Boots could assure me that it was better than a picter, and equal to a play, to see them babies, with their long, bright, curling hair, their sparkling eyes, and their beautiful light tread, a rambling about the garden, deep in love. Boots was of opinion that the birds believed they was birds, and kept up with 'em, singing to please 'em. Sometimes they would creep under the Tulip-tree, and would sit there with their arms round one another's necks, and their soft cheeks touching, a reading about the Prince and the Dragon, and the good and bad enchanters, and the king's fair daughter. Sometimes he would hear them planning about having a house in a forest, keeping bees and a cow, and living entirely on milk and honey. Once he came upon them by the pond, and heard Master Harry say, "Adorable Norah, kiss me, and say you love me to distraction, or I'll jump in head- foremost." And Boots made no question he would have done it if she hadn't complied. On the whole, Boots said it had a tendency to make him feel as if he was in love himself--only he didn't exactly know who with.
"Cobbs," said Master Harry, one evening, when Cobbs was watering the flowers, "I am going on a visit, this present Midsummer, to my grandmamma's at York."
"Are you indeed, sir? I hope you'll have a pleasant time. I am going into Yorkshire, myself, when I leave here."
"Are you going to your grandmamma's, Cobbs?"
"No, sir. I haven't got such a thing."
"Not as a grandmamma, Cobbs?"
The boy looked on at the watering of the flowers for a little while, and then said, "I shall be very glad indeed to go, Cobbs,--Norah's going."
"You'll be all right then, sir," says Cobbs, "with your beautiful sweetheart by your side."
"Cobbs," returned the boy, flushing, "I never let anybody joke about it, when I can prevent them."
"It wasn't a joke, sir," says Cobbs, with humility,--"wasn't so meant."
"I am glad of that, Cobbs, because I like you, you know, and you're going to live with us.--Cobbs!"
"What do you think my grandmamma gives me when I go down there?"
"I couldn't so much as make a guess, sir."
"A Bank of England five-pound note, Cobbs."
"Whew!" says Cobbs, "that's a spanking sum of money, Master Harry."
"A person could do a good deal with such a sum of money as that,-- couldn't a person, Cobbs?"
"I believe you, sir!"
"Cobbs," said the boy, "I'll tell you a secret. At Norah's house, they have been joking her about me, and pretending to laugh at our being engaged,--pretending to make game of it, Cobbs!"
"Such, sir," says Cobbs, "is the depravity of human natur."
The boy, looking exactly like his father, stood for a few minutes with his glowing face towards the sunset, and then departed with, "Good-night, Cobbs. I'm going in."
If I was to ask Boots how it happened that he was a-going to leave that place just at that present time, well, he couldn't rightly answer me. He did suppose he might have stayed there till now if he had been anyways inclined. But, you see, he was younger then, and he wanted change. That's what he wanted,--change. Mr. Walmers, he said to him when he gave him notice of his intentions to leave, "Cobbs," he says, "have you anythink to complain of? I make the inquiry because if I find that any of my people really has anythink to complain of, I wish to make it right if I can." "No, sir." says Cobbs; "thanking you, sir, I find myself as well sitiwated here as I could hope to be anywheres. The truth is, sir, that I'm a-going to seek my fortun'." "O, indeed, Cobbs!" he says; "I hope you may find it." And Boots could assure me--which he did, touching his hair with his bootjack, as a salute in the way of his present calling-- that he hadn't found it yet.
Well, sir! Boots left the Elmses when his time was up, and Master Harry, he went down to the old lady's at York, which old lady would have given that child the teeth out of her head (if she had had any), she was so wrapped up in him. What does that Infant do,--for Infant you may call him and be within the mark,--but cut away from that old lady's with his Norah, on a expedition to go to Gretna Green and be married!
Sir, Boots was at this identical Holly-Tree Inn (having left it several times since to better himself, but always come back through one thing or another), when, one summer afternoon, the coach drives up, and out of the coach gets them two children.