Under the Greenwood Tree
PART IV: 1. Going Nutting
PART THE FORTH--AUTUMN
Dick, dressed in his 'second-best' suit, burst into Fancy's sitting- room with a glow of
pleasure on his face.
It was two o'clock on Friday, the day be fore her contemplated visit to her father, and for
some reason connected with cleaning the school the children had been given this Friday
afternoon for pastime, in addition to the usual Saturday.
"Fancy! it happens just right that it is a leisure half day with you. Smart is lame in his
near-foot-afore, and so, as I can't do anything, I've made a holiday afternoon of it, and am
come for you to go nutting with me!"
She was sitting by the parlour window, with a blue frock lying across her lap and scissors
in her hand.
"Go nutting! Yes. But I'm afraid I can't go for an hour or so."
"Why not? 'Tis the only spare afternoon we may both have together for weeks."
"This dress of mine, that I am going to wear on Sunday at Yalbury;-- I find it fits so badly
that I must alter it a little, after all. I told the dressmaker to make it by a pattern I gave her
at the time; instead of that, she did it her own way, and made me look a perfect fright."
"How long will you be?" he inquired, looking rather disappointed.
"Not long. Do wait and talk to me; come, do, dear."
Dick sat down. The talking progressed very favourably, amid the snipping and sewing,
till about half-past two, at which time his conversation began to be varied by a slight
tapping upon his toe with a walking-stick he had cut from the hedge as he came along.
Fancy talked and answered him, but sometimes the answers were so negligently given,
that it was evident her thoughts lay for the greater part in her lap with the blue dress.
The clock struck three. Dick arose from his seat, walked round the room with his hands
behind him, examined all the furniture, then sounded a few notes on the harmonium, then
looked inside all the books he could find, then smoothed Fancy's head with his hand. Still
the snipping and sewing went on.
The clock struck four. Dick fidgeted about, yawned privately; counted the knots in the
table, yawned publicly; counted the flies on the ceiling, yawned horribly; went into the