Elizabeth Gaskell North and South

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Table of Contents
VOLUME I ............................................................................... 1 CHAPTER I .............................................................................. 2 CHAPTER II ........................................................................... 18 CHAPTER III.......................................................................... 30 CHAPTER IV.......................................................................... 45 CHAPTER V ........................................................................... 60 CHAPTER VI.......................................................................... 78 CHAPTER VII......................................................................... 87 CHAPTER VIII ....................................................................... 99 CHAPTER IX........................................................................ 114 CHAPTER X......................................................................... 120 CHAPTER XI........................................................................ 133 CHAPTER XII ...................................................................... 145 CHAPTER XIII ..................................................................... 154 CHAPTER XIV ..................................................................... 164 CHAPTER XV ...................................................................... 172 CHAPTER XVI ..................................................................... 196 CHAPTER XVII .................................................................... 207 CHAPTER XVIII................................................................... 219 CHAPTER XIX ..................................................................... 232 CHAPTER XX ...................................................................... 249

CHAPTER XXI ..................................................................... 263 CHAPTER XXII.................................................................... 275 CHAPTER XXIII................................................................... 295 CHAPTER XXIV................................................................... 306 CHAPTER XXV.................................................................... 314 CHAPTER XXVI................................................................... 329 CHAPTER XXVII ................................................................. 337 CHAPTER XXVIII ................................................................ 347 CHAPTER XXIX .................................................................. 372 CHAPTER XXX.................................................................... 381 CHAPTER XXXI .................................................................. 400 CHAPTER XXXII ................................................................. 416 CHAPTER XXXIII ................................................................ 424 CHAPTER XXXIV................................................................ 432 CHAPTER XXXV ................................................................. 440 CHAPTER XXXVI ................................................................ 463 CHAPTER XXXVII............................................................... 479 CHAPTER XXXVIII ............................................................. 494 CHAPTER XXXIX................................................................ 514 CHAPTER XL ....................................................................... 527 CHAPTER XLI...................................................................... 547 CHAPTER XLII .................................................................... 565

CHAPTER XLIII ................................................................... 582 CHAPTER XLIV ................................................................... 596 CHAPTER XLV .................................................................... 612 CHAPTER XLVI ................................................................... 616 CHAPTER XLVII .................................................................. 644 CHAPTER XLVIII................................................................. 652 CHAPTER XLIX ................................................................... 661 CHAPTER L.......................................................................... 670 CHAPTER LI ........................................................................ 684 CHAPTER LII ....................................................................... 694


On its appearance in 'Household Words,' this tale was obliged to conform to the conditions imposed by the requirements of a weekly publication, and likewise to confine itself within certain advertised limits, in order that faith might be kept with the public. Although these conditions were made as light as they well could be, the author found it impossible to develop the story in the manner originally intended, and, more especially, was compelled to hurry on events with an improbable rapidity towards the close. In some degree to remedy this obvious defect, various short passages have been inserted, and several new chapters added. With this brief explanation, the tale is commended to the kindness of the reader; 'Beseking hym lowly, of mercy and pite, Of its rude makyng to have compassion.'


HASTE TO THE WEDDING 'Wooed and married and a'.' 'Edith!' said Margaret, gently, 'Edith!' But, as Margaret half suspected, Edith had fallen asleep. She lay curled up on the sofa in the back drawing-room in Harley Street, looking very lovely in her white muslin and blue ribbons. If Titania had ever been dressed in white muslin and blue ribbons, and had fallen asleep on a crimson damask sofa in a back drawing-room, Edith might have been taken for her. Margaret was struck afresh by her cousin's beauty. They had grown up together from childhood, and all along Edith had been remarked upon by every one, except Margaret, for her prettiness; but Margaret had never thought about it until the last few days, when the prospect of soon losing her companion seemed to give force to every sweet quality and charm which Edith possessed. They had been talking about wedding dresses, and wedding ceremonies; and Captain Lennox, and what he had told Edith about her future life at Corfu, where his regiment was stationed; and the difficulty of keeping a piano in good tune (a difficulty which Edith seemed to consider as one of the most formidable that could befall her in her married life), and what gowns she should want in the visits to Scotland, which would immediately succeed her marriage; but the whispered tone had latterly become more drowsy; and Margaret, after a pause of a few

minutes, found, as she fancied, that in spite of the buzz in the next room, Edith had rolled herself up into a soft ball of muslin and ribbon, and silken curls, and gone off into a peaceful little after-dinner nap. Margaret had been on the point of telling her cousin of some of the plans and visions which she entertained as to her future life in the country parsonage, where her father and mother lived; and where her bright holidays had always been passed, though for the last ten years her aunt Shaw's house had been considered as her home. But in default of a listener, she had to brood over the change in her life silently as heretofore. It was a happy brooding, although tinged with regret at being separated for an indefinite time from her gentle aunt and dear cousin. As she thought of the delight of filling the important post of only daughter in Helstone parsonage, pieces of the conversation out of the next room came upon her ears. Her aunt Shaw was talking to the five or six ladies who had been dining there, and whose husbands were still in the dining-room. They were the familiar acquaintances of the house; neighbours whom Mrs. Shaw called friends, because she happened to dine with them more frequently than with any other people, and because if she or Edith wanted anything from them, or they from her, they did not scruple to make a call at each other's houses before luncheon. These ladies and their husbands were invited, in their capacity of friends, to eat a farewell dinner in honour of Edith's approaching marriage. Edith had rather objected to this arrangement, for

Captain Lennox was expected to arrive by a late train this very evening; but, although she was a spoiled child, she was too careless and idle to have a very strong will of her own, and gave way when she found that her mother had absolutely ordered those extra delicacies of the season which are always supposed to be efficacious against immoderate grief at farewell dinners. She contented herself by leaning back in her chair, merely playing with the food on her plate, and looking grave and absent; while all around her were enjoying the mots of Mr. Grey, the gentleman who always took the bottom of the table at Mrs. Shaw's dinner parties, and asked Edith to give them some music in the drawingroom. Mr. Grey was particularly agreeable over this farewell dinner, and the gentlemen staid down stairs longer than usual. It was very well they did—to judge from the fragments of conversation which Margaret overheard. 'I suffered too much myself; not that I was not extremely happy with the poor dear General, but still disparity of age is a drawback; one that I was resolved Edith should not have to encounter. Of course, without any maternal partiality, I foresaw that the dear child was likely to marry early; indeed, I had often said that I was sure she would be married before she was nineteen. I had quite a prophetic feeling when Captain Lennox'— and here the voice dropped into a whisper, but Margaret could easily supply the blank. The course of true love in Edith's case had run remarkably smooth. Mrs. Shaw had given way to the presentiment, as she

expressed it; and had rather urged on the marriage, although it was below the expectations which many of Edith's acquaintances had formed for her, a young and pretty heiress. But Mrs. Shaw said that her only child should marry for love,—and sighed emphatically, as if love had not been her motive for marrying the General. Mrs. Shaw enjoyed the romance of the present engagement rather more than her daughter. Not but that Edith was very thoroughly and properly in love; still she would certainly have preferred a good house in Belgravia, to all the picturesqueness of the life which Captain Lennox described at Corfu. The very parts which made Margaret glow as she listened, Edith pretended to shiver and shudder at; partly for the pleasure she had in being coaxed out of her dislike by her fond lover, and partly because anything of a gipsy or make-shift life was really distasteful to her. Yet had any one come with a fine house, and a fine estate, and a fine title to boot, Edith would still have clung to Captain Lennox while the temptation lasted; when it was over, it is possible she might have had little qualms of ill-concealed regret that Captain Lennox could not have united in his person everything that was desirable. In this she was but her mother's child; who, after deliberately marrying General Shaw with no warmer feeling than respect for his character and establishment, was constantly, though quietly, bemoaning her hard lot in being united to one whom she could not love. 'I have spared no expense in her trousseau,' were the next words Margaret heard.

'She has all the beautiful Indian shawls and scarfs the General gave to me, but which I shall never wear again.' 'She is a lucky girl,' replied another voice, which Margaret knew to be that of Mrs. Gibson, a lady who was taking a double interest in the conversation, from the fact of one of her daughters having been married within the last few weeks. 'Helen had set her heart upon an Indian shawl, but really when I found what an extravagant price was asked, I was obliged to refuse her. She will be quite envious when she hears of Edith having Indian shawls. What kind are they? Delhi? with the lovely little borders?' Margaret heard her aunt's voice again, but this time it was as if she had raised herself up from her halfrecumbent position, and were looking into the more dimly lighted back drawing-room. 'Edith! Edith!' cried she; and then she sank as if wearied by the exertion. Margaret stepped forward. 'Edith is asleep, Aunt Shaw. Is it anything I can do?' All the ladies said 'Poor child!' on receiving this distressing intelligence about Edith; and the minute lap-dog in Mrs. Shaw's arms began to bark, as if excited by the burst of pity. 'Hush, Tiny! you naughty little girl! you will waken your mistress. It was only to ask Edith if she would tell Newton to bring down her shawls: perhaps you would go, Margaret dear?' Margaret went up into the old nursery at the very top of the house, where Newton was busy getting up

some laces which were required for the wedding. While Newton went (not without a muttered grumbling) to undo the shawls, which had already been exhibited four or five times that day, Margaret looked round upon the nursery; the first room in that house with which she had become familiar nine years ago, when she was brought, all untamed from the forest, to share the home, the play, and the lessons of her cousin Edith. She remembered the dark, dim look of the London nursery, presided over by an austere and ceremonious nurse, who was terribly particular about clean hands and torn frocks. She recollected the first tea up there— separate from her father and aunt, who were dining somewhere down below an infinite depth of stairs; for unless she were up in the sky (the child thought), they must be deep down in the bowels of the earth. At home—before she came to live in Harley Street—her mother's dressing-room had been her nursery; and, as they kept early hours in the country parsonage, Margaret had always had her meals with her father and mother. Oh! well did the tall stately girl of eighteen remember the tears shed with such wild passion of grief by the little girl of nine, as she hid her face under the bed-clothes, in that first night; and how she was bidden not to cry by the nurse, because it would disturb Miss Edith; and how she had cried as bitterly, but more quietly, till her newly-seen, grand, pretty aunt had come softly upstairs with Mr. Hale to show him his little sleeping daughter. Then the little Margaret had hushed her sobs, and tried to lie quiet as if asleep, for

fear of making her father unhappy by her grief, which she dared not express before her aunt, and which she rather thought it was wrong to feel at all after the long hoping, and planning, and contriving they had gone through at home, before her wardrobe could be arranged so as to suit her grander circumstances, and before papa could leave his parish to come up to London, even for a few days. Now she had got to love the old nursery, though it was but a dismantled place; and she looked all round, with a kind of cat-like regret, at the idea of leaving it for ever in three days. 'Ah Newton!' said she, 'I think we shall all be sorry to leave this dear old room.' 'Indeed, miss, I shan't for one. My eyes are not so good as they were, and the light here is so bad that I can't see to mend laces except just at the window, where there's always a shocking draught—enough to give one one's death of cold.' Well, I dare say you will have both good light and plenty of warmth at Naples. You must keep as much of your darning as you can till then. Thank you, Newton, I can take them down—you're busy.' So Margaret went down laden with shawls, and snuffing up their spicy Eastern smell. Her aunt asked her to stand as a sort of lay figure on which to display them, as Edith was still asleep. No one thought about it; but Margaret's tall, finely made figure, in the black silk dress which she was wearing as mourning for some distant relative of her father's, set off the long beautiful

that Margaret saw she was no more wanted as shawl-bearer. and rather liked to be dressed in such splendour—enjoying it much as a child would do. Lennox with a bright. but looking at Mr. Occasionally. as she was turned round.folds of the gorgeous shawls that would have halfsmothered Edith. thinking she might be yet wanted as a sort of block for the shawls. as if sure of his sympathy in her sense of the ludicrousness at being thus surprised. Just then the door opened. Henry Lennox—who had not been able to come to dinner—all sorts of questions about his brother the bridegroom. Some of the ladies started back. and smiled at her own appearance there-the familiar features in the usual garb of a princess. whom her aunt had for the moment forgotten. Margaret stood right under the chandelier. Almost immediately. and various other members of the Lennox family. Shaw held out her hand to the new-comer. while her aunt adjusted the draperies. amused face. quite silent and passive. with a quiet pleased smile on her lips. and took a pleasure in their soft feel and their brilliant colours. She touched the shawls gently as they hung around her. Henry Lennox was suddenly announced. his sister the bridesmaid (coming with the Captain from Scotland for the occasion). as if half-ashamed of their feminine interest in dress. Margaret stood perfectly still. she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror over the chimney-piece. and devoted herself to the amusement of the other visitors. and Mr. Mrs. 9 . Her aunt was so much absorbed in asking Mr.

Edith came in from the back drawing-room. and altogether looking like the Sleeping Beauty just startled from her dreams. he would take possession of that chair. for whom she professed so much affection. As Margaret sank rather more into the background on her aunt's joining the conversation. I mean. He liked and disliked pretty nearly the same things that she did. and now she was sure of a pleasant evening. the future. it was almost a surprise to see him. she saw Henry Lennox directing his look towards a vacant seat near her. 10 . She received him with a smile which had not a tinge of shyness or self-consciousness in it. 'Well. Margaret's face was lightened up into an honest. I suppose you are all in the depths of business—ladies' business. which is the real true law business. from her aunt's rather confused account of his engagements. open brightness. Playing with shawls is very different work to drawing up settlements. unseen sister-in-law. Very different to my business. and she knew perfectly well that as soon as Edith released him from her questioning. By-andby he came. She had not been quite sure. that if Margaret had not been very proud she might have almost felt jealous of the mushroom rival. shaking back her slightly-ruffled curls. Even in her slumber she had instinctively felt that a Lennox was worth rousing herself for. and she had a multitude of questions to ask about dear Janet. winking and blinking her eyes at the stronger light. whether he would come that night.

and all the arrangements are complete for an event which must occupy one's head and heart.' 'Yes.' said Margaret. But really Indian shawls are very perfect things of their kind. writing the notes of invitation.'Ah. but I can fancy that you will.' 'I am not so sure about her. that kind of rest when the hands have nothing more to do. for instance. 11 . you have been carried away by a whirlwind of some other person's making. Their prices are very perfect. rather sadly. and the buzz and noise deepened in tone. Lennox. I think after this evening we shall feel at rest. I shall be glad to have time to think. the wedding-breakfast. 'This is your last dinner-party.' 'Cinderella's godmother ordering the trousseau.' 'I have no doubt they are. I knew how you would be amused to find us all so occupied in admiring finery. or whether in some cases there might not rather be a calm and peaceful time just before it. which I am sure I have not done for many weeks.' said Mr. at least. Nothing wanting. and I am sure Edith will.' The gentlemen came dropping in one by one. Whenever I have seen you lately. too. is it not? There are no more before Thursday?' 'No. laughing. remembering the never-ending commotion about trifles that had been going on for more than a month past: 'I wonder if a marriage must always be preceded by what you call a whirlwind.

without which stoppage there would be very little satisfaction in life. But how would you have a wedding arranged?' 'Oh.'But are all these quite necessary troubles?' asked Margaret. and she really wanted some one to help her to a few pleasant. from remembering former occasions on which he had tried to lead her into a discussion (in which he took the complimentary part) about her own character and ways of going on. and I should like to walk to church through the shade of trees. she winced away from it more. 'Oh. only I should like it to be a very fine summer morning. 'There are forms and ceremonies to be gone through. in which Edith had been busied as supreme authority for the last six weeks. The idea of stately simplicity accords well with your character.' Margaret did not quite like this speech. A sense of indescribable weariness of all the arrangements for a pretty effect. and not to have so many bridesmaids. and to have no wedding-breakfast. I dare say I am resolving against the very things that have given me the most trouble just now.' 'No.' he replied with a change to gravity in his tone. oppressed her just now. She cut his speech rather short by saying: 12 . quiet ideas connected with a marriage. I have never thought much about it. looking up straight at him for an answer. as to stop the world's mouth. not so much to satisfy oneself. of course. I don't think you are.

Well. after the New Forest.' 13 . rather—with roses growing all over them.' replied Margaret. when ninety-six Harley Street will be looking dingy and dirty. Is Helstone a village. Helstone is like a village in a poem—in one of Tennyson's poems.' 'Indeed.' 'Tell me about Helstone.' 'I am penitent. I would not. I am trying to describe Helstone as it really is. then. rather than of driving up to a London church in the middle of a paved street.' 'And so it is. I don't think I could call it a village at all. 'Only it really sounded like a village in a tale rather than in real life. only a hamlet.' he answered. 'No.' said he.' 'And flowering all the year round.' replied Margaret. 'I am not making a picture. especially at Christmas—make your picture complete. But I won't try and describe it any more. and the walk to it. in the first place?' 'Oh. or a town. eagerly. You would only laugh at me if I told you what I think of it—what it really is. and shut up. 'All the other places in England that I have seen seem so hard and prosaic-looking. There is the church and a few houses near it on the green—cottages. You have never described it to me. But I see you are going to be very resolved.'It is natural for me to think of Helstone church. and dull. You should not have said that. somewhat annoyed. tell me that which I should like still better to know what the parsonage is like. I should like to have some idea of the place you will be living in.

' 'Shall you garden much? That. I don't quite think it is a thing to be talked about.' 'Why. now fill up your day at Helstone. not even for papa. the latter especially. I am afraid I shan't like such hard work. unless you knew it. I believe. you will neither tell me what Helstone is like. He walks to the very extremity of his parish. or otherwise improve your mind. and I can't put its charm into words. take a walk before lunch. 'I did not know I was.'Oh. We have no horse. or walk?' 'Walk. drive.' 'But indeed I cannot tell you about my own home. Shall you ride. You are rather severe to-night. Margaret. go a drive with your aunt after. There. or have lessons. then'—pausing for a moment—'tell me what you do there.' 'Archery parties—pic-nics—race-balls—hunt-balls?' 14 .' 'I submit. Here you read. turning her large soft eyes round full upon him. decidedly. till the middle of the day.' 'I don't know. 'How?' said she. and have some kind of engagement in the evening. is a proper employment for young ladies in the country.' 'Well. it would be a shame to drive— almost a shame to ride. nor will you say anything about your home. The walks are so beautiful. It is home. because I made an unlucky remark. though I have told you how much I want to hear about both. I can't describe my home.

' 'I hope you will. which had always something plaintive in it. She threw down her music. laughing. In the middle of the piece the door half-opened. and besides. and see what you really do employ yourself in. were duly shocked. I think I shall pay you a call. halfshyly.' 'I see. You will only tell me that you are not going to do this and that. Then you will see for yourself how beautiful Helstone is. and Edith saw Captain Lennox hesitating whether to come in. with as few drawbacks as possible. you won't tell me anything. and I just know enough of music to turn over the leaves for her.' Edith played brilliantly. Now I must go. she had every good of life. half-proudly leading in her tall handsome Captain. she had been rather perplexed to find an 15 . leaving Margaret standing confused and blushing to explain to the astonished guests what vision had shown itself to cause Edith's sudden flight. and Mrs.'Oh no!' said she. and even if we were near such things. or was it really so late? They looked at their watches. His brother shook hands with him. Captain Lennox had come earlier than was expected. Aunt Shaw won't like us to talk. the General being gone. arising from the long habit of considering herself a victim to an uncongenial marriage. I doubt if I should go to them. 'Papa's living is very small. Then Edith came back. and took their leave. Edith is sitting down to play. glowing with pleasure. Shaw welcomed him in her gentle kindly way. Now that. and rushed out of the room. Before the vacation ends.

as in duty bound. Mrs. and now and then Margaret wondered what it was that he could be thinking about.—a winter in Italy. but his face was intelligent. who assented. The sarcastic feeling 16 . and mobile. but she never liked to do anything from the open and acknowledged motive of her own good will and pleasure.anxiety. Mr. She really did persuade herself that she was submitting to some hard external necessity. he was the plain one in a singularly good-looking family. with an interest that was slightly sarcastic. and thus she was able to moan and complain in her soft manner. if not a sorrow. and ordering up all sorts of good things. she had a nervous little cough whenever she thought about it. It was in this way she began to speak of her own journey to Captain Lennox. to all his future mother-in-law said. amused with the family scene. she preferred being compelled to gratify herself by some other person's command or desire. She had. keen. Henry Lennox stood leaning against the chimney-piece. all the time she was in reality doing just what she liked. and some complaisant doctor ordered her just what she desired. He was close by his handsome brother. of late settled upon her own health as a source of apprehension. all that Edith and she were doing. in spite of his assurances that he had dined within the last two hours. who was busying herself in rearranging the tea-table. while he kept silence. Shaw had as strong wishes as most people. while his eyes sought Edith. however. but was evidently observing.

the only consequence of which was that when she met it at the door. Shaw's conversation with his brother. and. it was too heavy for her. and tried to carry it in. Edith chose to do most herself. She found out that the water in the urn was cold. which she took to show to Captain Lennox.was called out by Mrs. He thought it a pretty sight to see the two cousins so busy in their little arrangements about the table. in some of her moods. chose to consider the nearest resemblance to a barrack-life. and ordered up the great kitchen tea-kettle. She was in a humour to enjoy showing her lover how well she could behave as a soldier's wife. though not so like the gypsyencampment which Edith. with a black mark on her muslin gown. of course. and a little round white hand indented by the handle. Margaret's quickly-adjusted spirit-lamp was the most efficacious contrivance. the remedy was the same in both cases. it was separate from the interest which was excited by what he saw. After this evening all was bustle till the wedding was over. and she came in pouting. just like a hurt child. 17 .

Hale. which was midway between oldness and newness. Shaw had guessed at the real reason why Mrs. Mr. Her mother had been detained at home by a multitude of half-reasons. Shaw had been the poor. and a perfect model of a parish 18 . travelling quietly home with her father. who had come up to assist at the wedding. HEMANS. Dearest Maria had married the man of her heart. If Mrs. she would have showered down gowns upon her. On the banks of moss where thy childhood played. only eight years older than herself. on which she could descant by the half-hour. Hale was one of the most delightful preachers she had ever heard. Margaret was once more in her morning dress. none of which anybody fully understood. Hale did not accompany her husband. from top to toe. had proved unavailing. thro' which thine eye First looked in love to the summer sky. she would not show herself at her only sister's only child's wedding. who was perfectly aware that all his arguments in favour of a grey satin gown. and that. but it was nearly twenty years since Mrs. except Mr.' MRS. By the household tree.CHAPTER II ROSES AND THORNS 'By the soft green light in the woody glade. and she had really forgotten all grievances except that of the unhappiness arising from disparity of age in married life. pretty Miss Beresford. and that blue-black hair one so seldom sees. with the sweetest temper. as he had not the money to equip his wife afresh.

oppressed her now with a sad regret for the times that were no more. might have answered with a ready-made list. of those she had lived with so long. if she spoke truth. what can dearest Maria have to wish for in this world?' Mrs. it did not signify what those times had been. and hundreds of things for the house. oh! dozens of things for the wedding. amongst all the other good-byes. as she thought over her sister's lot: 'Married for love. Perhaps it was not quite a logical deduction from all these premises. and she was not sorry to think that their meeting and greeting would take place at Helstone parsonage. 'a silver-grey glace silk.' Margaret only knew that her mother had not found it convenient to come. She took her mind away with a wrench from the recollection of the past to the bright serene contemplation of the hopeful future. the place and the life she had longed for for years—at that time of all times for yearning and longing. during the confusion of the last two or three days. Hale. The farewells so hurriedly taken. Margaret's heart felt more heavy than she could ever have thought it possible in going to her own dear home. Her mind and body ached now with the recollection of all she had done and said within the last forty-eight hours.priest. in the house in Harley Street. rather than. just before the sharp senses lose their outlines in sleep. they were gone never to return. where she herself had had to play the part of Figaro. Shaw's characteristic conclusion. but it was still Mrs. Her eyes began to 19 . and was wanted everywhere at one and the same time. a white chip bonnet.

contented life. He smiled back again. 'Oh! if Frederick had but been a clergyman. to find the cause for the lines that spoke so plainly of habitual distress and depression. I only knew he could not come back to England because of that terrible affair. She was ready with a bright smile. The bones of his face were plainly to be seen—too plainly for beauty. instead of going into the navy. than the serene calm of the countenance of one who led a placid. and gave the face an undecided expression. He had a trick of half-opening his mouth as if to speak. soft eyes as his 20 . Poor dear papa! how sad he looks! I am so glad I am going home. but faintly. but the sight actually before her. if his features had been less finely cut. I never understood it from Aunt Shaw. to be at hand to comfort him and mamma. to greet her father when he awakened. her dear father leaning back asleep in the railway carriage. and being lost to us all! I wish I knew all about it. anxious expression. as if it were an unusual exertion. which constantly unsettled the form of the lips.see. and she went back over the open and avowed circumstances of her father's life. sighing. not visions of what had been. The face was in repose. But he had the same large. His blue-black hair was grey now. they had a grace if not a comeliness of their own. His face returned into its lines of habitual anxiety. and lay thinly over his brows. in which there was not a trace of fatigue. but it was rather rest after weariness. 'Poor Frederick!' thought she. Margaret was painfully struck by the worn. as it was.

Sometimes people wondered that parents so handsome should have a daughter who was so far from regularly beautiful. in general. was of an ivory smoothness and delicacy. If the look on her face was. and the herbs and flowers it called forth. Margaret was more like him than like her mother. crushing down the fern with a cruel glee. and boundless hope in the future. learned and delighted 21 . It was the latter part of July when Margaret returned home. revelling in the sunshine. and were well veiled by their transparent white eyelids. free. the fern below them caught all the slanting sunbeams. and the skin.—full of dimples. seeing multitudes of wild. talking to her father. no rosebud that could only open just' enough to let out a 'yes' and 'no. too dignified and reserved for one so young.' But the wide mouth was one soft curve of rich red lips. was occasionally said. Margaret used to tramp along by her father's side. dusky green. if not white and fair.' and 'an't please you. the weather was sultry and broodingly still. as she felt it yield under her light foot. not beautiful at all. full. sir. it was bright as the morning. This life—at least these walks—realised all Margaret's anticipations.—out on the broad commons into the warm scented light. Its people were her people. now. She took a pride in her forest. She made hearty friends with them. and glances that spoke of childish gladness. living creatures.daughter. The forest trees were all one dark.—eyes which moved slowly and almost grandly round in their orbits. Her mouth was wide. and send up the fragrance peculiar to it.

took up her freedom amongst them. He would sigh aloud as he answered. broad. in perceiving that all was not as it should be there. and almost reproached her husband because he could not bring himself to say that he wished to leave the parish. cloud22 . At each repeated urgency of his wife. carried dainty messes to their sick. Her out-of-doors life was perfect. thought that the bishop strangely neglected his episcopal duties. that he would put himself in the way of seeking some preferment. but every day he was more overpowered. and Margaret would try to tempt her forth on to the beautiful. With the healthy shame of a child. that if he could do what he ought in little Helstone. Hale a better living. upland. where her father went every day as to an appointed task. the world became more bewildering. or child—in some cottage in the green shade of the forest. she blamed herself for her keenness of sight. nursed their babies.in using their peculiar words. resolved before long to teach at the school. Mrs. woman. in not giving Mr. Her in-doors life had its drawbacks. he should be thankful. Margaret saw that her father shrank more and more. and she strove at such times to reconcile her mother to Helstone. but she was continually tempted off to go and see some individual friend—man. sun-streaked. Hale said that the near neighbourhood of so many trees affected her health. talked or read with slow distinctness to their old people. and undertake the charge of a larger. Her mother—her mother always so kind and tender towards her—seemed now and then so much discontented with their situation.

and the neighbouring cottages. but when the autumn drew on. by long hours of discontent. a better parish priest than Mr. by her conscious pride in being able to do without them all. In the latter half of September. This did good for a time. This marring of the peace of home. the school. for she was sure that her mother had accustomed herself too much to an in-doors life. her mother's idea of the unhealthiness of the place increased. when Margaret had been spending her holidays at home before. who was more learned than Mr. was balanced finely. Houldsworth. was what Margaret was unprepared for. if not overbalanced. which had only been troubles and trammels to her freedom in Harley Street. and the weather became more changeable. seldom extending her walks beyond the church. Her keen enjoyment of every sensuous pleasure. There had been slight complaints and passing regrets on her mother's part. She knew. and had rather revelled in the idea. Hume. 23 . she had forgotten the small details which were not so pleasant. should not have met with the preferment that these two former neighbours of theirs had done. and her father's position there. that she should have to give up many luxuries. and she repined even more frequently that her husband. the autumnal rains and storms came on. if need were. but in the general happiness of the recollection of those times. But the cloud never comes in that quarter of the horizon from which we watch for it. over some trifle connected with Helstone.shadowed common.

and Margaret was obliged to remain more in the house than she had hitherto done. and candlestick-makers. mamma?' 'But the Gormans were neither butchers nor bakers. but very respectable coach-builders. 'It is undoubtedly one of the most out-of-the-way places in England. he is so thrown away. secretly thinking of a young and handsome Mr. in one of her plaintive moods. knowing only cottagers and labourers. Gorman whom she had once met at Mr.' 'You must not be so fastidious. 'Are those the Gormans who made their fortunes in trade at Southampton? Oh! I'm glad we don't visit them. Hale. I think we are far better off.' said Margaret. dear!' said her mother. as they call them. 'No! I call mine a very comprehensive taste. it would be something. do you. seeing no one but farmers and labourers from week's end to week's end. Helstone was at some distance from any neighbours of their own standard of cultivation. there we should be almost within walking distance of the Stansfields. If we only lived at the other side of the parish. Hume's. I don't like shoppy people. and the three learned professions. certainly the Gormans would be within a walk.' said Mrs. and people without pretence.' 'Gormans. I like all people whose occupations have to do with land. Margaret. 'I can't help regretting constantly that papa has really no one to associate with here. I like soldiers and sailors. I'm sure you don't want me to admire butchers and bakers.' 24 .

he found that the interruptions which arose out of these duties were regarded as hardships by his wife. in his desire of reading aloud to her. Hale grew to take an increasing interest in his school and his parishioners. Immediately after tea her father withdrew into his small library. she had brought down with her a great box of books. in reading the speculative and metaphysical books which were his delight. not to be accepted as the natural conditions of his profession. she seemed to be borne onwards. but as Mr. So he withdrew. She was so happy out of doors. in spite of the weather. that she almost danced. as she crossed some heath. and had discouraged her husband. 25 . into his library. and how I longed to walk!' And walk Margaret did. but to be regretted and struggled against by her as they severally arose. to spend his evenings (if he were at home). Mrs. as lightly and easily as the fallen leaf that was wafted along by the autumnal breeze. and she and her mother were left alone. At one time they had tried backgammon as a resource. When Margaret had been here before. Oh! how tired I used to be of the drives every day in Aunt Shaw's carriage. while she worked. Hale had never cared much for books. very early in their married life. and I think a much more useless one than that of butchers or bakers. at her father's side. But the evenings were rather difficult to fill up agreeably. and with the soft violence of the west wind behind her.'Very well. Coach-building is a trade all the same. while the children were yet young.

her 26 . On such evenings Margaret was apt to stop talking rather abruptly. were by far the lightest. at others a little inclined to compare her sister's circumstances of ease and comfort with the narrower means at Helstone vicarage. Thomson's Seasons. sometimes amused and questioning.—made her pause and turn away from the subject each time she approached it. how long it was since they had heard from him. Hale listened with interest. and ask where Frederick was now. while she wondered if she might venture to put a question on a subject very near to her heart. what he was doing. Hayley's Cowper. When she was with her mother. The book-shelves did not afford much resource. But a consciousness that her mother's delicate health. and which now seemed doomed to be buried in sad oblivion.—the full account of which Margaret had never heard. and most amusing. Middleton's Cicero. Now there were only the well-bound little-read English Classics. Margaret told her mother every particular of her London life. and listen to the drip-drip of the rain upon the leads of the little bow-window. which were weeded out of her father's library to fill up the small book-shelves in the drawing-room. newest. and positive dislike to Helstone.recommended by masters or governess. and had found the summer's day all too short to get through the reading she had to do before her return to town. Once or twice Margaret found herself mechanically counting the repetition of the monotonous sound. to all of which Mrs. all dated from the time of the mutiny in which Frederick had been engaged.

always considering herself as the good and protecting fairy. she thought that she could speak more easily to her mother. In one of the letters she had received before leaving Harley Street. Frederick was always spoken of. but not the living intelligence she longed for. and put into order by Dixon. and was devoted to her interests. Master Frederick had been her favorite and pride. and when with him. whose duty it was to baffle the malignant giant. he was still at Rio. in the rare times when his name was mentioned. that she went in weekly to arrange the chamber as 27 . Dixon had always considered Mr. Hale. there was no knowing what she might not have become. Hale as the blight which had fallen upon her young lady's prospects in life. but always remembered the day when she had been engaged by Lady Beresford as ladies' maid to Sir John's wards. If Miss Beresford had not been in such a hurry to marry a poor country clergyman. the pretty Miss Beresfords. But Dixon was too loyal to desert her in her affliction and downfall (alias her married life). and was regularly dusted. and sent his best love to her. and it was with a little softening of her dignified look and manner. who touched no other part of the household work. Hale's maid. Mr. her father had told her that they had heard from Frederick.father seemed the best person to apply to for information. She remained with her.' His room was kept exactly as he had left it. and very well in health. Probably there was nothing much to be heard that was new. as 'Poor Frederick. the belles of Rutlandshire. which was dry bones. Mrs.

whose summons to the house-hold was a rap on the backkitchen window-shutter—a signal which at one time had often to be repeated before any one was sufficiently alive to the hour of the day to understand what it was. stood dreamily by the study window until the postman had called. the oppression of which could not be relieved by any daily action.carefully as if he might be coming home that very evening. and attend to him. Mr. unknown to her mother. who watched him away beyond the sweet-briar hedge. was anxious for the village postman. Now Mr. half-confidential shake of the head to the parson. and past the great arbutus. Margaret could not help believing that there had been some late intelligence of Frederick. Mrs. Hale did not seem to perceive any alteration in her husband's looks or ways. He would be depressed for many days after witnessing a death-bed. Hale did not go out among his parishioners as much as usual. he was more shut up in his study. such as comforting the survivors. or hearing of any crime. readily affected by any small piece of intelligence concerning the welfare of others. But now Margaret noticed an absence of mind. as if his thoughts were pre-occupied by some subject. or teaching at the school in hope of lessening the evils in the generation to come. or gone down the lane. which was making her father anxious and uneasy. before he turned into the room 28 . and if not. His spirits were always tender and gentle. Hale loitered about the garden if the morning was fine. giving a half-respectful.

'Mr. and now that the rain was gone. she was busy preparing her board one morning. with all the signs of a heavy heart and an occupied mind. is easily banished for a time by a bright sunny day. during the gloom of the bad weather. The fern-harvest was over. Accordingly. many a deep glade was accessible. not absolutely based on a knowledge of facts. And when the brilliant fourteen fine days of October came on. and she thought of nothing but the glories of the forest.to begin his day's work. She had learnt drawing with Edith. But Margaret was at an age when any apprehension. the housemaid.' 29 . or some happy outward circumstance. into which Margaret had only peeped in July and August weather. and she had sufficiently regretted. to make her determined to sketch what she could before winter fairly set in. Henry Lennox. when Sarah. threw wide open the drawingroom door and announced. her cares were all blown away as lightly as thistledown. her idle revelling in the beauty of the woodlands while it had yet been fine.

Indeed. and went forward to shake hands with him. 'Oh!' said he. Henry Lennox. I am so much obliged to you for coming. sailing on that lake. as for life and death— With a loyal gravity. in a lower tone than that in which she had spoken.' said she. Pure from courtship's flatteries. they were quite beyond my uncle's management.' Margaret had been thinking of him only a moment before. It was 'parler du soleil et l'on en voit les rayons.' MRS. 'Mr. 'our young couple were playing such foolish pranks. and remembering his inquiry into her probable occupations at home. climbing this mountain. And indeed they did. running all sorts of risks. as the thing is high. more lightly. Lead her from the festive boards. Guard her. Sarah. when I once saw how unfit they were to be trusted 30 . Bravely. 'Tell mamma. 'Mamma and I want to ask you so many questions about Edith. and kept the old gentleman in a panic for sixteen hours out of the twenty-four. 'But I heard of you so far away in the Highlands that I never thought Hampshire could come in. BROWNING.' 'Did not I say that I should?' asked he. by your truthful words. that I really thought they needed a Mentor to take care of them.' and the brightness of the sun came over Margaret's face as she put down her board.CHAPTER III THE MORE HASTE THE WORSE SPEED 'Learn to win a lady's faith Nobly. Point her to the starry skies.

and clustering roses and the scarlet honeysuckle came peeping round the corner. He took up one of the books lying on the table. in the proper old Italian binding of white vellum and gold. here it is.' exclaimed Margaret.' 'Oh! thank you.alone. the small lawn was gorgeous with verbenas and geraniums of all bright colours. They were a dull list of words. Edith gave me all sorts of messages for you. The carpet was far from new. Did they really sail on Tuesday?' 'Really sailed. by it lay a dictionary. as back-ground and frame-work for Margaret.' 'Have you been at Plymouth? Oh! Edith never named that. the chintz had been often washed. half wishing to read it alone and unwatched. and some words copied out in Margaret's hand-writing. I believe I have a little diminutive note somewhere. and then. Lennox was there. he began in his scrutinising way to look about him. I thought it my duty not to leave them till I had seen them safely embarked at Plymouth. The middle window in the bow was opened. yes. But the very brightness outside made the colours within seem poor and faded. When she had left the room. but 31 . The little drawingroom was looking its best in the streaming light of the morning sun. she has written in such a hurry lately. the whole apartment was smaller and shabbier than he had expected. herself so queenly. To be sure. it was the Paradiso of Dante. and relieved me from many responsibilities. she made the excuse of going to tell her mother again (Sarah surely had made some mistake) that Mr.

Lennox's appearance took this shape. She had listened patiently. Lennox. and he had his face on the table. for the Beresfords belong to a good family. 'The living is evidently as small as she said.somehow he liked looking at them. if there was one place he loved on earth it was Helstone. He put them down with a sigh. we must ask him to dinner—Edith's brother-inlaw and all. 'Papa likes Mr. But I am sure. in hopes that it might be some relief to her mother to unburden herself. he could not bear it. for all that. I dare say his 32 . and yet. and he suddenly lifted up his head. and having nothing but cold meat. It seems strange.' Margaret meanwhile had found her mother. Hale's fitful days. and Mr. but now it was time to draw her back to Mr. It was one of Mrs. it is the damp and relaxing air. And your papa is in such low spirits this morning about something—I don't know what.' Margaret felt as if a thin cold cloud had come between her and the sun. in order that the servants may get on with their ironing. I told him I was sure Helstone air did not agree with him any more than with me. I went into the study just now. although secretly she felt complimented by his thinking it worth while to call. they got on together famously at the wedding breakfast. 'It is most unfortunate! We are dining early to-day. Lennox. and begged me not to speak a word more against Helstone. of course. covering it with his hands. when everything was a difficulty and a hardship.

He evidently expected to be asked to spend the day. I know he draws. would not have Mr. delighted with Margaret's idea of going out sketching together. just stop here for a minute or two. And never mind the dinner.’ said Margaret. She looked a very pretty lady-like woman.coming will do papa good. mamma. Hale wish she could add something to the cold beef.' 'I'll ask him to go out sketching with me. Hale disturbed for the world. 'These are the cottages that haunted me so during the rainy fortnight. Cold meat will do capitally for a lunch. Lennox with the cordiality due to one who was almost a relation. and smoothed her face. and that will take him out of your way. and after the paper and brushes had been duly selected. Truly. he will think it so strange if you don't.' Mrs. 'Now.' 'Before they tumbled down and were no more seen.' 'But what are we to do with him till then? It is only half-past ten now. Hale took off her black silk apron. as she greeted Mr. reproaching me for not having sketched them. dear mamma. please. He was pleased with everything. Margaret brought out her drawing materials for him to choose from. which is the light in which Mr. if they are to be sketched—and they are very 33 . Lennox will most likely look upon a two o'clock dinner. Only do come in now. with the prospect of so soon meeting him at dinner. and accepted the invitation with a glad readiness that made Mrs. the two set out in the merriest spirits in the world.

But where shall we sit?' 'Oh! You might have come straight from chambers in the Temple. She laughed and blushed. Mr. poor old fellow! Look—there he is—I must go and speak to him. when you told me to ask him the history of these cottages. 'Now. which the wood-cutters have left just in the right place for the light. Lennox hastily introduced the two figures into his sketch. His stiff features relaxed into a slow smile as Margaret went up and spoke to him. One is uninhabited. I call that treacherous. Mr. Who lives in these cottages?' 'They were built by squatters fifty or sixty years ago. as soon as the old man who lives in the other is dead.' said she. and then you can come nearer this way. leaning on his stick at the front of his cottage. I will put my plaid over it. Lennox watched her countenance. 'I little thought you were making old Isaac and me into subjects. He is so deaf you will hear all our secrets. when the time came for getting up.' The old man stood bareheaded in the sun. I will move. and finished up the landscape with a subordinate reference to them—as Margaret perceived.' 34 . and scraps of paper. putting away water. and exhibiting to each other their sketches. the foresters are going to take it down.picturesque—we had better not put it off till next year.' instead of having been two months in the Highlands! Look at this beautiful trunk of a tree.' 'With your feet in that puddle for a regal footstool! Stay. and it will be a regular forest throne.

She came back rather flushed. Hale asked to look at their sketches. but looking perfectly innocent and unconscious. which was withheld from him one moment. You can't know how strong a temptation it was. Mr. she had always a fresh and tender pride in seeing how favourably he impressed every stranger. and was awaiting his visitor just outside the wicket gate that led into the garden. The clouds on her mother's brow had cleared off under the propitious influence of a brace of carp. The aspect of home was all right and bright when they reached it. no more. 35 .'It was irresistible. He was glad of it. still her quick eye sought over his face and found there traces of some unusual disturbance.' He was not quite sure whether she heard this latter sentence before she went to the brook to wash her palette. 'I think you have made the tints on the thatch too dark. Lennox's. not cleared away. have you not?' as he returned Margaret's to her. and held out his hand for Mr. He looked a complete gentleman in his rather threadbare coat and well-worn hat. most opportunely presented by a neighbour. for the speech had slipped from him unawares—a rare thing in the case of a man who premeditated his actions so much as Henry Lennox. Mr. Margaret was proud of her father. which was only put aside. I hardly dare tell you how much I shall like this sketch. Hale had returned from his morning's round.

pleased and happy. There are so many people about here whom I should like to sketch. papa! I don't think I have.' thought Mr. it makes my head so hot. peeping over his shoulder.' said Mr. 'She would be up to looking through every speech that a young man made her for the arriere-pensee of a compliment. But I don't believe Margaret. Your figure and way of holding yourself is capital. Hale had preceded them into the house. 'I have great faith in the power of will. I wonder if I could manage figures. 'A regular London girl would understand the implied meaning of that speech. Lennox's drawing. And it is just poor old Isaac's stiff way of stooping his long rheumatic back.' Mr.' 'I should say that a likeness you very much wish to take you would always succeed in. 36 . and then dividing the spoil he placed two in his button-hole. The house-leek and stone-crop have grown so much darker in the rain. papa?' said she. while Margaret was lingering to pluck some roses. very like. as he looked at the figures in Mr.' 'Oh no! that is my bonnet. with which to adorn her morning gown for dinner.'No. 'Yes. I think myself I have succeeded pretty well in yours. surely. I never can draw with my bonnet on. to arrange her flowers.—Stay!' exclaimed he. What is this hanging from the branch of the tree? Not a bird's nest.' and he gathered for her some velvety cramoisy roses that were above her reach. Is it not like. Lennox. and sent her in. Lennox. 'Let me help you.

There were plenty of questions to be asked on both sides—the latest intelligence which each could give of Mrs. and eat them there' said Mr.The conversation at dinner flowed on quietly and agreeably. Margaret. Mr. whereas. 'Margaret. you might have gathered us some pears for our dessert. as the hospitable luxury of a freshly-decanted bottle of wine was placed on the table. The worst is. Hale. and gather us some. my child. Hale was hurried. Lennox forgot the little feeling of disappointment with which he had at first perceived that she had spoken but the simple truth when she had described her father's living as very small. Shaw's movements in Italy to be exchanged. if Mr.' 'I propose that we adjourn into the garden. But the idea of pears had taken possession of Mr. Hale's mind. It seemed as if desserts were impromptu and unusual things at the parsonage. Mrs. juicy fruit. 'Nothing is so delicious as to set one's teeth into the crisp. the unpretending simplicity of the parsonage-ways—above all. Lennox. 'There are a few brown beurres against the south wall which are worth all foreign fruits and preserves. in the neighbourhood of Margaret. Hale would only have looked behind him. and in the interest of what was said. all arranged in formal order on the sideboard.' said Mr. he would have seen biscuits and marmalade. and was not to be got rid of. the wasps are impudent enough to dispute it 37 . Run. warm and scented by the sun. and what not.

Hale got up directly. inclined to cull fastidiously the very zest and perfection of the hour he had stolen from his anxiety.' Margaret made a plate for the pears out of a beetroot leaf. Lennox looked more at her than at the pears. Mr. but her father. 'What a perfect life you seem to live here! I have always felt rather contemptuously towards the poets before. He rose. she could only submit. who had disappeared through the window he only awaited Mrs. with their wishes. She would rather have wound up the dinner in the proper way. especially as she and Dixon had got out the finger-glasses from the store-room on purpose to be as correct as became General Shaw's widow's sister. but as Mr. as if to follow Margaret." and that sort of thing: but now I am afraid that the 38 . Margaret and Mr. chose daintily the ripest fruit.with one. where the bees still hummed and worked busily in their hives. I must pare it and quarter it before I can enjoy it. which threw up their brown gold colour admirably. 'I shall arm myself with a knife. even at the very crisis and summit of enjoyment. Hale: 'the days of eating fruit so primitively as you describe are over with me. and sat down on the garden bench to enjoy it at his leisure. Hale's permission. "Mine be a cot beside a hill. and with all the ceremonies which had gone on so smoothly hitherto. and prepared to accompany his guest.' said Mr. Lennox strolled along the little terrace-walk under the south wall.

In another moment the strong pride that was in her came to conquer her sudden agitation.' 'I will never do so again. for she was sure he was going to say something to which she should not know what to reply. I have been nothing better than a cockney. Margaret That is rather a hard word. 'I could almost wish. but in an instant—from what about him she could not tell—she wished herself back with her mother—her father—anywhere away from him. warmly. Recollect how you rather scorned my description of it one evening in Harley Street: "a village in a tale. They turned the corner of the walk.' 'Perhaps it is. We have rain. and get sodden: though I think Helstone is about as perfect a place as any in the world."' 'Scorned. 'You must please to remember that our skies are not always as deep a blue as they are now. in a little state of questioning wonder. so perfectly motionless as that!' pointing to some of the great forest trees which shut in the garden as if it were a nest.' said he.truth is. then?—spoke disrespectfully of Helstone as a mere village in a tale. which she hoped he had 39 . Margaret—-' he stopped and hesitated. and our leaves do fall. and you—what must I call it. Only I know I should have liked to have talked to you of what I was very full at the time. It was so unusual for the fluent lawyer to hesitate that Margaret looked up at him. Just now I feel as if twenty years' hard study of law would be amply rewarded by one year of such an exquisite serene life as this—such skies!' looking up—'such crimson and amber foliage.

have I startled you too much? Speak!' For he saw her lips quivering almost as if she were going to cry. and yet I should feel so sorry if I vexed you.not perceived. and answer the right thing. despising herself for the fluttering at her heart all the time. and getting sudden possession of her hand. it is true—nothing but prospects in the future—but who does love you. I have been hoping for these three months past to find you regretting London—and London friends. please. Margaret. and it was poor and despicable of her to shrink from hearing any speech. I cannot answer you as you want me to do. I have always thought of you as a friend. but firmly. She made a strong effort to be calm. as if she had not power to put an end to it with her high maidenly dignity. and. I don't like to be spoken to as you have been doing. taking her by surprise. so that she was forced to stand still and listen. 'Margaret. 'Margaret. I would rather go on thinking of you so. Margaret.' said he.' 40 . I did not know that you cared for me in that way. she would not speak till she had succeeded in mastering her voice. a little—enough to make you listen more kindly' (for she was quietly. almost in spite of himself. Of course she could answer. and then she said: 'I was startled. striving to extricate her hand from his grasp) 'to one who has not much to offer. I wish you did not like Helstone so much—did not seem so perfectly calm and happy here.

That is all very fine in theory. trying to discover the truth as it was in her own heart. before replying. Margaret. then she said: 'I have never thought of—you.'Margaret. Give me the poor comfort of telling me you have never seen any one whom you could—-' Again a pause. straight look. 'Ah! if you had but never got this fancy into your head! It was such a pleasure to think of you as a friend.' she was going to say.' 'But I may hope. but 41 . may I not. Then. 'Forgive me I have been too abrupt. which met his with their open. but stopped short) 'conversation has taken place. I am punished. in his habitual coldness of tone. and as this conversation has been so evidently unpleasant to you. looking into her eyes. Only let me hope. that plan of forgetting whatever is painful. let us both forget that all this' ('disagreeable. he answered: 'Of course. 'Do you'—he was going to say—'love any one else?' But it seemed as if this question would be an insult to the pure serenity of those eyes.' He paused before he replied. Margaret reproached herself acutely as the cause of his distress. as your feelings are so decided. it had better not be remembered. I see—there is no hurry—but some time—-' She was silent for a minute or two. I like to think of you so. that some time you will think of me as a lover? Not yet. Pray. but I am sure I could never think of you as anything else. He could not end his sentence. expressive of the utmost good faith and reluctance to give pain. but as a friend.' said he.

the most sympathising friend. at least. Margaret. having made the round of the garden. he meets with rejection and repulse. while yet he was the pleasantest man. and then answered more cheerfully. but of a man not given to romance in general—prudent. The whole tone of it annoyed her. It was well that. It seemed to touch on and call out all the points of difference which had often repelled her in him.' said she. to carry it into execution. we will say no more of that. He had not yet finished the pear. the person of all others who understood her best in Harley Street.it will be somewhat difficult for me. not only of a lover. She felt a tinge of contempt mingle itself with her pain at having refused him. whose whereabouts had been quite forgotten by them. A struggling barrister to think of matrimony!' Margaret could not answer this. 'yet how can I help it?' She looked so truly grieved as she said this.' 'You are vexed. worldly. they came suddenly upon Mr. that he struggled for a moment with his real disappointment. which he had delicately peeled in one long 42 . Hale. but still with a little hardness in his tone: 'You should make allowances for the mortification. as some people call me—who has been carried out of his usual habits by the force of a passion—well. sadly. Her beautiful lip curled in a slight disdain. but in the one outlet which he has formed for the deeper and better feelings of his nature. I shall have to console myself with scorning my own folly.

'I do not give up hope. and afraid of his own satire.' thought he to himself. It was like the story of the eastern king.' Before a quarter of an hour was over. and allow her to relax into thought on the events of the last quarter of an hour. as such. but a few minutes light and careless talking. Mr. and. It was a relief to all three when Mr. and at dinner to-day. Lennox. carried on at whatever effort. full of wonder when Mr. Margaret felt stunned. and ere he instantly took it out went through the experience of a lifetime.strip of silver-paper thinness. His visitor was a different man to what he had seen him before at the wedding-breakfast. dissonant to Mr. more worldly man. was a sacrifice which he owed to his mortified vanity. or his selfrespect. speaking of life in London and life in the country. as if he were conscious of his second mocking self. Hale was puzzled. who dipped his head into a basin of water. and unable to recover her selfpossession enough to join in the trivial conversation that ensued between her father and Mr. They proceeded to the house to find 43 . and little disposed to speak. 'I am not so indifferent to her as she believes. Lennox would go. at the magician's command. He glanced from time to time at her sad and pensive face. and which he was enjoying in a deliberate manner. Lennox said that he must go directly if he meant to catch the five o'clock train. He was almost as anxious to take his departure as she was for him to leave. a lighter. he had fallen into a way of conversing with quiet sarcasm. cleverer. She was grave. Hale.

and wish her good-bye. I have a heart.Mrs. Henry Lennox's real self broke through the crust. 'Margaret. notwithstanding all this good-for-nothing way of talking. Hale. I believe I love you more than ever—if I do not hate you—for the disdain with which you have listened to me during this last half-hour. At the last moment. Margaret—Margaret!' 44 . don't despise me. As a proof of it. Good-bye.

Margaret went up to dress for the early tea. No more deep blue skies or crimson and amber tints. happy sketching. If thou be there.CHAPTER IV DOUBTS AND DIFFICULTIES 'Cast me upon some naked shore. not many minutes after he had met with a rejection of what ought to have been the deepest. The house was shut up for the evening. Oh dear! how she could have loved him if he had but been different. with unlighted candles on the table behind her. and the uncomfortable. success. He was gone. holiest proposal of his life. though the seas roare. while he. 45 . after all. clever and agreeable society. were the sole avowed objects of his desires. She showed it by brushing away viciously at Margaret's hair. I shall no gentler calm implore. thinking over the day. and all its superficial consequences of a good house. Margaret had to wait a long time in the drawing-room before her mother came down. could speak as if briefs. because her instinct had made anything but a refusal impossible.' HABINGTON. cheerful pleasant dinner. She sat by herself at the fire. under pretence of being in a great hurry to go to Mrs. Where I may tracke Only the print of some sad wracke. miserable walk in the garden. How different men were to women! Here was she disturbed and unhappy. finding Dixon in a pretty temper from the interruption which a visitor had naturally occasioned on a busy day. with a difference which she felt. Hale. the happy walk. Yet.

'Margaret!' said Mr. as never to mention his name. 'Is that tapestry 46 . She forgot that he had not made them an offer. Her mother came into the room before this whirl of thoughts was adjusted into anything like order. Mrs. and from time to time sighing deeply. to cover a bitterness of disappointment which would have been stamped on her own heart if she had loved and been rejected. musing over something.on reflection. his lightness might be but assumed. in a sort of sudden desperate way. Hale got up. and rather shrinking from the thought of the long evening. Margaret had the responses all to herself. at last. and how Susan Lightfoot had been seen with artificial flowers in her bonnet. Mr. thereby giving evidence of a vain and giddy character. and stood with his elbow on the chimney-piece. Hale sipped his tea in abstracted silence. She wondered how her father and mother could be so forgetful. and turn a sympathising listener to the account of how Dixon had complained that the ironing-blanket had been burnt again. Hale. Margaret was preparing her mother's worsted work. and wishing bed-time were come that she might go over the events of the day again. so regardless of their companion through the day. leaning his head on his hand. Hale went out to consult with Dixon about some winter clothing for the poor. to be one that went low—deep down. Then she took it into her head that. Margaret had to shake off the recollections of what had been done and said through the day. After tea Mr. after all. that made her start.

Margaret could not bear the sight of the suspense. but closing them again without having the courage to utter a word. snuffed the candles.' 'Leave Helstone. Lennox's proposal. He played with some papers on the table in a nervous and confused manner. papa! But why?' Mr. Hale did not answer for a minute or two. and secondly. she did not know if her father might not be displeased that she had taken upon herself to decline Mr. can you leave it and come into my study? I want to speak to you about something very serious to us all.' 'Very serious to us all. and then said with a slow and enforced calmness: 47 . he stirred the fire. or else that would indeed be a very serious affair. Margaret felt guilty and ashamed of having grown so much into a woman as to be thought of in marriage. and sighed once or twice before he could make up his mind to say—and it came out with a jerk after all—'Margaret! I am going to leave Helstone.' Mr. 'But why. He made her take a chair by him. which was even more distressing to her father than to herself. opening his lips to speak several times. that her father wished to speak to her. Lennox had never had the opportunity of having any private conversation with her father after her refusal. In the first place. which having only lately and suddenly occurred. dear papa? Do tell me!' He looked up at her suddenly. But she soon felt it was not about anything.thing of immediate consequence? I mean. could have given rise to any complicated thoughts.

it was necessary to leave Helstone as a home for ever. and perhaps compel him to go and live in some of the stately and silent Closes which Margaret had seen from time to time in cathedral towns. Had her father. beloved Helstone. They were grand and imposing places. to go there. gave her a sudden sickening. miserable 48 . Margaret. the bishop would have nothing to do with that. It is all myself. out of a natural love for his son. I will tell you about it. lingering pain. The aspect of piteous distress on his face. I will answer any questions this once. papa! tell me all! Why can you no longer be a clergyman? Surely. and the hard. But nothing to the shock she received from Mr. Could he have become implicated in anything Frederick had done? Frederick was an outlaw. but after to-night let us never speak of it again. long. almost as imploring a merciful and kind judgment from his child.'Because I must no longer be a minister in the Church of England.' Margaret had imagined nothing less than that some of the preferments which her mother so much desired had befallen her father at last—something that would force him to leave beautiful. What could he mean? It was all the worse for being so mysterious. unjust—' 'It is nothing about Frederick. connived at any— 'Oh! what is it? do speak. if the bishop were told all we know about Frederick. but if. that would have been a sad. I can meet the consequences of my painful. Hale's last speech.

how I love the holy Church from which I am to be shut out!' He could not go on for a moment or two. speaking rapidly. Hale nerve himself. not the slightest injury to that. papa! Doubts as to religion?' asked Margaret. to know whether I had any right to hold my living—my efforts to quench my smouldering doubts by the authority of the Church. if I told you—my anxiety. in order to try and comfort her. it seemed to her as terribly mysterious as if her father were about to turn Mahometan. Margaret could not tell what to say.doubts. as if to get over a set task: 'You could not understand it all. The one staid foundation of her home. What could she say? What was to be done? The sight of her distress made Mr. Oh! Margaret. smiling faintly. Margaret sighed.' 'Doubts.' 'But.'—continued Mr. suddenly bursting into tears. but it is of no use—no use—I cannot help feeling it acutely. but it is an effort beyond me to speak of what has caused me so much suffering. seemed reeling and rocking. so shocking. He swallowed down the dry choking sobs which had been heaving up from his heart 49 .' said Margaret. He began again. 'I have been reading to-day of the two thousand who were ejected from their churches. have you well considered? Oh! it seems so terrible. for years past. more shocked than ever. of her idea of her beloved father. Hale.' He paused.—'trying to steal some of their bravery. papa. 'No! not doubts as to religion. as if standing on the verge of some new horror.

— 'When thou canst no longer continue in thy work without dishonour to God. Oldfield. to His glory. When God will not use thee in one kind. Then he read aloud. as if to himself. minister of Carsington. nor indeed could she attend to what he read. a hundred and sixty years ago.' These last two sentences he spoke low.hitherto. when the conditions upon which thou must continue (if thou wilt continue) in thy employments are sinful. dear Margaret. in Derbyshire. like me. deprivation. 'Listen. 'This is the soliloquy of one who was once a clergyman in a country parish. spoiling thy peace. it was written by a Mr. and unwarranted by the word of God. yea. thou mayest. His trials are over. and going to his bookcase he took down a volume. A soul that desires to serve and honour Him shall never want opportunity to do it. in a word. nor must thou so limit the Holy One of Israel as to think He 50 . yet He will in another. foregoing thy integrity. or more. and the advancement of the Gospel's interest. suspension. discredit to religion. but she could not lift up her head. which he had often been reading lately. and hazarding the loss of thy salvation.' said he. He fought the good fight. putting one arm round her waist. thou must believe that God will turn thy very silence. so great was her internal agitation. She took his hand in hers and grasped it tight. wounding conscience. and from which he thought he had derived strength to enter upon the course in which he was now embarked. and laying aside.

falsifying thy vows. think of the thousands who have suffered.' 'But. As he read this.' said she. thou pretendest a necessity for it in order to a continuance in the ministry. though that sin capacitated or gave us the opportunity for doing that duty. he gained resolution for himself. He can do it by thy silence as well as by thy preaching. drawing her closer. tear-wet face. and glanced at much more which he did not read. but as he ceased he heard Margaret's low convulsive sob. when thou art charged with corrupting God's worship. or performing the weightiest duty. Thou wilt have little thanks. suddenly lifting up her flushed. thy laying aside as well as thy continuance in thy work. 'the early martyrs suffered for the truth. dear!' said he. 'I must do what my conscience bids. and felt as if he too could be brave and firm in doing what he believed to be right. 'Your poor mother's fond wish.hath but one way in which He can glorify Himself by thee. It is not pretence of doing God the greatest service. dear papa!' 'I suffer for conscience' sake. O my soul! if.' said he. and his courage sank down under the keen sense of suffering. while you—oh! dear.' He shook his head as he went on. father. with a dignity that was only tremulous from the acute sensitiveness of his character. my child. 'Margaret. 'think of the early martyrs. I have borne long with self-reproach that would have roused any mind less torpid and cowardly than mine. that will excuse the least sin. gratified at last in the mocking way in which over-fond wishes are too often 51 .

collapsing into his depressed manner as soon as he came to talk of hard matter-of-fact details. They are but what I have tried upon myself. Brown. 'Margaret. and stopping quietly here. to bid him farewell. Next Sunday I preach my farewell sermon. 'informing him of my intention to resign this vicarage. but I forget things just now.—strangling my conscience now. will be the parting from my dear people. I tried to do it. It is not a month since the bishop offered me another living.' 'Yes! I see. if I had accepted it. speaking low words of self-reproach and humiliation. Margaret. I tried to content myself with simply refusing the additional preferment. far worse. he has used arguments and expostulations.' said Mr.fulfilled—Sodom apples as they are—has brought on this crisis. for which I ought to be. and wait upon the bishop myself. He has been most kind. as I had strained it before. God forgive me!' He rose and walked up and down the room. all in vain—in vain. I shall have to take my deed of resignation. But when?' 'I have written to the bishop—I dare say I have told you so. without avail. of which Margaret was thankful to hear but few. I should have had to make a fresh declaration of conformity to the Liturgy at my institution. There is a curate appointed to read prayers—a Mr. At last he said. but worse. Hale. I return to the old sad burden we must leave Helstone. That will be a trial. and I hope I am thankful.' 52 . He will come to stay with us to-morrow.

'What does mamma say?' asked she. which seemed to be nearly completed before she had been told. although his daughter's love had made her cling to him. 'To Milton-Northern. after all. her father began to walk about again before he answered. now. To her surprise. for he had perceived that.' said Margaret. it was better to be stunned into numbness by hearing of all these arrangements. Margaret was almost overpowered with the idea that her mother knew nothing of it all. she may not—Oh yes! she will.Was it to be so sudden then? thought Margaret. if plans indeed her father had. Lingering would only add stings to the pain. she must be shocked'—as the force of the blow returned upon herself in trying to realise how another would take it. 'Perhaps. with a deep sigh. indeed she must. and for a moment strive to soothe him with her love.' he answered. I know so well your mother's married life has not been all she hoped—all she had a right to expect—and this will be such a blow to her. that I have never had the heart. struck with a fresh wonder as to their future plans. She must be told though. and yet the affair was so far advanced! 'Yes. 'Where are we to go to?' said she at last. with a dull indifference. I cannot bear to give pain. and yet perhaps it was as well. At length he stopped and replied: 'Margaret. I am a poor coward after all. the power to tell her. yet the keenness of the pain was as fresh as ever in her mind.' said he. looking wistfully at his daughter. 53 .

perhaps you could break it to her to-morrow. If I tell you all. 'Why there. with his quick intuitive sympathy.' said he. and said.'Milton-Northern! The manufacturing town in Darkshire?' 'Yes. did shrink from it more than from anything she had ever had to do in her life before. as she saw the gathering gloom on her father's brow.' 'Bread for your family! I thought you and mamma had'—and then she stopped. indifferent way. Margaret?' Then she conquered herself. to bid Farmer Dobson and the poor people on Bracy Common good-bye. papa?' asked she. 'You shall be told all. all at once. and turned it off with an effort. in the same despondent. and no one knows Helstone. 'You dislike it very much. Would you dislike breaking it to her very much. Margaret?' Margaret did dislike it. Because I know no one there. Only help me to tell your mother. I think I could do anything but that: the idea of her distress turns me sick with dread. checking her natural interest regarding their future life. Margaret. the reflections of his own moody depression. But he. or can ever talk to me about it. as in a mirror. Her father said. don't you. She could not speak. read in her face. with a bright strong look on her face: 54 . I am going out for the day. 'Because there I can earn bread for my family.

I must make myself busy. That 55 . No: we must go to Milton.' he continued in a hesitating manner. so unjustly treated by his own. Seventy of that has always gone to Frederick. Margaret was nearly upset again into a burst of crying.' 'No!' said Mr. and ought to have. Margaret.' said Margaret. You and mamma have some money. 'That would not answer. but it must be done. towards providing your mother with all the comforts she has been accustomed to. papa. I suppose we have about a hundred and seventy pounds a year of our own. since he has been abroad.' 'Yes. decidedly. independent of the income from the living.'It is a painful thing.' Mr. You must have many painful things to do. I know. Besides.' 'Frederick must not suffer. and mamma live on a hundred a year in some very cheap—very quiet part of England? Oh! I think we could. in a country parish I should be so painfully reminded of Helstone. to keep off morbid thoughts. I could not bear it. she said: 'Now tell me. after the necessary wants of housekeeping are met. And a hundred a year would go a very little way. Hale. and my duties here. I don't know if he wants it all. A hundred is left Could not you. I must do something. have not you? Aunt Shaw has. Hale shook his head despondingly: he pressed her hand in token of gratitude. To turn her thoughts. 'He must have some pay for serving with the Spanish army. what our plans are. 'in a foreign country. and I will do it as well as ever I can. and I.

compared to the one terrible change? Mr. what did it signify where they went. Margaret?' 'No. After all. Well. though he dislikes the place—too bustling for one of his habits—he is obliged to keep up some sort of 56 . 'I cannot stand objections. as a half apology for having arranged so much before he had told any one of his family of his intentions.' 'How?' said Margaret. He has lived an easy life in his college all his days. At any rate. I had reason to suspect—to imagine—I had better say nothing about it. Bell. and not influenced by those whom I love. Bell—you remember Mr. I don't know that he gave me much strength. And it is owing to him we are going to Milton. They make me so undecided. which has very much increased in value since Milton has become such a large manufacturing town. Frederick's godfather—your old tutor at Oxford. I wrote to Mr. He is a native of Milton-Northern. Hale continued: 'A few months ago. 'Why he has tenants. so.' Margaret resolved to keep silence. Bell. I believe. however. and houses. But I felt sure of sympathy from Mr. he has property there. I can always decide better by myself. don't you mean?' 'Yes. He is a Fellow of Plymouth College there. I think. But I know who he is. and mills there.is settled. when my misery of doubt became more than I could bear without speaking. But he has been as kind as can be. I never saw him.' said he.

though they have come to man's estate.' There was the secret motive. And in Milton. as far as I can judge from his letters. Thornton. or literature. Some want resolutely to learn. and a very intelligent man. the manufacturers. Discordant as it was—with almost a detestation for all she had ever heard of the North of England. I wanted to talk it over with you. as I have said. a tenant of his. 'some of them really seem to be fine fellows.' said her father. You see. for a private tutor. looking scornful: 'What in the world do manufacturers want with the classics. as Margaret knew from her own feelings. I shall find a busy life. the wild and bleak country—there was this one recommendation—it would be different from Helstone. Mr. your mother knows nothing about it yet: 57 . or the accomplishments of a gentleman?' 'Oh.' 'A private tutor!' said Margaret. after a short silence. which is more than many a man at Oxford is. and could never remind them of that beloved place. conscious of their own deficiencies. 'I do not know exactly. At any rate. and people and scenes so different that I shall never be reminded of Helstone. Bell has recommended me to a Mr. 'When do we go?' asked Margaret.connection. there is an opening. if not a happy one. Margaret. It would be different. the people. and he tells me that he hears there is a good opening for a private tutor there. Some want their children to be better instructed than they themselves have been.

as you say. I shall have no right to remain. measured way—'I do mean it. Nothing is fixed. from mamma—led away by some delusion—some temptation! You do not really mean it!' Mr. papa. Hale sat in rigid stillness while she spoke.' said Margaret. hoarse. 'Yes. and the sudden change in her complexion. stony manner. if I were not married—if I were but myself in the world. not exactly to a day.' said her father. how easy it would be! As it is—Margaret. as he noticed the filmy sorrow that came over her eyes.' cried she.' He looked at her in the same steady. But she recovered herself immediately. Only mamma to know nothing about it! It is that that is the great perplexity. Then he looked her in the face. for some 58 . sadly. 'I will do it. and said in a slow. Hale.but I think. in a fortnight. it had better be fixed soon and decidedly. 'Poor.' 'Poor Maria!' replied Mr. Margaret. with anxious hesitation. Margaret was almost stunned.—after my deed of resignation is sent in. with sudden passionate entreaty. tenderly. You must not deceive yourself into doubting the reality of my words—my fixed intention and resolve. 'In a fortnight!' 'No—no. 'say—tell me it is a night-mare—a horrid dream—not the real waking truth! You cannot mean that you are really going to leave the Church—to give up Helstone—to be for ever separate from me. I dare not tell her!' 'No. Give me till tomorrow evening to choose my time Oh. papa. poor Maria! Oh.

without another word or look.' They were startled by hearing Mrs. As her fingers were on the handle he called her back. Then she arose and went. 59 . gazed back with pleading eyes before she would believe that it was irrevocable. She heard him murmur to himself. out of the fulness of her heart. They started asunder in the full consciousness of all that was before them. my child!' 'And may He restore you to His Church. and. and she returned to the drawingroom in a stunned and dizzy state. The next moment she feared lest this answer to his blessing might be irreverent. shrunk and stooping. Mr. Hale hurriedly said—'Go. Before night you will have told your mother. Margaret. and she threw her arms round his neck.moments after he had done speaking. I shall be out all tomorrow. He held her to him for a minute or two. but as she came near he drew himself up to his full height.' 'Yes. wrong—might hurt him as coming from his daughter. 'The martyrs and confessors had even more pain to bear—I will not shrink.' she replied. towards the door. go. Hale inquiring for her daughter. solemnly: 'The blessing of God be upon thee. She. placing his hands on her head. too. he said.' responded she. He was standing by the fireplace.

encroaching upon the next dues. and comfort him with little porringers of broth and good red flannel: or if there was. only grasping at the idea that they were rendering such help for the last time.' 'Oh. Margaret made a good listener to all her mother's little plans for adding some small comforts to the lot of the poorer parishioners. and the old man would watch in vain for her. but the winter is likely to be severe. and our poor old people must be helped. To meet the glad with joyful smiles. Old Simon's rheumatism might be bad and his eyesight worse. perhaps. let us do all we can. These poor friends would never understand why she had forsaken them. By the time the frost had set in. it would be a stranger. they should be far away from Helstone. Through constant watching wise. mamma. She could not help listening.' ANON. there would be no one to go and read to him.' said Margaret eagerly. not seeing the prudential side of the question. though each new project was a stab to her heart. And a heart at leisure from itself To soothe and sympathise. 'we may not be here long. 'Papa has always spent the income he derived from his living in the parish. And to wipe the weeping eyes.CHAPTER V DECISION 'I ask Thee for a thoughtful love.' 60 . Mary Domville's little crippled boy would crawl in vain to the door and look for her coming through the forest. I am. and there were many others besides.

' 'Not far off—it is half-past nine. But I am tired: it surely must be near bedtime.' 'No—no. her heart had danced at seeing the bright clear lights on the church tower. which foretold a fine and sunny day. and throwing her dressing-gown on. faintly smiling as she kissed her mother. You had better go to bed at dear. It is this soft. She was lying languidly in bed when Mrs. after the smokiness of Harley Street. To soothe her mother's anxiety she submitted to a basin of gruel. It smells of the freshest. or the bad air from some of the stagnant ponds—' 'Oh. mamma. until the creaking of one of the boards reminded her that she must make no noise. That morning when she had looked out. I am afraid you have taken cold. she sprang out of bed.'Do you feel ill. she began to pace up and down the room. I will come and see you as soon as you are in bed. purest fragrance. 'You look pale and tired. But the instant she heard her mother's door locked. deeply-recessed window. mamma. Hale came up to make some last inquiries and kiss her before going to her own room for the night. She went and curled herself up on the window-seat in the small. it is not that: it is delicious air. Hale. Ask Dixon for some gruel. misunderstanding Margaret's hint of the uncertainty of their stay at Helstone. I am only tired. This evening—sixteen hours at 61 . my darling?' asked Mrs. anxiously. unhealthy air. damp.' Margaret went upstairs.' said Margaret. 'I am quite well—don't alarm yourself about me.

