With now and then a smooth grey rock, or large boulderstone, which had somehow inexplicably stopped on the brow of the hill instead of rolling down into what at some former time no doubt was a bed of water, all this open strip of the table-land might have stood with very little coaxing for a piece of a gentleman's pleasure-ground.
For after having had occasion, once or twice, to mention something of my plans for the evening, I found my labours gradually diminish, and yet everything seemed to go right; the fact being that good Mr Boulderstone, in one part, had cast himself into the middle of the flood, and stood there immovable both in face and person, turning its waters into the right channel, namely, towards the barn, which I had fitted up for their reception in a body; while in another quarter, namely, in the barn, Dr Duncan was doing his best, and that was simply something first-rate, to entertain the people till all should be ready.
Yet some of my well-to-do parishioners were laid up likewise amongst others Mr Boulderstone, who had an attack of pleurisy.
That I do not respect. Mr and Miss Boulderstone left me a little fatigued, but in no way sore or grumbling. They only sent me back with additional zest to my Plato, of which I enjoyed a hearty page or two before any one else arrived.
"God bless you, sir. An old man's safe with you or a young lass, either, sir," he added, turning with a smile to his daughter. I turned, and addressed Mr Boulderstone. "I am greatly obliged to you, Mr Boulderstone, for the help you have given me this evening. I've seen you talking to everybody, just as if you had to entertain them all." "I hope I haven't taken too much upon me.
Miss Boulderstone had happened to call one day when Wynnie, then between three and four was in disgrace in the corner, in fact. Miss Boulderstone interceded for her; and this was the whole front of her offending. "I was so angry!" she said. "'As if my papa did not know best when I ought to come out of the corner! I said to myself. And I couldn't bear her for ever so long after that."
Such a man is rare and precious, were he as stupid as the Welsh giant in "Jack the Giant-Killer." I could never see Mr Boulderstone a mile off, but my heart felt the warmer for the sight. Even in his great pain he seemed to forget himself as he received me, and to gain comfort from my mere presence.
I have known that man, hearing of a case of want from his servant, send the fowl he was about to dine upon, untouched, to those whose necessity was greater than his. And Mr Boulderstone had taken out old Mrs Rogers; and young Brownrigg had taken Mary Weir. Thomas Weir did not dance at all, but looked on kindly. "Why don't you dance, Old Rogers?"
And when I hint to my reader that I had some conscience in paying my curate, though, as they had no children, they did not require so much as I should otherwise have felt compelled to give them, he will easily see that as my family grew up I could not have so much to give away of my own as I should have liked. Therefore this trust of the good Mr. Boulderstone was the more acceptable to me.
Law with her was something absolute, and not to be questioned. In her childhood there was one lady to whom for years she showed a decided aversion, and we could not understand it, for it was the most inoffensive Miss Boulderstone. When she was nearly grown up, one of us happening to allude to the fact, she volunteered an explanation.