Evan Harrington — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 103 pages of information about Evan Harrington — Volume 1.
To have had the last word is always a great thing; and to have given my gentleman a lecture, because he shunned a dispute, also counts.  And then there was the poor young fellow trudging to his father’s funeral!  The postillion chose to remember that now.  In reality, he allowed, he had not very much to complain of, and my gentleman’s courteous avoidance of provocation (the apparent fact that he, the postillion, had humbled him and got the better of him, equally, it may be), acted on his fine English spirit.  I should not like to leave out the tobacco in this good change that was wrought in him.  However, he presently astonished Evan by pulling up his horses, and crying that he was on his way to Hillford to bait, and saw no reason why he should not take a lift that part of the road, at all events.  Evan thanked him briefly, but declined, and paced on with his head bent.

‘It won’t cost you nothing-not a sixpence!’ the postillion sang out, pursuing him.  ‘Come, sir! be a man!  I ain’t a hintin’ at anything—­ jump in.’

Evan again declined, and looked out for a side path to escape the fellow, whose bounty was worse to him than his abuse, and whose mention of the sixpence was unlucky.

‘Dash it!’ cried the postillion, ’you’re going down to a funeral—­ I think you said your father’s, sir—­you may as well try and get there respectable—­as far as I go.  It’s one to me whether you’re in or out; the horses won’t feel it, and I do wish you’d take a lift and welcome.  It’s because you’re too much of a gentleman to be beholden to a poor man, I suppose!’

Evan’s young pride may have had a little of that base mixture in it, and certainly he would have preferred that the invitation had not been made to him; but he was capable of appreciating what the rejection of a piece of friendliness involved, and as he saw that the man was sincere, he did violence to himself, and said:  ‘Very well; then I’ll jump in.’

The postillion was off his horse in a twinkling, and trotted his bandy legs to undo the door, as to a gentleman who paid.  This act of service Evan valued.

‘Suppose I were to ask you to take the sixpence now?’ he said, turning round, with one foot on the step.

‘Well, sir,’ the postillion sent his hat aside to answer.  ’I don’t want it—­I’d rather not have it; but there!  I’ll take it—­dash the sixpence! and we’ll cry quits.’

Evan, surprised and pleased with him, dropped the bit of money in his hand, saying:  ’It will fill a pipe for you.  While you ’re smoking it, think of me as in your debt.  You’re the only man I ever owed a penny to.’

The postillion put it in a side pocket apart, and observed:  ’A sixpence kindly meant is worth any crown-piece that’s grudged—­that it is!  In you jump, sir.  It’s a jolly night!’

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Evan Harrington — Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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