Under the Greenwood Tree
PART II: 3. A Turn In The Discussion
"I'm afraid Dick's a lost man," said the tranter.
"What?--no!" said Mail, implying by his manner that it was a far commoner thing for his
ears to report what was not said than that his judgment should be at fault.
"Ay," said the tranter, still gazing at Dick's unconscious advance. "I don't at all like what
I see! There's too many o' them looks out of the winder without noticing anything; too
much shining of boots; too much peeping round corners; too much looking at the clock;
telling about clever things SHE did till you be sick of it; and then upon a hint to that
effect a horrible silence about her. I've walked the path once in my life and know the
country, neighbours; and Dick's a lost man!" The tranter turned a quarter round and
smiled a smile of miserable satire at the setting new moon, which happened to catch his
The others became far too serious at this announcement to allow them to speak; and they
still regarded Dick in the distance.
"'Twas his mother's fault," the tranter continued, "in asking the young woman to our party
last Christmas. When I eyed the blue frock and light heels o' the maid, I had my thoughts
directly. 'God bless thee, Dicky my sonny,' I said to myself; 'there's a delusion for thee!'"
"They seemed to be rather distant in manner last Sunday, I thought?" Mail tentatively
observed, as became one who was not a member of the family.
"Ay, that's a part of the zickness. Distance belongs to it, slyness belongs to it, queerest
things on earth belongs to it! There, 'tmay as well come early as late s'far as I know. The
sooner begun, the sooner over; for come it will."
"The question I ask is," said Mr. Spinks, connecting into one thread the two subjects of
discourse, as became a man learned in rhetoric, and beating with his hand in a way which
signified that the manner rather than the matter of his speech was to be observed, "how
did Mr. Maybold know she could play the organ? You know we had it from her own lips,
as far as hips go, that she has never, first or last, breathed such a thing to him; much less
that she ever would play."
In the midst of this puzzle Dick joined the party, and the news which had caused such a
convulsion among the ancient musicians was unfolded to him. "Well," he said, blushing
at the allusion to Miss Day, "I know by some words of hers that she has a particular wish
not to play, because she is a friend of ours; and how the alteration comes, I don't know."