« VorigeDoorgaan »
make a bargain, and said he would do what she liked upon one condition." ..
Here Herbert made a start and exclamation of surprise, and when the miller paused, asked hastily what that condition was.
“Why, that Miss should marry him, that's all. If she would'nt do this, he said, matters should take their course."
“ And what did Gwenthlean—what did Miss Llewellen say ?” enquired Herbert.
.“Why, she tried to argue the matter a little, but 'twas no good. And then she stood still as a stature, and I thought once she'd have gone over into the sea-and then Mr. Grant asked her again, and after a little more talk, I believe she promised; but I could'nt exactly hear what she said. However, the squire didn't seem pleased at something or other, for he took out his account book and wrote down something, and then, as if he had been making out a bill, he make Miss put her name. Before he could say Jack Robinson, Miss was off. She just told him to make haste to Glanheathys, and stop Mr. Lloyd's troubles, and then she turned, and was out of sight before I could leave the porch. To be sure I thought 'twas a strange meeting, and a strange way of making an offer, but as 'twas no affair of mine, I held my tongue, and nobody would have been the wiser for me, if you had'nt chanced to come back again; God be praised for it.”
* Thank you—thank you, my honest friend," said Herbert “ It is, indeed, a strange story. You will not mention it again ?"
* No, take my word for it: nor should I now, if I hadn't fancied you and miss had always a hankering after one another, and that, to my mind, you seemed less familiarlike than you used to be: and that, perhaps, you might have been jealous or so, of the Squire ; which, to be sure, is no wonder, since they were to be married. And, Master Herbert, make so bold, could you tell me what put an end-There, if he isn't gone without having the manners to answer me. Young folks do forget themselves, to be sure, sometimes.”
Herbert had, indeed, quitted the miller, rather hastily, without even a "good morning,” and left that excellent man to ruminate over the probable consequences of the disclosure he had made. At first he was inclined to repent of his freedom of speech, seeing how iH it had been repaid ; but upon second thoughts his generosity got the better of his selfishness, and he held a soliloquy of some length, in which he reflected that after all it was as well to try to make two young people happy, even though he had once been a suitor for the lady himself. It was with a sigh, however, that he looked around upon his goodly belongings, and recollected that if all the Llewellen family were to marry, he should be left without a soul to speak to of his own station of life. This was dreadful. A lone man without a companion! What would become of the mill, dwelling-house, out-houses, cows, pigs, turkeys, geese, fowls, and furniture ? The thought was oppressive, and the miller was getting sentimental. His serving-woman was ill, too, and he felt the want of a wife to manage his house.
Who is that slim, genteel, smart lady, with mincing step, and a neat basket on her arm, just turning the corner by the mill? What a vision for the depressed miller, in his present dreamy state of irresolution! It is that epitome of virtue, prudence, and discretion, Mrs. Miriam ; the fear and admiration of half the bachelors in the country, and the very inental portrait, softened, of course, into feminine beauty of the miller himself. A. most proud, and ambitious person; one setting much by herself ; decidedly not small in her own conceit, and become so ultrainflated since it had been bruited about that her mistress was a real · Lady,' that she
scarcely knew, to use a vulgar expression, " whether she stood on her head or her heels."
On she came, tripping, simpering, and mincing. Mr. Jenkins looked at her at first carelessly, then attentively, finally complacently.
“ A bettermost sort of a young ooman," he soliloquized. “ Not jaunty, and ready for anybody, who'll have her, like the rest of 'em. Capital house-keeper-pickles, preserves, medicines, to say nothing of pastry, and bread. Good cook, too-make a good wife.”
“Good morning, Mr. Jenkins," interrupted the lady, in question. “ I'm just come to look in upon Molly, Mr. Jenkins, that you're so polite to. Mr. Jenkins. Really you're quite a pattern to the rest of us for generosity.”
“A woman of discernment,” thought Mr. Jenkins; a discovery made for the first time ; but then he was slow at discoveries. “ Thank’ee for your compli