Fancy took no notice.
“About your young man.”
Fancy reddened. Elizabeth seemed to be watching her thoughts. Really, one would almost think she must have the powers people ascribed to her.
“Father not in the humour for’t, hey?” Another potato was finished and flung in. “Ah, I know about it. Little birds tell me things that people don’t dream of my knowing.”
Fancy was desperate about Dick, and here was a chance—O, such a wicked chance—of getting help; and what was goodness beside love!
“I wish you’d tell me how to put him in the humour for it?” she said.
“That I could soon do,” said the witch quietly.
“Really? O, do; anyhow—I don’t care—so that it is done! How could I do it, Mrs. Endorfield?”
“Nothing so mighty wonderful in it.”
“Well, but how?”
“By witchery, of course!” said Elizabeth.
“No!” said Fancy.
“’Tis, I assure ye. Didn’t you ever hear I was a witch?”
“Well,” hesitated Fancy, “I have heard you called so.”
“And you believed it?”
“I can’t say that I did exactly believe it, for ’tis very horrible and wicked; but, O, how I do wish it was possible for you to be one!”
“So I am. And I’ll tell you how to bewitch your father to let you marry Dick Dewy.”
“Will it hurt him, poor thing?”
“No; the charm is worked by common sense, and the spell can only be broke by your acting stupidly.”
Fancy looked rather perplexed, and Elizabeth went on:
“This fear of Lizz—whatever
By great and small;
She makes pretence to common sense,
And that’s all.
“You must do it like this.” The witch laid down her knife and potato, and then poured into Fancy’s ear a long and detailed list of directions, glancing up from the corner of her eye into Fancy’s face with an expression of sinister humour. Fancy’s face brightened, clouded, rose and sank, as the narrative proceeded. “There,” said Elizabeth at length, stooping for the knife and another potato, “do that, and you’ll have him by-long and by-late, my dear.”
“And do it I will!” said Fancy.
She then turned her attention to the external world once more. The rain continued as usual, but the wind had abated considerably during the discourse. Judging that it was now possible to keep an umbrella erect, she pulled her hood again over her bonnet, bade the witch good-bye, and went her way.
Mrs. Endorfield’s advice was duly followed.
“I be proper sorry that your daughter isn’t so well as she might be,” said a Mellstock man to Geoffrey one morning.
“But is there anything in it?” said Geoffrey uneasily, as he shifted his hat to the right. “I can’t understand the report. She didn’t complain to me a bit when I saw her.”