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face. ‘We’re playing, Billy, you and I. Only the blacksmith works.’ ‘He’s a bit of a fool, by that token,” hazarded Billy. The blacksmith, when he laughed at all, laughed from his lungs outward. ‘Always guessed it, Priscilla,” said he, making his anvil ring. ‘Billy's a child, but old in wisdom. Bit of a fool I’ll be to the end, I reckon.’ ‘I’m playing, blacksmith,” said Billy the Fool, while the blacksmith halted in his work to steal a glance at Priscilla. “Get ye on with your work o' making horseshoes, if I’m playing the tune to ye.” Again David laughed. ‘Keeps me at it, Priscilla,” he said. “Never met a taskmaster so hard to drive a man as Billy.” ‘We want ye at Good Intent,” said Priscilla, laughing too— and her laughter was a pleasant thing to hear, reminding David again of throstles when the spring comes in. ‘You can ease your hold of the bellows, Billy,” said David, with an alacrity that was patent to the girl, modest and proud as she was. “When I am called to Good Intent Farm—well, I go, most times, and ne'er ask what’s wanted, and leave smithy-work behind.” ‘Robbing me o' my playtime, panted Billy the Fool, as he mopped his forehead. He looked up at David, and his brown eyes were wistful as a dog's asking for commands. ‘Ye'll be idle now,” said the blacksmith. ‘Play first, laddie, and idleness at after.” ‘Ay, you're right, David the Smith—you're always right, saving odd times, when you're a Fool Billy like myself. Miss Priscilla has a trick o’ making ye Billy the Fool, I’ve noticed.” The village natural, with his huge body and his big, child’s eyes, had a way of finding out his neighbours' secrets, and had no shame at all in telling folk what each wanted to hide from the other. Priscilla turned her face away, and David reddened like a lovesick lad. ‘Keep the forge-fire going quietly,” said the blacksmith. ‘That’s idleness for ye—just to lie dreaming this side of it, and time and time to put the fuel on.’ ‘Ay, that's idleness,” said Billy, as he stretched himself— again like a shaggy, trusty dog—along the smithy floor. “Get ye to work, David the Smith, and leave me to my play-work.”

They went out into the spring-time, David and Priscilla, and the breeze was cool and sweet about them as if it blew from beds of primroses. The lass wished that David Blake had more to say, wished that the quickness of the spring would run off his tongue's end; she did not know that he felt it—more than she, maybe – but had no words in which to tell her of it. ‘You make a body thoughtless-like, Priscilla, he said at last. “Never asked ye what the job was I was wanted for ; and here am I without a tool to my back.’ David was able to do so many jobs, and do them handily, that it might be one of twenty that was asked of him to-day, and he looked anxiously at Priscilla, to ask if he should go back for his tools. ‘I was watching the water-wagtails,’ she answered, scarcely hearing him. “ They're home to the old stream again, David, and that means the spring is here, or hereabouts.” He watched the pair of mating birds sit, first on the low stone wall that guarded the stream, then flicker to the road, their white tails moving like a lady's fan. “Mating-time, Priscilla,” said he. Something in his voice, something in the true, quiet ring of it moved Priscilla strangely. “They’re bonnie birds, David,” she said. “Winter's out, and spring-time's coming in, when they wag their trim, white tails.’ ‘Ay, true. But what tools ought I to have brought, like * * Priscilla sighed, for dull-wittedness did not commend itself to-day. “No tools at all, David. The roan cow I’m so fond of has lodged a slice of turnip in her throat, and father cannot move it.’ * Easy as falling out of a tree, Priscilla. Lord, I thought you farmer-folk knew somewhat—but when it comes to a cow, ye’ve got to whistle for David the Smith !’ Priscilla glanced at him with a roguery as dainty and secure as that of the spring itself. “They say ye can talk to the fourfooted things, David, and make them understand ye. Pity ye can’t spare more words for us poor two-footed folk.’ * Ay, but the beasts are sensible, somehow, lass. They don’t maze ye up with words and what ye might call the Irills and furbelows o' life—they just look at ye, and feel your hands going smooth and quiet down their flanks, and they know.’ * Billy the Fool has that sort of instinct, I have noticed,” said Priscilla demurely. “There's not a dog in the countryside that won't come and fawn on him—though some of our dogs are not just gentle.’ David gave another of his great, hearty laughs. ‘My father always said, when he was alive, that I’d been intended for a natural, and missed it only by good luck. I’m fond of Billy the Fool myself; simple and slow is Billy, and what he lacks in wit he makes up for in heart-room.’ ‘That's true, David,” said the girl, a little daunted, as she often was, by David's settled outlook upon things. For herself, there were times when she longed to cross the limits of this life at Garth, longed for the romance of the beyond; but when David talked as he was talking now she felt shamefacedly that he was in the right to be content within the boundaries of the fields and the blithe, raking hills, the village smithy and the village farmsteads. David Blake did not belie his reputation when, after following the wood-path through the Ghyll, they came to Good Intent— a grey and well-found homestead—and sought the mistals. What with surgeon’s skill and the skill that comes from utter friendship with all cattle, he did what neither Priscilla nor her father could have done. “Give you thanks, David,” said Farmer Hirst, a broad, welltimbered man, with a voice like thunder on the distant hills. “She's the pick of the lot, this roan ye’ve saved, and saving's saving, whether it is your child or your cow that's ailing.’ “Ah, now !’ murmured the blacksmith, “there's joy in saving beasties, and no thanks needed.” ‘Well, thanks are waiting for ye when ye care to pick 'em up— which ye seldom do, David—and meanwhile I’ve to see if my men are cutting the thorn-hedge to my liking. Priscilla, there's cake and ale within doors; there's one in Garth can look better to David’s needs than ever I could do.” Now David’s laugh was hearty; but it was a child's whisper when compared with Farmer Hirst's, especially when the older man fancied that he was using rare diplomacy. A true yeoman of the north was this master of Good Intent—owned his own house and land, his own quiet, wholesome pride, his line of goodly forbears. And so, because he had learned to know a man when he saw him, he had long ago chosen David as the favoured suitor. “Lasses must wed, leaving their fathers lonely, the farmer would say to himself as he sat o’ nights—Priscilla gone to bed— and drank his nightcap of hot rum. ‘I’d have felt less lonesomelike if Priscilla's mother wasn’t lying green under sod, and me alone save for 'Cilla. But lasses must wed, and I’ve seen o' late the mating look in Priscilla's face. Well, her mother wore that look, once on a day, and I’ve seen no better in my long life, and never shall. It must be David—oh, ay, it must be David ' ' So he left them together this morning, and his big voice seemed to echo up and down the grey, stone hills long after he had left. Farmer Hirst had given the blacksmith many chances of this kind; and always it had been, as now, the signal for David to grow tongue-tied, for Priscilla to show the wild-rose flag of maidenly rebellion in her cheeks. ‘'Tis kindly, this smell of a mistal, ventured David by and by. ‘Sweet o' the kine, I call it—'tis so lusty and so big to smell.’ Priscilla answered nothing. There's something in the fragrance of a cattle-byre that makes for wooing, no man can tell you why; and the lass was young and was feeling two spring seasons meet in her—spring of her untried youth, and spring of the tried old world that knows its faith. ‘’Cilla, the throstles are singing out of doors,” said he, bending an ear toward the open fields. His meaning should have been clear; for, when a throstle sings across the reek of an open mistal-door, the human oddities of speech should be altogether lost, and the world’s tongue interpret all. Yet Priscilla missed it, and disdained the thrush's clarionInote. ‘Ay, David, and the world is turning round about the sun, and the stars come out o' nights, and I’ve to do my churning by and by. David, is there naught beyond your throstles and your stars and the sun that guides the world 2' ‘Naught,’ answered David stolidly. “They're life, Priscilla, and maybe when we’re hid beneath the sward we’ll know of bonnier things—but not just yet, I’m thinking.’ It was David's moment, had he known it. It needed a touch, a glance, a right word spoken that should ring in tune with the spring; and while he halted there came a sound of whistling all across the mistal-yard. It was not like Farmer Hirst to turn back when once he had set off, and Priscilla wondered whose the footstep could be—the step that was quicker and lighter than her father's. * One of the farm-men, maybe, muttered David, remembering, now that the opportunity was like to be lost, the one right speech he should have whispered into Priscilla's ear. ‘No–nor yet father's. 'Tis a town-bred step, David. Cannot you hear the mincing tread, as if he thought the sweet yard-litter could hurt a body's feet 2' ‘Ay, now you name it, so I can. Treads nipperty-like, as a cat does. Mistrust that sort of going, I. Who can he be, Priscilla 2 ° “Some stranger likely. Someone that's never smelled the warmth of a cattle-byre, so I should say.” The footsteps sounded near and hurried now, but still there was that delicate, lady-like treading across what Priscilla had named the sweet yard-litter. David and the girl, looking from the shadows of the mistal into the open sunlight, saw a welldressed figure of a man—a man neither short nor tall, neither dark nor fair—a man no way remarkable, unless the sun was full upon him, and, seeing him from a shadowed place, you noted the uncertain eyes which long ago had been a puzzle to his mother when he stood beside her knee. ‘There was no one at Good Intent, except old Martha,” said the new-comer, lifting his hat with an air which David Blake could not have copied had Priscilla's love depended on it. ‘She told me you were here—“likely,” she added, in the queer speech I used to know, “seeing the roan cow was sick, and you were tending her.” Priscilla, surely you’ve not forgotten me?’ David Blake was the best-tempered man in all the long vale of Strathgarth, so folk said ; but there were times when he was as ill to meet, as ill to look at, as if he had been a north-born dog guarding a north-built threshold from a stranger he distrusted. And David listened to this prit-a-prat man who tried to mimic old Martha's wholesome speech; and Priscilla, glancing sideways at the man who should have wooed her in the mistal—as women will glance toward a known lover from a rival known by instinct— Priscilla saw David Blake in a new guise, and one not pleasant to her on this peaceful day of spring. She smiled at the new-comer, inclining her head a little in the pretty, willowy fashion that Garth village loved. ‘You’ve the better of me,’ she said. “I do not remember you at all. Stay, though, she added, seeing the sunlight on his face, with its inscrutable, wild eyes, ‘ I seem now to have known you long ago.” * Five years ago, Priscilla, he answered, with a laugh which

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