"The Wold Love
and the Noo" by
"Have ye heard the noos?" said Betty Tuffin, thrusting in her head
at old Mrs. Haskell's open door.
"Lard, no, my dear," returned her crony, hastily dropping the
crooked iron bar with which she had been drawing together the logs upon
her hearthstone. "There, I never do seem to hear anything nowadays, my
wold man bein' so ter'ble punished wi' the lumbaguey and not able to do
a hand's turn for hisself. Why, I do assure 'ee I do scarce ever set
foot out o' door wi'out it's to pick up a bit o' scroff, or a few
logs--an' poor ones they be when I've a-got 'em. I can hardly see my
own hand for the smoke. Step in, do, Betty love, an' tell I all what's
to be told."
Betty had stepped in long before Mrs. Haskell had concluded her
harangue, and had, by this time, taken possession of a comfortable
corner of the screened settle, deposited her basket by her side, folded
her arms, and assumed that air of virtuous indignation which denoted
that she was about to relate the shortcomings of some third party.
"Dear, to be sure! Souls alive! Lard ha' mercy me, ye could ha'
knocked I down wi' a feather when Keeper told I--"
"A-h-h-h, them bwoys o' Chaffey's has been poachin' again I d'
'low," interrupted Mrs. Haskell eagerly. "Never did see sich chaps as
they be. A body 'ud think they'd know better nor to act so
unrespectable-like. Why, as my wold man do say sometimes, 'ye mid as
well put your hand in Squire's pocket as go a-layin' snares for his
hares an' rabbits--'tis thievin' whichever way ye do look at it,' he do
"Well, I don't agree wi' he," responded Betty with some heat. She
had sons of her own who were occasionally given to strolling abroad on
moonlight nights, and usually returned with bulging pockets. "I don't
agree at all. The Lard made they little wild things for the poor so
well as for the rich--same as the water what runs through Squire's park
an' down along by the back o' my place. Who's to tell who they belongs
to. A hare 'ull lep up on one side o' the hedge, an' then it'll be
Squire's, an' it'll run across t'other side, an' then it's Maister's,
an' then it'll come an' squat down in my cabbage garden--then I d' 'low
'tis mine if I can catch it."
Mrs. Haskell, who was too anxious to gossip to dally by the way in a
disquisition on the Game Laws, assented to her friend's argument with
somewhat disappointing promptness, and returned to the original subject
"I be real curious to hear that there bit o' noos."
"You'll be surprised I d' 'low," said Mrs. Tuffin. "Ye mind Abel
Guppy what went off to the war out there abroad wi' the Yeomanry? Well,
they d' say he be killed."
"Dear, now, ye don't tell I so," said the other in a dispassionate,
and if truth be told, somewhat disappointed tone. A death, though
always exciting, was not after all so very uncommon, and when a man
"'listed for a soldier," most of the older village folk looked upon his
destruction as a foregone conclusion. "Killed, poor young chap! His
aunt Susan 'ull be terrible opset."
"I d' 'low she will be opset," said Betty meaningly, "and it bain't
only along of him bein' killed, poor feller, but you'd never think,
Mrs. Haskell, how things have a-turned out. Ye mind that maid up to
Bartlett's what he was a-courtin'?"
"'E-es, to be sure I do. A great big bouncin' wench as ever I did
see, wi' her red head an' all."
"Well, it seems afore poor Abel went out he wrote a paper an' give
it to this 'ere maid, a-leavin' her everything as the poor chap had in
"Mercy on me! But she be a-walkin' out wi' somebody else they tell
me; she've a-took up wi' the noo love afore she did leave off wi' the
"She have," agreed the visitor emphatically. "That be the very thing
Susan 'ull find so cruel 'ard. She did say to I to-week afore she
knowed her nevvy were killed, 'If any harm comes to en,' says she, 'it
do fair break my heart to think as that good-for-nothing Jenny Pitcher
'ull have her pick of everything in this place. It bain't the same as
if she'd truly m'urned for en, but she've a-taken up wi' a new young
man,' says she, 'what walks out wi' her reg'lar.'--'My dear,' says I,
'if anything should happen to your nevvy, which the Lard forbid, she'll
never have the face to come to ax for his bits o' things, seein' as she
haven't been faithful to en.' 'She will though,' says Susan, an' 'tis
the talk o' the place that she will.'"
Mrs. Haskell clapped her hands together. "Well, well! But what a
sammy the chap was. He did ought to ha' made sure afore makin' sich a
will. It be a will, I suppose, my dear?"
