A Bit O' Love
About seven o'clock in the taproom of the village inn. The bar, with the
appurtenances thereof, stretches across one end, and opposite is the porch door
on to the green. The wall between is nearly all window, with leaded panes, one
wide-open casement whereof lets in the last of the sunlight. A narrow bench runs
under this broad window. And this is all the furniture, save three spittoons:
GODLEIGH, the innkeeper, a smallish man with thick ruffled hair, a loquacious
nose, and apple-red cheeks above a reddish-brown moustache; is reading the
paper. To him enters TIBBY JARLAND with a shilling in her mouth.
GODLEIGH. Well, TIBBY JARLAND, what've yu come for, then? Glass o' beer?
[TIBBY takes the shilling from her mouth and smiles stolidly.]
GODLEIGH. [Twinkling] I shid zay glass o' 'arf an' 'arf's about yure form. [TIBBY
smiles more broadly] Yu'm a praaper masterpiece. Well! 'Ave sister Mercy
borrowed yure tongue? [TIBBY shakes her head] Aw, she 'aven't. Well, maid?
TIBBY. Father wants six clay pipes, please.
GODLEIGH. 'E du, du 'ee? Yu tell yure father 'e can't 'ave more'n one, not this
avenin'. And 'ere 'tis. Hand up yure shillin'.
[TIBBY reaches up her hand, parts with the shilling, and receives a long clay
pipe and eleven pennies. In order to secure the coins in her pinafore she places
the clay pipe in her mouth. While she is still thus engaged, MRS. BRADMERE
enters the porch and comes in. TIBBY curtsies stolidly.]
MRS. BRADMERE. Gracious, child! What are you doing here? And what have
you got in your mouth? Who is it? Tibby Jarland? [TIBBY curtsies again] Take
that thing out. And tell your father from me that if I ever see you at the inn again I
shall tread on his toes hard. Godleigh, you know the law about children?
GODLEIGH. [Cocking his eye, and not at all abashed] Surely, m'm. But she will
come. Go away, my dear.
[TIBBY, never taking her eyes off MRS. BRADMERE, or the pipe from her
mouth, has backed stolidly to the door, and vanished.]
MRS. BRADMERE. [Eyeing GODLEIGH] Now, Godleigh, I've come to talk to
you. Half the scandal that goes about the village begins here. [She holds up her