in it, and wrote as favorable a comment as I dared. The
"'Tis well," said Vizard, dolefully. "Now I am No. 3--I who used to retort and keep girls in their places--with difficulty. Here is Ned Severne, too, reduced to silence. Why, where's your tongue? Miss Gale, you would hardly believe it, this is our chatterbox. We have been days and days, and could not get in a word edgewise for him. But now all he can do is to gaze on you with canine devotion, and devour the honey--I beg pardon, the lime-juice--of your lips. I warn you of one thing, though; there is such a thing as a threatening silence. He is evidently booking every word you utter; and he will deliver it all for his own behind your back some fine day."
With this sort of banter and small talk, not worth deluging the reader dead with, they passed away the time till they reached the farm.
"You stay here," said Vizard--"all but Zoe. Tom and George, get the things out." The grooms had already jumped out of the dog-cart, and two were at the horses' heads. The step-ladder was placed for Zoe, and Vizard asked her to go in and see the rooms were all right, while he took Miss Gale to the stables. He did so, and showed her a spirited Galloway and a steady old horse, and told her she could ride one and drive the other all over the country.
She thanked him, but said her attention would be occupied by the two villages first, and she should make him a report in forty-eight hours.
"As you please," said he. "You are terribly in earnest."
"What should I be worth if I was not?'
"Well, come and see your shell; and you must tell me if we have forgotten anything essential to your comfort."
She followed him, and he led her to a wing of the farmhouse comparatively new, and quite superior to the rest. Here were two good sunny rooms, with windows looking south and west, and they were both papered with a white watered pattern, and a pretty French border of flowers at the upper part, to look gay and cheerful.