Raveloe was not a place where moral censure was severe, but it was thought a weakness in the Squire that he had kept all his sons at home in idleness; and though some licence was to be allowed to young men whose fathers could afford it, people shook their heads at the courses of the second son, Dunstan, commonly called Dunsey Cass, whose taste for swopping and betting might turn out to be a sowing of something worse than wild oats.
Dunstan was moving off, but Godfrey rushed after him and seized him by the arm, saying, with an oath--
His natural irresolution and moral cowardice were exaggerated by a position in which dreaded consequences seemed to press equally on all sides, and his irritation had no sooner provoked him to defy Dunstan and anticipate all possible betrayals, than the miseries he must bring on himself by such a step seemed more unendurable to him than the present evil.
"Aye, aye," said Dunstan, very placably, "you do me justice, I see.
"Marry," quoth Little John to himself, as he strode along, "yon was no such ill happening; Saint Dunstan send me more of the like."
"Nay," quoth Little John, also grinning, "the blessed Saint Dunstan hath given me a free dispensation for all indulgence in that line." And he thrust his hand into his pouch for money to pay his score.
"Truly," quoth the Tinker, "without thy looks belie thee, holy friar, the good Saint Dunstan was wise, for without such dispensation his votary is like to ha' many a penance to make.
Anybody who had seen him projecting himself into Soho while he was yet on Saint Dunstan
's side of Temple Bar, bursting in his full-blown way along the pavement, to the jostlement of all weaker people, might have seen how safe and strong he was.
Little thinking of the plan for his happy settlement in life which had suggested itself to the teeming brain of his provident commander, Hugh made no pause until Saint Dunstan
's giants struck the hour above him, when he worked the handle of a pump which stood hard by, with great vigour, and thrusting his head under the spout, let the water gush upon him until a little stream ran down from every uncombed hair, and he was wet to the waist.
We made a pause at the toy shop in Fleet Street, to see the giants of Saint Dunstan
's strike upon the bells - we had timed our going, so as to catch them at it, at twelve o'clock - and then went on towards Ludgate Hill, and St.
``By St Dunstan
,'' answered Gurth, ``thou speakest but sad truths; little is left to us but the air we breathe, and that appears to have been reserved with much hesitation, solely for the purpose of enabling us to endure the tasks they lay upon our shoulders.
"I am but a poor monk, good sir!" said Friar Tuck in a whining voice, "and am on my way to the shrine of Saint Dunstan
, if your worshipfulness will permit."