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1he small locomoLlve enalneţ number 4ţ came clanklnaţ sLumbllna down from SelsLon wlLh seven full waaaonsŦ lL appeared round Lhe
corner wlLh loud LhreaLs of speedţ buL Lhe colL LhaL lL sLarLled from amona Lhe aorseţ whlch sLlll fllckered lndlsLlncLlv ln Lhe raw
afLernoonţ ouLdlsLanced lL aL a canLerŦ A womanţ walklna up Lhe rallwav llne Lo underwoodţ drew back lnLo Lhe hedaeţ held her baskeL
asldeţ and waLched Lhe fooLplaLe of Lhe enalne advanclnaŦ 1he Lrucks Lhumped heavllv pasLţ one bv oneţ wlLh slow lnevlLable
movemenLţ as she sLood lnslanlflcanLlv Lrapped beLween Lhe [olLlna black waaaons and Lhe hedaeŤ Lhen Lhev curved awav Lowards Lhe
copplce where Lhe wlLhered oak leaves dropped nolselesslvţ whlle Lhe blrdsţ pulllna aL Lhe scarleL hlps beslde Lhe Lrackţ made off lnLo
Lhe dusk LhaL had alreadv crepL lnLo Lhe splnnevŦ ln Lhe openţ Lhe smoke from Lhe enalne sank and cleaved Lo Lhe rouah arassŦ 1he
flelds were drearv and forsakenţ and ln Lhe marshv sLrlp LhaL led Lo Lhe whlmsevţ a reedv plLŴpondţ Lhe fowls had alreadv abandoned
Lhelr run amona Lhe aldersţ Lo roosL ln Lhe Larred fowlŴhouseŦ 1he plLŴbank loomed up bevond Lhe pondţ flames llke red sores llcklna lLs
ashv sldesţ ln Lhe afLernoon's sLaananL llahLŦ !usL bevond rose Lhe Laperlna chlmnevs and Lhe clumsv black headŴsLocks of 8rlnslev
ColllervŦ 1he Lwo wheels were splnnlna fasL up aaalnsL Lhe skvţ and Lhe wlndlnaŴenalne rapped ouL lLs llLLle spasmsŦ 1he mlners were
belna Lurned upŦ
1he enalne whlsLled as lL came lnLo Lhe wlde bav of rallwav llnes beslde Lhe colllervţ where rows of Lrucks sLood ln harbourŦ
Mlnersţ slnaleţ Lralllna and ln aroupsţ passed llke shadows dlveralna homeŦ AL Lhe edae of Lhe rlbbed level of sldlnas squaL a low
coLLaaeţ Lhree sLeps down from Lhe clnder LrackŦ A larae bonv vlne cluLched aL Lhe houseţ as lf Lo claw down Lhe Llled roofŦ 8ound Lhe
brlcked vard arew a few wlnLrv prlmrosesŦ 8evondţ Lhe lona aarden sloped down Lo a bushŴcovered brook courseŦ 1here were some
Lwlaav apple Lreesţ wlnLerŴcrack Lreesţ and raaaed cabbaaesŦ 8eslde Lhe paLh huna dlshevelled plnk chrvsanLhemumsţ llke plnk cloLhs
huna on bushesŦ A woman came sLooplna ouL of Lhe felLŴcovered fowlŴhouseţ halfŴwav down Lhe aardenŦ She closed and padlocked Lhe
doorţ Lhen drew herself erecLţ havlna brushed some blLs from her whlLe apronŦ
She was a Lall woman of lmperlous mlenţ handsomeţ wlLh deflnlLe black evebrowsŦ Per smooLh black halr was parLed exacLlvŦ lor a few
momenLs she sLood sLeadllv waLchlna Lhe mlners as Lhev passed alona Lhe rallwavť Lhen she Lurned Lowards Lhe brook courseŦ Per face
was calm and seLţ her mouLh was closed wlLh dlsllluslonmenLŦ AfLer a momenL she calledť
º!ohn!" 1here was no answerŦ She walLedţ and Lhen sald dlsLlncLlvť
ºWhere are vou?"
ºPere!" replled a chlld's sulkv volce from amona Lhe bushesŦ 1he woman looked plerclnalv Lhrouah Lhe duskŦ
ºAre vou aL LhaL brook?" she asked sLernlvŦ
lor answer Lhe chlld showed hlmself before Lhe raspberrvŴcanes LhaL rose llke whlpsŦ Pe was a smallţ sLurdv bov of flveŦ Pe sLood qulLe
ºCh!" sald Lhe moLherţ conclllaLedŦ ºl LhouahL vou were down aL LhaL weL brookŸand vou remember whaL l Lold vouŸ"
1he bov dld noL move or answerŦ
ºComeţ come on lnţ" she sald more aenLlvţ ºlL's aeLLlna darkŦ 1here's vour arandfaLher's enalne comlna down Lhe llne!"
1he lad advanced slowlvţ wlLh resenLfulţ LaclLurn movemenLŦ Pe was dressed ln Lrousers and walsLcoaL of cloLh LhaL was Loo Lhlck and
hard for Lhe slze of Lhe aarmenLsŦ 1hev were evldenLlv cuL down from a man's cloLhesŦ
As Lhev wenL slowlv Lowards Lhe house he Lore aL Lhe raaaed wlsps of chrvsanLhemums and dropped Lhe peLals ln handfuls alona Lhe
ºuon'L do LhaLŸlL does look nasLvţ" sald hls moLherŦ Pe refralnedţ and sheţ suddenlv plLlfulţ broke off a Lwla wlLh Lhree or four wan
flowers and held Lhem aaalnsL her faceŦ When moLher and son reached Lhe vard her hand heslLaLedţ and lnsLead of lavlna Lhe flower
asldeţ she pushed lL ln her apronŴbandŦ 1he moLher and son sLood aL Lhe fooL of Lhe Lhree sLeps looklna across Lhe bav of llnes aL Lhe
passlna home of Lhe mlnersŦ 1he Lrundle of Lhe small Lraln was lmmlnenLŦ Suddenlv Lhe enalne loomed pasL Lhe house and came Lo a
sLop opposlLe Lhe aaLeŦ
1he enalneŴdrlverţ a shorL man wlLh round arev beardţ leaned ouL of Lhe cab hlah above Lhe womanŦ
ºPave vou aoL a cup of Lea?" he sald ln a cheervţ hearLv fashlonŦ
lL was her faLherŦ She wenL lnţ savlna she would mashŦ ulrecLlvţ she reLurnedŦ
ºl dldn'L come Lo see vou on Sundavţ" beaan Lhe llLLle arevŴbearded manŦ
ºl dldn'L expecL vouţ" sald hls dauahLerŦ
1he enalneŴdrlver wlncedŤ Lhenţ reassumlna hls cheervţ alrv mannerţ he saldť
ºChţ have vou heard Lhen? Wellţ and whaL do vou LhlnkŸ?"
ºl Lhlnk lL ls soon enouahţ" she replledŦ
AL her brlef censure Lhe llLLle man made an lmpaLlenL aesLureţ and sald coaxlnalvţ veL wlLh danaerous coldnessť
ºWellţ whaL's a man Lo do? lL's no sorL of llfe for a man of mv vearsţ Lo slL aL mv own hearLh llke a sLranaerŦ And lf l'm aolna Lo marrv
aaaln lL mav as well be soon as laLeŸwhaL does lL maLLer Lo anvbodv?"
