“A great deal more than you’d think—sir. Had I the time, I should be delighted to explain to you exactly how much, as it is,—permit me to wish you a very—good evening!”
Saying which, Bellew nodded affably, and, shouldering his spade, went upon his way. And still he walked in the shadows, and still he gazed upon the moon, but now, his thick brows were gathered in a frown, and he was wondering just why Cassilis should chance to be here, to-night, and what his confident air, and the general assurance of his manner might portend; above all, he was wondering how Mr. Cassilis came to be aware of his own impending departure. And so, at last, he came to the rick-yard,—full of increasing doubt and misgivings.
How the money moon rose
Evening had deepened into night,—a night of ineffable calm, a night of an all pervading quietude. A horse snorted in the stable nearby, a dog barked in the distance, but these sounds served only to render the silence the more profound, by contrast. It was, indeed, a night wherein pixies, and elves, and goblins, and fairies might weave their magic spells, a night wherein tired humanity dreamed those dreams that seem so hopelessly impossible by day.
And, over all, the moon rose high, and higher, in solemn majesty, filling the world with her pale loveliness, and brooding over it like the gentle goddess she is. Even the distant dog seemed to feel something of all this, for, after a futile bark or two, he gave it up altogether, and was heard no more.
And Bellew, gazing up at Luna’s pale serenity, smiled and nodded,—as much as to say, “You’ll do!” and so stood leaning upon his spade listening to:
“That deep hush which seems a sigh
Breathed by Earth to listening sky.”
Now, all at once, upon this quietude there rose a voice up-raised in fervent supplication; wherefore, treading very softly, Bellew came, and peeping round the hay-rick, beheld Small Porges upon his knees. He was equipped for travel and the perils of the road, for beside him lay a stick, and tied to this stick was a bundle that bulged with his most cherished possessions. His cheeks were wet with great tears that glistened in the moon-beams, but he wept with eyes tight shut, and with his small hands clasped close together, and thus he spoke,—albeit much shaken, and hindered by sobs:
“I s’pose you think I bother you an awful lot, dear Lord,—an’ so I do, but you haven’t sent the Money Moon yet, you see, an’ now my Auntie Anthea’s got to leave Dapplemere—if I don’t find the fortune for her soon. I know I’m crying a lot, an’ real men don’t cry,—but it’s only ‘cause I’m awful—lonely an’ disappointed,—an’ nobody can see me, so it doesn’t matter. But, dear Lord, I’ve looked an’ looked everywhere, an’ I haven’t found a single sovereign yet,—an’ I’ve prayed to you, an’ prayed to you for the Money Moon an’—it’s