‘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!’