“An unruly man, is he? If that be so, the sooner he leaves the place the better. When you go home, you will be good enough to send me the lease that I may, for myself, see the mistake.”
Attorney Case got up to go. But before he went, he thought he must try to find out if Sir Arthur was going to employ him to look after the estate, that is, if he was to be the agent. “I will not trouble you about this lease, Sir Arthur,” he said, “but will hand it to your agent, if you will inform me who is to have that post.”
“I mean to be my own agent,” answered Sir Arthur, “and will myself look after the happiness of the people among whom I have come to live.”
It was the surprise of this reply that had sent Attorney Case home so cross that Barbara had said to Betty she could not put up with him.
When his daughter had left him atone, the Attorney walked up and down the room deep in thought. “At any rate,” he said to himself at last, “if Sir Arthur means to manage the estate himself in summer, he at least will need an agent in winter. I must try to get the post.” And he still walked up and down, trying to think of some plan by which he would find favor at the Abbey. Now that morning he had heard the housekeeper at the Abbey ask the servants if any lamb were to be had in the village, as Sir Arthur would like to have it one day soon for dinner.
Knowing that he himself treated those farmers best who from time to time gave him presents, Attorney Case thought that if he sent a gift to Sir Arthur, it might help him to get what he wished.
No sooner had the idea struck him than the Attorney went to the kitchen. Standing at the door was a shepherd-boy. Barbara, too, was there.
“Do you know of a nice fat lamb?” the Attorney asked the lad.
Before the shepherd-boy could answer, Barbara exclaimed, “I know of one. Susan Price has a pet lamb that is as fat as fat can be.”
At once Attorney Case walked over to Farmer Price’s cottage. He found Susan packing her father’s little wardrobe, and as she looked up, he saw she had been in tears.
“How is your mother to-day, Susan?” inquired the Attorney.
“Worse, sir. My father goes to-morrow.”
“That’s a pity.”
“It can’t be helped,” said Susan, with a sigh.
“It can’t be helped—how do you know that?” said Mr. Case.
“Sir, dear sir!” cried she, looking up at him, and a sudden ray of hope beamed in her sweet face.
“What if you could help it, Susan?” he said.
Susan clasped her hands in silence.
“You can help it, Susan.” She started up. “What would you give now to have your father at home for a whole week longer?”
“Anything!—but I have nothing.”
“Yes, you have a lamb,” said the hard-hearted Attorney.
“My poor little Daisy!” said Susan; “but what good can she do?”
“What good can any lamb do? Is not lamb good to eat? Why do you look so pale, girl? Are not sheep killed every day, and don’t you eat mutton? Is your lamb better than anybody else’s, think you?”