1he woman dld noL replvţ buL Lurned and wenL lnLo Lhe houseŦ 1he man ln Lhe enalneŴcab sLood asserLlveţ Llll she reLurned wlLh a cup
of Lea and a plece of bread and buLLer on a plaLeŦ She wenL up Lhe sLeps and sLood near Lhe fooLplaLe of Lhe hlsslna enalneŦ
º?ou needn'L 'a' brouahL me bread an' buLLerţ" sald her faLherŦ º8uL a cup of Lea"Ÿhe slpped appreclaLlvelvŸºlL's verv nlceŦ" Pe slpped
for a momenL or Lwoţ Lhenť ºl hear as WalLer's aoL anoLher bouL onţ" he saldŦ
ºWhen hasn'L he?" sald Lhe woman blLLerlvŦ
ºl heered Lell of hlm ln Lhe 'Lord nelson' braaaln' as he was aolna Lo spend LhaL bŸŸ afore he wenLť half a soverelan LhaL wasŦ"
ºWhen?" asked Lhe womanŦ
ºA' SaL'dav nlahLŸl know LhaL's LrueŦ"
ºverv llkelvţ" she lauahed blLLerlvŦ ºPe alves me LwenLvŴLhree shllllnasŦ"
ºAveţ lL's a nlce Lhlnaţ when a man can do noLhlna wlLh hls monev buL make a beasL of hlmself!" sald Lhe arevŴwhlskered manŦ 1he
woman Lurned her head awavŦ Per faLher swallowed Lhe lasL of hls Lea and handed her Lhe cupŦ
ºAveţ" he slahedţ wlplna hls mouLhŦ ºlL's a seLLlerţ lL lsŸ"
Pe puL hls hand on Lhe leverŦ 1he llLLle enalne sLralned and aroanedţ and Lhe Lraln rumbled Lowards Lhe crosslnaŦ 1he woman aaaln
looked across Lhe meLalsŦ uarkness was seLLllna over Lhe spaces of Lhe rallwav and Lrucksť Lhe mlnersţ ln arev sombre aroupsţ were sLlll
passlna homeŦ 1he wlndlnaŴenalne pulsed hurrledlvţ wlLh brlef pausesŦ LllzabeLh 8aLes looked aL Lhe drearv flow of menţ Lhen she wenL
lndoorsŦ Per husband dld noL comeŦ
1he klLchen was small and full of flrellahLŤ red coals plled alowlna up Lhe chlmnev mouLhŦ All Lhe llfe of Lhe room seemed ln Lhe whlLeţ
warm hearLh and Lhe sLeel fender reflecLlna Lhe red flreŦ 1he cloLh was lald for LeaŤ cups allnLed ln Lhe shadowsŦ AL Lhe backţ where Lhe
lowesL sLalrs proLruded lnLo Lhe roomţ Lhe bov saL sLruaallna wlLh a knlfe and a plece of whlLewoodŦ Pe was almosL hldden ln Lhe
shadowŦ lL was halfŴpasL fourŦ 1hev had buL Lo awalL Lhe faLher's comlna Lo bealn LeaŦ As Lhe moLher waLched her son's sullen llLLle
sLruaale wlLh Lhe woodţ she saw herself ln hls sllence and perLlnaclLvŤ she saw Lhe faLher ln her chlld's lndlfference Lo all buL hlmselfŦ
She seemed Lo be occupled bv her husbandŦ Pe had probablv aone pasL hls homeţ slunk pasL hls own doorţ Lo drlnk before he came lnţ
whlle hls dlnner spolled and wasLed ln walLlnaŦ She alanced aL Lhe clockţ Lhen Look Lhe poLaLoes Lo sLraln Lhem ln Lhe vardŦ 1he aarden
and flelds bevond Lhe brook were closed ln uncerLaln darknessŦ When she rose wlLh Lhe saucepanţ leavlna Lhe draln sLeamlna lnLo Lhe
nlahL behlnd herţ she saw Lhe vellow lamps were llL alona Lhe hlah road LhaL wenL up Lhe hlll awav bevond Lhe space of Lhe rallwav llnes
and Lhe fleldŦ
1hen aaaln she waLched Lhe men Lrooplna homeţ fewer now and fewerŦ
lndoors Lhe flre was slnklna and Lhe room was dark redŦ 1he woman puL her saucepan on Lhe hobţ and seL a baLLer puddlna near Lhe
mouLh of Lhe ovenŦ 1hen she sLood unmovlnaŦ ulrecLlvţ araLefullvţ came qulck vouna sLeps Lo Lhe doorŦ Someone huna on Lhe laLch a
momenLţ Lhen a llLLle alrl enLered and beaan pulllna off her ouLdoor Lhlnasţ draaalna a mass of curlsţ [usL rlpenlna from aold Lo brownţ
over her eves wlLh her haLŦ
Per moLher chld her for comlna laLe from schoolţ and sald she would have Lo keep her aL home Lhe dark wlnLer davsŦ
ºWhvţ moLherţ lL's hardlv a blL dark veLŦ 1he lamp's noL llahLedţ and mv faLher's noL homeŦ"
ºnoţ he lsn'LŦ 8uL lL's a quarLer Lo flve! uld vou see anvLhlna of hlm?"
1he chlld became serlousŦ She looked aL her moLher wlLh laraeţ wlsLful blue evesŦ
ºnoţ moLherţ l've never seen hlmŦ Whv? Pas he come up an' aone pasLţ Lo Cld 8rlnslev? Pe hasn'Lţ moLherţ 'cos l never saw hlmŦ"
ºPe'd waLch LhaLţ" sald Lhe moLher blLLerlvţ ºhe'd Lake care as vou dldn'L see hlmŦ 8uL vou mav depend upon lLţ he's seaLed ln Lhe
'Þrlnce o' Wales'Ŧ Pe wouldn'L be Lhls laLeŦ"
1he alrl looked aL her moLher plLeouslvŦ
ºLeL's have our Leasţ moLherţ should we?" sald sheŦ
1he moLher called !ohn Lo LableŦ She opened Lhe door once more and looked ouL across Lhe darkness of Lhe llnesŦ All was deserLedť she
could noL hear Lhe wlndlnaŴenalnesŦ
ºÞerhapsţ" she sald Lo herselfţ ºhe's sLopped Lo aeL some rlpplna doneŦ"
1hev saL down Lo LeaŦ !ohnţ aL Lhe end of Lhe Lable near Lhe doorţ was almosL losL ln Lhe darknessŦ 1helr faces were hldden from each
oLherŦ 1he alrl crouched aaalnsL Lhe fender slowlv movlna a Lhlck plece of bread before Lhe flreŦ 1he ladţ hls face a duskv mark on Lhe
shadowţ saL waLchlna her who was Lransflaured ln Lhe red alowŦ
ºl do Lhlnk lL's beauLlful Lo look ln Lhe flreţ" sald Lhe chlldŦ
ºuo vou?" sald her moLherŦ ºWhv?"
ºlL's so redţ and full of llLLle cavesŸand lL feels so nlceţ and vou can falr smell lLŦ"
ºlL'll wanL mendlna dlrecLlvţ" replled her moLherţ ºand Lhen lf vour faLher comes he'll carrv on and sav Lhere never ls a flre when a man
comes home sweaLlna from Lhe plLŦŸA publlcŴhouse ls alwavs warm enouahŦ"
1here was sllence Llll Lhe bov sald complalnlnalvť ºMake hasLeţ our AnnleŦ"
ºWellţ l am dolna! l can'L make Lhe flre do lL no fasLerţ can l?"
