Thus, the Sergeant as he marched to and fro, was suddenly aware of one who stood in the full radiance of the moon,—and with one hand outstretched towards him. And now, as he paused, disbelieving his very eyes, he saw that in her extended hand she held a great ripe peach.
“Sergeant!” she said, speaking almost in a whisper, “Oh Sergeant—won’t you—take it?”
The heavy sabre thudded down into the grass, and he took a sudden step towards her. But, even now, he hesitated, until, coming nearer yet, he could look down into her eyes.
Then he spoke, and his voice was very hoarse, and uneven:
“Miss Priscilla?” he said, “Priscilla?—Oh, Priscilla!” And, with the word, he had fallen on his knees at her feet, and his strong, solitary arm was folded close about her.
In which Porges Big, and Porges Small discuss the subject of Matrimony
“What is it, my Porges?”
“Well,—I’m a bit worried, you know.”
“Yes,—’fraid I shall be an old man before my time, Uncle Porges. Adam says it’s worry that ages a man,—an’ it killed a cat too!”
“And why do you worry?”
“Oh, it’s my Auntie Anthea, a course!—she was crying again last night—”
“Crying!” Bellew had been lying flat upon his back in the fragrant shadow of the hay-rick, but now he sat up—very suddenly, so suddenly that Small Porges started. “Crying!” he repeated, “last night! Are you sure?”
“Oh yes! You see, she forgot to come an’ ‘tuck me up’ last night, so I creeped downstairs,—very quietly, you know, to see why. An’ I found her bending over the table, all sobbing, an’ crying. At first she tried to pretend that she wasn’t, but I saw the tears quite plain,—her cheeks were all wet, you know; an’ when I put my arms round her—to comfort her a bit, an’ asked her what was the matter, she only kissed me a lot, an’ said ‘nothing! nothing,—only a headache!’”
“And why was she crying, do you suppose, my Porges?”
“Oh!—money, a course!” he sighed.
“What makes you think it was money?”
“’Cause she’d been talking to Adam,—I heard him say ‘Good-night,’ as I creeped down the stairs,—”
“Ah?” said Bellew, staring straight before him. His beloved pipe had slipped from his fingers, and, for a wonder, lay all neglected. “It was after she had talked with Adam, was it, my Porges?”
“Yes,—that’s why I knew it was ’bout money; Adam’s always talking ’bout morgyges, an’ bills, an’ money. Oh Uncle Porges, how I do—hate money!”
“It is sometimes a confounded nuisance!” nodded Bellew.
“But I do wish we had some,—so we could pay all her bills, an’ morgyges for her. She’d be so happy, you know, an’ go about singing like she used to,—an’ I shouldn’t worry myself into an old man before my time,—all wrinkled, an’ gray, you know; an’ all would be revelry, an’ joy, if only she had enough gold, an’ bank-notes!”