Chapter 86

At tea - Vapours - Isopel Berners - Softly and kindly - Sweet pretty creature - Bread and water - Two sailors - Truth and constancy - Very strangely.

IN the evening of that same day the tall girl and I sat at tea by the fire, at the bottom of the dingle; the girl on a small stool, and myself, as usual, upon my stone.

The water which served for the tea had been taken from a spring of pellucid water in the neighbourhood, which I had not had the good fortune to discover, though it was well known to my companion, and to the wandering people who frequented the dingle.

‘This tea is very good,’ said I, ‘but I cannot enjoy it as much as if I were well: I feel very sadly.’

‘How else should you feel,’ said the girl, ‘after fighting with the Flaming Tinman? All I wonder at is that you can feel at all! As for the tea, it ought to be good, seeing that it cost me ten shillings a pound.’

‘That’s a great deal for a person in your station to pay.’

‘In my station! I’d have you to know, young man - however, I haven’t the heart to quarrel with you, you look so ill; and after all, it is a good sum for one to pay who travels the roads; but if I must have tea, I like to have the best; and tea I must have, for I am used to it, though I can’t help thinking that it sometimes fills my head with strange fancies - what some folks call vapours, making me weep and cry.’

‘Dear me,’ said I, ‘I should never have thought that one of your size and fierceness would weep and cry!’

‘My size and fierceness! I tell you what, young man, you are not over civil this evening; but you are ill, as I said before, and I shan’t take much notice of your language, at least for the present; as for my size, I am not so much bigger than yourself; and as for being fierce, you should be the last one to fling that at me. It is well for you that I can be fierce sometimes. If I hadn’t taken your part against Blazing Bosville, you wouldn’t be now taking tea with me.’

‘It is true that you struck me in the face first; but we’ll let that pass. So that man’s name is Bosville; what’s your own?’

‘Isopel Berners.’

‘How did you get that name?’

‘I say, young man, you seem fond of asking questions: will you have another cup of tea?’

‘I was just going to ask for another.’

‘Well, then, here it is, and much good may it do you; as for my name, I got it from my mother.’

‘Your mother’s name, then, was Isopel!’

‘Isopel Berners.’

‘But had you never a father?’

‘Yes, I had a father,’ said the girl, sighing, ‘but I don’t bear his name.’

‘Is it the fashion, then, in your country for children to bear their mother’s name?’

‘If you ask such questions, young man, I shall be angry with you. I have told you my name, and, whether my father’s or mother’s, I am not ashamed of it.’

‘It is a noble name.’

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.