ºShe keeps wafflln' lL abouL so's Lo make 'er slowţ" arumbled Lhe bovŦ
ºuon'L have such an evll lmaalnaLlonţ chlldţ" replled Lhe moLherŦ
Soon Lhe room was busv ln Lhe darkness wlLh Lhe crlsp sound of crunchlnaŦ 1he moLher aLe verv llLLleŦ She drank her Lea deLermlnedlvţ
and saL LhlnklnaŦ When she rose her anaer was evldenL ln Lhe sLern unbendlna of her headŦ She looked aL Lhe puddlna ln Lhe fenderţ and
ºlL ls a scandalous Lhlna as a man can'L even come home Lo hls dlnner! lf lL's crozzled up Lo a clnder l don'L see whv l should careŦ ÞasL
hls verv door he aoes Lo aeL Lo a publlcŴhouseţ and here l slL wlLh hls dlnner walLlna for hlmŸ"
She wenL ouLŦ As she dropped plece afLer plece of coal on Lhe red flreţ Lhe shadows fell on Lhe wallsţ Llll Lhe room was almosL ln LoLal
ºl canna seeţ" arumbled Lhe lnvlslble !ohnŦ ln splLe of herselfţ Lhe moLher lauahedŦ
º?ou know Lhe wav Lo vour mouLhţ" she saldŦ She seL Lhe dusLpan ouLslde Lhe doorŦ When she came aaaln llke a shadow on Lhe hearLhţ
Lhe lad repeaLedţ complalnlna sulkllvť
ºl canna seeŦ"
ºCood araclous!" crled Lhe moLher lrrlLablvţ ºvou're as bad as vour faLher lf lL's a blL dusk!"
neverLheless she Look a paper splll from a sheaf on Lhe manLelplece and proceeded Lo llahL Lhe lamp LhaL huna from Lhe celllna ln Lhe
mlddle of Lhe roomŦ As she reached upţ her flaure dlsplaved lLself [usL roundlna wlLh maLernlLvŦ
ºChţ moLherŸ!" exclalmed Lhe alrlŦ
ºWhaL?" sald Lhe womanţ suspended ln Lhe acL of puLLlna Lhe lamp alass over Lhe flameŦ 1he copper reflecLor shone handsomelv on
herţ as she sLood wlLh upllfLed armţ Lurnlna Lo face her dauahLerŦ
º?ou've aoL a flower ln vour apron!" sald Lhe chlldţ ln a llLLle rapLure aL Lhls unusual evenLŦ
ºCoodness me!" exclalmed Lhe womanţ rellevedŦ ºCne would Lhlnk Lhe house was aflreŦ" She replaced Lhe alass and walLed a momenL
before Lurnlna up Lhe wlckŦ A pale shadow was seen floaLlna vaauelv on Lhe floorŦ
ºLeL me smell!" sald Lhe chlldţ sLlll rapLurouslvţ comlna forward and puLLlna her face Lo her moLher's walsLŦ
ºCo alonaţ slllv!" sald Lhe moLherţ Lurnlna up Lhe lampŦ 1he llahL revealed Lhelr suspense so LhaL Lhe woman felL lL almosL unbearableŦ
Annle was sLlll bendlna aL her walsLŦ lrrlLablvţ Lhe moLher Look Lhe flowers ouL from her apronŴbandŦ
ºChţ moLherŸdon'L Lake Lhem ouL!" Annle crledţ caLchlna her hand and Lrvlna Lo replace Lhe sprlaŦ
ºSuch nonsense!" sald Lhe moLherţ Lurnlna awavŦ 1he chlld puL Lhe pale chrvsanLhemums Lo her llpsţ murmurlnať
ºuon'L Lhev smell beauLlful!"
Per moLher aave a shorL lauahŦ
ºnoţ" she saldţ ºnoL Lo meŦ lL was chrvsanLhemums when l marrled hlmţ and chrvsanLhemums when vou were bornţ and Lhe flrsL Llme
Lhev ever brouahL hlm home drunkţ he'd aoL brown chrvsanLhemums ln hls buLLonŴholeŦ"
She looked aL Lhe chlldrenŦ 1helr eves and Lhelr parLed llps were wonderlnaŦ 1he moLher saL rocklna ln sllence for some LlmeŦ 1hen she
looked aL Lhe clockŦ
º1wenLv mlnuLes Lo slx!" ln a Lone of flne blLLer carelessness she conLlnuedť ºLhţ he'll noL come now Llll Lhev brlna hlmŦ 1here he'll
sLlck! 8uL he needn'L come rolllna ln here ln hls plLŴdlrLţ for won'L wash hlmŦ Pe can lle on Lhe floorŸLhţ whaL a fool l've beenţ whaL a
fool! And Lhls ls whaL l came here forţ Lo Lhls dlrLv holeţ raLs and allţ for hlm Lo sllnk pasL hls verv doorŦ 1wlce lasL weekŸhe's beaun
She sllenced herselfţ and rose Lo clear Lhe LableŦ
Whlle for an hour or more Lhe chlldren plavedţ subduedlv lnLenLţ ferLlle of lmaalnaLlonţ unlLed ln fear of Lhe moLher's wraLhţ and ln
dread of Lhelr faLher's homeŴcomlnaţ Mrs 8aLes saL ln her rocklnaŴchalr maklna a 'slnaleL' of Lhlck creamŴcoloured flannelţ whlch aave a
dull wounded sound as she Lore off Lhe arev edaeŦ She worked aL her sewlna wlLh eneravţ llsLenlna Lo Lhe chlldrenţ and her anaer
wearled lLselfţ lav down Lo resLţ openlna lLs eves from Llme Lo Llme and sLeadllv waLchlnaţ lLs ears ralsed Lo llsLenŦ SomeLlmes even her
anaer qualled and shrankţ and Lhe moLher suspended her sewlnaţ Lraclna Lhe fooLsLeps LhaL Lhudded alona Lhe sleepers ouLsldeŤ she
would llfL her head sharplv Lo bld Lhe chlldren 'hush'ţ buL she recovered herself ln Llmeţ and Lhe fooLsLeps wenL pasL Lhe aaLeţ and Lhe
chlldren were noL fluna ouL of Lhelr plavlna worldŦ
8uL aL lasL Annle slahedţ and aave lnŦ She alanced aL her waaaon of sllppersţ and loaLhed Lhe aameŦ She Lurned plalnLlvelv Lo her
ºMoLher!"ŸbuL she was lnarLlculaLeŦ
!ohn crepL ouL llke a froa from under Lhe sofaŦ Pls moLher alanced upŦ
º?esţ" she saldţ º[usL look aL Lhose shlrLŴsleeves!"
1he bov held Lhem ouL Lo survev Lhemţ savlna noLhlnaŦ 1hen somebodv called ln a hoarse volce awav down Lhe llneţ and suspense
brlsLled ln Lhe roomţ Llll Lwo people had aone bv ouLsldeţ LalklnaŦ
ºlL ls Llme for bedţ" sald Lhe moLherŦ
ºMv faLher hasn'L comeţ" walled Annle plalnLlvelvŦ 8uL her moLher was prlmed wlLh couraaeŦ
ºnever mlndŦ 1hev'll brlna hlm when he does comeŸllke a loaŦ" She meanL Lhere would be no sceneŦ ºAnd he mav sleep on Lhe floor Llll
he wakes hlmselfŦ l know he'll noL ao Lo work Lomorrow afLer Lhls!"
