`-- and when there's drink to be had,' he was saying, `he's just the worst o' the lot, is your Willie. So they tell me. He gets fairly mad wi' it!'
`I'd have given 'em the lie to their faces, a twelvemonth back!' the woman said in a broken voice. `But a' canna noo! A' canna noo!' She checked herself on catching sight of us, and hastily retreated into the house, shutting the door after her.
`Perhaps you can tell me where Hunter's farm is?' I said to the man, as he turned away from the house.
`I can that, Sir!' he replied with a smile. `I'm John Hunter hissel, at your sarvice. It's nobbut half a mile further -- the only house in sight, when you get round bend o' the road yonder. You'll find my good woman within, if so be you've business wi' her. Or mebbe I'll do as well?'
`Thanks,' I said. `I want to order some milk. Perhaps I had better arrange it with your wife?'
`Aye,' said the man. `She minds all that. Good day t'ye, Master -- and to your bonnie childer, as well!' And he trudged on.
`He should have said "child", not "childer",' said Bruno. `Sylvie's not a childer!'
`He meant both of us,' said Sylvie.
`No, he didn't!' Bruno persisted. `'cause he said "bonnie", oo know!'
`Well, at any rate he looked at us both,' Sylvie maintained.
`Well, then he must have seen we're not both bonnie!' Bruno retorted. `A-course I'm much uglier than oo! Didn't he mean Sylvie, Mister Sir?' he shouted over his shoulder, as he ran off.
But there was no use in replying, as he had already vanished round the bend of the road. When we overtook him he was climbing a gate, and was gazing earnestly into the field, where a horse, a cow, and a kid were browsing amicably together. `For its father, a Horse,' he murmured to himself. `For its mother, a Cow. For their dear little child, a little Goat, is the most curiousest thing I ever seen in my world!'
`Bruno's World!' I pondered. `Yes, I suppose every child has a world of his own -- and every man, too, for the matter of that. I wonder if that's the cause for all the misunderstanding there is in Life?'
`That must be Hunter's farm!' said Sylvie, pointing to a house on the brow of the hill, led up to by a cart- road. `There's no other farm in sight, this way; and you said we must be nearly there by this time.'
I had thought it, while Bruno was climbing the gate, but I couldn't remember having said it. However, Sylvie was evidently in the right. `Get down, Bruno,' I said, `and open the gate for us.'
`It's a good thing we's with oo, isn't it, Mister Sir?' said Bruno, as we entered the field. `That big dog might have bited oo, if oo'd been alone! Oo needn't be flightened of it!' he whispered, clinging tight to my hand to encourage me. `It aren't fierce!'
`Fierce!' Sylvie scornfully echoed, as the dog -- a magnificent Newfoundland -- that had come galloping down the field to meet us, began curveting round us, in gambols full of graceful beauty, and welcoming us with short joyful barks. `Fierce! Why, it's as gentle as a lamb! It's -- why, Bruno, don't you know? It's -- '
`So it are!' cried Bruno, rushing forwards and throwing his arms round its neck. `Oh, you dear dog!' And it seemed as if the two children would never have done hugging and stroking it.
`And how ever did he get here?' said Bruno. `Ask him, Sylvie. I doosn't know how.'
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|