"It be a will sure enough," said Mrs. Tuffin gloomily. "There, Susan
did tell I as that there artful hussy made sure he got it signed an'
all reg'lar. There's a few pounds too in the savings bank--I don't know
if she'd be able to get 'em out or not."
"Well, I never heerd such a tale. That maid must be a reg'lar
Jezebel, Betty, that's what she must be. That hard-hearted,
unfeelin'--Lard ha' mercy me! Well, well, well!"
Betty took up her basket again, and was proceeding leisurely towards
the door, shaking her head and uttering condemnatory groans the while,
when she suddenly gripped her friend by the arm with an eager
"There she be!--there's the very maid a-walkin' by so bold as brass
with her young man along of her!"
"I shouldn't wonder," said Mrs. Haskell in sepulchral tones, "I
shouldn't wonder but what she be a-goin' up to Susan's to pick out poor
"Dear, do you raly think so?" gasped Betty, almost dropping her
basket in her horror. "Why the noos of him bein' killed only come this
"I d' 'low she be a-goin' there," repeated Mrs. Haskell
emphatically. "If I was you, Betty, I'd follow 'em, careless-like, an'
jist find out. It do really seem like a dooty for to find out. I'd go
along of you only my wold man 'ull be a-hollerin' out for his tea."
A muffled voice was indeed heard at that very moment proceeding from
the bedroom, accompanied by an imperative knocking on the wall.
"There he be," said Mrs. Haskell, not without a certain pride. "He
do know the time so reg'lar as church clock. He'll go on a-shoutin' and
a-hammerin' at wall wi' his wold boot till I do come. I do tell en he
wears out a deal more shoe-leather that way nor if he were on his
She turned to go upstairs, and Betty crossing the threshold stood a
moment irresolute. Her basket, full of purchases recently made at the
shop a mile away, was heavy enough, and her feet were weary; but
Jenny's tantalising red head gleamed like a beacon twenty yards away
from her, and curiosity silenced the pleadings of fatigue. Hitching up
her basket she proceeded in the wake of the young couple, who were
walking slowly enough, the girl's bright head a little bent, the man
slouching along by her side in apparent silence. All at once the
observer saw Jenny's hand go to her pocket, and draw thence a
handkerchief which she pressed to her eyes.
"She be a-cryin'" commented Betty, not without a certain
satisfaction. "They've a-had a bit of a miff, I d' 'low; well, if the
young man have a-got the feelin's of a man he'd be like to object to
this 'ere notion of hers--Nay, now, he do seem to be a-comfortin' of
her. There! Well!"
They had left the village behind, and Betty's solitary figure was
probably unnoticed by the lovers. In any case it proved no hindrance to
the very affectionate demonstrations which now took place. Presently
Jenny straightened her hat, restored her handkerchief to her pocket,
and walked on, "arm-in-crook" with her admirer.
"They be a-goin' to Susan's, sure enough. Well, to be sure! Of all
the hard-hearted brazen-faced--!" words failed her, and she quickened
her pace as the couple disappeared round the angle of the lane. A few
minutes' brisk walking brought the pair, with Betty at their heels, to
a solitary cottage standing a little back from the lane in the shelter
of a high furze-grown bank. As the young man tapped at the door Jenny
turned and descried Betty's figure by the garden-gate.
"Is it you, Mrs. Tuffin?" she inquired. "I can scarce see who 'tis
wi' the sun shinin' in my eyes. Be you a-goin' in?"
"It's me," responded Betty tartly, in reply to the first question,
while she dismissed the second with an equally curt "I be."
The door opened and the figure of a stout elderly woman stood
outlined against the glow of firelight within. She peered out, shading
her eyes from the level rays of the sinking sun, and starting back at
sight of Jenny.
"'Tis you, be it? Well, I didn't think you'd have the face to come,
"I did just look in to say a word o' consolation, Miss Vacher," said
the girl, drawing herself up. "I be very grieved myself about this
melancholy noos. I've a-been cryin' terrible, I have, an' says I, 'Me
an' poor Abel's dear aunt 'ull mingle our tears.'"
"Mingle fiddlesticks!" said Susan. "What be that there young spark
o' yours a-doin' here? Be he come to drop a tear too?"
"He be come along to take care of I," said the girl demurely. "'Tis
Mr. Sam Keynes. He didn't think it right for I to walk so far by
myself. Did ye, Sam?"
"Well, now ye can walk back wi' her," said Susan, addressing that
gentleman before he had time to answer. "I don't want no tears
a-mingled here. Who be that by the gate?"
