“Yes, I do; but we’ll see.” There was a comely determination on her lip, very pleasant to a beholder who was neither bishop, priest, nor deacon. “I think I can manage any vicar’s views about me if he’s under forty.”
Dick rather wished she had never thought of managing vicars.
“I certainly shall be glad to get some of your delicious tea,” he said in rather a free way, yet modestly, as became one in a position between that of visitor and inmate, and looking wistfully at his lonely saucer.
“So shall I. Now is there anything else we want, Mr Dewy?”
“I really think there’s nothing else, Miss Day.”
She prepared to sit down, looking musingly out of the window at Smart’s enjoyment of the rich grass. “Nobody seems to care about me,” she murmured, with large lost eyes fixed upon the sky beyond Smart.
“Perhaps Mr. Shiner does,” said Dick, in the tone of a slightly injured man.
“Yes, I forgot—he does, I know.” Dick precipitately regretted that he had suggested Shiner, since it had produced such a miserable result as this.
“I’ll warrant you’ll care for somebody very much indeed another day, won’t you, Mr. Dewy?” she continued, looking very feelingly into the mathematical centre of his eyes.
“Ah, I’ll warrant I shall,” said Dick, feelingly too, and looking back into her dark pupils, whereupon they were turned aside.
“I meant,” she went on, preventing him from speaking just as he was going to narrate a forcible story about his feelings; “I meant that nobody comes to see if I have returned—not even the vicar.”
“If you want to see him, I’ll call at the vicarage directly we have had some tea.”
“No, no! Don’t let him come down here, whatever you do, whilst I am in such a state of disarrangement. Parsons look so miserable and awkward when one’s house is in a muddle; walking about, and making impossible suggestions in quaint academic phrases till your flesh creeps and you wish them dead. Do you take sugar?”
Mr. Maybold was at this instant seen coming up the path.
“There! That’s he coming! How I wish you were not here!—that is, how awkward—dear, dear!” she exclaimed, with a quick ascent of blood to her face, and irritated with Dick rather than the vicar, as it seemed.
“Pray don’t be alarmed on my account, Miss Day—good-afternoon!” said Dick in a huff, putting on his hat, and leaving the room hastily by the back-door.
The horse was caught and put in, and on mounting the shafts to start he saw through the window the vicar, standing upon some books piled in a chair, and driving a nail into the wall; Fancy, with a demure glance, holding the canary-cage up to him, as if she had never in her life thought of anything but vicars and canaries.