Henry Lennox's visit—his offer—was like a dream. into which she gazed. 62 . but with a dull cold pain. The moonlight was strong enough to let him see his daughter in her unusual place and attitude. all the changes consequent upon this grouped themselves around that one great blighting fact. He came to her and touched her shoulder before she was aware that he was there. before they reached His throne. were more mocking to her than any material bounds could be—shutting in the cries of earth's sufferers. square and straight in the centre of the view. and felt that she might gaze for ever. in their still serenity. and yet no sign of God! It seemed to her at the moment. which seemed to have pressed the youth and buoyancy out of her heart. cutting against the deep blue transparent depths beyond. a thing beside her actual life. that her father had so admitted tempting doubts into his mind as to become a schismatic—an outcast. behind which there might be the ineffaceable peace and glory of the Almighty: those never-ending depths of space. In this mood her father came in unheard. which now might ascend into that infinite splendour of vastness and be lost—lost for ever. as if the earth was more utterly desolate than if girt in by an iron dome. too full of sorrow to cry. The hard reality was. Mr. She looked out upon the dark-gray lines of the church tower.most had past by—she sat down. seeing at every moment some farther distance. never to return.

and conscious of some reality worse even than her feverish dreams. God was there. with a shifting of the scene. but held back by some invisible powerful hand. and only ask to see the one step needful for the hour. And yet. He was climbing up some tree of fabulous height to reach the branch whereon was slung her bonnet: he was falling. and still with a consciousness all the time that she had seen him killed by that terrible fall. Hale and Margaret knelt by the window-seat—he looking up. unrefreshed. like a child ashamed of its fault. He was dead. Mr.' Mr. talking to him as of old. to what distance apart. It all came back upon her. his proposal—the remembrance of which had been so rudely pushed aside by the subsequent events of the day—haunted her dreams that night. Where. Miserable. If the world was full of perplexing problems she would trust. in her despairing doubts not five minutes before. I could not help coming in to ask you to pray with me—to say the Lord's Prayer. close around them.'Margaret. but had not she. she was once more in the Harley Street drawing-room. not merely the sorrow. had her father wandered. and she was struggling to save him. but the terrible discord in the sorrow. but stole to bed after her father had left her. led by 63 . unresting night! Ill preparation for the coming day! She awoke with a start. she bowed down in humble shame. Lennox—his visit. Her father might be a heretic. shown herself a far more utter sceptic? She spoke not a word. I heard you were up. hearing her father's whispered words. that will do good to both of us.

putting her arm round Mrs. Mr. and waiting for the servant to have left the room. 64 . She talked on.' said Margaret.doubts which were to her temptations of the Evil One? She longed to ask. the day would be too short to comfort her mother. I am going to Bracy Common. and will ask Farmer Dobson to give me something for dinner. Hale's waist. unheeding the silence of her husband and the monosyllabic answers of Margaret. as if to support himself: 'I shall not be at home till evening. thinking how to begin. They passed through the open window. just one turn. he leaned one hand on the table. I shall be back to tea at seven. The fine Crisp morning made her mother feel particularly well and happy at breakfast-time. Hale would have delayed making it till half-past six. She could not bear the impending weight on her mind all the day long: better get the worst over. 'Mother. She came down ready equipped. Mrs. By seven the announcement must be made to her mother. Mr. but Margaret knew what he meant. planning village kindnesses. her mother had gone up-stairs to put on her things to go to the school.' He did not look at either of them. and yet would not have heard for all the world. Hale spoke—said something—Margaret could not tell what. Before the things were cleared away. but Margaret was of different stuff. come round the garden with me this morning. Hale got up. in a brisker mood than usual. But while she stood by the window.

' 65 . 'I don't think it can be true. 'Either you have made some great mistake. 'Mamma! Papa is going to leave Helstone!' she blurted forth. 'I don't understand you. but literally not knowing how.' Mrs. Mrs.' said Mrs.' said Margaret. 'He's going to leave the Church. 'What makes you say so?' asked Mrs. at length.' she said. They were close to a garden-bench. 'Who has been telling you such nonsense?' 'Papa himself. in a surprised incredulous voice. at least. Hale sat down. and that he must give up Helstone. and it is arranged that we go to live in Milton-Northern. and began to cry. Hale. you know. longing to say something gentle and consoling. Hale looked up in Margaret's face all the time she was speaking these words: the shadow on her countenance told that she. Out he came. Bell—Frederick's godfather. mother. or I don't quite understand you.' There were the three hard facts hardly spoken. Papa has written to the bishop. 'He would surely have told me before it came to this.' 'No. mamma. I have made no mistake. saying that he has such doubts that he cannot conscientiously remain a priest of the Church of England. Hale. and live in Milton-Northern. believed in the truth of what she said.Her eye caught on a bee entering a deep-belled flower: when that bee flew forth with his spoil she would begin—that should be the sign. He has also consulted Mr.

he does not mean that he thinks differently— that he knows better than the Church. it was an error in her father to have left her to learn his change of opinion. Margaret sat down by her mother.' replied Margaret. Margaret?' 'Yesterday. 'Dear. Mrs. He is going to leave Helstone in a 66 . It is all settled at any rate. I could not bear to hear what he might answer. only yesterday. 'Can't the bishop set him right?' asked Mrs.' said Margaret. Hale raised her head. as her mother touched the bare nerve of her own regret. 'Poor papa!'—trying to divert her mother's thoughts into compassionate sympathy for all her father had gone through.' Margaret shook her head. and his approaching change of life. 'But I did not ask. 'Surely. 'I'm afraid not. Hale.It came strongly upon Margaret's mind that her mother ought to have been told: that whatever her faults of discontent and repining might have been. and took her unresisting head on her breast.' 'When did he tell you. darling mamma! we were so afraid of giving you pain. half impatiently. 'What does he mean by having doubts?' she asked. and there must have been such terrible suspense to go through. detecting the jealousy which prompted the inquiry. and the tears came into her eyes. Papa felt so acutely—you know you are not strong. bending her own soft cheeks down caressingly to touch her face. from her better-informed child.

but was not unfeeling. and factory people! Though. she could not bear to hear it blamed by her mother. Fancy living in the middle of factories. I am not sure if he did not say he had sent in his deed of resignation.fortnight. 'He has doubts. I call it very unfeeling. you know. of course. after a pause. which might be cowardly. and down with the Rump."' Margaret was glad that her mother's thoughts were turned away from the fact of her husband's silence to 67 . beginning to take relief in tears.' 'In a fortnight!' exclaimed Mrs. which is pure and sweet. when I was a girl. I dare say. It will be such a disgrace to us! Poor dear Sir John! It is well he is not alive to see what your father has come to! Every day after dinner. if it is too soft and relaxing. She knew that his very reserve had originated in a tenderness for her. Sir John used to give for the first toast—"Church and King. Hale. and all without consulting me. you say. at Beresford Court. 'I do think this is very strange—not at all right.' Mistaken as Margaret felt her father's conduct to have been. 'I almost hoped you might have been glad to leave Helstone. we shall not be admitted into society anywhere. 'You have never been well in this air.' 'You can't think the smoky air of a manufacturing town. if he had told me his doubts at the first I could have nipped them in the bud. if your father leaves the Church. all chimneys and dirt like Milton-Northern. and gives up his living.' said she. would be better than this air. mamma.' said she. living with your aunt Shaw.

sighing. 'but. at any rate. almost indignantly. who on earth wears cotton that can afford linen?' 'Well. 'You know. Hale was silent for some time. we have very little society here. have been in trade just as much as these Milton-Northern people. mamma. I am not standing up for them.' 'Why on earth has your father fixed on MiltonNorthern to live in?' 'Partly. and be a tutor to gentlemen?' 'You forget. Hale. this was the one circumstance of the case that gave Margaret the most pain. who are our nearest neighbours (to call society—and we hardly ever see them).' said Mrs. At last she said:— 68 . quietly crying. Only we shall have little enough to do with them.' Mrs.' 'Private tutor in Milton! Why can't he go to Oxford. I give up the cotton-spinners. and were brought into some kind of intercourse with them. mamma. The Gormans. Next to the serious vital anxiety as to the nature of her father's doubts.' said Margaret. but these factory people.her on the point which must have been so near his heart. any more than for any other trades-people. Bell says there is an opening there for a private tutor. 'because it is so very different from Helstone—partly because Mr.' 'Yes. mamma! He is leaving the Church on account of his opinions—his doubts would do him no good at Oxford. the Gormans made carriages for half the gentry of the county.

something almost pitiful to see in a 69 . after his return from his day of fatigue and distress. and Margaret turned faint at heart when she heard her father's step in the hall. so insignificant to herself. she saw by her mother's twitching lips. as she became more and more anxious that her father should find a soothing welcome home awaiting him. and tell him what she had done all day. and stood there uncertain whether to come in. and she dared not stir. and changing colour. She heard him linger. She dwelt upon what he must have borne in secret for long. and on which she could do so much to help. he had a timid. She planned and promised. Hale intended to do. and led her mother on to arrange fully as much as could be fixed before they knew somewhat more definitively what Mr. as if awaiting her. or some sign of her. and only a fortnight to think about it!' Margaret was inexpressibly relieved to find that her mother's anxiety and distress was lowered to this point. Throughout the day Margaret never left her mother.'And the furniture—How in the world are we to manage the removal? I never removed in my life. her mother only replied coldly that he ought to have told her. bending her whole soul to sympathise in all the various turns her feelings took. and that then at any rate he would have had an adviser to give him counsel. fearful look in his eyes. Presently he opened the room-door. His face was gray and pale. towards evening especially. for fear of her mother's jealous annoyance. She dared not go to meet him. that she too was aware that her husband had returned.

for fear of the effect on Miss Hale's startled eyes. as she shaded her wet ruffled hair off her face. She heard no noise. 'Is it very late?' continued she. swollen and blinded as they were. the figure of Dixon in shadow. in tears. after the rigid self-control of the whole day. and threw herself on his breast. touched his wife's heart. 'Oh.man's face. Dixon! I did not hear you come into the room!' said Margaret. Margaret left her. though the housemaid came in to arrange the room. and went and told Mrs. and hide her face in the pillows to stifle the hysteric sobs that would force their way at last. resuming her trembling self-restraint. Margaret felt herself touched. and tried to look as though nothing were the matter. of mental and bodily languor. How long she lay thus she could not tell. 70 . The affrighted girl stole out again on tip-toe. Richard. as she rushed up-stairs to throw herself on her bed. and started up into a sitting posture. In consequence of this. Dixon that Miss Hale was crying as if her heart would break: she was sure she would make herself deadly ill if she went on at that rate. you should have told me sooner!' And then. lifting herself languidly off the bed. as if she had only been asleep. she saw the accustomed room. She went to him. crying out— 'Oh! Richard. but that look of despondent uncertainty. as the latter stood holding the candle a little behind her. yet letting her feet touch the ground without fairly standing down.

I thought. or threatening storm breaking far away. that she never noticed Margaret's flashing eye and dilating nostril. for as long as he had been in the trade.'I hardly can tell what time it is.' she said. When Charlotte told me just now you were sobbing. so it was no wonder. and a tailor all his life. or not. "What would poor Sir John have said? he never liked your marrying Mr. confronting the waiting-maid. Hale's proceedings to her mistress (who listened to her.' She stood upright and firm on her feet now. who turned Methodist preacher after he was fifty years of age. 'Since your mamma told me this terrible news. poor thing! And master thinking of turning Dissenter at his time of life. as she was in the humour).' replied Dixon. when I dressed her for tea. miss. in the low tone she always used when much excited. if that was possible!"' Dixon had been so much accustomed to comment upon Mr. I had a cousin. no wonder. he would have sworn worse oaths than ever. To hear her father talked of in this way by a servant to her face! 'Dixon. 'Dixon! you forget to whom you are speaking. I've lost all count of time. which had a sound in it as of some distant turmoil. but if he could have known it would have come to this. in an aggrieved tone of voice. if it is not to be said he's done well in the Church. Hale. I'm sure I don't know what is to become of us all. he's not done badly after all. Miss Hale. and fixing her with her steady 71 . but for master! as I said to missus. but then he had never been able to make a pair of trousers to fit. when.

in a half humble. miss. the latter thought it her duty to show her sense of affront by saying as little as possible to her young lady. as she said to herself. 'You may leave me. Margaret repeated. and silence in words. She said it was because she was so like poor Master Frederick. half injured tone: 'Mayn't I unfasten your gown. Margaret needed all Dixon's help in action. Hale's daughter. was subdued enough to say.' And Margaret gravely lighted her out of the room. thank you. Dixon. 'Miss Margaret has a touch of the old gentleman about her. From henceforth Dixon obeyed and admired Margaret. that Dixon. as do many others. for some time. but the truth was. so the energy came out in doing rather than in speaking. and one that I am sure your own good feeling will make you sorry for when you think about it. either course would have done with her mistress: but. liked to feel herself ruled by a powerful and decided nature. who would have resented such words from any one less haughty and determined in manner. for. and bolted the door. and do your hair?' 'No! not to-night. I wish you to go.' Dixon did not know whether to resent these decided words or to cry.' Dixon hung irresolutely about the room for a minute or two. as well as poor Master Frederick. A fortnight was a very short time to make arrangements for so serious a 72 . I wonder where they get it from?' and she. 'I am Mr.discerning eye. Go! You have made a strange mistake.

For he came home every evening more and more depressed. Hale's bed-room to shake her head. at any rate.' But almost any one but Mr. to stop the 'little tickling at my chest. Dixon. inexperienced as she was in all the necessary matter-of73 . as well as from every other consideration. after her father's decision. Hale's successor in the living was appointed. Mr. or indeed elsewhere. and left the management of affairs to her. true to her post of body-guard. Hale. as Dixon said. the one thing clear and straight before her. stern brow just here. and only emerged from Mrs. there must be no lingering now. For.removal. and murmur to herself in a manner which Margaret did not choose to hear. after the necessary leave-taking which he had resolved to have with every individual parishioner. was the necessity for leaving Helstone. 'Any one but a gentleman— indeed almost any other gentleman—' but catching a look at Margaret's straight. attended most faithfully to her mistress. became really ill. miss. to which they could remove the furniture that had of necessity to be taken out of Helstone vicarage. for his sake. she coughed the remainder of the sentence away. Hale would have had practical knowledge enough to see. and. Mrs. and meekly took the horehound drop that Margaret offered her. and Margaret almost felt it as a relief when her mother fairly took to her bed. overpowered by all the troubles and necessities for immediate household decisions that seemed to come upon her at once. Margaret. that in so short a time it would be difficult to fix on any house in MiltonNorthern.

and catching Mr. But where were they to go to? In a week they must be gone. Hale looked infinitely distressed. 'I'm sure I can't say. Hale. It's not for me to judge. miss! My thoughts was otherwise occupied in thinking of my poor—-of Mrs. Dixon.fact business to be got through. What does your mother say? What does she wish? Poor Maria!' He met with an echo even louder than his sigh.' said Mr. Hale's last words. in a tone of quiet authority. and as far as that went.' said Margaret.' Mr. in spite of his evident fatigue and low spirits. made bold to say. Hale. Margaret's admirable sense enabled her to see what was best. The illness seems so much more on the mind than on the body. and protected by his presence from Margaret's upbraiding eyes. and to direct how it should be done. or where? So many arrangements depended on this decision that Margaret resolved to ask her father one evening.' 74 . turning hastily. Straight to Milton. 'You had better take mamma her tea while it is hot. He answered: 'My dear! I have really had too much to think about to settle this. Dixon had just come into the room for another cup of tea for Mrs. The cook and Charlotte worked away with willing arms and stout hearts at all the moving and packing. 'Oh! I beg your pardon. 'My poor mistress!' 'You don't think her worse to-day. Hale. did not know to whom to apply for advice. sir.

and look about for a house.' she continued. 'And pack up the furniture so that it can be left at the railway station. papa. since 75 . 'I suppose we must go into lodgings. but at such times Margaret herself was secure of drifting. Once a year. if you could tell me what to plan for. She has never expressed any wish in any way. mamma must feel your change of opinions: we can't help that.'Papa!' said Margaret. Four months ago. till we have met with one?' 'I suppose so. Of course. Nor was the household in which she lived one that called for much decision. that I could get mamma to help me in planning. 'but now the course is clear. softly. everything went on with the regularity of clockwork. and only thinks of what can't be helped. and to help Edith to draw out the lists of who should take down whom in the dinner parties at home.' he replied. Except in the one grand case of Captain Lennox's offer. at least to a certain point. She felt that it was a great weight suddenly thrown upon her shoulders. or to Scotland. all the decisions she needed to make were what dress she would wear for dinner.' They had never had much superfluity. without any exertion of her own. as Margaret knew. we shall have much less money to spend. And I think. Only remember. Are we to go straight to Milton? Have you taken a house there?' 'No. 'it is this suspense that is bad for you both. abroad. Do what you think best. into the quiet harbour of home. there was a long discussion between her aunt and Edith as to whether they should go to the Isle of Wight. Now.

she began to pore over the map of England. every day brought some question.' 'But we shall have to put up with a very different way of living. Suddenly she took a candle and went into her father's study for a great atlas. and be spared all the fatigue. which I have often heard of from people living in the north as such a pleasant little bathingplace. 'I have hit upon such a beautiful plan. and startled her into a decision. in a kind of helpless dismay. don't you think we could get mamma there with Dixon. to be settled. She was ready to look up brightly when her father came down stairs.that day when Mr. Now. I doubt if Dixon can make herself comfortable.' 76 . I am afraid. is Heston. Look here—in Darkshire. and to those whom she loved. hardly the breadth of my finger from Milton. momentous to her. while you and I go and look at houses. Her father went up after tea to sit with his wife. To tell you the truth Margaret. and lugging it back into the drawing-room. 'Dixon quite intends it. 'Oh. Hale. Margaret remained alone in the drawing-room. and I don't know what mamma would do without her. and Dixon would enjoy taking care of her. Lennox came. yes!' said Margaret. and get one all ready for her in Milton? She would get a breath of sea air to set her up for the winter. I sometimes feel as if that woman gave herself airs. Everything is so much dearer in a town.' 'Is Dixon to go with us?' asked Mr.

How far is Heston from Milton? The breadth of one of your fingers does not give me a very clear idea of distance.' 'Very well. And now Mrs. I suppose it is thirty miles. and plan in good earnest. and would be miserable to leave us. 77 . and act. Hale could not be with her all the fortnight she was to be there. Go on. I am resigned.' 'Well. But she really loves us all. let it be fixed so. which will be worse. as he had been for a whole fortnight once.' This was a great step. and for the sake of her faithfulness. I do think she must go. papa. I am sure—especially in this change. Now Margaret could work. my dear. when they were engaged.'To be sure she does. but in—. and she was staying with Sir John and Lady Beresford at Torquay. Her only regret was that Mr. Hale could rouse herself from her languor. then.' replied Margaret. and forget her real suffering in thinking of the pleasure and the delight of going to the sea-side. 'and if she has to put up with a different style of living. Never mind! If you really think it will do your mother good. for mamma's sake. that is not much!' 'Not in distance. we shall have to put up with her airs. so.

And many a rose-carnation feed With summer spice the humming air. The rooms had a strange echoing sound in them. Hale's dressing-room was left untouched to the last. Mrs.CHAPTER VI FAREWELL 'Unwatch'd the garden bough shall sway. And year by year the landscape grow Familiar to the stranger's child.—and the light came harshly and strongly in through the uncurtained windows. shining fair. and there she and Dixon were packing up clothes. or lops the glades. some forgotten treasure. Unloved.— seeming already unfamiliar and strange. The maple burn itself away. The tender blossom flutter down. * * * * * * Till from the garden and the wild A fresh association blow. the house was full of packingcases. to the nearest railway station.' TENNYSON. The last day came. in the shape of some relic of the children 78 . which were being carted off at the front door. Unloved that beech will gather brown. And year by year our memory fades From all the circle of the hills. Even the pretty lawn at the side of the house was made unsightly and untidy by the straw that had been wafted upon it through the open door and windows. the sun-flower. and turn over with fond regard. As year by year the labourer tills His wonted glebe. and interrupting each other every now and then to exclaim at. Ray round with flames her disk of seed.

in the vestry with the clerk. These two last. and Margaret moved stiffly and slowly away from the place in the hall where she had been standing so long. crying between whiles. wondered how the young lady could keep up so this last day.—perhaps. having been so long in London. 79 . registers. which no one but himself could do to his satisfaction. very pale and quiet. into the twilight of an early November evening. what not. books. and settled it between them that she was not likely to care much for Helstone. They did not make much progress with their work. There was a filmy veil of soft dull mist obscuring. for the sun had not yet fully set. They could not understand how her heart was aching all the time. there were his own books to pack up. if she gave way. and when he came in. Margaret stood calm and collected. however small. all objects. but not hiding. who was to act? Her father was examining papers. Moreover. Besides. and how constant exertion for her perceptive faculties was the only way to keep herself from crying out with pain. ready to counsel or advise the men who had been called in to help the cook and Charlotte. or even household friends like the cook and Charlotte! Not she.while they were yet little. a robin was singing. But at last the four packers went into the kitchen to their tea. out through the bare echoing drawing-room. was Margaret one to give way before strange men. with a heavy pressure that no sighs could lift off or relieve. There she stood. with her large grave eyes observing everything. Down-stairs.—up to every present circumstance. giving them a lilac hue.

amber and golden in the low slanting sun-rays. Only a fortnight ago And all so changed! Where was he now? In London. Already one or two kept constantly floating down. taking in the while the grand inarticulate mighty roar of tens of thousands of busy men. with everything falling and fading. and for which he had made. at his quick turns. and she had caught the idea of the vivid beauty of the feathery leaves of the carrots in the very middle of his last sentence. The leaves were more gorgeous than ever. or with gayer young friends of his own. with his own hands. he might be gladly putting away his law-books after a day of satisfactory toil.—going through the old round. but not seen.Margaret thought. he began to speak of what she must not think of now. nigh at hand. the very robin that her father had so often talked of as his winter pet. a kind of robin-house by his study-window. She had never been along it since she paced it at Henry Lennox's side. as he had told her he often did. by a run in the Temple Gardens. and freshening himself up. glimpses of the lights of the city coming up out of the depths of the river. Margaret went along the walk under the pear-tree wall. the first touch of frost would lay them all low on the ground. Here. Even now. at this bed of thyme. Her eyes were on that late-blowing rose as she was trying to answer. He had often spoken to Margaret of these hasty walks. and turning to decay around her. while she walked sadly through that damp and drear garden in the dusk. and catching ever. dining with the old Harley Street set. snatched in the intervals between study 80 .

and the thought of them had struck upon her fancy. Now and then. their quick tramp across the dewy moonlit lawn. Here there was no sound. But to-night she was afraid. Margaret ran. with the windows fastened and bolted. and purely revelling in the solemn beauty of the heavens and the earth. cranching sound among the crisp fallen leaves of the forest.and dinner. she had many a time seen the light noiseless leap of the poachers over the gardenfence. A stealthy. At his best times and in his best moods had he spoken of them. a cottage door in the distance was opened and shut. The robin had gone away into the vast stillness of night. swift as Camilla. and fastening up for the night. their disappearance in the black still shadow beyond. She heard Charlotte shutting the windows. but that sounded very far away. she felt inclined to wish them success. down to the window. Charlotte!' Her heart did not still its fluttering till she was safe in the drawing-room. 81 . beyond the garden. with the light of her candle extinguished. she knew not why. seemed almost close at hand. Sitting up in her bed-room this past autumn. 'Let me in! Let me in! It is only me. as if to admit the tired labourer to his home. The wild adventurous freedom of their life had taken her fancy. A small branch—it might be of rotten wood. Margaret knew it was some poacher. unconscious that any one had gone out into the garden. she had no fear of them. creeping. and rapped at it with a hurried tremulousness which startled Charlotte within. or it might be broken by force—came heavily down in the nearest part of the forest.

if I can ever give you any little help or good advice. and unlighted candles on the table. and overfatigue had made her chilly.' 'Thank you. There was a good blazing fire. Charlotte looked at Margaret with surprise. 'I was afraid you were shutting me out altogether. whatever her frame 82 . cheerless. I should have been sure to have missed you soon. I shall be sorry to leave you.' said she. The men would have wanted you to tell them how to go on. the attitude was one of despondency. partly to warm herself. feeling it rather than seeing it. And I have put tea in master's study. Charlotte. so to speak. and Margaret. I shall be sure and send you my address when I know it. Chill was the dreary and dismantled room—no fire nor other light. half-smiling. for the dampness of the evening hung about her dress. You are a kind girl. 'And then you would never have heard me in the kitchen. She kept herself balanced by clasping her hands together round her knees. but Charlotte's long unsnuffed candle.and the familiar walls hemming her round. rose up. She had sate down upon a packing case. and the doors into the lane and churchyard are locked long ago. Margaret sat down on the rug. you know. miss. her head dropped a little towards her chest. Charlotte.' 'Oh. and shutting her in. You must try and write to me. I shall always be glad to get a letter from Helstone.' The study was all ready for tea. as being the most comfortable room.

but would not speak until she could do so with firmness. as if to himself. Margaret. dear?' The thought of the little child watching for her. She could hardly get him to talk. Hale was distressingly perplexed. She heard him talking. and she was sobbing away as if her heart would break. 'I cannot bear it. 'As far as Fordham Beeches. on seeing his refusal to touch food of any kind. and continually disappointed—from no forgetfulness on her part. I think I could go through my own with patience. and speaking low and steadily. Mr. and walked nervously up and down the room. and wiping a few tears away that had come on her cheeks she knew not how.of mind might be.—Nay. she went out to open the door for him. she started up. father. and hastily shaking her heavy black hair back. looking straight at him. I went to see Widow Maltby. But when she heard her father's step on the gravel outside. He showed far more depression than she did. what is the matter. It would be infinitely worse to have known 83 . is there no going back?' 'No. Margaret tried to check herself. but from sheer inability to leave home— was the last drop in poor Margaret's cup. He rose. she is sadly grieved at not having wished you good-bye.' said Margaret. at the cost of an effort every time which she thought would be her last. 'It is bad to believe you in error. She says little Susan has kept watch down the lane for days past. although she tried to speak on subjects that would interest him. I cannot bear to see the sufferings of others. 'Have you been a very long walk to-day?' asked she. Oh.

A sting at Margaret's heart made her strive to look out to catch the last glimpse of the old church tower at the turn where she knew it might be seen above a wave of the forest trees. finding that tears and sobs would come in spite of herself. We can't either of us talk about it to-night. beloved Helstone. they were gone away to return no more. and the tears welled forth. as if entertaining the idea of hypocrisy for a moment in connection with her father savoured of irreverence.' Railroad time inexorably wrenched them away from lovely. I believe. They were gone. and I am sure she will be glad of another now. the next morning.' said she. they had seen the last of the long low parsonage home. sent from Southampton to fetch them to the station. Almost before they had settled themselves into the car. and hung glittering for an instant on the 84 . don't think that I am suffering from what you have done. 'I had better go and take mamma up this cup of tea. She had hers very early. but her father remembered this too. each belonging to some well-loved room. She leant back and shut her eyes. half-covered with China-roses and pyracanthus—more homelike than ever in the morning sun that glittered on its windows. 'it is only that I am tired tonight.you a hypocrite.' she went on. when I was too busy to go to her. 'Besides. dear papa.' She dropped her voice at the last few words. and she silently acknowledged his greater right to the one window from which it could be seen.

almost like a child. Hale had been in London. They went through the well-known streets. Oh. They were to stop in London all night at some quiet hotel. 'Oh. on her dress.shadowing eye-lashes before rolling slowly down her cheeks. absolutely past acquaintances in the streets. Where can he be going. to look about her at the different streets. Henry Lennox. we have just passed Mr. it was the very busiest time of a London afternoon in November when they arrived there. among all these shops?' 85 . it is—Margaret. there's Harrison's. and dropping. unheeded. impatient. where I bought so many of my wedding-things. It was long since Mrs. larger than Crawford's in Southampton. Dear! how altered! They've got immense plate-glass windows. Hale. it is not— yes. and there. and they felt as if it ought long ago to have closed in for the repose of darkness. by her aunt's side. and she roused up. and Dixon showed her sorrow by extreme crossness. past houses which they had often visited. while that lady was making some important and interminable decision-nay. for though the morning had been of an incalculable length to them. and a continual irritable attempt to keep her petticoats from even touching the unconscious Mr. I declare—no. whom she regarded as the origin of all this suffering. and to gaze after and exclaim at the shops and carriages. Poor Mrs. Hale had cried in her way nearly all day long. past shops in which she had lounged.

The evening. Margaret knew of house after house. and as quickly fell back. Yet within a mile. expected by. Hale went out to his bookseller's.Margaret started forwards. If they came sorrowing. They alone seemed strange and friendless. either in the house or out in the streets. and to call on a friend or two. where she for her own sake. for they saw that his grief was very great. Mr. half-smiling at herself for the sudden motion. London life is too whirling and full to admit of even an hour of that deep silence of feeling which the friends of Job showed. an eventful day. or even in peace of mind. and desolate. and wanting sympathy in a complicated trouble like the present.—without the chance of their speaking. without his seeing her. They were a hundred yards away by this time. but he seemed like a relic of Helstone—he was associated with a bright morning. if they came in gladness. not friends. would be welcomed. appeared hurrying to some appointment. was long and heavy. and her mother for her aunt Shaw's. Every one they saw. passed in a room high up in an hotel. or expecting somebody. and none spake a word unto him. when 'they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights. and she should have liked to have seen him. then they would be felt as a shadow in all these houses of intimate acquaintances. without employment.' 86 .

' The country carts had more iron. Here. although on pleasure bent. Margaret fancied. There were no smock-frocks. the people in the streets. when not employed in their business. every thing looked more 'purposelike. lounging a little at their doors. and less wood and leather about the horse-gear. they retarded motion. had yet a busy mind. as 87 . and the look up and down the street. if they had any leisure from customers. not so gay and pretty. In such towns in the south of England. even among the country folk. All these differences struck upon her mind. Heston itself was one long straggling street.CHAPTER VII NEW SCENES AND FACES 'Mist clogs the sunshine. and so the habit of wearing them had died out. enjoying the fresh air. To use a Scotch word. It had a character of its own. and were apt to catch on machinery. Margaret had seen the shopmen. they made themselves business in the shop—even.' MATTHEW ARNOLD. to the unnecessary unrolling and rerolling of ribbons. as different from the little bathing-places in the south of England as they again from those of the continent. The colours looked grayer—more enduring. they entered on the little branch railway that led to Heston. about twenty miles from Milton-Northern. Smoky dwarf houses Have we round on every side. running parallel to the seashore. The next afternoon.

did Margaret feel at rest. the unusual scenes moving before her like pictures. in which she made her present all in all. and one or two from Mr. which made it still more perfect and luxurious to repose in. the nearer cries of the donkey-boys. which he could only do by an interview with the latter gentleman.she and her mother went out next morning to look for lodgings. soft and warm on that sandy shore even to the end of November. There rooms they met with that were at liberty to receive them. the white sail of a distant boat turning silver in some pale sunbeam:—it seemed as if she could dream her life away in such luxury of pensiveness. and they were glad to take the first clean. which she cared not in her laziness to have fully explained before they passed away. Hale had received several letters from Mr. was a dreaminess in the rest. and he was anxious to ascertain at once a good many particulars respecting his position and chances of success there. the great long misty sea-line touching the tender-coloured sky. cheerful for the first time for many days. and look out for a house. too. Their two nights at hotels had cost more than Mr. Hale had anticipated. the stroll down to the beach to breathe the sea-air. Thornton. however stern and iron it be. from not daring to think of the past. Mr. There. lapping the sandy shore with measured sound. The distant sea. Bell. or wishing to contemplate the future. One evening it was arranged that Margaret and her father should go the next day to Milton-Northern. But the future must be met. Margaret knew 88 .

after all. As they drove through the larger and wider streets. so she would willingly have deferred the expedition to Milton. Quick they were whirled over long. People thronged the footpaths. straight. perhaps. But there the heavy lumbering vehicles seemed various in their purposes and intent. here every van. but she had a repugnance to the idea of a manufacturing town. puffing out black 'unparliamentary' smoke. most of them well-dressed as regarded the material. all small and of brick. For several miles before they reached Milton. and sufficiently accounting for the cloud which Margaret had taken to foretell rain. more a loss of the fragrance of grass and herbage than any positive taste or smell. or the woven shape in bales of calico. Margaret had now and then been into the city in her drives with her aunt. great loaded lurries blocked up the not over-wide thoroughfares. bore cotton. but with a 89 . hopeless streets of regularly-built houses. they had to stop constantly. Nearer to the town. every waggon and truck. the air had a faint taste and smell of smoke. and believed that her mother was receiving benefit from Heston air. either in the raw shape in bags. like a hen among her chickens. from the station to the hotel. they saw a deep lead-coloured cloud hanging over the horizon in the direction in which it lay. It was all the darker from contrast with the pale gray-blue of the wintry sky. for in Heston there had been the earliest signs of frost. Here and there a great oblong manywindowed factory stood up.that they ought to be removing.

But I fancy he dates from his warehouse. threadbare smartness of a similar class in London. which has caused his property to rise so much in value. Bell's tenant. but in Hampshire they could have met with a roomy house and pleasant garden for the money. They set out on their house-hunting. papa?' 'Close to the end of this street. I believe. We will keep the cab. it will be safer than losing ourselves. Bell has often spoken to me about it. and then we will set off. rejecting 90 .' 'Where is our hotel. let us get our work done first.' said Mr. I believe.' 'Very well. 'This.' There were no letters awaiting him. thirty years ago. who said he would let me know anything he might hear about these houses. Thornton. 'New Street. and being too late for the train this afternoon. is the principal street in Milton. Hale. Then I will only see if there is any note or letter for me from Mr. Here. even the necessary accommodation of two sitting-rooms and four bed-rooms seemed unattainable. Mr. Thirty pounds a-year was all they could afford to give. They went through their list. for he is Mr. It was the opening of this street from a lane into a great thoroughfare. Shall we have lunch before or after we have looked at the houses we marked in the Milton Times?' 'Oh.slovenly looseness which struck Margaret as different from the shabby. Thornton's mill must be somewhere not very far off.

wait a minute. and the girl is to have that sloping attic over your room and mamma's. for. I think. don't they call the suburb? There were three sitting-rooms.' 'But Dixon. you know. and the girl we are to have to help?' 'Oh.each as they visited it. What taste! And the overloading such a house with colour and such heavy cornices!' 91 . Dixon is to have—let me see. in that projection at the head of the first flight of stairs—over the kitchen. and that front room up-stairs. I think she will like that. we settled mamma is to have as cheerful a sitting-room as we can get. That one. with the atrocious blue and pink paper and heavy cornice. had really a pretty view over the plain. I am overpowered by the discovery of my own genius for management. Then I could have the little bed-room behind. you know—and you and mamma the room behind the drawing-room. But the papers.— in Crampton. 'We must go back to the second. I had it once—the back sittingroom. with a great bend of river. don't you remember how we laughed at the number compared with the three bedrooms? But I have planned it all. or canal. Won't that do?' 'I dare say it will. or whatever it is. and that closet in the roof will make you a splendid dressingroom. down below. Then they looked at each other in dismay. The front room downstairs is to be your study and our dining-room (poor papa!). She grumbles so much about the stairs at Heston.

Hale. I hope I shall be able to get new papers. and your bookshelves will hide a great deal of that gaudy pattern in the dining-room. I had no time to tell him. to whom the advertisement refers me. ma'am.' Margaret hoped so too. and leaving her at the foot of the staircase. you can charm the landlord into re-papering one or two of the rooms—the drawing-room and your bed-room—for mamma will come most in contact with them. Thornton called almost directly after you left. you would be back in an hour. I will take you back to the hotel. and he came again about five minutes ago. and said he would wait for Mr. went to the address of the landlord of the house they had fixed upon.' 92 .'Never mind. I told him so. more than the plainness and simplicity which are of themselves the framework of elegance. papa! Surely. He is in your room now. however bad. I had better go at once and call on this Mr. She had never come fairly in contact with the taste that loves ornament. and by the time it is ready. Mr. Her father took her through the entrance of the hotel. and. Donkin. The gentleman was gone so quickly.' 'Then you think it the best? If so. though she said nothing. and rest. I shall be with you. ma'am. as I understood from what the gentleman said. where you can order lunch. Just as Margaret had her hand on the door of their sitting-room. she was followed by a quickstepping waiter: 'I beg your pardon.

' Margaret opened the door and went in with the straight. Here was a person come on business to her father. she had too much the habits of society for that. He had heard that Mr. 'Mr. Thornton. and he has gone away on 93 .—a young lady of a different type to most of those he was in the habit of seeing. Her dress was very plain: a close straw bonnet of the best material and shape. dignified presence habitual to her. He did not understand who she was. as he was one who had shown himself obliging. Thornton was a good deal more surprised and discomfited than she. without any trimming or flounce. but he had imagined that she was a little girl. not a minute ago. and called up no flush of surprise to the pale ivory of the complexion. and. fearless. which showed that his being there was of no concern to the beautiful countenance. and which she wore as an empress wears her drapery. Instead of a quiet. during which his unready words would not come. 'Will you sit down. trimmed with white ribbon. I believe!' said Margaret. Hale had a daughter. but unfortunately he was not told that you were here. My father brought me to the door. after a halfinstant's pause. middle-aged clergyman. straight. a large Indian shawl. a young lady came forward with frank dignity. Mr. and then you can tell him. she was disposed to treat him with a full measure of civility.'Thank you. unabashed look. She felt no awkwardness. a dark silk gown. My father will return soon. which hung about her in long heavy folds. as he caught the simple.

in spite of a certain vulgarity in it which had struck him at the time of his looking it over. Donkin's in Canute Street. But he will come back almost directly. Bell's that he would assist Mr. Hale to the best of his power: and also instigated by his own interest in the case of a clergyman who had given up his living under circumstances such as those of Mr. full of a soft feminine defiance. the moment before she appeared. I am sorry you have had the trouble of calling twice. 'Do you know where it is that Mr. he began to feel ashamed of having imagined that it would do very well for the Hales. her movements. He had seen the advertisement.' Mr. He had been getting impatient at the loss of his time on a market-day. Thornton was in habits of authority himself. but the short curled upper lip. always gave strangers the impression of haughtiness. Thornton knew the house.' Mr. with her superb ways of moving and looking. Hale. She was tired now.some business. yet now he calmly took a seat at her bidding. Hale has gone to? Perhaps I might be able to find him.' 'He has gone to a Mr. the round. Thornton had thought that the house in Crampton was really just the thing. massive up-turned chin. but she seemed to assume some kind of rule over him at once. and 94 . the manner of carrying her head. in compliance with a request of Mr. and been to look at it. Margaret could not help her looks. but now that he saw Margaret. He is the land-lord of the house my father wishes to take in Crampton. Mr.

for what. yet lithe figure. She sat facing him and facing the light. that while he looked upon her with an admiration he could not repress. he thought. nor over-polished. not over-brushed. taking him. she owed it to herself to be a gentlewoman. and taken the rest her father had planned for her. before their conversation ended. she looked at him with proud indifference. He almost said to himself that he did not like her. her eyes.would rather have remained silent. as he had once spoken of doing. her lips. instead of sitting there. and have nothing more to do with these Hales. with their soft gloom. and their superciliousness. answering with curt sentences all the remarks she made. Her quiet coldness of demeanour he interpreted into contemptuousness. and resented it in his heart to the pitch of almost inclining him to get up and go away. he tried so to compensate himself for the mortified feeling. meeting his with quiet maiden freedom. She wished that he would go. and hung it over the back of her chair. in his irritation. not breaking the cold serene look of her face with any variation from the one lovely haughty curve. but. her full beauty met his eye. with not a grace or a refinement about him. her round white flexile throat rising out of the full. and to speak courteously from time to time to this stranger. he told himself he was—a great rough fellow. moving so slightly as she spoke. She had taken off her shawl. it must be confessed. after his rough encounter with Milton streets and crowds. 95 . of course.

and with his pleasant gentlemanly courteousness of apology. glad that her part of entertaining the visitor was over. went to the window to try and make herself more familiar with the strange aspect of the street. meanwhile. reinstated his name and family in Mr. grave bow when he left. at least. Hale and his visitor had a good deal to say respecting their mutual friend. She got so much absorbed in watching what was going on outside that she hardly heard her father when he spoke to her. with his kindly country hospitality. It would have been very inconvenient to him to do so. as likely only to make bad worse. and he felt more awkward and self-conscious in every limb than he had ever done in all his life before. Mr. 96 . Her father. he was glad she did not.' 'Oh dear! I am sorry!' she replied. and I am afraid we must let it remain.Just as Margaret had exhausted her last subject of conversation—and yet conversation that could hardly be called which consisted of so few and such short speeches—her father came in. Mr. Bell. by some of her sketches. but gave up the idea at last. and Margaret. and yet he was irritated at her for not doing it. yet he felt that he should have yielded. Thornton's good opinion. Thornton to stay to luncheon with them. She gave him a low. was pressing Mr. and began to turn over in her mind the possibility of hiding part of it. if Margaret by word or look had seconded her father's invitation. and he had to repeat what he said: 'Margaret! the landlord will persist in admiring that hideous paper.

now to luncheon. there was the day's account to be given to Mrs. papa. Have you ordered it?' 'No.' 97 .' 'It seemed exceedingly long to me.' said her husband. short. He never went on with any subject.' 'Very much to the point though. He is a clearheaded fellow. I should think. Mr. and by far the most healthy suburb in the neighbour hood of Milton. Margaret. And then rousing herself. she said. Thornton.' 'About thirty—with a face that is neither exactly plain. as fast we can. but gave little. 'And what is your correspondent. abrupt answers. and I have never had an opportunity.'Well. 'He is a tall. He must have been waiting a long time. that man was here when I came home. nothing remarkable—not quite a gentleman.' 'Then we must take anything we can get. broadshouldered man. like?' 'Ask Margaret. nor yet handsome. lazily. papa?' 'I should guess about thirty. about—how old.' When they returned to Heston. He said (did you hear?) that Crampton is on gravelly soil. while I was away speaking to the landlord. who was full of questions which they answered in the intervals of teadrinking. 'She and he had a long attempt at conversation. I was just at the last gasp when you came in.' 'Oh! I hardly know what he is like. too tired to tax her powers of description much. Hale. I'm afraid.' said Margaret. but that was hardly to be expected.

you must prepare yourself for our drawing-room paper. as becomes a great tradesman. Margaret.' 'Don't call the Milton manufacturers tradesmen. I should not like to have to bargain with him. rather jealous of any disparagement of the sole friend he had in Milton. Thornton.' put in her father.' said her father. But. There was no particular need to tell them. the obnoxious papers were gone. Altogether a man who seems made for his niche. 'Oh no!' said Margaret. 'They are very different. oh mamma! speaking of vulgarity and commonness. The landlord received their thanks very composedly. Hale. or common though. Pink and blue roses. the wealthy manufacturer. papa. he was only too glad to do at the one short sharp remonstrance of Mr. 'With such an expression of resolution and power. could be either vulgar or common.'Not vulgar.' 'Are they? I apply the word to all who have something tangible to sell. no face. if they liked. and let them think. however plain in feature. sagacious. unknown in Milton. 98 . with yellow leaves! And such a heavy cornice round the room!' But when they removed to their new house in Milton. and strong. mamma. that he had relented from his expressed determination not to repaper. that what he did not care to do for a Reverend Mr. but if you think the term is not correct. he looks very inflexible. I won't use it.

' 'Not at all. and friends lay behind it. was all shut out when Mrs. unpacking and arranging. the fogs in London are sometimes far worse!' 'But then you knew that London itself. but everything inside the house still looked in disorder. Hale arrived at her new home. hame. Dixon.' replied Margaret. and then I know who'll—stay! Miss Hale. 'Oh. 'The best thing we can do for mamma is to get 99 . Oh Dixon. It needed more—more that could not be had.CHAPTER VIII HOME SICKNESS 'And it's hame. Margaret and Dixon had been at work for two days. made by the sweeping bend of the river. and outside a thick fog crept up to the very windows. thank you. Margaret's heart echoed the dreariness of the tone in which this question was put. I'm sure it will be your death before long. and the view of the plain in the valley. ma'am. that's far too heavy for you to lift. She could scarcely command herself enough to say. Hame fain wad I be. and was driven in to every open door in choking white wreaths of unwholesome mist. what a place this is!' 'Indeed. Here—well! we are desolate. Hale in blank dismay. Margaret! are we to live here?' asked Mrs. coldly. The thick yellow November fogs had come on. hame.' It needed the pretty light papering of the rooms to reconcile them to Milton. 'Oh.

beloved Helstone! She lost herself in dismal thought: but at last 100 . Inside the room everything was in confusion. while I go and bring her a cup of coffee. At night when Margaret realised this. the direction card upon which struck her as having been written at Helstone—beautiful. Mr. she felt inclined to sit down in a stupor of despair. and he found it had absorbed nearly all his little stock of ready money. Hale had been reckoning up with dismay how much their removal and fortnight at Heston had cost. all other life seemed shut out from them by as thick a fog of circumstance. this is really terrible. They were settled in Milton.' Mr. Hale was equally out of spirits. and here they must remain. I wish I had gone into some country place in Wales. The window. and must endure smoke and fogs for a season. I do believe this is an unhealthy place. not above ten feet distant. which occupied the long narrow projection at the back of the house. Margaret sat down on a box. The heavy smoky air hung about her bedroom. 'Margaret. Only suppose that your mother's health or yours should suffer. All their efforts had been directed to make her mother's room comfortable.her room quite ready for her to go to bed. placed at the side of the oblong. and equally came upon Margaret for sympathy. Only the day before. looked to the blank wall of a similar projection. No! here they were. indeed. going up to the window.' said he. There was no comfort to be given. It loomed through the fog like a great barrier to hope.

and how she would not put on her new gown to go to a stupid dinner. and its views over white cliffs and deep blue sea. Her husband had to attend drill. for the benefit of the bandmaster. the gay new life opening upon her. and suddenly remembered that she had a letter from Edith which she had only half read in the bustle of the morning. their voyage along the Mediterranean—their music. free— utterly free from fleck or cloud. all out-of-doors. had to copy the new and popular tunes out of the most recent English music. if not graphically. She could not only seize the salient and characteristic points of a scene.she determined to take her mind away from the present. and get it all wet and 101 . late as it was in the year. and dancing on board ship. pleasure-seeking and glad. Margaret might come out and pay her a long visit. high up on the beautiful precipitous rocks overhanging the sea. Edith wrote fluently and well. and she. the most musical officer's wife there. Edith. seemed spent in boating or land pic-nics. It was to tell of their arrival at Corfu. but she could enumerate enough of indiscriminate particulars for Margaret to make it out for herself Captain Lennox and another lately married officer shared a villa. Their days. if the regiment stopped another year at Corfu. Edith's life seemed like the deep vault of blue sky above her. She asked Margaret if she remembered the day twelve-month on which she. those seemed their most severe and arduous duties. wrote—how it rained all day long in Harley Street. She expressed an affectionate hope that. her house with its trellised balcony.

Then she penetrated farther into what might have been. would strive to forget her. though her Aunt Shaw and Edith were no longer there. But the fact of the world esteeming her father degraded. and how at that very dinner they had first met Captain Lennox. were all going on. The recollection of the plentiful luxury of all the arrangements. grave and serious though in her estimation they were. He too. If she had cared for him as a lover. was even less missed. the calls. The habitual dinners. except Henry Lennox. and that strengthened her to endure his errors. she could not doubt but that it would have been impatiently received by Mr. without a mark left to tell where they had all been. the peaceful. because she knew her father's purity of purpose. The smooth sea of that old life closed up. and had accepted him. and this change in her father's opinions and consequent station had taken place. Edith and Mrs. It was a bitter mortification to her in one sense. 102 . and she. untroubled ease of the visitors—all came vividly before her. but she could bear it patiently. Margaret had joined the party in the evening. she knew. Shaw had gone to dinner. of course. Yes! Margaret remembered it well. the size of the house. because of the pain she had caused him. the stately handsomeness of the furniture. the shopping.splashed in going to the carriage. Lennox. She had heard him often boast of his power of putting any disagreeable thought far away from him. She doubted if any one of that old set ever thought of her. in strange contrast to the present time. the dancing evenings. going on for ever.

in its rough wholesale judgment. although Margaret could not insult her more than by trying to save her. they could not be worse. for thinking that such as they could ever be trusted to work in a gentleman's house. but besides the objection of her being a better servant than they could now afford to keep. Bell. As she realised what might have been. They were at the lowest now. Her mother caught a severe cold. she grew to be thankful for what was. her heart would have sunk low down. So they had to keep a charwoman in almost constant employ. the distance was too great. and apparently well-founded notions of 103 . or by the more immediate influence of Mr. They were mostly of the age when many boys would be still at school. recommended to him by Mr. late as it was. Edith's astonishment and her aunt Shaw's dismay would have to be met bravely. Margaret longed to send for Charlotte. Thornton. or by taking any care of her. after all the past hurry of the day. So Margaret rose up and began slowly to undress herself. those who applied were well scolded by Dixon. They could hear of no girl to assist her. But if she had known how long it would be before the brightness came. at least. Lennox. hoping for some brightness. either internal or external. would have oppressed and irritated Mr. feeling the full luxury of acting leisurely. Hale met with several pupils. and Dixon herself was evidently not well. She fell asleep. when their letters came. all were at work in the factories. according to the prevalent. but. The time of the year was most unpropitious to health as well as to spirits. Mr.

so much of it appeared to have been spent in conversation. Still there were some wiser parents. Hale got into the habit of quoting his opinions so frequently. there were a few no longer youths. that it became a little domestic joke to wonder what time. Mr. how much more so if he went to Oxford or Cambridge. If he were sent to even the Scotch Universities. Margaret rather encouraged this light. to make a lad into a good tradesman he must be caught young. Thornton. Hale's pupils. He was certainly the favourite. merry way of viewing her father's acquaintance with Mr. could be given to absolute learning. unsparingly cutting away all offshoots in the direction of literature or high mental cultivation. and strive to remedy them. and acclimated to the life of the mill. Nay. in hopes of throwing the whole strength and vigour of the plant into commerce. and some young men. Thornton was perhaps the oldest of Mr. he came back unsettled for commercial pursuits. Mr. because she felt that her mother was inclined to look upon this new friendship of her husband's with jealous 104 .Milton. where he could not be entered till he was eighteen? So most of the manufacturers placed their sons in sucking situations' at fourteen or fifteen years of age. who had the stern wisdom to acknowledge their own ignorance. and with such regard. or office. but men in the prime of life. and to learn late what they should have learnt early. or warehouse. who had sense enough to perceive their own deficiencies. during the hour appointed for instruction.

as if he were slighting her companionship for the first time. Hale's over-praise had the usual effect of over-praise upon his auditors. has everything been done to make the sufferings of these exceptions as small as possible? Or. the power of the men of Milton. Hale in the energy which conquered immense difficulties with ease. she was thrown with one or two of those who. but now that he looked eagerly forward to each renewal of his intercourse with Mr. among machinery and men. instead of being gently lifted aside out of the roadway of the conqueror. must be acute sufferers for the good of many. have the helpless been trampled on. they were a little inclined to rebel against Aristides being always called the Just. who had at first undertaken to 105 . Thornton. impressed him with a sense of grandeur. But Margaret went less abroad. The question always is.eyes. the power of the machinery of Milton. she seemed hurt and annoyed. After a quiet life in a country parsonage for more than twenty years. there was something dazzling to Mr. in all measures affecting masses of people. Mr. As long as his time had been solely occupied with his books and his parishioners. as at Helstone. and. saw less of power in its public effect. as it happened. in the triumph of the crowded procession. she had appeared to care little whether she saw much of him or not. whom they have no power to accompany on his march? It fell to Margaret's share to have to look out for a servant to assist Dixon. which he yielded to without caring to inquire into the details of its exercise.

and kept two servants. Mr. Hale was no longer looked upon as Vicar of Helstone. Hale of the behaviour of these wouldbe servants. which they paid to Mr. and a good deal more of fright. nor did she dislike it. who were only too proud to be allowed to come to the parsonage on a busy day. and Mrs. as to the solvency of a family who lived in a house of thirty pounds a-year. Dixon with all the respect. not but what she shrunk with fastidious pride from their hailfellow accost and severely resented their unconcealed curiosity as to the means and position of any family 106 . one of them so very high and mighty.' But nothing short of her faithful love for Mrs. Dixon was not unconscious of this awed reverence which was given to her.find just the person she wanted to do all the rough work of the house. but as a man who only spent at a certain rate. replied to her inquiries respecting their qualifications. and treated Mrs. But Dixon's ideas of helpful girls were founded on the recollection of tidy elder scholars at Helstone school. Not but what Margaret was repelled by the rough uncourteous manners of these people. They even went the length of questioning her back again. Hale. Margaret was weary and impatient of the accounts which Dixon perpetually brought to Mrs. Hale could have made her endure the rough independent way in which all the Milton girls. and yet gave themselves airs. it flattered her much as Louis the Fourteenth was flattered by his courtiers shading their eyes from the dazzling light of his presence. having doubts and fears of their own. who made application for the servant's place.

Shaw's ideas of propriety and her own helpless dependence on others. and occasionally was stilled into perfect repose. as she stood listening to. or watching any of the wild creatures who sang in the leafy courts. and. and lowering her hopes and expectations every week. She went along there with a bounding fearless step. if she took upon herself to make inquiry for a servant. or glanced out with their keen bright eyes from the low brushwood or tangled furze. she could spare her mother the recital of all her disappointments and fancied or real insults. had always made her insist that a footman should accompany Edith and Margaret. if they went beyond Harley Street or the immediate neighbourhood.who lived in Milton. that occasionally broke out into a run. as she found the difficulty of meeting with any one in a manufacturing town who did not prefer the better wages and greater independence of working in a mill. It was a trial to come down from such 107 . the more likely she was to be silent on the subject. if she were in a hurry. But the more Margaret felt impertinence. The limits by which this rule of her aunt's had circumscribed Margaret's independence had been silently rebelled against at the time: and she had doubly enjoyed the free walks and rambles of her forest life. at any rate. from the contrast which they presented. Mrs. It was something of a trial to Margaret to go out by herself in this busy bustling place. Margaret accordingly went up and down to butchers and grocers. and yet were not engaged in trade of some kind. seeking for a nonpareil of a girl.

would comment on her dress. The girls. particularly aimed at all those who appeared to be above them in rank or station.motion or such stillness. But she could have laughed at herself for minding this change. They came rushing along. and on her kindliness. only guided by her own sweet will. with bold. with their rough. In the back streets around them there were many mills. who commented not on her dress. She did not mind meeting any number of girls. to the even and decorous pace necessary in streets. and half smiled back at their remarks. But she alternately dreaded and fired up against the workmen. once or twice she was asked questions relative to some article which they particularly admired. There was such a simple reliance on her womanly sympathy with their love of dress. as soon as she understood them. that she gladly replied to these inquiries. if it had not been accompanied by what was a more serious annoyance. in the same open fearless 108 . even touch her shawl or gown to ascertain the exact material. and their carelessness of all common rules of street politeness. The side of the town on which Crampton lay was especially a thoroughfare for the factory people. but on her looks. Until Margaret had learnt the times of their ingress and egress. she was very unfortunate in constantly falling in with them. but not unfriendly freedom. The tones of their unrestrained voices. frightened Margaret a little at first. fearless faces. out of which poured streams of men and women two or three times a day. loud spoken and boisterous though they might be. and loud laughs and jests. nay.

Out of her fright came a flash of indignation which made her face scarlet. as she was unconsciously smiling at some passing thought. as she would have perceived if she had been less frightened by the disorderly tumult. several of whom had paid her the not unusual compliment of wishing she was their sweetheart. They had never exchanged a word. glad to think that her looks. such as they were. which. makes the day look brighter. one day.' And another day. should have had the power to call up a pleasant thought. one of the lingerers added. after she had passed a number of men. nothing had been said but 109 . Yet there were other sayings of theirs. my lass. She. But the very outspokenness marked their innocence of any intention to hurt her delicacy. many a one would smile to have such a bonny face.manner. my lass. had to endure undisguised admiration from these outspoken men. and a silent recognition was established between them whenever the chances of the day brought them across each other s paths.' This man looked so careworn that Margaret could not help giving him an answering smile. as she heard some of their speeches. when she reached the quiet safety of home. she was addressed by a poorly-dressed. and her dark eyes gather flame. who had hitherto felt that even the most refined remark on her personal appearance was an impertinence. with 'You may well smile. amused her even while they irritated her. He seemed to understand her acknowledging glance. middle-aged workman. 'Your bonny face. For instance.

I reckon?' 'No!' said Margaret. acting on a sudden impulse. and forty mile to th' North. half sighing. still more unhealthy than he was himself. that hoo will. North and South has both met and made kind o' friends in this big smoky place. lesser celandines.' she continued.that first compliment. and she had gathered some of the hedge and ditch flowers. and her father spoke for her. dog-violets. and the like. Once or twice. if she used a name which he did not understand. She now spoke to the 110 . it was early spring. and. she saw him walking with a girl. 'That's beyond London.' Margaret had slackened her pace to walk alongside of the man and his daughter. whose steps were regulated by the feebleness of the latter. with an unspoken lament in her heart for the sweet profusion of the South. Bessy'll think a deal o' them flowers. yet somehow Margaret looked upon this man with more interest than upon any one else in Milton. And yet. and I shall think a deal o' yor kindness. Miss. Yo're not of this country. on Sundays. Her pale blue eyes lightened up as she took them. Margaret offered them to her. I reckon? And I come fro' Burnley-ways. evidently his daughter. The girl looked wistfully at the flowers. if possible. and. yo see. and on the road home she met her humble friends. 'I come from the South—from Hampshire. 'Thank yo. a little afraid of wounding his consciousness of ignorance. Her father had left her to go into Milton upon some business. One day Margaret and her father had been as far as the fields that lay around the town.

' 'No.girl. and shining robes besides. hopeful thoughts. and amaranths. Whatten yo' asking for?' 111 . or at least some remark that would modify his daughter's utter hopelessness.' 'Spring is coming.' said Margaret.' 'Poor lass. we meet so often on this road. I'm afeared hoo's too far gone in a waste. 'I'm afraid you are not very strong. instead. second turn to th' left at after yo've past th' Goulden Dragon. 'I'm none so sure o' that. 'Where do you live? I think we must be neighbours. Hoo's called Bessy Higgins.' 'I shall have a spring where I'm boun to. and there was a sound of tender pity in the tone of her voice as she did so that went right to the heart of the father. rather attracted and interested.' 'I'm none ashamed o' my name. But.' said the girl quietly. poor lass.' 'And your name? I must not forget that.' 'We put up at nine Frances Street. but it's a comfort to thee. poor lass. as if to suggest pleasant. It's Nicholas Higgins.' said the girl. 'nor never will be. 'Spring nor summer will do me good.' Margaret was shocked by his words—shocked but not repelled. Margaret looked up at the man. almost expecting some contradiction from him. Poor father! it'll be soon. he added— 'I'm afeared hoo speaks truth. poor lass!' said her father in a low tone. and flowers.

she read this meaning too in the man's eyes. for at Helstone it would have been an understood thing. half-nettled at this answer.—yo may come if yo like. 'Yo'll not forget yo're to come and see us. after the inquiries she had made. the girl stopped a minute. Come along.' Margaret was half-amused. 'I'm none so fond of having strange folk in my house. that she intended to come and call upon any poor neighbour whose name and habitation she had asked for. and smiling at the man's insight into what had been 112 .' Margaret went home. 'hoo'll come. She was not sure if she would go where permission was given so like a favour conferred. But when they came to the town into Frances Street. wondering at her new friends. beyond a kindly interest in a stranger. he added. because hoo thinks I might ha' spoken more civilly. as one may say. It seemed all at once to take the shape of an impertinence on her part. 'I thought—I meant to come and see you. impatiently. aye. 'Yo're a foreigner.Margaret was surprised at this last question. and yo've given my wench here flowers out of yo'r own hand. as he saw her heightened colour.' said the father. but hoo'll think better on it. without having any reason to give for her wish to make it. there's the mill bell ringing. and maybe don't know many folk here. and said. Bess. and come.' She suddenly felt rather shy of offering the visit.' But then relenting. Hoo's a bit set up now. I can read her proud bonny face like a book.' 'Aye.

It was that in it she had found a human interest. From that day Milton became a brighter place to her.passing in her mind. 113 . bleak sunny days of spring. nor yet was it that time was reconciling her to the town of her habitation. It was not the long.

which I suppose we shall have all the year round in Milton. Thornton to come to tea tonight. but Margaret saw that it was merely a nervous trick—a way of putting off something he wished. which drifted right from the east. The grateful flavour of the Indian leaf. BARBAULD. Thornton!—and to-night! What in the world does the man want to come here for? And Dixon is washing my muslins and laces.' said Mr. Or Mocho's sunburnt berry glad receive. Hale was leaning back in her easy chair. Hale. Hale came upstairs into the little drawing-room at an unusual hour.CHAPTER IX DRESSING FOR TEA 'Let China's earth. my dear.' Mrs. Pencil'd with gold. But she roused up into querulousness at this speech of her husband's. and streak'd with azure veins. Mr.' MRS. and there is no soft water with these horrid east winds. and an expression of pain on her face which had become habitual to her of late. enrich'd with colour'd stains. looking out at the smoke. with her eyes shut.' 'The wind is veering round. only he did not yet understand the points of the 114 . 'Mr. as if examining them. Out it came at last— 'My dear! I've asked Mr. He went up to different objects in the room. The day after this meeting with Higgins and his daughter. yet feared to say.

compass, and rather arranged them ad libitum, according to circumstances. 'Don't tell me!' said Mrs. Hale, shuddering up, and wrapping her shawl about her still more closely. 'But, east or west wind, I suppose this man comes.' 'Oh, mamma, that shows you never saw Mr. Thornton. He looks like a person who would enjoy battling with every adverse thing he could meet with— enemies, winds, or circumstances. The more it rains and blows, the more certain we are to have him. But I'll go and help Dixon. I'm getting to be a famous clearstarcher. And he won't want any amusement beyond talking to papa. Papa, I am really longing to see the Pythias to your Damon. You know I never saw him but once, and then we were so puzzled to know what to say to each other that we did not get on particularly well.' 'I don't know that you would ever like him, or think him agreeable, Margaret. He is not a lady's man.' Margaret wreathed her throat in a scornful curve. 'I don't particularly admire ladies' men, papa. But Mr. Thornton comes here as your friend—as one who has appreciated you'— 'The only person in Milton,' said Mrs. Hale. 'So we will give him a welcome, and some cocoa-nut cakes. Dixon will be flattered if we ask her to make some; and I will undertake to iron your caps, mamma.' Many a time that morning did Margaret wish Mr. Thornton far enough away. She had planned other employments for herself: a letter to Edith, a good piece of Dante, a visit to the Higginses. But, instead, she

ironed away, listening to Dixon's complaints, and only hoping that by an excess of sympathy she might prevent her from carrying the recital of her sorrows to Mrs. Hale. Every now and then, Margaret had to remind herself of her father's regard for Mr. Thornton, to subdue the irritation of weariness that was stealing over her, and bringing on one of the bad headaches to which she had lately become liable. She could hardly speak when she sat down at last, and told her mother that she was no longer Peggy the laundry-maid, but Margaret Hale the lady. She meant this speech for a little joke, and was vexed enough with her busy tongue when she found her mother taking it seriously. 'Yes! if any one had told me, when I was Miss Beresford, and one of the belles of the county, that a child of mine would have to stand half a day, in a little poky kitchen, working away like any servant, that we might prepare properly for the reception of a tradesman, and that this tradesman should be the only'—'Oh, mamma!' said Margaret, lifting herself up, 'don't punish me so for a careless speech. I don't mind ironing, or any kind of work, for you and papa. I am myself a born and bred lady through it all, even though it comes to scouring a floor, or washing dishes. I am tired now, just for a little while; but in half an hour I shall be ready to do the same over again. And as to Mr. Thornton's being in trade, why he can't help that now, poor fellow. I don't suppose his education would fit him for much else.' Margaret lifted herself slowly up,


and went to her own room; for just now she could not bear much more. In Mr. Thornton's house, at this very same time, a similar, yet different, scene was going on. A large-boned lady, long past middle age, sat at work in a grim handsomely-furnished dining-room. Her features, like her frame, were strong and massive, rather than heavy. Her face moved slowly from one decided expression to another equally decided. There was no great variety in her countenance; but those who looked at it once, generally looked at it again; even the passers-by in the street, half-turned their heads to gaze an instant longer at the firm, severe, dignified woman, who never gave way in street-courtesy, or paused in her straight-onward course to the clearly-defined end which she proposed to herself. She was handsomely dressed in stout black silk, of which not a thread was worn or discoloured. She was mending a large long table-cloth of the finest texture, holding it up against the light occasionally to discover thin places, which required her delicate care. There was not a book about in the room, with the exception of Matthew Henry's Bible Commentaries, six volumes of which lay in the centre of the massive side-board, flanked by a tea-urn on one side, and a lamp on the other. In some remote apartment, there was exercise upon the piano going on. Some one was practising up a morceau de salon, playing it very rapidly; every third note, on an average, being either indistinct, or wholly missed out, and the loud chords at the end being half of them false, but not the less satisfactory to the

performer. Mrs. Thornton heard a step, like her own in its decisive character, pass the dining-room door. 'John! Is that you?' Her son opened the door and showed himself. 'What has brought you home so early? I thought you were going to tea with that friend of Mr. Bell's; that Mr. Hale.' 'So I am, mother; I am come home to dress!' 'Dress! humph! When I was a girl, young men were satisfied with dressing once in a day. Why should you dress to go and take a cup of tea with an old parson?' 'Mr. Hale is a gentleman, and his wife and daughter are ladies.' 'Wife and daughter! Do they teach too? What do they do? You have never mentioned them.' 'No! mother, because I have never seen Mrs. Hale; I have only seen Miss Hale for half an hour.' 'Take care you don't get caught by a penniless girl, John.' 'I am not easily caught, mother, as I think you know. But I must not have Miss Hale spoken of in that way, which, you know, is offensive to me. I never was aware of any young lady trying to catch me yet, nor do I believe that any one has ever given themselves that useless trouble.' Mrs. Thornton did not choose to yield the point to her son; or else she had, in general, pride enough for her sex. 'Well! I only say, take care. Perhaps our Milton girls have too much spirit and good feeling to go angling

after husbands; but this Miss Hale comes out of the aristocratic counties, where, if all tales be true, rich husbands are reckoned prizes.' Mr. Thornton's brow contracted, and he came a step forward into the room. 'Mother' (with a short scornful laugh), 'you will make me confess. The only time I saw Miss Hale, she treated me with a haughty civility which had a strong flavour of contempt in it. She held herself aloof from me as if she had been a queen, and I her humble, unwashed vassal. Be easy, mother.' 'No! I am not easy, nor content either. What business had she, a renegade clergyman's daughter, to turn up her nose at you! I would dress for none of them—a saucy set! if I were you.' As he was leaving the room, he said:— 'Mr. Hale is good, and gentle, and learned. He is not saucy. As for Mrs. Hale, I will tell you what she is like to-night, if you care to hear.' He shut the door and was gone. 'Despise my son! treat him as her vassal, indeed! Humph! I should like to know where she could find such another! Boy and man, he's the noblest, stoutest heart I ever knew. I don't care if I am his mother; I can see what's what, and not be blind. I know what Fanny is; and I know what John is. Despise him! I hate her!'


WROUGHT IRON AND GOLD 'We are the trees whom shaking fastens more.' GEORGE HERBERT. Mr. Thornton left the house without coming into the dining-room again. He was rather late, and walked rapidly out to Crampton. He was anxious not to slight his new friend by any disrespectful unpunctuality. The church-clock struck half-past seven as he stood at the door awaiting Dixon's slow movements; always doubly tardy when she had to degrade herself by answering the door-bell. He was ushered into the little drawing-room, and kindly greeted by Mr. Hale, who led him up to his wife, whose pale face, and shawl-draped figure made a silent excuse for the cold languor of her greeting. Margaret was lighting the lamp when he entered, for the darkness was coming on. The lamp threw a pretty light into the centre of the dusky room, from which, with country habits, they did not exclude the nightskies, and the outer darkness of air. Somehow, that room contrasted itself with the one he had lately left; handsome, ponderous, with no sign of feminine habitation, except in the one spot where his mother sate, and no convenience for any other employment than eating and drinking. To be sure, it was a diningroom; his mother preferred to sit in it; and her will was a household law. But the drawing-room was not like this. It was twice—twenty times as fine; not one quarter as comfortable. Here were no mirrors, not even a scrap

of glass to reflect the light, and answer the same purpose as water in a landscape; no gilding; a warm, sober breadth of colouring, well relieved by the dear old Helstone chintz-curtains and chair covers. An open davenport stood in the window opposite the door; in the other there was a stand, with a tall white china vase, from which drooped wreaths of English ivy, palegreen birch, and copper-coloured beech-leaves. Pretty baskets of work stood about in different places: and books, not cared for on account of their binding solely, lay on one table, as if recently put down. Behind the door was another table, decked out for tea, with a white tablecloth, on which flourished the cocoa-nut cakes, and a basket piled with oranges and ruddy American apples, heaped on leaves. It appeared to Mr. Thornton that all these graceful cares were habitual to the family; and especially of a piece with Margaret. She stood by the tea-table in a light-coloured muslin gown, which had a good deal of pink about it. She looked as if she was not attending to the conversation, but solely busy with the tea-cups, among which her round ivory hands moved with pretty, noiseless, daintiness. She had a bracelet on one taper arm, which would fall down over her round wrist. Mr. Thornton watched the replacing of this troublesome ornament with far more attention than he listened to her father. It seemed as if it fascinated him to see her push it up impatiently, until it tightened her soft flesh; and then to mark the loosening—the fall. He could almost have exclaimed—'There it goes, again!'

