THE LONG MAN OF WILMINGTON 129
They do fail in the dry season. Say we go two months without rain in the summer, and yet the dews be unaccountable heavy, do the ponds fill up ? Not they. Nature-ally they go dry. And when the rain comes they fill middlin' well again. The dew-pond talk is no-sense talk, surelye."
" But they have always been called dew-ponds," I said, coaxingly.
"Eh me ! We Sussex folk *ud not call 'em dew-ponds. Ship-ponds—ship-ponds they be," said the shepherd, stretching with his huge fist, and smiling. " The rain feeds 'em by a deal o' conjurin' through little channels, same as it sinks through the chalk and feeds the 'normously deep old wells of the downland cottages."
The shepherd crossed over to the bar, and sucked with his pipe at the yellow candle flame.
" Do you want a bone ? " said the innkeeper to " Old Ben."
" Whuff! " barked Old Ben to show that a bone was just about what he expected.
" Beef bones only," warned the shepherd. " It's not reasonable-like to give a ship-dog mutton-bones. Won'erful good dog; can do anything but talk. He can walk up the side of a
brick wall, and he's old-fashioned no bounds.