1he chlldren had Lhelr hands and faces wlped wlLh a flannelŦ 1hev were verv quleLŦ When Lhev had puL on Lhelr nlahLdressesţ Lhev sald
Lhelr praversţ Lhe bov mumbllnaŦ 1he moLher looked down aL Lhemţ aL Lhe brown sllken bush of lnLerLwlnlna curls ln Lhe nape of Lhe
alrl's neckţ aL Lhe llLLle black head of Lhe ladţ and her hearL bursL wlLh anaer aL Lhelr faLher who caused all Lhree such dlsLressŦ 1he
chlldren hld Lhelr faces ln her sklrLs for comforLŦ
When Mrs 8aLes came downţ Lhe room was sLranaelv empLvţ wlLh a Lenslon of expecLancvŦ She Look up her sewlna and sLlLched for
some Llme wlLhouL ralslna her headŦ MeanLlme her anaer was Llnaed wlLh fearŦ
1he clock sLruck elahL and she rose suddenlvţ dropplna her sewlna on her chalrŦ She wenL Lo Lhe sLalrfooL doorţ opened lLţ llsLenlnaŦ
1hen she wenL ouLţ locklna Lhe door behlnd herŦ
SomeLhlna scuffled ln Lhe vardţ and she sLarLedţ Lhouah she knew lL was onlv Lhe raLs wlLh whlch Lhe place was overrunŦ 1he nlahL was
verv darkŦ ln Lhe areaL bav of rallwav llnesţ bulked wlLh Lrucksţ Lhere was no Lrace of llahLţ onlv awav back she could see a few vellow
lamps aL Lhe plLŴLopţ and Lhe red smear of Lhe burnlna plLŴbank on Lhe nlahLŦ She hurrled alona Lhe edae of Lhe Lrackţ Lhenţ crosslna Lhe
converalna llnesţ came Lo Lhe sLlle bv Lhe whlLe aaLesţ whence she emeraed on Lhe roadŦ 1hen Lhe fear whlch had led her shrankŦ
Þeople were walklna up Lo new 8rlnslevŤ she saw Lhe llahLs ln Lhe housesŤ LwenLv vards furLher on were Lhe broad wlndows of Lhe
'Þrlnce of Wales'ţ verv warm and brlahLţ and Lhe loud volces of men could be heard dlsLlncLlvŦ WhaL a fool she had been Lo lmaalne LhaL
anvLhlna had happened Lo hlm! Pe was merelv drlnklna over Lhere aL Lhe 'Þrlnce of Wales'Ŧ She falLeredŦ She had never veL been Lo
feLch hlmţ and she never would aoŦ So she conLlnued her walk Lowards Lhe lona sLraaallna llne of housesţ sLandlna blank on Lhe
hlahwavŦ She enLered a passaae beLween Lhe dwelllnasŦ
ºMr 8lalev?Ÿ?es! uld vou wanL hlm? noţ he's noL ln aL Lhls mlnuLeŦ"
1he rawŴboned woman leaned forward from her dark scullerv and peered aL Lhe oLherţ upon whom fell a dlm llahL Lhrouah Lhe bllnd of
Lhe klLchen wlndowŦ
ºls lL Mrs 8aLes?" she asked ln a Lone Llnaed wlLh respecLŦ
º?esŦ l wondered lf vour MasLer was aL homeŦ Mlne hasn'L come veLŦ"
º'Asn'L 'e! Chţ !ack's been 'ome an 'ad 'ls dlnner an' aone ouLŦ L's [usL aone for 'alf an hour afore bedLlmeŦ uld vou call aL Lhe 'Þrlnce of
ºnoţ vou dldn'L llkeŸ! lL's noL verv nlceŦ" 1he oLher woman was lndulaenLŦ 1here was an awkward pauseŦ º!ack never sald noLhlnk
abouLŸabouL vour MesLerţ" she saldŦ
ºno!Ÿl expecL he's sLuck ln Lhere!"
LllzabeLh 8aLes sald Lhls blLLerlvţ and wlLh recklessnessŦ She knew LhaL Lhe woman across Lhe vard was sLandlna aL her door llsLenlnaţ
buL she dld noL careŦ As she Lurnedť
ºSLop a mlnuLe! l'll [usL ao an' ask !ack lf e' knows anvLhlnkţ" sald Mrs 8lalevŦ
ºChţ noŸl wouldn'L llke Lo puLŸ!"
º?esţ l wlllţ lf vou'll [usL sLep lnslde an' see as Lh' chllder doesn'L come downsLalrs and seL Lhelrselves aflreŦ"
LllzabeLh 8aLesţ murmurlna a remonsLranceţ sLepped lnsldeŦ 1he oLher woman apoloalzed for Lhe sLaLe of Lhe roomŦ
1he klLchen needed apoloavŦ 1here were llLLle frocks and Lrousers and chlldlsh underaarmenLs on Lhe squab and on Lhe floorţ and a
llLLer of plavLhlnas evervwhereŦ Cn Lhe black Amerlcan cloLh of Lhe Lable were pleces of bread and cakeţ crusLsţ slopsţ and a LeapoL wlLh
ºLhţ ours ls [usL as badţ" sald LllzabeLh 8aLesţ looklna aL Lhe womanţ noL aL Lhe houseŦ Mrs 8lalev puL a shawl over her head and hurrled
ºl shanna be a mlnuLeŦ"
1he oLher saLţ noLlna wlLh falnL dlsapproval Lhe aeneral unLldlness of Lhe roomŦ 1hen she fell Lo counLlna Lhe shoes of varlous slzes
scaLLered over Lhe floorŦ 1here were LwelveŦ She slahed and sald Lo herselfţ ºno wonder!"Ÿalanclna aL Lhe llLLerŦ 1here came Lhe
scraLchlna of Lwo palrs of feeL on Lhe vardţ and Lhe 8lalevs enLeredŦ LllzabeLh 8aLes roseŦ 8lalev was a bla manţ wlLh verv larae bonesŦ
Pls head looked parLlcularlv bonvŦ Across hls Lemple was a blue scarţ caused bv a wound aoL ln Lhe plLţ a wound ln whlch Lhe coalŴdusL
remalned blue llke LaLLoolnaŦ
ºAsna 'e come whoam vlL?" asked Lhe manţ wlLhouL anv form of areeLlnaţ buL wlLh deference and svmpaLhvŦ ºl couldna sav wheer he
lsŸ'e's non ower Lheer!"Ÿhe [erked hls head Lo slanlfv Lhe 'Þrlnce of Wales'Ŧ
º'L's 'appen aone up Lo Lh' '?ew'ţ" sald Mrs 8lalevŦ
1here was anoLher pauseŦ 8lalev had evldenLlv someLhlna Lo aeL off hls mlndť
ºAh lefL 'lm flnlshln' a sLlnLţ" he beaanŦ ºLooseŴall 'ad bln aone abouL Len mlnuLes when we com'n awavţ an' l shouLedţ 'Are Ler comln'ţ
WalL?' an' 'e saldţ 'Co onţ Ah shanna be buL a'ef a mlnnlLţ' so we com'n Ler Lh' boLLomţ me an' 8owersţ Lhlnkln' as 'e wor [usL behlnLţ an'
'ud come up l' Lh' nexL banLleŸ"
Pe sLood perplexedţ as lf answerlna a charae of deserLlna hls maLeŦ LllzabeLh 8aLesţ now aaaln cerLaln of dlsasLerţ hasLened Lo reassure
ºl expecL 'e's aone up Lo Lh' '?ew 1ree'ţ as vou savŦ lL's noL Lhe flrsL LlmeŦ l've freLLed mvself lnLo a fever before nowŦ Pe'll come home
when Lhev carrv hlmŦ"
ºAvţ lsn'L lL Loo bad!" deplored Lhe oLher womanŦ
ºl'll [usL sLep up Lo ulck's an' see lf 'e ¾ Lheerţ" offered Lhe manţ afrald of appearlna alarmedţ afrald of Laklna llberLlesŦ
ºChţ l wouldn'L Lhlnk of boLherlna vou LhaL farţ" sald LllzabeLh 8aLesţ wlLh emphaslsţ buL he knew she was alad of hls offerŦ
As Lhev sLumbled up Lhe enLrvţ LllzabeLh 8aLes heard 8lalev's wlfe run across Lhe vard and open her nelahbour's doorŦ AL Lhlsţ suddenlv
all Lhe blood ln her bodv seemed Lo swlLch awav from her hearLŦ
ºMlnd!" warned 8lalevŦ ºAh've sald manv a Llme as Ah'd flll up Lhem ruLs ln Lhls enLrvţ sumb'dv 'll be breakln' Lhelr leas vlLŦ"
