Elastic step - Disconsolate party - Not the season - Mend your draught - Good ale - Crotchet - Hammer and tongs - Schoolmaster - True Eden life - Flaming Tinman - Twice my size - Hard at work - My poor wife - Grey Moll - A Bible - Half-and-half - What to do - Half inclined - In no time - On one condition - Dont stare - Like the wind.
AFTER walking some time, I found myself on the great road, at the same spot where I had turned aside the day before with my new-made acquaintance, in the direction of his house. I now continued my journey as before, towards the north. The weather, though beautiful, was much cooler than it had been for some time past; I walked at a great rate, with a springing and elastic step. In about two hours I came to where a kind of cottage stood a little way back from the road, with a huge oak before it, under the shade of which stood a little pony and a cart, which seemed to contain various articles. I was going past - when I saw scrawled over the door of the cottage, Good beer sold here; upon which, feeling myself all of a sudden very thirsty, I determined to go in and taste the beverage.
I entered a well-sanded kitchen, and seated myself on a bench, on one side of a long white table; the other side, which was nearest to the wall, was occupied by a party, or rather family, consisting of a grimy- looking man, somewhat under the middle size, dressed in faded velveteens, and wearing a leather apron - a rather pretty- looking woman, but sun-burnt, and meanly dressed, and two ragged children, a boy and girl, about four or five years old. The man sat with his eyes fixed upon the table, supporting his chin with both his hands; the woman, who was next him, sat quite still, save that occasionally she turned a glance upon her husband with eyes that appeared to have been lately crying. The children had none of the vivacity so general at their age. A more disconsolate family I had never seen; a mug, which, when filled, might contain half a pint, stood empty before them; a very disconsolate party indeed.
House! said I; House! and then, as nobody appeared, I cried again as loud as I could, House! do you hear me, House!
Whats your pleasure, young man? said an elderly woman, who now made her appearance from a side apartment.
To taste your ale, said I.
How much? said the woman, stretching out her hand towards the empty mug upon the table.
The largest measure-full in your house, said I, putting back her hand gently. This is not the season for half-pint mugs.
As you will, young man, said the landlady; and presently brought in an earthen pitcher which might contain about three pints, and which foamed and frothed withal.
Will this pay for it? said I, putting down sixpence.
I have to return you a penny, said the landlady, putting her hand into her pocket.
I want no change, said I, flourishing my hand with an air.
As you please, young gentleman, said the landlady, and then, making a kind of curtsey, she again retired to the side apartment.
Here is your health, sir, said I to the grimy-looking man, as I raised the pitcher to my lips.
The tinker, for such I supposed him to be, without altering his posture, raised his eyes, looked at me for a moment, gave a slight nod, and then once more fixed his eyes upon the table. I took a draught of the ale, which I found excellent; Wont you drink? said I, holding the pitcher to the tinker.
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