“And—you’re not going home just yet,—I mean across the ’bounding billow?’”
“Then—please—” the small boy’s voice was suddenly tremulous and eager, and he laid a little, grimy hand upon Bellew’s sleeve, “please—if it isn’t too much trouble—would you mind coming with me—to—to help me to find the fortune?—you see, you are so very big, an’—Oh!—will you please?”
George Bellew sat up suddenly, and smiled; Bellew’s smile was, at all times, wonderfully pleasant to see, at least, the boy thought so.
“Georgy Porgy,” said he, “you can just bet your small life, I will,—and there’s my hand on it, old chap.” Bellew’s lips were solemn now, but all the best of his smile seemed, somehow, to have got into his gray eyes. So the big hand clasped the small one, and as they looked at each other, there sprang up a certain understanding that was to be an enduring bond between them.
“I think,” said Bellew, as he lay, and puffed at his pipe again, “I think I’ll call you Porges, it’s shorter, easier, and I think, altogether apt; I’ll be Big Porges, and you shall be Small Porges,—what do you say?”
“Yes, it’s lots better than Georgy Porgy,” nodded the boy. And so Small Porges he became, thenceforth. “But,” said he, after a thoughtful pause, “I think, if you don’t mind, I’d rather call you——Uncle Porges. You see, Dick Bennet—the black-smith’s boy, has three uncles an’ I’ve only got a single aunt,—so, if you don’t mind—”
“Uncle Porges it shall be, now and for ever, Amen!” murmured Bellew.
“An’ when d’you s’pose we’d better start?” enquired Small Porges, beginning to re-tie his bundle.
“Start where, nephew?”
“To find the fortune.”
“Hum!” said Bellew.
“If we could manage to find some,—even if it was only a very little, it would cheer her up so.”
“To be sure it would,” said Bellew, and, sitting up, he pitched loaf, cheese, and clasp-knife back into the knap-sack, fastened it, slung it upon his shoulders, and rising, took up his stick.
“Come on, my Porges,” said he, “and, whatever you do—keep your ’weather eye’ on your uncle.”
“Where do you s’pose we’d better look first?” enquired Small Porges, eagerly.
“Why, first, I think we’d better find your Auntie Anthea.”
“But,—” began Porges, his face falling.
“But me no buts, my Porges,” smiled Bellew, laying his hand upon his new-found nephew’s shoulder, “but me no buts, boy, and, as I said before,—just keep your eye on your uncle.”
How Bellew came to Arcadia
So, they set out together, Big Porges and Small Porges, walking side by side over sun-kissed field and meadow, slowly and thoughtfully, to be sure, for Bellew disliked hurry; often pausing to listen to the music of running waters, or to stare away across the purple valley, for the sun was getting low. And, ever as they went, they talked to one another whole-heartedly as good friends should.