There was so little left to be done after he arrived at the preparation for tea, that he was almost sorry the obligation of eating and drinking came so soon to prevent his watching Margaret. She handed him his cup of tea with the proud air of an unwilling slave; but her eye caught the moment when he was ready for another cup; and he almost longed to ask her to do for him what he saw her compelled to do for her father, who took her little finger and thumb in his masculine hand, and made them serve as sugar-tongs. Mr. Thornton saw her beautiful eyes lifted to her father, full of light, halflaughter and half-love, as this bit of pantomime went on between the two, unobserved, as they fancied, by any. Margaret's head still ached, as the paleness of her complexion, and her silence might have testified; but she was resolved to throw herself into the breach, if there was any long untoward pause, rather than that her father's friend, pupil, and guest should have cause to think himself in any way neglected. But the conversation went on; and Margaret drew into a corner, near her mother, with her work, after the tea-things were taken away; and felt that she might let her thoughts roam, without fear of being suddenly wanted to fill up a gap. Mr. Thornton and Mr. Hale were both absorbed in the continuation of some subject which had been started at their last meeting. Margaret was recalled to a sense of the present by some trivial, low-spoken remark of her mother's; and on suddenly looking up from her work, her eye was caught by the difference of outward

appearance between her father and Mr. Thornton, as betokening such distinctly opposite natures. Her father was of slight figure, which made him appear taller than he really was, when not contrasted, as at this time, with the tall, massive frame of another. The lines in her father's face were soft and waving, with a frequent undulating kind of trembling movement passing over them, showing every fluctuating emotion; the eyelids were large and arched, giving to the eyes a peculiar languid beauty which was almost feminine. The brows were finely arched, but were, by the very size of the dreamy lids, raised to a considerable distance from the eyes. Now, in Mr. Thornton's face the straight brows fell low over the clear, deep-set earnest eyes, which, without being unpleasantly sharp, seemed intent enough to penetrate into the very heart and core of what he was looking at. The lines in the face were few but firm, as if they were carved in marble, and lay principally about the lips, which were slightly compressed over a set of teeth so faultless and beautiful as to give the effect of sudden sunlight when the rare bright smile, coming in an instant and shining out of the eyes, changed the whole look from the severe and resolved expression of a man ready to do and dare everything, to the keen honest enjoyment of the moment, which is seldom shown so fearlessly and instantaneously except by children. Margaret liked this smile; it was the first thing she had admired in this new friend of her father's; and the opposition of character, shown in all these details of appearance she had just

been noticing, seemed to explain the attraction they evidently felt towards each other. She rearranged her mother's worsted-work, and fell back into her own thoughts—as completely forgotten by Mr. Thornton as if she had not been in the room, so thoroughly was he occupied in explaining to Mr. Hale the magnificent power, yet delicate adjustment of the might of the steam-hammer, which was recalling to Mr. Hale some of the wonderful stories of subservient genii in the Arabian Nights—one moment stretching from earth to sky and filling all the width of the horizon, at the next obediently compressed into a vase small enough to be borne in the hand of a child. 'And this imagination of power, this practical realisation of a gigantic thought, came out of one man's brain in our good town. That very man has it within him to mount, step by step, on each wonder he achieves to higher marvels still. And I'll be bound to say, we have many among us who, if he were gone, could spring into the breach and carry on the war which compels, and shall compel, all material power to yield to science.' 'Your boast reminds me of the old lines—"I've a hundred captains in England," he said, "As good as ever was he."' At her father's quotation Margaret looked suddenly up, with inquiring wonder in her eyes. How in the world had they got from cog-wheels to Chevy Chace? 'It is no boast of mine,' replied Mr. Thornton; 'it is plain matter-of-fact. I won't deny that I am proud of

belonging to a town—or perhaps I should rather say a district—the necessities of which give birth to such grandeur of conception. I would rather be a man toiling, suffering—nay, failing and successless—here, than lead a dull prosperous life in the old worn grooves of what you call more aristocratic society down in the South, with their slow days of careless ease. One may be clogged with honey and unable to rise and fly.' 'You are mistaken,' said Margaret, roused by the aspersion on her beloved South to a fond vehemence of defence, that brought the colour into her cheeks and the angry tears into her eyes. 'You do not know anything about the South. If there is less adventure or less progress—I suppose I must not say less excitement—from the gambling spirit of trade, which seems requisite to force out these wonderful inventions, there is less suffering also. I see men here going about in the streets who look ground down by some pinching sorrow or care—who are not only sufferers but haters. Now, in the South we have our poor, but there is not that terrible expression in their countenances of a sullen sense of injustice which I see here. You do not know the South, Mr. Thornton,' she concluded, collapsing into a determined silence, and angry with herself for having said so much. 'And may I say you do not know the North?' asked he, with an inexpressible gentleness in his tone, as he saw that he had really hurt her. She continued resolutely silent; yearning after the lovely haunts she had left far away in Hampshire, with a passionate

longing that made her feel her voice would be unsteady and trembling if she spoke. 'At any rate, Mr. Thornton,' said Mrs. Hale, 'you will allow that Milton is a much more smoky, dirty town than you will ever meet with in the South.' 'I'm afraid I must give up its cleanliness,' said Mr. Thornton, with the quick gleaming smile. 'But we are bidden by parliament to burn our own smoke; so I suppose, like good little children, we shall do as we are bid—some time.' 'But I think you told me you had altered your chimneys so as to consume the smoke, did you not?' asked Mr. Hale. 'Mine were altered by my own will, before parliament meddled with the affair. It was an immediate outlay, but it repays me in the saving of coal. I'm not sure whether I should have done it, if I had waited until the act was passed. At any rate, I should have waited to be informed against and fined, and given all the trouble in yielding that I legally could. But all laws which depend for their enforcement upon informers and fines, become inert from the odiousness of the machinery. I doubt if there has been a chimney in Milton informed against for five years past, although some are constantly sending out one-third of their coal in what is called here unparliamentary smoke.' 'I only know it is impossible to keep the muslin blinds clean here above a week together; and at Helstone we have had them up for a month or more, and they have not looked dirty at the end of that time.

And as for hands—Margaret, how many times did you say you had washed your hands this morning before twelve o'clock? Three times, was it not?' 'Yes, mamma.' 'You seem to have a strong objection to acts of parliament and all legislation affecting your mode of management down here at Milton,' said Mr. Hale. 'Yes, I have; and many others have as well. And with justice, I think. The whole machinery—I don't mean the wood and iron machinery now—of the cotton trade is so new that it is no wonder if it does not work well in every part all at once. Seventy years ago what was it? And now what is it not? Raw, crude materials came together; men of the same level, as regarded education and station, took suddenly the different positions of masters and men, owing to the motherwit, as regarded opportunities and probabilities, which distinguished some, and made them far-seeing as to what great future lay concealed in that rude model of Sir Richard Arkwright's. The rapid development of what might be called a new trade, gave those early masters enormous power of wealth and command. I don't mean merely over the workmen; I mean over purchasers—over the whole world's market. Why, I may give you, as an instance, an advertisement, inserted not fifty years ago in a Milton paper, that so-and-so (one of the half-dozen calico-printers of the time) would close his warehouse at noon each day; therefore, that all purchasers must come before that hour. Fancy a man dictating in this manner the time when he would sell and when he

would not sell. Now, I believe, if a good customer chose to come at midnight, I should get up, and stand hat in hand to receive his orders.' Margaret's lip curled, but somehow she was compelled to listen; she could no longer abstract herself in her own thoughts. 'I only name such things to show what almost unlimited power the manufacturers had about the beginning of this century. The men were rendered dizzy by it. Because a man was successful in his ventures, there was no reason that in all other things his mind should be well-balanced. On the Contrary, his sense of justice, and his simplicity, were often utterly smothered under the glut of wealth that came down upon him; and they tell strange tales of the wild extravagance of living indulged in on gala-days by those early cottonlords. There can be no doubt, too, of the tyranny they exercised over their work-people. You know the proverb, Mr. Hale, "Set a beggar on horseback, and he'll ride to the devil,"—well, some of these early manufacturers did ride to the devil in a magnificent style—crushing human bone and flesh under their horses' hoofs without remorse. But by-and-by came a re-action, there were more factories, more masters; more men were wanted. The power of masters and men became more evenly balanced; and now the battle is pretty fairly waged between us. We will hardly submit to the decision of an umpire, much less to the interference of a meddler with only a smattering of the


every one who rules himself to decency and sobriety of conduct. it is one which gives a true idea of the real state of things to your mind. and I believe it to be as much a necessity as that prudent wisdom and good conduct are always opposed to. even though that meddler be called the High Court of Parliament. a book-keeper. 'Is there necessity for calling it a battle between the two classes?' asked Mr. that. comes over to our ranks. But. a clerk. It is one of the great beauties of our system. Hale. that a working-man may raise himself into the power and position of a master by his own exertions and behaviour. and. as truly as he could. 'I know. what he did mean. from whatever cause. if I under-stand you rightly. quickly. in fact. it may not be always as a master. his straightforward honesty made him feel that his words were but a poor and quibbling answer to what she had said. and doing battle with ignorance and improvidence. and attention to his duties. be she as scornful as she liked. from your using the term.' 'It is true.knowledge of the real facts of the case.' 'You consider all who are unsuccessful in raising themselves in the world.' said he. as your enemies.' said Margaret' in a clear. in a moment. but as an over-looker. Yet it was very difficult to 129 . cold voice. then. 'As their own enemies. not a little piqued by the haughty disapproval her form of expression and tone of speaking implied. it was a duty he owed to himself to explain. a cashier. certainly. one on the side of authority and order.

which Miss Hale says is impressed on the countenances 130 . requires. he said: 'I am not speaking without book. this taught me selfdenial. Now when I feel that in my own case it is no good luck. a woman of strong power. Now that I am able to afford my mother such comforts as her age. but was it not too personal a subject to speak about to strangers? Still. and keep it distinct from his meaning. out of which three people had to be kept. so. and firm resolve. Sixteen years ago. He could best have illustrated what he wanted to say by telling them something of his own life. My mother managed so that I put by three out of these fifteen shillings regularly. putting aside the touch of shyness that brought a momentary flush of colour into his dark cheek. nor talent. I was taken from school. and had to become a man (as well as I could) in a few days. We went into a small country town. never to think twice about them. rather than her own wish. my father died under very miserable circumstances.—I believe that this suffering. and where I got employment in a draper's shop (a capital place. for obtaining a knowledge of goods). I had such a mother as few are blest with. I thank her silently on each occasion for the early training she gave me.—indeed.—but simply the habits of life which taught me to despise indulgences not thoroughly earned. This made the beginning. Week by week our income came to fifteen shillings. nor merit.separate her interpretation. by the way. where living was cheaper than in Milton. it was the simple straightforward way of explaining his meaning.

and duly rewards her former exertions. I do not look on self-indulgent. I simply look upon them with contempt for their poorness of character. what preparation they were for such a life as I had to lead? None at all. I dare say.' 'But you have had the rudiments of a good education. 'I was too busy to think about any dead people. I can turn to all that old narration and thoroughly enjoy it.of the people of Milton. in the struggle for bread. neck to neck. any man who can read and write starts fair with me in the amount of really useful knowledge that I had at that time. sensual people as worthy of my hatred. I was even considered a pretty fair classic in those days. at some former period of their lives. 'The quick zest with which you are now reading Homer. Did not the recollection of the heroic simplicity of the Homeric life nerve you up?' 'Not one bit!' exclaimed Mr. Thornton. is but the natural punishment of dishonestly-enjoyed pleasure.' remarked Mr. But I ask you. Hale.' 'That is true. and are only recalling your old knowledge. though my Latin and Greek have slipt away from me since. laughing.' 131 . with the living pressing alongside of me. shows me that you do not come to it as an unknown book.' 'Well! I don't agree with you. But there I am perhaps somewhat of a pedant. Utterly none at all. Now that I have my mother safe in the quiet peace that becomes her age.—I had blundered along it at school. On the point of education. you have read it before.

half put out. muttering as he left the house— 'A more proud. drawing himself up to his full height. however. knew nothing of her sorrow. walked off. Mr. She simply bowed her farewell. disagreeable girl I never saw. Hale.'I dare say. he made an advance to Margaret to wish her good-bye in a similar manner. When Mr. and. Even her great beauty is blotted out of one's memory by her scornful ways.' 132 . and Mrs. Hale. quickly drawn back. after shaking hands with Mr. my remark came from the professional feeling of there being nothing like leather.' replied Mr. It was the frank familiar custom of the place. Thornton. but Margaret was not prepared for it. she was sorry she had not been aware of the intention. Thornton rose up to go away. although the instant she saw the hand.

but I half expected to see you get up and leave the room.—to give them anything of the training which his mother gave him. whatever 133 .CHAPTER XI FIRST IMPRESSIONS 'There's iron. Has got a little too much of steel. But his. they say. 'I could not help watching your face with some anxiety. Thornton made his confession of having been a shopboy. Bell. 'Margaret!' said Mr. I knew it all along from Mr. papa! you don't mean that you thought me so silly? I really liked that account of himself better than anything else he said. so I was aware of what was coming. when Mr.' 'Oh.' ANON. but he spoke about himself so simply— with so little of the pretence that makes the vulgarity of shop-people. he makes me harshly feel. without ever seeming to think it his duty to try to make them different. and with such tender respect for his mother. And a grain or two perhaps is good. and to which he evidently owes his position. from its hardness. wasteful improvidence. Everything else revolted me. in all our blood. as if there was not such another place in the world. or quietly professing to despise people for careless. that I was less likely to leave the room then than when he was boasting about Milton. Hale. as he returned from showing his guest downstairs.

too young to earn money. and then killed himself. Bell before we came here. I fancy. with some fragment of property secured to his mother. Thornton is not one.' 'I am not sure if it was not worse than being in the workhouse. and Mrs. a girl. Mr. Hale. made with other people's money.' said her mother. but of course she had to be kept. All his former friends shrunk from the disclosures that had to be made of his dishonest gambling—wild. 'I heard a good deal of his previous life from Mr.' 'I am surprised at you. no friend came forwards immediately. Bell said they absolutely 134 . failed. you have done quite right in introducing such a person to us without telling us what he had been. I knew he had gone into a shop. had been made to keep them for a long time. to regain his own moderate portion of wealth. I really was very much afraid of showing him how much shocked I was at some parts of what he said. and that his earnings. No one came forwards to help the mother and this boy." Why it might have been in the workhouse. and as he has told you a part.that may be. to wait till tardy kindness comes to find her out. hopeless struggles. So they left Milton. No! his statement of having been a shopboy was the thing I liked best of all. I will fill up what he left out. because he could not bear the disgrace. At least. Mr. I believe. His father "dying in miserable circumstances.' replied her husband. 'You who were always accusing people of being shoppy at Helstone! I don't I think. His father speculated wildly. There was another child. Margaret.

but long after the creditors had given up hope of any payment of old Mr. Improvident and self-indulgent were his words. Thornton's debts (if. a crabbed old fellow (Mr. 'What a pity such a nature should be tainted by his position as a Milton manufacturer. papa. Thornton as a kind of partner.' Margaret was collecting her mother's working materials.lived upon water-porridge for years—how. but all was paid at last. 'Oh. he did not know. helped on materially by the circumstance of one of the creditors. And the poor men around him—they were poor because they were vicious—out of the pale of his sympathies because they had not his iron nature. No noise—no gathering together of creditors—it was done very silently and quietly. he never said that. Bell says). When he spoke of the mechanical powers. and the capabilities that it gives him for being rich. by that testing everything by the standard of wealth. Just as she was leaving the room. taking in Mr. and went quietly round to each creditor. he evidently looked upon them only as new ways of extending trade and making money. they ever had hoped at all about it.' 'Not vicious.' said Margaret. indeed.' 'How tainted?' asked her father. after his suicide.) this young man returned to Milton. paying him the first instalment of the money owing to him. she hesitated—she was inclined to make an acknowledgment which she thought would 135 . and preparing to go to bed.' 'That really is fine.

Hale had been accustomed to live in Helstone. Your mother looks sadly tired to-night.' Margaret had noticed her mother's jaded appearance with anxiety for some time past. as you call it. and found her mother on her knees. There were several other signs of something wrong about Mrs. 'Papa. that there was good reason to fear that her mother's health might be becoming seriously affected. and this remark of her father's sent her up to bed with a dim fear lying like a weight on her heart. from which Dixon would come out crying and cross. Once Margaret had gone into the chamber soon after Dixon left it. which were evidently a prayer for strength and patience to endure severe bodily suffering. I don't set him up for a hero. and as Margaret stole out she caught a few words.' 'And I do!' said her father laughing. deprived of all revivifying principle as it seemed to be here. but personally I don't like him at all. child.please her father. or anything of that kind. But good night. 'Personally. in and out perpetually into the fresh and open air. She and Dixon held mysterious consultations in her bedroom. and in so new and sordid a form. Thornton a very remarkable man. but which to be full and true must include a little annoyance. as was her custom when any distress of her mistress called upon her sympathy. I do think Mr. the air itself was so different. out it came. upon all the women in the family. and all. the domestic worries pressed so very closely. Margaret yearned to re-unite 136 . However. Hale. The life in Milton was so different from what Mrs. Margaret.

and then. Visiting register offices. and longing to get away to the land o' Beulah. in such profusion as would have gladdened her formerly. and I'm no better. now the wind has changed. if she gave up her whole time to the search. Bessy. how are you? Better.' 'Not exactly. but I'm weary and tired o' Milton.' Margaret turned round to walk alongside of the girl in her feeble progress homeward.the bond of intimate confidence which had been broken by her long residence at her aunt Shaw's. I'm worse. A servant to give Dixon permanent assistance should be got. 137 . smiling. 'Well.' 'Better and not better. and she believed it bore serious reference to her mother's health. and strove by gentle caresses and softened words to creep into the warmest place in her mother's heart. and had been accustomed to her whole life. planning how to lessen the evil influence of their Milton life on her mother. her mother might have all the personal attention she required. and stopped to speak to her. and when I think I'm farther and farther off. 'I'm better in not being torn to pieces by coughing o'nights. at any rate. seeing all manner of unlikely people.' replied Margaret. my heart sinks. and very few in the least likely. if yo' know what that means. I hope. absorbed Margaret's time and thoughts for several days. yet she felt that there was a secret withheld from her. She lay awake very long this night. One afternoon she met Bessy Higgins in the street. But though she received caresses and fond words back again.

At last she said in a low voice. Then she replied. as each of them sixty years seemed to spin about me. 'Bessy. Bessy. 'If yo'd led the life I have.' 'Why. and getten as weary of it as I have. Only I fretted again it. and endless bits o' time—oh. But father says yo're just like th' rest on 'em.But for a minute or two she did not speak. I reckon. I'm a stranger here.' 'If yo'd ha' come to our house when yo' said yo' would. I had forgotten my promise—' 'Yo' offered it! we asked none of it. I could maybe ha' told you. and they didn't. "maybe it'll last for fifty or sixty years—it does wi' some. so perhaps I'm not so quick at understanding what you mean as if I'd lived all my life at Milton. and I've been very busy. and sick. and. Bessy was silent in her turn for a minute or two. it's out o' sight out o' mind wi' you.' 'I don't know who the rest are. to tell the truth. wench! I tell thee thou'd been glad enough when th' doctor said he feared thou'd never see another winter.' 138 ."—and got dizzy and dazed. do you wish to die?' For she shrank from death herself. what kind of a life has yours been?' 'Nought worse than many others. with all the clinging to life so natural to the young and healthy. and mock me with its length of hours and minutes. and thought at times.' 'But what was it? You know.

The sharpness in her eye turned to a wistful longing as she met Margaret's soft and friendly gaze. at last. who had sat down on the first chair. opening out of a squalid street. 'Do you think such life as this is worth caring for?' gasped Bessy. Margaret did not speak. and while she ran to fetch it (knocking down the fire-irons. and he thought a deal o' your coming to see us. not so old as Bessy. knocking about the furniture in a rough capable way. 'I should have thought of it again when I was less busy.'I had forgotten what I said for the time. if yo' care yo' may come. she unloosed Bessy's bonnet strings. May I go with you now?' Bessy gave a quick glance at Margaret's face. He took a mind to ye. Margaret asked the sister for a cup of water. but held 139 . 'I ha' none so many to care for me.' continued Margaret quietly. Bessy. and tumbling over a chair in her way). to relieve her catching breath.' 'Don't fear. but taller and stronger. as if completely tired out with her walk. but altogether making so much noise that Margaret shrunk. was busy at the wash-tub. So they walked on together in silence. out of sympathy with poor Bessy. to see if the wish expressed was really felt.' But Nicholas was not at home when they entered. yo' see. and just because he liked yo' he were vexed and put about. Bessy said. and speaks a bit gruffish at first. 'Yo'll not be daunted if father's at home. A great slatternly girl. As they turned up into a small court.

as long as hoo'll keep from preaching on what hoo knows nought about. But hoo's come at last. 'Don't be 140 . she half sate up to speak now. and flushed up many a time. he had come in without her noticing him. don't be impatient with your life. That's what I believe. and coming to see us.—and hoo's welcome. I don't believe all I hear—no! not by a big deal. and her visions of cities with goulden gates and precious stones.' Margaret bent over and said. with her dreams and her methodee fancies. young woman. But if it amuses her I let it abe. but I'm none going to have more stuff poured into her. and then fell back and shut her eyes. nor any heat. Remember who gave it you. I'll not have my wench preached to. at the sound of a strange step. 'Now. And my wench here thought a deal about it. and made it what it is!' She was startled by hearing Nicholas speak behind her. whatever it is—or may have been. I did hear a young lass make an ado about knowing where we lived. laying her hand on Margaret's arm with a gesture of entreaty. that God gave her life. She's bad enough as it is.' said Margaret. when hoo little knew as I was looking at her. and no more. Margaret heard her murmur to herself: 'They shall hunger no more. 'Bessy. neither shall the sun light on them.' 'But surely. and ordered what kind of life it was to be?' 'I believe what I see.the water to her lips. 'you believe in what I said.' Bessy had been watching Margaret's face. neither thirst any more. Bessy took a long and feverish draught. facing round.

' But the girl only pleaded the more with Margaret. falling back in despair. father! you shall! Oh! my heart!' She put her hand to it.' 'Poor wench—poor old wench. but a man mun speak out for the truth. and became ghastly pale. and the feverish flame into her eye. and not far to fetch. and when I see the world going all wrong at this time o' day. is father—but oh!' said she. 'what he says at times makes me long to die more than ever. If yo' could hear them speak. bothering itself wi' things it knows nought about. many and many a one here. I am. leave a' this talk about religion alone. 'But you will be there. I say. and even the round-eyed sister moved with laborious gentleness at Margaret's 141 .vexed wi' him—there's many a one thinks like him. Margaret held her in her arms. Nicholas understood all her signs for different articles with the quickness of love. That's my creed. he is. yo'd not be shocked at him. and leaving undone all the things that lie in disorder close at its hand—why. and set to work on what yo' see and know. for I want to know so many things. and bathed them with water. and put the weary head to rest upon her bosom. if father is not there. he's a rare good man. nor hard to work.—I'm loth to vex thee. I sometimes think I shall be moped wi' sorrow even in the City of God. It's simple. and am so tossed about wi' wonder. 'Don't think hardly on him—he's a good man.' The feverish colour came into her cheek. She lifted the thin soft hair from off the temples.

so oppressed was she by her visit to the Higginses.' said Mr. that Anne Buckley would never have done. Bessy leant back against her father. he struggled to say something: 'I could wish there were a God.' catching at Margaret's gown. 'What would you do.—it's best place. but as Margaret rose to go.' Margaret could hardly smile at this little joke. I would apply to some good house-mother to recommend me one known to herself or her servants.— 'I'll go to bed. seemed to have lost their power of irritation. but. 'yo'll come again. 'Everybody else has had their turn at this great difficulty. if it were only to ask Him to bless thee. At Helstone unpunctuality at meal-times was a great fault in her mother's eyes. but now this. Now let me try.' 'Suppose I try. and Margaret almost longed for the old complainings. She was late for tea at home. 'Have you met with a servant. as well as many other little irregularities. I may be the Cinderella to put on the slipper after all. who prepared to carry her upstairs. mamma.' 142 . dear?' 'No. papa? How would you set about it?' 'Why. said Margaret. and Bessy roused herself and said.'hush!' Presently the spasm that foreshadowed death had passed away.—I know yo' will— but just say it!' 'I will come to-morrow. Hale.' Margaret went away very sad and thoughtful.

which I don't agree to.' 'My dear. she would not like strangers to know anything about It.' 143 . I fancy Mrs. if you're skilful. as our little Margaret here is in hers. Hale quietly. that I should like any one out of the same family. I believe.’ her mother added.' said Mr.' 'Take notice that is not my kind of haughtiness. 'Perhaps she may have a relation who might suit us. and Miss Hale to-morrow. though you're always accusing me of it. of which he speaks so openly.'Very good. has told me that his mother intends to call on Mrs. Mr. and you will catch her to-morrow. papa. and economy.' said Mr. if I have any at all. 'I shall like to see her.' 'Mrs. Hale alarmed.' 'What do you mean. I am sure.' 'You have caught her. Thornton!' exclaimed Mrs. at any rate. 'Pray don't go off on that idea. Thornton is as haughty and proud in her way. Hale?' asked his wife. But we must first catch our housemother. She sounded to be such a careful economical person. the only mother he has. and poverty. 'Mrs. Hale. and be glad of our place. Or rather she is coming into the snare. 'Why. my paragon pupil (as Margaret calls him). She must be an uncommon person. and that she completely ignores that old time of trial. Thornton. 'The mother of whom he spoke to us?' said Margaret. her curiosity aroused.

but from little things I have gathered from him. I fancy so. and then she recollected that her mother must not be left to have the whole weight of entertaining her visitor. Margaret only wanted to know if she must stay in to receive this call.' They cared too little to ask in what manner her son had spoken about her. until late in the day. 144 .'I don't know positively that it is hers either. since the early morning was always occupied in household affairs. as it would prevent her going to see how Bessy was.

' 'If you are going to-morrow. why.' 145 . it was in heavy state that she went through her duties. who might now put themselves to trouble and expense in their turn. when she paid morning or evening visits. I shall order horses. if Mr. as she said. like the Hales.' FRIENDS IN COUNCIL. and she had repeatedly questioned her son as to whether his wish that she should call on the Hales was strong enough to bear the expense of cab-hire. and when she did. mother. I only wanted you exactly to understand about it. She had had horses for three days. he would be wanting her to call on Fanny's dancing-master's wife. they were hired for the solemn occasions. but she refused to let him keep horses for it. She would have been thankful if it had not. Thornton had had some difficulty in working up his mother to the desired point of civility.CHAPTER XII MORNING CALLS 'Well—I suppose we must. 'she saw no use in making up friendships and intimacies with all the teachers and masters in Milton. for. I am going tomorrow. She did not often make calls. Yet Crampton was too far off for her to walk. and had comfortably 'killed off' all her acquaintances. Her son had given her a carriage. Mr.' 'Oh! you need not speak so hastily. the next thing!' 'And so I would. not a fortnight before. Mason and his wife were friend less in a strange place.

John. A stranger. One would think you were made of money. Mrs. She had an unconscious contempt for a weak character. she felt instinctively that nothing could strengthen Fanny to endure hardships patiently. John. a little proudly. it only gave her a kind of pitying tenderness of manner towards her. But about the horses I'm determined. But such a one would have been deeply mistaken. her quick judgment and firm resolution served her in good stead of any long arguments and discussions with herself. Thornton was not a woman much given to reasoning. Thornton's manner to her children betokened far more love to Fanny than to John. a little hardship would do her good. and Fanny was weak in the very points in which her mother and brother were strong. or face difficulties bravely.' 'Not quite.' said he. She could not bear it. I'm sure. you came home with a headache from the jolting.' 'No. Thornton was silent after this.' 'I never complained of it. 146 .' Mrs. Now as for Fanny there.' 'She is not made of the same stuff as you are. yet. 'But so much the more I have to watch over you. The last time you were out in a cab. My mother is not given to complaints. a careless observer might have considered that Mrs.'Nonsense. for her last words bore relation to a subject which mortified her. and though she winced as she made this acknowledgment to herself about her daughter. much of the same description of demeanour with which mothers are wont to treat their weak and sickly children.

Thornton did not speak. at last. the one to the other. were reserved for Fanny. and which she set so high a value upon in others—this shame. It is so relaxing. and I am so tired.The very daringness with which mother and son spoke out unpalatable truths. I say. mamma? The carriage could fetch her. 147 . and she walked proudly among women for his sake.' Mrs. her brow slightly contracting. and seemed to think. 'Fanny dear I shall have horses to the carriage to-day. She never called her son by any name but John.' 'Oh! mamma. to go and call on these Hales. But her heart gave thanks for him day and night. Thornton. and she's always so glad to see you. Should not you go and see nurse? It's in the same direction. but she laid her work on the table. Thornton's manner to her daughter. Hale's. and she could spend the rest of the day here. showed a reliance on the firm centre of each other's souls. 'love. 'It will be a long way for her to walk back at night!' she remarked. Couldn't you bring nurse here.' 'With what?' asked Mrs. I think. the shame with which she thought to hide the poverty of her child in all the grand qualities which she herself possessed unconsciously. it's such a long way. 'I don't know—the weather. which I know she would like. betrayed the want of a secure resting-place for her affection. You could go on there while I am at Mrs. which the uneasy tenderness of Mrs.' and such like terms.' and 'dear.

' 'Well! here is Fanny then. she grumbled. Fan?' 'I have not always an ailment. pettishly. She will be able to suggest something. and I shan't go out. Thornton looked annoyed. 'You will oblige me. Thornton came in. 'Mother! I need hardly say. so I am not much up to invalids' fancies. without my saying anything more about it. 'It will do you good. He has good reasons of some kind or other. Who are these Hales that he makes such a fuss about?' 'Fanny. His mother's eyes were bent on her work. authoritatively.' He went abruptly out of the room after saying this. that if there is any little thing that could serve Mrs. but I will send her home in a cab. I never thought of her walking. at which she was now stitching away busily. But I have never been ill myself.'Oh. 'Fanny! I wish you to go. just before going to the mill. who is seldom without an ailment.' As it was. or he would not wish us to go.' At this point. instead of harm. don't speak so of your brother.' said Fanny. You will oblige me by going. perhaps—won't you. and I am sure I never do fancy any such thing.' 148 .' 'If I can find it out. even when he used the words. Hale as an invalid. I'm sure. Fanny would have cried at his tone of command. If he had staid a minute longer. 'and I am not going with mamma. I have a headache to-day. 'John always speaks as if I fancied I was ill.' Mr. I will. Make haste and put your things on. you will offer it.' said he. Mr.

and looked more than usually stern and forbidding as she entered the Hales' little drawingroom. Hale was making rather more exertion in her answers.' Her jealous heart repeated her daughter's question. and as society she did not enjoy it. that he is so anxious we should pay them all this attention?' It came up like a burden to a song. she took satisfaction in it.' as Mrs. But this going to make acquaintance with strangers was a very different thing. Thornton more favourably towards 'these Hales. 149 . Mrs. which must take a long time to dust. and as criticising other people's dinners. As dinnergiving. Margaret was busy embroidering a small piece of cambric for some little article of dress for Edith's expected baby—'Flimsy. and time to people of limited income was money. Thornton was shy. Mrs. and uttering all the stereotyped commonplaces that most people can find to say with their senses blindfolded. It was only of late years that she had had leisure enough in her life to go into society. Hale. Thornton observed to herself. She made all these reflections as she was talking in her stately way to Mrs. She was ill at ease. The room altogether was full of knick-knacks. that was sensible of its kind. She liked Mrs.But the little altercation between her son and her daughter did not incline Mrs. long after Fanny had forgotten all about it in the pleasant excitement of seeing the effect of a new bonnet in the looking-glass. useless work. 'Who are they. captivated by some real old lace which Mrs. Hale's double knitting far better.

It almost seems to me a necessary of life. that is the worst. and papa and mamma don't care much about it. Margaret.' So the owner of the ancestral lace became worthy of something more than the languid exertion to be agreeable to a visitor. so we sold our old piano when we came here. and three saved out of them!' thought Margaret to herself 'But she must have been very young. 'lace. 'of that old English point which has not been made for this seventy years. But she must know of those days. But one is sure to hear the newest music there. and shows that she had ancestors. 'I suppose you are not musical. heard her mother and Mrs. Hale's efforts at conversation would have been otherwise bounded. 'as I see no piano.' 'Fifteen shillings a week. She probably has forgotten her own personal experience.' said Fanny.' 'I am fond of hearing good music. 'You have good concerts here. by which Mrs. the day after a concert. and which cannot be bought. I cannot play well myself. yes! Delicious! Too crowded. Thornton plunge into the interminable subject of servants.Thornton wore.' 'Oh.' 'I wonder how you can exist without one. And presently.' Margaret's manner had an extra tinge of coldness in it when she next spoke. It must have been an heir-loom. I believe.' as she afterwards observed to Dixon. racking her brain to talk to Fanny.' 150 . The directors admit so indiscriminately. I always have a large order to give to Johnson's.

I can well understand her loving it.' said Margaret.' 'Yes. of course. Don't you know them?' 'I don't think I do. one knows it is the fashion in London. so Miss Thornton replied: 'Oh. dirty. but somehow. in her clear bell-like voice.' said Fanny. or else the singers would not bring it down here. Thornton's home for some years. 'I have lived there for several years. 'mamma has never been to London herself. and can't understand my longing.'Do you like new music simply for its newness. mamma! we are only trying to account for your being so fond of Milton. then?' 'Oh. which took her a little by surprise.' said Margaret.' 'If it has been Mrs. She is very proud of Milton.' 'Yes. lowering her voice. 'What are you saying about me.' 'Oh! London and the Alhambra are the two places I long to see!' 'London and the Alhambra!' 'Yes! ever since I read the Tales of the Alhambra. I believe she admires it the more for those very qualities.' 151 . You have been in London. as I feel it to be. Miss Hale? May I inquire?' Margaret had not the words ready for an answer to this question. it is a very easy journey to London. smoky place. But surely.

' said Mrs. she was hardly speaking with truth.' 'Very probably. Hale. places unique in the kingdom. requires any accounting for. Miss Hale? Have you seen any of our factories? our magnificent warehouses?' 'No!' said Margaret. by concealing her utter indifference to all such places. and my gown was utterly ruined. 'I do not feel that my very natural liking for the place where I was born and brought up. it did seem as if they had been impertinently discussing Mrs. But I really do not find much pleasure in going over manufactories. but she also rose up against that lady's manner of showing that she was offended. from the character and progress of its peculiar business. that as strangers newly come to reside in a town which has risen to eminence in the country.' said Mrs. Thornton.' Margaret was vexed. so she went on: 'I dare say. As Fanny had put it. 'I merely thought. Thornton's feelings.' said Mrs.' 'They are very curious places. 'but there is so much noise and dirt always. 'I have not seen anything of that description as yet. Then she felt that.—and which has since been my residence for some years. Mrs.'Thank you. Thornton went on after a moment's pause: 'Do you know anything of Milton. in a short displeased manner. you might have cared to visit some of the places where it is carried on. I remember once going in a lilac silk to see candles made. Thornton. If Miss Hale 152 . I am informed. papa would have taken me before now if I had cared.

She will do you no good. I believe. in a halfwhisper.' replied Margaret quietly. who was taking leave of Mrs. The mother looks very ill. if I were you. 'Fanny!' said her mother. and all those kind of things.' 'I am so glad you don't like mills and manufactories. mamma.changes her mind and condescends to be curious as to the manufactures of Milton. quiet kind of person. or the more simple operations of spinning carried on in my son's mill. to be seen there. or reedmaking. Every improvement of machinery is.' said Fanny. and trying to amuse her.' 'I don't want to form any friendship with Miss Hale. and seems a nice.' 153 . as they drove away. Hale with rustling dignity. 'we will be civil to these Hales: but don't form one of your hasty friendships with the daughter. as she rose to accompany her mother. I see. I can only say I shall be glad to procure her admission to print-works. pouting.' 'Well! at any rate John must be satisfied now. 'I thought I was doing my duty by talking to her.' said Fanny. in its highest perfection. 'I think I should like to know all about them.

are shadows vain. That death itself shall not remain. All in our Father's house at last!' R. Mary Higgins. all. C. and put on her bonnet and shawl. And we. The dreariest path. on divers shores now cast. There had been rough-stoning 154 . And anguish. Shall meet. fear and pain. our perilous voyage past.CHAPTER XIII A SOFT BREEZE IN A SULTRY PLACE 'That doubt and trouble. As she went along the crowded narrow streets. Yet. she felt how much of interest they had gained by the simple fact of her having learnt to care for a dweller in them. to run and inquire how Bessy Higgins was. the slatternly younger sister. A dreary labyrinth may thread. Margaret flew up stairs as soon as their visitors were gone. if we will one Guide obey. the darkest way Shall issue out in heavenly day. TRENCH. That weary deserts we may tread. had endeavoured as well as she could to tidy up the house for the expected visit. and sit with her as long as she could before dinner. Thro' dark ways underground be led.

Bessy herself lay on a squab. making the whole place feel like an oven. there burnt a large fire in the grate. 'I never knew why folk in the Bible cared for soft raiment afore. Bessy lay back silent. and had taken a chair by her. lying at perfect rest. 'I like to hear speak of the country and trees. as if t receive all the ideas Margaret could suggest.' said Bessy. Most fine folk tire my eyes out wi' their colours. and such like things. and content to look at Margaret's face. And now that Margaret was there. and thought that perhaps the oppressive heat was necessary for Bessy. She was very much more feeble than on the previous day. and shut her eye and crossed her hands over her breast. and touch her articles of dress. but some how yours rest me. and tired with raising herself at every step to look out and see if it was Margaret coming. while the flags under the chairs and table and round the walls retained their dark unwashed appearance. placed under the window. 'London! Have yo' been in London?' 'Yes! I lived there for some years.' said Margaret. Where did ye get this frock?' 'In London. Although the day was hot. with a childish admiration of their fineness of texture. But my home was in a forest. 155 . much amused. But it must be nice to go dressed as yo' do. 'Tell me about it.done in the middle of the floor. Margaret did not understand that the lavishness of coals was a sign of hospitable welcome to her on Mary's part. It's different fro' common. in the country.' She leant back. or short sofa.

there is a continual rushing sound of movement all around—not close at hand. except just naming the place incidentally. some in the green shadow. would send me dazed.Margaret had never spoken of Helstone since she left it. I felt smothered like down below. I loved the home we have left so dearly! I wish you could see it. though every leaf may seem still. She saw it in dreams more vivid than life. here and there. But her heart was opened to this girl. high up as if above the very tops of the trees—' 'I'm glad of that. Then sometimes the turf is as soft and fine as velvet. going on for ever and ever. And yet. Bessy. I've always wanted to get high up and see far away. some with long streaks of golden sunlight lying on them—just like the sea. tinkling brook near at hand. Now on these commons I reckon there is but little noise?' 156 . 'But go on. it's that made my head ache so in the mill. with their branches stretching long and level. When I have gone for an out. There are great trees standing all about it.' 'I have never seen the sea. and take a deep breath o' fulness in that air.' 'Then.' murmured Bessy. I get smothered enough in Milton. there are wide commons. 'Oh. and making a deep shade of rest even at noonday. and as she fell away to slumber at nights her memory wandered in all its pleasant places. hidden. And then in other parts there are billowy ferns—whole stretches of fern. and sometimes quite lush with the perpetual moisture of a little. I cannot tell you half its beauty. and I think the sound yo' speak of among the trees.

though I don't believe him a bit by day. while I just sat on the heather and did nothing. and to sicken i' this dree place. wi' them mill-noises in my ears for ever. He means well. 'God can give you more perfect rest than even idleness on earth.'No. laying her hand on the girl's.' 'Don't be afraid.' Bessy moved uneasily. and let me have a little piece o' quiet—and wi' the fluff filling my lungs. Sometimes I'm so tired out I think I cannot enjoy heaven without a piece of rest first. Bessy. But now I've had many days o' idleness. But yo' see. and if all I've been born for is just to work my heart and my life away. as I telled yo' yesterday. I'm rather afeard o' going straight there without getting a good sleep in the grave to set me up.' said Margaret.' said Margaret. to rest me—a day in some quiet place like that yo' speak on—it would maybe set me up. or the dead sleep of the grave can do. until I thirst to death for one long 157 . until I could scream out for them to stop.' 'I used to think once that if I could have a day of doing nothing. but it was so far away that it only reminded me pleasantly that other people were hard at work in some distant place. half-asleep and half-awake—it comes back upon me—oh! so bad! And I think. and I'm just as weary o' them as I was o' my work. yet by night—when I'm in a fever. and tell yo' again and again. then she said: 'I wish father would not speak as he does. Sometimes I used to hear a farmer speaking sharp and loud to his servants. if this should be th' end of all. 'nothing but here and there a lark high in the air.

'I'm very wicked. and I never doubt when I'm waking.' 'Fluff?' said Margaret. and clutching violently. and the fluff got into my lungs and poisoned me. 'I believe. and looking earnestly at Margaret.' 'I think I was well when mother died. I could. and in my senses. Oh! don't be frightened by me and never come again. yo'!' said she. I would not harm a hair of your head. I read the book o' Revelations until I know it off by heart. but I have never been rightly strong sin' somewhere about that time. and kill yo'. 158 . and that there's no God to wipe away all tears from all eyes—yo' wench. 'I could go mad. inquiringly. and I never able to tell her again how I loved her.' moaned she.deep breath o' the clear air yo' speak on—and my mother gone.' 'I know it! I know it. And. more than yo' do o' what's to come. perhaps. 'Bessy—we have a Father in Heaven.' 'Don't let us talk of what fancies come into your head when you are feverish. I began to work in a carding-room soon after.' opening her eyes. sitting up. I would rather hear something about what you used to do when you were well. at Margaret's hand. Margaret knelt down by her. I've spoken very wickedly. of all the glory I'm to come to. almost fiercely.' She fell back completely worn out with her passion. turning her head uneasily from side to side. and o' all my troubles—I think if this life is th' end.

and carry off th' dust. coughing and spitting blood. when they're carding it. and I've heard tell o' men who didn't like working places where there was a wheel. and that their wage ought to be raised if they were to work in such places. but that wheel costs a deal o' money—five or six hundred pound. 'I dunno. many a one then used to call me a gradely lass enough. and brings in no profit. and fill the air till it looks all fine white dust.' 'Did not your father know about it?' asked Margaret. Some folk have a great wheel at one end o' their carding-rooms to make a draught. and tightens them up. and Mary's schooling were to be kept up. 'Yes! And he were sorry.' 'But can't it be helped?' asked Margaret. though.'Fluff. and go to lectures o' one kind or another—all which took money—so I just 159 . for though yo' would na think it now. as fly off fro' the cotton. Anyhow. I know I wish there'd been a wheel in our place. mother said.' repeated Bessy. tone go without it. and a steady likely set o' people. But our factory were a good one on the whole. 'Little bits. so it's but a few of th' masters as will put 'em up. that falls into a waste. They say it winds round the lungs. and father was afeard of letting me go to a strange place. And I did na like to be reckoned nesh and soft. and father he were always liking to buy books. because they said as how it mad 'em hungry. maybe. at after they'd been long used to swallowing fluff. because they're just poisoned by the fluff. there's many a one as works in a carding-room. So between masters and men th' wheels fall through.

or 160 . 'I wanted to ask yo' to be a friend to her.' 'How old are you?' asked Margaret.' 'But even though she may not be exactly fitted to come and live with us as a servant—and I don't know about that—I will always try and be a friend to her for your sake. And I don't want her to go to th' mill. but who has she had to teach her what to do about a house? No mother. come July. She's seventeen.' 'No. She could not speak for a moment or two for the emotion she was trying to keep down.' 'She could not do'—Margaret glanced unconsciously at the uncleaned corners of the room—'She could hardly undertake a servant's place.' said Bessy. but she's th' last on us. of the contrast between them. for all that. 'About Mary. and yet I dunno what she's fit for.' She thought. That's all. could she? We have an old faithful servant. Bessy. who wants help. but if it should not be to-morrow. and me at the mill till I were good for nothing but scolding her for doing badly what I didn't know how to do a bit.worked on till I shall ne'er get the whirr out o' my ears. Our Mary's a good wench. I reckon yo're right. But I wish she could ha' lived wi' yo'. 'Nineteen. I see. or the fluff out o' my throat i' this world. I will come again as soon as I can. but who is very particular. And now I must go. almost a friend. and it would not be right to plague her with giving her any assistance that would really be an annoyance and an irritation. more sorrowfully than Bessy did.' 'And I too am nineteen.

I'll not mistrust yo' no more. and first became silently conscious of the querulousness in her mother's temper. don't think I've forgotten you.' said Margaret. Hale became more and more of a suffering invalid. Mr. 'But you'll let me know if you are worse. If she could have anticipated them. desolate. Bessy. how she would have shrunk away and hid herself from the coming time! And yet day by day had. noisy. bright little spots of positive enjoyment having come sparkling into the very middle of sorrows.the next day. with diminished comforts on every side of the home life. or even a week or a fortnight hence. But with the increase of serious and just ground of complaint. Margaret wondered how they had been borne. From that day forwards Mrs. in a week or a fortnight I may be dead and buried!' 'I'll come as soon as I can. squeezing her hand tight. It was now drawing near to the anniversary of Edith's marriage.' 'I'll know yo' won't forget me again. keen. of itself. almost in proportion as she had been restless and depressed when there had been no real cause for grief. I may be busy. returning the pressure. a new kind of patience had sprung up in her mother's mind. that will I. and looking back upon the year's accumulated heap of troubles. she would have groaned bitterly over the idea of a long illness to be borne in a strange. and by itself.' said Bessy. A year ago. She was gentle and quiet in intense bodily suffering. or when she first went to Helstone. 'Ay. busy place. Hale was in 161 . been very endurable— small. But remember.

'Poor Maria!' said he. 162 . 'Indeed. you are too fanciful. He walked uneasily up and down the room. She looks quite pale and white when she is ill. It will make me happier. Margaret. but still as if she had suggested unpleasant ideas. in men of his stamp. and myself too. which he should be glad to get rid of as readily as he could of her presence. sadly. with hesitation.' And she went up to him to kiss him.' 'But. He was more irritated than Margaret had ever known him at his daughter's expressed anxiety. if it will make your mind easier. papa.' said Margaret. and now she has a bright healthy colour in her cheeks. Margaret.exactly that stage of apprehension which. I think.' 'Thank you. just as she used to have when I first knew her. You are the person not well. dear papa. if she—-Pray. 'I wish one could do right without sacrificing others. half soliloquising. Margaret.' 'Nonsense. you are growing fanciful! God knows I should be the first to take the alarm if your mother were really ill. does your mother often talk to you of the old places of Helstone. I shall hate this town.' said Margaret. Send for the doctor to-morrow for yourself. we always saw when she had her headaches at Helstone. and then. indeed. I think that is the flush of pain. 'do you know. I tell you. papa. takes the shape of wilful blindness. he can see your mother. I mean?' 'No. even without her telling us. But he pushed her away—gently enough.

she can't be fretting after them. So don't let me hear of these foolish morbid ideas. you see. Come. give me a kiss.'Then. eh. and run off to bed. Margaret? I am quite sure she would not. eh? It has always been a comfort to me to think that your mother was so simple and open that I knew every little grievance she had. 163 . She never would conceal anything seriously affecting her health from me: would she. as she and Edith used to call it) long after her slow and languid undressing was finished—long after she began to listen as she lay in bed.' But she heard him pacing about (racooning.

— Now if the wind blew rough. Margaret took pains to respond to every call made upon her for sympathy—and they were many—even when they bore relation to trifles. which she would no more have noticed or regarded herself than the elephant would perceive the little pin at his feet. 164 . and almost the only one on which her timidity overcame her natural openness. which yet he lifts carefully up at the bidding of his keeper. Mr. And then I seemed To feel that it was hard to take him from me For such a little fault.CHAPTER XIV THE MUTINY 'I was used To sleep at nights as sweetly as a child. and had envied Dixon for being preferred to. to find that her mother drew more tenderly and intimately towards her than she had ever done since the days of her childhood. The more she wanted to hear about him. All unconsciously Margaret drew near to a reward. One evening. She took her to her heart as a confidential friend—the post Margaret had always longed to fill. Hale being absent. her mother began to talk to her about her brother Frederick. the less likely she was to speak. it made me start. It was a comfort to Margaret about this time. And think of my poor boy tossing about Upon the roaring seas.' SOUTHEY. the very subject on which Margaret had longed to ask questions.

Margaret. in every corner of the letters. you know. glass-green walls of waves on either side his ship. but your father thought he had better not.' 'Mamma. but far higher than her very masts. it was so windy last night! It came howling down the chimney in our room! I could not sleep. you must remember that. I dream of him in some stormy sea.'Oh. Barbour. but where is he himself?' 'I can't remember the name of the place. but he is not called Hale. It is an old dream. 'I was at Aunt Shaw's when it all happened. He might be recognised. Notice the F. if I may—if it does not give you too much pain to speak about it. Though I did think it might shake down some of those tall chimneys. but it always comes back on windy nights. to which he had a kind of right. and I suppose I was not old enough to be told plainly about it. till I am thankful to waken. I know. But I should like to know now. D. sitting straight and stiff up in bed with my terror. Poor Frederick! He is on land now. with great. like some gigantic crested serpent. terrible white foam. I got into a wakeful habit when poor Frederick was at sea. if he were called by my name.' 'Where is Frederick now. I never can when there is such a terrible wind.' 165 . at Cadiz. Margaret. He has taken the name of Dickenson. curling over her with that cruel. even if I don't waken all at once. so wind can do him no harm. and now.' said Margaret. I wanted him to have been called Beresford. clear. mamma? Our letters are directed to the care of Messrs.

who untied the silken string with trembling fingers. he did mean to bear all his tyranny patiently. They may say what they like. There were the yellow. When he was appointed to her. making her hurried. seemed to take a dislike to Frederick from the very beginning. cutting open all the newspapers with it as if it were a paperknife! But this Mr.' Margaret went. almost before her daughter could have understood what they were. and I'll believe him. with his dirk in his hand. Look! this is the letter. 'You see. And then—stay! these are the letters he wrote on board the Russell. and in the second left-hand drawer you will find a packet of letters.'Pain! No.' replied Mrs. how well he looked in his midshipman's dress. Just read it. her cheek flushing. and found his old enemy Captain Reid in command. with the peculiar fragrance which ocean letters have: Margaret carried them back to her mother. as he was then. and. Or else he did right. examining their dates. Margaret. Margaret. Hale. though he is my son. Where is it he says—Stop—'my father may rely upon me. sea-stained letters. Poor little fellow. sooner than any court-martial on earth. how from the very first he disliked Captain Reid. but I have his own letters to show. Reid. Go to my little japan cabinet. dear. that I will bear with all proper 166 . Margaret. she gave them to Margaret to read. 'Yet it is pain to think that perhaps I may never see my darling boy again. He was second lieutenant in the ship—the Orion—in which Frederick sailed the very first time. anxious remarks on their contents.

He who was the farthest on the spar. It might be—it probably was—a statement of Captain Reid's imperiousness in trifles. he says that they had many new hands on board the Russell. and the 167 . that could possibly be. and yet passionately dreading the disgrace of the flogging. for he was the sweetest-tempered boy. while the Avenger had been nearly three years on the station. he promises to bear patiently. But from my former knowledge of my present captain. who had written it while fresh and warm from the scene of altercation. the captain had ordered them to race down. with nothing to do but to keep slavers off. Is that the letter in which he speaks of Captain Reid's impatience with the men. very much exaggerated by the narrator. and work her men. failed.' Margaret slowly read the letter. and I am sure he did. when he was not vexed.' You see. and fell senseless on deck.patience everything that one officer and gentleman can take from another. Some sailors being aloft in the main-topsail rigging. feeling the impossibility of passing his companions. till they ran up and down the rigging like rats or monkeys. threw himself desperately down to catch a rope considerably lower. for not going through the ship's manoeuvres as quickly as the Avenger? You see. half illegible through the fading of the ink. I confess I look forward with apprehension to a long course of tyranny on board the Russell. He only survived for a few hours afterwards. threatening the hindmost with the cat-of-nine-tails.

We thought it must be some mistake. 'But we did not receive this letter till long. Margaret. which was in the list. it was supposed. and walking heavily along. and that Captain Reid was sent adrift in a boat with some men—officers or something—whose names were all given. And towards post-time the next day. I see him now.' 168 . Margaret! how your father and I turned sick over that list. for poor Fred was such a fine fellow. was a misprint for that of Hale— newspapers are so careless. so I went to meet him. Oh. to be a pirate. He came at last. his head sunk.indignation of the ship's crew was at boiling point when young Hale wrote. papa set off to walk to Southampton to get the papers. poor fellow! And then we saw a report in the papers—that's to say. which had gone off. his arms hanging loose down. and we hoped that the name of Carr. long after we heard of the mutiny. He was very late—much later than I thought he would have been. for they were picked up by a West-Indian steamer. when there was no name of Frederick Hale. and that the mutineers had remained in possession of the ship. only perhaps rather too passionate. long before Fred's letter reached us—of an atrocious mutiny having broken out on board the Russell. Poor Fred! I dare say it was a comfort to him to write it even though he could not have known how to send it. and I could not stop at home. as if every step was a labour and a trouble. and I sat down under the hedge to wait for him.

or seem surprised to see me there. I said it was a lie." Oh! I cannot tell what bad words they did not use. And when I got to him.' said Margaret. till I. and only begged him to tell me what he had heard. as if he wanted to soothe me to be very quiet under some great heavy blow. It was not for himself. I took the paper in my hands as soon as I had read it—I tore it up to little bits—I tore it—oh! I believe Margaret. and began to shake and to cry in a strange muffled. with his hand jerking. or his own injuries. and so it was. 'No. and you see what provocation Frederick had. I could not." "a base. but he would speak his mind to 169 . Margaret. I could hardly lift myself up to go and meet him—everything seemed so to reel around me all at once. and stooped down his head on mine.'Don't go on. this letter came. more than three miles from home. beside the Oldham beech-tree. leaning up caressingly against her mother's side. ungrateful disgrace to his profession. and my very eyes burnt in my head. he took me in his arms. for very fright. I saw your father looking grave at me. but he put my arm in his. and when I trembled so all over that I could not speak. I did not cry. No one can who did not see him then. and kept stroking my hand. Months after. groaning voice. My cheeks were as hot as fire. And then. he did not speak. he gave me a wicked newspaper to read. he rebelled. mamma. stood quite still. and kissing her hand. calling our Frederick a "traitor of the blackest dye. as if some one else moved it against his will. I can understand it all. I tore it with my teeth. you can't.

decided tone.Captain Reid. most of the sailors stuck by Frederick. after a pause.' said Margaret. Hale spoke wistfully.' she continued. unjustly and cruelly used-not on behalf of ourselves. Hale began to cry. Margaret. I wish I could see Frederick once more— just once. 'Some of the sailors who accompanied Frederick were taken. 'I think. 'I am glad of it—I am prouder of Frederick standing up against injustice. Margaret. and so it went on from bad to worse. than if he had been simply a good officer. poor fellows. in a firm. yet something 170 . Hale. and you see.' Mrs.' 'It would do no good. 'Loyalty and obedience to wisdom and justice are fine. in a weak. what would be the punishment? Surely.—' and for the first time during the conversation Mrs. exhausted voice. and almost as if apologising for the yearning. But such an idea never crossed Margaret's mind. I believed all they said in their defence. mother? If he came and stood his trial.' 'For all that.' replied Mrs. 'It is six or seven years ago—would they still prosecute him. because it just agreed with Frederick's story— but it was of no use. as though it were a depreciation of her remaining child.' 'I am sure I am. and there was a court-martial held on them on board the Amicia. He was my first baby. but it is still finer to defy arbitrary power. craving wish. She was thinking how her mother's desire could be fulfilled. but on behalf of others more helpless. trembling. he might bring evidence of his great provocation.

'What happened to them. At Cadiz. oppressed with gloom. and seeing no promise of brightness on any side of the horizon. And now he is in Spain. and lay perfectly still in her mother's despair. If he comes to England he will be hung. as if she would fain be left alone with the recollection of her son. I shall never see his face again—for if he comes to England he will be hung. 'And Frederick was in South America for several years. When Mr. said they had suffered themselves to be led astray from their duty by their superior officers. solemnly. or somewhere near it. Nothing could be said to console her. 'They were hung at the yard-arm. Mrs.' There was no comfort to be given. mamma?' asked she. Hale came in. Margaret went out. 171 . was he not?' 'Yes. from her mother. She took her hand out of Margaret's with a little impatient movement. Hale turned her face to the wall.possessed Margaret to force the information she foresaw. 'And the worst was that the court.' They were silent for a long time.' said Mrs. yet dreaded. Hale. in condemning them to death.

and thinks she cannot walk so far. when she had last named her fears. 'She is not well. LANDOR. Hale began about his wife's health. I would go this afternoon. 'Did you consult the doctor.' said her father. Many a one is not 172 . shocked.' She put the truth thus plainly and strongly because her father had so completely shut his mind against the idea.' said Margaret. But if I only knew of some good doctor. papa. Thornton's call. the next day. with a kind of veiled anxiety. My poor Maria!' 'Oh. 'we must return Mrs.CHAPTER XV MASTERS AND MEN 'Thought fights with thought. for I am sure mamma is seriously indisposed. Margaret? Did you send for him?' 'No. that is all. Now I was well. But now the case was changed.' As they went. out springs a spark of truth From the collision of the sword and shield. He answered in a despondent tone: 'Do you think she has any hidden complaint? Do you think she is really very ill? Has Dixon said anything? Oh. S. and ask him to come. Your mother is not very well. Margaret! I am haunted by the fear that our coming to Milton has killed her.' W. you spoke of his corning to see me. but you and I will go this afternoon. which Margaret was glad to see awakened at last. 'Margaret. Mr. papa! don't imagine such things.

with a blank wall here and there. unconsciously. at least that was all they could see from the point at which they entered it. 'Perhaps it is one of the economies he still practises. Without any reason. But don't think of what I said then. But we will ask Mrs. I'm sure. you said the other day I was getting fanciful. that is all. We won't throw away our money on any but some one first-rate. I spoke as if I was annoyed.well for a time. Thornton if she can tell us of a good doctor. to live in a very small house. Her son's presence never gave any impression as to the kind of house he lived in. Now Marlborough Street consisted of long rows of small houses. massive. Margaret had imagined that tall. though. Don't be afraid of telling me your fancies. we turn up this street.' The street did not look as if it could contain any house large enough for Mrs. I dare say. But here are plenty of people about. Thornton must live in a house of the same character as herself. I like to hear them. handsomely dressed Mrs. which has alarmed me rather. I dare say. with a much perplexed air. papa.' 173 .' 'But has Dixon said anything about her?' 'No! You know Dixon enjoys making a mystery out of trifles. and with good advice gets better and stronger than ever.' 'I hope and trust you are. I like you to be fanciful about your mother's health. let me ask. Hale. Thornton's habitation.' said Mr. and she has been a little mysterious about mamma's health. Stay. You know. 'He told me he lived in Marlborough Street. but.

was a handsome stonecoped house. by the smoke. Thornton lived close to the mill. and the number of them—the flights of steps up to the front door. and was informed that Mr. windows. The yard. too. The stone facings—the long. ascending from either side. on one side of it were great closed gates for the ingress and egress of lurries and wagons. an immense many-windowed mill. It was evidently a house which had been built some fifty or sixty years. enough to deafen those who lived within the enclosure. narrow windows. at the end of the long dead wall they had noticed. but with paint. on the opposite. to be sure. as they stood on the steps awaiting the opening of the door. whence proceeded the continual clank of machinery and the long groaning roar of the steam-engine. along which the street ran. on one side of which were offices for the transaction of business. did not prefer a much smaller dwelling in the country. not in the continual whirl and din of the factory.She accordingly inquired of a passer-by. and guarded by railing—all witnessed to its age. was but 174 . and steps kept scrupulously clean. with the great doors in the dead wall as a boundary. on one of the narrow sides of the oblong. Opposite to the wall. Her unaccustomed ears could hardly catch her father's voice. and had the factory lodge-door pointed out to her. and keep it in such perfect order. or even some suburb.—blackened. Margaret only wondered why people who could afford to live in so good a house. The lodge-keeper admitted them into a great oblong yard. The lodge-door was like a common garden-door.

a dismal look-out for the sitting-rooms of the house—as Margaret found when they had mounted the oldfashioned stairs. The window-curtains were lace. or knitting. the three windows of which went over the front door and the room on the right-hand side of the entrance. right under the bagged-up chandelier. It seemed as though no one had been in it since the day when the furniture was bagged up with as much care as if the house was to be overwhelmed with lava. which impressed Margaret so unpleasantly that she was hardly conscious of the peculiar cleanliness required to keep everything so white and pure in such an atmosphere. Wherever she looked there was evidence of care and 175 . and discovered a thousand years hence. spangled. but it was carefully covered up in the centre by a linen drugget. nothing absorbed it. with smartly-bound books arranged at regular intervals round the circumference of its polished surface. The walls were pink and gold. glazed and colourless. There was no one in the drawing-room. or of the trouble that must be willingly expended to secure that effect of icy. and been ushered into the drawingroom. safe from dust under their glass shades. speckled look about it. The whole room had a painfully spotted. the pattern on the carpet represented bunches of flowers on a light ground. Everything reflected light. Great alabaster groups occupied every flat surface. like gaily-coloured spokes of a wheel. each chair and sofa had its own particular veil of netting. In the middle of the room. snowy discomfort. was a large circular table.

At last Mrs. too. the call might have been deferred. and gave Margaret no sympathy—indeed. as if unwilling to awaken the unused echoes. the horses to her carriage. but it is a common effect of such a room as this to make people speak low. to help on habits of tranquil home employment. Thornton's call. solely to ornament. Thornton. before Mrs. rustling in handsome black silk. but in her anxiety not to bring back her father's fears too vividly. Thornton appeared. Hale's was some temporary or fanciful fine-ladyish indisposition. Thornton's mind that Mrs. the pure whiteness of the muslins and netting of the room. Thornton came in. and then to preserve ornament from dirt or destruction.labour. but not care and labour to procure ease. hired for her own visit to the Hales. They had leisure to observe. in order to pay every respect to them. and how Fanny had been ordered to go by Mr. or that if it was too severe to allow her to come out that day. she gave but a bungling account. Remembering. Margaret explained how it was that her mother could not accompany them to return Mrs. 176 . and to speak to each other in low voices. and left the impression on Mrs. as was her wont. They were talking of what all the world might hear. Thornton drew up slightly offended. hardly any credit for the statement of her mother's indisposition. which might have been put aside had there been a strong enough motive. her muslins and laces rivalling. Mrs. not excelling.

' 'My son is rarely ill.' said Margaret. Hale. that is my opinion. Having many interests does not suit the life of a Milton manufacturer.' 'But. I confess. or makes it an excuse for not doing anything. 'It makes me feel young again to see his enjoyment and appreciation of all that is fine in classical literature.' 'I have no doubt the classics are very desirable for people who have leisure. He told me he could not get leisure to read with you last night. seem to me to require all his energy and attention. Classics may do very well for men who loiter away their lives in the country or in colleges. 'I do not quite understand what you mean by a mind getting stiff and rigid. from his hurried note yesterday. it was against my judgment that my son renewed his study of them. it will get stiff and rigid. He regretted it. and when he is. enough for him to 177 . sir. to be utterly forgetful of it in their new interest to-morrow. he values the hours spent with you. he never speaks about it.' said Mr. Nor do I admire those whirligig characters that are full of this thing to-day. or ought to be. and unable to take in many interests. The time and place in which he lives. Hale. but Milton men ought to have their thoughts and powers absorbed in the work of today. 'I was afraid he was not well. if the mind is too long directed to one object only.'How is Mr. At least.' 'I am sure they are equally agreeable to me. It is. But. I am sure. surely.' This last clause she gave out with 'the pride that apes humility. Thornton?' asked Mr.

' she continued. You think I'm an old woman whose ideas are bounded by Milton. Such a place my son has earned for himself.' 178 . ludicrous consciousness that they had never heard of this great name. as she answered: 'To hold and maintain a high. Go where you will—I don't say in England only. Thornton would be a good friend to have in Milton. and her eye lightened.have one great desire. until Mr. and to bring all the purposes of his life to bear on the fulfilment of that. but in Europe—the name of John Thornton of Milton is known and respected amongst all men of business. Bell had written them word that Mr. honourable place among the merchants of his country—the men of his town. unless he gets into parliament. Hale and Margaret had an uneasy. it is unknown in the fashionable circles. The proud mother's world was not their world of Harley Street gentilities on the one hand. Margaret's face. 'Idle gentlemen and ladies are not likely to know much of a Milton manufacturer. Her sallow cheek flushed. Thornton this feeling of hers. or country clergymen and Hampshire squires on the other. or marries a lord's daughter. scornfully.' 'And that is—?' asked Mr.' Both Mr. in spite of all her endeavours to keep it simply listening in its expression told the sensitive Mrs. and whose own crow is the whitest ever seen. Of course. Hale. 'You think you never heard of this wonderful son of mine. Miss Hale.

Mr. to the rescue. But since I have come here. But I'm obliged to you. and to feel how much justice and truth there is in what you have said of him. 'It was what Mr.' Margaret replied.' 179 . Miss Hale. Many a missy young lady would have shrunk from giving an old woman the pleasure of hearing that her son was well spoken of. Bell. Was it not. Miss Hale. as he thought.—it was more that than what he said. and said— 'My son is not the one to tell of his own doings. Thornton's name before I came to Milton. Thornton drew herself up. living a lazy life in a drowsy college. 'It may be true. that made us all feel what reason you have to be proud of him. Thornton said himself. May I again ask you.'No. Bell! What can he know of John? He. Thornton withheld of that which we had been told of his previous life by Mr.' said Margaret. I have heard enough to make me respect and admire him.' 'Mr. a little mollified. with some spirit. 'It was as much from what Mr. you know.' 'Who spoke to you of him?' asked Mrs. from whose account you formed your favourable opinion of him? A mother is curious and greedy of commendation of her children. that I was thinking I had hardly heard Mr. Thornton. that made us know the kind of man he was. Margaret?' Mrs. yet jealous lest any one else's words should not have done him full justice. She did not like this authoritative questioning. Hale came in. Margaret hesitated before she replied.

madam. She is not strong. Thornton. before now. 'I hope Miss Thornton is well. shortly. 'I beg your pardon. and perhaps she felt that she had been asking questions too much as if she had a right to catechise.' said Mrs. Thornton. 'And Mr. Thornton's annoyed look. stiffly.' replied Mrs. a threatening of a strike. Thornton? I suppose I may hope to see him on Thursday?' 'I cannot answer for my son's engagements. looking straight at Mrs. for she had been pleased by Margaret's frankness.' 'Young ladies have. his experience and judgment will make him much consulted by his 180 .' She smiled a grim smile. in bewilderment. must have been utterly and entirely ludicrous.' put in Mr. Margaret laughed outright at the notion presented to her. Thornton. laughed so merrily that it grated on Mrs. 'Why! because I suppose they might have consciences that told them how surely they were making the old mother into an advocate for them. in case they had any plans on the son's heart. But I really am very much obliged to you for exonerating me from making any plans on Mr.'Why?' asked Margaret. Thornton's ear. If so. 'She is as well as she ever is. Hale. Thornton's heart. Margaret stopped her merriment as soon as she saw Mrs. desirous of changing the current of the conversation. as if the words that called forth that laugh. There is some uncomfortable work going on in the town.

they always have it in their minds and every five or six years. If my son's work-people strike.—a little out of their reckoning.' said Mrs. the masters have a thing or two in their heads which will teach the men not to strike again in a hurry. But surely you are not a coward. 'That is the face of the thing. But I have no doubt they will. They are always trying at it. with a fierce snort. I have known the time when I have had to thread my way through a crowd of white. are you? Milton is not the place for cowards.' 'They are wanting higher wages. angry men.' 'Does it not make the town very rough?' asked Margaret. there comes a struggle between masters and men. They'll find themselves mistaken this time. At any rate. 'Of course it does. they want to be masters. Thornton. I am sure he will let you know if he cannot. I fancy. if they try it this time. 'That is what they always strike for. I suppose?' asked Mr. But the truth is. I will only say they are a pack of ungrateful hounds. If they turn out. I believe.' 'A strike!' asked Margaret. and make the masters into slaves on their own ground.friends. all swearing they would have Makinson's blood as soon as he ventured to 181 . Hale. 'What for? What are they going to strike for?' 'For the mastership and ownership of other people's property. But I should think he could come on Thursday. they mayn't find it so easy to go in again.

where Mr. where there were stones piled ready to drop on the heads of the crowd. 'I do not know whether I am brave or not till I am tried. Thornton came that evening to Mr. you must learn to have a brave heart. but that I fainted with the heat I had gone through.' 'South country people are often frightened by what our Darkshire men and women only call living and struggling. The note contains the address you asked for. and only waiting for an opportunity to pay it off. 'I am come partly to bring you a note from my mother. but I am afraid I should be a coward. Dr. I could not get out. take my word for it. If you live in Milton. and it needed to be a woman. Donaldson. some one had to go and tell him. Hale was reading aloud to his wife and daughter. And when I had got in. knowing nothing of it. He was shown up into the drawing-room. if they tried to force the factory doors. So I went up to the roof. and partly to apologise for not keeping to my time yesterday.' Mr. And I would have lifted those heavy stones. or he was a dead man.—so I went. But when you've been ten years among a people who are always owing their betters a grudge.' 182 . Hale's. It was as much as my life was worth. and dropped them with as good an aim as the best man there.' said Margaret rather pale. you'll know whether you are a coward or not.' 'I would do my best.show his nose out of his factory. Miss Hale. and he.

So in they came on the Friday. Thornton seemed immediately to understand her feeling. Thornton's face assumed a likeness to his mother's worst expression. for she did not wish her mother to hear that they had been making any inquiry about a doctor. hastily. which immediately repelled the watching Margaret. he told 'em he'd think about it. holding out her hand to take the note. he gave her the note without another word of explanation. He rather wanted a strike. They think trade is flourishing as it was last year. So when the men came to ask for the five per cent. knowing all the while what his answer would be. the fools will have a strike. We won't advance a penny. Mr. it would have suited his book well enough. and drew back their claim. However. they won't believe we're acting reasonably. and now he's obliged to go on working. they are claiming. 'Yes. and failed. Henderson tried a dodge with his men. and heard something about the bad prospects of trade. of course. We see the storm on the horizon and draw in our sails. Hale began to talk about the strike.'Thank you!' said Margaret. they were too deep for him. Mr. We tell them we may have to 183 . But we gave them a chance. out at Ashley. but thinking he'd strengthen their conceit of their own way. She was pleased that Mr. It suits us well enough. and give them his answer on the pay day. But we Milton masters have to-day sent in our decision. But because we don't explain our reasons. Let them. We must give them line and letter for the way we choose to spend or save our money.

waiting for their next attack. 'it related to a feeling which I do not think you would share. I imagine. a simultaneous strike.' 'Do you give your servants reasons for your expenditure. 'I said you had a human right.' 'But why. I did not hear what you said. Hale. but don't you give me credit for having some. though not the same as yours?' 184 . So here we stand.' 'I would rather not repeat it. Miss Hale. the owners of capital. I meant that there seemed no reason but religious ones.' 'A human right. or your economy in the use of your own money? We.' 'Won't you try me?' pleaded he. She was displeased with his pertinacity. 'I beg your pardon.lower wages.' 'And what will that be?' asked Mr. very low. 'could you not explain what good reason you have for expecting a bad trade? I don't know whether I use the right words. 'I know we differ in our religious opinions. but you will understand what I mean.' asked she. but did not choose to affix too much importance to her words. have a right to choose what we will do with it.' said she. 'I conjecture. his thoughts suddenly bent upon learning what she had said.' said Margaret. You will see Milton without smoke in a few days. but can't afford to raise. why you should not do what you like with your own.

' said he. I never lived in a place before where there were two sets of people always running each other down. that I had better not talk to a political economist like you. I shall apply to my father in the first instance for any information he can give me.' 'Nay. and labour. the more reason. 'I shall only be too glad to explain to you all that may seem anomalous or mysterious to a stranger. Why?' 'I don't know—I suppose because. when our doings are sure to be canvassed by every scribbler who can hold a pen. on the very face of it. and rate of wages.' 'You think it strange. if they choose.' 185 . especially at a time like this. eagerly.' 'Thank you. She replied out in her usual tone: 'I do not think that I have any occasion to consider your special religious opinions in the affair.' she answered. 'Of course. and capital. if I get puzzled with living here amongst this strange society. that there is no human law to prevent the employers from utterly wasting or throwing away all their money. However I know so little about strikes. All I meant to say is. as if to her alone.He was speaking in a subdued voice. yet each evidently regarding the interests of the other as opposed to their own. but that there are passages in the Bible which would rather imply—to me at least— that they neglected their duty as stewards if they did so. She did not wish to be so exclusively addressed. coldly. I see two classes dependent on each other in every possible way.

then smiled as she said. Who is Captain Lennox? asked Mr. Mr. 'I heard. But he caught it. Thornton. nevertheless. Thornton of himself. as Captain Lennox used to call those men in his company who questioned and would know the reason for every order. for I see you persist in misunderstanding what I said the other day. I refuse to answer your question. 186 . with a strange kind of displeasure. that I have heard some people. it has nothing to do with the fact. or. that prevented him for the moment from replying to her! Her father took up the conversation. it may be. You must take my word for it. Besides. 'I am not fond of being catechised. only someone of the workpeople. speak as though it were the interest of the employers to keep them from acquiring money—that it would make them too independent if they had a sum in the savings' bank. Thornton did not appear to hear what Margaret evidently did not wish him to know.'Who have you heard running the masters down? I don't ask who you have heard abusing the men. But who have you heard abusing the masters?' Margaret reddened. moreover.' This latter part of her sentence she addressed rather to her father than to Mr.' said Mrs Hale.' 'I dare say it was that man Higgins who told you all this. that it was considered to the advantage of the masters to have ignorant workmen— not hedge-lawyers.

