‘What the devil do you keep me here for?’ thundered Dempster, ’kicking my heels like a beggarly tailor waiting for a carrier’s cart? I ordered you to be here at ten. We might have driven to Whitlow by this time.’
‘Why, one o’ the traces was welly i’ two, an’ I had to take it to Brady’s to be mended, an’ he didn’t get it done i’ time.’
’Then why didn’t you take it to him last night? Because of your damned laziness, I suppose. Do you think I give you wages for you to choose your own hours, and come dawdling up a quarter of an hour after my time?’
‘Come, give me good words, will yer?’ said Dawes, sulkily. ’I’m not lazy, nor no man shall call me lazy. I know well anuff what you gi’ me wages for; it’s for doin’ what yer won’t find many men as ‘ull do.’
‘What, you impudent scoundrel,’ said Dempster, getting into the gig, ’you think you’re necessary to me, do you? As if a beastly bucket-carrying idiot like you wasn’t to be got any day. Look out for a new master, then, who’ll pay you for not doing as you’re bid.’
Dawe’s blood was now fairly up. ’I’ll look out for a master as has got a better charicter nor a lyin’, bletherin’ drunkard, an’ I shouldn’t hev to go fur.’
Dempster, furious, snatched the whip from the socket, and gave Dawes a cut which he meant to fall across his shoulders saying, ’Take that, sir, and go to hell with you!’
Dawes was in the act of turning with the reins in his hand when the lash fell, and the cut went across his face. With white lips, he said, ’I’ll have the law on yer for that, lawyer as y’are,’ and threw the reins on the horse’s back.
Dempster leaned forward, seized the reins, and drove off.
‘Why, there’s your friend Dempster driving out without his man again,’ said Mr. Luke Byles, who was chatting with Mr. Budd in the Bridge Way. ’What a fool he is to drive that two-wheeled thing! he’ll get pitched on his head one of these days.’
‘Not he,’ said Mr. Budd, nodding to Dempster as he passed ’he’s got nine lives, Dempster has.’
It was dusk, and the candles were lighted before Mr. Tryan knocked at Mrs. Pettifer’s door. Her messenger had brought back word that he was not at home, and all afternoon Janet had been agitated by the fear that he would not come; but as soon as that anxiety was removed by the knock at the door, she felt a sudden rush of doubt and timidity: she trembled and turned cold.
Mrs. Pettifer went to open the door, and told Mr. Tryan, in as few words as possible, what had happened in the night. As he laid down his hat and prepared to enter the parlour, she said, ’I won’t go in with you, for I think perhaps she would rather see you go in alone.’