Lavengro; the Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 669 pages of information about Lavengro; the Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest.

‘That would never do!’ said my host; ’I know myself too well to think of applying for assistance to any one.  Were I to become a parliamentary orator, I should wish to be an original one, even if not above mediocrity.  What pleasure should I take in any speech I might make, however original as to thought, provided the gestures I employed and the very modulation of my voice were not my own?  Take lessons, indeed! why, the fellow who taught me, the professor, might be standing in the gallery whilst I spoke; and, at the best parts of my speech, might say to himself, “That gesture is mine—­that modulation is mine.”  I could not bear the thought of such a thing.’

‘Farewell,’ said I, ‘and may you prosper.  I have nothing more to say.’

I departed.  At the distance of twenty yards I turned round suddenly; my friend was just withdrawing his finger from the bar of the gate.

{picture:My friend was just withdrawing his finger from the bar of the gate:  page369.jpg}

‘He has been touching,’ said I, as I proceeded on my way; ’I wonder what was the evil chance he wished to baffle.’

CHAPTER LXVIII

Elastic step—­Disconsolate party—­Not the season—­Mend your draught—­Good ale—­Crotchet—­Hammer and tongs—­Schoolmaster—­True Eden life—­Flaming Tinman—­Twice my size—­Hard at work—­My poor wife—­Grey Moll—­A Bible—­Half-and-half—­What to do—­Half inclined—­In no time—­On one condition—­Don’t stare—­Like the wind.

After walking some time, I found myself on the great road, at the same spot where I had turned aside the day before with my new-made acquaintance, in the direction of his house.  I now continued my journey as before, towards the north.  The weather, though beautiful, was much cooler than it had been for some time past; I walked at a great rate, with a springing and elastic step.  In about two hours I came to where a kind of cottage stood a little way back from the road, with a huge oak before it, under the shade of which stood a little pony and a cart, which seemed to contain various articles.  I was going past—­when I saw scrawled over the door of the cottage, ‘Good beer sold here’; upon which, feeling myself all of a sudden very thirsty, I determined to go in and taste the beverage.

{picture:I was going past—­when I saw scrawled over the door of the cottage, ‘Good beer sold here.’:  page371.jpg}

I entered a well-sanded kitchen, and seated myself on a bench, on one side of a long white table; the other side, which was nearest to the wall, was occupied by a party, or rather family, consisting of a grimy-looking man, somewhat under the middle size, dressed in faded velveteens, and wearing a leather apron—­a rather pretty-looking woman, but sun-burnt, and meanly dressed, and two ragged children, a boy and girl, about four or five years old.  The man sat with his eyes fixed upon the table, supporting his chin with both his hands; the woman, who was next him, sat quite still, save that occasionally she turned a glance upon her husband with eyes that appeared to have been lately crying.  The children had none of the vivacity so general at their age.  A more disconsolate family I had never seen; a mug, which, when filled, might contain half a pint, stood empty before them; a very disconsolate party indeed.

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Lavengro; the Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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