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that was going on. There was a softness and oiliness about him that made Rymer smile as he thought of the name that Chamberlayne had given him.
There was a great fuss over Chamberlayne when, after teasing the good folks for some time to discover who he was, he made them remember Mr. Lloyd's young gentleman, who used to come there for bread and butter.
The little room upstairs was vacant and quite ready for their use, for the hotels which sent their overflowings to the Council House were not just then full. The gentlemen were both glad to retire early.
DOLGARROG. DOLGARROG by the light of morning confirmed all that Dol. garrog by night had suggested of melancholy grayness, barren breadth, and straggling architecture.
To Mr. Rymer, as he looked down from the window of the old Council House, while Chamberlayne piled the fire to keep out the damp, the town appeared inexpressibly dreary. The low stone houses seemed utterly deficient of window-sill and balcony, door-step and portico, and of all those innumerable little hints and promises of interior comfort which ooze out of English homes. In the intricacies of back streets, perhaps, some little flannel-weaver might have his flower-pot or his blackbird at the window of his one-roomed factory, but no hint of such luxury found its way, in odour or in song, to the gray market-place.
Unadorned, stiff-backed, austere, yet not without a certain pathetic suggestiveness, and built of the same sad-coloured stone that covered the graves in the churchyard, the houses seemed to belong to a solemn Puritanic community, who regarded their town and their churchyard as two chambers of one dwelling; two chambers, in one of which they spent their day, the other their night.
The rain fell, as Rymer stood looking out, seeing no signs of life in the King's Square, as the market-place was called, except now and then a half-dressed slipshod woman, running across to fill her jug or kettle from the swollen little spring.
There was a large covered way over the opposite shops, where, last night, gas was flaring, and legs of mutton, and linseys, and wooden shoes, were cavilled over ; but now, on the rainy Sunday morning, all was silent and deserted, only a miserable outcast of a dog had gone under for shelter, and was looking up and sniffing at the empty meat-hooks.
When breakfast was over, Mr. Chamberlayne sent word to his landlord, that if he had no objection his friend and himself would come down and hear the Dolgarrog news; and Mr. Butty responding most heartily from the little parlour at the foot of the stairs, the two gentlemen presently joined him there.
A delicious little parlour! They saw it down there below glowing and glistening at the stair-foot-a queer little threecornered bit of a room—as they descended by the steep stairs which led right into it, and saw doors in different parts opening out. A room where Brobdignagdian roses blossomed on Lilliputian walls; where the tiniest of windows were darkened by the highest of cacti; where the heavy furniture would only fit in one particular way; where the woolly, yielding hearthrug reached farther than the middle of the room, making it seem all fireside ; where there was not a square inch of oakpanelling, or a twisted chair-leg, but was in a state of warm, blushing polish ; for the parlour was, in fact, the object of everybody's best and brightest handiwork, the very idol of the old house.
They found the master, who was as little in proportion with it as everything else, seated in an elbow-chair by the fire, with his wife's apron pinned over his shoulders, and his Sunday toilette being performed by Mrs. Hughes in bits and scraps between her more pressing household duties; Butty having long since been too stout to undertake so arduous a task himself.
He rose and blushingly apologised to the gentlemen for the state in which they found him; while his wife set them chairs, and placed two steaming tumblers beside that one from which Mr. Butty occasionally sipped to sustain himself during the fatigues of his toilette.
Mr. Rymer stood at the window a minute, looking atthe people crossing the King's Square on their way to the church' and to the many little chapels.
"Well,' said Mr. Butty, reseating himself, and resigning his
silver locks to his wife's hands again, 'I suppose you young gentlemen are going up to Capel Illtyd Church this morning, to hear your old master--eh, Mr. Robert ? Mrs. Rhys has come home, you know, and there will be English service.'
Yes, indeed, Mr. Robert,' added Mrs. Hughes; and those words, always so sweet and characteristic from a Welshwoman's lips, lost none of their force now. “Yes, indeed, Mr. Robert, you must go. And eh, dear me !-why he'll never know you a bit.'
'I was thinking of going,' answered Chamberlayne ; but I didn't know whether Mr. Rymer would care to walk a couple of miles in this weather, though it is clearing a little.'
He looked inquiringly at Mr. Rymer, who stood at the window, with his back to them. He had happened to be looking at his watch when he heard the lady's name mentioned, and the question put to him. He looked at it still, as he paused before answering, and by its aid gave himself exactly half a minute for thought. Chamberlayne wondered if he had heard the question.
Five more seconds. Mr. Rymer almost felt that if they had been no longer than ordinary seconds, he never should have seen the inside of Capel Illtyd Church; but they were long seconds, full of evil leisure, as if some imp of wickedness had leapt astride the little golden hand, and was holding it back, and gaping at the pale face bending over it in an agony of hesitation.
• What do you say?' asked Chamberlayne. "Shall we go?'
