Such were the locksmith's thoughts when first seated in the snug corner, and slowly
recovering from a pleasant defect of vision-- pleasant, because occasioned by the wind
blowing in his eyes--which made it a matter of sound policy and duty to himself, that he
should take refuge from the weather, and tempted him, for the same reason, to
aggravate a slight cough, and declare he felt but poorly. Such were still his thoughts
more than a full hour afterwards, when, supper over, he still sat with shining jovial face
in the same warm nook, listening to the cricket-like chirrup of little Solomon Daisy, and
bearing no unimportant or slightly respected part in the social gossip round the Maypole
'I wish he may be an honest man, that's all,' said Solomon, winding up a variety of
speculations relative to the stranger, concerning whom Gabriel had compared notes
with the company, and so raised a grave discussion; 'I wish he may be an honest man.'
'So we all do, I suppose, don't we?' observed the locksmith.
'I don't,' said Joe.
'No!' cried Gabriel.
'No. He struck me with his whip, the coward, when he was mounted and I afoot, and I
should be better pleased that he turned out what I think him.'
'And what may that be, Joe?'
'No good, Mr Varden. You may shake your head, father, but I say no good, and will say
no good, and I would say no good a hundred times over, if that would bring him back to
have the drubbing he deserves.'
'Hold your tongue, sir,' said John Willet.
'I won't, father. It's all along of you that he ventured to do what he did. Seeing me
treated like a child, and put down like a fool, he plucks up a heart and has a fling at a
fellow that he thinks--and may well think too--hasn't a grain of spirit. But he's mistaken,
as I'll show him, and as I'll show all of you before long.'
'Does the boy know what he's a saying of!' cried the astonished John Willet.
'Father,' returned Joe, 'I know what I say and mean, well--better than you do when you
hear me. I can bear with you, but I cannot bear the contempt that your treating me in the
way you do, brings upon me from others every day. Look at other young men of my
age. Have they no liberty, no will, no right to speak? Are they obliged to sit mumchance,