“Why then—Good-night! Miss Anthea, mam,—the mortgage is as good as paid,—there ain’t no such ’ops nowhere near so good as our’n be. An’—you’re quite free o’ care, an’ ’appy ’earted, Miss Anthea?”
“Quite—Oh quite, Adam!”
But when Adam’s heavy tread had died away,—when she was all alone, she behaved rather strangely for one so free of care, and happy-hearted. Something bright and glistening splashed upon the paper before her, the pencil slipped from her fingers, and, with a sudden, choking cry, she swayed forward, and hid her face in her hands.
In which Adam proposes a game
“To be, or not to be!” Bellew leaned against the mighty hole of “King Arthur,” and stared up at the moon with knitted brows. “That is the question!—whether I shall brave the slings, and arrows and things, and—speak tonight, and have done with it—one way or another, or live on, a while, secure in this uncertainty? To wait? Whether I shall, at this so early stage, pit all my chances of happiness against the chances of—losing her, and with her—Small Porges, bless him! and all the quaint, and lovable beings of this wonderful Arcadia of mine. For, if her answer be ’No,’—what recourse have I,—what is there left me but to go wandering forth again, following the wind, and with the gates of Arcadia shut upon me for ever? ’To be, or not to be,—that is the question!’”
“Be that you, Mr. Belloo, sir?”
“Even so, Adam. Come sit ye a while, good knave, and gaze upon Dian’s loveliness, and smoke, and let us converse of dead kings.”
“Why, kings ain’t much in my line, sir,—living or dead uns,—me never ’aving seen any—except a pic’ter,—and that tore, though very life like. But why I were a lookin’ for you was to ax you to back me up,—an’ to—play the game, Mr. Belloo sir.”
“Why—as to that, my good Adam,—my gentle Daphnis,—my rugged Euphemio,—you may rely upon me to the uttermost. Are you in trouble? Is it counsel you need, or only money? Fill your pipe, and, while you smoke, confide your cares to me,—put me wise, or, as your French cousins would say,—make me ‘au fait.’”
“Well,” began Adam, when his pipe was well alight, “in the first place, Mr. Belloo sir, I begs to remind you, as Miss Anthea sold her furnitur’ to raise enough money as with what the ’ops will bring, might go to pay off the mortgage,—for good an’ all, sir.”
“Well, to-night, sir, Miss Anthea calls me into the parlour to ax,—or as you might say,—en-quire as to the why, an’ likewise the wherefore of you a buyin’ all that furnitur’.”
“Did she, Adam?”
“Ah!—’why did ‘e do it?’ says she—’well, to keep it from bein’ took away, p’raps,’ says I—sharp as any gimblet, sir.”
“Good!” nodded Bellew.
“Ah!—but it weren’t no good, sir,” returned Adam, “because she sez as ’ow your ’ome being in America, you couldn’t really need the furnitur’,—nor yet want the furnitur’,—an’ blest if she wasn’t talkin’ of handing you the money back again.”