“Strange!” perhaps you will say, “this rush of impulse to-wards a course that might have seemed the most repugnant to her present state of mind, and in only the second night of her sadness!”
Yes, the actions of a little trivial soul like Hetty’s, struggling amidst the serious sad destinies of a human being, are strange. So are the motions of a little vessel without ballast tossed about on a stormy sea. How pretty it looked with its parti-coloured sail in the sunlight, moored in the quiet bay!
“Let that man bear the loss who loosed it from its moorings.”
But that will not save the vessel—the pretty thing that might have been a lasting joy.
Mrs. Poyser “Has Her Say Out”
The next Saturday evening there was much excited discussion at the Donnithorne Arms concerning an incident which had occurred that very day—no less than a second appearance of the smart man in top-boots said by some to be a mere farmer in treaty for the Chase Farm, by others to be the future steward, but by Mr. Casson himself, the personal witness to the stranger’s visit, pronounced contemptuously to be nothing better than a bailiff, such as Satchell had been before him. No one had thought of denying Mr. Casson’s testimony to the fact that he had seen the stranger; nevertheless, he proffered various corroborating circumstances.
“I see him myself,” he said; “I see him coming along by the Crab-tree Meadow on a bald-faced hoss. I’d just been t’ hev a pint—it was half after ten i’ the fore-noon, when I hev my pint as reg’lar as the clock—and I says to Knowles, as druv up with his waggon, ’You’ll get a bit o’ barley to-day, Knowles,’ I says, ‘if you look about you’; and then I went round by the rick-yard, and towart the Treddles’on road, and just as I come up by the big ash-tree, I see the man i’ top-boots coming along on a bald-faced hoss—I wish I may never stir if I didn’t. And I stood still till he come up, and I says, ‘Good morning, sir,’ I says, for I wanted to hear the turn of his tongue, as I might know whether he was a this-country man; so I says, ’Good morning, sir: it ’ll ’old hup for the barley this morning, I think. There’ll be a bit got hin, if we’ve good luck.’ And he says, ’Eh, ye may be raight, there’s noo tallin’,’ he says, and I knowed by that”—here Mr. Casson gave a wink—“as he didn’t come from a hundred mile off. I daresay he’d think me a hodd talker, as you Loamshire folks allays does hany one as talks the right language.”
“The right language!” said Bartle Massey, contemptuously. “You’re about as near the right language as a pig’s squeaking is like a tune played on a key-bugle.”
“Well, I don’t know,” answered Mr. Casson, with an angry smile. “I should think a man as has lived among the gentry from a by, is likely to know what’s the right language pretty nigh as well as a schoolmaster.”