The gentleman (it was Mr. Bellingham) paid no attention to the speeches of the hostess, but quietly superintended the unpacking of the carriage, and paid the postillion; then, turning round, with his face to the light, he spoke to the landlady, whose voice had been rising during the last five minutes--
"Nay, Jenny, you're strangely altered, if you can turn out an old friend on such an evening as this. If I remember right, Pen tre Voelas is twenty miles across the bleakest mountain-road I ever saw."
"Indeed, sir, and I did not know you; Mr. Bellingham, I believe. Indeed, sir, Pen tre Voelas is not above eighteen miles--we only charge for eighteen; it may not be much above seventeen,--and we're quite full, indeed, more's the pity."
"Well, but, Jenny, to oblige me, an old friend, you can find lodgings out for some of your people--that house across, for instance."
"Indeed, sir, and it's at liberty; perhaps you would not mind lodging there yourself. I could get you the best rooms, and send over a trifle or so of furniture, if they weren't as you'd wish them to be."
"No, Jenny, here I stay. You'll not induce me to venture over into those rooms, whose dirt I know of old. Can't you persuade some one who is not an old friend to move across? Say, if you like, that I had written beforehand to bespeak the rooms. Oh, I know you can manage it--I know your good-natured ways."
"Indeed, sir! Well, I'll see, if you and the lady will just step into the back-parlour, sir--there's no one there just now; the lady is keeping her bed to-day for a cold, and the gentleman is having a rubber at whist in number three. I'll see what I can do."
"Thank you--thank you! Is there a fire? if not, one must be lighted. Come, Ruthie, come!"