'I know I do not care enough about schools.—the teaching or information one can give to a child. although I have not become so intimately acquainted with any workmen as Margaret has. my informant—spoke as if the masters would like their hands to be merely tall. Mr. But the knowledge and the ignorance of which I was speaking. I am very much struck by the antagonism between the employer and the employed. Margaret had just left the room.' Mr. But he—that is. and he was vexed at 187 . I even gather this impression from what you yourself have from time to time said. Miss Hale.'You never were fond of schools.' 'In short. I hardly know what that is. Margaret did not reply. how much is being done for education in Milton. on the very surface of things. did not relate to reading and writing. that what was meant was ignorance of the wisdom that shall guide men and women. Margaret. with sudden meekness. I am sure. large children—living in the present moment—with a blind unreasoning kind of obedience.' said Mr. in an offended tone. Thornton paused awhile before he spoke. it is very evident that your informant found a pretty ready listener to all the slander he chose to utter against the masters. Hale spoke next: 'I must confess that.' 'No!' said she. She was displeased at the personal character Mr. or you would have seen and known before this. Thornton. Thornton affixed to what she had said.

On some future day—in some millennium—in Utopia. In our infancy we require a wise despotism to govern us. I know. in the Platonic year. that my interests are identical with those of my workpeople and vice-versa. firm authority.the state of feeling between himself and her. whose origin. I will use my best discretion—from no humbug or philanthropic feeling. children and young people are the happiest under the unfailing laws of a discreet. the little annoyance. though it comes most readily to my lips as the technical term. gave a greater dignity to what he said: 'My theory is. dates before my time. have anything to do with the making or keeping them so. so that in the hours in which I come in contact with them I must necessarily be an autocrat. I agree with Miss Hale so far as to consider our people in the condition of children. However. and children—fit for a republic: but give me a constitutional monarchy in our present state of morals and intelligence. does not like to hear men called 'hands. while I deny that we.' so I won't use that word. whatever it was. long past infancy. Miss Hale. it may fall out that we are all—men women. Indeed. of which we have had rather too much in the North—to make wise laws 188 . by making him cooler and more thoughtful. I maintain that despotism is the best kind of government for them.' 'We will read Plato's Republic as soon as we have finished Homer.' 'Well. this unity may be brought into practice—just as I can fancy a republic the most perfect form of government. the masters.

but no one knew of it for certain. but I will neither be forced to give my reasons. Mr. I should say that the masses were already passing rapidly into the troublesome stage which intervenes between childhood and manhood. 'I heard a story of what happened in Nuremberg only three or four years ago.' 'Very lately. to obey the simple laws of "Come when you're called" and "Do as you're bid!" But a wise parent humours the desire for independent action. A rich man there lived alone in one of the immense mansions which were formerly both dwellings and warehouses. it is you who adopted the analogy. in the life of the multitude as well as that of the individual. Let them turn out! I shall suffer as well as they: but at the end they will find I have not bated nor altered one jot.' Margaret had re-entered the room and was sitting at her work. but she did not speak. Now. For forty years this rumour 189 . but from the little I know. nor flinch from what I have once declared to be my resolution. It was reported that he had a child.' said Margaret. recollect. so as to become the friend and adviser when his absolute rule shall cease. If I get wrong in my reasoning. the error which many parents commit in the treatment of the individual at this time is. Hale answered— 'I dare say I am talking in great ignorance.and come to just decisions in the conduct of my business—laws and decisions which work for my own good in the first instance—for theirs in the second. insisting on the same unreasoning obedience as when all he had to do in the way of duty was.

the city authorities had to take charge of him. I do not see that we have any right to impose leading-strings upon them for the rest of their time. of course. if we interfered too much with the life they lead out of the mills. in a way that I. After his death it was found to be true. and after fourteen months of riotous living. that the masters would be trenching on the independence of their hands. so I ought not to complain of your turning the simile into a weapon against me. in order to save him from starvation. Now certainly. He did not know good from evil. But. Mr.kept rising and falling—never utterly dying away. every bad counsellor had power over him. I value my own independence so highly that I can fancy no degradation greater than that 190 .' 'I used the comparison (suggested by Miss Hale) of the position of the master to that of a parent. And I say. But. I hardly know what you would mean by it then. Because they labour ten hours a-day for us. His father had made the blunder of bringing him up in ignorance and taking it for innocence. Hale. for one. the time is not come for the hands to have any independent action during business hours. when this great old child was turned loose into the world. you said he humoured his children in their desire for independent action. in order to save him from temptation and error. should not feel justified in doing. when you were setting up a wise parent as a model for us. whom he had kept up in that strange way. He had a son—an overgrown man with the unexercised intellect of a child. He could not even use words effectively enough to be a successful beggar.

' 'I beg your pardon. which. upon another (hating it as I should do most vehemently myself). apart from and jealous of his brother-man: constantly afraid of his rights being trenched upon?' 'I only state the fact. He was already standing up and preparing to go. 'You must grant me this one point. Given a strong feeling of independence in every Darkshire man. Thornton to finish what he had to say. indeed. I have an appointment at eight o'clock.' Her father made a sign to her to be silent. but is not that because there has been none of the equality of friendship between the adviser and advised classes? Because every man has had to stand in an unchristian and isolated position. and allow Mr. I am sorry to say. He might be the wisest of men.' 'But. have I any right to obtrude my views. and I must just take facts as I find them to-night.' said Margaret in a low voice. 'it seems to me that it makes all the difference in the world—. or the most powerful—I should equally rebel and resent his interference I imagine this is a stronger feeling in the North of England that in the South. without trying to account for them. would make no difference in determining how to act as things stand—the facts must be granted. merely because he has labour to sell and I capital to buy?' 191 .of having another man perpetually directing and advising and lecturing me. or even planning too closely in any way about my actions. of the manner in which he shall act.

just because your lives and your welfare are so constantly and intimately interwoven. dealing with a set of men over whom you have. Margaret. although what she said only irritated him. whether you reject the use of it or not. and not by circumstances. determined just to say this one thing. any more than the great rock he resembles can shake off—' 'Pray don't go into similes. The most proudly independent man depends on those around him for their insensible influence on his character—his life. that is not a fair way of putting it. Thornton against his will. yet uneasy at the thought that they were detaining Mr. Neither you nor any other master can help yourselves. or refuse to acknowledge that others depend upon us in more respects than the payment of weekly wages. he cannot shake them off.' said Margaret. whatever they are. but because you are a man. 'Just tell me. as long as Margaret would talk. And the most isolated of all your Darkshire Egos has dependants clinging to him on all sides. have those others been working directly or indirectly? Have they been 192 . nevertheless. We may ignore our own dependence. Miss Hale. 'not in the least because of your labour and capital positions. are you yourself ever influenced—no. smiling.' said her father. but the thing must be. for he rather liked it.'Not in the least. immense power. you have led us off once already.— but if you are ever conscious of being influenced by others. which was a mistake. God has made us so that we must be mutually dependent.

however kindly meant.' 'You are just like all strangers who don't understand the working of our system. than by any amount of interference. I should be twenty times more impressed by the knowledge that my master. hastily. in contra-distinction to the way in which the turnout will be managed in some mills. was honest. or have they been simple. I rely on the straightforward honesty of my hands. without a thought of how their actions were to make this man industrious.' said Margaret. with my ways of going on out of work-hours. punctual. No. Miss Hale. true men. just because they know I scorn to take a single dishonourable advantage. I may safely infer that the master is the same that he is a little ignorant of that spirit which suffereth long. but. laughing. quick. to act rightly for the sake of example. You 193 . and the open nature of their opposition.' 'That is a great admission. and doing it unflinchingly. to enjoin. without over-much taking thought on his part.labouring to exhort. resolute in all his doings (and hands are keener spies even than valets). 'When I see men violent and obstinate in pursuit of their rights. I believe. I do not choose to think too closely on what I am myself. and seeketh not her own. taking up their duty. that will the men be. or do an underhand thing myself It goes farther than a whole course of lectures on "Honesty is the Best Policy"—life diluted into words. that man saving? Why. ready to be moulded into any amiable form we please. no! What the master is. 'You suppose that our men are puppets of dough. if I were a workman. and is kind.' said he.

our relation ceases. which makes us into the great pioneers of civilisation. heathenish set of fellows. drawing near to Margaret. Hale good night. 'I choose to be the unquestioned and irresponsible master of my hands. Miss Hale.' He reddened at her tone. and you seem not to perceive that the duties of a manufacturer are far larger and wider than those merely of an employer of labour: we have a wide commercial character to maintain. he said in a lower voice— 'I spoke hastily to you once this evening. Cromwell would have made a capital mill-owner. will you forgive me?' 194 .' 'It strikes me.' He did not speak again for a minute. But he shook it off. They are a rough. and Mrs.' said Mr. 'Rosewater surgery won't do for them. But you know I am but an uncouth Milton manufacturer.' 'Cromwell is no hero of mine.' replied Mr. coldly. he was too much vexed.' said she. and I am afraid.forget we have only to do with them for less than a third of their lives.' 'They are that. during the hours that they labour for me. Then. I wish we had him to put down this strike for us. Hale. smiling. and bade Mr. rather rudely. and then comes in the same respect for their independence that I myself exact. 'But I am trying to reconcile your admiration of despotism with your respect for other men's independence of character. But those hours past. Thornton. 'that you might pioneer a little at home. these Milton men of yours.

' said she. But she did not put out her hand to him. 195 . smiling up in his face. and again he felt the omission. the expression of which was somewhat anxious and oppressed.'Certainly. out of which all the north-wind effect of their discussion had entirely vanished. and set it down to pride. and hardly cleared away as he met her sweet sunny countenance.

and then there was the moving of chairs. May I trouble you to come into his room down stairs?' 196 . For the world's law is ebb and flow. Donaldson came to pay his first visit to Mrs. she went quickly out of the bed-room. and with no small degree of jealousy. while Dixon was admitted. When she heard the door open. Every now and then she stopped to listen. he has to attend a pupil at this hour. She clenched her hands tight. She was sure she heard a moan. and held her breath. And always be for change prepared.' FROM THE ARABIC. the raised voices. was resumed.CHAPTER XVI THE SHADOW OF DEATH 'Trust in that veiled hand. while awaiting the doctor's coming out. she fancied she heard a moan. She went into her mother's bed-room. and paced it up and down. all the little disturbances of leave-taking. She was excluded from the room. just behind the drawing-room. Margaret was not a ready lover. Donaldson. but where she loved she loved passionately. 'My father is from home. Dr. Then all was still for a few minutes more. The mystery that Margaret hoped their late habits of intimacy had broken through. The next afternoon Dr. Hale. which leads None by the path that he would go.

assuming her rightful position as daughter of the house in something of the spirit of the Elder Brother. My father is not sufficiently alarmed. seeing a slight hesitation on the doctor's part. sir. how ridiculously grand she herself must be looking. that came back. It was a moment or two before she could utter a word. to see your face. if there is any serious apprehension. who is more like her friend—' 197 . and triumphed over all the obstacles which Dixon threw in her way. Margaret's conscious assumption of this unusual dignity of demeanour towards Dixon. Pray. and. and seemed to take away her breath. But she spoke with an air of command. I can do this. gives me a worse dread than I trust any words of yours will justify. She knew. as she asked:—' 'What is the matter with mamma? You will oblige me by telling the simple truth. which quelled the old servant's officiousness very effectually. from the surprised expression on Dixon's face. I mean. gave her an instant's amusement in the midst of her anxiety. I fear.' Then. it must be broken to him gently.She saw. Now. therefore. and not be able to read it. your mother seems to have a most attentive and efficient servant. I can nurse my mother. and the idea carried her down stairs into the room. speak. it gave her that length of oblivion from the keen sharpness of the recollection of the actual business in hand. she added— 'I am the only child she has—here.' 'My dear young lady.

Otherwise not a feature moved. he saw that she would exact the full truth. real agony. and he let her have the relief of tears. without which no medical man can rise to the eminence of Dr. before she recollected the many questions she longed to ask. sure of her power of self-control to check them.' 'But when I tell you she expressly desired that you might not be told—' 'I am not good or patient enough to submit to the prohibition. He ceased speaking.—for her gasping breath to come. and compressed her lips a little more. That dread has haunted me for many weeks.' 'Well. Then she said:— 'I thank you most truly. poor mother!' her lips began to quiver. A few tears—those were all she shed. half-smiling. for the pupils of her eyes dilated into a black horror and the whiteness of her complexion became livid. In fact. and that the withholding would be torture more acute than the knowledge of it. 198 . I did not promise. My poor. He spoke two short sentences in a low voice. though sadly enough. With the quick insight into character. 'there you are right. sir. Besides.' said he. I fear. sir.'I am her daughter. He waited for that look to go off. Margaret went very white. Donaldson. that she would know if one iota was withheld. watching her all the time.' He paused. I am sure you are too wise—too experienced to have promised to keep the secret. the secret will be known soon enough without my revealing it. It is a true. for your confidence.

'That's what I call a fine girl!' thought Dr. 'That we cannot tell. of course. and I honour your father for the sacrifice he has made. my dear young lady—nay. this once. on a thousand things. is worth years of morning calls. however mistaken I may believe him to be. although I fear I can do nothing but alleviate. 'I do not know Mr. when I come again. 'Who would have thought that little 199 . so that you may. which had slightly suffered from her pressure. Hale. But the late discoveries of medical science have given us large power of alleviation. to deepen it— so that he will be all the better prepared. Thornton. with the knowledge you have forced me to give you so abruptly. It depends on constitution.—Nay.—my visits.—a thousand little circumstances will have occurred to awaken his alarm. bear on. I shall repeat from time to time. till the fact which I could not with-hold has become in some degree familiar to you. if it will please you. without too great an effort. Before then. it is difficult to give advice. Only remember. I come as a friend. Donaldson.'Will there be much suffering?' He shook his head. and had time to examine his ringed hand. when he was seated in his carriage. my dear. And you must learn to look upon me as such.' 'My father!' said Margaret. because seeing each other—getting to know each other at such times as these. I mean. which. my dear—I saw Mr. But I should say. trembling all over. be able to give what comfort you can to your father.' Margaret could not speak for crying: but she wrung his hand at parting.—Well.

Meanwhile. to force me into speaking the truth. that her sufferings may not be too acute. Poor thing! I must see she does not overstrain herself. 'Oh.hand could have given such a squeeze? But the bones were well put together. Margaret had returned into her father's study for a moment. How shall I bear it? Such a deadly disease! no hope! Oh. to recover strength before going upstairs into her mother's presence. my God! but this is terrible. who had gone that deadly colour. I wish I had never gone to aunt Shaw's. if I were thirty years younger. What a queen she is! With her head thrown back at first. precious mother. wisdom. Another. my God. How shall I bear to see them? How can I bear papa's agony? He must not be told yet. and then bent so eagerly forward to listen. Ah! here we are at the Archers'. mamma. But I won't lose another moment of my own dear. mamma. and been all those precious years away from you! Poor mamma! how much she must have borne! Oh. could never have come round without either fainting or hysterics. not all at once.' So out he jumped. It's too late now.' 200 . and ready to attend to the calls made upon them by this family. But she wouldn't do either—not she! And the very force of her will brought her round. my God. too dreadful. sympathy. Though it's astonishing how much those thorough-bred creatures can do and suffer. It would kill him. just as if there were none other in the world. with thought. Such a girl as that would win my heart. That girl's game to the back-bone. and that gives immense power. I pray thee. experience.

and by-and-by she returned the pressure faintly. surely. 'Why. and a becoming cap put on. Margaret. and I do think I have a right to do everything for you. Mrs. 'Margaret. 'He would not. Donaldson. 'Oh. mamma. break his word to me. and caught her hand—she would not let it go. But you know I am your child. and'— 'Oh yes.' But. how strange you look! What is the matter?' And then.She ran upstairs. Her face had a little faint colour in it. She kept kissing it. she left her hand in Margaret's clasp. Hale tried to pull it away. That encouraged Margaret to speak. Margaret was surprised to see her look so calm.' 201 . in expectation of the doctor's visit. he did. It was I— blame me. and asking him any questions—have you. it was very wrong of you. I made him.' She knelt down by her mother's side. and the very exhaustion after the examination gave it a peaceful look. Hale lay back in an easy chair. You knew I did not wish you to know. mamma! let me be your nurse. Hale became more displeased. I will learn anything Dixon can teach me. Mrs. though Mrs. as if a little displeased: 'you have not been seeing Dr. with a soft white shawl wrapped around her. and the hot tears she shed bathed it. as if tired with the contest. she added. as the idea stole into her mind of what was indeed the real state of the case. child?' Margaret did not reply—only looked wistfully towards her. Dixon was not in the room.

and cry myself to sleep at nights with that notion in my head. I will try and be humble.' said Mrs.'You don't know what you are asking. mamma. I know a great deal more than you are aware of Let me be your nurse. I used to fancy you would forget me while I was away at aunt Shaw's. Hale. her lip curling. 'Yes. at any rate. and be fanned all day. anxiously.' said Mrs. Don't let Dixon's fancies come any more between you and me. mother—I am greedy of that. if you will only let me do all I can for you.' 202 . with a shudder. that I was one of those poor sickly women who like to lie on rose leaves. I suppose. Margaret. It will be such a comfort. how will Margaret bear our makeshift poverty after the thorough comfort and luxury in Harley Street. mamma. No one has ever shall ever try so hard as I will do. 'No! I won't. Let me try.' 'And I used to think. 'Dixon could not give me credit for enough true love— for as much as herself! She thought. Don't. and learn her ways. Margaret recovered herself. till I have many a time been more ashamed of your seeing our contrivances at Helstone than of any stranger finding them out. Hale. 'Don't be angry with Dixon. Do you know. please!' implored she. you shall try. Let me be in the first place. I do. Dixon and I thought you would quite shrink from me if you knew—' 'Dixon thought!' said Margaret.' 'My poor child! Well.

Margaret bore all meekly.'Oh. Dixon came in a huff. Margaret—Frederick!' At the mention of that one word. she suddenly cried out loud. Hale. as in some sharp agony. The wardrobe shelf with handles. the tears welling up into her eyes. 'He said you might live for years.' said Margaret. which was even greater than the occasion warranted. impatiently. come to me once again!' She was in violent hysterics. Hale went on. Margaret could not reply. Every place seemed pleasanter. 'While I was there. Margaret went and called Dixon in terror. They were so much more amusing than all the jog-trot Harley Street ways. I am dying. It seemed as if the thought of him upset all her composure. I am rightly punished.' 'You must not talk so. Margaret. overcame the exhaustion. she obeyed all 203 . mother! we will have you back at Helstone yet. In spite of her alarm. But.' said Mrs. and accused Margaret of having over-excited her mother.' 'I shall never see Helstone again. that served as a supper-tray on grand occasions! And the old tea-chests stuffed and covered for ottomans! I think what you call the makeshift contrivances at dear Helstone were a charming part of the life there. Oh. Little first-born child. destroyed the calm. only trusting that her father might not return. And now I shall die far away from it.' 'No never! That I must take as a just penance. Wild passionate cry succeeded to cry— 'Frederick! Frederick! Come to me. mamma! and I did so enjoy them. Mrs. I was for ever wanting to leave it.

and came in to wet the bandages again with lotion when she returned from the ball—where she'd been the 204 . and afterwards till Dixon beckoned her out of the room. and though I don't pretend I can love her as you do. just after she's gone to sleep so quietly. without a word of self-justification. and she tore up her worked pocket-handkerchief. and I ran a needle down into my finger. yet I loved her better than any other man. and stood over her in a commanding attitude as she did so. and broke it in. They put her mother to bed. sorrowfully. you'll tell master. It would have come soon enough. she bade her drink a cup of coffee which she had prepared for her in the drawing-room. after they'd cut it out. and scarlet poppies. By so doing she mollified her accuser. and. Now you'll waken your mamma. Dixon. woman. I suppose. 'I will not tell papa. with a sour face. and Margaret sate by her till she fell asleep.' said Margaret. Miss. and a pretty household I shall have of you!' 'No. and then you wouldn't have needed to fret before your time. as if doing something against the grain. I've had to keep it down this many a week. she burst into tears. or child—no one but Master Frederick ever came near her in my mind. Miss Margaret my dear. 'You shouldn't have been so curious. Ever since Lady Beresford's maid first took me in to see her dressed out in white crape. 'Ay! I knew how it would be. He could not bear it as I can. And now.' And by way of proving how well she bore it. and corn-ears.Dixon's directions promptly and well.

I don't mean no reproach to nobody.' 'Oh. Poor mamma!' 'Now don't ye set off again. and questioning. it has always been to myself. 'how often I've been cross with you. at this rate. And when you fire up. the owls can see that. Many's the time I've longed to walk it off—the thought of what was the matter with her.prettiest young lady of all—I've never loved any one like her. Why. enough to blind one's eyes. the last Sir John but two shot his steward down. But you'll never be like your mother for beauty—never. child! I like to see you showing a bit of a spirit. you're the very image of 205 . It's the good old Beresford blood.' 'You never have. I little thought then that I should live to see her brought so low. and I'll try not to be cross again. Dixon!' said Margaret. and come in something like. or I shall give way at last' (whimpering). not if you live to be a hundred. Dixon. Many a one calls you pretty and handsome. not knowing what a terrible secret you had to bear!' 'Bless you. If I've said it at times. I won't shoot you. just in private. for there's no one here fit to talk to. by way of making a little agreeable conversation. and what not. 'You'll never stand master's coming home. Go out and take a walk. Even in this smoky place. and how it must all end.' 'Mamma is very pretty still.' 'Well. there where he stood. for just telling him that he'd racked the tenants. and he'd racked the tenants till he could get no more money off them than he could get skin off a flint.

I'll watch over missus. gets to be Rector. If I thought he loved her properly. I could find in my heart to put you in a passion any day. Then she hadn't so much as a darned stocking or a cleaned pair of gloves in all her wardrobe. But now you go out. She hung about Dixon for a minute or so. 'Bless her!' said Dixon. if he should come in. and her.' 'I will go. 'She's as sweet as a nut. for to marry missus. then suddenly kissing her. and not been always reading. she went quickly out of the room. and I dare say master might. That's all. Master Frederick. The rest be hanged. reading. if he'd just minded missus. Just them three. his books are company enough for him. See what it has brought him to! Many a one who never reads nor thinks either. and as for master. thinking.— There she goes' (looking out of the window as she heard the front door shut). and Dean. for I don't know what they're in the world for. and what not.Master Frederick. But he should ha' made a deal more on her. and let the weary reading and thinking alone. as if afraid and irresolute. Master was born. There are three people I love: it's missus. I might get to love him in time. just to see his stormy look coming like a great cloud over your face. 'Poor young lady! her clothes look shabby to what they did when she came to Helstone a year ago. Miss. thinking. I suppose. And now—!' 206 .' said Margaret.

Margaret went out heavily and unwillingly enough. But the length of a street—yes. and commenting pretty freely on every passer-by. The more ill-looking of the men—the discreditable minority—hung about on the steps of the beer-houses and gin-shops. but still it would perhaps be doing the kinder thing. her lip redder. Margaret disliked the prospect of the long walk through these streets. It would not be so refreshing as a quiet country walk. Nicholas Higgins was sitting by the fire smoking. and a boisterous independence of temper and behaviour. as she went in. smoking. Bessy was rocking herself on the other side. There is a cross in every lot. And an earnest need for prayer. She began to take notice. Her step grew lighter. 207 .CHAPTER XVII WHAT IS A STRIKE? 'There are briars besetting every path.' ANON. she would go and see Bessy Higgins. apparently excited to high spirits. Which call for patient care. before she came to the fields which she had planned to reach. the air of a Milton Street—cheered her young blood before she reached her first turning. instead of having her thoughts turned so exclusively inward. loud-laughing and loud-spoken girls clustered together. She saw unusual loiterers in the streets: men with their hands in their pockets sauntering along. Instead.

third time pays for all. yo' see. wearily.' said she.' 'I wish I were there.' 'Why do you strike?' asked Margaret. while she asked Bessy how she was. and standing up.' 'This is th' third strike I've seen. This is the last I'll see. am bound to do the best I can here.Nicholas took the pipe out of his mouth. as if that was answer and explanation enough. sighing. 'But it's not for me to get sick and tired o' strikes. I grant yo'. pushed his chair towards Margaret.' said Bessy. Now I. 'Striking is leaving off work till you get your own rate of wages. where I come from I never heard of a strike. So them's the different views we take on th' strike question. See if we don't dang th' masters this time. Hoo's a deal too much set on peace and quietness at any price. 'Hoo's rather down i' th' mouth in regard to spirits. but this time we'n laid our plans desperate deep. Hoo doesn't like this strike. hoo cannot think of th' present. That's all. and beg us to come back at our own price.' said Margaret. See if they don't come. I think a bird i' th' hand is worth two i' th' bush. he leant against the chimney piece in a lounging attitude. as they are mostly all field 208 . 'Well. but hoo's better in health. 'if the people struck.' 'Hoo's so full of th' life to come. is it not? You must not wonder at my ignorance. We've missed it afore time. as you call it. Before it's ended I shall be in the Great City—the Holy Jerusalem. where I come from.' 'But.

my masters!" And be danged to 'em. "Yo' may clem us. or to give fair rate of wage.' she went on. We known when we're put upon. 'I reckon they'd have either to give up their farms. welly clemmed to death. Now.' 'Suppose they could not.' 'Well?' said he. they could not give up their farms all in a minute. the seed would not be sown. There is very hard bodily labour to be gone through.' said Bessy. too much dazed wi' clemming to know when they're put upon. down-trodden men. and say. and we'en too much blood in us to stand it. We just take our hands fro' our looms. but yo'll not put upon us. it's not so here. however much they might wish to do so. they shan't this time!' 'I wish I lived down South. 'what would become of the farmers. 'Why. and put his 'well' in the form of an interrogation.' said Margaret. I have heerd they're a pack of spiritless. nor corn to sell that year. the hay got in. He had resumed his pipe.labourers. 'There's a deal to bear there. At last he said: 'I know nought of your ways down South. or would not do the last.' He puffed away. 'There are sorrows to bear everywhere.' 209 . but they would have no hay. with very little food to give strength. and where would the money come from to pay the labourers' wages the next?' Still puffing away. the corn reaped.

smiling a little. and yet many a one went in every week at the same wage. till all were gone in that there was work for.' 'And yo' say they never strike down there?' asked Nicholas. but an old man gets racked with rheumatism.' 210 .' 'It's sometimes in heavy rain. 'No!' said Margaret. as she found herself thus caught. I thought it was but fair you should know the bad down there. and sickening heat.' said Bessy. yet he must just work on the same. dashing the ashes out of his pipe with so much vehemence that it broke. but that they've too little spirit.' 'O. 'I think they have too much sense. or else go to the workhouse.' 'An' I think. and as you felt the bad up here. 'And away from the endless.'But it's out of doors. father!' said Bessy. Bessy.' replied he. and bent and withered before his time. endless noise. and some went beggars all their lives at after. there's good and bad in everything in this world.' 'So I am. 'it's not that they've too much sense. 'I only mean. A young person can stand it.' 'I thought yo' were so taken wi' the ways of the South country.' said Margaret. abruptly. 'what have ye gained by striking? Think of that first strike when mother died— how we all had to clem—you the worst of all. and sometimes in bitter cold.

'That there strike was badly managed. And we won't.' said he. 'yo're but a young wench.' said he.'Ay. Yo'll see.' 'But all this time you've not told me what you're striking for. it'll be different this time. I just look forward to the chance of dying at my post sooner than yield. and Mary. while I take up John Boucher's cause. Folk got into th' management of it. and say we're to take less. as were either fools or not true men. 'My lass.' 'And so you plan dying. and see who'll work for 'em then. and flourishing upon. And now they come to us. none on 'em factory age. 'Why.' said Margaret. in order to be revenged upon them!' 'No.' said he. That's what folk call fine and honourable in a soldier. We'll just clem them to death first. and getting richer upon. yo' see. 'a soldier dies in the cause of the Nation—in the cause of others. and why not in a poor weaver-chap?' 'But. again.' said Margaret. there's five or six masters who have set themselves again paying the wages they've been paying these two years past. and eight childer. I reckon. the cause he dies for is just that of somebody he never clapt eyes on.' He laughed grimly. nor heerd on all his born days. and I 211 . and me—on sixteen shilling a week? Dun yo' think it's for mysel' I'm striking work at this time? It's just as much in the cause of others as yon soldier—only m'appen. 'I dunnot. wi' a sickly wife. They'll have killed the goose that laid 'em the golden eggs. but don't yo' think I can keep three people—that's Bessy. as lives next door but one.

though he's a poor goodfor-nought. as can only manage two looms at a time. and be thankful. and just walk it forward like a black bug-a-boo.' said Margaret.' said he. 'I am very ignorant. 'State o' trade! That's just a piece o' masters' humbug. to take the bated' wage. although she saw she was irritating him. That's what it is. but for them round about us—for justice and fair play. Our business being.’ said Margaret.don't take up his cause only. and we ought to help spend 'em. and they'd mind theirs. and nothing more.' 'But.—not for ourselves alone. contemptuously. and their business to bate us down to clemming point. I ask. It's not that we want their brass so much this time. than two year ago?' 'Don't ask me.—their cue. as some folks call it. yo' understand. 'the state of trade may be such as not to enable them to give you the same remuneration.—to beat us down. We help to make their profits. but I take up th' cause o' justice. Surely they will give you a reason for it. Ask th' masters! They'd tell us to mind our own business. as we've 212 . I'll tell yo' it's their part. to swell their profits. and it's ours to stand up and fight hard.' 'Yo're just a foreigner. to swell their fortunes. Th' masters keep th' state o' trade in their own hands. Why are we to have less wage now. to frighten naughty children with into being good. It is not merely an arbitrary decision of theirs. 'Much yo' know about it. Ask some of your masters. come to without reason. determined not to give way. It's rate o' wages I was talking of.

an obstinate chap. 'Mr. some o' these days he'll wheedle his men back wi' fair promises. I take it. Mr. and dress him up in coat and breeches. So I say. "hooray for the strike. and fierce. is John Thornton. as it will be wi' Thornton. He's worth fighting wi'. I grant yo'. He's like a cat.—as sleek. Thornton of Marlborough Street?' 'Aye! Thornton o' Marlborough Mill.' 'No! not in look.' said Margaret. not a man on us will go in for less wage than th' Union says is our due. Thornton's as dour as a door-nail. As for Slickson. and we're resolved to stand and fall together. It'll never be an honest up and down fight wi' him." and let Thornton.' 'Nay. He'll work his fines well out on 'em. yo' might pull him away wi' a pitch-fork ere he'd leave go.done many a time afore. We'n getten money laid by. and snarling upper lip. and yo'n just getten John Thornton. but he's not like a bulldog. But let John Thornton get hold on a notion. laughing. and their set look to it!' 'Thornton!' said Margaret. is he not? What sort of a master is he?' 'Did yo' ever see a bulldog? Set a bulldog on hind legs. Thornton is plain enough. 'I deny that.' 'He is one of the masters you are striving with. and Slickson. and cunning. that they'll just get cheated out of as soon as they're in his power again.—th' oud bulldog!' 213 . He's as slippery as an eel. with its short broad nose. and he'll stick to it like a bulldog. and Hamper. as we call him. I'll warrant. every inch on him. he is.

'I'm sick on it. evidently to finish his pipe. 'Then I'll never smoke no more i' th' house!' he replied.'Poor Bessy!' said Margaret. Miss?—there. I could have wished to have had other talk about me in my latter days. 'But why didst thou not tell me afore. and knobsticks. heavily. and hands.' 'Tobacco-smoke chokes me!' said she. I knew I ought for to keep father at home. I wish I'd letten myself be choked first.' Her father went out of doors.—and there my tongue must needs quarrel with this pipe o' his'n.' 'Poor wench! latter days be farred! Thou'rt looking a sight better already for a little stir and change. do you?' 'No!' said she.—as often as he wants to smoke—and nobody knows where it'll end. he'll want a' the comfort he can get out o' either pipe or drink afore he's done. querulously. and away fro' the folk that are always ready for to tempt a man.—and he'll go off. tenderly. than just the clashing and clanging and clattering that has wearied a' my life long. about work and wages. I shall be a deal here to make it more lively for thee. to go drink. and then so low that only Margaret heard her: 'I reckon. in time o' strike. and masters. You don't like struggling and fighting as your father does. turning round to her. 'Now am not I a fool. Bessy said passionately.—am I not. I know he will. thou foolish wench?' She did not speak for a while.' 214 . 'You sigh over it all. Beside.

day after day. and such like. for ever. and see things they never see at no other time—pictures. now and then. still in the same wild excited tone. 'But what win ye have? There are days wi' you. pleading tone. And father—all men—have it stronger in 'em than me to get tired o' sameness and work for ever. But father never was a drunkard. and more lively. I suppose. 'at times o' strike there's much to knock a man down. Only yo' see.' 215 .' and now her voice took a mournful. for that matter) in my head. I know I ha' gone and bought a four-pounder out o' another baker's shop to common on such days. as wi' other folk. though maybe. even it were only a tramp to some new place in search o' work.' replied she. for all they start so hopefully. and the same taste i' my mouth. Bless yo'r sweet pitiful face! but yo' dunnot know what a strike is yet. just because I sickened at the thought of going on for ever wi' the same sight in my eyes. he's got worse for drink. 'No—not to say drink. as it were. and the same sound in my ears. And what is 'em to do? It's little blame to them if they do go into th' gin-shop for to make their blood flow quicker. I've longed for to be a man to go spreeing. and maybe ha' done things in their passion they'd be glad to forget. and the same thought (or no thought.'But does your father drink?' asked Margaret. and where's the comfort to come fro'? He'll get angry and mad—they all do—and then they get tired out wi' being angry and mad. and looking-glass. when yo' get up and go through th' hours. just longing for a bit of a change—a bit of a fillip.

I shall go home to my mother.' 'I ask your pardon. and to whom the knowledge must come gradually. who is so ill—so ill. Bessy. who have lived in pleasant green places all your life long. You must not mention it.' 'It's all well enough for yo' to say so. and her eye lightening. The only person—the only one who could sympathise with me and help me—whose presence could comfort my mother more than any other earthly thing—is falsely accused—would run the risk of death if he came to see his dying mother. as you're not well. you're only looking on one side. that there's no outlet but death for her out of the prison of her great suffering. No other person in Milton— hardly any other person in England knows. Bessy. though I go about welldressed. and never known want or care. I've believed that. This I tell you—only you. and the little pleasure I've had in it. and there is another and a brighter to be looked to. God is just. humbly. Have I not care? Do I not know anxiety. and have food enough? Oh. or wickedness either.'Come.' said Margaret. and yet I must speak cheerfully to my father.' said Margaret. 'how you judge. 'I won't say you're exaggerating. who has no notion of her real state. although none but He knows the bitterness of our souls. perhaps. her cheek flushing. when I've thought o' my life. I was 216 . Bessy.' 'Take care. Bessy. because I don't know enough about it: but. maybe.' replied Bessy. Bessy. for that matter. 'Sometimes. and our lots are well portioned out by Him.

then it seems as if my pain was needed for the fulfilment. and men died of the waters. It's as good as an organ. Father will maybe hear yo'. and this town above a'. but somehow we must live. and as different from every day. It gives me more comfort than any other book i' the Bible. Don't dwell so much on the prophecies. No.' said she. as in Revelations? Many's the time I've repeated the verses in the seventh chapter to myself.' 'Ay.one of those doomed to die by the falling of a star from heaven. but where would I hear such grand words of promise—hear tell o' anything so far different fro' this dreary world.' and the third part of the waters became wormwood. I were loth to let her go.' 217 . "And the name of the star is called Wormwood. I cannot give up Revelations.' 'Let me come and read you some of my favourite chapters. because they were made bitter.' 'Where is your sister?' 'Gone fustian-cutting. Bessy—think!' said Margaret. He's deaved wi' my talking. but read the clearer parts of the Bible. 'God does not willingly afflict. 'come. too. just for the sound. he says it's all nought to do with the things o' to-day. and that's his business.' 'Nay." One can bear pain and sorrow better if one thinks it has been prophesied long before for one: somehow. greedily.' 'I dare say it would be wiser. and th' Union can't afford us much. otherways it seems all sent for nothing.

I dunno what to make of yo'. and rather too apt to think my own cause for grief was the only one in the world. I think a deal on her. I shall get proud if I think I can do good to yo'.' 'Yo're not like no one I ever seed. It's not often hoo's stirred up to notice much. Bessy.'Now I must go.' 'I done you good!' 'Yes. Good-bye!' Bessy stilled her rocking to gaze after her. I came here very sad. She freshens me up above a bit. that's one comfort. and that makes me stronger.' 'You won't do it if you think about it. And Mary even. But father does the like. I see. All on us must sin. She's like a breath of country air.' 'Bless yo'! I thought a' the good-doing was on the side of gentle folk. But you'll only puzzle yourself if you do. for sure.' 218 . Who'd ha' thought that face—as bright and as strong as the angel I dream of— could have known the sorrow she speaks on? I wonder how she'll sin.' 'Nor I of myself. somehow. You have done me good. And now I hear how you have had to bear for years. 'I wonder if there are many folk like her down South.

and said he would call again. silvery. which had come by the post.' 'Doctors have that anxious manner. such a thundery day was not the best in the world for the doctor to see her. She took up the other. he was very kind. and two voices Make themselves audible within my bosom. 'He was anxious.' she replied. Her father's looks became more grave and anxious: 'He does not think her seriously ill?' 'Not at present. and gone to bed early! I'm afraid. What did he say? Dixon tells me he spoke to you about her. I think. gravely.CHAPTER XVIII LIKES AND DISLIKES 'My heart revolts within me. it's professional. he says.—the other.' said he. Margaret?' 'No! not a word. and was examining it. On Margaret's return home she found two letters on the table: one was a note for her mother. she needs care. did he. and rustling. when her father came in suddenly: 'So your mother is tired.' WALLENSTEIN.' 'Only care—he did not recommend change of air?— he did not say this smoky town was doing her any harm. was evidently from her Aunt Shaw—covered with foreign post-marks—thin. 219 . and see how his medicines worked.' Margaret hesitated.

If we had a good. and I'd answer for it we'd soon set her up amongst us. papa. efficient house-servant. and the 220 . so she has taken apartments at Sorrento. papa. I think. He could not forget the subject. 'This letter is from Aunt Shaw. he kept recurring to it through the evening. Dixon could be constantly with her. She's been very much tired of late. did he?' 'It was to be nourishing. in spite of all his making light of what she told him.—could not pass from it to other things. 'she's afraid the Milton Dissenters won't appreciate them. that the first impression of possible danger was made upon his mind.Margaret saw. Mamma's appetite is pretty good. with the hot weather. which made Margaret inexpressibly sad. has not she?' 'If ever you hear or notice that your mother wishes for anything.' Another pause.' 'He did not say anything about diet. half smiling.' 'I asked him. if care will do it.' added Margaret. she has sent me some coral ornaments. but. She has got to Naples. in her father's nervous ways. with an unwillingness to receive even the slightest unfavourable idea. She has got all her ideas of Dissenters from the Quakers.' 'Yes! and that makes it all the more strange he should have thought of speaking about diet. see after that girl Mrs. Pray. I am so afraid she does not tell me always what she would like. be sure you let me know. papa. Thornton named. Then Margaret went on: 'Aunt Shaw says. But I don't think she likes Italy. and finds it too hot. and digestible.

—but so sadly. somewhat comforted. 221 . And she says she feels refreshed. Margaret?' 'I hope so. after all she had learnt of sad probabilities during the day. I'll read it to her while you make tea. 'Come. Mrs.difficulty of getting a servant.' The note proved to be a formal invitation from Mrs. Where's the note for her? She wants to see it. on laborious tiptoe. Just her old smile. 'She's awake now. and Miss Hale to dinner. He came back at last. and she clung to the idea of their going. and ready for tea. He was continually going backwards and forwards..' said Margaret. A little rest will put her quite to rights—eh. But so it was. Hale's fancy. child. even before Margaret had heard the contents of the note. It was an event to diversify the monotony of the invalid's life. Margaret. with even fretful pertinacity when Margaret objected.' But he could not settle to anything that evening. He pinched her cheek. that her father took notice of it. Thornton. on the twenty-first instant. to Mr.. She quite smiled as she saw me standing by her. Margaret was surprised to find an acceptance contemplated. The idea of her husband's and daughter's going to this dinner had quite captivated Mrs. or you'll be wanting the doctor next. I must rouge you up a little. Margaret's heart ached at his restlessness—his trying to stifle and strangle the hideous fear that was looming out of the dark places of his heart. if you look so pale as this. to see if his wife was still asleep. Take care of yourself.

earnestly. Hale. his passionate refusal to admit the existence of fear.' 'God bless you.'Nay. And the institution itself. 'who have accepted your invitations for the twenty-first?' 222 . It was a most unlucky day for Mr. anxiously. with a nervous motion of his hands. mother. Margaret? if she wishes it. Thornton that night. 'Eh! Margaret?' questioned he. being in debt. 'Well.' said she. Donaldson to see her on. 'I do think she is better since last night. the next day. 'But is it true? Yesterday was so sultry every one felt ill. let the subject be what it might. I'm sure we'll both go willingly. was only too glad to get a gratis course from an educated and accomplished man like Mr. She never would wish it unless she felt herself really stronger—really better than we thought she was.' said her father. almost inspired Margaret herself with hope. now increased by the preparation of some lectures he had promised to deliver to the working people at a neighbouring Lyceum. Hale.' So he went away to his day's duties. as she prepared to write the note of acceptance. 'Her eyes look brighter. eh. He had chosen Ecclesiastical Architecture as his subject. rather more in accordance with his own taste and knowledge than as falling in with the character of the place or the desire for particular kinds of information among those to whom he was to lecture. Margaret?' said Mr. It seemed cruel to refuse him the comfort he craved for. and her complexion clearer. And besides.' asked Mr.

'How you profess to understand these Hales. not deigning to reply to her question. laughing in her little.' 'John!' said Fanny. Donaldson had told him. 'Very probably they are quite aware of what you said yesterday. where are the notes? The Slicksons accept. Browns decline.' 'Very good. No! I think I understand how it is. I was thinking of asking the Porters. Collingbrooks accept. Horsfall. but if she had intended it. from what Dr. and Mr.—mother too great an invalid—Macphersons come. Hale is very far from well. Stephenses accept. Hale. rather sharply. 223 .' said her brother.' said Fanny. and how you never will allow that we can know anything about them. nervous way. 'I didn't say very ill. at any rate. They may not know it either. she could not have done it more thoroughly.' 'It's strange of them to accept a dinner-invitation if she's very ill. to be introduced to such people as the Stephenses and the Collingbrooks. Are they really so very different to most people one meets with?' She did not mean to vex him.' 'I'm sure that motive would not influence them. I'm really afraid Mrs. Donaldson says. Hales—father and daughter come. as the Browns can't come. John—of the great advantage it would be to them—to Mr. I mean. He chafed in silence. 'I only said very far from well.' And then he suddenly remembered that. from what Dr. however. Margaret. Young. weak. and Mr. Do you know. must be aware of the exact state of the case.'Fanny.

'They do not seem to me out of the common way,' said Mrs. Thornton. 'He appears a worthy kind of man enough; rather too simple for trade—so it's perhaps as well he should have been a clergyman first, and now a teacher. She's a bit of a fine lady, with her invalidism; and as for the girl—she's the only one who puzzles me when I think about her,—which I don't often do. She seems to have a great notion of giving herself airs; and I can't make out why. I could almost fancy she thinks herself too good for her company at times. And yet they're not rich, from all I can hear they never have been.' 'And she's not accomplished, mamma. She can't play.' 'Go on, Fanny. What else does she want to bring her up to your standard?' 'Nay! John,' said his mother, 'that speech of Fanny's did no harm. I myself heard Miss Hale say she could not play. If you would let us alone, we could perhaps like her, and see her merits.' 'I'm sure I never could!' murmured Fanny, protected by her mother. Mr. Thornton heard, but did not care to reply. He was walking up and down the dining-room, wishing that his mother would order candles, and allow him to set to work at either reading or writing, and so put a stop to the conversation. But he never thought of interfering in any of the small domestic regulations that Mrs. Thornton observed, in habitual remembrance of her old economies.


'Mother,' said he, stopping, and bravely speaking out the truth, 'I wish you would like Miss Hale.' 'Why?' asked she, startled by his earnest, yet tender manner. 'You're never thinking of marrying her?—a girl without a penny.' 'She would never have me,' said he, with a short laugh. 'No, I don't think she would,' answered his mother. 'She laughed in my face, when I praised her for speaking out something Mr. Bell had said in your favour. I liked the girl for doing it so frankly, for it made me sure she had no thought of you; and the next minute she vexed me so by seeming to think—-Well, never mind! Only you're right in saying she's too good an opinion of herself to think of you. The saucy jade! I should like to know where she'd find a better!' If these words hurt her son, the dusky light prevented him from betraying any emotion. In a minute he came up quite cheerfully to his mother, and putting one hand lightly on her shoulder, said: 'Well, as I'm just as much convinced of the truth of what you have been saying as you can be; and as I have no thought or expectation of ever asking her to be my wife, you'll believe me for the future that I'm quite disinterested in speaking about her. I foresee trouble for that girl—perhaps want of motherly care—and I only wish you to be ready to be a friend to her, in case she needs one. Now, Fanny,' said he, 'I trust you have delicacy enough to understand, that it is as great an injury to Miss Hale as to me—in fact, she would think it

a greater—to suppose that I have any reason, more than I now give, for begging you and my mother to show her every kindly attention.' 'I cannot forgive her her pride,' said his mother; 'I will befriend her, if there is need, for your asking, John. I would befriend Jezebel herself if you asked me. But this girl, who turns up her nose at us all—who turns up her nose at you—-' 'Nay, mother; I have never yet put myself, and I mean never to put myself, within reach of her contempt.' 'Contempt, indeed!'—(One of Mrs. Thornton's expressive snorts.)—'Don't go on speaking of Miss Hale, John, if I've to be kind to her. When I'm with her, I don't know if I like or dislike her most; but when I think of her, and hear you talk of her, I hate her. I can see she's given herself airs to you as well as if you'd told me out.' 'And if she has,' said he—and then he paused for a moment—then went on: 'I'm not a lad, to be cowed by a proud look from a woman, or to care for her misunderstanding me and my position. I can laugh at it!' 'To be sure! and at her too, with her fine notions and haughty tosses!' 'I only wonder why you talk so much about her, then,' said Fanny. 'I'm sure, I'm tired enough of the subject.' 'Well!' said her brother, with a shade of bitterness. 'Suppose we find some more agreeable subject. What do

you say to a strike, by way of something pleasant to talk about?' 'Have the hands actually turned out?' asked Mrs. Thornton, with vivid interest. 'Hamper's men are actually out. Mine are working out their week, through fear of being prosecuted for breach of contract I'd have had every one of them up and punished for it, that left his work before his time was out.' 'The law expenses would have been more than the hands them selves were worth—a set of ungrateful naughts!' said his mother. 'To be sure. But I'd have shown them how I keep my word, and how I mean them to keep theirs. They know me by this time. Slickson's men are off—pretty certain he won't spend money in getting them punished. We're in for a turn-out, mother.' 'I hope there are not many orders in hand?' 'Of course there are. They know that well enough. But they don't quite understand all, though they think they do.' 'What do you mean, John?' Candles had been brought, and Fanny had taken up her interminable piece of worsted-work, over which she was yawning; throwing herself back in her chair, from time to time, to gaze at vacancy, and think of nothing at her ease. 'Why,' said he, 'the Americans are getting their yarns so into the general market, that our only chance is producing them at a lower rate. If we can't, we may

shut up shop at once, and hands and masters go alike on tramp. Yet these fools go back to the prices paid three years ago—nay, some of their leaders quote Dickinson's prices now—though they know as well as we do that, what with fines pressed out of their wages as no honourable man would extort them, and other ways which I for one would scorn to use, the real rate of wage paid at Dickinson's is less than at ours. Upon my word, mother, I wish the old combination-laws were in force. It is too bad to find out that fools—ignorant wayward men like these—just by uniting their weak silly heads, are to rule over the fortunes of those who bring all the wisdom that knowledge and experience, and often painful thought and anxiety, can give. The next thing will be—indeed, we're all but come to it now—that we shall have to go and ask—stand hat in hand—and humbly ask the secretary of the Spinner' Union to be so kind as to furnish us with labour at their own price. That's what they want—they, who haven't the sense to see that, if we don't get a fair share of the profits to compensate us for our wear and tear here in England, we can move off to some other country; and that, what with home and foreign competition, we are none of us likely to make above a fair share, and may be thankful enough if we can get that, in an average number of years.' 'Can't you get hands from Ireland? I wouldn't keep these fellows a day. I'd teach them that I was master, and could employ what servants I liked.'


'Yes! to be sure, I can; and I will, too, if they go on long. It will be trouble and expense, and I fear there will be some danger; but I will do it, rather than give in.' 'If there is to be all this extra expense, I'm sorry we're giving a dinner just now.' 'So am I,—not because of the expense, but because I shall have much to think about, and many unexpected calls on my time. But we must have had Mr. Horsfall, and he does not stay in Milton long. And as for the others, we owe them dinners, and it's all one trouble.' He kept on with his restless walk—not speaking any more, but drawing a deep breath from time to time, as if endeavouring to throw off some annoying thought. Fanny asked her mother numerous small questions, all having nothing to do with the subject, which a wiser person would have perceived was occupying her attention. Consequently, she received many short answers. She was not sorry when, at ten o'clock, the servants filed in to prayers. These her mother always read,—first reading a chapter. They were now working steadily through the Old Testament. When prayers were ended, and his mother had wished him goodnight, with that long steady look of hers which conveyed no expression of the tenderness that was in her heart, but yet had the intensity of a blessing, Mr. Thornton continued his walk. All his business plans had received a check, a sudden pull-up, from this approaching turnout. The forethought of many anxious hours was thrown away, utterly wasted by their insane folly,

which would injure themselves even more than him, though no one could set any limit to the mischief they were doing. And these were the men who thought themselves fitted to direct the masters in the disposal of their capital! Hamper had said, only this very day, that if he were ruined by the strike, he would start life again, comforted by the conviction that those who brought it on were in a worse predicament than he himself,—for he had head as well as hands, while they had only hands; and if they drove away their market, they could not follow it, nor turn to anything else. But this thought was no consolation to Mr. Thornton. It might be that revenge gave him no pleasure; it might be that he valued the position he had earned with the sweat of his brow, so much that he keenly felt its being endangered by the ignorance or folly of others,—so keenly that he had no thoughts to spare for what would be the consequences of their conduct to themselves. He paced up and down, setting his teeth a little now and then. At last it struck two. The candles were flickering in their sockets. He lighted his own, muttering to himself: 'Once for all, they shall know whom they have got to deal with. I can give them a fortnight,—no more. If they don't see their madness before the end of that time, I must have hands from Ireland. I believe it's Slickson's doing,—confound him and his dodges! He thought he was overstocked; so he seemed to yield at first, when the deputation came to him,—and of


course, he only confirmed them in their folly, as he meant to do. That's where it spread from.'


ANGEL VISITS 'As angels in some brighter dreams Call to the soul when man doth sleep, So some strange thoughts transcend our wonted themes, And into glory peep.' HENRY VAUGHAN. Mrs. Hale was curiously amused and interested by the idea of the Thornton dinner party. She kept wondering about the details, with something of the simplicity of a little child, who wants to have all its anticipated pleasures described beforehand. But the monotonous life led by invalids often makes them like children, inasmuch as they have neither of them any sense of proportion in events, and seem each to believe that the walls and curtains which shut in their world, and shut out everything else, must of necessity be larger than anything hidden beyond. Besides, Mrs. Hale had had her vanities as a girl; had perhaps unduly felt their mortification when she became a poor clergyman's wife;—they had been smothered and kept down; but they were not extinct; and she liked to think of seeing Margaret dressed for a party, and discussed what she should wear, with an unsettled anxiety that amused Margaret, who had been more accustomed to society in her one in Harley Street than her mother in five and twenty years of Helstone.


'Then you think you shall wear your white silk. Are you sure it will fit? It's nearly a year since Edith was married!' 'Oh yes, mamma! Mrs. Murray made it, and it's sure to be right; it may be a straw's breadth shorter or longer-waisted, according to my having grown fat or thin. But I don't think I've altered in the least.' 'Hadn't you better let Dixon see it? It may have gone yellow with lying by.' 'If you like, mamma. But if the worst comes to the worst, I've a very nice pink gauze which aunt Shaw gave me, only two or three months before Edith was married. That can't have gone yellow.' 'No! but it may have faded.' 'Well! then I've a green silk. I feel more as if it was the embarrassment of riches.' 'I wish I knew what you ought to wear,' said Mrs. Hale, nervously. Margaret's manner changed instantly. 'Shall I go and put them on one after another, mamma, and then you could see which you liked best?' 'But—yes! perhaps that will be best.' So off Margaret went. She was very much inclined to play some pranks when she was dressed up at such an unusual hour; to make her rich white silk balloon out into a cheese, to retreat backwards from her mother as if she were the queen; but when she found that these freaks of hers were regarded as interruptions to the serious business, and as such annoyed her mother, she became grave and sedate. What had possessed the world (her world) to fidget so about her dress, she could

not understand; but that very after noon, on naming her engagement to Bessy Higgins (apropos of the servant that Mrs. Thornton had promised to inquire about), Bessy quite roused up at the intelligence. 'Dear! and are you going to dine at Thornton's at Marlborough Mills?' 'Yes, Bessy. Why are you so surprised?' 'Oh, I dunno. But they visit wi' a' th' first folk in Milton.' 'And you don't think we're quite the first folk in Milton, eh, Bessy?' Bessy's cheeks flushed a little at her thought being thus easily read. 'Well,' said she, 'yo' see, they thinken a deal o' money here and I reckon yo've not getten much.' 'No,' said Margaret, 'that's very true. But we are educated people, and have lived amongst educated people. Is there anything so wonderful, in our being asked out to dinner by a man who owns himself inferior to my father by coming to him to be instructed? I don't mean to blame Mr. Thornton. Few drapers' assistants, as he was once, could have made themselves what he is.' 'But can yo' give dinners back, in yo'r small house? Thornton's house is three times as big.' 'Well, I think we could manage to give Mr. Thornton a dinner back, as you call it. Perhaps not in such a large room, nor with so many people. But I don't think we've thought about it at all in that way.'


'I never thought yo'd be dining with Thorntons,' repeated I Bessy. 'Why, the mayor hissel' dines there; and the members of Parliament and all.' 'I think I could support the honour of meeting the mayor of Milton. 'But them ladies dress so grand!' said Bessy, with an anxious look at Margaret's print gown, which her Milton eyes appraised at sevenpence a yard. Margaret's face dimpled up into a merry laugh. 'Thank You, Bessy, for thinking so kindly about my looking nice among all the smart people. But I've plenty of grand gowns,—a week ago, I should have said they were far too grand for anything I should ever want again. But as I'm to dine at Mr. Thornton's, and perhaps to meet the mayor, I shall put on my very best gown, you may be sure.' 'What win yo' wear?' asked Bessy, somewhat relieved. 'White silk,' said Margaret. 'A gown I had for a cousin's wedding, a year ago. 'That'll do!' said Bessy, falling back in her chair. 'I should be loth to have yo' looked down upon. 'Oh! I'll be fine enough, if that will save me from being looked down upon in Milton.' 'I wish I could see you dressed up,' said Bessy. 'I reckon, yo're not what folk would ca' pretty; yo've not red and white enough for that. But dun yo' know, I ha' dreamt of yo', long afore ever I seed yo'.' 'Nonsense, Bessy!' 'Ay, but I did. Yo'r very face,—looking wi' yo'r clear steadfast eyes out o' th' darkness, wi' yo'r hair blown off from yo'r brow, and going out like rays round yo'r

forehead, which was just as smooth and as straight as it is now,—and yo' always came to give me strength, which I seemed to gather out o' yo'r deep comforting eyes,—and yo' were drest in shining raiment—just as yo'r going to be drest. So, yo' see, it was yo'!' 'Nay, Bessy,' said Margaret, gently, 'it was but a dream.' 'And why might na I dream a dream in my affliction as well as others? Did not many a one i' the Bible? Ay, and see visions too! Why, even my father thinks a deal o' dreams! I tell yo' again, I saw yo' as plainly, coming swiftly towards me, wi' yo'r hair blown back wi' the very swiftness o' the motion, just like the way it grows, a little standing off like; and the white shining dress on yo've getten to wear. Let me come and see yo' in it. I want to see yo' and touch yo' as in very deed yo' were in my dream.' 'My dear Bessy, it is quite a fancy of yours.' 'Fancy or no fancy,—yo've come, as I knew yo' would, when I saw yo'r movement in my dream,—and when yo're here about me, I reckon I feel easier in my mind, and comforted, just as a fire comforts one on a dree day. Yo' said it were on th' twenty-first; please God, I'll come and see yo'.' 'Oh Bessy! you may come and welcome; but don't talk so—it really makes me sorry. It does indeed.' 'Then I'll keep it to mysel', if I bite my tongue out. Not but what it's true for all that.' Margaret was silent. At last she said,


'Let us talk about it sometimes, if you think it true. But not now. Tell me, has your father turned out?' 'Ay!' said Bessy, heavily—in a manner very different from that she had spoken in but a minute or two before. 'He and many another,—all Hamper's men,— and many a one besides. Th' women are as bad as th' men, in their savageness, this time. Food is high,—and they mun have food for their childer, I reckon. Suppose Thorntons sent 'em their dinner out,—th' same money, spent on potatoes and meal, would keep many a crying babby quiet, and hush up its mother's heart for a bit!' 'Don't speak so!' said Margaret. 'You'll make me feel wicked and guilty in going to this dinner.' 'No!' said Bessy. 'Some's pre-elected to sumptuous feasts, and purple and fine linen,—may be yo're one on 'em. Others toil and moil all their lives long—and the very dogs are not pitiful in our days, as they were in the days of Lazarus. But if yo' ask me to cool yo'r tongue wi' th' tip of my finger, I'll come across the great gulf to yo' just for th' thought o' what yo've been to me here.' 'Bessy! you're very feverish! I can tell it in the touch of your hand, as well as in what you're saying. It won't be division enough, in that awful day, that some of us have been beggars here, and some of us have been rich,—we shall not be judged by that poor accident, but by our faithful following of Christ.' Margaret got up, and found some water and soaking her pockethandkerchief in it, she laid the cool wetness on Bessy's forehead, and began to chafe the stone-cold feet. Bessy


and never wiped away.' replied Bessy. It'll not take long for to make 'em give in. and allowed herself to be soothed.' 'And do they think the strike will mend this?' asked Margaret.shut her eyes.' Just then. being women. and I'll get it this time. grinning and fighting at each other. and they'll soon find out they'd better give us our five per cent 238 . in course. But masters has getten th' upper hand somehow. kept plaining. th' Union does. they are picked off into the pit. till even while they fight. and staying to tell me each one their tale. if yo'd had one body after another coming in to ask for father. 'They do say trade has been good for long. Some spoke o' deadly hatred. and made my blood run cold wi' the terrible things they said o' th' masters. and how their childer could na sleep at nights for th' hunger. and the masters has made no end o' money. nor heeded). At last she said. It's like th' great battle o' Armageddon. now that food is getting dear.—but more. as is natural. 'Ay! and I'll fight on too. for they've getten a pretty lot of orders. 'They say so. Nicholas Higgins came in. 'Yo'd ha' been deaved out o' yo'r five wits. but. as well as me. He caught his daughter's last words. all under contract. they wanten their share o' th' profits. and th' Union says they'll not be doing their duty if they don't make the masters give 'em their share. how much father doesn't know. the way they keep on. and I'm feared they'll keep it now and evermore. of the price o' meat. plaining (wi' the tears running down their cheeks. and.

By th' twenty-first. He's one o' th' oudfashioned sort. if yo' like. the morning after he gives the five per cent. but arter all. Hamper. Tell him. I should think he were going to die if he spoke me civil. I reckon. and she was rather confirmed in this idea by the evident anxiety Bessy showed to hasten her departure. and could na run for the life on 'em. Eh! but yo'll have a lot of prize mill-owners at Thornton's! I should like to get speech o' them. Ne'er meets a man bout an oath or a curse.' Margaret fancied from his manner that he must have been drinking. his bark's waur than his bite. What time is yo'r dinner?' Before Margaret could answer. I'd tell 'em my mind. and yo' may tell him one o' his turn-outs said so. he'll be pottered in his brains how to get 'em done in time. my masters! I know who'll win.than lose the profit they'll gain. as from the excited way in which he spoke. Bessy said to her. let alone the fine for not fulfilling the contract. not so much from what he said. when they're a bit inclined to sit still after dinner. and will help him through his contract in no time. I may come and see yo' dressed for Thornton's. You'll have 'em all there. My master. 'Thornton's! Ar' t' going to dine at Thornton's? Ask him to give yo' a bumper to the success of his orders. I'd speak up again th' hard way they're driving on us!' 239 . there's seven hundred'll come marching into Marlborough Mills. Higgins broke out. I reckon. Aha.— 'The twenty-first—that's Thursday week.

he triumphed over their fears with an evident relief. Bessy! I shall look to see you on the twenty-first. Hale. to arrange them. Only Dixon croaked for ever into Margaret's ear. if you're well enough. and that she could recover permanently. there was a gloomy brooding appearance of discontent. 'Good-bye. who was perplexed by the workings of the system into the midst of which he was thrown.'Good-bye!' said Margaret. even to their uninstructed eyes. although he had never had an idea of the serious nature of their apprehensions. However. and was depressed with their earnestly told tales of suffering and long-endurance. from a distant county. with his experience as a master. for out-of-doors. Margaret defied the raven. and laid it before Mr. hastily. They needed this gleam of brightness in-doors. for him. Hale had his own acquaintances among the working men. They would have scorned to speak of what they had to bear to any one who might. which he 240 .' The medicines and treatment which Dr. Hale. and each was eager to make him a judge. Then Mr. Hale brought all his budget of grievances. from his position. but Margaret. and to bring witness of his own causes for irritation. which proved how much his glimpse into the nature of them had affected him. Thornton. As for Mr. and would hope. did her so much good at first that not only she herself. Donaldson had ordered for Mrs. But here was this man. and explain their origin. have understood it without their words. began to hope that he might have been mistaken. Mr.

and that in the waning a certain number of masters. which brought him that very evening to offer her—for the delicacy which made him understand that 241 . employment with a lordly hand. might be his own in the fluctuations of commerce. and be no more seen among the ranks of the happy and prosperous. as well as of men. speaking so of the fate that. Of course. as a master. who were passed by in the swift merciless improvement or alteration who would fain lie down and quietly die out of the world that needed them not. He spoke as if this consequence were so entirely logical. that neither employers nor employed had any right to complain if it became their fate: the employer to turn aside from the race he could no longer run. who envied the power of the wild bird. he was not likely to have more sympathy with that of the workmen. on sound economical principles. that can feed her young with her very heart's blood. She could hardly thank him for the individual kindness. there must always be a waxing and waning of commercial prosperity. but felt as if they could never rest in their graves for the clinging cries of the beloved and helpless they would leave behind.always did. as trade was conducted. must go down into ruin. Margaret's whole soul rose up against him while he reasoned in this way—as if commerce were everything and humanity nothing. with a bitter sense of incompetency and failure—wounded in the struggle—trampled down by his fellows in their haste to get rich—slighted where he once was honoured—humbly asking for. showing that. instead of bestowing.

He said this more expressly and particularly. and serenely followed them out to their full consequences? The discord jarred upon her inexpressibly. as he learnt from Dr. unless she invoked heavenly strength to bear the sight—that. on the very day before Mrs. she should cry aloud for her mother. How reconcile those eyes. The more because of the gathering woe of which she heard from Bessy. as she looked at him. Thornton's dinner-party. She saw it in his pitying eyes. and listened to him. which she was vainly trying to persuade herself might yet be averted from her mother—all conspired to set Margaret's teeth on edge. spoke differently. To be sure. with the hard-reasoning. the father. found him arguing the point with 242 . Nicholas Higgins. Donaldson.he must offer her privately—every convenience for illness that his own wealth or his mother's foresight had caused them to accumulate in their household. that voice. dry. when Margaret. and said that he knew secrets of which the exoteric knew nothing. Mrs. merciless way in which he laid down axioms of trade. dumb darkness? Yet he knew all. He had been appointed a committee-man. and which. His presence. admitted to the awful secret. which she held shut up in the most dark and sacred recess of her heart—not daring to look at it. some day soon. going in to speak to Bessy. except Dr. after the way he had spoken—his bringing before her the doom. She heard it in his grave and tremulous voice. Donaldson and Dixon. Hale might possibly require. What business had he to be the only person. and no answer would come out of the blank.

'It's no use. even while it went to his heart. Hoo cannot live long a' this'n. gave him. as suited her great clumsy fingers). with both hands on the rather high mantel-piece. to go to her fustian-cutting. Bessy was rocking herself violently backwards and forwards. she stole to a seat on the squab near Bessy. and at other times enraging his more energetic and sanguine neighbour by his want of what the latter called spirit. and crying aloud when she got away from her father's presence. as was her wont (Margaret knew by this time) when she was agitated. Higgins. and evidently longing to be away from a scene that distressed her. swaying himself a little on the support which his arms. with a kind of despair that irritated Higgins. and greeted her with a gruff. Her sister Mary was tying on her bonnet (in great clumsy bows. and looking wildly into the fire. Boucher stood. thus placed. It was very evident that Higgins was in a passion when Margaret entered. but not unfriendly nod. her finger on her lips. She stood for a moment at the door—then. Hoo's just sinking away—not for want o' meat hersel'— but because hoo cannot stand th' sight o' the little ones 243 . blubbering out loud the while. as an unskilful workman with a large family depending upon him for support. the neighbour of whom she had frequently heard mention. Margaret came in upon this scene.Boucher. It was only John Boucher that took no notice whatever who came in and who went out. Mary hurried out of the house catching gladly at the open door. Nicholas saw her come in. as by turns exciting Higgins's compassion.

—as he is. too weak to cry. I tell thee. to Margaret. on Wednesday sennight—and it's now Tuesday i' th' second week—that afore a fortnight we'd ha' the masters coming a-begging to us to take back our' work. 'Hou'd up. an' chase yo' through heaven wi' my hatred. Ay. I ha' getten brass.' Here the deep sobs choked the poor man. lad! Hoo's never looked up sin' he were born. a-seeking a smooth place to kiss. lad! I will. and we'll go buy the chap a sup o' milk an' 244 . be domned to th' whole cruel world o' yo'.—our lile Jack. who wakened me each morn wi' putting his sweet little lips to my great rough fou' face. Ay. that could na leave me th' best wife that ever bore childer to a man!" An' look thee. Nicholas. An' I tell thee plain—if hoo dies as I'm 'feard hoo will afore we've getten th' five per cent. I'll fling th' money back i' th' master's face. and hoo loves him as if he were her very life. "Be domned to yo'. clemming! Five shilling a week may do well enough for thee.—and there's our lile Jack lying a-bed. before he could gain courage to speak. but just every now and then sobbing up his heart for want o' food. with eyes brimful of tears. lad.—our lile Jack.—I will. at our own wage—and time's nearly up.—an' he lies clemming. man. and one on 'em a wench who can welly earn her own meat. Thou saidst. wi' but two mouths to fill.—for I reckon he'll ha' cost me that precious price. and Nicholas looked up. But it's clemming to us.—if yo're leading me astray i' this matter. and th' whole pack o' th' Union. I'll hate thee. Thy lile Jack shall na' clem.clemming. and say.

If I'm going wrong when I think I'm going right. An' th' Union. but once banded together. it's their sin. What's mine's thine. Nicholas. John. each separate. and hopeless.' The man turned round at these words. that its very calm forced Margaret to weep. dunnot lose heart. there's no help for us but having faith i' th' Union. i' thou'st i' want. Yo' may be kind hearts. who ha' left me where I am. ere yo' dare go again th' Union. and yo just see th' way th' masters 'll come round. that a worser tyrant than e'er th' masters were says "Clem to death. and go to th' tyrants a-seeking work. as he fumbled in a tea-pot for what money he had.—turned round a face so white. 'Yo' know well. in my ignorance. and gaunt. 'I lay yo' my heart and soul we'll win for a' this: it's but bearing on one more week." Yo' know it well. An' I say again. I have.—Beli' me. So dunnot turn faint-heart. and see 'em a' clem to death. close following: 'So help me God! man alive—if I think not I'm doing best for thee. praying on us to come back to our mills. They'll win the day. I ha' thought till my brains ached. sure enough. and for all on us. and tear-furrowed. Only.a good four-pounder this very minute.—that's to say. I—will take care yo've enough for th' childer and th' missus. yo've no more pity for a man than a wild hunger-maddened wolf. for a' yo're one on 'em.' Nicholas had his hand on the lock of the door—he stopped and turned round on Boucher. man!' continued he. see if they dunnot!' 245 .

as knew no more nor him how to manage.' 246 . 'Boucher's been in these days past. Don't let them know it comes from any one but your father. They had hardly uttered the sighing. and tho' I've been angry. if sorrow comes to them they love. But yo' heard him say. a telling me of his fears and his troubles. even if it weren't so much as they ordered. they'd tell him (if I cotched 'em one by one). many a time afore now. "So help me God!"' 'Yes!' said Margaret. yet God lets 'em live—ay. just as good as Solomon. I reckon. yet.' she said. It will be but little. But I'd just like for to see th' mean as make th' Union.Not one word had Margaret or Bessy spoken. 'Let me bring you what money I can spare. and put 'em one by one face to face wi' Boucher. yo' see. that the eyes of each called to the other to bring up from the depths of her heart. She did not cry—she only quivered up her breath. 'I never thought to hear father call on God again.—let me bring you a little food for that poor man's children. I know. an' gives 'em some one to love. it hurts 'em as sore as e'er it did Solomon. At last Bessy said. wi' him an' his wife. Perhaps it's as well such a one as Boucher has th' Union to see after him.' Bessy lay back without taking any notice of what Margaret said. He's but a weak kind o' chap. An'. but he's a man for a' that. 'My heart's drained dry o' tears. I can't make it out. he might go back and get what he could for his work. if they heard him. and be loved by. all folks isn't wise.

telling more by far than his words of what he had to suffer? She took out her purse. if neighbours doesn't see after neighbours. for all we're a bit pressed oursel'. Yo' see. the power of helping one whom she evidently regarded as having a claim upon them.' Bessy seemed almost afraid lest Margaret should think they had not the will. now he knows. 'Thank yo'. But father won't let 'em want. she had not much in it of what she could call her own.Margaret sat utterly silent. as much as for Boucher. and a' they could pawn has gone this last twelvemonth. But I thank yo' all the same. 'father is sure and positive the masters must give in within these next few days.' Bessy seemed much quieter to-day. for it just makes my heart warm to yo' more and more. she looked so faint and weary that Margaret became alarmed. How was she ever to go away into comfort and forget that man's voice.' said Bessy.' she went on. for I 247 .—I thank yo' for mysel'. 'It's nout. with the tone of unutterable agony. There's many on 'em gets no more. but fearfully languid a exhausted. to a certain degree.—and her being so cranky. As she finished speaking. and. 'Besides. Yo're not to think we'd ha' letten 'em clem. but what she had she put into Bessy's hand without speaking. 'It's not death yet. Boucher's been pulled down wi' his childer. and is not so bad off. I had a fearfu' night wi' dreams—or somewhat like dreams.—leastways does not show it as he does.—that they canna hould on much longer. I dunno who will.

were wide awake—and I'm all in a swounding daze today. m'appen I should say—but th' light is dim an' misty to-day. and I'll may be sleep. but death is not far off. if th' cough will let me.—only yon poor chap made me alive again. No! it's not death yet. Good night—good afternoon.' 248 . Ay! Cover me up.

and the old Helstone habits of thought returning. 'But it must be very sad to be ill in one of those little back streets. Margaret? Mr. What could you do for her. they don't speak as if they were.' (Her kindly nature prevailing. Perhaps. who. Margaret went home so painfully occupied with what she had heard and seen that she hardly knew how to rouse herself up to the duties which awaited her. I care not. think you?' 'No.) 'It's bad enough here. at any rate. I have it.CHAPTER XX MEN AND GENTLEMEN 'Old and young. with a little of the jealousy which one invalid is apt to feel of another.' said Margaret. let 'em all eat. DUKE OF NORMANDY. always looked to Margaret's return from the shortest walk as bringing in some news. boy.' ROLLO. Let 'em have ten tire of teeth a-piece. dolefully.' said Mrs. mamma! I don't believe they are very poor. I think. Bessy's illness is consumption—she won't want wine. Hale.—at least. 'And can your factory friend come on Thursday to see you dressed?' 'She was so ill I never thought of asking her. Would a bottle of that do her good. now that she was unable to go out. Thornton has sent me some of his old port wine since you went out. made of our 249 . the necessity for keeping up a constant flow of cheerful conversation for her mother. 'Dear! Everybody is ill now. and. I might take her a little preserve.

