“Oh yes,” replied Duke; “one of the little gold guineas, and one of my shillings, and one of sister’s sixpennies, and all the pennies.”
“Ah,” said the boy, “then I’m afeared you’ve said good-bye to the lot o’ them. Catch Mick let fish like that out of his net. But,” he added—for Duke seemed to be stunned by the loss—“sit ye down, and I’ll fetch what water I can in my cap, or we’ll have missy’s foot very bad, and that ’ud be worser than losin’ the money.”
He was back in a moment with water enough to soak the diminutive handkerchief, with which he gently bathed away some of the blood, so that he could see the wound. It was a bad cut, but it was not now bleeding so much. The little surgeon pressed the sides gently together, which made Pamela give a little scream of pain.
“Don’t cry, missy dear,” he said. “It’ll not hurt so much when I’ve tied it up. Ye’ve not another hankerwich? I’d like to lay this one over the cut—it’s nice and wet—and tie it on with summat else.”
“I fink there’s one in my pocket,” said Pamela, and when Duke had extracted it, and with its help the poor foot was tied up much more scientifically than before, she sat up and looked about her, less white and miserable by a good deal, thanks to their new friend.
“What a nice boy you are,” she said condescendingly. “What’s your name? Is that—— ugly man” she was going to have said, but she hesitated, afraid of hurting the boy’s feelings—“is the man your father?” and she dropped her voice.
“Bless yer, no,” he replied with real fervency, “and that’s one thing I’m thankful for. Mick my father; no, thank you, missy. My name’s Tim, leastways so I’m called. Diana she says it’s short for Timothy, but Tim’s long enough.”
“And who’s Diana?” asked the children, beginning to forget their own troubles in curiosity.
“Her as he roared out at so—yonder—when you was up at the top o’ the wall. She’s a deal better than him and the missus is Diana. But listen, master and missy. He’ll be back in a minute, and——”
“Oh let us run away before he comes! oh do help us to run away!” they exclaimed, all their terrors returning. “Us doesn’t want the bowl now. Oh Tim, can’t us all run away, quick, before he comes?”
And the two little creatures seized hold of their new friend’s ragged jacket as if they felt that in him was their only chance of safety.
“Whose imp art thou with
And curly pate and merry eye?”
They were so excited, so eager to be off at once, that for a minute or two Tim could scarcely get them to listen to him. They had forgotten all about the snakes, or else their confidence in the boy as a protector was so great that they were sure he would defend them against every danger.
“Oh Tim, dear Tim, do let us go quick,” they kept repeating.