‘Of course I do,’ returned Roger; ’everybody knows her, and, if I may make so bold, loves her too! Why, sure enough, there she is sitting—don’t you see?—there, sitting at Dame Damerel’s door making lace for the life of her.’
The stranger flew across the field, and the ploughman saw him bound over the hedge, take Lucy into his arms, and drag her, bewildered and enraptured, into the cottage. ’Why, dang me if it bean’t Luke Damerel!’ exclaimed the rustic, slapping the thighs of his leather breeches; ’how main glad the folks will be to see ’un!—I know what I’ll do.’ Whereupon Roger trudged across the fields towards the church. He happened to be one of the parish-ringers, and calling his mates from the fields, they all trudged off to the bell-tower, and rang out as merry a peal as ever was heard. The whole country was in a commotion; the news ran like wild-fire from lip to lip and from ear to ear, till the cottage was beset with visitors within and without. But Luke heard no welcome, felt no grasp, but that of Lucy and his mother. As to Lucy, an intense happiness thrilled through her, which absorbed all her faculties, except that of feeling the full extent of her bliss.
This story of patience, endurance, and faith in humble life is almost ended. Luke’s furlough only extended to a week, which he spent as an inmate of the farm, at Modbury’s earnest entreaty; for he now gave up all hope of Lucy, and determined to help in rewarding her patience by promoting the match with his rival. At the end of that time, Luke was obliged to depart for Yorkshire, to meet the veterinary-surgeon and purchase horses, in which he was found of the utmost use; but this, together with his excellent character, operated most unfavourably for his discharge. The authorities were unwilling to lose so good a soldier. The interest of the ‘squire,’ however, whose son was a cornet in Luke’s troop, was set to work, the hard-earned money paid, and the discharge obtained. Damerel got a farm let to him on advantageous terms, close to his native village, and was married amidst more noisy demonstrations by Roger and his company of ringers. Modbury had taken to wife Lucy’s friend, Susan Larkin.
The last time I was in Devonshire I called on Mr and Mrs Damerel. They are an interesting old couple, who have brought up a large family in comfort and respectability.
‘Can you direct me to Mr William Egg’s?’ said I one morning to a smart shopman, who was loitering at the door of a showy haberdasher in the principal street of a town in Ireland, in which, for a few months, I once resided. I had been told by two or three persons that Billy Egg’s was the best shop in the place; for that, he being a general dealer on a very large scale, I should be sure to get ‘everything in the world’ there. Moreover, I had been instructed that he sold good articles at a cheap rate; and being a stranger, I felt truly glad that I had been recommended to a tradesman on whom I could confidently rely. ‘Can you direct me to Mr Egg’s?’ I repeated, seeing that the smart shopman was so much occupied either in admiring his window or his own person, that he had not at first attended to my question.