‘Emily! Emily!’ he called. She stopped, turned, and stood looking at him.
‘My dear cousin,’ he said. ’I’m sorry about last night. I hope that Mrs. Bentley has told you. I begged of her to do so.’
‘Yes; she told me of your kind intentions. I have to thank you.’
They walked on in silence, neither knowing what to say.
‘Go away, Dandy!’ said Emily, thrusting her black silk parasol at the dog, who had begun an attack on Hubert’s trousers. The dog retreated; Hubert laughed.
‘I’m afraid he doesn’t like me.’
‘He’ll soon get to know you. Are you fond of animals?’
‘I don’t know that I am, particularly.’
‘Oh!’ she said, looking at him reproachfully, ‘how can you?’ Her eyes seemed to say, ‘I never can like you after that.’ ‘I adore animals,’ she said. ’My dear dog—there is nothing in the world I love as I love my Dandy; come here, dear.’ The dog came, wagging his tail, putting back his ears, knowing he was going to be caressed. Emily stooped down, took his rough head in her hands, and kissed him. ‘Is he not a dear?’ she said, looking up; and then she said, ’I hope you won’t object to having him in the house;’ her face clouded.
’Oh, my dear Emily, how can you ask such a question? I shall never object to anything you desire.’ The conversation paused, and they walked some paces in silence. Emily had just begun to speak of her flowers, when they came upon the gardener, who was standing in consternation over the fragments of a broken mowing-machine. Jack—that was the donkey—had been left to himself just for a moment. It was impossible to say what wild freak had taken him; but instead of waiting, as he was expected to wait, stolidly, he had started off on a wild career, regardless of the safety of the machine. At the first bound it had come in contact with a flower-vase, which had been sent in many pieces over the sward; at the second it had met with some stone coping; and at the third it had turned over in complete dissolution, and Jack was free to tear up the turf with his hoofs, until finally his erratic course was stopped by the small boy who was responsible for the animal’s behaviour. The arrival of Hubert and Emily saved the small boy from many a cuff and the donkey from a kick or two; and Jack stood amid the ruin he had created, as quiet and as docile a creature as the mind could imagine.
‘Oh, you—you wicked Jack! Who would have thought it of you?’ said Emily, throwing her arms round the animal’s neck. ’And at your age, too! This is my old donkey,’ she said, turning her dreamy eyes on Hubert. ’I used to ride him every day until about two years ago. I love my dear old Jack, and would not have him beaten for worlds, although he is so wicked as to break the mowing-machine. Look what you have done to the flower-vase.’ The animal shook its long ears.
Hubert and Emily strolled down a long walk, wondering what they should talk about.