"'Tis me, Betty Tuffin," returned the owner of that name. "I didn't
come wi' these 'ere young folks--don't think it, my dear. I come to see
if this 'ere noos be true an' to tell you how sorry I be."
"I'd 'low the noos bain't true, but come in all the same, Betty. I
be al'ays glad to see you. You'd best be marchin', Jenny
Pitcher, you and your new sweetheart, else it'll be dark afore you get
Jenny looked at her admirer, who nodded encouragingly and nudged her
with his elbow.
"I think as we've a-come so far," she remarked, "I must ax leave to
step in for a bit, Miss Vacher. 'Tis a little matter o' business, and
business is a thing what ought to be attended to immediate."
Miss Vacher threw open the door with such violence that the handle
banged against the wall, and stepped back with sarcastic politeness.
"Oh, come in, do. Come, and poke and pry, and see what ye can pick
Sarcasm had turned to fury by the time the end of the sentence was
reached, and, as Jenny, overcome by conflicting emotions, was about to
sink into the nearest chair, she darted forward and snatched it away.
"That's mine anyhow," she cried emphatically. "You shan't touch
Jenny almost fell against the table, and gasped for a moment or two,
partly from breathlessness, partly, as presently appeared, from grief.
"Oh, poor Abel!" she groaned, as soon as she could speak. "The poor
dear fellow. Oh, oh dear!"
"I wouldn't take on so if I was you," said Betty sarcastically,
while even Mr. Keynes surveyed his intended with a lowering brow, and
gruffly advised her to give over.
"'Tis a pity to upset yourself so much," said Miss Vacher, with a
shrill laugh. "I don't believe he be dead. Somebody 'ud ha' wrote if he
was. The papers--you can't credit what they say in them papers."
"Oh, he's dead, sure enough," cried Jenny, suddenly recovering
herself. "I know he's dead--I know'd he'd die afore he went out. There,
I had a kind o' porsentiment he'd be killed, and so had he, poor
fellow. That's why he settled everything so thoughtful and kind. Oh
dear, oh dear! It fair breaks my heart to think on't. Poor Abel! he was
too good for this world--that's what he was. We'll never, never see his
"Dear, to be sure, think o' that now!" cackled Betty. "I hope ye
like that, Mr. Keynes."
Mr. Keynes evidently did not like it at all, if one might judge from
his expression, but Jenny now turned towards him in artless appeal.
"You do know very well, Sam, don't you, as poor Abel was my first
love? I've often told 'ee so, haven't I? You must remember, Sam, I did
say often and often, as 'whatever happens you can only be my second.
Don't ever think,' says I, 'as you can ever be to me what he was.'"
At this point Sam's feelings were too many for him; he made a stride
towards his charmer, and imperatively announced that he'd be dalled if
he'd stand any more o' that. "Cut it shart, Jenny, cut it shart, or I'm
"There, I did ought to think more o' your feelin's," said Jenny,
drying her eyes with surprising promptitude. "I beg your pardon--I were
that undone, ye see, wi' lookin' round at all my poor Abel's things,
what's to be mine now. They do all seem to speak so plain to I--the
"The clock!" exclaimed Susan, with an indignant start, "why that
there clock have hung over chimney-piece for nigh upon farty year! That
clock didn't belong to Abel!"
"That clock," said Jenny with mild firmness, "did belong to my poor
Abel's father, and 'twas his by rights; he've a-left it to me wi' the
rest of his things, and I shall value it for his sake. When I do hear
it tickin' it will seem to say to I, Think o'--me; think o'--me
"Jenny, drop it," cried Mr. Keynes with a muffled roar of protest;
"I tell 'ee 'tis more nor flesh and blood can bear. If you be a-goin'
to think constant o' he you'd better ha' done wi' I."
"Sam, dear Sam," said Jenny in melting tones, "you be all as I've
a-got left now; don't you desert me."
"Well, don't you go a-carryin' on that way," said Sam, still
unmollified and eyeing her threateningly.
"You don't lay a finger on the clock," said Susan Vacher with
spirit. "Who told you that clock was Abel's? It's a-been there ever
since my mother's time, and I've a-wound it up myself every Saturday
"That clock belonged to Abel," repeated Jenny emphatically, "and
he've a-left it to me in his will."
She drew a piece of paper from her pocket, opened it slowly, and
proceeded to read its contents aloud, with great dignity.
