‘Ay, without your luggage, Richie,’ he answered seriously. His conceit of a better knowledge of me than others possessed, had buoyed him up. ’For I knew,’ he said, ’we two do nothing like the herd of men. I thought you were off to her, my boy. Now!’ he looked at me, and this look of dismay was a perfect mirror. I was not a presentable object.
He stretched his limbs on the heather and kept hold of my hand, looking and talking watchfully, doctor-like, doubting me to be as sound in body as I assured him I was, despite aches and pains. Eveleen hung near.
‘These people have been kind to you?’ he said.
‘No, the biggest brutes on the earth,’ said I.
’Oh! you say that, when I spotted you out in the dark where you might have lied to be eaten, and carried you and washed your bloody face, and watched you, and never slept, I didn’t, to mother you and wet your head!’ cried the girl.
My father beckoned to her and thanked her appreciably in the yellow tongue.
’So these scoundrels of the high road fell upon you and robbed you, Richie?’
’You let him think they robbed you, and you had your purse to give me a gold guinea out of it!’ Eveleen cried, and finding herself in the wrong track, volubly resumed: ’That they didn’t, for they hadn’t time, whether they meant to, and the night black as a coal, whoever they were.’
The mystery of my not having sent word to Bulsted or to Riversley perplexed my father.
‘Comfortable here!’ he echoed me, disconsolately, and glanced at the heath, the tent, the black circle of the broth-pot, and the wild girl.
MY FATHER ACTS THE CHARMER AGAIN
Kiomi’s mother was seen in a turn of the gravel-cutting, bearing purchases from Durstan village. She took the new circumstances in with a single cast up of her wary eyelids; and her, and her skill in surgery and art in medicine, I praised to lull her fears, which procured me the denomination of old friend, as well as handsome gentleman: she went so far as to add, in a fit of natural warmth, nice fellow; and it is the truth, that this term effected wonders in flattering me: it seemed to reveal to me how simple it was for Harry Richmond, one whom gipsies could think a nice fellow, to be the lord of Janet’s affections—to be her husband. My heart throbbed; yet she was within range of a mile and a half, and I did not wish to be taken to her. I did wish to smell the piney air about the lake-palace; but the thought of Ottilia caused me no quick pulsations.