A Changed Man; and other tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 338 pages of information about A Changed Man; and other tales.

‘Perhaps not.  Ah, my little lady, you are wearying of me!’

‘No, Nic,’ responded she, creeping closer.  ’I am not.  Upon my word, and truth, and honour, I am not, Nic.’

‘A mere tiller of the soil, as I should be called,’ he continued, without heeding her.  ’And you—­well, a daughter of one of the—­I won’t say oldest families, because that’s absurd, all families are the same age—­one of the longest chronicled families about here, whose name is actually the name of the place.’

’That’s not much, I am sorry to say!  My poor brother—­but I won’t speak of that . . .  Well,’ she murmured mischievously, after a pause, ’you certainly would not need to be uneasy if I were to do this that you want me to do.  You would have me safe enough in your trap then; I couldn’t get away!’

‘That’s just it!’ he said vehemently.  ’It is a trap—­you feel it so, and that though you wouldn’t be able to get away from me you might particularly wish to!  Ah, if I had asked you two years ago you would have agreed instantly.  But I thought I was bound to wait for the proposal to come from you as the superior!’

’Now you are angry, and take seriously what I meant purely in fun.  You don’t know me even yet!  To show you that you have not been mistaken in me, I do propose to carry out this licence.  I’ll marry you, dear Nicholas, to-morrow morning.’

’Ah, Christine!  I am afraid I have stung you on to this, so that I cannot—­’

‘No, no, no!’ she hastily rejoined; and there was something in her tone which suggested that she had been put upon her mettle and would not flinch.  ’Take me whilst I am in the humour.  What church is the licence for?’

’That I’ve not looked to see—­why our parish church here, of course.  Ah, then we cannot use it!  We dare not be married here.’

‘We do dare,’ said she.  ‘And we will too, if you’ll be there.’

‘If I’ll be there!’

They speedily came to an agreement that he should be in the church-porch at ten minutes to eight on the following morning, awaiting her; and that, immediately after the conclusion of the service which would make them one, Nicholas should set out on his long-deferred educational tour, towards the cost of which she was resolving to bring a substantial subscription with her to church.  Then, slipping from him, she went indoors by the way she had come, and Nicholas bent his steps homewards.

CHAPTER II

Instead of leaving the spot by the gate, he flung himself over the fence, and pursued a direction towards the river under the trees.  And it was now, in his lonely progress, that he showed for the first time outwardly that he was not altogether unworthy of her.  He wore long water-boots reaching above his knees, and, instead of making a circuit to find a bridge by which he might cross the Froom—­the river aforesaid—­he made straight for the point

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A Changed Man; and other tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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