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|The Holly-Tree||Charles Dickens|
Second Branch -- The Boots
|Page 2 of 8||
Boots could assure me that it was better than a picter, and equal to a play, to see them babies, with their long, bright, curling hair, their sparkling eyes, and their beautiful light tread, a rambling about the garden, deep in love. Boots was of opinion that the birds believed they was birds, and kept up with 'em, singing to please 'em. Sometimes they would creep under the Tulip-tree, and would sit there with their arms round one another's necks, and their soft cheeks touching, a reading about the Prince and the Dragon, and the good and bad enchanters, and the king's fair daughter. Sometimes he would hear them planning about having a house in a forest, keeping bees and a cow, and living entirely on milk and honey. Once he came upon them by the pond, and heard Master Harry say, "Adorable Norah, kiss me, and say you love me to distraction, or I'll jump in head-foremost." And Boots made no question he would have done it if she hadn't complied. On the whole, Boots said it had a tendency to make him feel as if he was in love himself--only he didn't exactly know who with.
"Cobbs," said Master Harry, one evening, when Cobbs was watering the flowers, "I am going on a visit, this present Midsummer, to my grandmamma's at York."
"Are you indeed, sir? I hope you'll have a pleasant time. I am going into Yorkshire, myself, when I leave here."
"Are you going to your grandmamma's, Cobbs?"
"No, sir. I haven't got such a thing."
"Not as a grandmamma, Cobbs?"
The boy looked on at the watering of the flowers for a little while, and then said, "I shall be very glad indeed to go, Cobbs,--Norah's going."
"You'll be all right then, sir," says Cobbs, "with your beautiful sweetheart by your side."
"Cobbs," returned the boy, flushing, "I never let anybody joke about it, when I can prevent them."
"It wasn't a joke, sir," says Cobbs, with humility,--"wasn't so meant."
"I am glad of that, Cobbs, because I like you, you know, and you're going to live with us.--Cobbs!"
"What do you think my grandmamma gives me when I go down there?"
"I couldn't so much as make a guess, sir."
"A Bank of England five-pound note, Cobbs."
"Whew!" says Cobbs, "that's a spanking sum of money, Master Harry."
"A person could do a good deal with such a sum of money as that,-- couldn't a person, Cobbs?"
"I believe you, sir!"
"Cobbs," said the boy, "I'll tell you a secret. At Norah's house, they have been joking her about me, and pretending to laugh at our being engaged,--pretending to make game of it, Cobbs!"
"Such, sir," says Cobbs, "is the depravity of human natur."
The boy, looking exactly like his father, stood for a few minutes with his glowing face towards the sunset, and then departed with, "Good-night, Cobbs. I'm going in."
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