Hale called her unfeeling for saying this. Then she said: 'After all.dear Helstone fruit. we may have been doing wrong. and go off and away to smart parties. Mrs. she did not think far enough for that. She directed Margaret to pack up a basket in the very drawing-room. and she herself had left money with Bessy. those were no true friends who helped to prolong the struggle by assisting the turn outs. It made her restlessly irritated till she could do something. Thornton. after the sorrow I have seen to-day?' exclaimed Margaret. and telling her mother of what she had seen and heard at Higgins's cottage. And this Boucherman was a turn-out. when he came up-stairs. No! there's another family to whom I should like to give—Oh mamma. mamma! how am I to dress up in my finery. Margaret did not care if their gifts had prolonged the strike. that it would not signify if it did not go till morning. which had ended in conversation. to be sent there and then to the family. 250 . in her present excited state. as she knew Higgins had provided for their immediate wants. fresh from giving a lesson to Mr. Hale by his wife. and was almost angry with her for saying. It was only the last time Mr. and never gave herself breathing-time till the basket was sent out of the house. Thornton was here that he said. as was their wont. Hale excessively. was he not?' The question was referred to Mr. It distressed Mrs. bursting the bounds she had preordained for herself before she came in.

if prolonged. but he had a long talk with his wife. he came back with a more consoling and cheerful account than Margaret had dared to hope for. and then he made an unsatisfactory compromise. why. seeing the plenty provided by Mrs. promised to ask for an Infirmary order for her. indeed. who were masters down-stairs in their father's absence. indeed.Mr. the final result were not. 251 . and. Nevertheless. it was clear enough that the kindest thing was to refuse all help which might bolster them up in their folly. he recalled all that had seemed so clear not half-anhour before. it was very true what Mr. by a reaction of his imagination. Thornton said. he would go and see him the first thing in the morning. But. as he proposed. as it had often been before. as it came out of Mr. and somewhat lavishly used by the children. Hale listened. what she had said the night before had prepared her father for so much worse a state of things that. Thornton's lips. Hale went the next morning. and tried to be as calm as a judge. that as the strike. and try and find out what could be done for him. as a general rule. he described all as better than it really was. Hale. Mr. as to this Boucher. His wife and daughter had not only done quite right in this instance. must end in the masters' bringing hands from a distance (if. but he did not see for a moment how they could have done otherwise. He did not find Boucher at home. the invention of some machine which would diminish the need of hands at all).

' Margaret's black hair was too thick to be plaited. I see furniture here which our labourers would never have thought of buying. and see the man himself.' Bessy.' said Mr. too. and measure by a different standard.—doesn't she? Mrs. Her only pleasure now in decking herself out was in thinking that her mother would take delight in seeing her dressed. girlish toilettes that she and Edith had performed scarcely more than a year ago. Shaw's coral couldn't have come in better. Still she was so weak that she seemed to have entirely forgotten her wish to see Margaret dressed—if. indeed. throwing the drawing-room door open. was rather better this day. Hale. 'I hardly know as yet how to compare one of these houses with our Helstone cottages. She blushed when Dixon. and food commonly used which they would consider luxuries. ma'am. It just gives the right touch of colour. to go where she did not care to be— her heart heavy with various anxieties—with the old. now that their weekly wages are stopped.'But I will go again. up here in Milton. it needed rather to be twisted round and round. Miss Margaret. merry. Otherwise. and have 252 . One had need to learn a different language. yet for these very families there seems no other resource. you would have been too pale. 'Miss Hale looks well. but the pawn-shop. that had not been the feverish desire of a half-delirious state. ma'am. made an appeal for admiration. Margaret could not help comparing this strange dressing of hers.

—taking you as Lady Beresford used to take me.its fine silkiness compressed into massive coils. like small arrows for length. Margaret! how I should like to be going with you to one of the old Barrington assemblies.—much rather. Look what they have instead of game. there lay heavy coral beads. with her London cultivated taste. She kept its weight together by two large coral pins. I shall like to hear how they manage these things in Milton. Hale would have been more than interested. darling! Be sure you notice the dinner well. Particularly the second course. and on her neck. Thornton's rigorous laws of hospitality. and then were gathered into a large spiral knot behind. mamma. dear. that of each separate dainty enough should be provided for all the guests to partake. if she had seen the sumptuousness of the dinner-table and its appointments. Careless to 253 .' Mrs. 'Oh.' 'Nonsense.' Margaret kissed her mother for this little burst of maternal vanity. Her white silk sleeves were looped up with strings of the same material. that encircled her head like a crown. but she could hardly smile at it.— she would have been astonished. But it was one of Mrs. 'I would rather stay at home with you. just below the base of her curved and milk-white throat. Margaret. if they felt inclined. she felt so much out of spirits. felt the number of delicacies to be oppressive one half of the quantity would have been enough. and the effect lighter and more elegant.

Hale was anxiously punctual to the time specified. Every cover was taken off. it was part of her pride to set a feast before such of her guests as cared for it. Mr. He will be here directly. He had never known— though he might have imagined. though he was denying himself the personal expenditure of an unnecessary sixpence. May I beg you to take a seat?' Mr. and the apartment blazed forth in yellow silk damask and a brilliantly-flowered carpet. and presented a strange contrast to the bald ugliness of the look-out into the great mill-yard. he was glad to see the old magnificence of preparation. which darkened the summer evening before its time. saying. 'My son was engaged up to the last moment on business. Every corner seemed filled up with ornament. casting a shadow down from its many stories. Margaret and her father were the first to arrive. and had the capability to relish—any kind of society but that which depended on an exchange of superb meals and even now. as it was to be. There was no one up-stairs in the drawing-room but Mrs. The mill loomed high on the left-hand side of the windows. Thornton spoke. until it became a weariness to the eye. Her son shared this feeling. 254 . Mr. Hale was standing at one of the windows as Mrs. where wide folding gates were thrown open for the admission of carriages.abstemiousness in her daily habits. and had more than once regretted that the invitations for this dinner had been sent out. Thornton and Fanny. still. Hale. He turned away.

and oily machinery—and the noise is perfectly deafening. Hale!' said Fanny. there are no sounds to come from the mill. when all the windows are open. and feel how all belongs to him. in an instant. the weight of care and anxiety 255 . But the very business (of which I spoke. always stern. and that his is the head that directs it. I am not become so fine as to desire to forget the source of my son's wealth and power. for she saw. Just now.' 'I have heard noise that was called music far more deafening. and as for the continual murmur of the work-people. Besides. there is not such another factory in Milton. deepened into dark anger. The engine-room is at the street-end of the factory. If I think of it at all. might be annoying!' 'I agree with you. as perhaps you have heard.' 'I meant that the smoke and the noise—the constant going out and coming in of the work-people.'Don't you find such close neighbourhood to the mill rather unpleasant at times?' She drew herself up: 'Never. had reference to the steps he is going to take to make them learn their place.' The expression on her face. 'There is a continual smell of steam. as she said this. One room alone is two hundred and twenty square yards. I connect it with my son. except in summer weather. Nor did it clear away when Mr. Mr. we hardly hear it. it disturbs me no more than the humming of a hive of bees. the hands have been ungrateful enough to turn out. Thornton entered the room. when you entered).

about what. just parted in the interest of listening to what her companion said—the head a little bent forwards. He inquired after Mrs. Mr. where the light caught on the glossy raven hair. as if from out their light beamed some gentle influence of repose: the curving lines of the red lips. now there. She was talking to Fanny. he could not hear. And as he looked with this intention. although his guests received from him a greeting that appeared both cheerful and cordial. and taper hands. laid lightly across each other. now glancing here.which he could not shake off. to understand how far she agreed with her father. the round white arms. but without any purpose in her observation. he saw that no dissenting shadow crossed her face. so as to make a long sweeping line from the summit. though she was perfectly unconscious of the fact. and heard Mr. He knew it was the first time their hands had met. He shook hands with Margaret. that she ought to go always thus apparelled. and glancing at Margaret. to the smooth ivory tip of the shoulder. He had never seen her in such dress before and yet now it appeared as if such elegance of attire was so befitting her noble figure and lofty serenity of countenance. and he contrasted them uneasily with the large soft eyes that looked forth steadily at one object. her wandering eyes. hopeful account. Hale's sanguine. but perfectly motionless in their pretty attitude. but he saw his sister's restless way of continually arranging some part of her gown. Hale. Thornton sighed as he took in all this with 256 . he was struck anew with her great beauty.

he knew what she was doing—or not doing—better than he knew the movements of any one else in the room. and was restless under this apparent neglect. Mr. Fanny left Margaret's side. the ladies. she did not catch the name. Thornton felt that in this influx no one was speaking to Margaret. and the rest of the gentlemen—all Milton men. Only. which was warmly contested. But he never went near her himself. Thornton. the stranger. for the most part. and helped her mother to receive her guests. Margaret caught the clue to the general conversation. More people came—more and more. but with all his heart and soul. and so much amused by watching other people. with an effort. were silent. Horsfall. grew interested and listened attentively. the grounds of 257 . Hale. it was referred to Mr. Somebody took her down to dinner. that she never thought whether she was left unnoticed or not. and threw himself.one of his sudden comprehensive glances. whose visit to the town was the original germ of the party. who had hardly spoken before. into a conversation with Mr. Margaret was so unconscious of herself. nor did he seem much inclined to talk to her. he did not look at her. but who now gave an opinion. employing themselves in taking notes of the dinner and criticising each other's dresses. And then he turned his back to the young ladies. Mr. Some dispute arose. There was a very animated conversation going on among the gentlemen.— were giving him answers and explanations. was asking questions relative to the trade and manufactures of the place.

and he knew it. But now.which were so clearly stated that even the opponents yielded. yet simple and modest. She knew enough now to understand many local interests—nay. was so straightforward. There was no need to struggle for their respect. and what he did say was a little formal. At any rate. either of over-eagerness or of that kind of vexed annoyance which seemed ready to pre-suppose that he was unjustly judged. When he had come to their house. He was regarded by them as a man of great force of character. as to be thoroughly dignified. and yet felt too proud to try and make himself better understood. his whole manner as master of the house. Margaret's attention was thus called to her host. which Margaret had missed before. among his fellows. even some of the technical words employed by the eager mill-owners. there was no uncertainty as to his position. and entertainer of his friends. no allusion was made to the strike 258 . of power in many ways. there had been always something. they talked in desperate earnest. She was surprised to think how much she enjoyed this dinner. To Margaret herself he hardly spoke at all. Margaret thought she had never seen him to so much advantage. and the security of this gave a fine grand quietness to his voice and ways. She wondered that with all this dwelling on the manufactures and trade of the place. He had it. She silently took a very decided part in the question they were discussing. He was not in the habit of talking to ladies.—not in the used-up style that wearied her so in the old London parties.

for he was as iron a chap as any in Milton. But it was an accident that might happen to themselves any day. If in her cooler moments she might not approve of their spirit in all things.then pending. the men were cutting their own throats. as they had done many a time before. It was rather dull for Margaret after dinner. but still they seemed to defy the old limits of possibility. not merely because she caught her father's eye to brighten her sleepiness up. She did not yet know how coolly such things were taken by the masters. and savour of boasting. he must lose by this turnout. still there was much to admire in their forgetfulness of themselves and the present. One or two thought Thornton looked out of spirits. in their attempt to alter one iota of what Thornton had decreed. And they chuckled inwardly at the idea of the workmen's discomfiture and defeat.' they must take the consequence. She liked the exultation in the sense of power which these Milton men had. in their anticipated triumphs over all 259 . and put themselves into the hands of a rascally set of paid delegates. The hands had mistaken their man in trying that dodge on him. in a kind of fine intoxication. and what yet should be. It might be rather rampant in its display. and. She was glad when the gentlemen came. but if they would be fools. caused by the recollection of what had been achieved. of course. and Thornton was as good to manage a strike as any one. as having only one possible end. To be sure. but because she could listen to something larger and grander than the petty interests which the ladies had been talking about.

close at her elbow: 'I could see you were on our side in our discussion at dinner. to find from what Mr.' 'I suspect my "gentleman" includes your "true man. A cast-away lonely as Robinson Crusoe—a prisoner immured in a dungeon for life—nay. A man is to me a higher and a completer being than a gentleman. I don't quite understand your application of the word. his strength.' 'What do you mean?' asked Margaret. I mean. Horsfall said. however. Morison he spoke about.—to life—to time—to eternity. even a saint in Patmos." we consider him not merely with regard to his fellow-men. his faith.inanimate matter at some future time which none of them should live to see. Miss Hale?' 'Certainly. that there were others who thought in so diametrically opposite a manner.—were you not. He cannot be a gentleman—is he?' 'I am not quite the person to decide on another's gentlemanliness.' 'I take it that "gentleman" is a term that only describes a person in his relation to others. Horsfall's account. has his endurance. as the Mr. best described by being spoken of as "a man. but when we speak of him as "a man. Miss Hale. But I should say that this Morison is no true man." I am rather weary of this 260 . but in relation to himself. But then I know so little about it. I don't know who he is. I merely judge him from Mr."' 'And a great deal more. I was surprised. She was rather startled when Mr. 'We must understand the words differently. I differ from you. Thornton spoke to her. you would imply.

'All those arrangements have been made. and suggesting what course had best be pursued. lifted his eyebrows a very little. They were evidently talking of the turn-out. We are open enemies. and often. and then replied: 'I take the risk.' Then came a hurried murmur. whose speeches she could not hear. the better to impress his words. Thornton's arm. while the full simplicity of the noun "man. Slickson. which came steady and firm as the boom of a distant minute gun. some difficulties named by Mr. 261 .' Still some more fears were urged. You need not join in it unless you choose.' Some doubts were implied. Mr." and the adjective "manly" are unacknowledged—that I am induced to class it with the cant of the day.' Margaret thought a moment." which seems to me to be often inappropriately used. Thornton gave. 'I'm not afraid of anything so dastardly as incendiarism. too.—but before she could speak her slow conviction. Thornton say: 'That has been done. though she could guess at their import by the short clear answers Mr. She heard Mr. in which two or three joined. Thornton moved slightly away. with such exaggerated distortion of meaning. who took hold of Mr.word "gentlemanly. and I can protect myself from any violence that I apprehend. he was called away by some of the eager manufacturers. And I will assuredly protect all others who come to me for work.

Stephens. in the midst of all his business. whether she ought to be proud or ashamed of her brother's conduct. in truth. and so beautiful. 'No! from the south of England—Hampshire. but. Thornton! Does he really find time to read with a tutor. as well and as fully as you do. he reads with young men.' was the cold. from Mrs. Her shame was interrupted by the dispersion of the guests. like all people who try and take other people's 'ought' for the rule of their feelings. she was inclined to blush for any singularity of action. to ask him some other question about the strike.' Mr. I believe. Hale. no! That is Mr. Horsfall took him a little on one side.' 'Mr. and. indifferent answer. in hopes of getting him known. Slickson was catechising Fanny on the same subject. Slickson's manner.They know my determination by this time. it was to inquire who she herself was—so quiet. My brother John goes to him twice a week.—and this abominable strike in hand as well?' Fanny was not sure. 262 . if you would like to have one. 'A Milton lady?' asked he. talking now to Mr. Horsfall's?' 'Oh dear. that is to say. so stately. and so he begged mamma to ask them here. as the name was given. her father. 'Who is that fine distinguished-looking girl? a sister of Mr. we have some of their prospectuses. He gives lessons. as Margaret conjectured. I believe. Mrs.

' ELLIOTT. like Leezie Lindsay's gown o' green satin. Margaret and her father walked home.' 'I should be. But he spoke with his usual coolness to the others. I am glad you think he looks anxious. just before we came away. 'I rather think Thornton is not quite easy in his mind about this strike. who all look upon him as what the Bible calls a "hard man. but his face strikes me as anxious. He seemed very anxious to-night.' 263 .' she was off with her father— ready to dance along with the excitement of the cool. considering what we and all our petty rights are in the sight of the Almighty. in the ballad."—not so much unjust as unfeeling.' 'I should wonder if he were not. He must know of the growing anger and hardly smothered hatred of his workpeople.CHAPTER XXI THE DARK NIGHT 'On earth is known to none The smile that is not sister to a tear. I cannot bear to think how coolly Mr. It would take a good deal to stir him from his cool manner of speaking. When I remember Boucher's half mad words and ways. when they suggested different things. the streets clean. Thornton spoke. standing upon his "rights" as no human being ought to stand. if I were he. The night was fine.' 'So he did after dinner as well. clear in judgment. and with her pretty white silk. 'kilted up to her knee. fresh night air.

I suspect. and by and by I shall like the kind.—of unusual intellect.' 'Oh. it was evident the man was of a passionate. Just the character I should have thought beforehand. I know he is good of his kind. Margaret.—so I should. but I don't feel quite so sure as you do of the existence of those feelings. He is a man of great strength of character. He has led a practical life from a very early age. which gives the truest basis for conjecture as to the future. of an exactly opposite nature. He is my first olive: let me make a face while I swallow it. Margaret. demonstrative nature.' 'So I do. All that developes one part of the intellect. for the moment. I rather 264 . from what you said. I am not so convinced as you are about that man Boucher's utter distress. and. but he knows this need. Thornton. he was badly off.—a man who is far too proud to show his feelings. I don't doubt. he needs some of the knowledge of the past.—he perceives it. and that is something.' 'He is the first specimen of a manufacturer—of a person engaged in trade—that I had ever the opportunity of studying.'In the first place. who is. papa. You are quite prejudiced against Mr. has been called upon to exercise judgment and self-control. To be sure. you would have admired. Thornton. But there is always a mysterious supply of money from these Unions. papa!' 'Well! I only want you to do justice to Mr. considering the few advantages he has had. and gave strong expression to all he felt.' 'Not so few.

I was so busy listening. extent of glass. when they saw Dixon's face. I felt like a great hypocrite tonight. with my idle hands before me. undergardeners. I had never thought about it. saying she was sure I should be uncomfortable at being the only lady among so many gentlemen. house-work they had done to-day. valuable lace. Hale. 'Why. 265 . so dull! Yet I think it was clever too. But smiles were changed to white and trembling looks. and each one formed her speech so as to bring them all in. I shall.' 'What do you mean. papa—oh.' said Mr. child?' asked Mr. if all is true about her that Mrs.—housekeepers. they took nouns that were signs of things which gave evidence of wealth.' 'You will be as proud of your one servant when you get her.' 'Even I was mistaken enough to think you looked like a lady my dear. I'm sure. I was quite sorry when Miss Thornton came to take me to the other end of the room. and all such things. and the ladies were so dull.' 'To be sure. diamonds. It reminded me of our old game of having each so many nouns to introduce into a sentence. although I did not understand half of it. Hale. Thornton says. I was very much interested by what the gentlemen were talking about. when I remembered all the good. in the prettiest accidental manner possible. They took me for a fine lady. as she opened the door. quietly smiling. thorough. sitting there in my white silk gown.think I am already beginning to do so.

She might be better now. Hale was a middle-aged man. 'The opiate has taken effect. with an unmistakable look on her face. for the charwoman is gone home.' Mr. Miss Margaret! Thank God you are come! Dr. Then he began to shake 266 . Margaret followed close. master!—Oh. She's better now.'Oh. The spasms were very bad: no wonder they frightened your maid. as if he were seventy years of age. Mr. The servant next door went for him. his walk tottering. sir! I thought she'd have died an hour ago. oh. his senses wavering. Dr. He looked at her face. Mr. as she supported her trembling father's hasty steps up-stairs. Hale caught Margaret's arm to steady himself from falling. There lay her mother. and led him into the bedroom. 'Oh! I should not have left her—wicked daughter that I am!' moaned forth Margaret. 'She is better now. now his sight was dim. She knew more than he did. and saw an expression upon it of surprise and extremest sorrow. but Death had signed her for his own. Donaldson met them on the landing. and it was clear that ere long he would return to take possession. Donaldson took his arm. but she'll rally this time. she was sleeping. but not the agony of terror that contracted his own unprepared heart. but. Hale looked at her for some time without a word. and yet she listened with that hopeless expression of awed apprehension.' he whispered.' 'This time! Let me go to her!' Half an hour ago. Dr. Donaldson is here.

'Miss Hale acted under my directions. There may have been a mistake. it was cruel of you!' 'No. were burning and flaring there. 'Papa! Speak to me!' The speculation came again into his eyes. and felt about for a chair.all over. I trust. it was not cruel!' replied Dr. but it was not cruel. She has taken the opiate I brought with me. with quick decision.' 'But not the disease?' Dr. Donaldson wheeled one to him. and. sir—a 267 . Her bent head. Donaldson glanced at Margaret.' 'Papa!' said Margaret. Miss Hale. She has had spasms. showed that quick observer of human nature that she thought it better that the whole truth should be told. Dr. We must rouse him. he could not see it. that look which has alarmed you so much will have passed away. 'Speak to him. Be a man. as I anticipated. her face raised with no appeal for a temporary reprieve. He staggered into the drawing-room. he groped to find the door. though I did not tell Miss Hale of my apprehensions. Your wife will be a different creature to-morrow. and he made a great effort. with all our poor vaunted skill. brought in the sudden affright. and placed him in it. turning away from Dr. and to-morrow. did you know of this? Oh. 'Margaret. Donaldson. He felt his pulse. sir. We cannot touch the disease. with a crying voice that was wild with pain. We can only delay its progress—alleviate the pain it causes. although several candles. she will have a good long sleep. 'Not the disease. Donaldson's anxious care.

They spoke but few words. Dixon sat. No one. Margaret is my staff—my right hand. He advised Mr. Margaret knelt by him. And with a warm and kindly shake of the hand. He promised to come again early in the morning. 'Tell us both. which went through the stillness of the night like heavy pulses of agony. But no enduring hope of recovery. and all that Margaret could do was to prevail upon him to rest on the drawing-room sofa. Donaldson. it was simply impossible that she should leave her mother.' So. and for many days yet. and leave only one to watch the slumber. sensible directions. caressing him with tearful caresses.' and 'one watcher only being required. which he hoped would be undisturbed.' and in the deep. Dixon stoutly and bluntly refused to go to bed. was in the choked words. knew how the time went by. Hale was resolved to sit up through the night. Mr. No fear for to-night—nay. 268 . 'You have never been married. he left them. Dr. Have faith in the immortality of the soul. and. which no pain. even peace for to-morrow. you do not know what it is. no mortal disease. Mr. let all the doctors in the world speak of 'husbanding resources. not even Dr. as for Margaret. Donaldson. 'What must we do?' asked he. they were too much exhausted by their terror to do more than decide upon the immediate course of action.' Dr. can assail or touch!' But all the reply he got. Hale to go to bed. manly sobs. Hale was the first to dare to speak of the necessities of the present moment. Donaldson gave his clear.Christian.

and all the house was still.and stared. and put on her dressing-gown. and finally gave up the battle.— everything that had passed out of doors seemed dissevered from her mother. For more than two hours. He came perpetually to the door of her mother's chamber. and therefore unreal. in reply to the questions his baked lips could hardly form. even every thought. touched some nerve to the very quick. she heard her father's restless movements in the next room.—and how letters had come. was in the dim past. not hearing his close unseen presence. Helstone. At last he. Margaret sate behind the curtain thinking. she cared for Bessy Higgins and her father. and her heart was wrung for Boucher. She felt as if she never could sleep again. how she had pleased herself with tracing out her mother's features in her Aunt Shaw's face. fell asleep. there she remembered. and picked herself up again with a jerk. seemed all the interests of past days. and all endued with double keenness. and winked. Even Harley Street appeared more distinct. went and opened it to tell him how all went on. too. now. as if her whole senses were acutely vital. Every sight and sound—nay. till she. that was all like a dreaming memory of some former life. 269 . pausing there to listen. Margaret had taken off her gown and tossed it aside with a sort of impatient disgust. for the purposes of watching. and drooped. as if it were yesterday. far away in space. Not more than thirty-six hours ago. itself. making her dwell on the thoughts of home with all the longing of love. Far away in time. and fairly snored.

and Dr. was a shadow. and flitting! It was as if from some aerial belfry. She was rather surprised at Dr. and flickering. seemed more associated with what she cared for now above all price. was past. She was restless and uncomfortable in every position. Hale was utterly listless. there was a bell continually tolling. Donaldson's early visit. she insisted on getting up. and give her back what she had too little valued while it was yet in her possession. Mrs. and incapable of deciding on anything. how ill she had been the night before. Hale herself was not aware when she awoke. but. and perplexed by the anxious faces of husband and child. Donaldson gave his consent to her returning into the drawing-room. Mr. it. saying she certainly was tired. and prayed it to return. 'All are shadows!—all are passing!—all is past!' And when the morning dawned. and before night she became very feverish. it seemed as if the terrible night were unreal as a dream. 270 . She would fain have caught at the skirts of that departing time. She consented to remain in bed that day. like many a happier morning before—when Margaret looked one by one at the sleepers. cool and gray. so uneventless and monotonous. 'What can we do to spare mamma such another night?' asked Margaret on the third day. It. too. high up above the stir and jar of the earth. What a vain show Life seemed! How unsubstantial. too. the next.The dull gray days of the preceding winter and spring.

' said Margaret.' said he. and looked brighter and better this afternoon than Margaret had ever hoped to see her again. Margaret never thought to see him smile again. and ask Mrs. It was about two miles from their house in Crampton Crescent to Marlborough Street. But. with her hand lying in her husband's. sitting in her easy chair. Thornton has one. but a day or two before. Still. I know. I'll try and call there this afternoon. who looked more worn and suffering than she by far. I've a long round to take. Mrs. It was too hot to walk very quickly. 'I could go while mamma is asleep this afternoon. pretty much like herself as she was before this attack. An August sun beat straight 271 . It is more painful for you to see than for her to bear.' 'Certainly. Hale seemed to shake off the consequences of her attack. I'm sure Mrs. Thornton if she can spare it. Not but what she will be better to-morrow. his eye catching on Margaret's face. Still. the reaction after the powerful opiates I have been obliged to use. Her daughter left her after dinner. I should like her to have a water-bed. Donaldson's experience told them rightly. it is true. Stay. he could smile now-rather slowly. to a certain degree. It would do you no harm to have a brisk walk to Marlborough Street. blanched with watching in a sick room. Thornton would lend it to us. 'I'm not sure whether I can go. I believe. if we could get a water-bed it might be a good thing. I think. rather faintly. Mrs.' Dr.'It is.

a thunderous atmosphere. that betrayed intensest interest of various kinds. and listening. Margaret went along. Still. without noticing anything very different from usual in the first mile and a half of her journey. wrapt up in the purpose of her errand. Marlborough Street itself was the focus of all those human eyes. she was absorbed in her own thoughts. The inhabitants of each poor squalid dwelling were gathered round the doors and windows. some fierce with anger. as of myriads of fierce indignant voices. oppressive sense of irritation abroad among the people. as they made way for her. some lowering with relentless threats. and. if indeed they were not actually standing in the middle of the narrow ways—all with looks intent towards one point. so much as talking. she had got into Marlborough Street before the full conviction forced itself upon her. and had learnt by this time to thread her way through the irregular stream of human beings that flowed through Milton streets. around her. But.down into the street at three o'clock in the afternoon. without much stirring from the spot where they might happen to be. morally as well as physically. some 272 . she was struck with an unusual heaving among the mass of people in the crowded road on which she was entering. that there was a restless. if her mind had been at ease. and the necessities that suggested it. From every narrow lane opening out on Marlborough Street came up a low distant roar. by and by. she was less quick of observation than she might have been. and buzzing with excitement. They did not appear to be moving on.

did feel the keen sharp pressure of the knife that was soon to stab her through and through by leaving her motherless. but still not opening it fully. and. He hastily bolted it behind her. The porter opened the door cautiously. There was no near sound.dilated with fear. while she did know.—saw the first slow-surging wave of the dark crowd come. but this street is quite empty. tumble over. in order that. which a moment ago. as Margaret reached the small side-entrance by the folding doors. seemed so full of repressed noise. 'It's you.—no steamengine at work with beat and pant. or imploring entreaty. she might be ready to comfort her father. She did not know what they meant—what was their deep significance. at the far end of the street. She was trying to realise that. all these circumstances forced themselves on Margaret's notice. but which now was ominously still. I think.' She went across the yard and up the steps to the house door. when it came. ma'am?' said he. with its threatening crest. not nearly wide enough to admit her. she looked round and heard the first long far-off roll of the tempest. is it. and retreat. and widening the entrance. but did not sink down into her pre-occupied heart. 'I don't know. in the great dead wall of Marlborough mill-yard and waited the porter's answer to the bell.—no click of 273 . Margaret went in. Something unusual seemed going on. 'Th' folk are all coming up here I reckon?' asked he. drawing a long breath.

the ominous gathering roar. deepclamouring.machinery. or mingling and clashing of many sharp voices. 274 . but far away.

no one came. reflected from the pavement below. She sat and waited. and the Venetian blinds covered the glass. and now they've frightened these poor Irish starvelings so with their threats. and combined with the green-tinged upper light to make even Margaret's own face. Our half-paid work to do.—and they're to 275 . For Irish hordes were bidders here. Fanny came in at last. look ghastly and wan. Every now and then. and the stupid wretches here wouldn't work for him. It had returned into its normal state of bag and covering.CHAPTER XXII A BLOW AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 'But work grew scarce. 'Mamma will come directly. too. She desired me to apologise to you as it is. The windows were half open because of the heat. while bread grew dear.' CORN LAW RHYMES. And wages lessened. threw all the shadows wrong. and yet there was no wind! It died away into profound stillness between whiles. that we daren't let them out. Miss Hale. Perhaps you know my brother has imported hands from Ireland.—so that a gray grim light. Margaret was shown into the drawing-room. You may see them huddled in that top room in the mill. and it has irritated the Milton people excessively—as if he hadn't a right to get labour where he could. as she caught it in the mirrors. the wind seemed to bear the distant multitudinous sound nearer.

Mrs. like reeds before the wind. which made Margaret feel she had arrived at a bad time to trouble her with her request. And mamma is seeing about their food. and an increasing din of angry voices raged behind the wooden barrier. She ceased. till their great beats made the strong gates quiver. The women gathered round the windows. who will neither work nor let them work. Ah! here's mamma!' Mrs.sleep there. However. I say!' And simultaneously. instead of heeding Margaret's words—was heard just right outside the wall. Mrs. and her mouth grew set. which shook as if the unseen maddened crowd made battering-rams of their bodies. Then she started up and exclaimed— 'They're at the gates! Call John. while Margaret spoke with gentle modesty of her mother's restlessness.—call him in from the mill! They're at the gates! They'll batter them in! Call John. the gathering tramp—to which she had been listening. Donaldson's wish that she should have the relief of a water-bed. Thornton's expressed desire. Thornton did not reply immediately. fascinated to look on the 276 . for some of the women are crying to go back. and retreated a short space only to come with more united steady impetus against it. that she would ask for whatever they might want in the progress of her mother's illness. and Dr. to keep them safe from those brutes. and John is speaking to them. Thornton's brow contracted. it was only in compliance with Mrs. Fanny. Thornton came in with a look of black sternness on her face.

Thornton watched for her son. that made him a noble. what she dreaded lest she was— a coward. Thornton was white with fear as she preceded him into the room. He came out. and she should be proved to be. seemed to have been like the taste of blood to the infuriated multitude outside. Margaret had always dreaded lest her courage should fail her in any emergency. Mrs. And the sound of his well-known and commanding voice. if not a handsome man. they set up such a fierce unearthly groan. that even Mrs. which Fanny had fastened behind her in her mad flight. Hitherto they had been voiceless. screaming up-stairs as if pursued at every step. the womenservants. Mr. wordless. Then he called to one of the women to come down and undo his own door. but his eyes gleaming. who was still in the mill. Thornton herself went. Fanny had returned. Mrs. But now. before he locked the factory-door. hearing him speak inside. He came in a little flushed.—all were there. she forgot herself. Mrs. and felt only an intense sympathy—intense to painfulness—in the interests of the moment. in this real great time of reasonable fear and nearness of terror. needing all their breath for their hardlabouring efforts to break down the gates.scene which terrified them. But now. and with a proud look of defiance on his face. looked up at them—the pale cluster of faces—and smiled good courage to them. Margaret. and had thrown herself in hysterical sobbing on the sofa. Thornton came frankly forwards: 277 . Thornton. as in answer to the trumpet-call of danger.

' 'When can the soldiers be here?' asked his mother. standing all by herself at the window nearest the factory. bidding them run all risks. at the head of a back flight of stairs. with many a cry and shriek. The servants retreated into the garrets. in a low but not unsteady voice. Go Jane!' continued he. followed by the others. And she went.' And indeed. if they heard any attack made on the mill-doors. but if not. the crowd had surrounded the outbuildings at the rear. He glanced at Margaret. But it is not them—it is me they want. As if she felt his look. Thornton smiled scornfully as he heard them. and escape down there. 'Where you are. Her eyes glittered. I fear. retreat into the back rooms was of no avail.'I'm sorry. 278 . Mr. you have visited us at this unfortunate moment. addressing the upper-servant. she turned to him and asked a question that had been for some time in her mind: 'Where are the poor imported work-people? In the factory there?' 'Yes! I left them cowered up in a small room. you will be safer there than here. 'I stop here!' said his mother. you may be involved in whatever risk we have to bear. Miss Hale. and were sending forth their awful threatening roar behind. her colour was deepened on cheek and lip. when. there I stay. Mother! hadn't you better go into the back rooms? I'm not sure whether they may not have made their way from Pinner's Lane into the stable-yard.

' Margaret shut down her window. and hadn't to dodge about amongst them—it must be twenty minutes yet. From some cause or other. Thornton lifted her up with a strength that was as much that of the will as of the body. and fell forwards into her arms in a fainting fit. and then went to assist Mrs. Miss Hale. Fanny stood up tottering—made a step or two towards her mother. Mrs. in a whisper. Shut down that window. Fanny raised herself up: 'Are they gone?' asked she. they all could hear the one great straining breath.' exclaimed he: 'the gates won't bear such another shock. Thornton's trembling fingers. neither hope nor fear could be read there. as if to gain the interpretation of the sudden stillness from him. 279 . 'Listen!' She did listen. Thornton looked with wild anxiety at her son's countenance. for the first time showing her terror in the tones of her voice. the wrench of iron. mother. Mrs.He took out his watch with the same measured composure with which he did everything. the mighty fall of the ponderous gates. 'Gone!' replied he. His face was set into rigid lines of contemptuous defiance. and carried her away. 'Shut down the windows instantly.' 'Twenty minutes!' said his mother. He made some little calculation: 'Supposing Williams got straight off when I told him. the creak of wood slowly yielding. there was a pause of several minutes in the unseen street.

Even he drew hack for a moment.— he is fighting to get to the front—look! look!' 'Who is Boucher?' asked Mr. I only hope my poor Irishmen are not terrified out of their wits by such a fiendlike noise. more dreadful than their baffled cries not many minutes before. Keep up your courage for five minutes. As soon as they saw Mr. coolly. and coming close to the window to discover the man in whom Margaret took such an interest. and the soldiers will be here.' 'Don't be afraid for me.' she said hastily. 'Let them yell!' said he.'Thank God!' said Mr.' 280 . I know his face. 'Never mind!' said he. Thornton.' 'Oh. a few minutes more. 'I am very sorry you should have been entrapped into all this alarm. suddenly. 'there is Boucher. dismayed at the intensity of hatred he had provoked.—it was as the demoniac desire of some terrible wild beast for the food that is withheld from his ravening. Miss Hale. and the fierce growl of low deep angry voices that had a ferocious murmur of satisfaction in them. they set up a yell. Miss Hale?' Margaret's lips formed a 'No!'—but he could not hear her speak. Thornton. but it cannot last long now. God!' cried Margaret.—to call it not human is nothing. though he is livid with rage. thinking to encourage her. 'But what in five minutes? Can you do nothing to soothe these poor creatures? It is awful to see them. as he watched her out. for the tramp of innumerable steps right under the very wall of the house. 'In five minutes more—. 'Had you not better go upstairs. Thornton.

she saw that by the 281 .' He turned and looked at her while she spoke. Perhaps I may ask you to accompany me downstairs. Go down and face them like a man. If you have any courage or noble quality in you. 'What kind of reason?' 'The only reason that does with men that make themselves into wild beasts. and clamber up the stairs again with a sick heart and a dizzy head. go out and speak to them. Again she took her place by the farthest window.' said Margaret. He set his teeth as he heard her words. he had unbarred the front door. quickly. he was downstairs in the hall. Speak to your workmen as if they were human beings. and bar the door behind me. Don't let the soldiers come in and cut down poor-creatures who are driven mad.'The soldiers will be here directly. if you are not a coward. Save these poor strangers. By heaven! they've turned to the mill-door!' 'Mr. A dark cloud came over his face while he listened. 'go down this instant. was to follow him quickly. Thornton. man to man. and fasten it behind him. 'I will go. Speak to them kindly. He was on the steps below. whom you have decoyed here. all she could do. shaking all over with her passion. and that will bring them to reason.' 'To reason!' said Margaret. my mother and sister will need that protection. I see one there who is. Thornton! I do not know—I may be wrong—only—' But he was gone.' 'Oh! Mr.

She tore her bonnet off. 282 . but she could neither see nor hear any-thing save the savage satisfaction of the rolling angry murmur. gaunt as wolves. for if Mr. forlornly desperate and livid with rage. that in an instant all would be uproar. some were men. and enraged beyond measure at discovering that Irishmen were to be brought in to rob their little ones of bread.direction of a thousand angry eyes. each was urging the other on to some immediate act of personal violence. He stood with his arms folded. the momentary instinct to listen to him was past and gone. Many in the crowd were mere boys. there was a momentary hush of their noise.—cruel because they were thoughtless. Margaret knew it all. in which. and mad for prey. and bent forwards to hear. She threw the window wide open. She could only see. still as a statue. the first touch would cause an explosion. Thornton would but say something to them—let them hear his voice only—it seemed as if it would be better than this wild beating and raging against the stony silence that vouchsafed them no word. and the people were raging worse than ever. She knew how it was. Thornton had indeed made the attempt to speak. she read it in Boucher's face. inarticulate as that of a troop of animals. with starving children at home—relying on ultimate success in their efforts to get higher wages. But perhaps he was speaking now. Margaret felt intuitively. If Mr. They were trying to intimidate him—to make him flinch. cruel and thoughtless. even of anger or reproach. they were like Boucher. his face pale with repressed excitement.

'Go!' said she. her eyes smiting them with flaming arrows of reproach. whatever they are. so fell not a moment before. as if jealous of anything that should come between him and danger. Go peaceably. which no one heard. she saw it was the spark to the gunpowder. Thornton stood a little on one side. or apprehension of consequence. and you are many’. even Mr. down stairs. 'Oh. but held out her arms towards them till she could recover breath. once more (and now her voice was like a cry). You shall have relief from your complaints.among such hundreds of infuriated men and reckless boys.—that in another instant the stormy passions would have passed their bounds. but her words died away. Go away. she saw lads in the back-ground stooping to take off their heavy wooden clogs—the readiest missile they could find. Mr. now looked irresolute. Thornton's life would be unsafe. For she stood between them and their enemy. in face of that angry sea of men. and as if asking what this meant. for there was no tone in her voice. Even while she looked. 'The soldiers are sent for—are coming.—she had lifted the great iron bar of the door with an imperious force— had thrown the door open wide—and was there. with a cry. she rushed out of the room. She could not speak. it was but a hoarse whisper. The clogs were arrested in the hands that held them—the countenances.' 283 . and swept away all barriers of reason. and. he had moved away from behind her. do not use violence! He is one man.

in any hope that ere she looked again they would have paused and reflected.—he whom she had urged and goaded to come to this perilous place. 'Go away. The hootings rose and filled the air. with shrinking eyes she had turned away from the terrible anger of these men. She saw their gesture—she knew its meaning. And instantly the storm broke. and she turned sick with affright. She threw her arms around him. Margaret's fascinated eyes watched its progress. She only thought how she could save him. he shook her off.—she read their aim. it missed its aim. but changed not her position.—if. Her eye was on the group of lads who had armed themselves with their clogs some time before. who head the riot—reckless to what bloodshed it may lead. with their love of cruel excitement. for your bidding!' exclaimed Mr.—she was wrong.—but Margaret did not hear them. and vanished. Thornton.'Shall them Irish blackguards be packed back again?' asked one from out the crowd. 'You did not see what I saw. Another moment. 'Never.' 'It is!' said she.' said he. Still. and slunk away. for it is always the savage lads. only 284 . in his deep voice. Their reckless passion had carried them too far to stop—at least had carried some of them too far. with fierce threatening in his voice.' If she thought her sex would be a protection. Thornton might be smitten down. she made her body into a shield from the fierce people beyond. and Mr. with his arms folded. 'This is no place for you. A clog whizzed through the air.

Those nearest the gate stole out ashamed. Only one voice cried out: 'Th' stone were meant for thee. They were watching. there was a movement through all the crowd—a retreating movement. 'You come to oust the innocent stranger You fall—you hundreds—on one man. Then he unfolded his arms. to ask you for your own sakes to be reasonable creatures. open-eyed and open-mouthed. if it is your 285 . But without waiting for her answer. and drawing a blinding sheet of light before her eyes. Then she turned and spoke again: 'For God's sake! do not damage your cause by this violence. 'Now kill me. He placed her gently on the door-step. You do not know what you are doing. vaguely conscious. her head leaning against the frame. Thornton s arm. A sharp pebble flew by her. 'Can you rest there?' he asked. the thread of dark-red blood which wakened them up from their trance of passion. She lay like one dead on Mr. grazing forehead and cheek. but thou wert sheltered behind a woman!' Mr. Thornton quivered with rage.' She strove to make her words distinct. your cowardly wrath falls upon her! You do well!' They were silent while he spoke. Thornton's shoulder. he went slowly down the steps right into the middle of the crowd. and when a woman comes before you. and held her encircled in one for an instant: 'You do well!' said he.hid her face on Mr. The blood-flowing had made Margaret conscious—dimly.

in precisely the same attitude as he had been in on the steps. as the simultaneous anger. There is no woman to shield me here. it was rather rising the more as his sense of immediate danger was passing away. he darted up the steps to Margaret. I am so thankful they are gone!' And she cried without restraint.' she said. Even the most desperate—Boucher himself— drew back. looking after their retreat with defiant eyes. with his arms folded. and the sight of that pale. though the tears welled out of the long entanglement of eyelashes and dropped down. muttering curses on the master. But the retrograde movement towards the gate had begun—as unreasoningly.brutal will. His anger had not abated. She tried to rise without his help. Oh. heavier. Or. scowled. upturned face. still and sad as marble. 'The skin is grazed. came the drip of blood from her wound. and finally went off. The distant clank of the soldiers was heard just five minutes too late to make this vanished mob feel the power of authority 286 . He could not sympathise with her. with a sickly smile. with closed eyes. faltered away. slower plash than even tears. perhaps as blindly. who stood in his unchanging attitude. perhaps. 'It is nothing. the idea of the approach of the soldiers. and I was stunned at the moment. and. The moment that retreat had changed into a flight (as it was sure from its very character to do). You may beat me to death—you will never move me from what I have determined upon—not you!' He stood amongst them.

'It is only a fainting-fit. Margaret clung to the doorpost to steady herself: but a film came over her eyes—he was only just in time to catch her. a little sterner than usual. 'Miss Hale is hurt. 'Mother— mother!' cried he. and rather moaning than saying the words. He hoped they would see the troops. he started up. Margaret— Margaret!' Inarticulately as he spoke. a good deal alarmed. as his mother came in. mother. my Margaret—my Margaret! no one can tell what you are to me! Dead—cold as you lie there. She saw nothing. She has lost a good deal of blood.—I could almost fancy her dead.' 'She looks very seriously hurt. 'Come down—they are gone. and laid her on the sofa there. I'm afraid. Thornton. and Miss Hale is hurt!' He bore her into the dining-room.and order. He went away as if weights were tied to every 287 .—she can find me the things I want. 'Go and call Jane. While these thoughts crossed his mind.' said Mrs. you are the only woman I ever loved! Oh.' He went. and looking on her pure white face. laid her down softly. and be quelled by the thought of their narrow escape. ashamed of himself. who are crying and shouting as if they were mad with fright. She has spoken to me since. kneeling by her. but her son a little paler. A stone has grazed her temple. the sense of what she was to him came upon him so keenly that he spoke it out in his pain: 'Oh. and he absolutely trembled.' But all the blood in his body seemed to rush inwards to his heart as he spoke. and do you go to your Irish people.

they would not stop. There. and spoken gruffly. they claimed to be sent back. If you are a coward. and talk. as it looks. Thornton.limb that bore him from her. And so he had to think. and soldiers too. ma'am. all gentle tendance.' 288 . and found it difficult to understand enough of what they were saying to soothe and comfort away their fears. they declared. he called his sister. But every pulse beat in him as he remembered how she had come down and placed herself in foremost danger. let me send one of the police. 'Them rabble may be all about. As the spirit touched the wound. which till then neither Mrs. 'Is there any one who will go for a doctor?' 'Not me. and she became insensible once more. he had seen nothing but the unnecessary danger she had placed herself in. if you please. but it was evident she did not know where she was.' 'Pray.' said Mrs. shrinking back. She should have all womanly care. he had pushed her aside.' said Jane. I am not. Thornton nor Jane had perceived. He went to his Irish people. The dark circles deepened. She was hurt in our house. Margaret opened her eyes. 'She has had a terrible blow. I will go. ma'am.—could it be to save him? At the time. and reason. Thornton bathed Margaret's temples with eau de Cologne. He called Jane. nor who they were. the lips quivered and contracted. There's ever so many come up. ma'am.' 'I will not run the chance. Jane. with every nerve in his body thrilling at the thought of her. Mrs. I don't think the cut is so deep.

how you terrified me! I thought you were a man that had got into the house.' 'Bleed! oh.' she asked contemptuously. ma'am?' 'Why Hannah? Why any but you? No. I am going for the doctor. 'Oh.' 'Oh! don't.' Mrs.' 'Nonsense! The men are all gone away.—I have no time to ask.'And yet you're afraid to go! I will not have their time taken up with our errands. Go down to her. and do try to make yourself of use.' She clung to her mother's gown. Jane. I do.' 'Couldn't Hannah go. how horrid! How has she got hurt?' 'I don't know. Jane has refused to leave the house. She started up as her mother entered. mamma. mamma! they'll murder you. Thornton wrenched it away with no gentle hand. There are soldiers all round the place. seeking for their work now it is too late. so I am going myself.' 289 . shall you? I shall not be ten minutes away. Fanny. You will not be afraid to stop in this house. and I trust it looks worse than it is. 'Find me some one else to go but that girl must not bleed to death. They'll have enough to do to catch some of the mob. Miss Hale is lying on the dining-room sofa badly hurt. Thornton went first to the room in which she had left Fanny stretched on the bed. cowardly woman! And I won't put myself in the way of any more refusals from my servants. Mrs. Jane is with her. 'and go on bathing Miss Hale's forehead. if you don't go.

'She'd have been safe enough. Jane paused in her bathing. or come up to us. and could see it all. or spoken to ask for more bathing. drawing nearer by slow degrees. if she'd stayed in the drawing-room. But the sickly daze of the swoon made her still miserably faint. although her senses were beginning to return to her. 'Oh. than the people who lie in death-like trance can move. dear!' said Fanny. or utter sound. 290 . as she became accustomed to the sight of Margaret's pale face. we were in the front garret. not merely of the actions of those around them. but of the idea that is the motive for such actions. She was conscious of movement around her. then?' said Fanny. out of harm's way. with the thought of wounds and bloodshed in the very house. 'what is the matter? How white she looks! How did she get hurt? Did they throw stones into the drawingroom?' Margaret did indeed look white and wan. dear. and of refreshment from the eau de Cologne. significantly.' 'Where was she. and a craving for the bathing to go on without intermission. crying. to reply to Miss Thornton's question. but when they stopped to talk.'Oh. creeping into the dining-room. 'Just before the front door—with master!' said Jane. while they are yet fully aware. and preparing to go down rather than be left alone. she could no more have opened her eyes. to arrest the awful preparations for their burial. miss. Jane!' said she.

It's my belief. and here's wet tears a-coming down her cheeks. as if what Sarah did or said was not exactly the thing she liked to repeat.' said Fanny. I wish mamma would come!' said Fanny. But I don't believe she'd be so bold and forward as to put her arms round his neck. 'Sarah what?' asked Fanny. She looks like a corpse now.' answered Jane. miss. that the blow has given her such an ascendency of blood to the head as she'll never get the better from. was in the best place for seeing. sharply. and she says.' 'Well.' 'I don't believe it. miss. with impatient curiosity. being at the right-hand window. she'd give her eyes if he'd marry her.' 'Stay. in a quavering voice. since you will have it—Sarah. 'Sarah did'—'Sarah what?' said Fanny. I can tell her. 'Don't speak in these half sentences. any one can see that.—which he never will. 'I know she cares for my brother.' 'Oh. Speak to her. you see. with a slight toss of her head. or I can't understand you.' 'Poor young lady! she's paid for it dearly if she did. Jane resumed her bathing. miss! She's not dead: her eye-lids are quivering. hugging him before all the people. and said at the very time too. 'I never was in the room with a dead person before. wringing her hands. and I dare say. that she saw Miss Hale with her arms about master's neck.'With John! with my brother! How did she get there?' 'Nay. 291 . that's not for me to say. Miss Fanny!' 'Are you better now?' asked Fanny.

' She let him take her hand and feel her pulse. I must go. 'I must go. and she glanced up at Jane. Thornton. without another word. and drew her ruffled. in a very low. I am better now. is it not?' 'Quite. Mrs.' Mrs. May I ask for a cab?' 292 . but a faint pink colour returned to her lips.' said she.' said Margaret. when he asked to examine the wound in her forehead. no one could tell. 'How is she? Are you better. I think. as if shrinking from her inspection more than from the doctor's.' 'Not until I have applied some strips of plaster.' said she. and you have rested a little. Thornton came hurriedly in. and gazed dreamily at her. I think. Lowe come to see you. if you please. my dear?' as Margaret opened her filmy eyes. although the rest of her face was ashen pale. 'Now. I must go home.' 'But you must not go. Thornton spoke loudly and distinctly.No answer. Margaret tried to rise. 'You are not fit to go. ‘I was a little sick. 'It is not much. If they should hear—-Besides.' said she.' said Mrs. vehemently. with the nearest surgeon she could find. 'I cannot stay here. luxuriant hair instinctly over the cut. no sign of recognition.’ 'I must. It is under the hair. and allowed it to be bound up. 'Here is Mr. as to a deaf person. decidedly. The bright colour came for a moment into her face. impatiently. faint voice. 'Think of mamma.' She sat down hastily. 'I am better now. Mamma will not see it.

Lowe returned in the cab. The streets are not very quiet yet.' Margaret's thoughts were quite alive enough to the present to make her desirous of getting rid of both Mr. Lowe replied. and closed her eyes.' 'Oh. if your servants are still afraid to go out. Lowe.' pleaded she. Beyond that one aim she would not look. It is the air of this room that makes me feel so miserable. thank you!' said Margaret. would do me more good than anything.' Mr. but she credited enough to make her manner to Margaret appear very much constrained. and does not see her daughter back at the time she expects. Fanny beckoned her mother out of the room. 'If you will allow me. and told her something that made her equally anxious with Margaret for the departure of the latter. for fear of alarming her father and mother. at wishing her good-bye. Mr. Lowe and the cab before she reached Crampton Crescent. 'I really believe it is as she says. I will fetch a cab. when I do so want to go. Miss Hale. Not that she fully believed Fanny's statement.' observed Mr. The injury is not deep. 'If her mother is so ill as you told me on the way here. I will see you home. it may be very serious if she hears of this riot. 'It is only with being here. 'It will do me more good than anything. That ugly dream of insolent words spoken about herself. could 293 .'You are quite flushed and feverish.' She leant back on the sofa. The air—getting away.

never be forgotten—but could be put aside till she was stronger—for. and her mind sought for some present fact to steady itself upon. 294 . sickly swoon. oh! she was very weak. and keep it from utterly losing consciousness in another hideous.

' SPENSER. and did not instantly reply. and Mr. and I've asked him in to speak to them. I don't believe it was so very much of a hurt. 'Gone home. ne wist well what to ween. I caught Father Grady. and partly held out his hand to give her a grateful shake.' 'Thank you. But she did not notice the movement. Margaret had not been gone five minutes when Mr. I went for him myself. 'Where is Miss Hale?' asked he again. 'She could not have been fit for it.CHAPTER XXIII MISTAKES 'Which when his mother saw. Lowe said she was. She was a great deal better. his face all a-glow. and dissuade them 295 .' 'I am sorry she is gone home. she in her mind Was troubled sore.' He stopped.' said he. luckily. Thornton came in. rather shortly. and then almost fiercely at his mother. mother. walking uneasily about. 'I could not come sooner: the superintendent would—-Where is she?' He looked round the diningroom.' said she. who was quietly re-arranging the disturbed furniture. And then. only some people faint at the least thing.' 'She said she was. 'Gone home!' 'Yes. 'What have you done with your Irish people?' 'Sent to the Dragon for a good meal for them. poor wretches. Indeed.

too. She has caused disturbance enough. but she could not read it. his breath came thick and fast. and 296 .—as the presence of all strong feeling.—meant with right down good-will. Was it anger? His eyes glowed.' 'A girl in love will do a good deal. Thornton. stood still. Let us talk of something else. of pride. even to the paying. of glad surprise. Thornton. of which the cause is not fully understood or sympathised in. always has this effect. and instinctively sought to wipe it off. She had seen a drop of eau de Cologne on the polished arm of the sofa. of panting doubt. But she kept her back turned to her son much longer than was necessary.' 'I don't know where I should have been but for her.' 'Are you become so helpless as to have to be defended by a girl?' asked Mrs.from going off in a body. It was a mixture of joy. 'Not many girls would have taken the blows on herself which were meant for me.' 'She had a cab. It was only their violence that was clear. She was not sure of the nature of the emotions she had provoked. scornfully. of anger. Everything was done properly. opened a drawer. He reddened. How did Miss Hale go home? I'm sure she could not walk. Still it made her uneasy. his figure was dilated.' replied Mrs. which she kept there for any occasional purpose. heaved with passion. She went to the side-board. and took out a duster. 'Mother!' He made a step forwards. shortly. She was a little startled at the evident force he used to keep himself calm.

I shall go round by Crampton. I might have given some of the fellows in charge then. I suppose? You don't apprehend any more violence. her voice seemed unusual and constrained. 'You have taken some steps about the rioters. I suppose I must.when she spoke. Then she asked: 'Why are you going round by Crampton?' 'To ask after Miss Hale. and I may be out for some time.' 'Tea! Yes. perhaps not.' 'But won't they come back to-night?' 'I'm going to see about a sufficient guard for the premises.' 'You expect me to go to bed before I have seen you safe. I have appointed to meet Captain Hanbury in half an hour at the station. do you? Where were the police? Never at hand when they're wanted!' 'On the contrary. if I had had my wits about me. plenty of people can Identify them. 'But if I've time. But there will be no difficulty.' 297 . when the gates gave way. after I've arranged with the police and seen Hamper and Clarkson. It's half-past six.' Their eyes met. struggling and beating about in fine fashion. mother.' He hesitated for a moment. and more came running up just when the yard was clearing. do you?' 'Well. Don't sit up for me. they looked at each other intently for a minute. I saw three or four of them.' 'You must have some tea first.

He shall inquire how she is. trying to think of the business he had to do at the police-office. or had we better send Williams for them now. usually so sharply-cut and decided. Everything seemed dim and vague beyond— behind—besides the touch of her arms round his neck—the soft clinging which made the dark colour come and go in his cheek as he thought of it. now confused and uncertain.' 'Not merely to ask how Miss Hale is?' 'No. and in reality thinking of Margaret. The tea would have been very silent. until I can get some of the police.' 'I must go myself. Williams must take the water-bed she came to ask for. how she had been alarmed—and then thought they were gone—and then felt sick and faint and trembling in every limb. I want to thank her for the way in which she stood between me and the mob. but for Fanny's perpetual description of her own feelings. I must be off in a quarter of an hour.' 'What made you go down at all? It was putting your head into the lion's mouth!' He glanced sharply at her. Thornton remained in the dining-room. Mr. and they could be here by the time we have done tea? There's no time to be lost. not merely for that. 298 .' Mrs. and replied by another question: 'Shall you be afraid to be left without me. Thornton left the room. saw that she did not know what had passed between him and Margaret in the drawing-room.'I will send. Her servants wondered at her directions.

'Mother! You know what I have got to say to Miss Hale. from any repetition of the day's outrages. Hale. Punishment and suffering. clean and sharp as a sword. come back to me for this one evening. 'You will come back here before you go to the Hales'.' said Fanny to herself. you will—-Come back to-night. in a low.'There. John!' She had seldom pleaded with her son at all—she was too proud for that: but she had never pleaded in vain. and those whom he chose to employ. that's enough. But that is not it. said she. in order that property should be protected. to-morrow?' The question came upon her 299 . All that was necessary. and that the will of the proprietor might cut to his end. anxious voice. To-morrow. nor yet a good listener while her son was absent. But on his return. Thornton was by no means a talkative companion to Fanny. He clearly saw his object. rising from the table. 'Why? Will it be too late to disturb them?' 'John. 'I will return straight here after I have done my business You will be sure to inquire after them?—after her?' Mrs. when his mother stopped him with her hand upon his arm. 'The reality was enough for me.' He was going to leave the room. 'I know what I know. her eyes and ears were keen to see and to listen to all the details which he could give. were the natural consequences to those who had taken part in the riot. as to the steps he had taken to secure himself.' said her brother. It will be late for Mrs.

but I cannot believe such a creature cares for me.suddenly. She looked up at him. 300 .' 'Don't be foolish. I stand second. there is no need to be angry. and in an instant he reverted to his own hopes and fears in a way that drew the cold creeping shadow over Mrs. to hear you speak. scornfully.' 'I mean that. mother. I consider you bound in honour—' 'Bound in honour. John. "Her feelings overcome her!" What feelings do you mean?' 'Nay. Did she not rush down. and cling to you to save you from danger?' 'She did!' said he. Thornton. smiling slowly. 'But. stopping short in his walk right in front of her. John. while the tears stood in her eyes. It was to have you to myself. I wonder. she might be a duke's daughter. a few hours longer. It is a good deal for me to say. 'Yes! I do. had forgotten Margaret. at least. that I begged you not to go till tomorrow!' 'Dearest mother!' (Still love is selfish. You can hardly do otherwise. during a pause in which she. 'for after to-night. 'I'm afraid honour has nothing to do with it.' continued he. Such a creature! Why. of her caring for you? I can believe she has had a struggle with her aristocratic way of viewing things. after allowing her feelings so to overcome her. but I like her the better for seeing clearly at last.' 'Do otherwise! I don't understand you. 'I dare not hope. I never was fainthearted before. all to myself.' said Mrs. And what proof more would you have.' said he.

Margaret entered the room (where her father and mother still sat. as she wished him good-night. Hale. and sate down to cry unwonted tears. mamma. 'As far as love may go she may be worthy of you. looking very pale and white. kissing him. John. Margaret?' 'Very hot. I shall put myself at her feet—I must. And she went slowly and majestically out of the room.) 'But I know she does not care for me. and the streets are rather rough with the strike.' 'Yes!' said Margaret. But when she got into her own. asking you to go to her. she locked the door. how tired you look! Is it very hot.' 'Don't fear!' said his mother. holding low conversation together).' Margaret's colour came back vivid and bright as ever. Don't be afraid. She came close up to them before she could trust herself to speak. Thornton will send the water-bed. but it faded away instantly. I cannot go. crushing down her own personal mortification at the little notice he had taken of the rare ebullition of her maternal feelings—of the pang of jealousy that betrayed the intensity of her disregarded love. 'But I'm sure you look too tired.' she said. It must have taken a good deal to overcome her pride. If it were but one chance in a thousand—or a million—I should do it. She was thankful to see her father so much 301 .' said she.' said Mrs. 'I am tired. 'Here has been a message from Bessy Higgins. 'Don't be afraid.' 'Dear. 'Mrs. coldly.Thornton's heart.' She was very silent and trembling while she made tea.

It made me the more anxious that there should be fair play on each 302 . perhaps they would not. 'Now I will think of it—now I will remember it all. Even after her mother went to bed. 'Oh how low I am fallen that they should say that of me! I could not have been so brave for any one else. and she covered her face with her hands. he was not content to be absent from her. her lips compressed. indeed.—as in an instant her well-poised judgment felt. 'No. her hands clasped on her knees.occupied with her mother as not to notice her looks.' She sat still in her chair. but undertook to read her to sleep. When she took them away. But what possessed me to defend that man as if he were a helpless child! Ah!' said she. 'it is no wonder those people thought I was in love with him. She drew a deep breath. I could not before—I dared not. who have despised people for showing emotion—who have thought them wanting in self-control—I went down and must needs throw myself into the melee. her eyes fixed as one who sees a vision.' But this was over-leaping the rational conclusion. I did some good. 'I. just because he was so utterly indifferent to me—if. who hate scenes—I. I do not positively dislike him. her palms were wet with scalding tears. like a romantic fool! Did I do any good? They would have gone away without me I dare say. I in love—and with him too!' Her pale cheeks suddenly became one flame of fire. after disgracing myself in that way. Margaret was alone. clenching her hands together.

I think he must mean missus. Miss Margaret. and her head ached intensely. If I saved one blow. 'I am quite well. Tell him I am perfectly well. I did a woman's work. 'You must send our best thanks. Miss Margaret. vehemently. Let them insult my maiden pride as they will—I walk pure before God!' She looked up. to ask how Miss Hale was. angry action that might otherwise have been committed.' Dixon came in: 'If you please. awaiting the soldiers.' said Margaret.' Dixon left the room for a moment. 'that he should stand there— sheltered. said she. but he says his last words were. Thornton's. I'm afraid. and I could see what fair play was.side. It's too late for to-night. he says he's to ask particular how you are. drawing herself up. And it was worse than unfair for them to set on him as they threatened.' 'Me!' said Margaret. for missus is nearly asleep: but it will do nicely for to-morrow. and a noble peace seemed to descend and calm her face. to bring them to reason. one cruel. let who will say what they like of me. till it was 'stiller than chiselled marble. 'If you please. who might catch those poor maddened creatures as in a trap—without an effort on his part. I would do it again. 303 . It was not fair. here's the water-bed from Mrs.' But her complexion was as deadly white as her handkerchief.' 'Very.

without a word of complaint. her feverish thoughts passed and repassed the boundary between sleeping and waking. I have every chance of a good night myself. 'Good-night.' She let her colour go—the forced smile fade away— the eyes grow dull with heavy pain. that she thought she never slept at all. and wanted. Till morning she might feel ill and weary. giving her no idea of fierce vivid anger.Mr. and rummaged up numberless small subjects for conversation—all except the riot. or even so much as one finger. She released her strong will from its laborious task. With sweet patience did she bear her pain. He had left his sleeping wife. so stunned. for I'm sure you need it. or of personal danger. to be amused and interested by something that she was to tell him.—a cloud of faces looked up at her. powerless as she was. and you are looking very pale with your watching. To move hand or foot. She lay down and never stirred. Do you go to bed and sleep like a top. prostrate. as Margaret saw. and 304 . It turned her sick to think of it. poor child!' 'Good-night. She was so tired. Margaret. and that she never named once. papa. would have been an exertion beyond the powers of either volition or motion. She could not be alone. and kept their own miserable identity. I shall call Dixon if your mother needs anything. Hale now came in. but a deep sense of shame that she should thus be the object of universal regard— a sense of shame so acute that it seemed as if she would fain have burrowed into the earth to hide herself.

yet she could not escape out of that unwinking glare of many eyes. 305 .

her mother had only wakened once. pines in a caitive case. Hale's room. she would help her mother to dress after dinner.CHAPTER XXIV MISTAKES CLEARED UP 'Your beauty was the first that won the place. captive now. murmuring. Margaret knew how. and from time to 306 . A little breeze was stirring in the hot air. Unkindly met with rigour for desert. of course. All had gone well through the house.— Yet not the less your servant shall abide. somewhere or another. But. Margaret dragged herself up. And scal'd the walls of my undaunted heart. The next morning. She sat at her work in Mrs.' WILLIAM FOWLER. there was a pleasant. Which. the effort not to think of them brought them only the more strongly before her.—unrefreshed. and though there were no trees to show the playful tossing movement caused by the wind among the leaves. in copses. the very thought of which was an echo of distant gladness in her heart.—a rushing and falling noise. dancing sound. by way-side. she would go and see Bessy Higgins.—no need to think of them till they absolutely stood before her in flesh and blood. She would banish all recollection of the Thornton family. or in thick green woods. thankful that the night was over. yet rested. In spite of rude repulse or silent pride. As soon as that forenoon slumber was over.

as she had done. miss. and stole on tiptoe up to Margaret. as to her natural home and resting-place. Mr.' said Margaret. apparently absorbed in watching something in the street. as if it were wax before a fire. I will come. He is in the drawingroom. 'Did he ask for me? Isn't papa come in?' 'He asked for you. he trembled at the anticipation of what he had to say. He dreaded lest he should go forwards to meet her. Thornton. and flush. the hot flush came over her pale face sweeping it into colour. and flutter to his arms. but now the recollection of her clinging defence of him. Thornton stood by one of the windows. he was afraid of himself. 'Mr. with his back to the door.time. the day before. Miss Margaret. in truth. and master is out. impatiently felt as it had been at the time. all unheeded. One moment. His heart throbbed loud and quick Strong man as he was. But. Dixon opened the door very softly. and how it might be received. all power of self-control. His heart beat thick at the thought of her coming. quietly. seemed to thrill him through and through. She might droop. he glowed with impatience 307 .' 'Very well. with his arms held out in mute entreaty that she would come and nestle there.' Margaret dropped her sewing. sitting by the shaded window. He could not forget the touch of her arms around his neck. but never unheeded again. But she lingered strangely.—to melt away every resolution. as a sunbeam from between watery clouds comes swiftly moving over the sea.

the next. the loss of their usual natural healthy colour being made more evident by the heavy shadow of the dark hair. for all its drooping eyes. brought down upon the temples. Then he 308 . her teeth were shut. in her soft muslin gown. it was the only motion visible on her countenance. She stood by the table. the street noises had been more distinct to his inattentive ear than her slow movements. that he had never heard her. He turned round. was thrown a little back. not compressed. her lips were just parted over them. in the old proud attitude. Mr. Her slow deep breathings dilated her thin and beautiful nostrils. and went with quiet firmness to the door (which she had left open). Altogether she looked like some prisoner. its corners deep set in dimples. Her eyelids were dropped half over her eyes. allowing the white line to be seen between their curve. and from which she was too indignant to justify herself. the oval cheek. The fine-grained skin. recovered himself. Thornton made a hasty step or two forwards. Her long arms hung motion-less by her sides. the very idea of which withered up his future with so deadly a blight that he refused to think of it. Her head. he feared a passionate rejection. She had come in so gently. to hide all sign of the blow she had received. He was startled by the sense of the presence of some one else in the room. and shut it. falsely accused of a crime that she loathed and despised. the rich outline of her mouth.—were all wan and pale to-day. not offering to sit down.at the thought that she might do this.

' said she. and so escape the expression of my deep gratitude. by what he had to say. 'I do not try to escape from anything. and looking full and straight at him. and burnt into her very eyes. 'to apologise to you. pun-gently as it was expressed. 'It was only a natural instinct. 'Miss Hale. I suppose. He stopped in mid career. Still.' In spite of herself—in defiance of her anger—the thick blushes came all over her face.' said she. and stood opposite to her for a moment.' 309 . 'You mean. for having said thoughtless words which sent you down into the danger. hastily. that any expression of it will be painful to me.came back. which fell not nevertheless from their grave and steady look. because I do not feel that I deserve it. raising her eyes. I ought rather. if it will relieve you from even a fancied obligation. any woman would have done just the same. before he dared to disturb it. that you believe you ought to thank me for what I did. But you shall not drive me off upon that.' 'It was not your words. We all feel the sanctity of our sex as a high privilege when we see danger. speak on. he would weigh each word. 'I simply say. he would not speak in the haste of his hot passion. I was very ungrateful yesterday—' 'You had nothing to be grateful for. and I may add. and his will was triumphant. my—' he was on the verge now.' said she. He would. it was the truth they conveyed. that you owe me no gratitude. perhaps to repel it. receiving the general impression of her beautiful presence.

to think that I owe it to one—nay. all honest pride in doing my work in the world. you shall hear'—said he. He panted as he listened for what should come. I dare say. 'to think circumstance so wrought. that whenever I exult in existence henceforward. He threw the hand away with indignation. if I understood the kind of feeling you describe. "All this gladness in life. you must. we must speak gently. for mamma is asleep. ‘Fancied. goaded by her calm manner. I owe to her!" And it doubles the gladness. It might not be so. as he heard her icy tone. I do not want to vex you. but your whole manner offends me—' 310 . I may say to myself. as I do not believe man ever loved woman before. I believe it. stepping forwards with stern determination—'to one whom I love. 'Your way of speaking shocks me. Miss Hale!' continued he. it sharpens the sense of existence till I hardly know if it is pain or pleasure.'I do not want to be relieved from any obligation. I cannot help it. and besides. as if she knew not where to find them.' said he. or not fancied—I question not myself to know which—I choose to believe that I owe my very life to you—ay— smile. and think it an exaggeration if you will. if that is my first feeling. because it adds a value to that life to think—oh.' He held her hand tight in his. for icy it was. all this keen sense of being. though the words came faltering out. It is blasphemous. it makes the pride glow. lowering his voice to such a tender intensity of passion that she shivered and trembled before him.

in allusion to their former conversation about that word.' she repeated. with her reverenced helplessness.' 'And I yielded to the right. justly. and.' 'Yes!' said she. 'I do feel offended. I claim the right of expressing my feelings.' 'You may speak on.' she replied. and that you may come and thank me for it. and choked her voice—'but that I was prompted by some particular feeling for you—you! Why. 'But you seem to have imagined.' 'And the gentleman thus rescued is forbidden the relief of thanks!' he broke in contemptuously. 'Offends you! I am indeed most unfortunate. I am aware of all these misplaced sympathies of yours. but'—and here the passionate tears (kept down for long—struggled with vehemently) came up into her eyes. 'I am a man. 'that any woman. You seem to fancy that my conduct of yesterday'—again the deep carnation blush. a man in danger from the violence of numbers. Miss Hale. I now believe that it 311 . instead of perceiving. that I was not merely guided by womanly instinct. but this time with eyes kindling with indignation rather than shame—'was a personal act between you and me. proudly. worthy of the name of woman. I think. with recovered dignity. would come forward to shield.'How!' exclaimed he. simply saying that you gave me pain by insisting upon it. as a gentleman would—yes! a gentleman. there was not a man—not a poor desperate man in all that crowd—for whom I had not more sympathy—for whom I should not have done what little I could more heartily.

indeed. cannot cleanse you from it. and no one ever shall. he could have thrown himself at her feet. allow me to say.' said she.' 'I am not afraid. and kissed the hem of her wounded pride fell hot and fast. lifting herself straight up. you have been very kind to my father. I see you do not. Now I love. But she was silent. You cannot avoid it. She did not speak. she did not move. He waited awhile. I. longing for garment. for all that—for all his savage words. But. if I would.' she replied. The tears of her to say something. 'No one yet has ever dared to be impertinent to me. 312 . I know you despise me. She would not speak in answer to such accusations. I. he was—and she was weak with her indignation.' 'I do not care to understand. may be oppressed)—that made you act so nobly as you did. taking hold of the table to steady herself. though a master. and will love. You are unfair and unjust. But I would not. I have never loved any woman before: my life has been too busy.was only your innate sense of oppression—(yes. 'No. my thoughts too much absorbed with other things. if I could. He took up his hat. even a taunt. 'One word more. Nay.' Margaret compressed her lips. But do not be afraid of too much expression on my part. for she thought him cruel—as. it is because you do not understand me. changing her whole tone and bearing to a most womanly softness. Mr. to which he might reply. Thornton.' she replied. But. You look as if you thought it tainted you to be loved by me.

for half a minute or so. rejecting her offered hand. and making as if he did not see her grave look of regret. he might mistake. 'I never liked him. and that turned her proud dislike into something different and kinder. and left the room. I would do it again. All that yesterday. I never thought about myself or him. When he was gone. if nearly as painful—self-reproach for having caused such mortification to any one. but I took no trouble to conceal my indifference. Margaret caught one glance at his face before he went.' 313 . he turned abruptly away. and then. she thought she had seen the gleam of unshed tears in his eyes. I was civil. though it does lead me into all this shame and trouble. if need were. Pray don't!' He took no notice of her words: he occupied himself in smoothing the nap of his hat with his coatsleeve. 'But how could I help it?' asked she of herself. not mine. But that is his fault. so my manners must have shown the truth.'Don't let us go on making each other angry. Indeed.

