Distinct! he answered, scratching his head, and keeping his eyes upon the secretarys face; I seem to hear it, Muster Gashford, in my wery bones.
I am very glad your sense of hearing is so sharp, and that I succeed in making myself so intelligible, said Gashford, in his unvarying, even tone. Where is your friend?
Mr Dennis looked round as in expectation of beholding him asleep upon his bed of straw; then remembering he had seen him go out, replied, I cant say where he is, Muster Gashford, I expected him back afore now. I hope it isnt time that we was busy, Muster Gashford?
Nay, said the secretary, who should know that as well as you? How can I tell you, Dennis? You are perfect master of your own actions, you know, and accountable to nobodyexcept sometimes to the law, eh?
Dennis, who was very much baffled by the cool matter-of-course manner of this reply, recovered his self-possession on his professional pursuits being referred to, and pointing towards Barnaby, shook his head and frowned.
Hush! cried Barnaby.
Ah! Do hush about that, Muster Gashford, said the hangman in a low voice, poplar prejudicesyou always forgetwell, Barnaby, my lad, whats the matter?
I hear him coming, he answered: Hark! Do you mark that? Thats his foot! Bless you, I know his step, and his dogs too. Tramp, tramp, pit-pat, on they come together, and, ha ha ha!and here they are! he cried, joyfully welcoming Hugh with both hands, and then patting him fondly on the back, as if instead of being the rough companion he was, he had been one of the most prepossessing of men. Here he is, and safe too! I am glad to see him back again, old Hugh!
Im a Turk if he dont give me a warmer welcome always than any man of sense, said Hugh, shaking hands with him with a kind of ferocious friendship, strange enough to see. How are you, boy?
Hearty! cried Barnaby, waving his hat. Ha ha ha! And merry too, Hugh! And ready to do anything for the good cause, and the right, and to help the kind, mild, pale-faced gentlemanthe lord they used so illeh, Hugh?
Ay! returned his friend, dropping his hand, and looking at Gashford for an instant with a changed expression before he spoke to him. Good day, master!
And good day to you, replied the secretary, nursing his leg.
And many good dayswhole years of them, I hope. You are heated.
So would you have been, master, said Hugh, wiping his face, if youd been running here as fast as I have.
You know the news, then? Yes, I supposed you would have heard it.
News! what news?
You dont? cried Gashford, raising his eyebrows with an exclamation of surprise. Dear me! Come; then I am the first to make you acquainted with your distinguished position, after all. Do you see the Kings Arms a-top? he smilingly asked, as he took a large paper from his pocket, unfolded it, and held it out for Hughs inspection.
Well! said Hugh. Whats that to me?
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