“Nay, dear woman,” said the tinker in that tone so kindly and resistless, “do not think the Lord is hitting thee over the ears. It is the law o’ life.
“Good evening, Elder, what is the difference between thy work an’ mine?”
“I hadn’t thought of that.”
“Ah, thine is the dial of eternity—mine that o’ time.” And so he greeted all and sat down, filling his pipe.
“Now, Weston, out with the merry fiddle,” said he, “an’ see it give us happy thoughts.”
A few small boys were gathered about him, and the tinker began to hum an Irish reel, fingers and forearm flying as he played an imaginary fiddle. But, even now, his dignity had not left him. The dance began. All were in the little house or at the two doors, peering in, save Darrel, who sat with his pipe, and Thurston Tilly, who was telling him tales of the far west. In the lull of sound that followed the first figure, Trove came to look out upon them. A big, golden moon had risen above the woods, and the light and music and merry voices had started a sleepy twitter up in the dome of Robin’s Inn.
“Do you see that scar?” he heard Tilly saying.
“I do, sor.”
“Well, a man shot me there.”
“An’ what for?” the tinker inquired.
“I was telling him a story. It cured me. Do you carry a gun?”
“I do not, sor.”
“Wal, then, I’ll tell you about the man I work for.”
Tunk, who had been outside the door in his best clothes, but who, since he put them on, had looked as if he doubted the integrity of his suspenders and would not come in the house, began to laugh loudly.
“That man Tunk can see the comedy in all but himself,” was Trove’s thought, as he returned with a smile of amusement.
Soon Trove and Polly came out and stood a while by the lilac bush, at the gate.
“You worry me, Sidney Trove,” said she, looking off at the moonlit fields.
Then came a silence full of secret things, like the silences of their first meeting, there by the same gate, long ago. This one, however, had a vibration that seemed to sting them.
“I am sorry,” said he, with a sigh.
Another silence in which the heart of the girl was feeling for the secret in his.
“You are so sad, so different,” she whispered.
Polly waited full half a minute for his answer. Then she touched her eyes with her handkerchief, turned impatiently, and went halfway to the door. Darrel caught her hand, drawing her near him.
“Give me thy hand, boy,” said he to Trove, now on his way to the door.
He stood with his arms around the two.
“Every shadow hath the wings o’ light,” he whispered. “Listen.”
The house rang with laughter and the music of Money Musk.
“‘Tis the golden bell of happiness,” said he, presently. “Go an’ ring it. Nay—first a kiss.”