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self with,' continued Abe modestly, 'was the head-keeper on the estate, like Waterpark, a man of substance in his line, sought after and employed by other families, even after his daughter had got him into disgrace with the Thwaites. Old people did say he had got no other daughters, and that her that would be a lady had gone to school with the bailiff's daughter, was the beauty of them parts, washed her face in butter-milk and saved her complexion like the finest lady of them all. Now, my Hon is as brown as a gipsy, is no scholard, and knows more of guns and gamebags, begging your honour's pardon, than of needles and pins.'
But if I prefer a brown gipsy and a brave woman that could save a man's life at a pinch -not that it was worth the perilling her own for-ain't it my own look-out, old crustyboots ?' argued Sir William, with a rough good-humour.
You'll take your own way,' said Abe resignedly, but as an honest man I'm bound to say I can't see that Hon here, though she ben't a bad daughter to me, is fit to be a grand lady. She ain't the cut of one, and
ill will come of such flying in the face of Providence. It was clean different that the Squire should befriend us because her picked he out of the water-she done it and no mistake—and he were welcome to come over and have a pipe, if not a glass, and a talk any night he pleased. Nobody could say nought agin it; that were no more than nat'ral. But t'other ain't nat'ral. A most oonlikely, oonshuitable marriage is summat serious, and will lead to no end of rows, and bring the whole county-side down on us. I'm getting an old man—too old to have both gentle and simple down upon me, or to change my ways,' sighed Abe, drawing out an old flat snuff-box, taking snuff and sneezing a further remonstrance.
Who's asking you to change your ways ? and I ain't going to be a grand lady, you stupid, grumpy old father! cried Honor, who had taken and kept the upper hand of her father ever since her two brothers left the country. “It is Will Thwaite as is going to be a common man again, and suit hisself to the rest of us. Didn't I say the very first night we set eyes on him, that it were a fine thing—all the finer that it were as new as the first paring of the moon, to have a squire as were one of ourselves ?
But I said he weren't none of ourselves, below the skin, and were never like to be,' muttered Abe.
"And it is just because I am head of the house that I can do as I like, and marry whom I will—Honor if she will have me, to-morrow, or as soon as the banns can be put up. There's nought to wait for. We aren't going to have a flare-up like-like some I've seen. We needn't call together a crowd of fools and flunkeys to pity and laugh at us, though we'll do the thing in open day; we ain't ashamed of ourselves neither. You don't want to wait for fine clothes, do you, Honor, when I like you best as you sit there?
That's a pretty compliment,' pronounced Honor impartially, 'but you might have spared it, or kept it for another time, Will. I don't care a straw for fine clothes. More than that, father and I ain't able to buy them. More than that again, I wouldn't take a gift of a gownd from you now, not though you went down on your bended knees, or swore never to see me more, if so be I refused your gifts.
As father says, it were different when we were your servants to command, and you might spin down half-a-crown or a guinea for me, as your purse was full and your temper generous, . in exchange for my washing your clothes or blacking your boots. But not a shilling of yours will I touch now—not till it is your right to give, and mine to take, Sir William Thwaite. That's settled between us; you ain't to come swaggering here and emptying your purse into my lap—not that I say you'd care to do it-mind, me and father knows you're a better gentleman than that comes to, a deal more of a gentleman than lots as have been brought up to the trade. I say, Will,' Honor resumed suddenly, after a moment's pause, with a doubtful, searching look in her great grey eyes, 'I'm most afeared of that gentleman as is in you—wherever you got it, deep down, part of yourself, till death let it outthat it won't mate proper with the wild, rude woman, granting I've kept myself honest for Hughie's sake, that is in me. But ain't it a mercy,' changing her tone, with equal abruptness, to a crow of congratulation this time,
that you have neither father nor mother nor nobody to make a stir and sunder us? You're
your own master, though you are the Squire, as if you were one of our boys, Ted or young Abe, as always went in for pleasing theirselves, when they were at home.'
'Ay; you'll all please yourselves,' said old Abe, throwing off the responsibility, as he was wont to do, and becoming naturally more and more reconciled to the honour that had come to him, in proportion as he recovered from his stunned incredulity; 'you'll please yourselves and take the consequences, which will be a mighty promotion for Honor. I make bold to hope, likewise, it will be the keeping of this here tumble-down cottage and my place, whatever stories Waterpark tells agin me, till my death, without my having to quit the old country.'
'You'll get your choice, Abe,' announced Sir William, with reckless prodigality; ‘your old quarters here, or the best quarters with us at Whitehills.'
'Father will stay here,' said Honor decisively. 'He would not ever be at home out of this hole, but I'll come and see him, and he'll come and see me, whenever we weary for each other's faces ; shan't we, daddy?
*Then, since it's all fixed, I'll go home,' said