Under the Greenwood Tree
PART III: 4. An Arrangement
"That IS serious," said Dick, more intellectually than he had spoken for a long time.
The truth was that Geoffrey knew nothing about his daughter's continued walks and
meetings with Dick. When a hint that there were symptoms of an attachment between
them had first reached Geoffrey's ears, he stated so emphatically that he must think the
matter over before any such thing could be allowed that, rather unwisely on Dick's part,
whatever it might have been on the lady's, the lovers were careful to be seen together no
more in public; and Geoffrey, forgetting the report, did not think over the matter at all. So
Mr. Shiner resumed his old position in Geoffrey's brain by mere flux of time. Even
Shiner began to believe that Dick existed for Fancy no more,--though that remarkably
easy-going man had taken no active steps on his own account as yet.
"And father has not only told Mr. Shiner that," continued Fancy, "but he has written me a
letter, to say he should wish me to encourage Mr. Shiner, if 'twas convenient!"
"I must start off and see your father at once!" said Dick, taking two or three vehement
steps to the south, recollecting that Mr. Day lived to the north, and coming back again.
"I think we had better see him together. Not tell him what you come for, or anything of
the kind, until he likes you, and so win his brain through his heart, which is always the
way to manage people. I mean in this way: I am going home on Saturday week to help
them in the honey-taking. You might come there to me, have something to eat and drink,
and let him guess what your coming signifies, without saying it in so many words."
"We'll do it, dearest. But I shall ask him for you, flat and plain; not wait for his guessing."
And the lover then stepped close to her, and attempted to give her one little kiss on the
cheek, his lips alighting however, on an outlying tract of her back hair by reason of an
impulse that had caused her to turn her head with a jerk. "Yes, and I'll put on my second-
best suit and a clean shirt and collar, and black my boots as if 'twas a Sunday. 'Twill have
a good appearance, you see, and that's a great deal to start with."
"You won't wear that old waistcoat, will you, Dick?"
"Bless you, no! Why I--"
"I didn't mean to be personal, dear Dick," she said, fearing she had hurt his feelings. "'Tis
a very nice waistcoat, but what I meant was, that though it is an excellent waistcoat for a
settled-down man, it is not quite one for" (she waited, and a blush expanded over her
face, and then she went on again)--"for going courting in."