* Decidedly,' answered Rymer, turning round in his quick way. 'I shall like it, of all things. Do we start at once ?!
Not for a quarter of an hour or so,' returned Chamberlayne. And then taking his boyish low seat in the corner, he began his inquiries about old acquaintances; which Mr. Butty answered with a pleasant twinkle in his eye, at seeing he remembered so many of the tribes of Jones and Evans, Williams, Roberts, Rees, and Hughes, that almost exclusively peopled Dolgarrog.
The twinkle became mischievous presently, and both Butty and his wife sent amused expectant glances at Chamberlayne, as if waiting for a name that the young gentleman felt some reluctance to mention. At last Mrs. Hughes, while giving her husband's hair a little pull, said
Eh, dear, Mr. Robert, sir, the master's waiting to hear you ask after your little cariad (sweetheart), Miss Hirell.'
Chamberlayne coloured slightly and laughed.
'I didn't ask, because I am going to Bod Elian myself today, Mrs. Hughes. They're all well, I hope ?'
Yes, sure,' answered Butty Hughes, his fat face dimpling with smiles as he exchanged significant glances with his wife.
And your uncle Elias is a great man at Dolgarrog to-day, Mr. Robert.'
'Indeed! How is that?'
Why, don't you see the country people coming in ?' asked Mrs. Hughes. There's all Capel Illtyd chapel-people, and the folk from up in the mountains behind, that'll be here. The master's counted twenty from Aber. Eh ! there'll be a chapel full.'
Chamberlayne stood up ard looked out of the window in astonishment.
• Why, what has all this to do with Elias Morgan ?' he asked, and Butty's tongue was now unloosed.
Didn't Mr. Robert know? There was the great Calvinistic Methodist minister from the Welsh chapel in London had come down, and was going to preach at Dolgarrog, that morning, in aid of a new chapel that Elias was building near his own home.
'Elias building a chapel !' echoed Chamberlayne in undisguised alarm.
“Yes, indeed!' exclaimed husband and wife in chorus, though it was Mrs. Hughes who went on-And's put a hundred pounds to it, and is responsible for all it will cost. Two hundred and fifty pounds, they say! Yes, indeed!'
Chamberlayne stared at the couple in blank dismay. A gentle glow of excitement overspread the face of his host, who, to heighten the effect his news produced, went on to give more illustrations of Elias Morgan's expenditure.
While Mrs. Hughes unpinned ber apron, and took it from his shoulders, and dusted him with it, he told Chamberlayne how Elias was sending his young brother away to college tomorrow, with an outfit which David Jones, the little tailor, had been at work upon for the last three weeks ; how Hirell, Elias's daughter, was to be sent to a sort of finishing school at Liverpool ; and how she and Keziah were working their fingers to the bone to get her dresses made ; how Elias growled and groaned over the fine silks and ribbons as vanity and vexation of spirit, but how, notwithstanding his preaching, he had been very kind and generous to the young people, as if he had not the heart to spoil the first glow of good fortune for them. Butty told how a great sum had been laid out on Bod Elian itself—Elias having built two new rooms to the house, and bought a red waggon and a second horse.
All this Butty told with a cheery, childlike excitement, sometimes losing himself in the middle of a sentence, and being obliged to look for help to his wife, who was a little, a very little, better acquainted with the English language than himself. Now and then they had a little gentle, coquettish discussion over certain points, and would stop to have it out in Welsh ; and between-whiles Mrs. Hughes would call up the stairs to her two nieces, who were dressing for chapel, to hasten, and who presently came down with their hymn-books in their hands. A shrill dialogue in Welsh was carried on between them and Mrs. Hughes as she buttoned her husband's gloves, and put the finishing touches to his collar. In the midst of it Mr. Rymer, who had been for the last few minutes feeling a good deal of sympathy for Chamberlayne, said to him in a low voice
“You ought almost to see your relatives before they go into chapel.'
Chamberlayne started to hear this unexpected confirmation of his own thoughts.. “Yes,' he muttered. 'I must if I can.'
Then I shall have to find my way to Capel Illtyd Church alone,' said Rymer, as he prepared to move. 'I hope not. Wait a bit for me,' replied Chamberlayne:
Good morning, gentlemen !' said Butty, turning back to bow politely, as he joined the girls at the door; and, kissing the tips of his black kid gloves to Mrs. Hughes, went forth, guarded on either side by a blooming damsel, and followed by the admiring eyes of his wife, who stood on the wet stones at the door, with her head a little on one side, and the sweetest of smiles on her worn, kind face, looking after him as if ho had been a child ; and, indeed, Butty's fat face, when it looked back to nod to her, was as fair and fresh, in spite of its silver hair, as full of beaming simplicity and radiant consciousness • of being good, as any child's. .
They had not gone many steps before one of the nieces came running back to say that the Morgans were all coming over the bridge, and that Mr. Ephraim Jones, the great minister, was standing in the King's Square waiting for them.