Kitty answered not a word, but rose sobbing, with the end of her simple head-dress at her eyes. Captain Jorgan followed the lovers out, quite sheepishly, pausing in the shop to give an instruction to Mr. Pettifer.
“Here, Tom!” said the captain, in a low voice. “Here’s something in your line. Here’s an old lady poorly and low in her spirits. Cheer her up a bit, Tom. Cheer ’em all up.”
Mr. Pettifer, with a brisk nod of intelligence, immediately assumed his steward face, and went with his quiet, helpful, steward step into the parlour, where the captain had the great satisfaction of seeing him, through the glass door, take the child in his arms (who offered no objection), and bend over Mrs. Raybrock, administering soft words of consolation.
“Though what he finds to say, unless he’s telling her that ’t’ll soon be over, or that most people is so at first, or that it’ll do her good afterward, I cannot imaginate!” was the captain’s reflection as he followed the lovers.
He had not far to follow them, since it was but a short descent down the stony ways to the cottage of Kitty’s father. But short as the distance was, it was long enough to enable the captain to observe that he was fast becoming the village Ogre; for there was not a woman standing working at her door, or a fisherman coming up or going down, who saw Young Raybrock unhappy and little Kitty in tears, but he or she instantly darted a suspicious and indignant glance at the captain, as the foreigner who must somehow be responsible for this unusual spectacle. Consequently, when they came into Tregarthen’s little garden,—which formed the platform from which the captain had seen Kitty peeping over the wall,—the captain brought to, and stood off and on at the gate, while Kitty hurried to hide her tears in her own room, and Alfred spoke with her father, who was working in the garden. He was a rather infirm man, but could scarcely be called old yet, with an agreeable face and a promising air of making the best of things. The conversation began on his side with great cheerfulness and good humour, but soon became distrustful, and soon angry. That was the captain’s cue for striking both into the conversation and the garden.
“Morning, sir!” said Captain Jorgan. “How do you do?”
“The gentleman I am going away with,” said the young fisherman to Tregarthen.
“O!” returned Kitty’s father, surveying the unfortunate captain with a look of extreme disfavour. “I confess that I can’t say I am glad to see you.”
“No,” said the captain, “and, to admit the truth, that seems to be the general opinion in these parts. But don’t be hasty; you may think better of me by-and-by.”
“I hope so,” observed Tregarthen.
“Wa’al, I hope so,” observed the captain, quite at his ease; “more than that, I believe so,—though you don’t. Now, Mr. Tregarthen, you don’t want to exchange words of mistrust with me; and if you did, you couldn’t, because I wouldn’t. You and I are old enough to know better than to judge against experience from surfaces and appearances; and if you haven’t lived to find out the evil and injustice of such judgments, you are a lucky man.”