‘She is afraid to look me in the face,’ I said, keeping my anger on Kiomi.
‘Harry, Harry,’ said my aunt, ’they must have seen me here; do you grieve, and you have me, dear?’
Her eager brown eyes devoured me while I stood panting to be happy, if only I might fling my money at Kiomi’s feet, and tell her, ’There, take all I have; I hate you!’ One minute I was curiously perusing the soft shade of a moustache on my aunt’s upper lip; the next, we jumped into the carriage, and she was my dear aunt Dorothy again, and the world began rolling another way.
The gipsies had made an appointment to deliver me over to my aunt; Farmer Eckerthy had spoken of me to my grandfather; the tramp had fetched Mr. Rippenger on the scene. Rippenger paid the tramp, I dare say; my grandfather paid Rippenger’s bill and for Saddlebank’s goose; my aunt paid the gipsies, and I think it doubtful that they handed the tramp a share, so he came to the end of his list of benefits from not asking questions.
I returned to Riversley more of a man than most boys of my age, and more of a child. A small child would not have sulked as I did at Kiomi’s behaviour; but I met my grandfather’s ridiculous politeness with a man’s indifference.
‘So you’re back, sir, are you!’
‘I am, sir.’
’Ran like a hare, ‘stead of a fox, eh?’
‘I didn’t run like either, sir.’
‘Do you ride?’
‘Yes, sir; a horse.’
That was his greeting and how I took it. I had not run away from him, so I had a quiet conscience.
He said, shortly after, ’Look here; your name is Harry Richmond in my house—do you understand? My servants have orders to call you Master Harry Richmond, according to your christening. You were born here, sir, you will please to recollect. I’ll have no vagabond names here’—he puffed himself hot, muttering, ‘Nor vagabond airs neither.’
I knew very well what it meant. A sore spirit on my father’s behalf kept me alive to any insult of him; and feeling that we were immeasurably superior to the Beltham blood, I merely said, apart to old Sewis, shrugging my shoulders, ’The squire expects me to recollect where I was born. I’m not likely to forget his nonsense.’
Sewis, in reply, counselled me to direct a great deal of my attention to the stables, and drink claret with the squire in the evening, things so little difficult to do that I moralized reflectively, ’Here ’s a way of gaining a relative’s affection!’ The squire’s punctilious regard for payments impressed me, it is true. He had saved me from the disgrace of owing money to my detested schoolmaster; and, besides, I was under his roof, eating of his bread. My late adventurous life taught me that I incurred an obligation by it. Kiomi was the sole victim of my anger that really seemed to lie down to be trampled on, as she deserved for her unpardonable treachery.