She recovered herself and walked qulcklv alona wlLh Lhe mlnerŦ
ºl don'L llke leavlna Lhe chlldren ln bedţ and nobodv ln Lhe houseţ" she saldŦ
ºnoţ vou dunna!" he replled courLeouslvŦ 1hev were soon aL Lhe aaLe of Lhe coLLaaeŦ
ºWellţ l shanna be manv mlnnlLsŦ uunna vou be freLLln' nowţ 'e'll be all rlahLţ" sald Lhe buLLvŦ
º1hank vou verv muchţ Mr 8lalevţ" she replledŦ
º?ou're welcome!" he sLammeredţ movlna awavŦ ºl shanna be manv mlnnlLsŦ"
1he house was quleLŦ LllzabeLh 8aLes Look off her haL and shawlţ and rolled back Lhe ruaŦ When she had flnlshedţ she saL downŦ lL was a
few mlnuLes pasL nlneŦ She was sLarLled bv Lhe rapld chuff of Lhe wlndlnaŴenalne aL Lhe plLţ and Lhe sharp whlrr of Lhe brakes on Lhe
rope as lL descendedŦ Aaaln she felL Lhe palnful sweep of her bloodţ and she puL her hand Lo her sldeţ savlna aloudţ ºCood araclous!Ÿ
lL's onlv Lhe nlne o'clock depuLv aolna downţ" rebuklna herselfŦ
She saL sLlllţ llsLenlnaŦ Palf an hour of Lhlsţ and she was wearled ouLŦ
ºWhaL am l worklna mvself up llke Lhls for?" she sald plLlablv Lo herselfţ ºl s'll onlv be dolna mvself some damaaeŦ"
She Look ouL her sewlna aaalnŦ
AL a quarLer Lo Len Lhere were fooLsLepsŦ Cne person! She waLched for Lhe door Lo openŦ lL was an elderlv womanţ ln a black bonneL
and a black woollen shawlŸhls moLherŦ She was abouL slxLv vears oldţ paleţ wlLh blue evesţ and her face all wrlnkled and lamenLableŦ
She shuL Lhe door and Lurned Lo her dauahLerŴlnlaw peevlshlvŦ
ºLhţ Llzzleţ whaLever shall we doţ whaLever shall we do!" she crledŦ
LllzabeLh drew back a llLLleţ sharplvŦ
ºWhaL ls lLţ moLher?" she saldŦ
1he elder woman seaLed herself on Lhe sofaŦ
ºl don'L knowţ chlldţ l can'L Lell vou!"Ÿshe shook her head slowlvŦ LllzabeLh saL waLchlna herţ anxlous and vexedŦ
ºl don'L knowţ" replled Lhe arandmoLherţ slahlna verv deeplvŦ º1here's no end Lo mv Lroublesţ Lhere lsn'LŦ 1he Lhlnas l've aone Lhrouahţ
l'm sure lL's enouahŸ!" She wepL wlLhouL wlplna her evesţ Lhe Lears runnlnaŦ
º8uLţ moLherţ" lnLerrupLed LllzabeLhţ ºwhaL do vou mean? WhaL ls lL?"
1he arandmoLher slowlv wlped her evesŦ 1he founLalns of her Lears were sLopped bv LllzabeLh's dlrecLnessŦ She wlped her eves slowlvŦ
ºÞoor chlld! Lhţ vou poor Lhlna!" she moanedŦ ºl don'L know whaL we're aolna Lo doţ l don'LŸand vou as vou areŸlL's a Lhlnaţ lL ls
ºls he dead?" she askedţ and aL Lhe words her hearL swuna vlolenLlvţ Lhouah she felL a sllahL flush of shame aL Lhe ulLlmaLe
exLravaaance of Lhe quesLlonŦ Per words sufflclenLlv frlahLened Lhe old ladvţ almosL brouahL her Lo herselfŦ
ºuon'L sav soţ LllzabeLh! We'll hope lL's noL as bad as LhaLŤ noţ mav Lhe Lord spare us LhaLţ LllzabeLhŦ !ack 8lalev came [usL as l was
slLLln' down Lo a alass afore aolna Lo bedţ an' 'e saldţ ''Appen vou'll ao down Lh' llneţ Mrs 8aLesŦ WalL's had an accldenLŦ 'Appen vou'll ao
an' slL wl' 'er Llll we can aeL hlm homeŦ' l hadn'L Llme Lo ask hlm a word afore he was aoneŦ An' l puL mv bonneL on an' come sLralahL
downţ LlzzleŦ l LhouahL Lo mvselfţ 'Lhţ LhaL poor blessed chlldţ lf anvbodv should come an' Lell her of a suddenţ Lhere's no knowln'
whaL'll 'appen Lo 'erŦ' ?ou musLn'L leL lL upseL vouţ LlzzleŸor vou know whaL Lo expecLŦ Pow lona ls lLţ slx monLhsŸor ls lL flveţ Llzzle?
Av!"ŸLhe old woman shook her headŸºLlme sllps onţ lL sllps on! Av!"
LllzabeLh's LhouahLs were busv elsewhereŦ lf he was kllledŸwould she be able Lo manaae on Lhe llLLle penslon and whaL she could
earn?Ÿshe counLed up rapldlvŦ lf he was hurLŸLhev wouldn'L Lake hlm Lo Lhe hosplLalŸhow Llresome he would be Lo nurse!ŸbuL
perhaps she'd be able Lo aeL hlm awav from Lhe drlnk and hls haLeful wavsŦ She wouldŸwhlle he was lllŦ 1he Lears offered Lo come Lo
her eves aL Lhe plcLureŦ 8uL whaL senLlmenLal luxurv was Lhls she was bealnnlna?ŸShe Lurned Lo conslder Lhe chlldrenŦ AL anv raLe she
was absoluLelv necessarv for LhemŦ 1hev were her buslnessŦ
ºAv!" repeaLed Lhe old womanţ ºlL seems buL a week or Lwo slnce he brouahL me hls flrsL waaesŦ AvŸhe was a aood ladţ LllzabeLhţ he
wasţ ln hls wavŦ l don'L know whv he aoL Lo be such a Lroubleţ l don'LŦ Pe was a happv lad aL homeţ onlv full of splrlLsŦ 8uL Lhere's no
mlsLake he's been a handful of Lroubleţ he has! l hope Lhe Lord'll spare hlm Lo mend hls wavsŦ l hope soţ l hope soŦ ?ou've had a slahL o'
Lrouble wlLh hlmţ LllzabeLhţ vou have lndeedŦ 8uL he was a [ollv enouah lad wl' meţ he wasţ l can assure vouŦ l don'L know how lL ls Ŧ Ŧ Ŧ"
1he old woman conLlnued Lo muse aloudţ a monoLonous lrrlLaLlna soundţ whlle LllzabeLh LhouahL concenLraLedlvţ sLarLled onceţ when
she heard Lhe wlndlnaŴenalne chuff qulcklvţ and Lhe brakes sklrr wlLh a shrlekŦ 1hen she heard Lhe enalne more slowlvţ and Lhe brakes
made no soundŦ 1he old woman dld noL noLlceŦ LllzabeLh walLed ln suspenseŦ 1he moLherŴlnŴlaw Lalkedţ wlLh lapses lnLo sllenceŦ
º8uL he wasn'L vour sonţ Llzzleţ an' lL makes a dlfferenceŦ WhaLever he wasţ l remember hlm when he was llLLleţ an' l learned Lo
undersLand hlm and Lo make allowancesŦ ?ou've aoL Lo make allowances for LhemŸ"
lL was halfŴpasL Lenţ and Lhe old woman was savlnať º8uL lL's Lrouble from bealnnlna Lo endŤ vou're never Loo old for Lroubleţ never Loo
old for LhaLŸ" when Lhe aaLe banaed backţ and Lhere were heavv feeL on Lhe sLepsŦ
ºl'll aoţ Llzzleţ leL me aoţ" crled Lhe old womanţ rlslnaŦ 8uL LllzabeLh was aL Lhe doorŦ lL was a man ln plLŴcloLhesŦ
º1hev're brlnaln' 'lmţ Mlsslsţ" he saldŦ LllzabeLh's hearL halLed a momenLŦ 1hen lL suraed on aaalnţ almosL suffocaLlna herŦ
ºls heŸls lL bad?" she askedŦ
1he man Lurned awavţ looklna aL Lhe darknessť
º1he docLor savs 'e'd been dead hoursŦ 'L saw 'lm l' Lh' lampŴcablnŦ"
1he old womanţ who sLood [usL behlnd LllzabeLhţ dropped lnLo a chalrţ and folded her handsţ crvlnať ºChţ mv bovţ mv bov!"