—as distressing at the time of their occurrence. Margaret began to wonder whether all offers were as unexpected beforehand. on the first occasion of her receiving a proposal. there was no intervening stage of friendship. when echoes of Mr.' BYRON. She had not felt so stunned—so impressed as she did now. the individual. That regret was the predominant feeling. he seemed to throw them off from him with contempt. until she felt the weariness of the 314 . she had never perceived that he had cared for her opinions. Thornton's voice yet lingered about the room. In Lennox's case. as belonging to her. to regret it nearly as much as she did. as the two she had had. Lennox and Mr. Their intercourse had been one continued series of opposition. Roused discipline aloud proclaims their cause. She had been sorry. Thornton arose in her mind. And injured navies urge their broken laws. In Mr. and indeed.CHAPTER XXV FREDERICK 'Revenge may have her own. that an expression of any other feeling than friendship had been lured out by circumstances from Henry Lennox. although for different reasons. he seemed for a moment to have slid over the boundary between friendship and love. and the instant afterwards. As far as they defied his rock-like power of character. An involuntary comparison between Mr. as far as Margaret knew. Their opinions clashed. his passion-strength. Thornton's case.

But it was of no use. he had come.exertion of making useless protests. that will not leave the room although we waken up. The deep impression made by the interview. like others. not five minutes after. shined bright upon her. For.' She disliked him the more for having mastered her inner will. that he would love her. even though she shook him off with contempt? She wished she had spoken more—stronger.—which he. with fixed ghastly eyes. and rub our eyes. although at first it had struck her. She crept away. might misunderstand— yet. To parody a line oat of Fairfax's Tasso— 'His strong idea wandered through her thought. to make known his love. and hid from his idea. and force a stiff rigid smile upon our lips. cowering and gibbering. that he had loved her. now that it was too late to utter them. It is there—there. And she shrank and shuddered as under the fascination of some great power. repugnant to her whole previous life. and now. the clear conviction dawned upon her. that he did love her. was like that of a horror in a dream. listening to hear whether we dare to breathe of its presence to any one.—and certainly. that his offer was forced and goaded out of him by sharp compassion for the exposure she had made of herself. in this strange wild passionate way. And we dare not. poor cowards that we are! 315 . How dared he say that he would love her still. in some corner of the chamber. even before he left the room. decisive speeches came thronging into her mind. Sharp.

And away she went. 'Fais ce que dois.—by a crippled beggar. and the cold slime of women's impertinence. just as bravely.' thought she.And so she shuddered away from the threat of his enduring love. where an invalid catches the unrefreshing sleep that is denied to the night-hours. she would do it. no outward circumstances had roused her out of the trance of thought in which she had been plunged by his last words. as the recollection of the message sent the night before flashed into her mind. with a sort of impetuous wish to shake off the recollection of the past hour in the company of others. Margaret would not be alone. What did he mean? Had she not the power to daunt him? She would see. But all was profoundly hushed in the noonday stillness of a house.—but by him. advienne que pourra. and threw it open. Then she went and opened the door. Did he ground it upon the miserable yesterday? If need were. and by the look of his deep intent passionate eyes. and true to save where she could save. to dispel the oppression which hung around her. or in active exertion. It was more daring than became a man to threaten her so. of course. she would do the same to-morrow. and simple. in spite of his deductions. willingly and gladly. as their flames had made her own fall before them. She did it because it was right. even to try to save. What should she do? 'Go and see Bessy Higgins.' Hitherto she had not stirred from where he had left her. She went to the window. 316 .

and.When she got there. at last.' Margaret began. colouring. at first. Bessy tossed to and fro. and I thought when father left. looking wistfully in Margaret's face. She was laid down quite flat. do! M'appen I shan't listen to th' sense. But I could not have come yesterday.' said she. by an effort. At last. it seemed as though she were convulsed into double restlessness the next. Margaret felt sure she ought to have the greater freedom of breathing which a more sitting posture would procure. it will seem far away—but when yo' come to words I like—to th' comforting texts—it'll seem close in my ear. oh! if I could just hear her voice. without a word. she raised her up. and so arranged the pillows. 'Yo'd m'appen think I went beyond my place in sending Mary for yo'. If. moved close to the fire. she attended for one moment. my mother was so ill—for many reasons. But the wranglin' and the loud voices had just torn me to pieces. 'I thought I should na' ha' seen yo' again. as if resting languidly after some paroxysm of pain.' said Margaret. now?' 'Ay. I could die away into the silence and rest o' God. she found Bessy lying on the settle. reading me some words o' peace and promise. though the day was sultry and oppressive. she burst out 'Don't go on reading. lust as a babby is hushed up to sleep by its mother's lullaby. though very languid. 'I'm afraid you're much worse.' 'Shall I read you a chapter. It's no 317 . and going through me as it were. that Bessy was more at ease.

and reason wi' 'em. as they knew by th' experience of many. colouring deep. It's that that's fretting me. He'd ha' given his right hand if it had never come to pass.' 'But why?' asked Margaret. Yo' never saw a man so down-hearted as he is. and true to th' back-bone. He's fairly knocked down in his mind by it. and coax 'em. and m'appen warn 'em off. what the major part thought. wi' thinking angrily on what canna be helped.use.' 'Your father was not there. 'I don't understand. though I say it as shouldn't say it. if need were. Th' Union appointed him because. And he and t other committeemen laid their plans. was he?' said Margaret. They would try and get speech o' th' knobsticks. he's a committee-man on this special strike'. 'Not he. They were to hou'd together through thick and thin. It's no use telling him. yesterday at Marlborough Mills? Thornton's factory.—Yo'd hear of th' riot. without striking a blow. but whatever came. yo' know. And above all there was to be no going again the law of the land. he's reckoned a deep chap. whether they would or no. the Committee charged all members o' th' Union to lie down and die. and many a time before. fools will always break out o bounds.' 'Why yo' see. m'appen. and then they reckoned they were sure o' carrying th' 318 . but if there was once any noise o' fighting and struggling—even wi' knobsticks—all was up. t'others were to think. Folk would go with them if they saw them striving and starving wi' dumb patience. I'm blaspheming all the time in my mind.

but who would ne'er injure property or life: For. he'd give him up to th' millowners to do what they would wi' him. what it mun be for father to have a' his work undone. He'd show the world that th' real leaders o' the strike were not such as Boucher. but I'm tired out. she had spoken with many pauses. that welly killed her. and ruin th' strike. good hands. 319 . and they didn't want to have right all mixed up wi' wrong. who must needs go right again the orders of Committee. till they got 'em.' dropping her voice. and by such a fool as Boucher. were yo'?' asked Bessy languidly for indeed.' 'That's not true. and good citizens. I've told yo' at length about this'n. 'they do say. he'd go and tell police where they might find th' ringleader o' th' riot. who were friendly to law and judgment. and wouldn't work. Eh! but father giv'd it him last night! He went so far as to say. and would uphold order. who only wanted their right wage. Committee knew they were right in their demand. then white. jelly is much the biggest. 'Yo'd be there then. no more nor I can th' physic-powder from th' jelly yo' gave me to mix it in. 'It was not Boucher that threw the stone'—she went first red. but steady thoughtful men. as if speech was unusually difficult to her. Well. And beside all that. Yo' just think for yo'rsel. but powder tastes it all through.public with them. even though they starved. just as bad as if he meant to be a Judas.' said Margaret. that Boucher threw a stone at Thornton's sister. till folk can't separate it.

Only it was not Boucher that threw the stone. 320 . He sat down a bit. and be off like lightning. and I should na' ha' minded if some one else had done the dirty work. and is in good condition. "Thou'll never go peach on that poor clemmed man. he gave a great cry. and put his hand afore his eyes. I could do it less nor ever. Never mind. I'll never leave go on thee. he and I'll have an up and down fight. for all Boucher were weak wi' passion and wi' clemming. and at one time I thought he were sobbing. "words come readier than deeds to most men. I never thought o' telling th' police on him. I was low and faint enough. I heard his breath coming quick. and struck father on th' face wi' his closed fist. I dunno' where I got strength. But now he has strucken me. but I threw mysel' off th' settle and clung to him. But what did he answer to your father?' 'He did na' speak words." And so father shook me off. where it weren't bloody. for it would be getting other men to take up my quarrel. He were all in such a tremble wi' spent passion. and got him clapped up. I could na' bear to look at him. and his face was all clay white. and I'll see what I can do for him.'Yes.—for indeed. Go on. But if ever he gets well o'er this clemming. he deserves it. purring an' a'. or were in a dead swoon." "Dunnot be a fool." says he. till thou sayst thou wunnot. father!" said I. and then made for th' door. Father were stunned wi' the blow at first. And I know not if I slept or waked. and turned me sick to look at. "Father. But when father said he'd give him up to police. though by G—.

Read me—not a sermon chapter. and muttered pleadings. and the New Earth. but people seemed to have lost the art of making the same kind of beds as they used to do in her youth. Hale suggested. that something of the merits of the featherbeds of former days might be attributed to the activity of youth. and left her. One would think it was easy enough. It was one of her better days. Though Bessy's eyes were shut. but I want some thoughts of the world that's far away to take the weary taste of it out o' my mouth. and she was full of praises of the water-bed. it seemed cruel to leave the dying girl. till this last night she did not know when she had had a good sound resting sleep. she was listening for some time. Read about the New Heavens. and I telled her to fetch yo' to me. It had been more like the beds at Sir John Beresford's than anything she had slept on since. Mr. I'm easier in my mind for having spit it out. until now. for she had an uneasy consciousness that she might be wanted at home. She did not know how it was. there was the same kind of feathers to be had.till Mary come in. Mrs. At last she slept. Margaret covered her up. which I see when my eyes are shut. with many starts. and yet. but just read out th' chapter. which gave a relish 321 . but a story chapter.' Margaret read in her soft low voice. And now dunnot talk to me. they've pictures in them. for the moisture of tears gathered heavy on her eyelashes. Hale was in the drawing-room on her daughter's return. and m'appen I'll forget this. and yet somehow.

and waken in the morning as tired as when you went to bed?' Margaret laughed. But poor baby was taken ill at Oxenham.—to your Aunt Shaw's wedding. And I know Dixon did not like changing from lady's maid to nurse. I've never thought about my bed at all. she might want to leave me. what with my being a great deal with Anna just before her marriage. what kind it is. that if I only lie down anywhere. and she was so proud when he would turn away from every one and cling to her. that I don't 322 . Now. no! to be sure.' 'Were not you? Oh. Margaret.to rest. So I don't think I'm a competent witness. I nap off directly. 'To tell the truth. Do they give you a feeling of perfect repose when you lie down upon them. Hale. I never had the opportunity of trying Sir John Beresford's beds. with his teething. and poor little Fred was the baby then. are the beds comfortable? I appeal to you. I'm so sleepy at night. Dixon had more of the charge of him than she ever had before. you're young enough. don't you toss about. and I was afraid that if I took her near her old home. mamma. 'No. and it made her so fond of him. and go about in the day. and try in vain to find an easy position. I only went to Oxenham once after I was married. It was poor darling Fred I took with me. I never was at Oxenham. I remember. but this idea was not kindly received by his wife. or rather. and not being very strong myself. indeed. But then. Mr. and amongst her own people. you know. and. it was those beds at Sir John's.

He can't bear to hear Fred spoken of. Poor Fred! Every body loved him. Hale cried without restraint. she said with tearful. Ah! Your poor father. 'Margaret.' 'I love to hear about him. you never can tell me too much. "Dear. It will waken up all the poor springs of health left in me. 323 . and his cot was close by my bed. as if to comfort. Tell me what he was like as a baby. "It's not every child that's like Master Fred. mamma. Mrs. I said. and now. and softly took hold of her hand.' Margaret sat down by her mother's sofa on a little stool. I think it a certain proof he had a bad heart.believe she ever thought of leaving me again. if I can get better. what an ugly little thing!" And she said.—if God lets me have a chance of recovery. it must be through seeing my son Frederick once more. she sat straight. Margaret. Margaret. almost solemn earnestness. and sometimes I think I shall never see him again. you must not be hurt. It makes me think very badly of Captain Reid when I know that he disliked my own dear boy. Tell me all you like. caressing it and kissing it. bless him!" Dear! how well I remember it. but he was much prettier than you were. I remember. At last. He has left the room. now—Margaret—I don't know where my boy is.' 'Why. when I first saw you in Dixon's arms. stiff up on the sofa. though it was very different from what she'd been accustomed to. and turning round to her daughter. He was born with the gift of winning hearts. Then I could have had Fred in my arms every minute of the day.

yet closely-present idea. The large. though the poor white lips quivered like those of a child. so right to both parties. so that she might gather 324 . bring him to me that I may bless him. if I am to die—if I am one of those appointed to die before many weeks are over—I must see my child first. we are stung with the recollection of a thousand slighted opportunities of fulfilling the wishes of those who will soon pass away from among us: and do they ask us for the future happiness of our lives. Margaret gently rose up and stood opposite to her frail mother. dilated eyes were fixed upon her wistfully. and pledge herself to do everything in her power for its realisation. Oh.She paused. but I charge you. let me see him before I die!' Margaret did not think of anything that might be utterly unreasonable in this speech: we do not look for reason or logic in the passionate entreaties of those who are sick unto death. and seemed to try and gather strength for something more yet to be said. Hale's was so natural. There could be no danger in five minutes. Her voice was choked as she went on—was quavering as with the contemplation of some strange. Margaret. Margaret. she ought to overlook all intermediate chances of danger. Margaret. steady in their gaze. 'And. on Frederick's account as well as on her mother's. Only for five minutes. as you yourself hope for comfort in your last illness. we lay it at their feet. Margaret. But this wish of Mrs. pleading. and will it away from us. I cannot think how it must be managed. so just. that Margaret felt as if.

you will write directly. He would do anything for me. if you will. smoky. I am as sure that he will come directly to us. mamma. I will write to-night. I should not be ill—be dying—if he had not taken me away from Helstone. he has said so many a time. it is so. dear.' 'Papa is out! and what then? Do you mean that he would deny me this last wish.' 'But. won't you? Don't lose a single post. you don't mean he would refuse me this last wish—prayer. mamma!' said Margaret. to this unhealthy.' She fell back. the longing to see Frederick stands between me and God. Write by this very next post. for just by that very post I may miss him. and for a short time she took no notice of the fact that Margaret sat motionless. as I am sure of my life. 'Mamma. and tell Frederick what you say.the secure fulfilment of her wish from the calm steadiness of her daughter's face. dear Margaret. I cannot. Margaret. No cords or chains can keep him. papa is out. you shall see him as far as anything earthly can be promised. Don't lose time. as if I should not recover. And. 325 . indeed. Be easy. won't you? I have so few hours left—I feel. though sometimes your father over-persuades me into hoping. indeed. 'Yes. Margaret? Why. dear. He knows it himself. Margaret! the post goes out at five—you will write by it. In twentytwo days I shall see my boy. I cannot pray till I have this one thing. indeed. mamma. sunless place. her hand shading her eyes. Then he may be here—here in twenty-two days! For he is sure to come.' 'Oh.' 'You will write to-night? Oh.

—you said he should come.' Mrs. Hale could not stop her tears. and she unconscious of his presence—till she was melted by self-pity into a state of sobbing and exhaustion that made Margaret's heart ache. But at last she was calm. and the probable future—painting the scene when she should lie a corpse. he can write again when he comes in. not a quarter of an hour ago. now. Margaret. don't cry. to make security most sure. Let us ask him how best to do it. with the son she had longed to see in life weeping over her. and greedily watched her daughter.—it cuts me to the heart.' 'You promised. Oh. my own dear mother.—you shall see me write. and. I will try and write myself. mamma. don't cry so pitifully. I'll write here. as she began her letter. for fear her mother should ask to see it: and then. She was coming home when her father overtook her. and if papa thinks fit.' She sat up.— and it shall go by this very post. Margaret took her hand down and looked at her mother sadly. Hale's own bidding. mamma. sealed it up hurriedly. wrote it with swift urgent entreaty.—it is only a day's delay. trembling all over with feverish eagerness. they came hysterically. took it herself to the post-office. 'Only wait till papa comes in. she made no effort to control them. 326 . in truth. at Mrs. but rather called up all the pictures of the happy past.'You are not writing!' said her mother at last 'Bring me some pens and paper.' 'And so he shall.

—or. set her up altogether. 'I don't know.—and then she said that she must see him before she died. Oh.—the lapse of years does not wash out the 327 . where a commanding officer needs to be surrounded in his men's eyes with a vivid consciousness of all the power there is at home to back him. of course. Then he said: 'You should have waited till I came in. they send out ships. Margaret. but the danger to him. if that can be any excuse afterwards.—and. and take up his cause. Hale did not reply at first.—with a letter. my pretty maid?' asked he. more particularly in the navy. for I believe it would do her much more good than all the doctor's medicine. Hale.—galled hasty tempers to madness. it is necessary. 'She ought to see him if she wishes it so much.' 'I tried to persuade her—' and then she was silent. is very great. they spare no expense. after a pause. for government to take very stringent measures for the repression of offences against authority.' said Mr. it is never allowed for in the first instance. 'To the post-office.' 'All these years since the mutiny. papa?' 'Yes. and avenge any injuries offered to him. perhaps. Ah! it's no matter to them how far their authorities have tyrannised. if need be. perhaps I have done wrong: but mamma was seized with such a passionate yearning to see him—she said it would make her well again. I'm afraid.'And where have you been. papa.—I cannot tell you how urgent she was! Did I do wrong?' Mr.—they scour the seas to lay hold of the offenders. a letter to Frederick.

I should have hesitated till. 328 . papa.—it is a fresh and vivid crime on the Admiralty books till it is blotted out by blood. you have done what is right about it. would run the risk. perhaps. She took his arm and walked home pensively and wearily by his side. Margaret. I'm thankful it is as it is. and the end is beyond our control. what have I done! And yet it seemed so right at the time. If she had decoyed her brother home to blot out the memory of his error by his blood! She saw her father's anxiety lay deeper than the source of his latter cheering words. I'm glad it is done. I'm sure Frederick himself. though I durst not have done it myself.' 'Oh. but her father's account of the relentless manner in which mutinies were punished made Margaret shiver and creep. so he should! Nay.' It was all very well. it might have been too late to do any good.memory of the offence. Dear Margaret.' 'So he would.

but a wild. that he hated Margaret. It would have been a relief to him. recollect the cause of his suffering. if he could have sat down and cried on a door-step by a little child. who was raging and storming. When Mr. even as he shaped the words expressive of hatred. and yet he could not. She could not 329 .—a violent headache. and whether it was adequate to the consequences it had produced. sharp sensation of love cleft his dull. and moving like a tender graceful woman. had been a sturdy fish-wife.' MRS. He could not bear the noise. at the moment. He called himself a fool for suffering so. Thornton had left the house that morning he was almost blinded by his baffled passion. the garish light. HEMANS. he did not change one whit. and given him a sound blow with her fists. through his passionate tears. His greatest comfort was in hugging his torment. thunderous feeling like lightning. He had positive bodily pain.CHAPTER XXVI MOTHER AND SON 'I have found that holy place of rest Still changeless. and speaking. treat him with her proud sovereign indifference. and in feeling. at some injury he had received. that though she might despise him. contemn him. the continued rumble and movement of the street. instead of looking. He was as dizzy as if Margaret. He said to himself. as he had indeed said to her. and a throbbing intermittent pulse.

Was he bewitched by those beautiful eyes. He went into the fields. Thornton. He could remember all about it now. that her arms had been round him. and was borne away. and defy her. he had always fore-told were certain to follow. And then he 330 . sighing mouth which lay so close upon his shoulder only yesterday? He could not even shake off the recollection that she had been there.—past long rows of houses—then past detached villas with trim gardens. in these wise moods. so he mounted upon it. He stood still for a moment. and at another so timid. the absurd way in which he had gone and done the very thing he had so often agreed with himself in thinking would be the most foolish thing in the world. and would love her. and because they walked away he did so too. once—if never again. that soft. the conductor thought he was wishing for a place. by-andby. and. walking briskly. half-open. It was too much trouble to apologise and explain. till they came to real country hedge-rows. He loved her. to make this resolution firm and clear. because the sharp motion relieved his mind. and this miserable bodily pain. if he ever did make such a fool of himself. now so tender. the pitiful figure he must have cut. There was an omnibus passing—going into the country. He only caught glimpses of her. and had met with exactly the consequences which. and then so haughty and regal-proud. Then every body got down.make him change. At one time she was so brave. and stopped near the pavement. and so did Mr. to a small country town. he did not understand her altogether.

—her eyes flashing out upon him at the idea that. by way of finally forgetting her. because she had shared his danger yesterday. Thornton was a fool in the morning.thought over every time he had ever seen her once again. only half made in the morning. 331 . for the comfort and safety of his newly imported Irish hands. All that he gained in return for his sixpenny omnibus ride. never could be. he had to secure them from all chance of communication with the discontented work-people of Milton. as he assured himself at least twenty times he was. but that she—no! nor the whole world—should never hinder him from loving her. The accustomed places brought back the accustomed habits and trains of thought. Last of all. and remounted the omnibus to return to Milton. any one like Margaret. owing to the commotion of the day before. He had to see his brother magistrates. in every mood. near his warehouse. Even this morning. It was late in the afternoon when he was set down. was a more vivid conviction that there never was. he had to go home and encounter his mother. how magnificent she had looked. And so he returned to the little market-place. He knew how much he had to do—more than his usual work. he did not grow much wiser in the afternoon. and did not know which became her best. he had to complete the arrangements. He saw her in every dress. that she did not love him and never would. she had cared for him the least! If Mr.

at some sudden noise in the house. none were like them now. She went so far as to search for the 332 . and begun to ply her needle diligently. H. and Mrs. had caught up the half-dropped work. and began to reckon up the store.Mrs. Then she knit her brows. every moment expecting the news of her son's acceptance by Miss Hale. marked with his initials. Thornton stood looking at them long. T. and consequently marked G. Then her rigid face unstiffened from its gray frost-bound expression. she forced her thoughts into the accustomed household grooves. Thornton had clothes-basket upon clothes-basket. so unusual to their sternness. Mrs. and with an unsteady hand! and many times had the door opened. exquisitely fine. Thornton had sat in the dining-room all day. H. and some indifferent person entered on some insignificant errand. though through dimmed spectacles. She had braced herself up many and many a time. and carefully unpicked the G. and pinched and compressed her lips tight. The newlymarried couple-to-be would need fresh household stocks of linen.—they had been her pride when she was first married. There was some confusion between what was hers. and the features dropped into the relaxed look of despondency. (for George and Hannah Thornton). were Dutch damask of the old kind. and what was her son's—bought with his money. Some of those marked G. She wrenched herself away from the contemplation of all the dreary changes that would be brought about to herself by her son's marriage. H. T. full of table-cloths and napkins. brought in.

would separate a kitchen-wench from the rest of the world. Doubtless he was with Miss Hale. a series of visions passing before her. To take Mrs. So she looked fixedly at vacancy. troops of friends. and spirit. ready for the door opening. and be as little thought of for their separate value. Thornton's place as mistress of the house. in all of which her son was the principal. And Miss Hale was not so bad. If she had been a Milton lass. and very ignorant. Mrs. The new love was displacing her already from her place as first in his heart. and the rejoicing triumphant one. love. Still he did not come. She was to be John's wife. In all this. honour. She was pungent. the sole object. obedience.—her son. all purple and fine linen. and flavour in her. and had taste. To be chosen by John. In a moment. who should never know the sore regret his mother felt at his marriage. was only one of the rich consequences which decked out the supreme glory. Thornton would have positively liked her. she was sadly prejudiced. there was little thought enough of the future daughter-in-law as an individual.—and she had no heart to send for any more just yet. she was up again as straight as ever. all household plenty and comfort. her pride.—a grim smile upon her face for the first time that day. A terrible pain—a pang of vain jealousy—shot through her: she hardly knew whether it was more physical or mental. would all come as naturally as jewels on a king's robe. but that was to be 333 . True. but it was all used. her property.Turkey-red marking-thread to put in the new initials. but it forced her to sit down.

—no one cares for me. even while she thought she was finishing a sentence. the bitterness of his heart could have uttered one. and tried to fix her attention on it. instead of pursuing the employment she took pride and pleasure in. but his mother deserved better of him. He came round behind her.expected from her southern breeding. she did not look up. By an effort she looked up. mother. and then. He came close to the table. and. bending back her gray. But he had steeled himself. He longed to reply with a jest. Yet her head was down over the book. abused her roundly. stony face. Why did he pause? Let her know the worst. and stood still there. and for once she spoke harshly to her daughter. Thornton's mind. as if by way of penance. Well. Her quickened sense could interpret every sound of motion: now he was at the hat-stand—now at the very room-door. A strange sort of mortified comparison of Fanny with her. and continuing her inspection of the table-linen. she heard him come in at the hall-door. murmuring: 'No one loves me. he kissed it.' 334 . waiting till she should have finished the paragraph which apparently absorbed her. went on in Mrs. and her memory could mechanically have repeated it word for word. she took up Henry's Commentaries. John?' He knew what that little speech meant. so that she could not see his looks. while her eye did pass over it. but you. _His_ step at last! She heard him.

I hate her for your misery's sake. And she would not have you. she was a tall woman. She looked into his face. tears forcing themselves into his manly eyes. John.' 'And I hate her. 'Mother's love is given by God.—she tottered. He could not hear what she said. 'I am not fit for her. And yet her heart leapt up light. and if you don't hate her. But now. I knew I was not. and I would give my heart's blood to do that.—it changes with every wind. the strong woman tottered. in a low fierce voice.—I love her yet.' said Mrs. she made him look at her. because. it's no use hiding up your aching heart from me. She put her hands on his shoulders. 'Mother!' said he. hurriedly. A girl's love is like a puff of smoke.He turned away and stood leaning his head against the mantel-piece.—if not as coarsely worded.—I said to myself.—she will make him happy. I do. 'I cannot hear a word against her. Yes. Thornton. would not she?' She set her teeth. my own lad. I am the mother that bore you. but the look in her eyes interpreted it to be a curse. For the first time in her life. to know he was her own again.—spare me! I am very weak in my sore heart. Spare me. It holds fast for ever and ever. She stood up. mother. He shook his head. as fell in intent as ever was uttered.' 335 . when she stood between you and me. 'I tried not to hate her. and your sorrow is my agony. John. she showed them like a dog for the whole length of her mouth.' She ground out words between her closed teeth. I love her more than ever.

were swept back to the place they came from.—too much. mother. Let us never name the subject again.'Then. Their voices and tones were calm and cold a stranger might have gone away and thought that he had never seen such frigid indifference of demeanour between such near relations.—about facts. you make me love her more. But why do we talk of love or hatred? She does not care for me. She is unjustly treated by you. I only wish that she. 'Warrants are out against three men for conspiracy.' He stood still. Let us never name her. They fell back into their usual mode of talk. mother.' 'With all my heart. not opinions. and all belonging to her. far less feelings.' And Margaret's name was no more mentioned between Mrs. and that is enough. but she seemed just as grim and quiet as usual when he next spoke. It is the only thing you can do for me in the matter. Her dry dim eyes filled with unwonted tears as she looked at him. 336 . Thornton and her son. and I must make the balance even. The riot yesterday helped to knock up the strike. gazing into the fire for a minute or two longer.

He was not aware of the silent respect paid to him. men of long standing in the town.—giving them the best assistance of his strong sense. he looked to the speedy accomplishment of that alone. and so coming to a rapid decision. That thought of Mr. from the women-kind of these magistrates and wealthy men.' MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. engaged in his trade—looked to him for prompt. It was his mother's greedy ears that sucked in. and drove hard bargains.CHAPTER XXVII FRUIT-PIECE 'For never any thing can be amiss When simpleness and duty tender it. men of far greater wealth—realised and turned into land. There was a slight demand for finished goods. he would have felt it as an obstacle in his progress to the object he had in view. ready wisdom. Thornton went straight and clear into all the interests of the following day. He was the one deputed to see and arrange with the police—to lead in all the requisite steps. while his was all floating capital. and his power of seeing consequences at a glance. And he cared for their unconscious deference no more than for the soft west wind. Mr. He was sharp to the hour at the meeting of his brother magistrates. This or Mr. 337 . As it was. how highly Mr. If it had been otherwise. that scarcely made the smoke from the great tall chimneys swerve in its straight upward course. he took advantage of it. and as it affected his branch of the trade. Older men.

—very badly. and went out into the fresher. they would wander to her.—not of his repulse and rejection the day before but the looks.' The evidence against Boucher. but still sultry street. but never seeing them. and other ringleaders of the riot. and the stunned purposeless course of the hours afterwards. 338 . for conspiracy. as soon as they could prove a fault. things would have gone on very differently. He felt his power and revelled in it.Thornton. He went along the crowded streets mechanically. and her heart beat against his—to come once again. failed. He could almost defy his heart. that if he had not been there.—almost sick with longing for that one half-hour—that one brief space of time when she clung to him. he was so languid that he could not control his thoughts. the actions of the day before that. He swept off his business right and left that day. It seemed as though he gave way all at once. It seemed as though his deep mortification of yesterday. for the swift right arm of the law should be in readiness to strike. indeed. And then he left the hot reeking room in the borough court. he could have sang the song of the miller who lived by the river Dee:— 'I care for nobody—Nobody cares for me. that against the three others. they would bring back the scene. If he had known it. was taken before him. winding in and out among the people. had cleared away all the mists from his intellect. But he sternly charged the police to be on the watch.

whatever you doctors have.'Why. Donaldson. thank you. If the wheat is well got in. And how is Mrs. Your bad weather. going on among you Milton men than you're aware of. Mr.—never comes near my appetite. you know—hasn't many weeks to live.' Mr. are my good ones. 'You know—you would see. I really didn't see you. Hale—that lady in Crampton. Thornton? Brave weather this! We doctors don't like it. When trade is bad. that money is not 339 . poor lady! Not to go on talking in this heartless way. Doctor?' he asked. as I think I told you. in an altered voice. I can tell you!' 'I beg your pardon. ay. but I've been seeing her to-day. Thornton was silent. there's more undermining of health. I hope.' 'Not with me. which affects me more than any one else in Milton. You must go elsewhere for a patient. and preparation for death. It is a fine day. 'Can I do anything. Doctor. Thornton you're cutting me very coolly.' 'By the way. The news of the worst bad debt I ever had. Doctor. The vaunted steadiness of pulse failed him for an instant. Dr.—more than Hamper. Each man for himself. and your bad times. I must say. My mother's quite well.' 'Ay. I'm made of iron. This strike. I seriously believe that Mrs. you've recommended me a good patient. I never had any hope of cure. never made my pulse vary. and good for the harvest. and I think very badly of her. we shall have a brisk trade next year.

' replied the Doctor. I'm sure. 340 .' 'Oh! never fear! I'll not spare your purse. and all their wants. and thought it strange to see him occupied just like a porter or an errand-boy. but jargonelle pears will do as well as anything.very plentiful. 'She craves for fruit. are there any comforts or dainties she ought to have?' 'No. Thornton had no general benevolence. Thornton. shaking his head. few even would have given him credit for strong affections. 'To Marlborough Mills.—I'll take it. They were packed into a basket. Many a young lady of his acquaintance turned to look after him. and chose out the bunch of purple grapes with the most delicate bloom upon them. 'Give the basket to me.—the richest-coloured peaches. sir?' There was no reply.' It took up both his hands to carry it.—no universal philanthropy. 'I rely upon you. and the shopman awaited the answer to his inquiry.' But Mr. I wish you'd give me carte-blanche for all my patients. and he had to pass through the busiest part of the town for feminine shopping.—she has a constant fever on her.—the freshest vine-leaves.' 'You will tell me. and there are quantities of them in the market. But he went straight to the first fruit-shop in Milton. Thornton said. I suppose.—I know it's deep enough. if there is anything I can do.’ replied Mr. sir?' 'No!' Mr. 'Where shall we send them to.

in that subdued and gentle tone. heated with fever. hardly of Mr. Hale.' Margaret stood up by the table. She shall never scorn me out of doing what I please. But he took no notice of her. Hale was excessively surprised. Her heart fluttered. if. 'I will not be daunted from doing as I choose by the thought of her. at this interview. Hale himself. I do it in defiance of her. if his did not. and said. I failed in doing a kindness to a man I liked I do it for Mr. She thought it 341 . Margaret—a basket—anything. Margaret was working on a low stool by her mother's side. quite in a tremble of eagerness.' He went at an unusual pace.He was thinking. Hale with fewer words expressed a deeper gratitude. Hale lay on the sofa. A pretty joke. for fear of a haughty girl. and as he said fruit would be good for you. which is so touching when used by a robust man in full health. Thornton into a consciousness of her being in the room. he went up straight with his basket to Mrs. half afraid of moving or making any noise to arouse Mr. and entered the drawing-room before Dixon could announce him. Hale. speaking to a feeble invalid— 'I met Dr. I have taken the liberty—the great liberty of bringing you some that seemed to me fine. 'Fetch a plate. indeed. ma'am. Mr.' Mrs.—his face flushed. and was soon at Crampton. Hale was reading aloud. Donaldson. his eyes shining with kindly earnestness. excessively pleased. and it is simply right that I should. Mrs. He went upstairs two steps at a time. I like to take this fruit to the poor mother. Mr.

from her being on a low seat at first. I fear—but I will be more gentle next time. I have not tasted such fruit—no! not even in Hampshire—since I was a boy. and fancied that. with the points of her delicate taper fingers. the gift of such delicious fruit as this would melt them all away. Hale. 'How kind of him to think of me! Margaret love. Good afternoon. he had overlooked her in his haste. She went for a plate in silence. She believed that he had not seen her. Hale had been peeling a peach for his wife. Not one word: not one look to Margaret. and. all fruit is good. if I should see any that is tempting.' Mr.would be awkward for both to be brought into conscious collision. cutting off a small piece for himself. Hale. I fancy. Thornton does. 'I cannot stay. in a feeble voice. I remember 342 . 'Margaret!' said Mrs. he said: 'If I had any prejudices.—too abrupt. and after yesterday too! 'Oh! it is so delicious!' said Mrs. rather querulously. You will allow me the pleasure of bringing you some fruit again. As if he did not feel the consciousness of her presence all over. If you will forgive this liberty. and lifted the fruit out tenderly. Mr. 'you won't like anything Mr. quietly.—my rough ways. and to boys. only taste these grapes! Was it not good of him?' 'Yes!' said Margaret. Hale. though his eyes had never rested on her! 'I must go.' said he. It was good of him to bring it. ma'am. and now standing behind her father. I never saw anybody so prejudiced. Good-bye.' He was gone.

At last Dixon found what she wanted. and spoke to her: 'Now I don't like telling you what I wanted. what it was Margaret could not see. her whole life just now was a strain upon her fortitude.' Dixon did not speak. She had hardly given way to the first choking sob. dropping her sewing on the ground. and.' 343 . Margaret. she went hastily out of the room into her own little chamber. and want a glass of water. the little crane's-bill that grew in the crevices? She had been shaken by the events of the last two days. nothing. and I know you'll fret about this. may be. 'Bless me. touching on the remembrance of the sunny times of old. somehow. these careless words of her father's. What are you looking for? I keep my muslins in that drawer. when she became aware of Dixon standing at her drawers. Do you remember the matted-up currant bushes. made her start up. at the corner of the west-wall in the garden at home?' Did she not? Did she not remember every weatherstain on the old stone wall.eating sloes and crabs with a relish. Dixon faced round. but went on rummaging. or such times as that. Only I'm silly. is she? Is anything the matter?' 'No. I meant to have kept it from you till night. miss! How you startled me! Missus is not worse. because you've fretting enough to go through. and. and evidently searching for something. The scent of lavender came out and perfumed the room. Dixon. the gray and yellow lichens that marked it like a map.

'What is the matter? Pray. the young woman who died had a fancy for being buried in something of yours.' 'Why. forced out a few facts. This girl down-stairs wanted me to ask you. she went to the kitchen.' 'But she's dead!' said Margaret. ma'am. I mean. Nicholas Higgins had gone out in the morning. in the midst of her tears. that's another thing.' said Margaret. Margaret could not get her to say anything more than this.' 'Well?' 'Well! she died this morning.' said Margaret. leaving Bessy as well as on the day before. tell me. Mary's face was all swollen with crying.' 'I will go down and speak to her. she loved yo'. and so the sister's come to ask for it.' 'I should never have asked you. taking the cap in her hand. she did indeed!' And for a long time. It seems. some neighbour ran to the room where Mary 344 . turning a little pale.—and I was looking for a night-cap that wasn't too good to give away. at once. and her sister is here— come to beg a strange thing. But in an hour she was taken worse. 'Poor Bessy! I never thought I should not see her again. No! I would rather not. her sympathy.' 'That young woman you go to see—Higgins. I told her you wouldn't. if you hadn't come in. if you would like to see her. At last. 'I never saw a dead person.' 'Oh! let me find one. 'Oh. Dixon. and she burst out afresh when she saw Margaret. afraid lest Dixon's harshness of manner might wound the poor girl. and Dixon's scolding. she loved yo'. So.

'I will go. Miss Hale is busy.' said she. or else she would. and keep father fro' drink. She would ha' thought it a great compliment. She used to say yo' were the prettiest thing she'd ever clapped eyes on. Dixon!' said Margaret with decision. turning sharply round.' Margaret shrank a little from answering. But where's your father. if it could do the girl any good." Yo'll come and see her. in a low voice.' And for fear of 345 . 'Miss Hale. at the intimacy between her and the young lady. of its being a respect to the departed. I'll come before tea. and she can't come. 'where's the use o' your going to see the poor thing laid out? I'd never say a word against it. if that would satisfy her. during Bessy's lifetime.' The girl looked wistfully at Margaret. Yes. Mary had only come in a few minutes before she died. who had had her little pangs of jealousy. Mary?' Mary shook her head. Dixon's coming might be a compliment. and stood up to be going.' said Dixon. perhaps I may. you shall see me this afternoon. 'Yes. but it was not the same thing to the poor sister. I will. "Give her my affectionate respects. She loved yo' dearly Her last words were. They've just a notion. and I wouldn't mind a bit going myself. She were never tired o' talking o' yo'. these common folks. 'It were a day or two ago she axed to be buried in somewhat o' yourn. ma'am. they did not know where to find her father. I know. Mary.was working. 'I'll come and see your sister. Here. 'No.

she went away. in order to take from herself any chance of changing her determination.her own cowardice. 346 .

' 'The weary are at rest. we feel too strong in weal. Mary was looking out for her. had now the faint soft smile of eternal rest upon it. And thou shalt reign in peace with Christ at length. That afternoon she walked swiftly to the Higgins's house. and into the quiet presence of the dead. the soul is dumb. All beautiful scriptures came into her mind. Good cheer! good cheer! Soon ends the bitter strife. to need Thee on that road. They passed quickly through the houseplace. And that was death! It looked more peaceful than life."' MRS. 'Ay sooth. upstairs.' Slowly. The face. BROWNING. but a deep calm entered into her soul.' KOSEGARTEN. often so weary with pain. Mary was humbly sobbing in the back-ground. But woe being come.CHAPTER XXVIII COMFORT IN SORROW 'Through cross to crown!— And though thy spirit's life Trials untold assail with giant strength. slowly Margaret turned away from the bed.' 'He giveth His beloved sleep. Then Margaret was glad that she had come. so restless with troublous thoughts. 'They rest from their labours. 347 . with a halfdistrustful face. that crieth not on "God. They went down stairs without a word. Margaret smiled into her eyes to reassure her. The slow tears gathered into Margaret's eyes.

from many busy tongues. familiarly acquainting herself with the surroundings of death which he. had only just learnt.' said he at last. which first suggested to Margaret the idea that he had been drinking—not enough to intoxicate 348 . and throwing her apron over her head. dying so long. There had been a pause of an instant on the steep crooked stair.' Margaret felt as if she had no business to be there. they came up thick. but he kept his hold on her arm. when she first saw him. standing still with the utmost patience. that he had persuaded himself she would not die. His eyes were dry and fierce. and hoarse: 'Were yo' with her? Did yo' see her die?' 'No!' replied Margaret. Mary sat down on the first chair she came to. It was some time before he spoke again. the father. with a strange sort of gravity. and held her till he could gather words to speak seemed dry.Resting his hand upon the house-table. and to leave him in the solemn circle of his household misery. For she had been sickly. began to cry. studying the reality of her death. his great eyes startled open by the news he had heard. but now she tried to steal past his abstracted gaze. He took sudden hold of Margaret's arm. Nicholas Higgins stood in the midst of the floor. The noise appeared to rouse him. that she would 'pull through. as he came along the court. and choked. now she found herself perceived. 'All men must die. bringing himself to understand that her place should know her no more.

Mary trembled from head to foot. it might have been an hour—he lifted himself up. he shook it and every piece of furniture in the room. and wild gleams came across the stupidity of his eyes. he looked up at her with a wild searching inquiry in his glance. often. His eyes were swollen and bloodshot. throwing his body half across the table. with his violent sobs. Then he suddenly let go his hold of Margaret.' Still he pondered over the event.' replied Margaret.himself. and held it softly in hers. 'She is dead!' she said. and he seemed to have forgotten that any one was by. which seemed to fade out of his eyes as he gazed. 'Yo're sure and certain she's dead—not in a dwam. Mary came trembling towards him. not looking at Margaret. He shook himself heavily. he scowled at the watchers when he saw them. but enough to make his thoughts bewildered. Still his daughter and Margaret did not move. 349 . She felt no fear in speaking to him. a faint?—she's been so before.' 'She is dead. and. He looked at her still with that searching look. Suddenly. 'But she were younger than me. striking wildly and blindly at her. 'What do I care for thee?' Margaret took her hand. 'Get thee gone!—get thee gone!' he cried. At last—it might have been a quarter of an hour. though he grasped her tight. he beat his head against the hard wood. He tore his hair. then he lay exhausted and stupid. though he hurt her arm with his gripe.

Oh. help me! he's going out to drink again! Father. 'Oh. I'll not leave yo'. wench. It's very hard upon a man that he can't go to the only comfort left. spoke never a word. What could she do next? He had seated himself on a chair. where I never asked yo' to come. but made for the door. 'If yo' think for to keep me from going what gait I choose. He looked up at her defyingly. intending to go out as soon as she left her position. Stand out o' the way. father. too. 'What are yo' looking at me in that way for?' asked he at last. but 350 . serious eyes off him.' Margaret felt that he acknowledged her power. He stared back on her with gloomy fierceness. 'It's my own house. Yo' may strike. whose face was bleeding from her fall against a chair. She told me last of all to keep yo' fro' drink!' But Margaret stood in the doorway. father!' said Mary. close to the door. or I'll make yo'!' He had shaken off Mary with violence. he looked ready to strike Margaret. If she had stirred hand or foot. half-resenting. throwing herself upon his arm. silent yet commanding.gave them one more sullen look. yo're mista'en. because she loved yo'—and in my own house. but I'll not leave yo'.—'not to-night! Any night but to-night. But she never moved a feature—never took her deep. daunted and awed by her severe calm. he would have thrust her aside with even more violence than he had used to his own daughter. half-conquered.

at any rate she did not fear death as some do. wench. hoo's led the life of a dog. And to die without knowing one good piece o' rejoicing in all her days! Nay.' said Margaret. If her life has been what you say. Margaret laid her hand on his arm. quietly and patiently waited for his time to move. but at last he moved towards the stairs. either of him or of his compliance. Hoo's had her portion on 'em. that she is now gone to.' 351 . and I mun ha' a sup o' drink just to steady me again sorrow. He stood uncertain. 'Nought can hurt her now. 'Come and see her!' The voice in which she spoke was very low and solemn. with dogged irresolution upon his face. 'You shall not.' 'No.' Then. he went on: 'We may quarrel and fall out—we may make peace and be friends—we may clem to skin and bone—and nought o' all our griefs will ever touch her more. hoo can know nought about it now. you should have heard her speak of the life to come— the life hidden with God. whatever hoo said. but there was no fear or doubt expressed in it.' she said. and sickness at last. She and he stood by the corpse. Oh. She waited him there.unwilling to use the violence he had threatened not five minutes before.' muttered he. What wi' hard work first. 'Come with me. "Keep my father fro' drink. 'Her last words to Mary were. softening with his softened manner. He had a strange pleasure in making her wait. raising his voice to a wailing cry. He sullenly rose up."' 'It canna hurt her now.

'I am sure you did not know: it was quite sudden. 'At least you shall have some comfortable food. lass. His pale. who has put his foot in all our plans! And I've walked my feet sore wi' going about for to see men who wouldn't be seen. She's bed-fast. but she were raving and raging to know where her dunder-headed brute of a chap was. with a bold venture. You will not go?' No answer. grim laugh.' said he. half trembling at her own proposal as she made it. sure enough.He shook his head. now the law is raised again us. I never knew hoo lay a-dying here. And I were sore-hearted. too. The d—-d fool. where was he to look for comfort? 'Come home with me.' said Margaret. and if I did see a friend who ossed to treat me. you see. I were at the Committee. you do know. thou'd believe me. with a short. But now. you do see her lying there. which I'm sure you need. 'You are sorely tired. you hear what she said with her last breath. as if I'd to keep him—as if he were fit to be ruled by me. 'Not at what you call work. I were fetched to Boucher's wife afore seven this morning.' said she at last. glancing sideways up at Margaret as he did so. which is worse than sore-footed. In fact.' 352 . Where have you been all day— not at work?' 'Not at work. thou wouldst—wouldstn't thou?' turning to the poor dumb form with wild appeal. haggard face struck her painfully. it would be different. till I were sickened out wi' trying to make fools hear reason. 'I am sure. Bess.

covered up her face. who would be totally unprepared for his visitor—her mother so ill—seemed utterly out of the question. 'He was.' He stooped down and fondly kissed his daughter. it was all right. I've many a thing I often wished to say to a parson. since yo've asked me. who would come in and sit a bit with her. for her heart smote her at the idea of leaving the poor affectionate girl alone. But Mary had friends among the neighbours. 'I'll go and take a dish o' tea with him. to urge Mary to come too.'Yo'r father's a parson?' asked he. lass. but father— 353 . shortly. She thought that if she could only get him to their own house. ou'd wench! We've parted company at last. Bless thy white lips. to say it was the only way she could think of to keep him from the gin-palace. his drinking tea with her father. with a sudden turn in his ideas. and turned to follow Margaret. we have! But thou'st been a blessin' to thy father ever sin' thou wert born. it would be worse than ever—sure to drive him to the gin-shop. it was so great a step gained that she would trust to the chapter of accidents for the next.' said Margaret. 'Goodbye.— they've a smile on 'em now! and I'm glad to see it once again. she said. and yet if she drew back now. though I'm lone and forlorn for evermore. or not.' Margaret was perplexed. and I'm not particular as to whether he's preaching now. She had hastily gone down stairs to tell Mary of the arrangement.

but Dixon had persuaded her to lie down on the sofa. like the crackling of thorns under a pot. in order to conceal his dirty foot-prints. she could not let him slip out of her hands just then. and have her tea brought to her there. and gone into her own room. He had shaken off his emotion. but Margaret assured him he should be allowed to go into the yard. and shoes. and had even o'erleaped himself so much that he assumed a sort of bitter mirth. She had wanted to go to bed. 'How is mamma?—where is papa?' Missus was tired. while he tramped along by Margaret's side. as if he was ashamed of having ever given way to it. As he got near the street in which he knew she lived. stepping cautiously on every dark mark in the pattern of the oil-cloth. and through the kitchen. he looked down at his clothes. While he followed the house-servant along the passage. his hands. it would be better than getting restless by being too long in bed. he feared being upset by the words.He was there by them as she would have spoken more. Margaret ran upstairs. 'I should m'appen ha' cleaned mysel'. 'I'm going to take my tea wi' her father. 354 . I am!' But he slouched his cap low down over his brow as he went out into the street. of sympathising neighbours. and looked neither to the right nor to the left. first?' It certainly would have been desirable. So he and Margaret walked in silence. still more the looks. She met Dixon on the landing. and have soap and towel provided.

till she saw the slight look of repugnance on her father's face. if you can come in and make a third in the study. kind-hearted Mr. she told it incompletely. Hale took hold of her sweet pleading face in both his hands. 'I am sorry. I'll go and make him as comfortable as I can.So far. and do you attend to your mother. But where was Mr. Hale would have readily tried to console him in his grief. Only. and kissed her forehead. The meek. papa! he really is a man you will not dislike—if you won't be shocked to begin with. Mr. with whom he was expected to drink tea. Margaret went in half breathless with the hurried story she had to tell. and her having brought him home with her as a last expedient to keep him from the gin-shop. papa. and on whose behalf Margaret was anxiously pleading. Of course. but. One little event had come out of another so naturally that Margaret was hardly conscious of what she had done. He was only rather strange at first. Margaret.' Margaret's eyes filled with tears. He is very quiet—he is not tipsy at all. so good. dear. 'Oh. and her father was rather 'taken aback' by the idea of the drunken weaver awaiting him in his quiet study. 'It is all right.' 355 . I shall be glad. to bring a drunken man home—and your mother so ill!' Margaret's countenance fell. unluckily. the point Margaret dwelt upon most forcibly was the fact of his having been drinking. but that might be the shock of poor Bessy's death.' 'But. Hale? In the drawing-room.

if we were at Helstone. or the day before?' 'Yesterday. mamma. But to Margaret he only said. mamma. There will be some risk no doubt. but we will lessen it as much as ever we can. yes—thank you. Mrs. after all these years that he has kept away and lived in safety! I keep falling asleep and dreaming that he is caught and being tried. nobody knows or cares for us enough to notice what we do.'Oh. Margaret? Yesterday.' Margaret went into her mother's room. Dixon will keep the door like a dragon—won't you.' 'Oh. And it is so little! Now. be sure you come directly. Margaret. they would be sure to guess it was Frederick.' 'Oh dear! a drunken infidel weaver!' said Mr. I took it myself' 'Oh.' 'Yesterday. she ran after him: 'Papa—you must not wonder at what he says: he's an—-I mean he does not believe in much of what we do. there would be twenty—a hundred times as much. Dixon—while he is here?' 356 . don't be afraid. 'If your mother goes to sleep. while here. There. 'When did you write to Frederick. Hale was leaving the room. everybody would remember him and if there was a stranger known to be in the house. And the letter went?' 'Yes. Hale lifted herself up from a doze.' But as Mr. Hale to himself. I'm so afraid of his coming! If he should be recognised! If he should be taken! If he should be executed. in dismay.

Would it be too late to stop him if you wrote again. Margaret was silent. 'Come now. and trust to me. remembering the urgency with which she had entreated him to come directly. ma'am. 'But I almost wish you had not written. But I'll see about her being safe off. There's only Martha in the house that would not do a good deal to save him on a pinch. Margaret?' 'I'm afraid it would. And we'll keep him snug. poor fellow!' 'Poor fellow!' echoed Mrs. showing her teeth at the bare idea. without shilly-shallying. mamma. Margaret 357 . And I'm glad Miss Margaret wrote off straight. and I've been thinking she might go and see her mother just at that very time. Hale. God bless him! So take your tea. Hale.' said Dixon. for her mother has had a stroke since she came here. Dixon's words quieted her for the time. in comfort. ma am. except in the dusk. only she didn't like to ask.'They'll be clever if they come in past me!' said Dixon. 'I always dislike that doing things in such a hurry. as soon as we know when he comes. She's been saying once or twice she should like to go. 'And he need not go out.' said Mrs. Hale did trust in Dixon more than in Margaret. depend upon it. if he wished to see his mother alive. I've had a great mind to do it myself. 'you know seeing Master Frederick is just the very thing of all others you're longing for.' said Margaret.' Mrs. with a kind of cheerful authority.

and called him. 'Mr. he was summoned into this danger.' The more she tried to think of something anything besides the danger to which Frederick would be exposed—the more closely her imagination clung to the unfortunate idea presented to her. took a seat. Her mother prattled with Dixon.' instead of the curt 'Nicholas' 358 . kind-hearted. Margaret was glad when. when the manin-the-moon asked him to get off his reaping-hook.poured out the tea in silence. Hale's request. they smoulder first. He placed a chair for Nicholas stood up till he. She wondered how her father and Higgins had got on. Hale treated all his fellow-creatures alike: it never entered into his head to make any difference because of their rank. and burst out into a frightful flame at last. miserable probabilities. Higgins. unfortunate chances of all kinds. she could go down into the study. invariably. at Mr. 'The more you ax us. but if the sparks light on some combustible matter. if by Margaret's deed. Mr. her filial duties gently and carefully performed. as a rocket throws out sparks. simple. had unconsciously called out. In the first place. the decorous. but her thoughts made answer something like Daniel O'Rourke. Her mother was one of those who throw out terrible possibilities. all the latent courtesy in the other. the more we won't stir. by his own refinement and courteousness of manner. and seemed to have utterly forgotten the possibility of Frederick being tried and executed—utterly forgotten that at her wish. old-fashioned gentleman. trying to think of something agreeable to say.

smiled. But Nicholas was neither an habitual drunkard nor a thorough infidel. I ax your pardon if I use wrong words. He had 'slicked' his hair down with the fresh water. was interested in what his companion was saying. Higgins nodded to her as a sign of greeting. Margaret was a little surprised. and borrowed an odd candle-end to polish his clogs with and there he sat. but with a lowered voice. tidied (if only at the pumptrough). and very much pleased. He drank to drown care. when she found her father and Higgins in earnest conversation—each speaking with gentle politeness to the other. who had only seen him in the rough independence of his own hearthstone.or 'Higgins. earnest composure on his face. he had adjusted his neckhandkerchief. it is true. and prepared to listen. as he would have himself expressed it: and he was infidel so far as he had never yet found any form of faith to which he could attach himself. I reckon yo'd not ha' much belief in yo' if yo' lived here. Her father. and then sat down afresh as quickly as possible. heart and soul. enforcing some opinion on her father. however their opinions might clash. with a strong Darkshire accent. and with a little bow of apology to his guest for the interruption. too. and quietly gave her his chair. and quiet spoken—was a new creature to her. He looked round as she came in.' to which the 'drunken infidel weaver' had been accustomed. 'As I was a-sayin.—if yo'd been bred here. sir. and she softly adjusted her working materials on the table. and a good. Nicholas—clean. but what I mean 359 .

about the things and the life. only to put in yo'r pipe. and life to come. and eternal life is all a talk.—not they. them's realities. sir. Now. but Lord. yo' say these are true things. afore yo' go for to set down us. sir. yo'r a parson out o' work. was true— not in men's words.' 360 . yo' never saw. things as can be felt and touched. Their lives is pretty much open to me. as fools and noddies. who only believe in what we see. and smoke it. and a true life. is a-thinking on sayings and maxims and promises made by folk yo' never saw. if it were true. for form's sake. and I dunnot want yo to answer it. nor no one else. "What shall I do to get hold on eternal life?" or "What shall I do to fill my purse this blessed day? Where shall I go? What bargains shall I strike?" The purse and the gold and the notes is real things.by belief just now. Well. But I'll just ax yo another question. I just say. very fit for—I ax your pardon. They're real folk. but in men's hearts' core—dun yo' not think they'd din us wi' it as they do wi' political 'conomy? They're mighty anxious to come round us wi' that piece o' wisdom. They may say they do.—while my time has had to be gi'en up to getting my bread. They don't believe i' the Bible. d'ye think their first cry i' th' morning is. and scores better learned than I am around me. Well! I'll never speak disrespectful of a man in the same fix as I'm in mysel'. but t'other would be a greater convarsion. and true sayings. where's the proof? There's many and many a one wiser.—folk who've had time to think on these things. I believe. If salvation. sir. I sees these people. and what not.

it didn't concern all men to press on all men's attention. sir. therefore. to rectify your opinions in is the science of trade. Higgins. "so they think.' 'None at all. for all yo'r a parson. above everything else in this 'varsal earth. by the working of his face.' Nicholas Higgins suddenly stood straight. Margaret started to her feet. You consider me mistaken. or rayther because yo'r a parson.—so they think. I should not believe in God if I did not believe that.' said Higgins.—and all that it concerns them. Mr. Hale looked at her dismayed. if yo'd spoken o' religion as a thing that. with a curious wink of his eye.'But the masters have nothing to do with your religion.—not in one conversation. I hope. and speak freely to each other about these things. if it was true. but let us know each other. Yo' see. stiff up. At last Higgins found words: 'Man! I could fell yo' to the ground for tempting me. 'that yo' put in. I don't expect to convince you in a day. if yo' hadn't. All that they are connected with you in is trade. he was going into convulsions. you believe'— (Mr." I'd ha' thought yo' a hypocrite. I should ha' thought yo' a knave for to be a parson. Mr.' 'I'm glad. and I consider you far more fatally mistaken. whatever else you have given up. sir. Hale's voice dropped low in reverence)—'you believe in Him. I'm afeard. and I'd rather think yo' a fool than a knave. Whatten business have yo' to try me wi' your doubts? 361 .—for she thought. and the truth will prevail. I trust. No offence.

There's many a time when I've thought I didna believe in God. but to-day. There's but one thing steady and quiet i' all this reeling world.—'But yo' know. and that He set her her life. nor had he heard her rise.' said he. if so be there was a He. when I'm left desolate. you misunderstand my father. I dunnot believe she'll ever live again. It's as if speeches folk ha' made—clever 362 . to see if He heard me. she's lying dead at home and I'm welly dazed wi' sorrow. but I've never put it fair out before me in words. It is the one sole comfort in such times. and. and at times I hardly know what I'm saying. 'I dunnot believe in any other life than this. that might ha' been altered wi' a breath o' wind. I'll cling to that. and yo'r doubts. We do not reason—we believe. sitting down. and so do you. as many men do. in which she dreed such trouble. I may ha' laughed at those who did. and had such never-ending care. reason or no reason. and I cannot bear to think it were all a set o' chances.Think o' her lying theere. after the life hoo's led and think then how yo'd deny me the one sole comfort left—that there is a God. She had not spoken before. and drearily going on. 'Nicholas. It's a' very well for happy folk'—Margaret touched his arm very softly. it is—(brushing away the tears with the back of his hand). I wunnot listen to yo' wi' yo'r questions. we do not want to reason.' He turned round and caught her hand. 'Ay! it is. as if to the unsympathising fire. to brave it out like—but I have looked round at after.

no less. Th' strike's failed as well. Let us ask him about the strike. but that were enough for me. who had allowed themselves to be imported and brought over to take their places.' 'Not yet. Margaret. how could you say so?' muttered he reproachfully 'I've a good mind to read him the fourteenth chapter of Job. That were all.and smart things as I've thought at the time—come up now my heart's welly brossen. and got up to snuff the candles in order to conceal his emotion. and hoped to have from poor Bessy. miss? I were coming whoam to ask her. They reckoned on their fellow-men as if they possessed the calculable powers of machines. dun yo' know that. Hale blew his nose. and I were knocked down by one who telled me she were dead—just dead. for a bit o' comfort i' that trouble. by contempt for 'them Irishers. Mr. no more. and believing that the representations of their injuries would have the same effect on strangers far away. This indignation was tempered. as in the case of Boucher and the rioters. The workmen's calculations were based (like too many of the masters') on false premises. papa.' So they questioned and listened.' and by pleasure at the idea of the bungling way in which they would set 363 . no allowance for human passions getting the better of reason. as the injuries (fancied or real) had upon themselves. Perhaps not at all. I think. and give him all the sympathy he needs. like a beggar as I am. They were consequently surprised and indignant at the poor Irish. 'He's not an infidel. in some degree.

Margaret was silenced and sad. shan't you?' asked Margaret. I should like to read you some remarks in a book I have. which if we'd been made o' th' right stuff would ha' brought wages up to a point they'n not been at this ten year. and not after. 'Yo' needn't trouble yoursel'. 'You're a famous workman.' 'You'll get work. 'And so the strike is at an end. th' overlooker telled him I were stirring up the men to ask for higher wages. 'Ay.' said Mr. and says he. are not you?' 'Hamper'll let me work at his mill.' said Nicholas. and Hamper met me one day in th' yard. Afore Hamper and me had this split. who had originated discord in the camp. strange exaggerated stories of which were already spreading through the town. It's save as save can. who had defied and disobeyed the commands of the Union to keep the peace. and perplex their new masters with their ignorance and stupidity. 'About the wages. Hale. whatever came. if it's only just to show they'd nought to do wi' a measure. I can make nought on't. when he cuts off his right hand—not before. 'Their book-stuff goes in at one ear and out at t'other. 364 . but I think you make some sad mistakes.' said Margaret. 'You'll not be offended. quietly. But the most cruel cut of all was that of the Milton workmen. He'd a thin book i' his hand. miss. Th' factory doors will need open wide to-morrow to let in all who'll be axing for work.' said Nicholas. and spread the panic of the law being arrayed against them. sir.to work.' He got up and went to his book-shelves.

except the men cut their own throats wi' striking. but. I'll own. I'm told you're one of those damned fools that think you can get higher wages for asking for 'em. sir. and having been in th' preaching line. Now. like the confounded noodles they are." So I took th' book and tugged at it. that I've a strong notion it's no use my trying to put sense into yo'?" I were not i' th' best state. and keep 'em up too. Here's a book written by a friend o' mine. without either masters or men having aught to do with them. being a parson. ay. Lord bless yo'. for taking in what Hamper's friend had to say—I were so vexed at the way it were put to me. I ne'er could rightly fix i' my mind which was which. to make 'em ready for to listen and be convinced."Higgins. and say. half to them and half to yo'rsel'.—but I thought. I put it to yo'. if they could. till it fair sent me off to sleep. whether they were rich or poor—so be they only were men. did yo' stop every now and then. "But yo're such a pack o' fools. I'll see what these chaps has got to say. or didn't yo' rayther give 'em some kind words at first. when you've forced 'em up. "Come. and it spoke on 'em as if they was vartues or vices. and what I wanted for to know were the rights o' men. and in yo'r preaching." Well. and having had to try and bring folk o'er to what yo' thought was a right way o' thinking— did yo' begin by calling 'em fools and such like.' 365 . and labour and capital. and try if it's them or me as is th' noodle. now. and if yo'll read it yo'll see how wages find their own level. it went on about capital and labour. I'll give yo' a chance and try if yo've any sense in yo'.

Same bones won't go down wi' every one.' said Higgins. when down. mun suit different for different minds. in time I may get to see the truth of it. Hamper's way of speaking to you in recommending his friend's book. sir. as th' men at th' foundry cut out sheet-iron. rather doggedly. 'and granting to the full the offensiveness. the folly. or forget how one thing hangs on another—why. it were no truth to me if I couldna take it in. or any other knowledgable. to sink in far greater proportion afterwards. 'it might. It'll stick here i' this man's throat. or it might not.'But for all that. yet if it told you what he said it did. And I'm not one who think truth can be shaped out in words. Let alone that. There's two opinions go to settling that point. Hale.' 'Well. If yo'. or th' poor sick 366 .' said Mr. But suppose it was truth double strong. and that the most successful strike can only force them up for a moment. unless I know the meaning o' the words. I daresay there's truth in yon Latin book on your shelves. sir. and says he'll larn me what the words mean. but it's gibberish and not truth to me. that wages find their own level. it may be too strong for this one. the book would have told you the truth. all neat and clean. too weak for that. and not blow me up if I'm a bit stupid. and there i' t'other's. or I may not. in consequence of that very strike. the unchristianness of Mr. patient man come to me. I'll not be bound to say I shall end in thinking the same as any man. and be a bit tender in th' way of giving it too. Folk who sets up to doctor th' world wi' their truth.

but there it is. Now Hamper first gi'es me a box on my ear. it's Thornton who steps forrard and coolly says that. I wonder'— (half to his daughter). papa. or by a wise despotism on the part of the master—for she saw that Higgins had caught Mr. 'if Mr. he began to speak of him. be the best way of getting over your difficulties. 'what he said one day—about governments. if not the whole of the speech: indeed.fools may spit it out i' their faces. 'Thornton! He's the chap as wrote off at once for these Irishers. and them chaps as went right again our commands. Higgins—on subjects which it is for the mutual interest of both masters and men should be well understood by both. which. And. and then he throws his big bolus at me. I do believe.' She was unwilling to make any clearer allusion to the conversation they had held on the mode of governing work-people—by giving men intelligence enough to rule themselves. you know. and led to th' riot that ruined th' strike. it would. as th' strike's at an 367 . I'm such a fool. surely. arise from your ignorance—excuse me. would ha' waited a while—but it's a word and a blow wi' Thornton. when th' Union would ha' thanked him for following up th' chase after Boucher. and have a good talk on these things. Mr. Thornton s name.' 'I wish some of the kindest and wisest of the masters would meet some of you men. Even Hamper wi' all his bullying. now. Thornton might not be induced to do such a thing?' 'Remember. and says he reckons it'll do me no good.' said she in a very low voice.

‘You are angry against Boucher. as party injured. I see th' oud tiger setting on him! would he ha' let him off? Not he!' 'Mr. in the difficulty they will meet wi' in getting employment. just for a few men who would na suffer in silence. any farther punishment would be something like revenge. but those of his sick wife— his little children. he. That will be severe enough. sir. but says he (one in court telled me his very words) "they are well known. and had him up before Hamper. but the only time I saw him it was not his own sufferings he spoke of.' 368 . they will find the natural punishment of their conduct. and had his revenge in an open way. 'but I believe what she says is the truth. as red as any carnation.end.’ 'My daughter is no great friend of Mr. while she." I only wish they'd cotched Boucher. I like him for it. smiling at Margaret. 'I don't know much of Boucher. began to work with double diligence. Thornton's. Thornton was right. I thought he'd had more pluck. brave and firm. and yo'll not wonder if I'm a bit put out wi' seeing it fail. Nicholas.' said Margaret.' said Mr. doesn't want to press the charge again the rioters. or else you would be the first to see. and hou'd out.' 'You forget!' said Margaret. this strike has been a weary piece o' business to me.' 'Well. I thought he'd ha' carried his point. Hale. that where the natural punishment would be severe enough for the offence.

as if on' the point of dogged resistance to her wish for information. something clear would be gained on which to argue for the right and the just. shortly enough: 'It's not for me to speak o' th' Union. fixed on his. He were not one to bear. next. he comes among us. he's none o' us. He'd ha' cried out for his own sorrows. 'Well! If a man doesn't belong to th' Union. I' some places them's fined who speaks to him. Them that is of a trade mun hang together. compelled him to answer. Then he said. but he's none o' us. and if they're not willing to take their chance along wi' th' rest. th' Union has ways and means. Yo' try that. try living a year or two 369 .' 'How came he into the Union?' asked Margaret innocently. But her calm face. He was silent for a minute or two. he works among us. them as works next looms has orders not to speak to him—if he's sorry or ill it's a' the same.' Mr. that if he could but be brought to express himself in plain words. 'You don't seem to have much respect for him. nor gained much good from having him in. What they does. Not so Margaret.'True! but he were not made of iron himsel'. though she saw Higgins's feeling as clearly as he did. 'And what are the Union's ways and means?' He looked up at her. By instinct she felt. they does. he's out o' bounds. miss. and was silent. Hale saw that Higgins was vexed at the turn the conversation had taken.' Higgins's brow clouded. patient and trustful.

" It's so wi' them. It may be like war. not an eye brightens. or to come.among them as looks away if yo' look at 'em. miss—ten hours for three hundred days. I know you can't be angry with me if you would. It's a necessity now. yo' can never say nought. if th' Union is a sin. ground us to powder! Parson! I reckon.—to whom if your heart's heavy. try working within two yards o' crowds o' men. I don't care one straw for your anger.' said Higgins. according to me.' 'Why!' said Margaret. D' ye think I forget who's lying _there_. along wi' it 370 . and how hoo loved yo'? And it's th' masters as has made us sin. and I must tell you the truth: that I never read. lingering torture than this. 'yo' may say what yo' like! The dead stand between yo and every angry word o' mine. Higgins. because they'll ne'er take notice on your sighs or sad looks (and a man 's no man who'll groan out loud 'bout folk asking him what 's the matter?)—just yo' try that. who. In those days of sore oppression th' Unions began. have a grinding grudge at yo' in their hearts—to whom if yo' say yo'r glad. And you belong to the Union! And you talk of the tyranny of the masters!' 'Nay. It's a withstanding of injustice. past. I've heerd my mother read out a text. it were a necessity. Not this generation maybe. yo' know. but their fathers. in all the history I have read. present. nor a lip moves. of a more slow. Their fathers ground our fathers to the very dust. "The fathers have eaten sour grapes and th' children's teeth are set on edge. 'what tyranny this is! Nay. and yo'll know a bit what th' Union is.

instead of that of merely one class as opposed to another. Higgins the Infidel. there was no compulsion. 'your Union in itself would be beautiful. hurrying to the book-shelves. Hale. Nicholas. doubtfully. glorious. Hale. sighing. whose only strength is in numbers. they mun come along and join the great march.' 'Stay!' said Mr.' 'Oh!' said Mr. He understood her. but he kept his place. Yo' may trust me.' 'I reckon it's time for me to be going. 'Home?' said Margaret very softly. 'Home. Our only chance is binding men together in one common interest. Margaret the Churchwoman. tho' I am one o' th' Union. and took her offered hand. miss. and if some are cowards and some are fools. her father the Dissenter. Her grave sweet eyes met his.' 'I do trust you most thoroughly. It did them no harm. He did not speak. as the clock struck ten. sir. only deep interest in them. 371 .' said Higgins. 'Mr. but I think it were a greater crime to let it alone.—it would be Christianity itself—if it were but for an end which affected the good of all. knelt down together. Higgins! I'm sure you'll join us in family prayer?' Higgins looked at Margaret.come crimes.

especially in his caps. flew silent by— Moths in the moonbeam!' COLERIDGE. and our sun always shines. possibly. there is just a little cousinly love mixed with it. it is worth a journey from England to see my boy! He is a superb little fellow. to come back to the burden of my ditty. perhaps. you good. Each in the pale unwarming light of hope. And one or two poor melancholy pleasures. that's all the reason. but I do want you so much to come here. and hear a fresh set of admiring expressions. my baby always smiles. and. The next morning brought Margaret a letter from Edith. I want to show him to somebody new. It was affectionate and inconsequent like the writer.CHAPTER XXIX A RAY OF SUNSHINE 'Some wishes crossed my mind and dimly cheered it. and she had grown up with the inconsequence. and most especially in the one you sent him. perhaps it is not—nay. everybody here is young and well. dainty-fingered. I am constantly wanting you to 372 . Silvering its flimsy wing. so she did not perceive it. Margaret! I'm sure it would be the very best thing for Aunt Hale's health. and the band plays deliciously from morning till night. But the affection was charming to Margaret's own affectionate nature. and our skies are always blue. It was as follows:— 'Oh. Margaret. persevering little lady! Having made all the mothers here envious.

