It was on one of those mornings, common in early spring, when the year, fickle and changeable in its youth like all other created things, is undecided whether to step backward into winter or forward into summer, and in its uncertainty inclines now to the one and now to the other, and now to both at once--wooing summer in the sunshine, and lingering still with winter in the shade--it was, in short, on one of those mornings, when it is hot and cold, wet and dry, bright and lowering, sad and cheerful, withering and genial, in the compass of one short hour, that old John Willet, who was dropping asleep over the copper boiler, was roused by the sound of a horse's feet, and glancing out at window, beheld a traveller of goodly promise, checking his bridle at the Maypole door.
He was none of your flippant young fellows, who would call for a tankard of mulled ale, and make themselves as much at home as if they had ordered a hogshead of wine; none of your audacious young swaggerers, who would even penetrate into the bar--that solemn sanctuary--and, smiting old John upon the back, inquire if there was never a pretty girl in the house, and where he hid his little chambermaids, with a hundred other impertinences of that nature; none of your free-and-easy companions, who would scrape their boots upon the firedogs in the common room, and be not at all particular on the subject of spittoons; none of your unconscionable blades, requiring impossible chops, and taking unheard-of pickles for granted.
John Chivery, in his best clothes, with his tall hat under his arm, his ivory-handled cane genteelly embarrassing his deportment, and a bundle of cigars in his hand!
'I--ha--thought it was Young john!' said Mr Dorrit.
should find home a paradise, he should always see a smiling face, should fare sumptuously every day, and never know the loss of a button.
SHORTLY after breakfast, at which he assisted with a highly tragical countenance, John
sought his father where he sat, presumably in religious meditation, on the Sabbath mornings.
I sat in the box with John
Harned, and with Maria Valenzuela, and with Luis Cervallos.
Early one morning in December John
had just led me into my box after my daily exercise, and was strapping my cloth on and James was coming in from the corn chamber with some oats, when the master came into the stable.
! I shouldn't have thought it could have been half the size.
Then up spoke Little John
: "Nay, but hearken, good master," said he, "only today Will Stutely, young David of Doncaster, and I were at the Sign of the Blue Boar, and there we heard all the news of this merry Fair, and also that the Sheriff hath offered this prize, that we of Sherwood might not care to come to the Fair; so, good master, if thou wilt, I would fain go and strive to win even this poor thing among the stout yeomen who will shoot at Nottingham Town."
'Hopes Ma won't be angry, but is happily married to Mr John
Rokesmith, and didn't mention it beforehand to avoid words, and please tell darling you, and love to me, and I should like to know what you'd have said if any other unmarried member of the family had done it!'
'Why, you see, Dot,' John
made answer, slowly, as he unrolled a shawl from about his throat; and warmed his hands; 'it--it an't exactly summer weather.