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up to the lawt and gee zome pollard to the rabbits. Dwon't ston' wheckering there, but trudge, I tell ee, or I'll gee zummat you ’on't ax me vor.”
Meg retreated proudly and poutingly from the room, but not till she had thrown a side glance at the visitant, a glimpse of whose handsome figure made her regret that she should be dismissed from his presence at all, and especially in so humiliating a manner.
The stranger having received the most minute directions respecting the horse-track to Goathurst, for he particularly stated that he wished to avoid the high-road, took his departure, having previously slipped into his informant's hand half-a-crown, which the money-loving Madge received with a profusion of curtsies, deposited it carefully in a little leather bag, and then returned to the completion of the dumplings and the preparation of dinner, calling out to one of the youngsters : Sal, Sal! turn tha glass, dwon't ye zee tha zond is all hirned out; you 'll have a nought o' tha dumpling nif you dwon't mind
it.” At the accustomed hour when the meal was ready the bustling housewife, whose face was crimsoned by her culinary exertions, hurried outside the door, beating a large empty milk-pail with a wooden bowl, and accompanying the hollow reverberations thus produced, with the sharp cuckoo-like halloo of a voice that was still more shrill and powerful than that of the old grandmother. At the well-known and welcome signal, which was heard far and near, Chervil and his son Ned, and two labourers came up from the fields, when the whole household sate down together to a plain but plenteous meal, to which every individual, from old Jan to the youngest of his grand children, did ample justice. No sooner was it completed, and the still sullen and pouting Margaret set to work in clearing away, than Madge took her husband apart, told him of the visit she had received from the stranger, stated that when he stooped down to take the milk and water, she had seen a small cross with a silver greyhound attached to it hanging round his neck, and
grounding her opinion upon this mysterious circumstance, as well as upon the fact of his wishing so anxiously to avoid the high-road, gave it as her decided conviction, that he was bound to Hales Court upon some Popish plot, and that it was their bounden duty instantly to apprize Edith of her danger, and recommend her immediate return to Orchard Place.
“A cross round his throoat,” said Chervil, shaking his head, and looking stolidly sapient“and goo tha horse-track, which is a nation difficult one to volly without being mizmazed ! why then, there must be a plot o' zome zort, that 's my verdit, and therefore I zay't. But why shouldn't us tell tha Squoire or Madam Colyton at Orchit Place, instead of trapesing auver all tha way to Hales Court ?"
“ Fags, Tummas ! I thought ye knew it war niver-the-near to speak to the Squoire about a nought; and as to Madam, sim to I she be clear and shear overlooked by theazam Sheltons. No, we'll zee Miss Edith her own zelf, and cry war-whing in her ear, and then if she
vall into the snare, 'twardn' our vault, you know."
“Well, Madge, nif you do make a pwint on't, we'll goo auver at once, vor it becomes us to be grateful to the Squoire's vamily, bin? he ha' always done zo much vor our Het. Lord love tha zweet maid ! how pretty she do look in her black donnins, dwon't she ?”
* Aw, Tummas! Tummas ! Lord send it dwon't spwile the wench, and turn her head as it hath adood our Meg's. Tha girt gigleling goosecap thinks o' nought now but o' being a vine lady like her zuster, and goos trapesing about in long curls and vlickering in ribbons, instead o’minding the milk pail, and veeding tha pigs. Did ye mind how begrumpled and stomachy she war 'cause I snubbed her abit avorè dinner ? But she shan't downarg me as she do her Grammer and Gramfer, no, that's what she shan't while my name 's Madge Chervil, and I do hope, Tummas, ye 'on't help to. spwile her.”
“ Aw, weel, I 'll jist don my Zunday qut and
hat, and then weel g' auver to Hales Court,” said the husband, who was too quiet a man to argue with his spouse upon so interminable and intractable a subject as that of spoiling the children. Madge in the mean time arrayed herself in her best gown and hood, when the rustic couple immediately set off upon their wellmeant, but most unnecessary expedition.