"'In case o' my death, I, Abel Guppy, bein' firm in mind and
"What does he mean by that?" interrupted Betty. "Lawyer Wiggins did
make my father's will an' 'tweren't wrote that way. What's 'firm in
mind and body'?"
"This 'ere was copied from a pattern will what was bought for
sixpence up to Mr. Marsh's in town," said Jenny loftily. "It do begin,
'I, M.N., bein' o' sound mind though infirm in body'--Abel, d'ye
see, weren't infirm in body; he were as well as ever he were in his
life, poor chap, when he did set out."
"Well, let's hear," said Susan with a martyrised air.
"'I, Abel Guppy,'" resumed Jenny, "'bein' firm in mind and body, do
hereby state as I wish for to leave my sweetheart, Jenny Pitcher, if I
do die in this 'ere war, all what I've a-got in this world. The money
in the Savings Bank--'" Betty groaned and threw up her eyes to heaven;
Susan involuntarily clenched her fist; Sam's brow cleared.
"'The money in the Savings Bank,'" repeated Jenny unctuously, "'and
any bits o' furniture what belongs to I, more partic'lar the clock over
the chimney-piece, the two chaney dogs, and the warmin'-pan--'"
"Well, I never!" interrupted Susan; "them two chaney dogs my mother
bought herself off a pedlar that come to the door. I mind it so well as
if it were yesterday."
"Very like she did," returned Jenny sharply. "And when she died
hadn't Abel's father, what was her eldest son, the best right to 'em?
And when he went to his long home they was Abel's, and now they'm
mine--and the warmin'-pan too," she added defiantly.
"Well, of all the oudacious--" Susan was beginning, when Jenny cut
her short, continuing to read in a high clear voice--
"'And half-a-dozen silver spoons, also the hearth-rug what was made
out o' my old clothes--'"
"I'm--I'm blowed if you shall get the hearthrug," cried Susan
explosively. "That's mine whatever the rest mid be. Them clothes was
only fit to put on a scarecrow, an' I cut 'em up, and picked out the
best bits, and split up a wold sack and sewed on every mortial rag
myself; and I made a border out of a wold red skirt o' mine."
"And a handsome thing it is too, my dear," said Betty admiringly.
"They was Abel's clothes, though," said Jenny; "ye can't get out o'
that, Miss Vacher."
"No, but there's one thing you can't get out of, Miss Jenny,
so clever as ye think yerself," cried the outraged possessor of the
hearthrug. "You be a-comed here on false pertences. Even if my nevvy
be dead you han't a-got no right to these 'ere things now. He wrote
it plain, 'I leave 'em all to my sweetheart if I'm killed.'
Well, you wasn't his sweetheart when he was killed--you was a-walkin'
out wi' this 'ere chap."
"Abel Guppy did mean I to have they things," said Jenny. "I was his
sweetheart at the time he wrote it, and if I left off bein' his
sweetheart 'twas because I felt he was too good to live. I knowed he
wouldn't come back--as I tell you I had a porsentiment. I were forced
to take up wi' Sam because I knowed Abel 'ud never make any livin' maid
"That's the third time!" cried Sam, ramming on his hat, and making
for the door. "I've had about enough o' this. I'll look out for another
maid as hasn't got a sweetheart i' th' New House--you be altogether a
cut above the likes of I."
Susan obligingly opened the door for him, and in a moment he was
gone, leaving Jenny staring blankly after him.
The banging of the garden-gate seemed to restore her to her senses.
With a scream she threw the paper on the floor, and rushed out of the
house, calling wildly on her lover. Soon the sound of the hurrying
steps was lost in the distance, and the two women simultaneously turned
to each other, eyes and mouth equally round with amazement.
At last Betty, slowly extending her forefinger, pointed to the will.
"I know," said Susan, finding voice all at once. "I've a good mind
to pop it i' the fire."
Betty shook her head admonishingly.
"I wouldn't do that," she said, with a note of reproof in her voice.
"'T'ud be real dangerous. Folks could be sent to prison for meddling
wi' wills, an' sich."
Susan, who had grasped the document in question, dropped it as if it
"My very spoons!" she said with a groan. "I tell 'ee, Betty, I'd a
deal sooner bury 'em nor let her have 'em."
"I d' 'low you would," said Mrs. Tuffin commiseratingly; "but I
don't advise 'ee to do it, my dear--'twouldn't be safe, an' you'd be
bound to give 'em up one time or another. I d' 'low that maid be
a-actin' as she be to spite ye more nor anythin' else; the more
unwillin' you be, the more she'm pleased."
