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Chapter 15: A Morning Meeting--the Letter Again (continued)
Matthew Moon, Joseph Poorgrass, and other carters and waggoners followed at his heels, with great lanterns dangling from their hands, which showed that they had just come from the cart-horse stables, where they had been busily engaged since four o'clock that morning.
"And how is she getting on without a baily?" the maltster inquired. Henery shook his head, and smiled one of the bitter smiles, dragging all the flesh of his forehead into a corrugated heap in the centre.
"She'll rue it--surely, surely!" he said. "Benjy Pennyways were not a true man or an honest baily--as big a betrayer as Judas Iscariot himself. But to think she can carr' on alone!" He allowed his head to swing laterally three or four times in silence. "Never in all my creeping up--never!"
This was recognized by all as the conclusion of some gloomy speech which had been expressed in thought alone during the shake of the head; Henery meanwhile retained several marks of despair upon his face, to imply that they would be required for use again directly he should go on speaking.
"All will be ruined, and ourselves too, or there's no meat in gentlemen's houses!" said Mark Clark.
"A headstrong maid, that's what she is--and won't listen to no advice at all. Pride and vanity have ruined many a cobbler's dog. Dear, dear, when I think o' it, I sorrows like a man in travel!"
"True, Henery, you do, I've heard ye," said Joseph Poorgrass in a voice of thorough attestation, and with a wire-drawn smile of misery.
"'Twould do a martel man no harm to have what's under her bonnet," said Billy Smallbury, who had just entered, bearing his one tooth before him. "She can spaik real language, and must have some sense somewhere. Do ye foller me?"
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