‘Leave me alone for that,’ said he.
And the evening before our departure he brought to us a strange attendant indeed, but one who proved most trusty. It was a poor fellow of the village, who had once been in service at Lacy Manor; but the young Squire hated him, and got him turned away in disgrace, after which no man would employ him, and he fell into great wretchedness. But Andrew came across him, and not only relieved his distress, for he was almost dead for hunger, but put him in a way of living on his own land. So, partly for love of Andrew, and partly from true conviction, poor Will Simpson, so he was called, turned to the Quaker way of thinking. I do not know if he was acknowledged as a proved Friend, he had some odd notions of his own. But he showed himself a peaceable, industrious fellow, and he loved Andrew as a dog might love a kind master that had saved it from drowning. Indeed there was something very dog-like about honest Will. Without having any piercing wit, he had a strange sagacity at the service of those he loved; and his dull heavy face sometimes showed a great warmth of affection, making it seem almost noble. When Matthew told him wherefore he was wanted, he was all on fire to go. He left his hut, and work, and woodman’s garb, Matthew having got him a plain serving-man’s suit, in which he looked still a little uncouth; and thus he came eagerly to us and begged to be taken with us. Then with no escort but this poor fellow, who, however, knew the road well, and was strong and sturdy, we set forth on our way up to London, bidding adieu to none in West Fazeby, as the Standfasts had advised. I believe it was supposed in the village that we were gone to Mr. Truelocke.
HOW WE WENT UP TO LONDON, AND FOUND NO FRIENDS THERE.
I hoped little from the first plan on which Althea relied for obtaining Andrew’s release. Her trust was in Mr. Dacre, since he was a great courtier, and she thought his influence might avail to get one poor Quaker set free.
‘I shall not get his help for nothing,’ said she; ’that were an idle hope. But I know his expenses to be very great, out of proportion to his means; so if I bring a heavy purse in my hand to interpret between him and me, I am sure of a kind and favourable hearing.’ She was almost gay while she dwelt on this plan, and it furnished the most of our talk on the first day or two of our journey.
It was very hot summer weather, a little sultry; yet travelling would have been pleasant enough had our minds been easy, which they could not be. It was hard to go fast enough for Althea, Will having to make her understand it was small wisdom to hurry our horses beyond their strength; then she went sighing out,—
’Oh for a horse with wings! or could one only ride on the speed of fire! It will be a week, I dare swear, before we see St. Paul’s,’ and she grudged herself time to eat and sleep.