Under the Greenwood Tree HTML version
PART II: 7. Dick Makes Himself Useful
The effect of Geoffrey's incidental allusions to Mr. Shiner was to restrain a considerable
flow of spontaneous chat that would otherwise have burst from young Dewy along the
drive homeward. And a certain remark he had hazarded to her, in rather too blunt and
eager a manner, kept the young lady herself even more silent than Dick. On both sides
there was an unwillingness to talk on any but the most trivial subjects, and their sentences
rarely took a larger form than could be expressed in two or three words.
Owing to Fancy being later in the day than she had promised, the charwoman had given
up expecting her; whereupon Dick could do no less than stay and see her comfortably
tided over the disagreeable time of entering and establishing herself in an empty house
after an absence of a week. The additional furniture and utensils that had been brought (a
canary and cage among the rest) were taken out of the vehicle, and the horse was
unharnessed and put in the plot opposite, where there was some tender grass. Dick lighted
the fire already laid; and activity began to loosen their tongues a little.
"There!" said Fancy, "we forgot to bring the fire-irons!"
She had originally found in her sitting-room, to bear out the expression 'nearly furnished'
which the school-manager had used in his letter to her, a table, three chairs, a fender, and
a piece of carpet. This 'nearly' had been supplemented hitherto by a kind friend, who had
lent her fire-irons and crockery until she should fetch some from home.
Dick attended to the young lady's fire, using his whip-handle for a poker till it was spoilt,
and then flourishing a hurdle stick for the remainder of the time.
"The kettle boils; now you shall have a cup of tea," said Fancy, diving into the hamper
she had brought.
"Thank you," said Dick, whose drive had made him ready for some, especially in her
"Well, here's only one cup-and-saucer, as I breathe! Whatever could mother be thinking
about? Do you mind making shift, Mr. Dewy?"
"Not at all, Miss Day," said that civil person.
"--And only having a cup by itself? or a saucer by itself?"
"Don't mind in the least."
"Which do you mean by that?"