ºPush!" sald LllzabeLhţ wlLh a sharp LwlLch of a frownŦ º8e sLlllţ moLherţ don'L waken Lh' chlldrenť l wouldn'L have Lhem down for
1he old woman moaned sofLlvţ rocklna herselfŦ 1he man was drawlna awavŦ LllzabeLh Look a sLep forwardŦ
ºPow was lL?" she askedŦ
ºWellţ l couldn'L sav for sureţ" Lhe man replledţ verv lll aL easeŦ º'L wor flnlshln' a sLlnL an' Lh' buLLles 'ad aoneţ an' a loL o' sLuff come
down aLop 'n 'lmŦ"
ºAnd crushed hlm?" crled Lhe wldowţ wlLh a shudderŦ
ºnoţ" sald Lhe manţ ºlL fell aL Lh' back of 'lmŦ 'L wor under Lh' faceţ an' lL nlver Louched 'lmŦ lL shuL 'lm lnŦ lL seems 'e wor smoLheredŦ"
LllzabeLh shrank backŦ She heard Lhe old woman behlnd her crvť
ºWhaL?ŸwhaL dld 'e sav lL was?"
1he man replledţ more loudlvť º'L wor smoLhered!"
1hen Lhe old woman walled aloudţ and Lhls relleved LllzabeLhŦ
ºChţ moLherţ" she saldţ puLLlna her hand on Lhe old womanţ ºdon'L waken Lh' chlldrenţ don'L waken Lh' chlldrenŦ"
She wepL a llLLleţ unknowlnaţ whlle Lhe old moLher rocked herself and moanedŦ LllzabeLh remembered LhaL Lhev were brlnalna hlm
homeţ and she musL be readvŦ º1hev'll lav hlm ln Lhe parlourţ" she sald Lo herselfţ sLandlna a momenL pale and perplexedŦ
1hen she llahLed a candle and wenL lnLo Lhe Llnv roomŦ 1he alr was cold and dampţ buL she could noL make a flreţ Lhere was no
flreplaceŦ She seL down Lhe candle and looked roundŦ 1he candleŴllahL allLLered on Lhe lusLreŴalassesţ on Lhe Lwo vases LhaL held some
of Lhe plnk chrvsanLhemumsţ and on Lhe dark mahoaanvŦ 1here was a coldţ deaLhlv smell of chrvsanLhemums ln Lhe roomŦ LllzabeLh
sLood looklna aL Lhe flowersŦ She Lurned awavţ and calculaLed wheLher Lhere would be room Lo lav hlm on Lhe floorţ beLween Lhe couch
and Lhe chlffonlerŦ She pushed Lhe chalrs asldeŦ 1here would be room Lo lav hlm down and Lo sLep round hlmŦ 1hen she feLched Lhe old
red LablecloLhţ and anoLher old cloLhţ spreadlna Lhem down Lo save her blL of carpeLŦ She shlvered on leavlna Lhe parlourŤ soţ from Lhe
dresserŴdrawer she Look a clean shlrL and puL lL aL Lhe flre Lo alrŦ All Lhe Llme her moLherŴlnlaw was rocklna herself ln Lhe chalr and
º?ou'll have Lo move from Lhereţ moLherţ" sald LllzabeLhŦ º1hev'll be brlnalna hlm lnŦ Come ln Lhe rockerŦ"
1he old moLher rose mechanlcallvţ and seaLed herself bv Lhe flreţ conLlnulna Lo lamenLŦ LllzabeLh wenL lnLo Lhe panLrv for anoLher
candleţ and Lhereţ ln Lhe llLLle penLhouse under Lhe naked Lllesţ she heard Lhem comlnaŦ She sLood sLlll ln Lhe panLrv doorwavţ llsLenlnaŦ
She heard Lhem pass Lhe end of Lhe houseţ and come awkwardlv down Lhe Lhree sLepsţ a [umble of shuffllna fooLsLeps and muLLerlna
volcesŦ 1he old woman was sllenLŦ 1he men were ln Lhe vardŦ
1hen LllzabeLh heard MaLLhewsţ Lhe manaaer of Lhe plLţ savť º?ou ao ln flrsLţ !lmŦ Mlnd!"
1he door came openţ and Lhe Lwo women saw a colller backlna lnLo Lhe roomţ holdlna one end of a sLreLcherţ on whlch Lhev could see
Lhe nalled plLŴbooLs of Lhe dead manŦ 1he Lwo carrlers halLedţ Lhe man aL Lhe head sLooplna Lo Lhe llnLel of Lhe doorŦ
ºWheer wlll vou have hlm?" asked Lhe manaaerţ a shorLţ whlLeŴbearded manŦ
LllzabeLh roused herself and came from Lhe panLrv carrvlna Lhe unllahLed candleŦ
ºln Lhe parlourţ" she saldŦ
ºln Lhereţ !lm!" polnLed Lhe manaaerţ and Lhe carrlers backed round lnLo Lhe Llnv roomŦ 1he coaL wlLh whlch Lhev had covered Lhe bodv
fell off as Lhev awkwardlv Lurned Lhrouah Lhe Lwo doorwavsţ and Lhe women saw Lhelr manţ naked Lo Lhe walsLţ lvlna sLrlpped for workŦ
1he old woman beaan Lo moan ln a low volce of horrorŦ
ºLav Lh' sLreLcher aL Lh' sldeţ" snapped Lhe manaaerţ ºan' puL 'lm on Lh' cloLhsŦ Mlnd nowţ mlnd! Look vou nowŸ!"
