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Chapter 29 (continued)
The solitary rider went glancing on among the trees, from sunlight into shade and back again, at the same even pace--looking about him, certainly, from time to time, but with no greater thought of the day or the scene through which he moved, than that he was fortunate (being choicely dressed) to have such favourable weather. He smiled very complacently at such times, but rather as if he were satisfied with himself than with anything else: and so went riding on, upon his chestnut cob, as pleasant to look upon as his own horse, and probably far less sensitive to the many cheerful influences by which he was surrounded.
In the course of time, the Maypole's massive chimneys rose upon his view: but he quickened not his pace one jot, and with the same cool gravity rode up to the tavern porch. John Willet, who was toasting his red face before a great fire in the bar, and who, with surpassing foresight and quickness of apprehension, had been thinking, as he looked at the blue sky, that if that state of things lasted much longer, it might ultimately become necessary to leave off fires and throw the windows open, issued forth to hold his stirrup; calling lustily for Hugh.
'Oh, you're here, are you, sir?' said John, rather surprised by the quickness with which he appeared. 'Take this here valuable animal into the stable, and have more than particular care of him if you want to keep your place. A mortal lazy fellow, sir; he needs a deal of looking after.'
'But you have a son,' returned Mr Chester, giving his bridle to Hugh as he dismounted, and acknowledging his salute by a careless motion of his hand towards his hat. 'Why don't you make HIM useful?'
'Why, the truth is, sir,' replied John with great importance, 'that my son--what, you're a-listening are you, villain?'
'Who's listening?' returned Hugh angrily. 'A treat, indeed, to hear YOU speak! Would you have me take him in till he's cool?'
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