“Th’st take long enough time about it then, upon my body,” said the tranter, as they all turned anew towards the vicarage.
“I thought you hadn’t done having snap in the gallery,” said Dick.
“Why, we’ve been traypsing and rambling about, looking everywhere, and thinking you’d done fifty deathly things, and here have you been at nothing at all!”
“The stupidness lies in that point of it being nothing at all,” murmured Mr. Spinks.
The vicarage front was their next field of operation, and Mr. Maybold, the lately-arrived incumbent, duly received his share of the night’s harmonies. It was hoped that by reason of his profession he would have been led to open the window, and an extra carol in quick time was added to draw him forth. But Mr. Maybold made no stir.
“A bad sign!” said old William, shaking his head.
However, at that same instant a musical voice was heard exclaiming from inner depths of bedclothes—“Thanks, villagers!”
“What did he say?” asked Bowman, who was rather dull of hearing. Bowman’s voice, being therefore loud, had been heard by the vicar within.
“I said, ‘Thanks, villagers!’” cried the vicar again.
“Oh, we didn’t hear ’ee the first time!” cried Bowman.
“Now don’t for heaven’s sake spoil the young man’s temper by answering like that!” said the tranter.
“You won’t do that, my friends!” the vicar shouted.
“Well to be sure, what ears!” said Mr. Penny in a whisper. “Beats any horse or dog in the parish, and depend upon’t, that’s a sign he’s a proper clever chap.”
“We shall see that in time,” said the tranter.
Old William, in his gratitude for such thanks from a comparatively new inhabitant, was anxious to play all the tunes over again; but renounced his desire on being reminded by Reuben that it would be best to leave well alone.
“Now putting two and two together,” the tranter continued, as they went their way over the hill, and across to the last remaining houses; “that is, in the form of that young female vision we zeed just now, and this young tenor-voiced parson, my belief is she’ll wind en round her finger, and twist the pore young feller about like the figure of 8—that she will so, my sonnies.”
CHAPTER VI: CHRISTMAS MORNING
The choir at last reached their beds, and slept like the rest of the parish. Dick’s slumbers, through the three or four hours remaining for rest, were disturbed and slight; an exhaustive variation upon the incidents that had passed that night in connection with the school-window going on in his brain every moment of the time.