TYNN PUMPED DRY.
Miss West and Tynn proceeded on their way. The side path was dirty, and she chose the middle of the road, Tynn walking a step behind her. Deborah was of an affable nature, Tynn a long-attached and valued servant, and she chatted with him familiarly. Deborah, in her simple good heart, could not have been brought to understand why she should not chat with him. Because he was a servant and she a lady, she thought there was only the more reason why she should, that the man might not be unpleasantly reminded of the social distinction between them.
She pressed down, so far as she could, the heavy affliction that was weighing upon her mind. She spoke of the weather, the harvest, of Mrs. Bitterworth’s recent dangerous attack, of other trifling topics patent at the moment to Deerham. Tynn chatted in his turn, never losing his respect of words and manner; a servant worth anything never does. Thus they progressed towards the village, utterly unconscious that a pair of eager eyes were following, and an evil tongue was casting anathemas towards them.
The owner of the eyes and tongue was wanting to hold a few words of private colloquy with Tynn. Could Tynn have seen right round the corner of the pillar of the outer gate when he went out, he would have detected the man waiting there in ambush. It was Giles Roy. Roy was aware that Tynn sometimes attended departing visitors to the outer gate. Roy had come up, hoping that he might so attend them on this night. Tynn did appear, with Miss West, and Roy began to hug himself that fortune had so far favoured him; but when he saw that Tynn departed with the lady, instead of only standing politely to watch her off, Roy growled out vengeance against the unconscious offenders.
“He’s a-going to see her home belike,” snarled Roy in soliloquy, following them with angry eyes and slow footsteps. “I must wait till he comes back—and be shot to both of ’em!”
Tynn left Miss West at her own door, declining the invitation to go in and take a bit of supper with the maids, or a glass of beer. He was trudging back again, his arms behind his back, and wishing himself at home, for Tynn, fat and of short breath, did not like much walking, when, in a lonely part of the road, he came upon a man sitting astride upon a gate.
“Hollo! is that you, Mr. Tynn? Who’d ha’ thought of seeing you out to-night?”
For it was Mr. Roy’s wish, from private motives of his own, that Tynn should not know he had been looked for, but should believe the encounter to be accidental. Tynn turned off the road, and leaned his elbow upon the gate, rather glad of the opportunity to stand a minute and get his breath. It was somewhat up-hill to Verner’s Pride, the whole of the way from Deerham.
“Are you sitting here for pleasure?” asked he of Roy.
“I’m sitting here for grief,” returned Roy; and Tynn was not sharp enough to detect the hollow falseness of his tone. “I had to go up the road to-night on a matter of business, and, walking back by Verner’s Pride, it so overcame me that I was glad to bring myself to a anchor.”