Page:What will he do with it.djvu/80

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


hedgerow to the right; leaped it with an agility which no stimulus less preternatural than that of self-preservation could have given to his limbs, and then shot off like an arrow, and did not stop, till, out of breath, he dropped upon the bench in the sheltering honeysuckle arbour. Here he was still fanning himself with his cap, and muttering unmentionable expletives, when he was joined by Lionel, who had tarried behind to talk more about Sophy to the Cobbler, and who, unconscious that the din which smote his ear was caused by his ill-starred friend, had been enticed to go upstairs and look after Sophy in the crystal,—vainly. When Vance had recited his misadventures, and Lionel had sufficiently condoled with him, it became time for the latter to pay his share of the bill, pack up his knapsack, and start for the train. Now, the station could only be reached by penetrating the heart of the village, and Vance swore that he had had enough of that. "Peste!" said he; "I should pass right before No. 5 in the High Street, and the nuss and the babby will be there on the threshold, like Virgil's picture of the infernal regions,

       "'Infantumque anima; flentes in limine primo.'

We will take leave of each other here. I shall go by the boat to Chertsey whenever I shall have sufficiently recovered my shaken nerves. There are one or two picturesque spots to be seen in that neighbourhood. In a few days I shall be in town! write to me there, and tell me how you get on. Shake hands, and Heaven speed you. But, ah! now you have paid your moiety of the bill, have you enough left for the train?"

"Oh, yes, the fare is but a few shillings; but, to be sure, a fly to Fawley? I ought not to go on foot" (proudly); "and, too, supposing he affronts me, and I have to leave his house suddenly? May I borrow a sovereign? My mother will call and repay it."

VANCE (magnificently).—"There it is, and not much more left in my purse,—that cursed Star and Garter! and those three pounds!"

LIONEL (sighing).—"Which were so well spent! Before you sell that picture, do let me make a copy."

VANCE.—"Better take a model of your own. Village full of them; you could bargain with a porpoise for half the money which I was duped into squandering away on a chit! But don't look so grave; you may copy me if you can!"

"Time to start, and must walk brisk, sir," said the jolly landlord, looking in.

"Good-by, good-by."