afternoon, Mrs. Fellowes.'
With this he turned upon his heel, and marching sturdily down the path and across the little bridge, disappeared behind the withies and pollards.
The farmer's wife waited a while until he was out of hearing, and then, without turning her head, shrilled out 'Bertha!' The girl came silently downstairs and joined her in the doorway. The mother pursued her knitting in silence, a faint flicker of a humorous smile touching her face and eyes now and again. At length she spoke, looking straight before her.
'Why woot'ent marry the man?'
'Mr. Thistlewood?' asked Bertha, making the feeblest possible defence against this direct attack.
'Ay,' said her mother, 'Mr. Thistlewood to be sure. Why woot'ent marry him?'
'I like him well enough in a way,' the girl answered 'But I don't like him that way!
'Why--in a marrying way,' said Bertha.
'Pooh!' answered the notable woman. 'What's a maid know how she'd like a man?'