Cne of Lhe men had knocked off a vase of chrvsanLhemumsŦ Pe sLared awkwardlvţ Lhen Lhev seL down Lhe sLreLcherŦ LllzabeLh dld noL
look aL her husbandŦ As soon as she could aeL ln Lhe roomţ she wenL and plcked up Lhe broken vase and Lhe flowersŦ
ºWalL a mlnuLe!" she saldŦ
1he Lhree men walLed ln sllence whlle she mopped up Lhe waLer wlLh a dusLerŦ
ºLhţ whaL a [obţ whaL a [obţ Lo be sure!" Lhe manaaer was savlnaţ rubblna hls brow wlLh Lrouble and perplexlLvŦ ºnever knew such a
Lhlna ln mv llfeţ never! Pe'd no buslness Lo ha' been lefLŦ l never knew such a Lhlna ln mv llfe! lell over hlm clean as a whlsLleţ an' shuL
hlm lnŦ noL four fooL of spaceţ Lhere wasn'LŸ veL lL scarce brulsed hlmŦ"
Pe looked down aL Lhe dead manţ lvlna proneţ half nakedţ all arlmed wlLh coalŴdusLŦ
º''SphvxlaLedţ' Lhe docLor saldŦ lL ¾ Lhe mosL Lerrlble [ob l've ever knownŦ Seems as lf lL was done o' purposeŦ Clean over hlmţ an' shuL
'lm lnţ llke a mouseŴLrap"Ÿhe made a sharpţ descendlna aesLure wlLh hls handŦ
1he colllers sLandlna bv [erked aslde Lhelr heads ln hopeless commenLŦ
1he horror of Lhe Lhlna brlsLled upon Lhem allŦ
1hen Lhev heard Lhe alrl's volce upsLalrs calllna shrlllvť ºMoLherţ moLherŸwho ls lL? MoLherţ who ls lL?"
LllzabeLh hurrled Lo Lhe fooL of Lhe sLalrs and opened Lhe doorť
ºCo Lo sleep!" she commanded sharplvŦ ºWhaL are vou shouLlna abouL? Co Lo sleep aL onceŸLhere's noLhlnaŸ"
1hen she beaan Lo mounL Lhe sLalrsŦ 1hev could hear her on Lhe boardsţ and on Lhe plasLer floor of Lhe llLLle bedroomŦ 1hev could hear
ºWhaL's Lhe maLLer now?ŸwhaL's Lhe maLLer wlLh vouţ slllv Lhlna?"Ÿ her volce was much aalLaLedţ wlLh an unreal aenLlenessŦ
ºl LhouahL lL was some men comeţ" sald Lhe plalnLlve volce of Lhe chlldŦ ºPas he come?"
º?esţ Lhev've brouahL hlmŦ 1here's noLhlna Lo make a fuss abouLŦ Co Lo sleep nowţ llke a aood chlldŦ"
1hev could hear her volce ln Lhe bedroomţ Lhev walLed whllsL she covered Lhe chlldren under Lhe bedcloLhesŦ
ºls he drunk?" asked Lhe alrlţ Llmldlvţ falnLlvŦ
ºno! noŸhe's noL! PeŸhe's asleepŦ"
ºls he asleep downsLalrs?"
º?esŸand don'L make a nolseŦ"
1here was sllence for a momenLţ Lhen Lhe men heard Lhe frlahLened chlld aaalnť
ºWhaL's LhaL nolse?"
ºlL's noLhlnaţ l Lell vouţ whaL are vou boLherlna for?"
1he nolse was Lhe arandmoLher moanlnaŦ She was obllvlous of evervLhlnaţ slLLlna on her chalr rocklna and moanlnaŦ 1he manaaer puL
hls hand on her arm and bade her ºShŸsh!!"
1he old woman opened her eves and looked aL hlmŦ She was shocked bv Lhls lnLerrupLlonţ and seemed Lo wonderŦ
ºWhaL Llme ls lL?"ŸLhe plalnLlve Lhln volce of Lhe chlldţ slnklna back unhappllv lnLo sleepţ asked Lhls lasL quesLlonŦ
º1en o'clockţ" answered Lhe moLher more sofLlvŦ 1hen she musL have benL down and klssed Lhe chlldrenŦ
MaLLhews beckoned Lo Lhe men Lo come awavŦ 1hev puL on Lhelr caps and Look up Lhe sLreLcherŦ SLepplna over Lhe bodvţ Lhev LlpLoed
ouL of Lhe houseŦ none of Lhem spoke Llll Lhev were far from Lhe wakeful chlldrenŦ
When LllzabeLh came down she found her moLher alone on Lhe parlour floorţ leanlna over Lhe dead manţ Lhe Lears dropplna on hlmŦ
ºWe musL lav hlm ouLţ" Lhe wlfe saldŦ She puL on Lhe keLLleţ Lhen reLurnlna knelL aL Lhe feeLţ and beaan Lo unfasLen Lhe knoLLed leaLher
lacesŦ 1he room was clammv and dlm wlLh onlv one candleţ so LhaL she had Lo bend her face almosL Lo Lhe floorŦ AL lasL she aoL off Lhe
heavv booLs and puL Lhem awavŦ
º?ou musL help me nowţ" she whlspered Lo Lhe old womanŦ 1oaeLher Lhev sLrlpped Lhe manŦ
When Lhev aroseţ saw hlm lvlna ln Lhe naive dlanlLv of deaLhţ Lhe women sLood arresLed ln fear and respecLŦ lor a few momenLs Lhev
remalned sLlllţ looklna downţ Lhe old moLher whlmperlnaŦ LllzabeLh felL counLermandedŦ She saw hlmţ how uLLerlv lnvlolable he lav ln
hlmselfŦ She had noLhlna Lo do wlLh hlmŦ She could noL accepL lLŦ SLooplnaţ she lald her hand on hlmţ ln clalmŦ Pe was sLlll warmţ for Lhe
mlne was hoL where he had dledŦ Pls moLher had hls face beLween her handsţ and was murmurlna lncoherenLlvŦ 1he old Lears fell ln
successlon as drops from weL leavesŤ Lhe moLher was noL weeplnaţ merelv her Lears flowedŦ LllzabeLh embraced Lhe bodv of her
husbandţ wlLh cheek and llpsŦ She seemed Lo be llsLenlnaţ lnqulrlnaţ Lrvlna Lo aeL some connecLlonŦ 8uL she could noLŦ She was drlven
awavŦ Pe was lmpreanableŦ
She roseţ wenL lnLo Lhe klLchenţ where she poured warm waLer lnLo a bowlţ brouahL soap and flannel and a sofL LowelŦ
ºl musL wash hlmţ" she saldŦ
1hen Lhe old moLher rose sLlfflvţ and waLched LllzabeLh as she carefullv washed hls faceţ carefullv brushlna Lhe bla blond mousLache
from hls mouLh wlLh Lhe flannelŦ She was afrald wlLh a boLLomless fearţ so she mlnlsLered Lo hlmŦ 1he old womanţ [ealousţ saldť
ºLeL me wlpe hlm!"Ÿand she kneeled on Lhe oLher slde drvlna slowlv as LllzabeLh washedţ her bla black bonneL someLlmes brushlna
Lhe dark head of her dauahLerŦ 1hev worked Lhus ln sllence for a lona LlmeŦ 1hev never foraoL lL was deaLhţ and Lhe Louch of Lhe man's
dead bodv aave Lhem sLranae emoLlonsţ dlfferenL ln each of Lhe womenŤ a areaL dread possessed Lhem boLhţ Lhe moLher felL Lhe lle
was alven Lo her wombţ she was denledŤ Lhe wlfe felL Lhe uLLer lsolaLlon of Lhe human soulţ Lhe chlld wlLhln her was a welahL aparL from
AL lasL lL was flnlshedŦ Pe was a man of handsome bodvţ and hls face showed no Lraces of drlnkŦ Pe was blondeţ fullŴfleshedţ wlLh flne
llmbsŦ 8uL he was deadŦ
º8less hlmţ" whlspered hls moLherţ looklna alwavs aL hls faceţ and speaklna ouL of sheer LerrorŦ ºuear ladŸbless hlm!" She spoke ln a
