“Be always as merry as ever you
For no one delights in a sorrowful man.
“So don’t ye be gettin’ up off your chair like that, and tramping about the room wi’ your hands in your pockets, looking out o’ this window, and staring out o’ that, and sighing and crying, and looking so black-ox-trodden, ’twould break a body’s heart to see you. Ye must be cheery; and happen you’re hungry, and don’t know it. I’ll tell the cook to grill a hot bit for ye.”
“But I’m not hungry, Mrs. Julaper. How kind you are! dear me, Mrs. Julaper, I’m not worthy of it; I don’t deserve half your kindness. I’d have been heartbroken long ago, but for you.”
“And I’ll make a sup of something hot for you; you’ll take a rummer-glass of punch—you must.”
“But I like the tea better; I do, indeed, Mrs. Julaper.”
“Tea is no drink for a man when his heart’s down. It should be something with a leg in it, lad; something hot that will warm your courage for ye, and set your blood a-dancing, and make ye talk brave and merry; and will you have a bit of a broil first? No? Well then, you’ll have a drop o’ punch?—ye sha’n’t say no.”
And so, all resistance overpowered, the consolation of Philip Feltram proceeded.
A gentler spirit than poor Feltram, a more good-natured soul than the old housekeeper, were nowhere among the children of earth.
Philip Feltram, who was reserved enough elsewhere, used to come into her room and cry, and take her by both hands piteously, standing before her and looking down in her face, while tears ran deviously down his cheeks.
“Did you ever know such a case? was there ever a fellow like me? did you ever know such a thing? You know what I am, Mrs. Julaper, and who I am. They call me Feltram; but Sir Bale knows as well as I that my true name is not that. I’m Philip Mardykes; and another fellow would make a row about it, and claim his name and his rights, as she is always croaking in my ear I ought. But you know that is not reasonable. My grandmother was married; she was the true Lady Mardykes; think what it was to see a woman like that turned out of doors, and her children robbed of their name. O, ma’am, you can’t think it; unless you were me, you couldn’t—you couldn’t—you couldn’t!”
“Come, come, Master Philip, don’t you be taking on so; and ye mustn’t be talking like that, d’ye mind? You know he wouldn’t stand that; and it’s an old story now, and there’s naught can be proved concerning it; and what I think is this—I wouldn’t wonder the poor lady was beguiled. But anyhow she surely thought she was his lawful wife; and though the law may hev found a flaw somewhere—and I take it ’twas so—yet sure I am she was an honourable lady. But where’s the use of stirring that old sorrow? or how can ye prove aught? and the dead hold their peace, you know; dead mice, they say, feels no cold; and dead folks are past fooling. So don’t you talk like that; for stone walls have ears, and ye might say that ye couldn’t unsay; and death’s day is doom’s day. So leave all in the keeping of God; and, above all, never lift hand when ye can’t strike.”