I know. gracefulest. would quite cure her. Tell him that it's the smoke of Milton that does her harm. and grapes as common as blackberries. as I said before. Hale was in the corner. I may say that without love—wifely duty—where was I?—I had something very particular to say. Because he has brought in such a pleasant piece of news. that very thing is prettiest. because it would hurt me. He has just come in with news of such a charming pic-nic. for having given up his living. Get the doctor to order it for her. and bands of music.—what he calls "busy. he disapproves of war. I have no doubt it is that. like a naughty child. and grumpy." No! he is not. very busy. at least. who is getting stout. It does not signify what he is doing. I know that many Dissenters are members of the Peace Society. Oh. and the scar would be ugly. I can't burn mine. Did not somebody burn his hand for having said or done something he was sorry for? Well.)— 'because. I retract all I said just now. I don't ask my uncle'—(Here the letter became more constrained. it is this—Dearest Margaret!—you must come and see me. only. given by the officers of the Hazard. Mr. once. Margaret. and as un-grumpy as ever husband was. best. at anchor in the bay below. I think I love him a great deal better than my husband. and better written. but I'll retract all I said as fast as I can. Cosmo is quite as great a darling as baby. I dare say. and not a bit stout. Three months (you must not come for less) of this delicious climate—all sunshine. sometimes he is very. and soldiers. and I am 373 . it would do Aunt Hale good.draw him for me. really.

If a wish could have transported her. and to feel young again. You never did.afraid he would not like to come. her cheerful home. That 374 . if he would. I kept myself up with proverbs as long as I could. Not yet twenty! and she had had to bear up against such hard pressure that she felt quite old. Here's this boy of mine. but it was of no use. smothered. hidden. She yearned for the strength which such a change would give. so I made it into a capital carpet for us all to sit down upon. But you have no idea of the heat here! I tried to wear my great beauty Indian shawl at a pic-nic. Dear Margaret.—even for a few hours to be in the midst of that bright life. pray say that Cosmo and I will do our best to make him happy. and I'll hide up Cosmo's red coat and sword. though I'm rather afraid of any one who has done something for conscience sake. though I'm afraid it will be late in the year before you can come. killed with my finery."—and such wholesome pieces of pith. a come straight off to see him. I was like mamma's little dog Tiny with an elephant's trappings on. it shall be in double slow time. and make the band play all sorts of grave. "Pride must abide. if they do play pomps and vanities. but. just for one day. solemn things. Tell Aunt Hale not to bring many warm clothes.—if you don't pack up your things as soon as you get this letter. we will try and make it pleasant. she would have gone off. if he would like to accompany you and Aunt Hale. her sunny skies. I shall think you're descended from King Herod!' Margaret did long for a day of Edith's life—her freedom from care. or. I hope. Margaret. dear.

He had no end in this but the present gratification. Margaret flew to adjust the pillows. and was laughing merrily over it when Mrs. Thornton came. and for a time it seemed to interest her mother. was amused at its likeness to Edith's self. 'What were you laughing at. 375 . 'A letter I have had this morning from Edith.was her first feeling after reading Edith's letter. forgetting herself. Into the very midst of these wonders Mr. He only stayed to present his peaches—to speak some gentle kindly words—and then his cold offended eyes met Margaret's with a grave farewell. Hale. as soon as she had recovered from the exertion of settling herself on the sofa. Hale came into the drawing-room. He entered the room. as he left the room. and all possible reasons why each and all of these names should be given. Margaret?' asked she. leaning on Dixon's arm. and. mamma?' She read it aloud. bringing another offering of fruit for Mrs. She sat down silent and pale. taking in at a glance the fact of Margaret's presence. but after the first cold distant bow. he never seemed to let his eyes fall on her again. He could not—say rather. who kept wondering what name Edith had given to her boy. Her mother seemed more than usually feeble. Shall I read it you. It was the sturdy wilfulness of a man usually most reasonable and self-controlled. he would not—deny himself the chance of the pleasure of seeing Margaret. Then she read it again. and suggesting all probable names.

mamma. Thornton. Then Margaret forced out an icy 'Do you?' 'Yes! I think he is really getting quite polished in his manners. I hardly know whether I dare wish him to come or not.—a tender craving to bespeak the kindness of some woman towards the daughter that might be so soon left motherless.' 'Oh.'Do you know. Sometimes I have such frightful dreams about him.' said Mrs. if you wish it.—but if— but when Frederick comes—-' 'Ah.—there is no doubt of that. I should like to see her You have so few friends here.' No answer at first. 'that you could go and ask Mrs. because of the water-bed. to be sure! we must keep our doors shut.—I don't want to be troublesome. Thornton to come and see me? Only once. Thornton never calls.' Margaret's voice was more in order now. Margaret. I will put my arm in the bolt sooner than he should come to the slightest 376 . Hale.' 'I wonder Mrs.' 'I dare say.' 'Still. But she could not speak.—we must let no one in. 'He is very kind and attentive. She must know I am ill.' 'I will do anything. after a pause. I really begin quite to like Mr. She replied.' Margaret felt what was in her mother's thoughts. she hears how you are from her son. Sometimes I think I would rather not. mamma! we'll take good care. Margaret. 'Do you think.

and need never come upstairs.harm. don't get to use these horrid Milton words. Trust the care of him to me.' 377 . But. mamma! don't try and make a bugbear of aunt Shaw' said Margaret. It would never do to have her here when he comes.' 'And if I live in a factory town. and aunt Shaw never took any notice of it. if she hears you use it on her return?' 'Oh.' 'When can we hear from him?' 'Not for a week yet. laughing.' 'As you please.' 'We must send Martha away in good time. As Dixon pleases. I must speak factory language when I want it. "Slack of work:" it is a provincialism. I was thinking that. we could perhaps get Mary Higgins. and would take pains to do her best. What will your aunt Shaw say.' 'Not I.' 'But yours is factory slang. if we wanted any help in the house while he is here. I am sure. so as to know who is in the house. and would sleep at home. mamma. Margaret.' 'Dixon is sure to remind us of that. mamma. child. I only know it has a very vulgar sound and I don't want to hear you using it. 'Edith picked up all sorts of military slang from Captain Lennox. She is very slack of work. I could astonish you with a great many words you never heard in your life. Why. and is a good girl.—perhaps more. certainly. I don't believe you know what a knobstick is. and then send her off in a hurry. I will watch over him like a lioness over her young.

' said Mrs. I was very vulgar in the Forest. Hale. dearest mother. Thornton. 'Mamma is accusing me of having picked up a great deal of vulgarity since we came to Milton.' Margaret started up as her mother said this. Thornton's brow darkened. I won't.' 'I don't like this Milton. referred purely to the use of local words. and she was most anxious that the faint impression she had seen on his mind that the Milton air had injured her mother's health. though "knobstick" has not a very pretty sound.—should not receive any confirmation. 'Now. should not be deepened. mamma?' 378 . Mr. 'Edith is right enough in saying it's the smoke that has made me so ill. and Margaret suddenly felt how her speech might be misunderstood by him. but she began speaking hurriedly of other things.—was I not. in speaking of the thing it represents? If using local words is vulgar. she forced herself to go forwards with a little greeting. Hale had said or not. and continue what she was saying. Only I shall have to use a whole explanatory sentence instead. She could not tell whether he had heard what Mrs. so. is it not expressive? Could I do without it. Thornton was following him. and the expression arose out of the conversation they had just been holding. unaware that Mr. But Mr.' The 'vulgarity' Margaret spoke of. addressing herself to him expressly. Her father had just entered the room. in the natural sweet desire to avoid giving unnecessary pain.'Very well.

the careful avoidance of his eyes betokened that in some way he knew exactly where. but. Thornton would come and see her. they would rest on her. Mr. see her soon. Thornton was by. more especially as Mr. she was so anxious to prevent Mr. with a cold reserve of ceremonious movement. to-morrow. It was not the bad manners of ignorance it was the wilful bad manners arising from 379 . that it was not until she had done speaking that she coloured all over with consciousness. he gave no sign of attention. but given to another person as though unsuggested by her. sometimes there was an express answer to what she had remarked. in this case. when Mr.It was unusual with Margaret to obtrude her own subject of conversation on others. sitting in burning silence. but passed her by. Hale. and Margaret's movements and voice seemed at once released from some invisible chains. to speak to Mrs. The sight of him reminded her of the wish to see his mother. and yet his next speech to any one else was modified by what she had said. Thornton seemed hardly to understand the exact gist or bearing of what she was saying. Thornton from feeling annoyance at the words he had accidentally overheard. heard her mother's slow entreaty that Mrs. He never looked at her. If she spoke. vexed and ashamed of her difficulty in keeping her right place. if it were possible. Margaret. and then took his leave. and her calm unconsciousness of heart. if they fell by chance. Thornton promised that she should—conversed a little. and yet. and commend Margaret to her care.

It was a stinging pleasure to be in the room with her. He exulted in the power he showed in compelling himself to face her. and feel her presence. and he was proud of the sense of justice which made him go on in every kindness he could offer to her parents. no careful cunning could have stood him in such good stead. It was wilful at the time. But he resented those words bitterly. as if mutely apologising for the over-strong words which were the reaction from the deeds of the day of the riot. But no deep plan. repented of afterwards. They rung in his ears. There was a pretty humility in her behaviour to him. patient striving to return to their former position of antagonistic friendship. but with regret that she had wounded him so deeply. not with any tinge of what is called love. But he was no great analyser of his own motives.—and with a gentle. 380 . He thought that he disliked seeing one who had mortified him so keenly.deep offence. whenever he could think of any action which might give her father or mother pleasure. but he was mistaken. Margaret thought about him more than she had ever done before. for a friend's position was what she found that he had held in her regard. and was mistaken as I have said. as well as in that of the rest of the family.

CHAPTER XXX HOME AT LAST 'The saddest birds a season find to sing. but with all the proud bitter feelings of her nature in arms against that family of which Margaret formed one. Hale's illness. Mrs. One of those sudden changes—those great visible strides towards death. decided expression of his wish that she should go and see Mrs. Thornton—who had not seen her for weeks—was softened all at once. had been taken in the night. weighed down by memory's clouds again. curt. she doubted any want beyond a momentary fancy on that lady's part.' SOUTHWELL. Thornton came to see Mrs. To bow thy head! Thou art gone home!' MRS. but when she had ended her invective against the dead languages. he quietly returned to the short. 'Never to fold the robe o'er secret pain. and her own family were startled by the gray sunken look her features had assumed in that one twelve hours of suffering. HEMANS. She told her son that she wished they had never come near the place. She doubted the reality of Mrs. She had come because her son asked it from her as a personal favour. Hale the next morning. Never. He bore all this pretty silently. that there had been no such useless languages as Latin and Greek ever invented. Hale at the 381 . Mrs. which should take her out of her previously settled course of employment for the day. that he had never got acquainted with them. She was much worse.

and yet that monotonous life seemed almost too much! When Mrs. then with her hand groping feebly over the bed-clothes. faint alternations of whispered sound and studious silence. Mrs. and exaggerating in her own mind the same notion that he had of extraordinary goodness on his part in so perseveringly keeping up with the Hales. Thornton. Thornton had to stoop from her erectness to listen. His goodness verging on weakness (as all the softer virtues did in her mind). she said. no power of action. strong and prosperous with life. and positive dislike to Margaret.— 382 . all the time liking him the better for having it. But she did not even open her eyes for a minute or two. as most likely to be convenient to the invalid. Hale—a mother like herself—a much younger woman than she was. came in. although from the look on her face she was evidently conscious of who it was. scarcely above her breath—Mrs. There lay Mrs. Thornton. were the ideas which occupied Mrs. scarcely change of movement. The heavy moisture of tears stood on the eye-lashes before she looked up. till she was struck into nothingness before the dark shadow of the wings of the angel of death. for the touch of Mrs. and her own contempt for Mr. Hale lay still.—on the bed from which there was no sign of hope that she might ever rise again. No more variety of light and shade for her in that darkened room. Thornton submitted with as bad a grace as she could to her son's desire. Hale. and Mrs. Thornton's large firm fingers.time appointed. Mrs.

but a sudden remembrance. behind which there was a real tender woman. Still.'—('to her. that would not soften with her heart.—in a strange place. but that the eyes of the sick woman were growing dim with the slow-gathering tears. Thornton was too conscientious to promise what 383 . Hale. suggested by something in the arrangement of the room. That I cannot be.' Then came a pause. anxious face.—nay. Thornton sighed. nor do I volunteer advice in general.' she was on the point of adding. I will promise you. Not a tender friend.—if I die—will you'—And her filmy wandering eyes fixed themselves with an intensity of wistfulness on Mrs. that stirred her heart at last. Thornton's face For a minute. She could not speak.)—'It is not my nature to show affection even where I feel it. And it was no thought of her son. but came out distinct and clear. but she relented at the sight of that poor. pressed the hand that lay below hers on the coverlet. Mrs. or of her living daughter Fanny. Thornton. in her measured voice. Mrs. melted the icy crust. she might have seen a dark cloud cross the cold features. 'I will be a true friend.—of a little daughter—dead in infancy—long years ago—that. at your request. if circumstances require it.—if it will be any comfort to you. it was stern and unmoved. Thornton's face. there was no change in its rigidness.'Margaret—you have a daughter—my sister is in Italy.' said Mrs. like a sudden sunbeam. 'You wish me to be a friend to Miss Hale. her eyes still fixed on Mrs. My child will be without a mother. Mrs.

she did not mean to perform. as if she had not heard: 'If ever I see her doing what I believe to be wrong— such wrong not touching me or mine. Thornton went on as before. Hale felt that this promise did not include all. and yet it was much. with grave severity. 'In which she comes to me for help. flitting.' said she. Mrs. She had a fierce pleasure in the idea of telling Margaret unwelcome truths. Thornton was reviewing all the probable cases in which she had pledged herself to act. Hale began to speak: 384 .' pleaded Mrs. It had reservations in it which she did not understand. Hale. and to perform any-thing in the way of kindness on behalf of Margaret. Mrs. in which case I might be supposed to have an interested motive—I will tell her of it. Mrs. 'I promise. as I should wish my own daughter to be told. as if she were my own daughter. wavering life! 'I promise that in any difficulty in which Miss Hale'—'Call her Margaret!' gasped Mrs. after all. I will help her with every power I have. dizzy. almost impossible. I also promise that if ever I see her doing what I think is wrong'—'But Margaret never does wrong—not wilfully wrong. and tired. faithfully and plainly. which. but then she was weak. Mrs. Hale. in the shape of performance of duty.—flickering.' There was a long pause. was difficult. inspired the dying woman with faith as in something more stable than life itself. more disliked at this moment than ever.

as she fancied it might be thought strange to give a 385 .'I thank you. I thank you for your promise of kindness to my child. Hale's soft languid hand. If Mary Higgins was required as a help to Dixon in the kitchen she was to hear and see as little of Frederick as possible. and he would assuredly follow quickly on its heels. and rose up and went her way out of the house without seeing a creature. She pressed Mrs. Martha must be sent away on her holiday. Thornton. and he was. But having eased her conscience by saying these words. only admitting the few visitors that ever came to the house into Mr. But my last words are. Thornton was having this interview with Mrs. Hale's room down-stairs—Mrs. But her sluggish and incurious nature was the greatest safeguard of all. Dixon must keep stern guard on the front door. I pray God to bless you. Margaret and Dixon were laying their heads together. ungraciously truthful to the last. I shall never see you again in this world.' 'Not kindness!' testified Mrs. Hale. They resolved that Martha should leave them that very afternoon for this visit to her mother. she was not sorry that they were not heard. Dickinson. During the time that Mrs. if necessary to be spoken of to her under the name of Mr. Margaret wished that she had been sent away on the previous day. and consulting how they should keep Frederick's coming a profound secret to all out of the house. Hale's extreme illness giving her a good excuse for this. A letter from him might now be expected any day.

he sat in the drawing-room. each more severe than the last. Margaret sat at the window. as he did not speak. they were fresh agonies. and give strength out of her own scanty stock to her father. and darkness came on. without her being at hand to comfort him. And so. He buried his head in his arms. but seeing nothing.servant a holiday when her mistress's state required so much attendance. or to employ himself in any way. he buoyed himself up in every respite from her pain. would not despair. without any movement to procure candles. which lay folded on the table. he might give way to more violent emotion. Margaret's heart ached to see him. This afternoon. when the paroxysms came on. looking out at the lamps and the street. Yet she was just thinking that she ought to go and see after the well-doing of the kitchen fire. and greater disappointments to him. Dixon sat with Mrs. and believed that it was the beginning of ultimate recovery. Hale would hope. which there was nobody but herself to attend to when she heard the muffled door-ring with so violent a pull. yet.—only alive to her father's heavy sighs. though the positive 386 . lest the tacit restraint of her presence being withdrawn. Hale while she slept. Poor Margaret! All that afternoon she had to act the part of a Roman daughter. unable to bear the solitude of his study. Mr. she did not like to volunteer any attempt at comfort. that the wires jingled all through the house. She did not like to go down for lights. Martha was gone. between the attacks of his wife's malady. The house was very still and quiet.

— 'My mother! is she alive?' 'Yes. dear. Margaret trembled all over. in a clear. She started up. 'Oh.' 'Then I have come before it. and read in its expression a quicker answer to his question than words could give. as if even in that darkness he could see her face. and draw him in. And still he never moved.— returned. Then she went down softly. He was looking away. don't you?' 'No. dear brother! She—as ill as she can be she is.sound was not great. Dixon would have put the chain on before she opened it. full. 'Frederick!' and stretched out both her hands to Catch his. delicate voice. Margaret!' said he. but at the sound of the latch he turned quickly round. at first she did not answer. passed her father. she is alive. through the dark. 'Is this Mr. But my mother knows I am coming?' 387 . to the door. 'Papa is utterly prostrate with this great grief. Hale's?' said he. but Margaret had not a thought of fear in her preoccupied mind.' 'You expect me. who had never moved at the veiled. dull sound. after they had kissed each other. but alive! She is alive!' 'Thank God!' said he. In a moment she sighed out. we have had no letter. nor took any notice of her fond embrace. and kissed him tenderly. A man's tall figure stood between her and the luminous street. holding her off by her shoulders.

but she had the spell by which to rouse him.'Oh! we all knew you would come. pulling his weary head up in fact with her gentle violence. 388 . But though the brother and sister had an instant of sympathy in their reciprocal glances. He lay across the table. but it became less oppressive from having some one in precisely the same relation to it as that in which she stood. Dixon has shut the shutters. Give me your hand. Not her father's desponding attitude had power to damp her now. 'Papa. But wait a little! Step in here. throwing her arms fondly round his neck. only. the sorrow was no less in reality. and I can take you to a chair to rest yourself for a few minutes. Margaret felt sure that she should like her brother as a companion as much as she already loved him as a near relation. but this is papa's study. when the little feeble light made them visible.' She groped her way to the taper and the lucifer matches. Her heart was wonderfully lighter as she went up-stairs. and she caught the stealthy look of a pair of remarkably long-cut blue eyes. She suddenly felt shy. that her brother's face was unusually dark in complexion. and she could look into his eyes. and let them gain strength and assurance from hers. that suddenly twinkled up with a droll consciousness of their mutual purpose of inspecting each other. they did not exchange a word. while I go and tell him. helpless as ever. She used it perhaps too violently in her own great relief. All she could see was. till it rested in her arms.' said she. What is this? Oh! your carpet-bag.

' broke in her father. how glad we ought to be! For his sake. I cannot bear it. And his mother is dying!' He began to cry and wail like a child. and will be wondering why—' 'I will go to him. and ran up-stairs. She heard him whisper. Don't tell me it is Frederick—not Frederick. 'In your study. for her sake. He threw himself forward. and be dismissed thence as a wild imagination. poor boy!' Her father did not change his attitude. his face still hidden in his prostrate arms. 'Where is he?' asked he at last. resting upon the table as heretofore. too. and 389 . Then she spoke again—very differently—not so exultingly. She turned away.—our poor. and was silent for an instant. He is quite alone. and he lifted himself up and leant on her arm as on that of a guide. 'I don't know. Margaret led him to the study door. and ran up to tell you. quite alone. it is Frederick! Think of mamma. 'Papa.'Papa! guess who is here!' He looked at her. she saw the idea of the truth glimmer into their filmy sadness. but her spirits were so agitated that she felt she could not bear to see the meeting. but he seemed to be trying to understand the fact. far more tenderly and carefully. I lighted the taper.—I am too weak. she bent tenderly down to listen. that she turned sick with disappointment. how glad she will be! And oh. and hid his face once more in his stretched-out arms. It was so different to all which Margaret had hoped and expected.

She stopped her crying. and relieved her of her burden. She was proud of serving Frederick. safe. the one precious brother. from the candlelighter thrust through the keyhole of her bedroom door. But he.cried most heartily. and stirred up the fire. was there. She went into the kitchen. and listened at the study door. Margaret opened the study door. When all was ready. of all the coming relief which his presence would bring. and lighted the house. and opened her bedroom door. The fire had gone out. sprang up in a minute. so intelligible to those of the same blood. She heard the buzz of voices. and Margaret applied herself to light it. and almost feared she might have dreamt. She went down-stairs. as she now felt. It was a type. with a heavy tray held in her extended arms. saying little. and that was enough. and prepared for the wanderer's refreshment. and the first excitement of the meeting with his father all be over. and their eyes speaking the natural language of expression. The strain had been terrible. and yet it was 390 . amongst them again! She could hardly believe it. when he saw her. The brother and sister arranged the table together. for the evenings had begun to be chilly. before her mother became aware of anything unusual. It was the first time she had dared to allow herself this relief for days. She heard no sound of voices. The traveller could be refreshed and bright. but their hands touching. and went in like a serving-maiden. a sign. How fortunate it was that her mother slept! She knew that she did. But Frederick was come! He.

which it was pretty to look at. and faced the door. 'Dear old Dixon! How we shall kiss each other!' said Frederick. It was a joy snatched in the house of mourning. they heard Dixon's foot on the stairs. and passed in and out of the room. Run away. good-for-nothing pair of hands.' 'Poeta nascitur. however languidly given. Lighting fires is one of my natural accomplishments. as if they were acting some drama of happiness. 'Dixon says it is a gift to light a fire. the better she was pleased. and Margaret was glad to hear a quotation once more. non fit. I'll manage it. showing such 391 . and then set to again! But. from which he had been watching his children in a dreamy way.' So Margaret went away. and leave the fire. because they knew in the depths of their hearts what irremediable sorrow awaited them. and in which he had no part. He stood up.desirable to make all noises as distant as possible from Mrs. in a glad restlessness that could not be satisfied with sitting still. not an art to be acquired. ready to cut breadand-butter for me.' murmured Mr. The more wants Frederick had. and returned. and the zest of it was all the more pungent. Hale started from his languid posture in his great armchair. Mr. Margaret. but which was distinct from reality. Hale's room. and he understood all this by instinct. 'She used to kiss me. and wash them. In the middle. what a bungler you are! I never saw such a little awkward. and then look in my face to be sure I was the right person. Hale.

And I shall hear how mamma is. even though it were the faithful Dixon. about. She caught at Frederick's arm.a strange. Donaldson's appointed visit would bring nervous excitement enough for the evening. Dr. She rambled at first. and caused her to set her teeth. He had delicate features. in the house. and his quick 392 . and clutched it tight. sudden anxiety to conceal Frederick from the sight of any person entering. redeemed from effeminacy by the swarthiness of his complexion. into the kitchen. she knew not what.' Mrs. Each glimpse into the room where he sate by his father. Hale was awake. Margaret rose up.—was increase of strength to her. They heard her walk the length of the passage. and he might tell them how to prepare her for seeing Frederick. Margaret could not sit still. could be summoned at any moment. while a stern thought compressed her brows. though not disposed to talk.' It seemed as though she never could be tired again. nor cared to know. He was there. I will go to her. And yet they knew it was only Dixon's measured tread. It was a relief to her to aid Dixon in all her preparations for 'Master Frederick. conversing with him. It was better that the night should pass over before she was told of her son's arrival. She took in his appearance and liked it. and tell her. that a shiver came over Margaret's heart: it reminded her of the new fear in their lives. and she was too certain of this to feel in a hurry to grasp it now. Her own time for talking and hearing would come at last. but after they had given her some tea she was refreshed.

and out of time. all their intercourse was peculiarly charming to her from the very first. and made him an admirable nurse. On the contrary. he 393 .intensity of expression. from the new-found brother. which was yet most delicately careful not to hurt or wound any of their feelings. it was rather the instantaneous ferocity of expression that comes over the countenances of all natives of wild or southern countries—a ferocity which enhances the charm of the childlike softness into which such a look may melt away. Margaret might fear the violence of the impulsive nature thus occasionally betrayed. and gave her such an idea of latent passion. or might relieve his mother's pain. Whenever it would have been out of tune. and had in it no doggedness. She knew then how much responsibility she had had to bear. no vindictiveness. but at times they and his mouth so suddenly changed. His eyes were generally merrylooking. Then Margaret was almost touched into tears by the allusions which he often made to their childish days in the New Forest. He seemed to know instinctively when a little of the natural brilliancy of his manner and conversation would not jar on the deep depression of his father. and went along with a careless freedom. But this look was only for an instant. or recoil in the least. but there was nothing in it to make her distrust. from the exquisite sensation of relief which she felt in Frederick's presence. He understood his father and mother—their characters and their weaknesses. that it almost made her afraid. his patient devotion and watchfulness came into play.

as well as in many other things.had never forgotten her—or Helstone either—all the time he had been roaming among distant countries and foreign people. his wild career.' Frederick bent down and kissed the feeble hand that imprisoned his. and smiled at her children. she had reasoned that if her tastes and feelings had so materially altered. Mrs. she would not part with it even while she slept. with which she was but imperfectly acquainted. was lightened to Margaret. must have almost substituted another Frederick for the tall stripling in his middy's uniform. For a few hours. She sate with his hand in hers. she slowly moved her head round on the pillow. forgetting how much of the original Margaret was left. and why it was done. She had been afraid of him before he came. as she understood what they were doing. But in their absence they had grown nearer to each other in age. she felt. produced such great changes in herself that. and Margaret had to feed him like a baby. this sorrowful time. rather than that he should disturb her mother by removing a finger. whom she remembered looking up to with such admiring awe. even in her stay-at-home life. the mother rallied on seeing her son. Hale wakened while they were thus engaged. She might talk to him of the old spot. 'I am very selfish. and never fear tiring him. 'but it will not be for long. 394 . Other light than that of Frederick's presence she had none. even while she had longed for his coming. seven or eight years had.' said she. And so it was that the weight.

' said he. we have not the money to bring any great London surgeon down. I can see that he is tormenting himself already with the idea that mamma would never have been ill if we had stayed at 395 . And.' he exclaimed. Why did my father leave Helstone? That was the blunder. usually Dixon's bedroom. Donaldson is only second in skill to the very best. Donaldson assured Margaret. 'I don't believe it. during the visit. had been adjured to remain quietly concealed in the back parlour. 'more than once. Margaret! she should have some other advice—some London doctor. who. owing to this wretched change of name. 'but none here.—if.' said Margaret gloomily. and I am sure Dr. nor perhaps for many hours. but now given up to him. if she were on the point of death. but I can't imagine that she could be as she is. you know.This state of tranquillity could not endure for many days. 'She is very ill. she stole down to Frederick. 'And above all possible chances. too. 'I have credit in Cadiz.' 'It was no blunder. and in immediate danger. Margaret told him what Dr. After the kind doctor had gone away.' Frederick began to walk up and down the room impatiently.' said Margaret. she may be dangerously ill. he is to them. Donaldson said. indeed. avoid letting papa hear anything like what you have just been saying. But I don't believe it would do any good. so Dr. Have you never thought of that?' 'Yes.

rather than waste time that may be so precious. Oh. and looked at her drooping and desponding attitude for an instant. "Do something. Thinking has. my sister. Poor little woman! what! is this face all wet with tears? I will hope. and you don't know papa's agonising power of self-reproach!' Frederick walked away as if he were on the quarterdeck."' 'Not excluding mischief. Frederick! mamma was getting to love me so! And I was getting to understand her.' said Margaret. smiling faintly through her tears. and be brave enough to hope!' Margaret choked in trying to speak. by a good deed. come. 'Let us hope as long as we can. but doing never did in all my life.Helstone. as soon as 396 . in spite of a thousand doctors. And now comes death to snap us asunder!' 'Come. and when she did it was very low. Margaret. do good if you can. My theory is a sort of parody on the maxim of "Get money. At last he stopped right opposite to Margaret. Bear up. darling. 'My little Margaret!' said he. and do something. caressing her. What I do exclude is the remorse afterwards. made me sad. come! Let us go up-stairs. at any rate." My precept is. but. but get money. Blot your misdeeds out (if you are particularly conscientious). 'By no means. many a time. do something. honestly if you can. my son. I will. 'I must try to be meek enough to trust.

graphic.you can. at breakfast. Donaldson's opinion was proved to be too well founded. he interested Mr. she saw how he worked it out into continual production of kindness in fact. Hale was unconscious. It was better than wetting our sponge with our tears. both less loss of time where tears had to be waited for. and when they ceased. did something perpetually. She would never recognise them again. Her husband might lie by her shaking the bed with his sobs. and talking was the only thing to be done. true to his theory. After a bad night with his mother (for he insisted on taking his turn as a sitter-up) he was busy next morning before breakfast. rattling accounts of the wild life he had led in Mexico. her daughter's hands might bathe her face. South America. At breakfasttime. where an incorrect one was only half rubbed out. till they met in Heaven.' If Margaret thought Frederick's theory rather a rough one at first. But Fred. but she knew them not. Hale out of his dejection. her son's strong arms might lift her tenderly up into a comfortable position. and elsewhere. and a better effect at last. Hale with vivid. contriving a leg-rest for Dixon. who was beginning to feel the fatigues of watching. Before the night of that day. Margaret would have given up the effort in despair to rouse Mr. 397 . it would even have affected herself and rendered her incapable of talking at all. Convulsions came on. Mrs. just as we did a correct sum at school on the slate. Dr. besides eating.

and all his theories were of no use to him. so different from the slower trembling agony of after-life. and shook his head:—'Poor boy! poor boy!' he said. when. she would have been thankful. and the next-door neighbours might easily hear his youthful passionate sobs. without a word of preparation. Once or twice she came up to kiss him. He cried so violently when shut up alone in his little room at night. and dare not be rebellious against the inexorable doom. knowing who it is that decrees. when we become inured to grief.Before the morning came all was over. and he submitted to it. The night was wearing away. Margaret's 398 . that Margaret and Dixon came down in affright to warn him to be quiet: for the house partitions were but thin. For Frederick had broken down now. Then Margaret rose from her trembling and despondency. like that of some mother-animal caressing her young. She could not think of her own loss in thinking of her father's case. If he had cried. and the day was at hand. and stroked it gently. He started when he heard Frederick's cries. He took no notice of Margaret's presence. But he sate by the bed quite quietly. and took no more notice. he uncovered the face. Margaret's heart ached within her. as if her affection disturbed him from his absorption in the dead. from time to time. Margaret sate with her father in the room with the dead. making a kind of soft inarticulate noise. giving her a little push away when she had done. only. and became as a strong angel of comfort to her father and brother.

' it said. 399 . and she went steadily on through all that chapter of unspeakable consolation. with a clearness of sound that startled even herself: 'Let not your heart be troubled.voice broke upon the stillness of the room.

and where the sun could only show long dusky streets when he did break through and shine. she must be working.CHAPTER XXXI 'SHOULD AULD ACQUAINTANCE BE FORGOT?' 'Show not that manner. assisting Dixon in her task of arranging the house. shivery October morning came. Even the necessary arrangements for the funeral seemed to devolve upon her. The father and brother depended upon her. and the tea-kettle was singing away. when it did so. When the fire was bright and crackling—when everything was ready for breakfast. The serpent's cunning. whose silver mists were heavy fogs. planning. and these features all. hiding her face in the cushions 400 . The chill. and the sinner's fall?' CRABBE. silvery mists. She wanted everything to look as cheerful as possible. Her eyes were continually blinded by tears. considering. but the October morning of Milton. clearing off before the sunbeams that bring out all the gorgeous beauty of colouring. She was kneeling by the sofa. Margaret gave a last look round the room before going to summon Mr. with soft. Margaret went languidly about. not the October morning of the country. while they were giving way to grief. the contrast between it and her own thoughts forced her into sudden weeping. Hale and Frederick. and yet. but she had no time to give way to regular crying.

But this seemed a loss by itself. whose eyes and mind perceive other things than what are present. Margaret did not take any comfort from what Dixon said. but death comes to us all. grasped her hand. and master never was a good one for settling. he goes about now as if he was lost. but the unusual tenderness of the prim old servant's manner touched her to the heart. and. in order to prevent the recurrence of her companions' thoughts too strongly to the last meal 401 . and where it's to be. and burst into tears. Hale came—as if in a dream. and who's to come to it. she roused herself up. my dear! You must not give way. and all to be settled: and Master Frederick's like one crazed with crying. Miss Hale—come. 'Come. more from a desire to show her gratitude for this than for any other reason. and. when she was touched on the shoulder by Dixon. and went to tell her father and brother that breakfast was ready. with a forced cheerfulness. and you're well off never to have lost any friend till now. It's bad enough. not to bear comparison with any other event in the world. or rather with the unconscious motion of a sleep-walker. There's who's to manage the funeral. poor gentleman. my dear. Frederick came briskly in.that no one might hear her cry. looked into her eyes. or where shall we all be? There is not another person in the house fit to give a direction of any kind. She had to try and think of little nothings to say all breakfast-time. I know. and there is so much to be done. Mr.' Perhaps so. and smiled in answer to Dixon's anxious look at her.

maybe.they had taken together. and was leaving the room languidly. Bell.' said he in a hollow voice. though many of her propositions absolutely contradicted one another. So I thought to myself.' Margaret understood the association. longing for rest. Hale motioned her back to his side.' said she. It was only on Tuesday. He was my groom'sman. I was really afraid for master. And I don't. and assented to all she proposed. about the funeral. he ought to be roused. Bell of Oxford?' 'Mr. miss. After breakfast. 'Ask Mr. it will. a little surprised. He sank again into listlessness. but all in a maze like. I've heard him talking to her. as if she was alive. All morning she toiled on. be the better afterwards. she resolved to speak to her father. He shook his head. So I've been and told him. and talking to her. 'I will write to-day. when there had been a continual strained listening for some sound or signal from the sick-room. Bell!' said she. When I went in he would be quite quiet. Margaret gained no real decision from him. 'Yes. that I don't think it's safe for Master Frederick to be here. when I 402 . Dixon said to her: 'I've done it. when Mr. to have a consultation with Dixon. and if it gives him a shock at first. He's been all this day with poor missus. 'Mr. Bell. but in a continual whirl of melancholy business.' he repeated. Towards evening. and when I've listened at the door. that he'd have a stroke with grief. 'Mr.

as if they was the best friends as ever was. or else I should never have been so ready to call cousins with him. in a strange place. though if I hadn't been so particular. and how he'd 403 . I never could abide him. what a scrape he'd got into (as if Master Frederick's scrapes would ever wash George Leonards' white. and so I told him. eagerly. I asked him after his father (who I knew had turned him out of doors). a nasty. for all we were so civil to each other—he began to inquire after Master Frederick. He were a Southampton man. Well. "Miss Dixon! who would ha' thought of seeing you here? But perhaps I mistake. as great a scamp as ever lived—who plagued his father almost to death. and. or make 'em look otherwise than nasty." But I were not to be caught with such chaff from such a fellow as him. I know. and you're Miss Dixon no longer?" So I told him he might still address me as an unmarried lady. good-for-nothing fellow. that's the worst of it. 'Why. to spite me—for you see we were getting savage. dirty black). I think. that I met-a Southampton man—the first I've seen since I came to Milton.' 'Did he know you?' said Margaret. and then ran off to sea. He was polite enough: "He couldn't look at me and doubt me. I'd had good chances of matrimony. by way of being even. and said. it was young Leonards. they don't make their way much up here. Says he. So then.was out. I don't believe he would have known me but for my being such a fool as to call out his name. He was in the Orion at the same time as Master Frederick. though I don't recollect if he was there at the mutiny. old Leonards the draper's son.

Nor did I ask him what his precious situation was. and if I knew of any young man who had been so unfortunate as to lead vicious courses. for he kept smiling in my face.' said Dixon. you see. and how a hundred pound reward had been offered for catching him. as if he took all my compliments for earnest. and just then it drove up. like the impudent chap he is. and wanted to turn steady. "If you can help me to trap Lieutenant Hale. But. who had far more cause to blush for their sons.be hung for mutiny if ever he were caught. 'He had never the grace to ask where I was staying. and what a disgrace he had been to his family—all to spite me. and he hailed it.' 'But you did not tell him anything about us—about Frederick?' 'Not I. I could have cried to think I couldn't spite him better. my dear. I've not felt so bad myself for years as when I were standing talking to him the other day. Leonards to give George a good rating. So I said. Miss Dixon. we'll go 404 . he'd corrupt a sairt. To which he made answer. because before now I've helped old Mr. that he were in a confidential situation. down in Southampton. and said. he turned back before he got in. there were other families be thankful if they could think they were earning an honest living as I knew. indeed! Why. and to far away from home. to plague me to the last. and I shouldn't have told him if he had asked. and I couldn't see that he minded what I said in the least. he'd have no objection to lend him his patronage. while I was mad with all his speeches. He. He was waiting for a bus.

he was dressed in fustian just like a workingman. and with his eyes so glazed and sad. I can assure you. And it has done master good. So I told him all. 'No.' It was evident that Frederick must go. 'Have you told Frederick?' asked she. I must tell Frederick.' 'Oh. now wouldn't you? Don't be shy.' Margaret was made very uncomfortable by this account of Dixon's. Bell came. And for all he said he'd got a confidential situation. I know you'd like to be my partner. but I am afraid of this Leonards." And he jumped on the bus. Bell.partners in the reward. But when I saw master sitting so stiff. Go. when he had so completely vaulted into his place in the family.' said Dixon. Whiskers such as I should be ashamed to wear—they are so red. he would have to go. What did Leonards look like?' 'A bad-looking fellow. poor fellow. 'I were uneasy in my mind at knowing that bad Leonards was in town. but there was so much else to think about that I did not dwell on it at all. I'm not afraid of Mr. Go. before Mr. And if we're to keep Master Frederick in hiding. when his cares for the living 405 . and I saw his ugly face leering at me with a wicked smile to think how he'd had the last word of plaguing. too. miss. and promised to be such a stay and staff to his father and sister. though I blushed to say how a young man had been speaking to me. I thought it might rouse him to have to think of Master Frederick's safety a bit. but say yes.

He came up to Margaret. and sorrow for the dead. when all the sailors who were good for anything were indignant with our captain. his brightness dimmed. A worse sailor was never on board ship—nor a much worse man either. and the two began to talk in a subdued tone. 'You have been thinking of everybody. Lie on this sofa—there is nothing for you to do. Just as Margaret was thinking all this. 'I should just like to have it out with that young fellow. seemed to make him one of those peculiar people who are bound to us by a fellow-love for them that are taken away. of which he had not as yet spoken—Frederick came in. But she went and lay down. and her brother covered her feet with a shawl. Margaret told him all that Dixon had related of her interview with young Leonards. sitting over the drawingroom fire—her father restless and uneasy under the pressure of this newly-aroused fear.' 'That is the worst. mamma told me. and then sate on the ground by her side. Margaret—you know the circumstances of the whole affair?' 'Yes. Frederick's lips closed with a long whew of dismay. in a sad whisper. he'd ferret me out to pay off old grudges. I'd rather 406 . but the extreme violence of his grief passed away.' said Margaret. if he'd a notion I was within twenty miles of him. Margaret!' said he in a low voice. and kissed her forehead.' 'Well. and no one has thought of you. to curry favour—pah! And to think of his being here! Oh.mother. I declare. this fellow. 'How wan you look.

He took Frederick's hand in both of his: 'My boy.' 'Yes—you must go. You have not changed your feelings much since then. I could almost have enjoyed— in other circumstances—this stolen visit: it has had all the charm which the French-woman attributed to forbidden pleasures. and off you went a-robbing.' repeated Mr.' Mr. Hale. We had plenty of our own—trees loaded with them. 'was your being in some great disgrace. and stand my trial. which you took au pied de la lettre. What a pity poor old Dixon could not be persuaded to give me up. If I could only pick up my evidence! I cannot endure the thought of being in the power of such a blackguard as Leonards.anybody had the hundred pounds they think I am worth than that rascal. but some one had told you that stolen fruit tasted sweetest.' 'Oh. 'I declare. I've a good mind to face it out. must he go?' said Margaret. You have done all you could—you have been a comfort to her. hush! Don't talk so. It is very bad—but I see you must. Hale came towards them.' 'One of the earliest things I can remember. eager and trembling.' said Margaret. which she had asked some time ago. Fred. He had overheard what they were saying. answering Margaret's question. Frederick. His thoughts were fixed on one subject. and it was 407 . you must go. and make a provision for her old age!' 'Oh. pleading against her own conviction of necessity. papa. for stealing apples.

I saw Dixon coming downstairs. what did you think?' asked Frederick. a little surprised. That quick momentary sympathy would be theirs no longer if he went away. I was very nearly giving both Dixon and myself a good fright this afternoon. and it was past four when he was here. Margaret. 'Mr. indifferently. Both coursed the same thought till it was lost in sadness. Who could it have been? Some of the shopmen?' 'Very likely. but I thought the ringer must have done his business and gone away long ago.an effort to him to follow the zig-zag remarks of his children—an effort which ho did not make.' 'It was Mr. little one. as she did not finish her sentence. So much was understood through eyes that could not be put into words. Margaret and Frederick looked at each other. They were glad to have drawn him into the conversation. Hale. Thornton!' said Margaret.' said Mr. I had heard a ring at the front door. as I opened my room door. I was in my bedroom. and that then went away.' 'But this was not a little man—a great powerful fellow. Thornton. when. and heard a message given to some man that was in my father's study. 'There was a little quiet man who came up for orders about two o'clock. 'I thought—-' 'Well. I kept the door open. and she frowned and kicked me into hiding again. Frederick shook it off first: 'Do you know. 408 .' said Margaret. so I was on the point of making my appearance in the passage.

I run the chances of a court-martial. or unless you and my father would come to Spain. She remembered how at first. carelessly. and you would go to him. 'He came to offer any assistance in his power. only. Hale went on. Mr. before she knew his character.'Oh. she had spoken and thought of him just as Frederick was doing. reddening and looking straight at him. But I could not see him. 'I fancied you meant some one of a different class. and he turns out a manufacturer.' said Frederick. 'A very kind friend. not a gentleman. Thornton was—but she was tonguetied. indeed. I told Dixon to ask him if he would like to see you—I think I asked her to find you. At last he spoke: 'Margaret.' 'He has been a very agreeable acquaintance. It was but a natural impression that was made upon him. she wanted to make Frederick understand what kind of person Mr. Your acquaintances and mine must be separate.' 'He looked like some one of that kind. it is painful to think I can never thank those who have shown you kindness. throwing the question like a ball for any one to catch who chose. She was unwilling to speak. I don't know what I said. somebody come on an errand. I believe. and yet she was a little annoyed by it. when her father did not answer. 'I took him for a shopman. Frederick was silent for a time. has he not?' asked Frederick.' Margaret was silent.' said she. Unless.' He threw out 409 .' said Margaret.

she is a Roman Catholic. Mr. father. 'One removal has cost me my wife.' 'In the first place. be on my side. you would find friends everywhere. I never thought of this. Hale. But my father's change of opinion—nay. though not in profession as yet. Margaret. then. Frederick. if you knew her. Think of it.' said Margaret.' 'Oh. 'tell us more about her.' said Mr. Barbour won't let us call it an engagement. but if she is in the same mind another year.' 'No—no more removals for me. love is the right word. That's the only objection I anticipated.' Margaret had reason to sigh a little more before the conversation ended. No more removals in this life. but I am so glad. 'That Dolores Barbour that I was telling you of. This was. and then suddenly made the plunge. the reason why his sympathy in her extreme distress at her father's leaving the Church had been so faintly expressed in his letters. Frederick himself was Roman Catholic in fact. don't sigh. like is so poor—you would love her. You will have some one to love and care for you out there. But if you would come.this last suggestion as a kind of feeler. father. and here will I stay out my appointed time. Tell us all about it.' continued he. Margaret. Margaret—I only wish you knew her. reddening like a girl. She will be here. She is not eighteen. she is to be my wife. I have a good position—the chance of a better. 'You don't know how I wish you would. She had thought it was 410 . I am sure you would like—no. besides Dolores.

but the truth was. that even then he was himself inclined to give up the form of religion into which he had been baptised. only that his opinions were tending in exactly the opposite direction to those of his father. How much love had to do with this change not even Frederick himself could have told. drafted off to other ships. at any rate. except those whose evidence would go for very little. you don't know what a court-martial is. you surely will try and clear yourself of the exaggerated charges brought against you. and evidence forms only the other tenth. as they took part. allow me to tell you. Margaret gave up talking about this branch of the subject at last. evidence itself can hardly escape being influenced by the prestige of authority. Hale roused himself up to listen to his son's answer. she began to consider it in some fresh light: 'But for her sake. or sympathised in the affair. and. returning to the fact of the engagement. 'In the first place. and you could find your witnesses. you might.' 411 . and consider it as an assembly where justice is administered. who is to hunt up my witnesses? All of them are sailors. instead of what it really is—a court where authority weighs nine-tenths in the balance. In such cases. even if the charge of mutiny itself be true. show how your disobedience to authority was because that authority was unworthily exercised.' Mr. Fred. In the next place.the carelessness of a sailor. If there were to be a court-martial. Margaret.

and we have never known where to seek for proofs of your justification. while the authority was brutally used. without showing the world exactly how it is you stand. to give myself up to a courtmartial. I am sure. make your conduct as clear as you can in the eye of the world. without word or act. all those who knew you formerly. but not the motives that elevate it out of a crime into an heroic protection of the weak. but to have stood by. I can't send a bellman about.' 'Will you consult a lawyer as to your chances of exculpation?' asked Margaret. believe you guilty without any shadow of excuse. You disobeyed authority—that was bad. to see how much evidence might be discovered and arrayed on your behalf? At present. for Miss Barbour's sake. even if I put one out. You have never tried to justify yourself. they ought to know. For Dolores' sake. even if I could bring a whole array of truthspeaking witnesses. No one would read a pamphlet of self-justification so long after the deed. she has.' 'But how must I make them know? I am not sufficiently sure of the purity and justice of those who would be my judges.'But is it not worth trying. She may not care for it. would have been infinitely worse. and turning very red. to cry aloud and proclaim in the streets what you are pleased to call my heroism. Now. but you ought not to let her ally herself to one under such a serious charge. looking up. People know what you did. that trust in you that we all have. 412 .

a criminal. warming up into her plan. for your mother's sake. He gets to London on Friday morning. and have a look at him. 'listen to my plan. up to justice. because of Mr.' said Frederick decidedly. and who would. I will—you might—no! it would be better for me to give him a note to Mr.' 'Yes. 'He must go to-morrow. I think. 'But don't propose anything which will detain Frederick in England.' 'I think it is a good idea.' continued Margaret. take a good deal of trouble for any of—of Aunt Shaw's relations Mr.' said she.' 'Well then.' 'Nonsense. Hale.' 'You could go to London to-morrow evening by a night-train. 'I can't bear to part with you. 'we fixed that. Don't. and Dixon's disagreeable acquaintance. of whose cleverness in his profession people speak very highly. that he could earn a hundred pounds very easily by doing a good action—in giving me. papa. You will find him at his chambers in the Temple. Bell.' said Mr. Henry Lennox. Hale groaned. papa. Mr. I'm afraid. I could leave it with him 413 . Frederick!—because I know a lawyer on whose honour I can rely. Lennox.' said Margaret. before I make him into my confidant.'I must first catch my lawyer.' 'I will write down a list of all the names I can remember on board the Orion. and see how I like him. I must go to-morrow. and yet I am miserable with anxiety as long as you stop here. tenderly. Many a briefless barrister might twist his conscience into thinking.

if there is any chance of success. He is Edith's husband's brother.' It was rather a comfort to Margaret that Frederick took it into his head to look over her shoulder as she wrote to Mr. the note was taken from her before she had even had time to look it over. And it will be a risk only it is worth trying. Wherever I feel water heaving under a plank. I won't stay twenty-four hours in London. she might have hesitated over many a word.' said Margaret. out of which fell a long lock of black hair. little goose. that I had meant for a different purpose. 'No! you must wait till you see her herself.to ferret them out. away from you on the one hand. Money. I can pay a pretty long bill. dear father. and been puzzled to choose between many an expression. never fear. 'You won't risk it if you do.' 'Don't do that. and from somebody else on the other. and treasured up in a pocket-book. She is too 414 . I'll pick up some craft or other to take me off. 'Now you would like to see that. I have money in Barbour's hands. in the awkwardness of being the first to resume the intercourse of which the concluding event had been so unpleasant to both sides. wouldn't you?' said he. isn't he? I remember your naming him in your letters. so I shall only consider it as borrowed from you and Margaret. You can sail from London as well as from Liverpool?' 'To be sure. However. If she had not been thus compelled to write steadily and concisely on. there I feel at home. the sight of which caused Frederick's eyes to glow with pleasure. Lennox.

perfect to be known by fragments.' 415 . No mean brick shall be a specimen of the building of my palace.

Frederick's grief was no more to be seen or heard. The anxious terror in which Mr. not so passionate at first. as it were. Hale lived lest his son should be detected and captured.CHAPTER XXXII MISCHANCES 'What! remain to be Denounced —dragged. the first paroxysm had passed over. far out-weighed the pleasure he derived from his presence. even when speaking on indifferent things. and now he was ashamed of having been so battered down by emotion. and her manner.' WERNER. it may be. had a mournful tenderness about it. in chains. probably because he dwelt upon it more exclusively. however much she might grieve over it on her own. and forced him. on her father's account. At times she cried a good deal. and was never comfortable unless Frederick sate out of the immediate 416 . which was deepened whenever her looks fell on Frederick. was more suffering now. The nervousness had increased since Mrs. into the present. and would last out his life. Hale hardly ever spoke but when his children asked him questions. Mr. Hale's death. it was never to be spoken of again. and she thought of his rapidly approaching departure. He started at every unusual sound. Margaret. and though his sorrow for the loss of his mother was a deep real feeling. She was glad he was going. All the next day they sate together—they three.

I can manage. no! I should always be fancying some one had known him. Margaret?' 'Oh. But I was out last week much later. You will bring me word that he is clear of Milton. I am getting very brave and very hard. Partly in consequence of this. very nearly dark. on reaching Outwood. So what will you do. so they could not even take the ticket. they found. There is less risk of his being seen. and not so many people about. if it should be dark. that they had nearly twenty minutes to spare. unless you could tell me you had seen him off. They accordingly went down 417 . It is quite as near. What time is your train. She hurried Frederick into the cab. Margaret? I shall want to know he is safely off.' 'No.' said Margaret. And go to the Outwood station. in order to shorten a scene which she saw was so bitterly painful to her father. 'I shall like it.view of any one entering the room. The booking-office was not open. at any rate?' 'Certainly. It is a well-lighted road all the way home. Towards evening he said: 'You will go with Frederick to the station. papa. and that he had been stopped. who would accompany his son as he took his last look at his mother.' Margaret was thankful when the parting was over— the parting from the dead mother and the living father. Fred?' 'Ten minutes past six. Take a cab there. if you won't be lonely without me. and partly owing to one of the very common mistakes in the 'Railway Guide' as to the times when trains arrive at the smaller stations.

that I feel more than ever that it is not worth while to calculate too closely what I should do if any future event took place. and looked 418 . for many reasons. He looks sadly changed—terribly shaken. He took hold of it affectionately. There was a broad cinder-path diagonally crossing a field which lay along-side of the carriage-road. so severely had the cares of the last few months told upon Mr. But she tried to rally as she said: 'There have been such strange unexpected changes in my life during these last two years. We are curiously bare of relations.the flight of steps that led to the level of the ground below the railway. so that I may return to England whenever I choose. 'Margaret! I am going to consult Mr. Margaret's hand lay in Frederick's arm. I can't bear to think of your lonely position if anything should happen to my father. Frederick held her hand in his. Lennox as to the chance of exculpating myself. I try to think only upon the present.' She paused. close on the field side of the stile leading into the road. they were standing still for a moment.' Margaret could hardly keep from crying at the tender anxiety with which Frederick was bringing before her an event which she herself felt was not very improbable. I wish you could get him to think of the Cadiz plan. Hale. the setting sun fell on their faces. What could you do if he were taken away? You have no friend near. more for your sake than for the sake of any one else. and they went there to walk backwards and forwards for the few minutes they had to spare.

Look well into the carriage before you get in. or go back by the rail-road. He is an unprepossessing-looking fellow. a little flushed. you saw him before. if I like. apologetically. and I will promise—for I see it will set your mind at ease—to tell you every worry I have.' said Margaret. her bow was stiffly returned. 'You would not have thought him unprepossessing if you had seen him with mamma. Thornton. I can take a cab here. If I had known how dark it would be. Margaret was a little drooping. 'Who is that?' said Frederick. I am sick with the thought that Leonards may be in the same train with you. Don't think of me. as she replied: 'Mr. you know. Papa is'—she started a little. along which a horseman was slowly riding. Margaret bowed. don't fidget about that. and turned his full face to the road. just passing the very stile where they stood. when I should have shops and people and lamps all the way from the Milton station-house. Margaret. What a scowl he has!' 'Something has happened to vex him. She went on: 'We shall write often to one another. we wouldn't have sent back the cab.' 419 . reading there more care and trouble than she would betray by words.' 'I fancy it must be time to go and take my ticket. almost before he was out of hearing.' 'Oh. a hardly visible start—but Frederick felt the sudden motion of the hand he held.with wistful anxiety into her face.' 'Only his back. take care of yourself.

420 . Frederick turned round. and returned him a proud look of offended dignity for his somewhat impertinent stare of undisguised admiration. where the gas darted up in vivid anticipation of the train. who was standing outside. it stopped when they stopped.They went back to the station. looking out along the line and hearing the whizz of the coming train. their hearts were too full. Margaret thought she had seen the face of one of them before. it was throwing more chances of detection in his way. he might have been off in two or three hours. a minute more. She went hastily to her brother. and her bravery oozing out rather faster than she liked to acknowledge even to herself. and took hold of his arm. A man in the dress of a railway porter started forward. who seemed to have drunk himself into a state of brutality. although his senses were in perfect order. and the train would be here. If he had sailed for Spain by Liverpool. and he would be gone.' said she. 'Have you got your bag? Let us walk about here on the platform. Margaret almost repented the urgency with which she had entreated him to go to London. a little flurried at the idea of so soon being left alone. Some idle-looking young men were lounging about with the stationmaster. She heard a step following them along the flags. Another moment. Margaret insisted upon going into the full light of the flaring gas inside to take the ticket. They did not speak. a bad-looking man. right facing the lamp.

'Your name is Hale. miss!' said he. such a sickening alarm. She was so terribly sick and faint that she was thankful to be able to turn into the ladies' waiting-room. No one was there.' And she took him by the arm to push him along with all her feeble force. and he fell from the height of three or four feet. If the train had not been there at the moment. Margaret did not see. somewhat fearfully. At first she could do nothing but gasp for breath. and inspect. she wondered if he could have been seriously hurt. and sit down for an instant. It was Leonards. and looked over. 'The train is here. but still quite deserted. and seizing Frederick by the collar. by the side of the railroad.'By your leave. 'God bless you. the man would have jumped up again and called for assistance to arrest him. which the platform was elevated above the space of soft ground. There he lay. run!' gasped Margaret. Frederick had tripped him up. for everything danced before her eyes—but by some sleight of wrestling. A door was opened in a carriage—he jumped in. It was such a hurry. She wondered if the man had got up: she tried to remember if she had seen him move. such a near chance. an she was left standing alone. run! I will carry your bag. She ventured out. Margaret!' the train rushed past her. the platform was all alight. 'Run. was it? oh. she went to the end. for otherwise terrible thoughts would have haunted her 421 . and then she was glad she had made herself go. I believe?' In an instant—how. pushing Margaret rudely on one side. and as he leant out t say.

There were only some railway officials standing about. but I'd something else to do than listen to him. 'So Leonards has been drinking again!' said one. was counting her change with trembling fingers. if you'd been such a fool as to lend it. before venturing into the booking-office to take her ticket. while Margaret. she was so trembling and affrighted that she felt she could not walk home along the road. not daring to turn round until she heard the answer to this question. But what if Leonards recognised her as Frederick's companion! She peered about. 'Your money would have gone there too. And even as it was. with some long story or other about a fall he'd had. She would wait till the down train passed and take her seat in it. and he went off at the front door.' 'He's at the nearest vaults. and talking loud to one another.' said the first speaker. swearing awfully. he has never paid me off that five shillings'—and so they went on. Why. as she gazed down upon it from the blaze of the station. He came in not five minutes ago. which did indeed seem lonely and dark. 'He'll need all his boasted influence to keep his place this time. I told him to go about his business. seemingly in authority.dreams. 422 . and wanted to borrow some money from me to go to London by the next up-train.' 'Catch me! I knew better what his London meant. 'I don't know. I'll be bound. her back towards them.' 'Where is he?' asked another. He made all sorts of tipsy promises.

And now all Margaret's anxiety was for the train to come. She hid herself once more in the ladies' waitingroom. But no one came near her until the train drew up. and then she saw that it was not Leonards'. when she was civilly helped into a carriage by a porter. into whose face she durst not look till they were in motion. 423 . and fancied every noise was Leonards' step— every loud and boisterous voice was his.

But there were immense chances against the success of any such plan.CHAPTER XXXIII PEACE 'Sleep on. and hunting him out there. to fall into one of his sad waking dreams. and her scolding was not the less energetic because it was delivered in an angry whisper. Her father had seen all due preparation made for her refreshment on her return. There was no use in speaking about it. Never to be disquieted! My last Good Night—thou wilt not wake Till I thy fate shall overtake. speaking above her breath she would have thought irreverent. 424 . Dixon had got Mary Higgins to scold and direct in the kitchen. in thy cold bed. my love. the only thing to be feared was lest Leonards should in some way borrow money enough to effect his purpose of following Frederick to London. for. KING. Margaret had resolved not to mention the crowning and closing affright to her father. Frederick would be as much on his guard as she could put him. as long as there was any one dead lying in the house. and Margaret determined not to torment herself by thinking of what she could do nothing to prevent. it had ended well. and then sate down again in his accustomed chair. Home seemed unnaturally quiet after all this terror and noisy commotion.' DR. and in a day or two at most he would be safely out of England.

because they have no power over their emotions. I shall go. women do not generally go. papa. I should think. Bell could not come. he will be here to-morrow evening.' said Margaret. He hoped to come and pay them a visit soon. 'You! My dear. and now the only thing that would reconcile him to this necessary visit 425 .'I suppose we shall hear from Mr. if they would have him. I cannot go alone. I won't urge my wish against your will.' said Margaret. But I promise you. and leave me out.' 'Don't ask Mr. and expressed great and true regret for his inability to attend. Let me go with you. Dear papa! if Mr. I shall ask Mr. Thornton to go with me to the funeral.' replied her father. Women of our class don't go. Bell cannot come. Don't have a stranger. I will be no trouble. and don't care if they are seen overwhelmed with grief. 'I suppose so. It was a most affectionate letter. 'Yes.' Mr. and yet are ashamed of showing them. his Milton property required some looking after. Thornton. and his agent had written to him to say that his presence was absolutely necessary. He had the gout. or else he had avoided coming near Milton as long as he could.' 'No: because they can't control themselves. impetuously. Poor women go.' 'If he can come. Bell to-morrow. papa. that if you will let me go.' 'If he cannot come. if he does. I should break down utterly.

' She startled her father by bursting into tears. she seemed agitated and restless. if it would not be disagreeable to the family. The night before the funeral. She had an indescribable repugnance to this step being taken. 'Let us go alone—you and me. at her son's desire. She had been so subdued in her grief. Margaret had all the difficulty in the world to persuade her father not to invite Mr. She passed so bad a night that she was ill prepared for the additional anxiety caused by a letter received from Frederick. that he could not understand her impatient ways to-night. They don't care for us. so thoughtful for others.' said she.' said Mr. saying that. and not have proposed this sending an empty carriage. so gentle and patient in all things. and might possibly be able to comfort his old friend. 'And so I am. and at all the tenderness which her father in his turn now lavished upon her. Margaret tossed the note to her father. Mr. his clerk said that he would return by the following Tuesday at 426 . 'Oh. I don't want him to come at all. Lennox was out of town. their carriage should attend the funeral. papa. Margaret. came a stately note from Mrs. Hale in some surprise. Thornton to Miss Hale. But this seems such a mockery of mourning that I did not expect it from him. or else he would have offered to go himself. don't let us have these forms. Thornton.was the idea that he should see. she only cried the more. and I should especially dislike the idea of our asking him.' 'I thought you were so extremely averse to his going.

had made him resolve to stay in London. this self-reproach for having said what had at the time appeared to be wise. he would have expected her to read it aloud to him. and yet everything that had since occurred had tended to make it so undesirable. Margaret battled hard against this regret of hers for what could not now be helped. Frederick had determined upon remaining in London a day or two longer. At the moment. Lennox. If he had been present. the temptation had been very strong. after some consideration. which made her blood run cold. and the alarm he had received at the last moment at the railway station. There was not merely the fact. Consequently. it had seemed as if it would occasion so little delay—add so little to the apparently small chances of detection. Margaret was thankful that she received this letter while her father was absent in her mother's room. but there were allusions to the recognition at the last moment at Milton. He had thought of coming down to Milton again. which disturbed her excessively. but which after events 427 . Bell domesticated in his father's house.the latest. and how then would it have affected her father? Many a time did Margaret repent of having suggested and urged on the plan of consulting Mr. Margaret might be assured he would take every precaution against being tracked by Leonards. but the idea of Mr. that he might possibly be at home on Monday. and the possibility of a pursuit. of Frederick's detention in London. and it would have raised in him a state of nervous alarm which she would have found it impossible to soothe away.

Her father seemed to have forgotten that they had any reason to expect a letter from Frederick that morning. I have no strength left in me. I give her up because I must. directed her notice to 428 . that I may have faith to pray. he tottered towards her. Pray for me. and she herself gained strength by doing this. Margaret. Margaret's fortitude nearly gave way as Dixon. It is a great strait. and.were proving to have been so foolish. and repeating all the noble verses of holy comfort. my child. I cannot pray. repeating the well-known texts as her words suggested them. he would succumb to all these causes for morbid regret over what could not be recalled. Her father's lips moved after her. Her voice never faltered. that she could remember.' Margaret sat by him in the coach. 'Pray for me. and hidden from his sight. murmuring. But I cannot see why she died. But her father was in too depressed a state of mind and body to struggle healthily. I try to bear it: indeed I do. with a slight motion of her hand. Margaret. He looked wistfully at Margaret. Margaret summoned up all her forces to her aid. He was absorbed in one idea—that the last visible token of the presence of his wife was to be carried away from him. I know it is God's will. or texts expressive of faithful resignation. it was terrible to see the patient struggling effort to obtain the resignation which he had not strength to take into his heart as a part of himself. almost supporting him in her arms. when released. He trembled pitifully as the undertaker's man was arranging his crape draperies around him.

standing. attracted on such occasions.—but. mechanically as it were. He went on repeating to himself. Hale is? And Miss Hale. They are much as is to be expected. can you tell me how Mr. Hale saw nothing. no one had recognised him. and she his faithful guide. putting his hand on Margaret's arm. sir. and was so absorbed in her own grief. with bent head. too? I should like to know how they both are. he mutely entreated to be led away. was dispersing. Thornton. but deeply attentive to the ceremonial. and then. behind a group of people. 'I beg your pardon. in fact. but had a bit of black stuff sewn round his hat—a mark of mourning which he had never shown to his daughter Bessy's memory. that she did not perceive that the crowd. But Mr. all the funeral service as it was read by the officiating clergyman. much the same kind of strange passionate 429 . He had been present all the time. Thornton would rather have heard that she was suffering the natural sorrow. she covered her face with her handkerchief.' Mr. In the first place. he sighed twice or thrice when all was ended.' 'Of course. so that. Nicholas wore his usual fustian clothes. there was selfishness enough in him to have taken pleasure in the idea that his great love might come in to comfort and console her. Miss Hale bears up better than likely. as if he were blind. It was Mr. standing a little aloof. Master is terribly broke down.Nicholas Higgins and his daughter. Dixon sobbed aloud. till she was spoken to by some one close at hand.

as soon as the effort ceased. in spite of all Margaret's repulse. to win back her love. into life. Yes! he knew how she would love. Even in her mourning she would rest with a peaceful faith upon his sympathy.pleasure which comes stinging through a mother's heart. by his power of loving. Her soul would walk in glorious sunlight if any man was worthy. his trust dropped down dead and powerless: and all sorts of wild fancies chased each other like dreams through his mind. She had then some hope to look to. 'Miserably disturbed!' that is not strong enough. and the remembrance shot through him like an agony. He was haunted by the remembrance of the handsome young man. At that late hour. His sympathy! 430 . so far from home! It took a great moral effort to galvanise his trust—erewhile so perfect—in Margaret's pure and exquisite maidenliness. so bright that even in her affectionate nature it could come in to lighten the dark hours of a daughter newly made motherless. he would have indulged only a few days ago—was miserably disturbed by the recollection of what he had seen near the Outwood station. gnawing confirmation. till it made him clench his hands tight in order to subdue the pain. when her drooping infant nestles close to her. Here was a little piece of miserable. and is dependent upon her for everything. 'She bore up better than likely' under this grief. with whom she stood in an attitude of such familiar confidence. He had not loved her without gaining that instinctive knowledge of what capabilities were in her. But this delicious vision of what might have been—in which.

Although he hated Margaret at times.Whose? That other man's. He was in the Charybdis of passion. But it was not so. when he thought of that gentle familiar attitude and all the attendant circumstances.' He spoke as if the answer were a matter of indifference to him. 431 . Hale. I mean. but circumstances was not agreeable just then. and must perforce circle and circle ever nearer round the fatal centre. It might have been mere chance. he longed to see the author of it.' For some reason or other. he had a restless desire to renew her picture in his mind—a longing for the very atmosphere she breathed. sir. He will perhaps admit me after to-morrow or so. 'I suppose I may call.' said he coldly. Thornton to Margaret. For all his pain. 'On Mr. And that it was another was enough to make Mr. 'I dare say. master will see you. Dixon never named this interview that she had had with Mr. Thornton's pale grave face grow doubly wan and stern at Dixon's answer. He was very sorry to have to deny you the other day. but so it was that Margaret never heard that he had attended her poor mother's funeral.

Truth will bear thee on for ever!' ANON. She was thankful to hear Mr. About Frederick. even during her apparently cheerful conversations with her father. and her father was miserable at all this uncertainty. and cry out with pain. He kept pacing up and down the room. The Sunday post intervened. She tried to tranquillise him by reading aloud. She was quite in the dark as to his plans. then out of it. and interfered with their London letters. and on Tuesday Margaret was surprised and disheartened to find that there was still no letter. The 'bearing up better than likely' was a terrible strain upon Margaret. there was great uneasiness. How thankful she was then. It broke in upon his lately acquired habit of sitting still in one easy chair for half a day together. that she had kept to herself the additional cause for anxiety produced by their encounter with Leonards. as the sudden sharp thought came across her. Sometimes she thought she must give way. Thornton 432 .CHAPTER XXXIV FALSE AND TRUE 'Truth will fail thee never. but it was evident he could not listen for long together. and she heard him upon the landing opening and shutting the bed-room doors. without any apparent object. too. never! Though thy bark be tempest-driven. Though each plank be rent and riven. that she had no longer a mother.

Not 'better than likely' did she look. rendered timid by the uncertainty of his manner of late.announced. his look. His visit would force her father's thoughts into another channel. Mr. The expression on her countenance was of gentle patient sadness—nay of positive present suffering. and she turned away to hide her emotion. He tried to talk to Mr. his eyes. as his power and decision made him. Something had happened to Fred. but he could not help going up to her. He had not meant to greet her otherwise than with his late studied coldness of demeanour. you are wanted. Hale. 'Miss Hale. She had no doubt of that. Her stately beauty was dimmed with much watching and with many tears. Thornton's heart beat quick and strong. Then he turned to Margaret. and his opinions. as Margaret saw. whose hands he took and wrung without a word—holding them in his for a minute or two. sure port—was unusually agreeable to her father. 433 . and saying the few necessary common-place words in so tender a voice. a safe. It was well that her father and Mr. told of more sympathy than could be put into words. Hale: and—his presence always a certain kind of pleasure to Mr.' Dixon's manner was so flurried that Margaret turned sick at heart. during which time his face. as she stood a little aside. and for the time he utterly forgot the Outwood lane. He came up straight to her father. She took her work and sate down very quiet and silent. Presently Dixon came to the door and said. that her eyes filled with tears.

He wants to see you. There was no surprise. to try if that would do. She stood awaiting the opening of his business there.' said Dixon. Dixon?' asked Margaret. 'Take care papa does not come down. now Margaret's.' said Dixon. the moment she had shut the drawing-room door. 'Only a police-inspector. in consequence of a fall. ma'am. There was something of indignation expressed in her countenance. Mr. but my duty obliges me to ask you a few plain questions. Martha went to the door. Here she turned round and said. for her father refused to sleep there again after his wife's death. choking a little.Thornton were so much occupied by their conversation. 'It's nothing.' 'Did he name—' asked Margaret. almost inaudibly.' The inspector was almost daunted by the haughtiness of her manner as she entered. A man has died at the Infirmary. she has shown him into master's study. but so kept down and controlled. miss. he wants. it's about nothing at all. 'What is it. received at 434 . I went to him myself. and let him in. But I dare say. miss. 'I beg your pardon. He only asked if you lived here. miss. he named nothing. Thornton is with him now. Not a question did she ask. miss. opening the door of what had been Mrs. 'Come this way.' Margaret did not speak again till her hand was on the lock of the study door. 'No. Hale's bed-chamber. but no—it's you. and if he could speak to you. no curiosity. that it gave her a superb air of disdain. miss.

gazing straight into the inspector's face. she said. This much was observed by some one on the platform. still keeping her expressionless eyes fixed on his face. At the time. Her lips swelled out into a richer curve than ordinary.' said Margaret. was provoked by this poor fellow's half-tipsy impertinence to a young lady. and the man's own habit of drinking. as the blow seemed of slight consequence. there is some slight evidence to prove that the blow.' The large dark eyes. in which case—' 'I was not there. She fixed him with her eye. thought no more about the matter. by the presence of some internal complaint. Now—as he paused before going on. the twenty-sixth instant. or scuffle that caused the fall. between the hours of five and six on Thursday evening. the doctors say. however. almost as if she would encourage him in telling his tale—'Well—go on!' 'It is supposed that an inquest will have to be held. but he did not know what was their usual appearance. this fall did not seem of much consequence. so as to recognise the unwonted sullen defiance of the firm sweeping lines.Outwood station. who. owing to the enforced tension of the muscles. or push. walking with the man who pushed the deceased over the edge of the platform. 435 . but it was rendered fatal. There is also some reason to identify the lady with yourself. dilated a little. She never blenched or trembled. Otherwise there was no motion perceptible to his experienced observation. with the unconscious look of a sleep-walker.

no desire to end the interview. and his tipsy words had not been attended to by the busy waiters there. they. but there was great probability. rushing out to be in readiness for the train. to the nearest gin-palace for comfort. at the other end of the platform. to be a Miss Hale. living at Crampton. remembered his starting up and cursing himself for not having sooner thought of the electric telegraph. however. half-mad with rage and pain. one of the porters. and before the train had got to its full speed after starting. had heard from the station-master that a young lady and gentleman had been there about that hour—the lady remarkably handsome—and said. He had not thought any more about it. on making some farther inquiry at the railroad station. but heard no noise. for some purpose unknown. The information he had received was very vague. The lady standing before him showed no emotion. On his way. where the police had found him and taken 436 . and they believed that he left with the idea of going there. whose family dealt at his shop. between Leonards and a gentleman accompanied by a lady. he had lain down in the road. overcome by pain or drink. Leonards himself had gone. There was no certainty that the one lady and gentleman were identical with the other pair. by some grocer's assistant present at the time. swearing and cursing awfully. till his evidence was routed out by the inspector. he had been almost knocked down by the headlong run of the enraged half intoxicated Leonards. had seen a scuffle. no fluttering fear. who. no anxiety.The inspector bowed but did not speak.

