D’Arcy shook his head.
“Not even of leaves?” said Amabel.
When she was going away, D’Arcy asked, “Which do you like best, me or Bogy?”
Amabel pondered. “I like you very much. You made the rocking-horse go so fast; but I liked Bogy. He carried me all up the hill, and he picked up my moss. I wasn’t afraid of him. I gave him a kiss.”
“Well, give me a kiss,” said D’Arcy. But there was a tone of raillery in his voice which put Amabel on her dignity, and she shook her head, and began to go down the steps of the house, one leg at a time.
“If I’m Bogy, you know, you have kissed me once,” shouted D’Arcy. But Amabel’s wits were as well developed as her feet.
“Once is enough for bogies,” said she, and went sturdily away.
Jan fulfils Abel’s charge.—Son of the mill.—The large-mouthed woman.
By the time Jan went back to the windmill he was quite well.
“Ye’ll be fit for the walk by I open school,” said Master Swift.
Jan promised himself that he would redouble his pains in class, from gratitude to the good schoolmaster. But it was not to be.
The day before the school opened, Jan came to the cottage. “Master Swift,” said he, “I be come to tell ye that I be afraid I can’t come to school.”
“And how’s that?” said Master Swift.
“Well, Master Swift, I do think I be wanted at home. My father’s not got Abel now; but it’s my mother that mostly wants me. I be bothered about mother, somehow,” said Jan, with an anxious look. “She do forget things so, and be so queer. She left the beer-tap running yesterday, and near two gallons of ale ran out; and this morning she put the kettle on, and no water in it. And she do cry terrible,” Jan added, breaking down himself. “But Abel says to me the day he was took ill, ‘Janny,’ he says, ‘look to mother.’ And so I will.”
“You’re a good lad, Jan,” said the schoolmaster. “Sit ye down and get your tea, and I’ll come back with ye to the mill. A bit of company does folk good that’s beside themselves with fretting.”
But the windmiller’s wife was beyond such simple cure. The overtasked brain was giving way, and though there were from time to time such capricious changes in her condition as led Jan to hope she was better, she became more and more imbecile to the end of her life.
To say that he was a devoted son is to give a very vague idea of his life at this time to those for whom filial duty takes the shape of compliance rather than of action, or to those who have no experience of domestic attendance on the infirm both of body and of mind.