"Very like," agreed Susan. "She knowed I never were for Abel takin'
up wi' her, an' al'ays said so much as I could again the match."
"Well, if you'll take my advice, Susan, you'll jist disapp'int her
by givin' in straight off. If I was you I'd jist make up a bundle o'
they things what Abel left her; pack 'em all up an' pin the will on
top, an' give 'em to carrier to take to her, an' jist write outside,
'Good riddance o' bad rubbish,' or 'What ye've touched ye may take,' or
some sich thing to show ye didn't care one way or t'other. I d' 'low
that 'ud shame her."
"Maybe it would," said Miss Vacher dubiously, though with a latent
gleam of malice in her eye.
"Take my advise an' do it then," urged Mrs. Tuffin earnestly. "Make
the best of a bad job an' turn the tables on she. All the village 'ull
be mad wi' her--the tale 'ull be in every one's mouth."
Miss Vacher compressed her lips and meditatively rubbed her hands.
"Well, I will; but I'll tell 'ee summat--I'll cut off every inch o'
that red border."
She picked up the rug as she spoke and held it out. "That'll spile
the looks of it anyhow," she remarked triumphantly.
The threat was carried into effect, and on the morrow poor Abel
Guppy's little household gods were duly transferred to the home of his
former sweetheart. Jenny professed great indifference to Susan's
scornful message, and continued to hold her head high in spite of the
storm of indignation provoked by her conduct. She claimed and carried
off the departed yeoman's Savings Bank book, and was much aggrieved on
finding that the authorities would not at once permit her to avail
herself of the little vested fund; inquiries must be made, they said,
and in any case some time must elapse before she could be permitted to
draw the money out.
This was the only real cloud on Jenny's horizon, however, and she
speedily forgot it in the midst of her wedding preparations. She and
her Sam had made up their little difference, and as he was well-to-do
in the world, and quite able to support a wife, there seemed to be no
reason for delay.
The banns were duly called, therefore, and on one sunshiny summer's
day Jenny and Sam, followed by a little band of near relatives, walked
gleefully to their new home from the church where they had been made
one. Betty Tuffin, who, as a lone woman, could not in justice to
herself refuse any paying job, however little she might approve of her
employer, had been left to take care of the house and to assist in
preparing the refreshments, As the little party approached the cottage
door they were surprised to see her standing on the threshold, now
portentously wagging her black-capped head, now burying her face in her
apron, evidently a prey to strong emotion, though of what particular
kind it was difficult to say.
The bride hastened her steps, and Betty, who had for the twentieth
time taken refuge in her apron, cautiously uncovered what seemed to be
a very watery eye, and remarked in muffled and quavering tones from
behind its enveloping folds--
"I'm afeared you'll be a bit took a-back when ye go indoor, my dear;
best go cautious. I d' 'low ye'll be surprised!'
"What d'ye mean?" cried Jenny in alarm. "What's the matter?"
"Anything wrong?" inquired Sam from the rear.
But Betty was apparently entirely overcome, and could only intimate
by repeated jerking of her thumb over her shoulder her desire that they
should go in and see for themselves.
A long table was spread in the centre of the living-room, and, at
the moment that the bridal party entered, a tall figure, dressed in
kharki, was walking hastily round it, picking up a spoon from each cup.
"Abel!" shrieked Jenny, staggering back against her husband.
"What, bain't ye dead?" gasped the latter with a dropping jaw.
Abel added another spoon to his collection, and then looked
up:--"This 'ere only makes five," he said; "there did ought to be six.
"Dear heart alive!" groaned Jenny's mother. "Jist look at en. We
thought en dead an' buried, an' here he be a-carryin' off the spoons!"
"I bain't dead, ye see," returned the yeoman fiercely. "There's more
Abel Guppys nor one i' the world, an' the man what got shot was a chap
fro' Weymouth. If I was dead an' buried, all the same d'ye think
I'd leave my spoons to be set out at another man's weddin'? Where's the
other chaney dog?"
He had already pocketed one, and now cast a vengeful glance round.
"On the dresser, Abel," gasped Jenny faintly; "oh, my poor heart,
how it do beat! To think o' your comin' back like that! Oh, Abel, I
made sure you was killed."
"And you're very sorry, bain't ye?" returned her former lover with
wrathful irony, "I'll thank ye for my bank-book, if ye please. Ye
haven't drawed the money out--that's one good thing. They telled I all
about it at the post-office yesterday. That's my dish, too." Extending
a long arm he deftly whisked away the large old-fashioned platter which
had supported the wedding-cake, dusting off the crumbs with an air of
"I think ye mid have found summat else to put your cake on," he
said, with a withering look; "I think ye mid ha' showed a bit more
feelin' than that."
