Before breakfast in the morning, Arthur walked out to look about him. As the morning was fine and he had an hour on his hands, he crossed the river by the ferry, and strolled along a footpath through some meadows. When he came back to the towing-path, he found the ferry-boat on the opposite side, and a gentleman hailing it and waiting to be taken over.
This gentleman looked barely thirty. He was well dressed, of a sprightly and gay appearance, a well- knit figure, and a rich dark complexion. As Arthur came over the stile and down to the waters edge, the lounger glanced at him for a moment, and then resumed his occupation of idly tossing stones into the water with his foot. There was something in his way of spurning them out of their places with his heel, and getting them into the required position, that Clennam thought had an air of cruelty in it. Most of us have more or less frequently derived a similar impression from a mans manner of doing some very little thing: plucking a flower, clearing away an obstacle, or even destroying an insentient object.
The gentlemans thoughts were preoccupied, as his face showed, and he took no notice of a fine Newfoundland dog, who watched him attentively, and watched every stone too, in its turn, eager to spring into the river on receiving his masters sign. The ferry- boat came over, however, without his receiving any sign, and when it grounded his master took him by the collar and walked him into it.
Not this morning, he said to the dog. You wont do for ladies company, dripping wet. Lie down.
Clennam followed the man and the dog into the boat, and took his seat. The dog did as he was ordered. The man remained standing, with his hands in his pockets, and towered between Clennam and the prospect. Man and dog both jumped lightly out as soon as they touched the other side, and went away. Clennam was glad to be rid of them.
The church clock struck the breakfast hour as he walked up the little lane by which the garden-gate was approached. The moment he pulled the bell a deep loud barking assailed him from within the wall.
I heard no dog last night, thought Clennam. The gate was opened by one of the rosy maids, and on the lawn were the Newfoundland dog and the man.
Miss Minnie is not down yet, gentlemen, said the blushing portress, as they all came together in the garden. Then she said to the master of the dog, Mr Clennam, sir, and tripped away.
Odd enough, Mr Clennam, that we should have met just now, said the man. Upon which the dog became mute. Allow me to introduce myselfHenry Gowan. A pretty place this, and looks wonderfully well this morning!
The manner was easy, and the voice agreeable; but still Clennam thought, that if he had not made that decided resolution to avoid falling in love with Pet, he would have taken a dislike to this Henry Gowan.
Its new to you, I believe? said this Gowan, when Arthur had extolled the place. Quite new. I made acquaintance with it only yesterday afternoon.
Ah! Of course this is not its best aspect. It used to look charming in the spring, before they went away last time. I should like you to have seen it then.
But for that resolution so often recalled, Clennam might have wished him in the crater of Mount Etna, in return for this civility.
I have had the pleasure of seeing it under many circumstances during the last three years, and itsa Paradise.
It was (at least it might have been, always excepting for that wise resolution) like his dexterous impudence to call it a Paradise. He only called it a Paradise because he first saw her coming, and so made her out within her hearing to be an angel, Confusion to him! And ah! how beaming she looked, and how glad!
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