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brought me back before, and will again. He will, he will indeed.’

‘He wull, he wull!’ replied John impatiently. ‘He wean’t, he
wean’t. Look’ee! I wont to do this neighbourly loike, and let them
think thee’s gotten awa’ o’ theeself, but if he cooms oot o’ thot
parlour awhiles theer’t clearing off, he mun’ have mercy on his
oun boans, for I wean’t. If he foinds it oot, soon efther, I’ll put ’un
on a wrong scent, I warrant ’ee. But if thee keep’st a good hart,
thee’lt be at whoam afore they know thee’st gotten off. Coom!’

Smike, who comprehended just enough of this to know it was
intended as encouragement, prepared to follow with tottering
steps, when John whispered in his ear.

‘Thee’lt just tell yoong Measther that I’m sploiced to ‘Tilly
Price, and to be heerd on at the Saracen by latther, and that I
bean’t jealous of ’un--dang it, I’m loike to boost when I think o’
that neight! ’Cod, I think I see ’un now, a powderin’ awa’ at the
thin bread an’ butther!’

It was rather a ticklish recollection for John just then, for he
was within an ace of breaking out into a loud guffaw. Restraining
himself, however, just in time, by a great effort, he glided
downstairs, hauling Smike behind him; and placing himself close
to the parlour door, to confront the first person that might come
out, signed to him to make off.

Having got so far, Smike needed no second bidding. Opening
the house-door gently, and casting a look of mingled gratitude and
terror at his deliverer, he took the direction which had been
indicated to him, and sped away like the wind.

The Yorkshireman remained on his post for a few minutes, but,
finding that there was no pause in the conversation inside, crept
back again unheard, and stood, listening over the stair-rail, for a

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