174 RICH BROTHER AND POOR BROTHER
and nobody has been married lately, that ever I heard of.'
Now this was exactly what the landlady, who was very curious, wanted to find out; but she put on a look of great alarm, and exclaimed :
' Oh, dear ! I hope I have not made mischief. I had no idea—or, of course, I would not have spoken—
but'-----and here she stopped and fumbled with her
apron, as if she was greatly embarrassed.
' As you have said so much you will have to say a little more,' retorted the old man, a suspicion of what she meant darting across him ; and the woman, nothing loth, answered as before.
' Ah, it was not all for buying or selling that your handsome son has been coming to town every week these many months past. And not by the shortest way, either ! No, it was over the river he rode, and across the hill and past the cottage of Miguel the vine-keeper, whose daughter, they say, is the prettiest girl in the whole country side, though she is too white for my taste,' and then the landlady paused again, and glanced up at the farmer, to see how he was taking it. She did not learn much. He was looking straight before him, his teeth set. But as she ceased to talk, he said quietly, ' Go on.'
' There is not much more to tell,' replied the landlady, for she suddenly remembered that she must prepare supper for the hungry men who always stopped at the inn on market days, before starting for home, ' but one fine morning they both went to the little church on top of the hill, and were married. My cousin is servant to the priest, and she found out about it and told me. But good-day to you, sir ; here is your horse, and I must hurry off to the kitchen.'
It was lucky that the horse was sure-footed and knew the road, for his bridle hung loose on his neck, and his master took no heed of the way he was going.