"What! Art ready for the basket, eh, Gyp?" said Adam, with the same gentle
modulation of voice as when he spoke to Seth.
Gyp jumped and gave a short bark, as much as to say, "Of course." Poor fellow,
he had not a great range of expression.
The basket was the one which on workdays held Adam's and Seth's dinner; and
no official, walking in procession, could look more resolutely unconscious of all
acquaintances than Gyp with his basket, trotting at his master's heels.
On leaving the workshop Adam locked the door, took the key out, and carried it
to the house on the other side of the woodyard. It was a low house, with smooth
grey thatch and buff walls, looking pleasant and mellow in the evening light. The
leaded windows were bright and speckless, and the door-stone was as clean as
a white boulder at ebb tide. On the door-stone stood a clean old woman, in a
dark-striped linen gown, a red kerchief, and a linen cap, talking to some speckled
fowls which appeared to have been drawn towards her by an illusory expectation
of cold potatoes or barley. The old woman's sight seemed to be dim, for she did
not recognize Adam till he said, "Here's the key, Dolly; lay it down for me in the
house, will you?"
"Aye, sure; but wunna ye come in, Adam? Miss Mary's i' th' house, and Mester
Burge 'ull be back anon; he'd be glad t' ha' ye to supper wi'm, I'll be's warrand."
"No, Dolly, thank you; I'm off home. Good evening."
Adam hastened with long strides, Gyp close to his heels, out of the workyard,
and along the highroad leading away from the village and down to the valley. As
he reached the foot of the slope, an elderly horseman, with his portmanteau
strapped behind him, stopped his horse when Adam had passed him, and turned
round to have another long look at the stalwart workman in paper cap, leather
breeches, and dark-blue worsted stockings.
Adam, unconscious of the admiration he was exciting, presently struck across
the fields, and now broke out into the tune which had all day long been running in
Let all thy converse be sincere,
Thy conscience as the noonday clear;
For God's all-seeing eye surveys
Thy secret thoughts, thy works and ways.