"I'm sure," protested Jenny plaintively, "'twas only out o' respect
for you, Abel, that I set out the things. 'Twas out o' fond memory for
you. You know you did say yourself when you was a-writin' out your
will, 'I'll leave you all my things, Jenny, so as you'll think o'
me,'--an' I did think o' you," she added, beginning to sob, "I'm
sure I--I--I even wanted to put a bit o' black crape on your clock, but
mother wouldn't let me."
"Well," interrupted Mrs. Pitcher apologetically, "I didn't think, ye
know, it 'ud look very well to have crape about on my darter's
weddin'-day. It wouldn't seem lucky. Or else I'm sure I wouldn't ha'
had no objections at all--far from it, Abel."
"But I'd ha' had objections," cried Sam, who had stood by swelling
with wrath. "I do think my feelin's ought to be considered so much as
yon chap's, be he alive or dead. It's me what's married your darter,
"It be, Samuel; 'e-es I d' 'low it be," returned Mrs. Pitcher, with
a deprecating glance at the yeoman who was now rolling up the rug. "We
all on us thought as Abel was dead, ye see."
"Meanin', I suppose, as if ye knowed he was alive I shouldn't ha'
had her," retorted Sam explosively. "Well, I d' 'low, it bain't too
late yet to come to a understandin'. Jenny be married to I, sure
enough, but I bain't a-goin' to ha' no wives what be a-hankerin' arter
other folks. She may take herself off out of this wi'out my tryin' for
to hinder her. If she can't make up her mind to give over upsettin'
hersel' along o' he you may take her home-along, Mrs. Pitcher."
A dead silence ensued within the house, but Betty's strident tones
could be heard without, uplifted in shrill discourse to curious
"'E-es, d'ye see, he did write home so soon as he did get to
Darchester, a-tellin' of his aunt as he was a-comin' private-like so as
to surprise his sweetheart. And Susan, she did write back immediate an'
say, 'My poor bwoy, there be a sad surprise in store for you.'
And then when he comed they did make it up between them to keep quiet
"There's the clock, too," observed Abel, ending the pause at last.
"You can take the clock," cried Jenny, simultaneously recovering
speech and self-possession. "Take the clock, Abel Guppy, and take
yourself off. There ben a mistake, but it be all cleared up at last."
She stepped with dignity across the room, and slipped her arm
through Sam's, who made several strenuous but ineffectual efforts to
shake her off.
"You get hold o' he," cried Sam; "you cut along an' catch hold o'
he. It be he you do want."
"No, Samuel," said the incomparable Jenny with lofty resolution, "it
bain't he as I do want. I mid ha' been took up wi' some sich foolish
notion afore, bein' but a silly maid, but now I be a married 'ooman,
an' I do know how to vally a husband's love."
The new-made bridegroom ceased struggling and gaped at her. Jenny,
gazing at her former lover more in sorrow than in anger, pointed
solemnly to the clock:--
"Take down that clock, Abel Guppy," she repeated. "I do know you now
for what you be. I consider you've behaved most heartless an' unfeelin'
in comin' here to try an' make mischief between man an' wife. I thank
the Lard," she added piously, "as I need never ha' no more to do with
you. Walk out o' my house, if ye please--"
"Your house," interpolated Sam, a note of astonished query
perceptible in his tone despite its sulkiness.
"'E-es," said Jenny firmly. "He shall never show his face inside the
door where I be missis. Take down the clock, Abel Guppy," she repeated
for the third time. "You'd best help him, Sam. He don't seem able to
reach to it."
Encumbered as he was with newly-regained possessions, the yeoman had
made but abortive attempts to detach the timepiece; and Sam, with a
dawning grin on his countenance, now mounted on a chair, officiously
held by one of the guests, and speedily handed it down.
After all it was the ill-used Abel Guppy who looked most foolish as
he made his way to the door, loaded with his various goods, the
relatives of bride and bridegroom casting scornful glances at him as he
passed. Before he had proceeded twenty yards Sam ran after him with the
bank-book, which the other pocketed without a word, while the
bridegroom returned to the house, rubbing his hands and chuckling.
Jenny was already seated at the head of the table and received him
with a gracious smile:--
"If you'll fetch another plate, Sam, my dear," she remarked, "I can
begin for to cut the cake."