Charles Dickens.

The mystery of Edwin Drood, Reprinted pieces, and other stories online

. (page 51 of 103)
Online LibraryCharles DickensThe mystery of Edwin Drood, Reprinted pieces, and other stories → online text (page 51 of 103)
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Hugh. Sometimes he pictured to himself the
house taking fire by night, and he, when all drew
back in fear, rushing through flame and smoke,
and bearing her from the ruins in his arms. At
other times he thought of a rising of fierce rebels,



262



MASTER HUMPHREY'S CLOCK,



an attack upon the City, a strong assault upon
the Bowyer's house in particular, and he falling
on the thrcshohl pierced with numberless wounds
in defence of Mistress Alice. If he could only
enact some prodigy of valour, do some wonderful
deed, and let her know that she had inspired it,
he thought he could die contented.

Sometimes the Bowyer and his daughter would
go out to supper with a worthy citizen at the
fashionable hour of six o'clock, and on such
occasions Hugh, wearing his blue 'prentice cloak
as gallantly as 'prentice might, would attend
with a lantern and his trusty club to escort them
home. These were the brightest moments of
his life. To hold the light while Mistress Alice
picked her ste[)s, to touch her hand as he helped
her over broken ways, to have her leaning on
his arm, — it sometimes even came to that, — this
was happiness indeed !

When the nights were fair, Hugh followed in
the rear, his eyes riveted on the graceful figure
of the Bowyer's daughter as she and the old
man moved on before him. So they threaded
the narrow winding streets of the City, now
passing beneath the overhanging gables of old
wooden houses whence creaking signs projected
into the street, and now emerging from some
dark and frowning gateway into the clear moon-
light. At such times, or when the shouts of
straggling brawlers met her ear, the Bowyer's
daughter would look timidly back at Hugh, be-
seeching him to draw nearer ; and then how he
grasped his club and longed to do battle with
a dozen rufflers, for the love of Mistress Alice !

The old Bowyer was in the habit of lending
money on interest to the gallants of the Court,
and thus it happened that many a richly-dressed
gentleman dismounted at his door. More
waving plumes and gallant steeds, indeed, were
&



Online LibraryCharles DickensThe mystery of Edwin Drood, Reprinted pieces, and other stories → online text (page 51 of 103)