apportioned out. Six weeks’ holiday in the year was permitted，
'Come, man,' said Mr Greenacre, 'never stick at trifles such a day as this. I know the lad well. Let him bide at my axing. Madam won't miss what he can eat and drink, I know.'
Now Mr Plomacy and Mr Greenacre were sworn friends. Mr Plomacy had at his own disposal as comfortable a room as there was in Ullathorne House; but he was a bachelor, and alone there; and, moreover, smoking in the house was not allowed even to Mr Plomacy. His moments of truest happiness were spent in a huge arm-chair in the warmest corner of Mrs Greenacre's beautifully clean front kitchen. 'Twas there that the inner man dissolved itself, and poured itself out in streams of pleasant chat; 'twas there, and perhaps there only, that he could unburden himself from the ceremonies of life without offending the dignity of those above him, or incurring the familiarity of those below. 'Twas there that his long pipe was always to be found on the accustomed chimney board, not only permitted but encouraged.
Such being the state of the case, it was not to be supposed that Mr Plomacy could refuse such a favour to Mr Greenacre; but nevertheless he not grant it without some further show of austere authority.
'Eat and drink, Mr Greenacre! No. it's not what he eats and drinks; but the example such a chap shows, coming in where he's not invited--a chap of his age too. He too that never did a day's work about Ullathorne since he was born. Plaisterer! I'll plaister him!'
'He worked long enough for me, then Mr Plomacy. And a good hand he is at setting tiles as any in Barchester,' said the other, not sticking quite to veracity, as indeed mercy never should. 'Come, come, let him alone to-day, and quarrel with him to-morrow. You wouldn't shame him before his lass there?'
'It goes against the grain with me, then,' said Mr Plomacy. 'And take care, you Stubbs, and behave yourself. If I hear a row, I shall know where it comes from. I'm up to you Barchester journeymen; I know what stuff you're made of.'
And so Stubbs went off happy, pulling at the forelock of his shock head of hair in honour of the steward's clemency, and giving another double pull at it in honour of the farmer's kindness. And as he went he swore within his grateful heart, that if ever Farmer Greenacre wanted a day's work done for nothing, he was the lad to do it for him. Which promise it was not probable that he would ever be called upon to perform.
But Mr Plomacy was not quite happy in his mind for he thought of the unjust steward, and began to reflect whether he had not made for himself friends at the mammon of unrighteousness. This, however, did not interfere with the manner in which he performed his duties at the bottom of the long board; nor did Mr Greenacre perform his the worse at the top on account of the good wishes of Stubbs the plasterer. Moreover, the guests did not think it anything amiss when Mr Plomacy, rising to say grace, prayed that God would make them all truly thankful for the good things which Madam Thorne in her great liberality had set out before them!
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