Under the Greenwood Tree
PART II: 5. Returning Home Ward
"'A took it very well, then?" said Mail, as they all walked up the hill.
"He behaved like a man, 'a did so," said the tranter. "And I'm glad we've let en know our
minds. And though, beyond that, we ha'n't got much by going, 'twas worth while. He
won't forget it. Yes, he took it very well. Supposing this tree here was Pa'son Mayble, and
I standing here, and thik gr't stone is father sitting in the easy- chair. 'Dewy,' says he, 'I
don't wish to change the church music in a forcible way.'"
"That was very nice o' the man, even though words be wind."
"Proper nice--out and out nice. The fact is," said Reuben confidentially, "'tis how you
take a man. Everybody must be managed. Queens must be managed: kings must be
managed; for men want managing almost as much as women, and that's saying a good
"'Tis truly!" murmured the husbands.
"Pa'son Mayble and I were as good friends all through it as if we'd been sworn brothers.
Ay, the man's well enough; 'tis what's put in his head that spoils him, and that's why
we've got to go."
"There's really no believing half you hear about people nowadays."
"Bless ye, my sonnies! 'tisn't the pa'son's move at all. That gentleman over there" (the
tranter nodded in the direction of Shiner's farm) "is at the root of the mischty."
"Ay; and I see what the pa'son don't see. Why, Shiner is for putting forward that young
woman that only last night I was saying was our Dick's sweet-heart, but I suppose can't
be, and making much of her in the sight of the congregation, and thinking he'll win her by
showing her off. Well, perhaps 'a woll."
"Then the music is second to the woman, the other churchwarden is second to Shiner, the
pa'son is second to the churchwardens, and God A'mighty is nowhere at all."
"That's true; and you see," continued Reuben, "at the very beginning it put me in a stud as
to how to quarrel wi' en. In short, to save my soul, I couldn't quarrel wi' such a civil man
without belying my conscience. Says he to father there, in a voice as quiet as a lamb's,
"William, you are a' old aged man, as all shall be, so sit down in my easy-chair, and rest