all the viciousness of Yordas, without the pluck to face it out. A little beast, that hath the venom, without the courage of a toad. Ah, how I should like to
Jack of the Smithies not only saw, but felt. The Yordas blood
in Pet. He leaped through the hedge, and struck this man, with a sharp quick fist in either eye. Smithies fell backward bebind the bench, his heels danced in the air, and the stump of his arm got wedged in the stubs of a bush ; while Lancelot glared at him with
“What next?' said his companion, rising calmly, and gazing steadfastly at Lancelot.
The next thing is to kill him; and it shall be done,' the furious youth replied, while he swung the gentleman's big stick which he had seized, and danced round his foe, with the speed of a wild cat. “Don't meddle, or it will be worse for you. You heard what he said of me. Get out of the way.'
Indeed, my young friend, I shall do nothing of the sort. But the old man was not at all sure that he could do much; such was the fury and agility of the youth, who jumped three yards for every step of his, while the poor old soldier could not move. The boy skipped round the protecting figure, whose grasp he eluded easily, and swinging the staff with both arms, aimed a great blow at the head of his enemy. Suddenly the other interposed the bench, upon which the stick fell, and broke short; and before the assailant could recover from the jerk, he was a prisoner in two powerful old arms.
You are so wild, that we must make you fast,' his captor said with a benignant smile; and struggle as he might, the boy was very soon secured. His antagonist drew forth a red bandana handkerchief, and fastened his bleeding hands behind his back, "There now, lad,' he said ; “you can do no mischief. Recover your temper, sir, and tell us who you are; as soon as you are sane enough to know.'
Pet, having spent his just indignation, began to perceive that he had made a bad investment. His desire had been to maintain, in this particular spot, strict privacy, from all except Insie, to whom in the largeness of love he had declared himself. Yet here he stood, promulged, and published, strikingly and flagrantly pronounced! At first he was like to sulk, in the style of a hawk, who has failed of his swoop; but seeing his enemy arising slowly, with grunts, and action nodose and angular-rather than flexibly graceful—contempt became the uppermost feature of his mind.
• My name,' he said ; if you are not afraid of it, that you tie me in this cowardly low manner, is-Lancelot Yordas Carnaby.
“My boy, it is a long name for anyone to carry. No wonder that you look weak beneath it. And where do you live, young gentle
Amazement sat upon the face of Pet, a genuine astonishment, entirely pure from wrath. It was wholly beyond his imagination, that anyone, after hearing his name, should have to ask him where he lived. He thought that the question must be put in low mockery, and to answer was far beneath his dignity.
trap, and was standing stifly, passing his hand across his sadly smitten eyes, and talking to himself about them.
“Two black eyes at my time of life, as sure as I'm a Christian! Howsomever, young chap, I likes you better. Never dreamed there was such good stuff in you. Master Bart, cast him loose, if so please you. Let me shake hands with ’un, and bear no malice. Bad words deserve hard blows; and I ask his pardon for driving him into it. I called 'un a milksop, and he hath proved me a liar. He may be a bad ’un, but with good stuff in 'un. Lord bless me, I never would have believed the lad could hit so smartly!'
Pet was well pleased with this tribute to his prowess; but as for shaking hands with a tenant, and a common man '-as everyone not of gentle birth was then called—such an act was quite below him, or above him-according as we take his own opinion, or the truth. And possibly he rose in Smithies’ mind, by drawing back from bodily overture.
Mr. Bart looked on, with all the bliss of an ancient interpreter. He could follow out the level of the vein of each, as no one may do, except a gentleman perhaps, who has turned himself deliberately into a common man. Bart had done bis utmost towards this end; but the process is difficult, when voluntary.
I think it is time,' he now said firmly to the unshackled, and triumpbant Pet, ‘for Lancelot Yordas Carnaby to explain what has brought him into such humble quarters, and induced him to turn eavesdropper; which was not considered (at least in my young days) altogether the part of a gentleman.'
The youth had not seen quite enough of the world to be pat with a fertile lie as yet; especially under such searching eyes. However he did as much as could be well expected.
'I was just looking over my property,' he said ; and I thought I heard somebody cutting down my timber. I came to see who it was, and I heard people talking, and before I could ask them about it, I heard myself abused disgracefully; and that was more than I could stand.
• We must take it for granted that a brave young gentleman of your position would tell no falsehood. You assure us, on your honour, that
heard no more?' Well, I heard voices, sir. But nothing to understand, or make head or tail of. There was some truth in this; for young
Lancelot had not the least idea who “Sir Duncan' was. His mother and aunt had kept him wholly in the dark, as to any lost uncle in India. 'I should like to know what it was,' he added, “if it has anything to do with me.'
This was a very clever hit of his; and it made the old gentleman believe him altogether.
* All in good time, my young friend,' he answered, even with a smile of some pity for the youth. But you are scarcely old enough after abusing you so disgracefully, as I admit that my friend here has done, and after roping your pugnacious hands, as I myself was obliged to do, we never can launch you upon the moor, in such weather as this, without some food. You are not very strong, and you have overdone yourself. Let us go to the house, and have something.'
Jack of the Smithies showed alacrity at this, as nearly all old soldiers must; but Pet was much oppressed with care, and the intellect in his breast diverged into sore distraction of anxious thought. Whether should be draw the keen sword of assurance, put aside the others, and see Insie, or whether should he start with best foot foremost, scurry up the hill, and avoid the axe of Maunder. Pallas counselled this course, and Aphrodite that; and the latter prevailed; as she always used to do, until she produced the present dry-cut generation.
Lancelot bowed to the gentleman of the gill, and followed him along the track of grit, which set his little pearly teeth on edge; while Jack of the Smithies led, and formed, the rear-guard. This is coming now to something very queer,' thought Pet; "after all it might have been better for me to take my chance with the hatchetman.'
Brown dusk was ripely settling down among the mossy appletrees, and the leafless alders of the brook, and the russet and yellow memories of late autumn lingering in the glen, while the peaky little freaks of snow, and the cold sighs of the wind, suggested fireside and comfort. Mr. Bart threw open his cottage door; and bowing as to a welcome guest, invited Pet to enter. No passage, no cold entrancehall, demanded scrapes of ceremony: but here was the parlour and the feeding place, and the warm dance of the fire glow. Logs that meant to have a merry time, and spread a cheerful noise abroad, ere ever they turned to embers, were snorting forth the pointed flames, and spitting soft protests of sap. And before them stood, with eyes more bright than any flash of firelight, intent upon rich simmering scents, a lovely form, a grace of dainties—oh, a goddess certainly!
Master Carnaby,' said the host, allow me, sir, the honour to present my daughter to you. Insie darling, this is Mr. Lancelot Yordas Carnaby. Make him a pretty curtsey.
Insie turned round with a rosy blush, brighter than the brightest firewood, and tried to look at Pet as if she had never even dreamed of such a being. Pet drew hard upon his heart, and stood bewildered, tranced, and dazzled. He had never seen Insie indoors before, which makes a great difference in a girl; and the vision was too bright for him.
For here, at her own hearth, she looked so gentle, sweet, and lovely. No longer wild and shy, or gaily mischievous and watchful, but calm-eyed, firm-lipped, gravely courteous; intent upon her father's face, and banishing, not into shadow so much as absolute nullity, anyone who dreamed that he ever filled a pitcher for her, or fed her with grouse and partridge, and committed the incredible