“The kite! the kite!” exclaimed the old woman in return, and forgetting all other matters in her alarm, hastened to the rescue of her chickens as fast as her old legs could carry her.
“Now for it,” said the urchin to Tressilian; “snatch your beaver, get out your horse, and have at the silver groat you spoke of.”
“Nay, but tarry, tarry,” said the preceptor—“SUFFLAMINA, RICARDE!”
“Tarry yourself,” said Dickie, “and think what answer you are to make to granny for sending me post to the devil.”
The teacher, aware of the responsibility he was incurring, bustled up in great haste to lay hold of the urchin and to prevent his departure; but Dickie slipped through his fingers, bolted from the cottage, and sped him to the top of a neighbouring rising ground, while the preceptor, despairing, by well-taught experience, of recovering his pupil by speed of foot, had recourse to the most honied epithets the Latin vocabulary affords to persuade his return. But to MI ANIME, CORCULUM MEUM, and all such classical endearments, the truant turned a deaf ear, and kept frisking on the top of the rising ground like a goblin by moonlight, making signs to his new acquaintance, Tressilian, to follow him.
The traveller lost no time in getting out his horse and departing to join his elvish guide, after half-forcing on the poor, deserted teacher a recompense for the entertainment he had received, which partly allayed that terror he had for facing the return of the old lady of the mansion. Apparently this took place soon afterwards; for ere Tressilian and his guide had proceeded far on their journey, they heard the screams of a cracked female voice, intermingled with the classical objurgations of Master Erasmus Holiday. But Dickie Sludge, equally deaf to the voice of maternal tenderness and of magisterial authority, skipped on unconsciously before Tressilian, only observing that “if they cried themselves hoarse, they might go lick the honey-pot, for he had eaten up all the honey-comb himself on yesterday even.”
There entering in, they
found the goodman selfe
Full busylie unto his work ybent,
Who was to weet a wretched wearish elf,
With hollow eyes and rawbone cheeks forspent,
As if he had been long in prison pent.—The faery Queene.
“Are we far from the dwelling of this smith, my pretty lad?” said Tressilian to his young guide.
“How is it you call me?” said the boy, looking askew at him with his sharp, grey eyes.
“I call you my pretty lad—is there any offence in that, my boy?”
“No; but were you with my grandam and Dominie Holiday, you might sing chorus to the old song of
“And why so, my little man?” said Tressilian.
“Because,” answered the ugly urchin, “you are the only three ever called me pretty lad. Now my grandam does it because she is parcel blind by age, and whole blind by kindred; and my master, the poor Dominie, does it to curry favour, and have the fullest platter of furmity and the warmest seat by the fire. But what you call me pretty lad for, you know best yourself.”