Miss Johnson's Behaviour Causes No Little Surprise
Partly from the excitement of having his Matilda under the paternal roof, Bob rose next
morning as early as his father and the grinder, and, when the big wheel began to patter
and the little ones to mumble in response, went to sun himself outside the mill-front,
among the fowls of brown and speckled kinds which haunted that spot, and the ducks that
came up from the mill-tail.
Standing on the worn-out mill-stone inlaid in the gravel, he talked with his father on
various improvements of the premises, and on the proposed arrangements for his
permanent residence there, with an enjoyment that was half based upon this prospect of
the future, and half on the penetrating warmth of the sun to his back and shoulders. Then
the different troops of horses began their morning scramble down to the mill-pond, and,
after making it very muddy round the edge, ascended the slope again. The bustle of the
camp grew more and more audible, and presently David came to say that breakfast was
'Is Miss Johnson downstairs?' said the miller; and Bob listened for the answer, looking at
a blue sentinel aloft on the down.
'Not yet, maister,' said the excellent David.
'We'll wait till she's down,' said Loveday. 'When she is, let us know.'
David went indoors again, and Loveday and Bob continued their morning survey by
ascending into the mysterious quivering recesses of the mill, and holding a discussion
over a second pair of burr-stones, which had to be re-dressed before they could be used
again. This and similar things occupied nearly twenty minutes, and, looking from the
window, the elder of the two was reminded of the time of day by seeing Mrs. Garland's
table-cloth fluttering from her back door over the heads of a flock of pigeons that had
alighted for the crumbs.
'I suppose David can't find us,' he said, with a sense of hunger that was not altogether
strange to Bob. He put out his head and shouted.
'The lady is not down yet,' said his man in reply.
'No hurry, no hurry,' said the miller, with cheerful emptiness. 'Bob, to pass the time we'll
look into the garden.'
'She'll get up sooner than this, you know, when she's signed articles and got a berth here,'
Bob observed apologetically.
'Yes, yes,' said Loveday; and they descended into the garden.