‘Why won’t you let me do anything?’
‘I will whatever you please. But kiss me.’ Then he kissed her, as he stood among Mr Soames’s cabbage-stalks. ’Dear Hugh; you are such a god to me!’
‘You don’t treat me like a divinity.’
’But I think of you as one when you are absent. The gods were never obeyed when they showed themselves. Let us go and have a walk. Come; shall we get as far as Ridleigh Mill?’
Then they started together, and all unpleasantness was over between them when they returned to the Clock House.
BROOKE BURGESS TAKES LEAVE OF EXETER
The time had arrived at which Brooke Burgess was to leave Exeter. He had made his tour through the county, and returned to spend his two last nights at Miss Stanbury’s house. When he came back Dorothy was still at Nuncombe, but she arrived in the Close the day before his departure. Her mother and sister had wished her to stay at Nuncombe. ‘There is a bed for you now, and a place to be comfortable in,’ Priscilla had said, laughing, ‘and you may as well see the last of us.’ But Dorothy declared that she had named a day to her aunt, and that she would not break her engagement. ‘I suppose you can stay if you like,’ Priscilla had urged. But Dorothy was of opinion that she ought not to stay. She said not a word about Brooke Burgess; but it may be that it would have been matter of regret to her not to shake hands with him once more. Brooke declared to her that had she not come back he would have gone over to Nuncombe to see her; but: Dorothy did not consider herself entitled to believe that.
On the morning of the last day Brooke went over to his uncle’s office. ‘I’ve come to say Good-bye, Uncle Barty,’ he said.
‘Good-bye, my boy. Take care of yourself.’
‘I mean to try.’
’You haven’t quarrelled with the old woman have you? said Uncle Barty.
‘Not yet—that is to say, not to the knife.’
‘And you still believe that you are to have her money?’
’I believe nothing one way or the other. You may be sure of this, I shall never count it mine till I’ve got it; and I shall never make myself so sure of it, as to break my heart because I don’t get it. I suppose I’ve got as good a right to it as anybody else, and I don’t see why I shouldn’t take it if it come in my way.’
‘I don’t think it ever will,’ said the old man, after a pause.
‘I shall be none the worse,’ said Brooke.
’Yes, you will. You’ll be a broken-hearted man. And she means to break your heart. She does it on purpose. She has no more idea of leaving you her money than I have. Why should she?’
‘Simply because she takes the fancy.’
’Fancy! Believe me, there is very little fancy about it. There isn’t one of the name she wouldn’t ruin if she could. She’d break all our hearts if she could get at them. Look at me and my position. I’m little more than a clerk in the concern. By God I’m not so well off as a senior clerk in many a bank. If there came a bad time, I must lose as the others would lose, but a clerk never loses. And my share in the business is almost a nothing. It’s just nothing compared to what it would have been, only for her.’