“What are you talking about, ye vool?” roared the miller.
“The book, sir, sartinly,” said George, his honest face beaming with good-humor. “The Vamly Bible, Master Lake.”
And as the windmiller went off muttering something which the Family Bible would by no means have sanctioned, George returned chuckling to a leisurely use of his broom on the round-house floor.
Master Lake did not find the pocket-book, and after a day or two it was advertised in a local paper, and a reward of five pounds offered for it.
George Sannel was seated one evening in the “Heart of Oak” inn, sipping some excellent home-brewed ale, which had been warmed up for his consumption in a curious funnel-shaped pipkin, when his long lop-ears caught a remark made by the inn-keeper, who was reading out bits from the local paper to a small audience, unable to read it for themselves.
“Five pound reward!” he read. “Lor massy! There be a sum to be easily earned by a sharp-eyed chap with good luck on ’s side.”
“And how then, Master Chuter?” said George, pausing, with the steaming mug half-way to his lips.
“Haw, haw!” roared the inn-keeper: “you be a sharp-eyed chap, too! Do ’ee think ’twould suit thee, Gearge? Thee’s a sprack chap, sartinly, Gearge!”
“Haw, haw, haw!” roared the other members of the company, as they slowly realized Master Chuter’s irony at the expense of the “voolish” Gearge.
George took their rough banter in excellent part. He sipped his beer, and grinned like a cat at his own expense. But after the guffaws had subsided, he said, “Thee’s not told un about that five pound yet, Master Chuter.”
The curiosity of the company was by this time aroused, and Master Chuter explained: “’Tis a gentleman by the name of Ford as is advertising for a pocket-book, a seems to have lost on the downs, near to Master Lake’s windmill. ’Tis thy way, too, Gearge, after all. Thee must get up yarly, Gearge. ’Tis the yarly bird catches the worm. And tell Master Lake from me, ’ll have all the young varments in the place a driving their pigs up to his mill, to look for the pocket-book, while they makes believe to be minding their pigs.”
“Tis likely, too,” said George. And the two or three very aged laborers in smocks, and one other lubberly boy, who composed the rest of the circle, added, severally and collectively, “’Tis likely, too.”
But, as George beat his way home over the downs in the dusk, he said aloud, under cover of the roaring wind, and in all the security of the open country, —
“Vive pound! vive pound! And a offered me vive shilling for un. Master Lake, you be dog-ged cute; but Gearge bean’t quite such a vool as a looks.”
After a short time the advertisement was withdrawn.
George goes courting.—George as an enemy.—George as A friend.— Abel plays school-master.—The love-letter.—Moerdyk.—The miller-moth.—An ancient ditty.