He nodded to Waite, Pitkin and the others as he at last released Sallys waist, and crossed over to the hearth to warm and dry himself: as he did so, he cast a quick, somewhat suspicious glance at the two strangers, who had quietly resumed their game of dominoes, and for a moment a look of deep earnestness, even of anxiety, clouded his jovial young face.
But only for a moment; the next he had turned to Mr. Hempseed, who was respectfully touching his forelock.
Well, Mr. Hempseed, and how is the fruit?
Badly, my lord, badly, replied Mr. Hempseed, dolefully, but what can you xpect with this ere government favourin them rascals over in France, who would murder their king and all their nobility.
Odds life! retorted Lord Antony; so they would, honest Hempseed,at least those they can get hold of, worse luck! But we have got some friends coming here to-night, who at any rate have evaded their clutches.
It almost seemed, when the young man said these words, as if he threw a defiant look towards the quiet strangers in the corner.
Thanks to you, my lord, and to your friends, so Ive heard it said, said Mr. Jellyband.
But in a moment Lord Antonys hand fell warningly on mine hosts arm.
Hush! he said peremptorily, and instinctively once again looked towards the strangers.
Oh! Lud love you, they are all right, my lord, retorted Jellyband; dont you be afraid. I wouldnt have spoken, only I knew we were among friends. That gentleman over there is as true and loyal a subject of King George as you are yourself, my lord, saving your presence. He is but lately arrived in Dover, and is settling down in business in these parts.
In business? Faith, then, it must be as an undertaker, for I vow I never beheld a more rueful countenance.
Nay, my lord, I believe that the gentleman is a widower, which no doubt would account for the melancholy of his bearingbut he is a friend, nevertheless, Ill vouch for thatand you will own, my lord, that who should judge of a face better than the landlord of a popular inn
Oh, thats all right, then, if we are among friends, said Lord Antony, who evidently did not care to discuss the subject with his host. But, tell me, you have no one else staying here, have you?
No one, my lord, and no one coming, either, leastways
No one your lordship would object to, I know.
Who is it?
Well, my lord, Sir Percy Blakeney and his lady will be here presently, but they aint a-goin to stay
Lady Blakeney? queried Lord Antony, in some astonishment.
Aye, my lord. Sir Percys skipper was here just now. He says that my ladys brother is crossing over to France to-day in the Day Dream, which is Sir Percys yacht, and Sir Percy and my lady will come with him as far as here to see the last of him. It dont put you out, do it, my lord?
No, no, it doesnt put me out, friend; nothing will put me out, unless that supper is not the very best which Miss Sally can cook, and which has ever been served in The Fishermans Rest.
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