She whispered back: "I promise."
Then, scared at her white face, scared at everything, he let her go, and went downstairs again. Yes! He had done it now! Accepted her love, declared his own! He went out to the green chair as devoid of a book as ever; and there he sat staring vacantly before him, triumphant and remorseful, while under his nose and behind his back the work of the farm went on. How long he had been sitting in that curious state of vacancy he had no notion when he saw Joe standing a little behind him to the right. The youth had evidently come from hard work in the fields, and stood shifting his feet, breathing loudly, his face coloured like a setting sun, and his arms, below the rolled-up sleeves of his blue shirt, showing the hue and furry sheen of ripe peaches. His red lips were open, his blue eyes with their flaxen lashes stared fixedly at Ashurst, who said ironically:
"Well, Joe, anything I can do for you?"
"Yu can goo away from yere. Us don' want yu."
Ashurst's face, never too humble, assumed its most lordly look.
"Very good of you, but, do you know, I prefer the others should speak for themselves."
The youth moved a pace or two nearer, and the scent of his honest heat afflicted Ashurst's nostrils.
"Twon't please yu when I've bashed yure head in!"