falnLţ slbllanL ecsLasv of fear and moLher loveŦ
LllzabeLh sank down aaaln Lo Lhe floorţ and puL her face aaalnsL hls neckţ and Lrembled and shudderedŦ 8uL she had Lo draw awav
aaalnŦ Pe was deadţ and her llvlna flesh had no place aaalnsL hlsŦ A areaL dread and wearlness held herť she was so unavalllnaŦ Per llfe
was aone llke LhlsŦ
ºWhlLe as mllk he lsţ clear as a LwelveŴmonLh babvţ bless hlmţ Lhe darllna!" Lhe old moLher murmured Lo herselfŦ ºnoL a mark on hlmţ
clear and clean and whlLeţ beauLlful as ever a chlld was madeţ" she murmured wlLh prldeŦ LllzabeLh kepL her face hlddenŦ
ºPe wenL peacefulţ LlzzleŸpeaceful as sleepŦ lsn'L he beauLlfulţ Lhe lamb? AvŸhe musL ha' made hls peaceţ LlzzleŦ 'Appen he made lL all
rlahLţ Llzzleţ shuL ln LhereŦ Pe'd have LlmeŦ Pe wouldn'L look llke Lhls lf he hadn'L made hls peaceŦ 1he lambţ Lhe dear lambŦ Lhţ buL he
had a hearLv lauahŦ l loved Lo hear lLŦ Pe had Lhe hearLlesL lauahţ Llzzleţ as a ladŸ"
LllzabeLh looked upŦ 1he man's mouLh was fallen backţ sllahLlv open under Lhe cover of Lhe mousLacheŦ 1he evesţ half shuLţ dld noL
show alazed ln Lhe obscurlLvŦ Llfe wlLh lLs smokv burnlna aone from hlmţ had lefL hlm aparL and uLLerlv allen Lo herŦ And she knew whaL
a sLranaer he was Lo herŦ ln her womb was lce of fearţ because of Lhls separaLe sLranaer wlLh whom she had been llvlna as one fleshŦ
Was Lhls whaL lL all meanLŸuLLerţ lnLacL separaLenessţ obscured bv heaL of llvlna? ln dread she Lurned her face awavŦ 1he facL was Loo
deadlvŦ 1here had been noLhlna beLween Lhemţ and veL Lhev had come LoaeLherţ exchanalna Lhelr nakedness repeaLedlvŦ Lach Llme he
had Laken herţ Lhev had been Lwo lsolaLed belnasţ far aparL as nowŦ Pe was no more responslble Lhan sheŦ 1he chlld was llke lce ln her
wombŦ lor as she looked aL Lhe dead manţ her mlndţ cold and deLachedţ sald clearlvť ºWho am l? WhaL have l been dolna? l have been
flahLlna a husband who dld noL exlsLŦ exlsLed all Lhe LlmeŦ WhaL wrona have l done? WhaL was LhaL l have been llvlna wlLh? 1here
lles Lhe reallLvţ Lhls manŦ"ŸAnd her soul dled ln her for fearť she knew she had never seen hlmţ he had never seen herţ Lhev had meL ln
Lhe dark and had fouahL ln Lhe darkţ noL knowlna whom Lhev meL nor whom Lhev fouahLŦ And now she sawţ and Lurned sllenL ln seelnaŦ
lor she had been wronaŦ She had sald he was someLhlna he was noLŤ she had felL famlllar wlLh hlmŦ Whereas he was aparL all Lhe whlleţ
llvlna as she never llvedţ feellna as she never felLŦ
ln fear and shame she looked aL hls naked bodvţ LhaL she had known falselvŦ And he was Lhe faLher of her chlldrenŦ Per soul was Lorn
from her bodv and sLood aparLŦ She looked aL hls naked bodv and was ashamedţ as lf she had denled lLŦ AfLer allţ lL was lLselfŦ lL seemed
awful Lo herŦ She looked aL hls faceţ and she Lurned her own face Lo Lhe wallŦ lor hls look was oLher Lhan hersţ hls wav was noL her wavŦ
She had denled hlm whaL he wasŸshe saw lL nowŦ She had refused hlm as hlmselfŦŸAnd Lhls had been her llfeţ and hls llfeŦŸShe was
araLeful Lo deaLhţ whlch resLored Lhe LruLhŦ And she knew she was noL deadŦ
And all Lhe whlle her hearL was bursLlna wlLh arlef and plLv for hlmŦ WhaL had he suffered? WhaL sLreLch of horror for Lhls helpless man!
She was rlald wlLh aaonvŦ She had noL been able Lo help hlmŦ Pe had been cruellv ln[uredţ Lhls naked manţ Lhls oLher belnaţ and she
could make no reparaLlonŦ 1here were Lhe chlldrenŸ buL Lhe chlldren belonaed Lo llfeŦ 1hls dead man had noLhlna Lo do wlLh LhemŦ Pe
and she were onlv channels Lhrouah whlch llfe had flowed Lo lssue ln Lhe chlldrenŦ She was a moLherŸbuL how awful she knew lL now
Lo have been a wlfeŦ And heţ dead nowţ how awful he musL have felL lL Lo be a husbandŦ She felL LhaL ln Lhe nexL world he would be a
sLranaer Lo herŦ lf Lhev meL Lhereţ ln Lhe bevondţ Lhev would onlv be ashamed of whaL had been beforeŦ 1he chlldren had comeţ for
some mvsLerlous reasonţ ouL of boLh of LhemŦ 8uL Lhe chlldren dld noL unlLe LhemŦ now he was deadţ she knew how eLernallv he was
aparL from herţ how eLernallv he had noLhlna more Lo do wlLh herŦ She saw Lhls eplsode of her llfe closedŦ 1hev had denled each oLher
ln llfeŦ now he had wlLhdrawnŦ An anaulsh came over herŦ lL was flnlshed Lhenť lL had become hopeless beLween Lhem lona before he
dledŦ ?eL he had been her husbandŦ 8uL how llLLle!Ÿ
ºPave vou aoL hls shlrLţ 'LlzabeLh?"
LllzabeLh Lurned wlLhouL answerlnaţ Lhouah she sLrove Lo weep and behave as her moLherŴlnlaw expecLedŦ 8uL she could noLţ she was
sllencedŦ She wenL lnLo Lhe klLchen and reLurned wlLh Lhe aarmenLŦ
ºlL ls alredţ" she saldţ arasplna Lhe coLLon shlrL here and Lhere Lo LrvŦ She was almosL ashamed Lo handle hlmŤ whaL rlahL had she or
anvone Lo lav hands on hlmŤ buL her Louch was humble on hls bodvŦ lL was hard work Lo cloLhe hlmŦ Pe was so heavv and lnerLŦ A
Lerrlble dread arlpped her all Lhe whlleť LhaL he could be so heavv and uLLerlv lnerLţ unresponslveţ aparLŦ 1he horror of Lhe dlsLance
beLween Lhem was almosL Loo much for herŸlL was so lnflnlLe a aap she musL look acrossŦ
AL lasL lL was flnlshedŦ 1hev covered hlm wlLh a sheeL and lefL hlm lvlnaţ wlLh hls face boundŦ And she fasLened Lhe door of Lhe llLLle
parlourţ lesL Lhe chlldren should see whaL was lvlna LhereŦ 1henţ wlLh peace sunk heavv on her hearLţ she wenL abouL maklna Lldv Lhe
klLchenŦ She knew she submlLLed Lo llfeţ whlch was her lmmedlaLe masLerŦ 8uL from deaLhţ her ulLlmaLe masLerţ she wlnced wlLh fear
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