Totty immediately with great gravity lifted up her frock, and showed a tiny pink pocket at present in a state of collapse.
“It dot notin’ in it,” she said, as she looked down at it very earnestly.
“No! What a pity! Such a pretty pocket. Well, I think I’ve got some things in mine that will make a pretty jingle in it. Yes! I declare I’ve got five little round silver things, and hear what a pretty noise they make in Totty’s pink pocket.” Here he shook the pocket with the five sixpences in it, and Totty showed her teeth and wrinkled her nose in great glee; but, divining that there was nothing more to be got by staying, she jumped off the shelf and ran away to jingle her pocket in the hearing of Nancy, while her mother called after her, “Oh for shame, you naughty gell! Not to thank the captain for what he’s given you I’m sure, sir, it’s very kind of you; but she’s spoiled shameful; her father won’t have her said nay in anything, and there’s no managing her. It’s being the youngest, and th’ only gell.”
“Oh, she’s a funny little fatty; I wouldn’t have her different. But I must be going now, for I suppose the rector is waiting for me.”
With a “good-bye,” a bright glance, and a bow to Hetty Arthur left the dairy. But he was mistaken in imagining himself waited for. The rector had been so much interested in his conversation with Dinah that he would not have chosen to close it earlier; and you shall hear now what they had been saying to each other.
Dinah, who had risen when the gentlemen came in, but still kept hold of the sheet she was mending, curtsied respectfully when she saw Mr. Irwine looking at her and advancing towards her. He had never yet spoken to her, or stood face to face with her, and her first thought, as her eyes met his, was, “What a well-favoured countenance! Oh that the good seed might fall on that soil, for it would surely flourish.” The agreeable impression must have been mutual, for Mr. Irwine bowed to her with a benignant deference, which would have been equally in place if she had been the most dignified lady of his acquaintance.
“You are only a visitor in this neighbourhood, I think?” were his first words, as he seated himself opposite to her.
“No, sir, I come from Snowfield, in Stonyshire. But my aunt was very kind, wanting me to have rest from my work there, because I’d been ill, and she invited me to come and stay with her for a while.”
“Ah, I remember Snowfield very well; I once had occasion to go there. It’s a dreary bleak place. They were building a cotton-mill there; but that’s many years ago now. I suppose the place is a good deal changed by the employment that mill must have brought.”
“It is changed so far as the mill has brought people there, who get a livelihood for themselves by working in it, and make it better for the tradesfolks. I work in it myself, and have reason to be grateful, for thereby I have enough and to spare. But it’s still a bleak place, as you say, sir—very different from this country.”