“Do you know where she is going, George? I can tell you—she is going to your smithy—to pray for you—do you hear, to pray for you? Come!” and I seized his arm.
“No, Peter, no—I durstn’t—I couldn’t.” But he suffered me to lead him forward, nevertheless. Once he stopped and glanced round, but the village was asleep about us. And so we presently came to the open doorway of the forge.
And behold! Prue was kneeling before the anvil with her face hidden in her arms, and her slender body swaying slightly. But all at once, as if she felt him near her, she raised her head and saw him, and sprang to her feet with a glad cry. And, as she stood, George went to her, and knelt at her feet, and raising the hem of her gown, stooped and kissed it.
“Oh, my sweet maid!” said he. “Oh, my sweet Prue!—I bean’t worthy—I bean’t—” But she caught the great shaggy head to her bosom and stifled it there.
And in her face was a radiance—a happiness beyond words, and the man’s strong arms clung close about her.
So I turned, and left them in paradise together.
Which sympathizes with A brass jack, A Brace of cutlasses, and divers pots and pans
I found the Ancient sunning himself in the porch before the inn, as he waited for his breakfast.
“Peter,” said he, “I be tur’ble cold sometimes. It comes a-creepin’ on me all at once, even if I be sittin’ before a roarin’ fire or a-baskin’ in this good, warm sun—a cold as reaches down into my poor old ’eart—grave-chills, I calls ’em, Peter—ah! grave-chills. Ketches me by the ’eart they do; ye see I be that old, Peter, that old an’ wore out.”
“But you’re a wonderful man for your age!” said I, clasping the shrivelled hand in mine, “and very lusty and strong—”
“So strong as a bull I be, Peter!” he nodded readily, “but then, even a bull gets old an’ wore out, an’ these grave-chills ketches me oftener an’ oftener. ‘Tis like as if the Angel o’ Death reached out an’ touched me—just touched me wi’ ’is finger, soft-like, as much as to say: ’’Ere be a poor, old, wore-out creeter as I shall be wantin’ soon.’ Well, I be ready; ’tis only the young or the fule as fears to die. Threescore years an’ ten, says the Bible, an’ I be years an’ years older than that. Oh! I shan’t be afeared to answer when I’m called, Peter. ‘’Ere I be, Lord!’ I’ll say. ‘’Ere I be, thy poor old servant’ —but oh, Peter! if I could be sure o’ that theer old rusty stapil bein’ took first, why then I’d go j’yful—j’yful, but— why theer be that old fule Amos—Lord! what a dodderin’ old fule ‘e be, an’ theer be Job, an’ Dutton—they be comin’ to plague me, Peter, I can feel it in my bones. Jest reach me my snuff-box out o’ my ‘ind pocket, an’ you shall see me smite they Amalekites ‘ip an’ thigh.”