Under the Greenwood Tree
PART I: 6. Christmas Morning
The choir at last reached their beds, and slept like the rest of the parish. Dick's slumbers,
through the three or four hours remaining for rest, were disturbed and slight; an
exhaustive variation upon the incidents that had passed that night in connection with the
school-window going on in his brain every moment of the time.
In the morning, do what he would--go upstairs, downstairs, out of doors, speak of the
wind and weather, or what not--he could not refrain from an unceasing renewal, in
imagination, of that interesting enactment. Tilted on the edge of one foot he stood beside
the fireplace, watching his mother grilling rashers; but there was nothing in grilling, he
thought, unless the Vision grilled. The limp rasher hung down between the bars of the
gridiron like a cat in a child's arms; but there was nothing in similes, unless She uttered
them. He looked at the daylight shadows of a yellow hue, dancing with the firelight
shadows in blue on the whitewashed chimney corner, but there was nothing in shadows.
"Perhaps the new young wom--sch--Miss Fancy Day will sing in church with us this
morning," he said.
The tranter looked a long time before he replied, "I fancy she will; and yet I fancy she
Dick implied that such a remark was rather to be tolerated than admired; though
deliberateness in speech was known to have, as a rule, more to do with the machinery of
the tranter's throat than with the matter enunciated.
They made preparations for going to church as usual; Dick with extreme alacrity, though
he would not definitely consider why he was so religious. His wonderful nicety in
brushing and cleaning his best light boots had features which elevated it to the rank of an
art. Every particle and speck of last week's mud was scraped and brushed from toe and
heel; new blacking from the packet was carefully mixed and made use of, regardless of
expense. A coat was laid on and polished; then another coat for increased blackness; and
lastly a third, to give the perfect and mirror-like jet which the hoped-for rencounter
It being Christmas-day, the tranter prepared himself with Sunday particularity. Loud
sousing and snorting noises were heard to proceed from a tub in the back quarters of the
dwelling, proclaiming that he was there performing his great Sunday wash, lasting half-
an- hour, to which his washings on working-day mornings were mere flashes in the pan.
Vanishing into the outhouse with a large brown towel, and the above-named bubblings
and snortings being carried on for about twenty minutes, the tranter would appear round
the edge of the door, smelling like a summer fog, and looking as if he had just narrowly
escaped a watery grave with the loss of much of his clothes, having since been weeping