The face of the woman assumed an expression of indomitable resolution. She looked like one incapable of a weakness—like one who, mastered by an engrossing purpose, feels that all else is trivial, and to be as little regarded as the dust which the traveller shakes from his soiled garment.
On all sides, from innumerable tongues,
A dismal, universal hiss.
When Arundel arrived at the little settlement, he proceeded straightway to the hostelry, which was his usual stopping place, and as he entered, was met by the landlord with those demonstrations of welcome, wherewith the publican is in the habit of greeting his customers.
“So you have got safe off from them bloody salvages, (praised be the Lord for all his mercies),” said goodman Nettles. “And you look browner, as though you’d caught some of their color from being with them, but hearty as my tapster, Zachariah Sider, who can begin with the head of an ox, and never stop till he wipes his mouth with the tuft on the end of the tail, washing it down, moreover, with a quantity of ale that ails me—ahem!—(here Nettles put his finger on the side of his nose, and grinned as if he had really said a capital thing,) to see wasted on his lean carcase. But, Master Arundel, you must be dry. There is some of the old Canary left.”
“Let me have a bottle, and, if agreeable to thee, we will empty it together.”
As the landlord left the room, Arundel, on looking round, discovered what he had not observed before, viz., our old friend, Master Pront, in a sort of recess, formed by the projection of the chimney. The worthy functionary was engaged, at the moment, in taking his eleven o’clock refreshment of a pot of beer, (a habit from which his exile from the old country had not been able to wean him,) but, at the approach of the young man, he rose, and gravely shook hands with him. Miles had barely time to offer a share of the wine, which, however, Master Prout refused, when Nettles returned with a bottle.
“There,” said he, setting it down, and looking affectionately at it, “I warrant me you get no such soul of the grape among the red heathen, though if they had any wit they might have puncheons of it, if they only knew how to make them, for they say there is store of grape vines growing about.”
“As for me,” said Master Prout, after raising the tankard to his lips, and taking a draught, long and deep, “I’m a genuine Englishman in my taste. Give me, say I, your humming beer, with a body to it, in place of all the wishy-washy wines of the Frenchman or the Spaniard. They only pucker one’s mouth, and heat one’s blood; but there is neither bread nor cheese in them, as in good John Barleycorn.”