English-chapel-people-like; and he was an Englishman, as
"Children know nothing," said Vizard. "Please address all future scientific inquiries to an 'old inhabitant.' Miss Gale, the country abounds in curiosities; but, among those curiosities, even Science, with her searching eye, has never yet discovered an unswallowed cherry stone in Hillstoke village."
"She is too much for me. Drive on, coachman, and drown her replies in the clatter of hoofs. Round by the Stag, Zoe. I am uneasy till I have locked Fair Science up. I own it is a mean way of getting rid of a troublesome disputant."
"Now I think it is quite fair," said Fanny. "She shuts you up, and so you lock her up."
"'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."