I have your denial that you were the lady accompanying the gentleman who struck the blow. She stood awaiting his next word with a composure that appeared supreme. He was a little struck. he said. and his last words were a curse on the 'Cornish trick' which had. notwithstanding. But when the magistrate had come. or gave the push. in hopes that he might be able to take down the dying man's deposition of the cause of his death. 'Then. But the inspector though a very keen. although once or twice he had had glimmerings of sense sufficient to make the authorities send for the nearest magistrate. The inspector ran all this over in his mind—the vagueness of the evidence to prove that Margaret had been at the station—the unflinching. made him a hundred pounds poorer than he ought to have been. madam. was not a very deep observer. sharp pain went through Margaret's brain. which caused the death of this poor man?' A quick. and mixing up names of captains and lieutenants in an indistinct manner with those of his fellow porters at the railway. by the form of the answer.him to the Infirmary: there he had never recovered sufficient consciousness to give any distinct account of his fall. 'Oh God! that I knew Frederick were safe!' A deep observer of human countenances might have seen the momentary agony shoot out of her great gloomy eyes. which sounded like a mechanical 437 . like the torture of some creature brought to bay. calm denial which she gave to such a supposition. he was rambling about being at sea.

I hope you will excuse me for doing what is only my duty. and prove an alibi. or darker shadow of guilt. slowly and heavily. He thought to have seen her wince: he did not know Margaret Hale. Her lips were stiff and dry. He was a little abashed by her regal composure.' Margaret bowed her head as he went towards the door. and opened the study door. if my witnesses' (it was but one who had recognised her) 'persist in deposing to your presence at the unfortunate event. But suddenly she walked forwards. or ceased from that glassy. although it may appear impertinent. She was still perfectly quiet—no change of colour. dream-like stare. ma'am. she had not moved any more than if she had been some great Egyptian statue. He went on: 'It is very unlikely. that I shall have to do anything of the kind.' said she. She could not speak even the common words of farewell. and had been stunned out of all power of varying it. It must have been a mistake of identity. on her proud face. 'I hope you will not think me impertinent when I say. His quick suspicions were aroused by this dull echo of her former denial. 'I was not there. and 438 . Then he looked up.repetition of her first reply—not changed and modified in shape so as to meet his last question.' He looked at her sharply. He put up his book of notes in a very deliberate manner. that I may have to call on you again. And all this time she never closed her eyes. It was as if she had forced herself to one untruth. I may have to summon you to appear on the inquest.

She kept her eyes upon him in the same dull. then turned back.preceded him to the door of the house. and went half-way into the study. and locked the door inside. Then she went into the study. 439 . She shut the door. which she threw wide open for his exit. fixed manner. until he was fairly out of the house. and fell prone on the floor in a dead swoon. paused—tottered forward—paused again—swayed for an instant where she stood. as if moved by some passionate impulse.

He felt that his company gave pleasure to Mr. 'Of death. or whether it was that to his speculative mind all kinds of doubts presented themselves at such a time. Thornton had power over Mr. Whether it was that her sympathy would be so keen. but it was with no view of seeing her that he lingered.' which his poor friend put forth from time to time.' Mr. For the hour—and in the presence of one who was so thoroughly feeling the nothingness of earth—he was reasonable and selfcontrolled. and of the heavy lull. and that he knew she would have shrunk from the expression of any such doubts—nay. Thornton sate on and on. Hale to make him unlock the secret thoughts which he kept shut up even from Margaret. he could 440 . He was deeply interested in all her father said. and show itself in so lively a manner. And of the brain that has grown dull. Hale.CHAPTER XXXV EXPIATION 'There's nought so finely spun But it cometh to the sun. that he was afraid of the reaction upon himself. He wondered Margaret did not return. from him himself as capable of conceiving them—whatever was the reason. and was touched by the half-spoken wishful entreaty that he would remain a little longer—the plaintive 'Don't go yet.' It was curious how the presence of Mr. pleading and crying aloud to be resolved into certainties.

Thornton's two or three words would complete the sentence. in spite of his strong wilfulness. and she had groped in vain for help! There was a pitiful contraction of suffering upon 441 . Thornton than to her of all the thoughts and fancies and fears that had been frost-bound in his brain till now. Was it that he paused in the expression of some remembered agony. till all at once her faith had given way. Was it a doubt—a fear—a wandering uncertainty seeking rest. Hale had ever dreamed. Hale's reliance and regard for him. but this one conversation made them peculiar people to each other. than Mr. and could suggest where the exact ray of light was to be found. When all are admitted. Mr. there was a deeper religion binding him to God in his heart. through all his mistakes. and show how deeply its meaning was entered into. Thornton said very little. as it happened. Margaret lay as still and white as death on the study floor! She had sunk under her burden. which should make the dark places plain. instead of being shocked. seemed to have passed through that very stage of thought himself. It had been heavy in weight and long carried. how can there be a Holy of Holies? And all this while. but finding none—so tearblinded were its eyes—Mr. busy in the world's great battle. Man of action as he was. in a way which no loose indiscriminate talking about sacred things can ever accomplish.unburden himself better to Mr. but every sentence he uttered added to Mr. They never spoke of such things again. knit them together. Mr. Thornton. and she had been very meek and patient.

and rose. although from time to time. Chi va dicendo a l'anima: sospira!' The first symptom of returning life was a quivering about the lips—a little mute soundless attempt at speech. as not only guilty of manslaughter. if only by gaining some additional time. She only understood two facts—that Frederick had been in danger of being pursued and detected in London. although there was no other sign of consciousness remaining. and bring herself into order again. Margaret gathered herself up. Her comb had fallen out of her hair. and with an intuitive desire to efface the traces of weakness. but she could not. The mouth—a little while ago. and that she had lied to save him. There was one comfort. her lie had saved him. after she had received the letter she longed for to assure her of her brother's safety. in the course of the search. and the quivering sank into stillness. she had to sit down and recover strength. and stand in her bitter penance—she. Her head drooped forwards—her hands meekly laid one upon the other—she tried to recall the force of her temptation. but the eyes were still closed. but as the more unpardonable leader of the mutiny. she sought for it. 'E par che de la sua labbia si mova Uno spirto soave e pien d'amore. Then. she would brave shame. feebly leaning on her arms for an instant to steady herself. If the inspector came again to-morrow. so sullenly projected in defiance—was relaxed and livid. the lofty Margaret— 442 . by endeavouring to remember the details which had thrown her into such deadly fright.her beautiful brows.

Thornton.acknowledging before a crowded justice-room. Thornton had obtained for him his first situation in the police. why! she would tell that lie again. But her repetition of it would gain time—time for Frederick. that you got—-' 'Ah. though how the words would come out. sir. Thornton did not remember him.' 443 . that she had been as 'a dog. It was the police-inspector. and done this thing.' But if he came before she heard from Frederick. before a passing omnibus stopped close by him. as he had half threatened. But it is on a little matter of business I made so bold as to speak to you now. I hear. He had hardly gone ten steps in the street. but they had not often met. and came up to him. if he returned. 'My name is Watson—George Watson. I believe you were the magistrate who attended to take down the deposition of a poor man who died in the Infirmary last night. without betraying her falsehood. Why you are getting on famously. I ought to thank you. sir. sir. if need were. she could not tell.' 'Yes. Mr. she did not know. and a man got down. she had just been letting out Mr. in a few hours. and at first Mr. She was roused by Dixon's entrance into the room. after all this terrible pause for reflection and self-reproach. yes! I recollect. and had heard from time to time of the progress of his protege. touching his hat as he did so.

the twenty-sixth. Thornton.' 'Miss Hale denies she was there!' repeated Mr. inculpating a gentleman who was walking with Miss Hale that night at the Outwood station. sir. and I've got a young man who is pretty positive.' 'Yes!' said Mr.' They walked on. and she is in great distress today.—since he has heard of the young lady's denial. there is like to be a coroner's inquest. his death is oddly mixed up with somebody in the house I saw you coming out of just now. turning sharp round and looking into the inspector's face with sudden interest. it seems to me that I have got a pretty distinct chain of evidence. 'Tell me. 'You see. Thornton. But the young lady denies that she was there at the time. he says he should not like to swear. I believe. What about him?' 'Why.' replied Mr. 'What about it?' 'Why. One of my mother's servants was engaged to him. in an altered voice. though there is no doubt he came to his death by violence at last. sir. 'I went and heard some kind of a rambling statement. it was a Mr. Thornton. The inspector was the first to speak. but 444 .'Yes. I'm afraid he was but a drunken fellow. what evening was it? What time?' 'About six o'clock. on the evening of Thursday. which the clerk said was of no great use. sir.—at least he was at first. in silence for a minute or two. side by side. I believe. Hale's. as the man who struck or pushed Leonards off the platform and so caused his death.

sir. when one of the porters saw a scuffle. walking about with a gentleman. twice over. and one doesn't like to doubt the word of a respectable young woman unless one has strong proof to the contrary. not five minutes before the time. both as the magistrate who saw Leonards on his death-bed. sir!' And they parted company. 'Don't take any steps till you have seen me again. 'Yes.' 'Very well.still he's pretty positive that he saw Miss Hale at the station. Thornton. I thought I would ask your advice. I thought I might make bold to ask if—you see. and as the gentleman who got me my berth in the force. sternly forbidding his clerks to allow any one to interrupt him.' 'And she denied having been at the station that evening!' repeated Mr. it's always awkward having to do with cases of disputed identity.' said Mr. as distinct as could be. I told her I should call again. Mr.' 'You were quite right. in a low. Thornton. Come to my warehouse at four. from what I said. and.' 'The young lady will expect me to call. which he set down to some of Leonards' impudence—but which led to the fall which caused his death. sir. Thornton hurried to his warehouse. It's now three.' 'I only want to delay you an hour. he went his way to his 445 . brooding tone. And seeing you come out of the very house. but seeing you just as I was on my way back from questioning the young man who said it was her.

He would save Margaret. might. the provocation given by such a man as Leonards was. when excited by drinking. Then he indulged himself in the torture of thinking it all over. and locked the door. He would take the responsibility of preventing the inquest. just for an instant—no more—and yet. And then this falsehood—how terrible must be some dread of shame to be revealed— for.own private room. and realising every detail. be more than enough to justify any one who came forward to state the circumstances openly and without reserve! How creeping and deadly that fear which could bow down the truthful Margaret to falsehood! He could almost pity her. the issue of which. thrilled him with its old potency of attraction towards her image. if there was an inquest and the young man came forward. Suddenly he started up. and forgotten the savage. There should be no inquest. till he had weakly pitied her and yearned towards her. How could he have lulled himself into the unsuspicious calm in which her tearful image had mirrored itself not two hours before. in all probability. distrustful jealousy with which the sight of her—and that unknown to him—at such an hour—in such a place—had inspired him! How could one so pure have stooped from her decorous and noble manner of bearing! But was it decorous—was it? He hated himself for the idea that forced itself upon him. while it was present. What would be the end of it? She could not have considered all she was entering upon. after all. from the uncertainty of the medical testimony (which he had vaguely heard the night 446 .

he could have saved her by a word.before. saying:— 'I appointed Watson—he who was a packer in the warehouse. He might despise her. although his errand had been successful. Very gray and stern did Mr. and scarcely less stern did he look when he returned. of inquest or no inquest. but the woman whom he had once loved should be kept from shame. put it in an envelope. and sure to prove fatal. for the question. and sealed it up. He was away about half an hour. He wrote two lines on a slip of paper. and who went into the police—to call on me at four o'clock. I have just met with a gentleman 447 . as he passed out through his wondering clerks. or otherwise to stand and acknowledge her reason for desiring darkness rather than light. could be but doubtful. Miss Hale might love another—was indifferent and contemptuous to him— but he would yet do her faithful acts of service of which she should never know. This he gave to one of the clerks. and shame it would be to pledge herself to a lie in a public court. the doctors had discovered an internal disease far advanced. had hung trembling in the balance only the night before. If he had but known how Margaret would have become involved in the affair—if he had but foreseen that she would have stained her whiteness by a falsehood. Thornton look. from the surgeon in attendance). they had stated that death might have been accelerated by the fall. or by the subsequent drinking and exposure to cold.

and she did not reveal the fatal termination to Leonards' fall from the platform. but I doubt if I could have got him up to an oath after he heard that Miss Hale flatly denied it. Take care to give this note to Watson he calls. Hale's that evening. but they.' thought Watson. And Jennings. Margaret would not tell any human being of what she had said.—he would not stick firm to anything. he was not quite so bad. I have not seen the corner. only a little larking. None of my witnesses seemed certain of anything except the young woman. And now I must go and tell them they won't be wanted. Dixon had learnt part of the truth-but only part.' 'Well. the grocer's shopman.' He accordingly presented himself again at Mr.' The note contained these words: 'There will be no inquest.from Liverpool who wishes to see me before he leaves town. or when he found it was likely to bring him in as a witness. 448 . It would have been a troublesome job and no satisfaction. So Dixon curiosity combined with her allegiance to urge Margaret to go to rest. She was clear and distinct enough.—well. Take no further steps. Medical evidence not sufficient to justify it. as she lay on the sofa. knew the reason for her low continued refusals to do so. then it might not have been a scuffle. and Leonards might have jumped off the platform himself. 'it relieves me from an awkward job. which her appearance. but I will take the responsibility. neither of them. Her father and Dixon would fain have persuaded Margaret to go to bed. the porter at the rail-road had seen a scuffle.

she added. 449 . There was a low ring at the door-bell. she consented to go into her own room. the wan lips resolved themselves into a sigh. She put aside Dixon.' 'Am I?' said Margaret. miss!' said Dixon testily. She was indeed inclined to give up the idea that the inspector would call again that night. She stood by her father.' 'As you please. 'You will go to bed soon. You are more dead than alive. the words were lost in the far smaller point of sound that magnified itself to her fears. won't you? Don't sit up alone!' What his answer was she did not hear. though her lips were baked and livid still. turning round and showing her eyes all aglow with strange fire. instead of a smile. at last. I know it is him—I can—I must manage it all myself. papa. who had seen her the minute before. and prepare for going to bed.showed but too clearly that she required. He was so miserably uneasy that. holding on to the back of his chair. and filled her brain. She did not speak except when spoken to. with a rapidity of motion of which no one would have thought her capable. She kissed her father and glided down stairs. 'Don't come. her cheeks flushed. but. 'But you're not fit for it. but in a moment afterwards. I will open the door. as it was already past nine o'clock. she tried to smile back in reply to her father's anxious looks and words of tender enquiry.

' said the Inspector. just as he was coming out of this house. that the man had received any blow at all. ma'am. you see. Thornton—' 'Mr. 'You are late!' said she. Thornton's!' said Margaret.' She could not see to read it—no. as he's an old friend of mine. and. Thornton!' said Margaret. for the evidence was so uncertain. as I told Mr. 'Yes! he's a magistrate—ah! here it is.' said Margaret. Thornton's note about me. 'I'm sure. 'There is to be no further enquiry. before she turned round and faced him. they've given up all thoughts of holding an inquest. She placed the candle on the table. and snuffed it carefully. besides 450 . and looked at it as if she were intently studying it. fumbling in his pocket-book.She opened the door to the Inspector. again. it's a great weight off my mind. not although she was close to the candle.—and if any question of identity came in. or I should have been here before now. 'Well?' She held her breath for the answer. But she held it in her hand. 'I met him this morning. ma'am.' 'I believe I've got Mr. I have had other work to do and other people to see. for. 'Mr. after all. it so complicated the case. 'I'm sorry to have given any unnecessary trouble. and preceded him into the study.' 'Then it is ended. The words swam before her.

She forced herself to speak. Good night.' 'Good night. ma'am. dressed as she was. She wished that the man would go. I could not read it. She did not want to hear any more.' She rang the bell for Dixon to show him out. I'm sorry now that I acted upon information. She threw herself. 'Thank you. when she said. Oh! here is the note!' she continued.being the magistrate who saw Leonards last night. It is very late. she was afraid alike of what she had heard. 'Thank you for calling. At first the young man was so positive. and before the woman could follow her with further questions she had sped up-stairs. will you just read it to me?' He read it aloud to her. and entered her bedchamber. and now he says that he doubted all along. I dare say it is past ten o'clock.' Margaret sighed deeply. suddenly interpreting the meaning of the hand held out to receive it. You told Mr. and bolted her door. He was putting it up. 'It is all right!' said she. which seems to have been so erroneous. dazzling sort of writing. and of what she might hear. ma'am. I made bold to tell him of my difficulty. 'I think it is a cramped. As Dixon returned up the passage Margaret passed her swiftly. Thornton that I was not there?' 'Oh. Half an hour or 451 . of course. and hopes that his mistake won't have occasioned you such annoyance as to lose their shop your custom. without looking at Dixon. She was too much exhausted to think. upon her bed.

The first idea that presented itself to her was. the very expressions which he had used in the note. had the power to rouse her numbed faculties. of how much of excuse she might plead. When had he seen him? What had he said? What had Mr. Thornton done? What were the exact words of his note? And until she could recollect. Thornton had seen her close to Outwood station on the fatal Thursday night. even to the placing or omitting an article. to combine. 'what have I not sacrificed for you!' Even when she fell asleep her 452 . could find cause for suspicion in what was so natural as her accompanying her brother. Then she began to recall. even to herself. in Mr. nothing but chaos and night surrounded the one lurid fact that. she never dreamed that he. She was a liar. That had nothing to do with Mr. to wonder. and the chilliness. and he had a right to judge her. Thornton. Thornton's eyes. But the next conviction she came to was clear enough. and had been told of her denial that she was there. or any one else.—Mr. She stood as a liar in his eyes. that all this sickening alarm on Frederick's behalf was over. that the strain was past. but what was really false and wrong was known to him. supervening upon great fatigue. she was degraded. her mind refused to go on with its progress. She cared not to think.more elapsed before the cramped nature of her position. 'Oh. Thornton. The next was a wish to remember every word of the Inspector's which related to Mr. But she had no thought of penitence before God. Frederick! Frederick!' she cried.

as it only showed her how keenly he must have seen that she was disgraced already. which had already failed so signally. Thornton should have had the knowledge that prompted him to interfere to save her. on 453 .thoughts were compelled to travel the same circle. rather—far rather—than Mr. if ever she should. What ill-fate brought him in contact with the Inspector? What made him be the very magistrate sent for to receive Leonards' deposition? What had Leonards said? How much of it was intelligible to Mr. And under this idea she could feel grateful—not yet. who might already. through their mutual friend. When she awoke a new idea flashed upon her with all the brightness of the morning. Thornton. Mr. Thornton had learnt her falsehood before he went to the coroner. Thornton. who came in defiance of the law to attend his mother's death-bed. that he had possibly been influenced so to do with a view of sparing her the repetition of her denial. But she pushed this notion on one side with the sick wilfulness of a child. be aware of the old accusation against Frederick. Oh! had any one such just cause to feel contempt for her? Mr. Mr. that suggested the thought. if his interference had been prompted by contempt. she felt no gratitude to him. above all people. only with exaggerated and monstrous circumstances of pain. before he took such unwonted pains to spare her any further trial of truthfulness. he had striven to save the son. If it were so. She would have gone through the whole—she would have perjured herself to save Frederick. for aught she knew. Bell? If so.

and was strangely distressed at her fall. But she would read the letter 454 .whom she had looked down from her imaginary heights till now! She suddenly found herself at his feet. How late it is!' She spoke very languidly. miss. for in the agitation of the previous night. I'm sure. She opened it at last. and their alarm might have been spared. 'You want your breakfast. she felt that she must be alone before she could open that letter. He had then written when he had promised. Whenever this idea presented itself to her at the end of a long avenue of thoughts. She shrank from following out the premises to their conclusion. she turned away from following that path— she would not believe in it. Master has got the tray all ready. 'Here's something to do you good. she had forgotten to wind up her watch. and suffered Dixon to lay it on the counterpane before her. A letter from Master Frederick.' 'Thank you. I will bring it you in a minute. without putting out a hand to lake it. By and by the door opened cautiously. Dixon. she let her go. and Dixon put her head in. I know. and so acknowledging to herself how much she valued his respect and good opinion.' Margaret did not reply. The first thing that caught her eye was the date two days earlier than she received it. and Mr. Perceiving that Margaret was awake. she came forwards with a letter. It was later than she fancied. Hale had given especial orders that she was not to be disturbed by the usual awakening.

He had seen Henry Lennox. intelligent fellow. little sister of mine. It was hasty enough. but perfectly satisfactory. hanging over him. backed by such powerful influence. I shall send my father some rare old sherry. and tell him he had done a very daring thing in returning to England. went a long way. He seemed a sharp. Lennox had acknowledged that there might be some chance of his acquittal. to judge from the signs of business and the number of clerks about him.and see. I have just caught a packet on the point of sailing—I am off in five minutes. But when they had come to talk it over. Oh! what 455 .— What an escape that was! Take care you don't breathe of my having been—not even to the Shaws. it was marked 'Too late. if he could but prove his statements by credible witnesses— that in such case it might be worth while to stand his trial. P. with such an accusation.—(such stuff as I've got in the bottle before me)! He needs something of the kind—my dear love to him—God bless him. I'm sure—here's my cab. Mr. who knew enough of the case to shake his head over it. and in good practice too. He would examine—he would take every pains.' The letter had probably been trusted to some careless waiter. who had forgotten to post it.S. But these may be only lawyer's dodges. otherwise it would be a great risk.' Margaret turned to the envelope. 'It struck me' said Frederick. Is it so? He made many inquiries. such as you cannot buy in England. so keep my visit secret. 'that your introduction. I can assure you. in the first instance. I may have to come back to England again on this business.

and hear her cries for help in time to come. Thornton's sight. 'Fais ce que dois. How was it that he haunted her imagination so persistently? What could it be? Why did she care for what he thought. which even then would have been vain. that she was not good enough. as having failed in trust towards Him. Thornton—why did she tremble. defying them to find out what she refused to tell concerning another. how light of heart she would now have felt! Not humbled before God. and it was only about seventeen hours since she had told a falsehood to baffle pursuit. nay. She caught herself up at this with a miserable tremor. and out of England twenty. How faithless she had been! Where now was her proud motto. here was she classing his low opinion of her alongside with the displeasure of God. But Mr. because He knew all. advienne que pourra?' If she had but dared to bravely tell the truth as regarded herself. thirty hours ago. in spite of all her pride in spite of herself? She believed that she could have borne the sense of Almighty displeasure. not degraded and abased in Mr. But as soon as she reviewed her position she found the sting was still there. and hide her face in the pillow? What strong feeling had overtaken her at last? She sprang out of bed and prayed long and earnestly.slight cobwebs of chances stand between us and Temptation! Frederick had been safe. nor pure enough to be indifferent to the lowered opinion of a fellow creature. that the thought of how he must be 456 . and could read her penitence. It soothed and comforted her so to open her heart.

that this knowledge would perpetually recur to trouble him. shaking with her sobs. But there were more reasons against it than for it. that Mr. and went for a shawl to cover her with. 'Poor child!—poor child!' said he. stood between her and her sense of wrong-doing. and she cried bitterly. as she lay with her face to the wall. She took her letter in to her father as soon as she was drest. however unwittingly and unwillingly.looking upon her with contempt. Hale passed over it without paying any attention to it. 'You are sadly overdone. he did not gather much from the letter at the time. There was so slight an allusion to their alarm at the rail-road station. and she began to wonder whether she durst give herself the relief of telling her father of all her trouble. in various shapes of exaggeration and distortion from the simple truth. Margaret. and against it was the thought that it would add materially to her father's nervousness. if it were indeed necessary for Frederick to come to England again. he was so uneasy about Margaret's pallid looks. looking fondly at her. that he would dwell on the circumstance of his son's having caused the death of a man.' He made her lie down on the sofa. And about her own great fault—he would be 457 . The only one for it was the relief to herself. beyond the mere fact of Frederick having sailed undiscovered and unsuspected. It is no wonder. His tenderness released her tears. Indeed. After a while they ceased. But you must let me nurse you now. She seemed continually on the point of weeping.

that what gives us most hope for the future should be called Dolores.distressed beyond measure at her want of courage and faith. It was some months since he had been so talkative as he was this day. He would not let her sit up. and bear the burden alone. I believe: that accounts for her religion. and so to take her thoughts away from dwelling on all that had happened of late. yet perpetually troubled to make excuses for her. 'It seems strange to think. and offended Dixon desperately by insisting on waiting upon her himself. Alone she would go before God. 'Her mother was a Spaniard. weak little smile. The remark was more in character with her father than with her usual self. Just. No. he would reply if the depth of her soul called unto his. the age that Edith was when she was 458 . Her father was a stiff Presbyterian when I knew him. she would keep her secret. Thornton. Formerly Margaret would have come to him as priest as well as father. At last she smiled. But it is a very soft and pretty name. in his change of opinions.' 'How young she is!—younger by fourteen months than I am. She was unspeakably touched by the tender efforts of her father to think of cheerful subjects on which to talk. to tell him of her temptation and her sin. but latterly they had not spoken much on such subjects. and cry for His absolution. but to-day they seemed to have changed natures.' said Margaret. but it gave him the truest pleasure. and she knew not how. Alone she would endure her disgraced position in the opinion of Mr. a poor.

Only let us come back here. We would work up the classics famously. we will go and see them in Spain. We will hope that Mr. and see Edith at Corfu.' 'No. that Frederick may bring Dolores to see us when they are married. You might go on. and driven him into silence. Poor fellow! it was his way 459 . By-and-by Margaret said: 'Papa—did you see Nicholas Higgins at the funeral? He was there. Hale's cheerful subjects had come to an end. the regiment won't remain much longer in Corfu. But if you went. I won't go without you. and cannot go with us. Then she said rather gravely: 'Thank you. It would seem unfair—unkind to your mother. and Mary too. disliked Milton so much. papa. I'm afraid.' Mr. Papa. Perhaps we shall see both of them here before another year is out. That would be a perpetual interest. dear. No. But he said. Who is to take care of you when I am gone?' 'I should like to know which of us is taking care of the other. who always.' Margaret did not speak all at once. Margaret. Some painful recollection had stolen across his mind. I should persuade Mr. But I don't want to go. and bring me back a report of my Spanish daughter.engaged to Captain Lennox.' He shook his head. if we left it now she is lying here. Thornton to let me give him double lessons. And as for Edith. papa. if you liked. 'If you wish it. you shall go and see them. Lennox will manage so well.

He spoke of a book yesterday which he had. even while you tried to persuade me that he was all sorts of bad things. She was smitten with a feeling of ingratitude to Mr. She knew he would not come. Suddenly it struck her that this was a strange manner to show her patience. and which I wanted to see.' Towards evening Mr. The very mention of his name renewed her trouble. I want to see them. Dixon says. 'I saw it all along. and he gladly accepted her proposal. Hale. We did not pay Mary— or rather she refused to take it. and before he goes to his work. We will go so as to catch him just after his dinner. She read well: she gave the due emphasis. Hale said: 'I half expected Mr.' 'Oh yes. the meaning of what she had been reading. He would be too delicate to run the chance of meeting her. She gave way to listless languor. He has a good warm heart under his bluff abrupt ways. He said he would try and bring it to-day.' replied Mr. His eyes were failing. or to reward her father for his watchful care of her all through the day. inasmuch as. We will go and see them tomorrow.' Margaret sighed. Thornton would have called. when she had ended. she could not have told. Thornton. while her shame must be so fresh in his memory.' 'I am sure of it. she had refused to accept the kindness he had 460 . and produced a relapse into the feeling of depressed. She sate up and offered to read aloud.of showing sympathy. if you are strong enough to walk so far. in the morning. but had any one asked her. preoccupied exhaustion.

He could not prevent her doing that. it was the one comfort in all this misery.shown her in making further inquiry from the medical men. the lingering gravity and sadness. It was a pleasure to feel how thoroughly she respected him.' 'Say that I am much better. was her father's relapse into 461 . a few minutes afterwards. He does not ask. the expected book arrived. and had shown her cowardliness and falsehood in action that could not be recalled. and busier repenting. Oh! she was grateful! She had been cowardly and false. But she seemed much as usual the next day. but that Miss Hale—' 'No. His cause for contempt was so just. She needed the relief of solitude after a day of busy thinking. to know how she could feel towards one who had reason to despise her. so as to obviate any inquest being held. were not unnatural symptoms in the early days of grief And almost in proportion to her reestablishment in health. but she was not ungrateful. though she was loth to leave her father alone. and wishes to know how Mr. Dixon. It sent a glow to her heart. and the occasional absence of mind. Hale is.' said Margaret. 'with Mr. Thornton's kind regards. eagerly—'don't say anything about me.' 'My dear child. how you are shivering!' said her father. 'You must go to bed directly. Late in the evening. that she should have respected him less if she had thought he did not feel contempt. You have turned quite pale!' Margaret did not refuse to go. papa.

and the past era in his life that was closed to him for ever.his abstracted musing upon the wife he had lost. 462 .

He was leaning his head upon his hand.' said Margaret. They both were reminded of their recent loss. with a black unshaven beard of several days' growth. sit ye down. giving it a vigorous poke. He did not get up when he saw them. heavy and slow. for many weeks. He was rather disorderly. to be sure. At the time arranged the previous day. though Margaret could read the welcome in his eye. and in the fact that it was the first time. and a jacket which would have been all the better for patching. 'Sit ye down. Fire's welly out. 'We thought we should have a good chance of finding you.' said he. Hale. as if to turn attention away from himself.CHAPTER XXXVI UNION NOT ALWAYS STRENGTH 'The steps of the bearers. They drew very close to each other in unspoken sympathy. that they had deliberately gone out together. 'We have had our sorrow too. The sobs of the mourners.' said Mr.' SHELLEY. by a strange kind of shyness in their new habiliments. making his pale face look yet paler. Nicholas was sitting by the fire-side in his accustomed corner: but he had not his accustomed pipe. they set out on their walk to see Nicholas Higgins and his daughter. deep and low. just after dinner-time. his arm resting on his knee. since we saw you. 463 .

last moment. after a moment's silence. Bess.' 'But we owe her many thanks for her kind service. ay. because good words is scarce. Hale. and she'll bide out. But Margaret saw that he would like to be asked for the explanation. and Mary is fustian-cutting. poor lass.' he replied shortly. my dinner hour stretches all o'er the day. Then. I reckon.' began Mr. I'll bide inside these four walls. I'se have to begin and try now. 'If hoo takes it. 'Ay. But I'm out o' work a' the same. That's a'. And I ne'er asked for it. looking up for the first time: 'I'm not wanting brass.' He was in a mood to take a surly pleasure in giving answers that were like riddles. if yo' start making an ado about what little Mary could sarve yo'. It's o'er for this time. Sorrows is more plentiful than dinners just now.' 'Is it because of the strike you're out of work?' asked Margaret gently. Hale again. I'm out o' work because I ne'er asked for it.' 'Are you out of work?' asked Margaret. I'll turn her out o' doors. he added. 464 . 'Strike's ended. had a little stock under her pillow. 'I ne'er thanked yo'r daughter theer for her deeds o' love to my poor wench. Dunno yo' think it. ready to slip into my hand. before Margaret's sharp pressure on his arm could arrest the words. I ne'er could find th' words.' said Mr. and bad words is plentiful.' 'We owe Mary some money. yo're pretty sure of finding me.'Ay.

but my intention in settling in Milton was to become a private tutor." Them's good words. 'to ask your old master if he would take you back again? It might be a poor chance. if they can live anywhere else. if any one had tried to teach me.' 'You are quite right.' He looked up again. There's no work for yo' here. "Gi' me work" means "and I'll do it like a man.' 'Would it not be worth while." Them's bad words. Bad words is saying "Aha. Yo've been a poor fool. 'I reckon yo'n some way of earning your bread.' 'And bad words are refusing you work when you ask for it. my fine chap! Yo've been true to yo'r order. I reckon them's almost the best words that men can say. folk ought to ha' taught me how to be wise after their fashion. Folk seldom lives i' Milton lust for pleasure. and I'll be true to mine. I could mappen ha' learnt.' said Mr.' said Mr. I'll ask yo' a question or two in my turn. as knowed no better nor be a true faithful fool. So go and be d—-d to yo'. and then tittered a low and bitter laugh. and if I was. Hale. Hale.' 'Ay. and I'll be true to mine. that's yo'r way of being true to yo'r kind. with a sharp glance at the questioner. Yo' did the best yo' could for them as wanted help.' 465 . I'm not a fool. I have some independent property.' 'You're quite welcome.'And good words are—?' 'Asking for work. 'Measter! if it's no offence. but it would be a chance.

Hale. Well! I reckon they pay yo' for teaching them. but we don't think it good. scornfully. Hamper's—that's where I worked—makes their men pledge 'emselves they'll not give a penny to help th' Union or keep turnouts fro' clemming. Yo've hit the bull's eye.' replied Mr. and so if yo' spend it a-thatens we'll just leave off dealing with yo'. or help on the right and just cause. to be sure not!' 'They dunnot say. to put yo'r money to. "Yo' may have a brother.' 'There's not the pressure on all the broad earth that would make me. who wants this here brass for a purpose both yo' and he think right. said Nicholas Higgins. though it goes again the strong hand. dun they tell yo' whatten to do. or whatten not to do wi' the money they gives you in just payment for your pains—in fair exchange like?' 'No. as yo' think." They dunnot say that. Yo' may see a good use. 'Now yo've got it. 'they nobbut make liars and hypocrites.' continued he.'To teach folk. dun they?' 'No: to be sure not!' 'Would yo' stand it if they did?' 'It would be some very hard pressure that would make me even think of submitting to such dictation. smiling. or a friend as dear as a brother. but yo' mun promise not give it to him. dunnot they?' 'Yes.' 'And them that pays yo'. 'I teach in order to get paid. And that's a less sin. They may pledge and make pledge. to making men's hearts so hard that they'll not do a kindness to them as needs it. But I'll ne'er 466 . to my mind.

At last out it came. I dunnot see where I'm to get a shilling. it did not seem to annoy Higgins.' It was a long while before he spoke. I'm a member o' the Union. 'Do you remember poor Boucher saying that the Union was a tyrant? I think he said it was the worst tyrant of all. A man leads a dree life who's not i' th' Union. But once i' the' 467 . Consequence is. Margaret was hesitating whether she should say what was in her mind. But in her soft tones. And I've been a turn-out. And I remember at the time I agreed with him.' There was a little pause. By-and-by they'll find out. It's a new regulation at ourn. she was unwilling to irritate one who was already gloomy and despondent enough.' 'Is that rule about not contributing to the Union in force at all the mills?' asked Margaret. showing that she was unwilling to say anything unpleasant. so she could not read the expression on his face. and with her reluctant manner. so if I get a shilling. I'll speak truth. 'I'll not deny but what th' Union finds it necessary to force a man into his own good. only to perplex him. and looking down into the fire.forswear mysel' for a' the work the king could gi'e me. and I think it's the only thing to do the workman any good. 'I cannot say. He was resting his head on his two hands. tyrants makes liars. and I reckon they'll find that they cannot stick to it. and known what it were to clem. sixpence shall go to them if they axe it from me. But it's in force now.

for he saw the cloud gathering on Higgins's face. Boucher were a fool all along. It were all o'er wi' the strike then. and ne'er a worse fool than at th' last. as made tears come into my eyes. Th' 468 . afore I'd other cause for crying. for all he were pitiful about the daisy. 'Ay. for that matter.' 'He did you harm?' asked Margaret. More the members. that he's obliged to come in. till he and his sort began rioting and breaking laws. Hoo doesn't comprehend th' Union for all that. that did he.Union. and if any man is inclined to do himsel' or his neighbour a hurt. It's the only way working men can get their rights. and not forced him to join the Union? He did you no good. 'I like her. It's a great power: it's our only power. in a low and warning tone. and you drove him mad. but we can make a man's life so heavy to be borne. by all joining together. We had public opinion on our side. I'se warrant. We can't clap folk into prison.' said her father. He'd too much mother-wit for that. That's all we do i' th' Union. But the chap ne'er stopped driving the plough. Government takes care o' fools and madmen. suddenly. more chance for each one separate man having justice done him. it puts a bit of a check on him.' 'Then would it not have been far better to have left him alone. I ha' read a bit o' poetry about a plough going o'er a daisy. whether he likes it or no. and be wise and helpful in spite of himself. his interests are taken care on better nor he could do it for himsel'.' said Higgins. 'Hoo speaks plain out what's in her mind. or by himsel'.' 'Margaret.

He's ne'er out o' mischief. So Boucher slunk back again to his house. First of a' he must go raging like a mad fool. says the traitor cried like a babby!' 469 . He ne'er showed himsel' abroad for a day or two. making ready the land for harvesttime. having got his own purpose. where he'd a been yet. mappen. and thank him for it at my dying day. and kick up yon riot. He had that grace. to Hamper's. didn't care to go on wi' the prosecution for the riot. and pledge himsel' to aught—to tell a' he know'd on our proceedings. nought to help the starving turn-out! Why he'd a clemmed to death. o' pledging themselves to give nought to th' Unions. And then. wi' a' the pleasure in life. if Thornton had followed him out as I'd hoped he would ha' done.Union's the plough. I could go o'er him wi' a plough mysel'. and would na listen to him— ne'er a word—though folk standing by. where think ye that he went? Why. that man. to be sure. But Thornton. the good-for-nothing Judas! But I'll say this for Hamper. I'm sore vexed wi' him just now. So. I dunnot speak him fair. Such as Boucher—'twould be settin' him up too much to liken him to a daisy. a-asking for work. though he knowed well enough the new rule. Damn him! He went wi' his mealymouthed face.' 'Why? What has he been doing? Anything fresh?' 'Ay. he drove Boucher away. if th' Union had na helped him in his pinch. ossing to promise aught. There he went. Then he'd to go into hiding. he's liker a weed lounging over the ground—mun just make up their mind to be put out o' the way. that turns me sick to look at.

by driving him into the Union against his will—without his heart going with it. Many voices were hushed and low: many steps were heard not moving onwards. and. each one questioning the bearers. but as if by some solemn blast.'Oh! how shocking! how pitiful!' exclaimed Margaret. came a hollow. They were all drawn towards the house-door by some irresistible impulse. at least not with any rapidity or steadiness of motion. upon their shoulders. but as if circling round one spot. Six men walked in the middle of the road. measured sound. You have made him what he is!' Made him what he is! What was he? Gathering. All the street turned out to see. 'We found him i' th' brook in the field beyond there. to accompany the procession. which made itself a clear path through the air. Don't you see how you've made Boucher what he is. They carried a door. slow tramp of feet. who answered almost reluctantly at last. impelled thither—not by a poor curiosity. now forcing itself on their attention. seeing. on which lay some dead human creature. and reached their ears. and from each side of the door there were constant droppings. 'Higgins. the measured laboured walk of men carrying a heavy burden. gathering along the narrow street.' 'Th' brook!—why there's not water enough to drown him!' 470 . so often had they told the tale. three of them being policemen. taken off its hinges. I don't know you to-day. there was one distinct. Yes.

Owing to the position in which he had been found lying. that.' Higgins crept up to Margaret's side. It seemed to her so sacrilegious to be peering into that poor distorted. 471 . He lay with his face downwards. choose what cause he had for it. and then one of them came up to Higgins. who would have fain shrunk back into his house. and all might see the poor drowned wretch—his glassy eyes. by a flash of instinct. The men spoke together. The fore part of his head was bald. but the hair grew thin and long behind. one half-open. which had been used for dyeing purposes. like one rooted to the spot. The eyes that saw her do this followed her. Margaret recognised John Boucher. He was sick enough o' living. and said in a weak piping kind of voice: 'It's not John Boucher? He had na spunk enough.' They put the door down carefully upon the stones. and I cannot hear. they are a' looking this way! Listen! I've a singing in my head. and were thus led to the place where Nicholas Higgins stood.'He was a determined chap. agonised face. his face was swollen and discoloured besides. and every separate lock was a conduit for water. staring right upwards to the sky. his skin was stained by the water in the brook. Through all these disfigurements. Sure! It's not John Boucher! Why. as she turned away from her pious office. she went forwards and softly covered the dead man's countenance with her handkerchief.

but there was such a noise. 'Bless yo'. and even. but all at once—-' Margaret saw that her father was indeed unable.' 'I canna do it. Mrs.' said Higgins. We wasn't friends.' said Higgins. Boucher was sitting in a rocking-chair. I canna face her. as of many little ill-ordered children. 'I'm welly felled wi' seeing him. she opened the door and went in.' 'I canna go. shutting it after her. she doubted if she was heard. indeed. every minute. man.' said she. for we canna leave him here long. He was trembling from head to foot. and as every moment of delay made her recoil from her task more and more. but do it quick.' 'Papa. fastening the bolt. do you go. on the other side of the ill-redd-up fireplace. in a low voice. and now he's dead. 'If I could—if I had time to think of what I had better say.'Higgins. but it's a chance. unseen to the woman.' 'Well. that she could hear no reply.' said the man. Some one mun.' 'Thou knows her best. as it were. for she's been but a sickly sort of body. 'Dunnot ask me. if thou wunnot thou wunnot.' said Margaret. it looked as if the 472 . It's a dree task. Do it gently. 'I will go. miss. thou knowed him! Thou mun go tell the wife. though. as she doesn't hear on it in some rougher way nor a person going to make her let on by degrees. and few hereabouts know much on her. I hear. 'We'n done a deal in bringing him here—thou take thy share.' Margaret knocked at the closed door. it will be a kind act.

dragging the child up to her knee. John should na ha' left me. He's his father's darling. in no very gentle voice. and daddy's away.' 'How long is it since he went away?' 'Four days sin'. she hardly knew what. and. and the children's noise completely prevented her from being heard. 'He felt it deeply.house had been untouched for days by any effort at cleanliness.' 'I've no chance o' being well. I'm sure—-' 'Willto' hold thy din. But he might ha' been back afore this.' said she. and nought for to give 'em for to keep 'em quiet. Their eyes met. Boucher? But very poorly. I'm afraid. 'I'm left alone to manage these childer. 'How are you. I think. with a sudden turn of mood.' said Margaret. he is. and let me hear the lady speak!' addressing herself.' said she querulously. Margaret said something. or sent me some word if he'd getten work. 473 . and me so poorly. and forgotten us a'. No one would give him work here." and I ha' no butties to give him. don't blame him. and he'd to go on tramp toward Greenfield. She apologetically continued to Margaret. she began kissing it fondly. She tried again. Margaret laid her hand on the woman's arm to arrest her attention. her throat and mouth were so dry. Mrs. He might—-' 'Oh. 'He's always mithering me for "daddy" and "butty. to a little urchin of about a year old.

'Poor little fellow!' said Margaret, slowly; 'he _was_ his father's darling.' 'He _is_ his father's darling,' said the woman, rising hastily, and standing face to face with Margaret. Neither of them spoke for a moment or two. Then Mrs. Boucher began in a low, growling tone, gathering in wildness as she went on: He _is_ his father's darling, I say. Poor folk can love their childer as well as rich. Why dunno yo' speak? Why dun yo' stare at me wi' your great pitiful eyes? Where's John?' Weak as she was, she shook Margaret to force out an answer. 'Oh, my God!' said she, understanding the meaning of that tearful look. She sank hack into the chair. Margaret took up the child and put him into her arms. 'He loved him,' said she. 'Ay,' said the woman, shaking her head, 'he loved us a'. We had some one to love us once. It's a long time ago; but when he were in life and with us, he did love us, he did. He loved this babby mappen the best on us; but he loved me and I loved him, though I was calling him five minutes agone. Are yo' sure he's dead?' said she, trying to get up. 'If it's only that he's ill and like to die, they may bring him round yet. I'm but an ailing creature mysel'—I've been ailing this long time.' 'But he is dead—he is drowned!' 'Folk are brought round after they're dead-drowned. Whatten was I thinking of, to sit still when I should be stirring mysel'? Here, whisth thee, child—whisth thee! tak' this, tak' aught to play wi', but dunnot cry while


my heart's breaking! Oh, where is my strength gone to? Oh, John—husband!' Margaret saved her from falling by catching her in her arms. She sate down in the rocking chair, and held the woman upon her knees, her head lying on Margaret's shoulder. The other children, clustered together in affright, began to understand the mystery of the scene; but the ideas came slowly, for their brains were dull and languid of perception. They set up such a cry of despair as they guessed the truth, that Margaret knew not how to bear it. Johnny's cry was loudest of them all, though he knew not why he cried, poor little fellow. The mother quivered as she lay in Margaret's arms. Margaret heard a noise at the door. 'Open it. Open it quick,' said she to the eldest child. 'It's bolted; make no noise—be very still. Oh, papa, let them go upstairs very softly and carefully, and perhaps she will not hear them. She has fainted—that's all.' 'It's as well for her, poor creature,' said a woman following in the wake of the bearers of the dead. 'But yo're not fit to hold her. Stay, I'll run fetch a pillow and we'll let her down easy on the floor.' This helpful neighbour was a great relief to Margaret; she was evidently a stranger to the house, a new-comer in the district, indeed; but she was so kind and thoughtful that Margaret felt she was no longer needed; and that it would be better, perhaps, to set an example of clearing the house, which was filled with idle, if sympathising gazers.

She looked round for Nicholas Higgins. He was not there. So she spoke to the woman who had taken the lead in placing Mrs. Boucher on the floor. 'Can you give all these people a hint that they had better leave in quietness? So that when she comes round, she should only find one or two that she knows about her. Papa, will you speak to the men, and get them to go away? She cannot breathe, poor thing, with this crowd about her.' Margaret was kneeling down by Mrs. Boucher and bathing he face with vinegar; but in a few minutes she was surprised at the gush of fresh air. She looked round, and saw a smile pass between her father and the woman. 'What is it?' asked she. 'Only our good friend here,' replied her father, 'hit on a capital expedient for clearing the place.' 'I bid 'em begone, and each take a child with 'em, and to mind that they were orphans, and their mother a widow. It was who could do most, and the childer are sure of a bellyful to-day, and of kindness too. Does hoo know how he died?' 'No,' said Margaret; 'I could not tell her all at once.' 'Hoo mun be told because of th' Inquest. See! Hoo's coming round; shall you or I do it? or mappen your father would be best?' 'No; you, you,' said Margaret. They awaited her perfect recovery in silence. Then the neighbour woman sat down on the floor, and took Mrs. Boucher's head and shoulders on her lap.

'Neighbour,' said she, 'your man is dead. Guess yo' how he died?' 'He were drowned,' said Mrs. Boucher, feebly, beginning to cry for the first time, at this rough probing of her sorrows. 'He were found drowned. He were coming home very hopeless o' aught on earth. He thought God could na be harder than men; mappen not so hard; mappen as tender as a mother; mappen tenderer. I'm not saying he did right, and I'm not saying he did wrong. All I say is, may neither me nor mine ever have his sore heart, or we may do like things.' 'He has left me alone wi' a' these children!' moaned the widow, less distressed at the manner of the death than Margaret expected; but it was of a piece with her helpless character to feel his loss as principally affecting herself and her children. 'Not alone,' said Mr. Hale, solemnly. 'Who is with you? Who will take up your cause?' The widow opened her eyes wide, and looked at the new speaker, of whose presence she had not been aware till then. 'Who has promised to be a father to the fatherless?' continued he. 'But I've getten six children, sir, and the eldest not eight years of age. I'm not meaning for to doubt His power, sir,—only it needs a deal o' trust;' and she began to cry afresh. 'Hoo'll be better able to talk to-morrow, sir,' said the neighbour. 'Best comfort now would be the feel of a child at her heart. I'm sorry they took the babby.'

'I'll go for it,' said Margaret. And in a few minutes she returned, carrying Johnnie, his face all smeared with eating, and his hands loaded with treasures in the shape of shells, and bits of crystal, and the head of a plaster figure. She placed him in his mother's arms. 'There!' said the woman, 'now you go. They'll cry together, and comfort together, better nor any one but a child can do. I'll stop with her as long as I'm needed, and if yo' come to-morrow, yo' can have a deal o' wise talk with her, that she's not up to to-day.' As Margaret and her father went slowly up the street, she paused at Higgins's closed door. 'Shall we go in?' asked her father. 'I was thinking of him too.' They knocked. There was no answer, so they tried the door. It was bolted, but they thought they heard him moving within. 'Nicholas!' said Margaret. There was no answer, and they might have gone away, believing the house to be empty, if there had not been some accidental fall, as of a book, within. 'Nicholas!' said Margaret again. 'It is only us. Won't you let us come in?' 'No,' said he. 'I spoke as plain as I could, 'bout using words, when I bolted th' door. Let me be, this day.' Mr. Hale would have urged their desire, but Margaret placed her finger on his lips. 'I don't wonder at it,' said she. 'I myself long to be alone. It seems the only thing to do one good after a day like this.'

LOOKING SOUTH 'A spade! a rake! a hoe! A pickaxe or a bill! A hook to reap, or a scythe to mow, A flail, or what ye will— And here's a ready hand To ply the needful tool, And skill'd enough, by lessons rough, In Labour's rugged school.' HOOD. Higgins's door was locked the next day, when they went to pay their call on the widow Boucher: but they learnt this time from an officious neighbour, that he was really from home. He had, however, been in to see Mrs. Boucher, before starting on his day's business, whatever that was. It was but an unsatisfactory visit to Mrs. Boucher; she considered herself as an ill-used woman by her poor husband's suicide; and there was quite germ of truth enough in this idea to make it a very difficult one to refute. Still, it was unsatisfactory to see how completely her thoughts were turned upon herself and her own position, and this selfishness extended even to her relations with her children, whom she considered as incumbrances, even in the very midst of her somewhat animal affection for them. Margaret tried to make acquaintances with one or two of them, while her father strove to raise the widow's thoughts into some higher channel than that of mere

helpless querulousness. She found that the children were truer and simpler mourners than the widow. Daddy had been a kind daddy to them; each could tell, in their eager stammering way, of some tenderness shown some indulgence granted by the lost father. 'Is yon thing upstairs really him? it doesna look like him. I'm feared on it, and I never was feared o' daddy.' Margaret's heart bled to hear that the mother, in her selfish requirement of sympathy, had taken her children upstairs to see their disfigured father. It was intermingling the coarseness of horror with the profoundness of natural grief She tried to turn their thoughts in some other direction; on what they could do for mother; on what—for this was a more efficacious way of putting it—what father would have wished them to do. Margaret was more successful than Mr. Hale in her efforts. The children seeing their little duties lie in action close around them, began to try each one to do something that she suggested towards redding up the slatternly room. But her father set too high a standard, and too abstract a view, before the indolent invalid. She could not rouse her torpid mind into any vivid imagination of what her husband's misery might have been before he had resorted to the last terrible step; she could only look upon it as it affected herself; she could not enter into the enduring mercy of the God who had not specially interposed to prevent the water from drowning her prostrate husband; and although she was secretly blaming her husband for having fallen into such drear despair, and denying that he had any

excuse for his last rash act, she was inveterate in her abuse of all who could by any possibility be supposed to have driven him to such desperation. The masters— Mr. Thornton in particular, whose mill had been attacked by Boucher, and who, after the warrant had been issued for his apprehension on the charge of rioting, had caused it to be withdrawn,—the Union, of which Higgins was the representative to the poor woman,—the children so numerous, so hungry, and so noisy—all made up one great army of personal enemies, whose fault it was that she was now a helpless widow. Margaret heard enough of this unreasonableness to dishearten her; and when they came away she found it impossible to cheer her father. 'It is the town life,' said she. 'Their nerves are quickened by the haste and bustle and speed of everything around them, to say nothing of the confinement in these pent-up houses, which of itself is enough to induce depression and worry of spirits. Now in the country, people live so much more out of doors, even children, and even in the winter.' 'But people must live in towns. And in the country some get such stagnant habits of mind that they are almost fatalists.' 'Yes; I acknowledge that. I suppose each mode of life produces its own trials and its own temptations. The dweller in towns must find it as difficult to be patient and calm, as the country-bred man must find it to be active, and equal to unwonted emergencies. Both must find it hard to realise a future of any kind; the one

because the present is so living and hurrying and close around him; the other because his life tempts him to revel in the mere sense of animal existence, not knowing of, and consequently not caring for any pungency of pleasure for the attainment of which he can plan, and deny himself and look forward.' 'And thus both the necessity for engrossment, and the stupid content in the present, produce the same effects. But this poor Mrs. Boucher! how little we can do for her.' 'And yet we dare not leave her without our efforts, although they may seem so useless. Oh papa! it's a hard world to live in!' 'So it is, my child. We feel it so just now, at any rate; but we have been very happy, even in the midst of our sorrow. What a pleasure Frederick's visit was!' 'Yes, that it was,' said Margaret; brightly. 'It was such a charming, snatched, forbidden thing.' But she suddenly stopped speaking. She had spoiled the remembrance of Frederick's visit to herself by her own cowardice. Of all faults the one she most despised in others was the want of bravery; the meanness of heart which leads to untruth. And here had she been guilty of it! Then came the thought of Mr. Thornton's cognisance of her falsehood. She wondered if she should have minded detection half so much from any one else. She tried herself in imagination with her Aunt Shaw and Edith; with her father; with Captain and Mr. Lennox; with Frederick. The thought of the last knowing what she had done, even in his own behalf,

was the most painful, for the brother and sister were in the first flush of their mutual regard and love; but even any fall in Frederick's opinion was as nothing to the shame, the shrinking shame she felt at the thought of meeting Mr. Thornton again. And yet she longed to see him, to get it over; to understand where she stood in his opinion. Her cheeks burnt as she recollected how proudly she had implied an objection to trade (in the early days of their acquaintance), because it too often led to the deceit of passing off inferior for superior goods, in the one branch; of assuming credit for wealth and resources not possessed, in the other. She remembered Mr. Thornton's look of calm disdain, as in few words he gave her to understand that, in the great scheme of commerce, all dishonourable ways of acting were sure to prove injurious in the long run, and that, testing such actions simply according to the poor standard of success, there was folly and not wisdom in all such, and every kind of deceit in trade, as well as in other things. She remembered—she, then strong in her own untempted truth—asking him, if he did not think that buying in the cheapest and selling in the dearest market proved some want of the transparent justice which is so intimately connected with the idea of truth: and she had used the word chivalric—and her father had corrected her with the higher word, Christian; and so drawn the argument upon himself, while she sate silent by with a slight feeling of contempt. No more contempt for her!—no more talk about the chivalric! Henceforward she must feel humiliated and

disgraced in his sight. But when should she see him? Her heart leaped up in apprehension at every ring of the door-bell; and yet when it fell down to calmness, she felt strangely saddened and sick at heart at each disappointment. It was very evident that her father expected to see him, and was surprised that he did not come. The truth was, that there were points in their conversation the other night on which they had no time then to enlarge; but it had been understood that if possible on the succeeding evening—if not then, at least the very first evening that Mr. Thornton could command,—they should meet for further discussion. Mr. Hale had looked forward to this meeting ever since they had parted. He had not yet resumed the instruction to his pupils, which he had relinquished at the commencement of his wife's more serious illness, so he had fewer occupations than usual; and the great interest of the last day or so (Boucher's suicide) had driven him back with more eagerness than ever upon his speculations. He was restless all evening. He kept saying, 'I quite expected to have seen Mr. Thornton. I think the messenger who brought the book last night must have had some note, and forgot to deliver it. Do you think there has been any message left to-day?' 'I will go and inquire, papa,' said Margaret, after the changes on these sentences had been rung once or twice. 'Stay, there's a ring!' She sate down instantly, and bent her head attentively over her work. She heard a step on the stairs, but it was only one, and she knew it


was Dixon's. She lifted up her head and sighed, and believed she felt glad. 'It's that Higgins, sir. He wants to see you, or else Miss Hale. Or it might be Miss Hale first, and then you, sir; for he's in a strange kind of way. 'He had better come up here, Dixon; and then he can see us both, and choose which he likes for his listener.' 'Oh! very well, sir. I've no wish to hear what he's got to say, I'm sure; only, if you could see his shoes, I'm sure you'd say the kitchen was the fitter place. 'He can wipe them, I suppose, said Mr. Hale. So Dixon flung off, to bid him walk up-stairs. She was a little mollified, however, when he looked at his feet with a hesitating air; and then, sitting down on the bottom stair, he took off the offending shoes, and without a word walked up-stairs. 'Sarvant, sir!' said he, slicking his hair down when he came into the room. 'If hoo'l excuse me (looking at Margaret) for being i' my stockings; I'se been tramping a' day, and streets is none o' th' cleanest.' Margaret thought that fatigue might account for the change in his manner, for he was unusually quiet and subdued; and he had evidently some difficulty in saying what he came to say. Mr. Hale's ever-ready sympathy with anything of shyness or hesitation, or want of self-possession, made him come to his aid. 'We shall have tea up directly, and then you'll take a cup with us, Mr. Higgins. I am sure you are tired, if


you've been out much this wet relaxing day. Margaret, my dear, can't you hasten tea?' Margaret could only hasten tea by taking the preparation of it into her own hands, and so offending Dixon, who was emerging out of her sorrow for her late mistress into a very touchy, irritable state. But Martha, like all who came in contact with Margaret—even Dixon herself, in the long run—felt it a pleasure and an honour to forward any of her wishes; and her readiness, and Margaret's sweet forbearance, soon made Dixon ashamed of herself. 'Why master and you must always be asking the lower classes up-stairs, since we came to Milton, I cannot understand. Folk at Helstone were never brought higher than the kitchen; and I've let one or two of them know before now that they might think it an honour to be even there.' Higgins found it easier to unburden himself to one than to two. After Margaret left the room, he went to the door and assured himself that it was shut. Then he came and stood close to Mr. Hale. 'Master,' said he, 'yo'd not guess easy what I've been tramping after to-day. Special if yo' remember my manner o' talk yesterday. I've been a seeking work. I have' said he. 'I said to mysel', I'd keep a civil tongue in my head, let who would say what 'em would. I'd set my teeth into my tongue sooner nor speak i' haste. For that man's sake—yo' understand,' jerking his thumb back in some unknown direction.


'No, I don't,' said Mr. Hale, seeing he waited for some kind of assent, and completely bewildered as to who 'that man' could be. 'That chap as lies theer,' said he, with another jerk. 'Him as went and drownded himself, poor chap! I did na' think he'd got it in him to lie still and let th' water creep o'er him till he died. Boucher, yo' know.' 'Yes, I know now,' said Mr. Hale. 'Go back to what you were saying: you'd not speak in haste—-' 'For his sake. Yet not for his sake; for where'er he is, and whate'er, he'll ne'er know other clemming or cold again; but for the wife's sake, and the bits o' childer.' 'God bless you!' said Mr. Hale, starting up; then, calming down, he said breathlessly, 'What do you mean? Tell me out.' 'I have telled yo',' said Higgins, a little surprised at Mr. Hale's agitation. 'I would na ask for work for mysel'; but them's left as a charge on me. I reckon, I would ha guided Boucher to a better end; but I set him off o' th' road, and so I mun answer for him.' Mr. Hale got hold of Higgins's hand and shook it heartily, without speaking. Higgins looked awkward and ashamed. 'Theer, theer, master! Theer's ne'er a man, to call a man, amongst us, but what would do th' same; ay, and better too; for, belie' me, I'se ne'er got a stroke o' work, nor yet a sight of any. For all I telled Hamper that, let alone his pledge—which I would not sign—no, I could na, not e'en for this—he'd ne'er ha' such a worker on his mill as I would be—he'd ha' none o' me—no more

may be. You could not stand it. my man?' 'Well. help me to work. It would kill you with rheumatism. and stood silent. but I've been thinking if I could get 'em down theer. rich and poor.—but what can I do?' 'Miss there'—for Margaret had re-entered the room. Food is much the same as here. 'for anything you could do. master and man. you would. You would have to be out all weathers. and the ways down there. with the best will in the world. and Milton is sick o' me. I'm a poor black feckless sheep—childer may clem for aught I can do. yo'd help me?' 'Help you! How? I would do anything. may be ten. Now I dunnot know how far off it is.' 488 . and I've a deal o' strength in me. listening—'has often talked grand o' the South. unless. yo' could. The mere bodily work at your time of life would break you down.' 'But what kind of work could you do. The fare is far different to what you have been accustomed to. at the outside. I reckon I could spade a bit—-' 'And for that. get nine shillings a week. stepping forwards. I'm not forty-five.' said Margaret. measter.' said Margaret. Higgins. except that you might have a little garden—-' 'The childer could work at that.' said he. 'I'm sick o' Milton anyways. parson. friendly like. may be.would none o' th' others. and all the folk. 'for all that.' 'You must not go to the South. where food is cheap and wages good.

that you of all men are not one to bear a life among such labourers. I beg. They labour on. you don't know what it is. whether it be good or bad—and that I don't know. if you're in work. poor creatures! caring for nothing but food and rest. from day to day. downcast heads. Those that have lived there all their lives. pay for that out of your ten shillings. and keep those poor children if you can. And men theer mun have their families to keep—mappen 489 . One house mun do for us a'. Think no more of it. it would eat you away like rust. the sameness of their toil deadens their imagination.' 'I've reckoned for that. after their work is done. I owe it to you—since it's my way of talking that has set you off on this idea—to put it all clear before you.'I'se nought particular about my meat. they go home brutishly tired. but I do know. even of the weakest. in the great solitude of steaming fields—never speaking or lifting up their poor. they don't care to meet to talk over thoughts and speculations. 'But you've reckoned on having butcher's meat once a day. You would not bear the dulness of the life. and the furniture o' t'other would go a good way. Nicholas. are used to soaking in the stagnant waters. wildest kind. which you get in a town as plentiful as the air you breathe. as if offended. What would be peace to them would be eternal fretting to you.' said he. The hard spade-work robs their brain of life. bent. you could never pay to get mother and children all there—that's one good thing. You could not stir them up into any companionship. Besides.

God help 'em!' said he. for she saw that Higgins was better left to himself: that if her father began to speak ever so mildly on the subject of Higgins's thoughts. 'God help 'em! North an' South have each getten their own troubles. and would feel himself bound to maintain his own ground. the latter would consider himself challenged to an argument. Margaret was glad of this. and suddenly renouncing the idea. and who's to fettle it. and he fell back into dreamy gloom. For sure. more convinced by his own presentation of the facts than by all Margaret had said. Hale was busy cutting bread and butter. have you been to Marlborough Mills to seek for work?' 'Thornton's?' asked he. Margaret said (she had been thinking of it for some time. and there's nought but what we see?' Mr. but the words had stuck in her throat). if it's as yon folks say. but it was of no use. while here we'n rucks o' money coming in one quarter. I've been at Thornton's. th' world is in a confusion that passes me or any other man to understand. 'Higgins.six or seven childer.' 'And what did he say?' 490 . had made a very substantial meal. it needs fettling. 'Ay. She and her father kept up an indifferent conversation until Higgins. scarcely aware whether he ate or not. labour's paid at starvation prices. and tried to take an interest in what they were saying. and ne'er a farthing th' next. Then he pushed his chair away from the table. If work's sure and steady theer. Suddenly. which had but recently formed itself in a brain worn out by the day's fatigue and anxiety.

' 'I wish you had seen Mr. in a low voice.' 'But I wish you had seen Mr. He gave a great sigh. It were th' fact that I were na wanted theer. That man has it in him to be burnt at the stake afore he'll give in. as I minded. and it's first time in my life as e'er I give way to a woman.' 491 . but he would not have used such language. axing yo'r pardon. it dunnot matter to me.' 'As to th' language. and go at it tomorrow. I do it for yo'r sake.' said Mr. I'm not nesh mysel' when I'm put out. Those grave soft eyes of hers were difficult to resist. Thornton. 'It would be better to let me speak to him.' repeated Margaret. if it were for mysel'. Neither my wife nor Bess could e'er say that much again me. Miss Hale. I could stand a deal o' clemming first. 'Would you go again—it's a good deal to ask. 'He might not have given you work. Hale. nor yet have yo' common ways about yo'. I know—but would you go to-morrow and try him? I should be so glad if you would. no more nor ony other place.' 'I'm afraid it would be of no use. I'd sooner knock him down than ask a favour from him. Th' o'erlooker bid me go and be d—-d. Dunna yo' think that he'll do it.'Such a chap as me is not like to see the measter.' Margaret still looked at Higgins for his answer. Thornton. I'd a deal sooner be flogged mysel'. but yo're not a common wench. I'll e'en make a wry face. I'm welly used to it. 'It would tax my pride above a bit. Hale.' said Mr.

who was a little annoyed at the manner in which Higgins had declined his intercession with Mr. and many thanks to yo'. He turned round and looked at her steadily.' said Margaret. which. I'll stand there fro' six in the morning till I get speech on him. sir. will ensure you a hearing. I dunnot stomach the notion of having favour curried for me. 'Though I don't believe you: I believe you have just given way to wife and daughter as much as most men. There'll be more chance o' getting milk out of a flint.' 'And as to Mr.' 'You'll find your shoe's by the kitchen fire. by one as doesn't know the ins and outs of the quarrel.' 'It's amusing to see how he evidently respects the part in Mr. miss. I took them there to dry. 'but what grand makings of a man there are in him. Thornton's character which is like his own. Dunna yo' hope. But I'd liefer sweep th' streets. but I'd as lief stand on my own bottom. Thornton.' said Mr. 'I'll give you a note to him. 'He is.' 492 . if paupers had na' got hold on that work. Thornton. smiling. pride and all. I'll stand guard at the lodge door. Meddling 'twixt master and man is liker meddling 'twixt husband and wife than aught else: it takes a deal o' wisdom for to do ony good. and then he brushed his lean hand across his eyes and went his way.'All the more do I thank you. 'How proud that man is!' said her father.' said Margaret. I think I may venture to say. I wish yo' a very good night.' 'I thank yo' kindly. Hale.' said Margaret.

Margaret. If he and Mr. It seems hard to lose him as a friend just when I had begun to feel his value.' 493 . and tell him honestly that I knew I deserved it. Thornton justice at last. I am afraid. I wonder what success he'll have tomorrow. is there not?' 'There was none in poor Boucher.' said her father. Thornton would speak out together as man to man—if Higgins would forget that Mr. and speak to him as he does to us—and if Mr. which made her unable to answer. that I could go and force him to express his disapprobation.'There's granite in all these northern people. and then at least I should know how much I was abased in his eyes. Thornton was a master. Margaret had a strange choking at her heart. Thornton would be patient enough to listen to him with his human heart. I wish he would come.' 'I should guess from their tones that they had Irish blood in them. none in his wife either. How tender he was with dear mamma! If it were only for her sake. 'I wish I were a man. not with his master's ears—' 'You are getting to do Mr. papa. pinching her ear. 'Oh!' thought she.

wherever he went and whatever he was doing. was the hour. He could not forget the fond and earnest look that had passed between her and some other man—the attitude of familiar confidence. on to a later hour than she had anticipated. The thought of this perpetually stung him.CHAPTER XXXVIII PROMISES FULFILLED 'Then proudly. "Whate'er ye say. Tho' the tear was in her e'e. Thornton to have spoken falsely. In addition to this (and he ground his teeth as he remembered it). justifiable. and comparatively unfrequented. it was a picture before his eyes. that all this last might be accidental. But that falsehood! which showed a fatal consciousness of something wrong. if not of positive endearment.—but that this falsehood of hers bore a distinct reference in his mind to some other lover. It was not merely that Margaret was known to Mr. she might easily have been beguiled into a longer walk. so far away from home. innocent. and to be 494 . Ye's get na word frae me!"' SCOTCH BALLAD.—though she imagined that for this reason only was she so turned in his opinion. think what ye may. dusky twilight. but once allow her right to love and be beloved (and had he any reason to deny her right?— had not her words been severely explicit when she cast his love away from her?). the place. proudly up she rose. His nobler self had said at first.

the sharpness of her words—'There was not a man in all that crowd for whom she would not have done as much. The very falsehood that stained her. more lovely and more excellent than any other woman. words. more like a bark than a speech. elegant. and stern. and thought her. slight.concealed. he felt inclined to give a short abrupt answer. shared with nobody. this hidden lover. He lashed himself into an agony of fierce jealousy. such fond detention! He mocked at himself. though all the time it would have been a relief to believe her utterly unworthy of his esteem. to every one that asked him a question. so led away by her affection for him as to violate her truthful nature. Mr. Thornton was conscious that he had never been so irritable as he was now. but this man. point by point. he had looks. hand-cleavings. and strongly made. was a proof how blindly she loved another—this dark. now he had seen how soft and bewitching she looked when with a man she really loved. He remembered. lies. far more readily than for him. for having valued the mechanical way in which she had protected him from the fury of the mob. handsome man—while he himself was rough. He thought of that look.' He shared with the mob. He did her that justice. which was unlike her. It was this that made the misery—that he passionately loved her. yet he deemed her so attached to some other man. in all his life long. even with all her faults. in her desire of averting bloodshed from them. 495 . concealment. all to himself. that attitude!—how he would have laid his life at her feet for such tender glances.

employing his evenings in a continual pace backwards and forwards. it is that she knows all the ways of the house. but the matter was even harder and sterner than common. and did not tend to promote any forbearance on her part even to this beloved son. walk.' 496 . and control himself he would. So the manner was subdued to a quiet deliberation. She says she must leave us. walk.' He sat down instantly.' 'That's so like a man. on a chair against the wall.' 'Let me hear it. 'I want to speak to you about Betsy. He was more than usually silent at home. she tells me something about your friend Miss Hale. if you would give up that everlasting walk. Hale is my friend. that the night on which her lover—I forget his name—for she always calls him "he"—-' 'Leonards. 'Betsy says. with the extreme quietness of manner he had been assuming for the last few days.' 'Miss Hale is no friend of mine. It's not merely the cooking.' 'Very well. 'Can you stop—can you sit down for a moment? I have something to say to you.' said he. for if she had been your friend.' 'I am glad to hear you say so.and this consciousness hurt his pride he had always piqued himself on his self-control. Besides. that her lover's death has so affected her spirits she can't give her heart to her work. I suppose other cooks are to be met with. what Betsy says would have annoyed you. which would have annoyed his mother exceedingly if it had been practised by any one else. Mr.

or the fall. He told me there was an internal disease of long standing. who is in a grocer's shop out at Crampton) can swear that Miss Hale was at the station at that hour. I cannot tell you. that there was no inquest—no inquiry. in fact—Miss Hale was there. No judicial inquiry. Betsy believes.'The night on which Leonards was last seen at the station—when he was last seen on duty. 'And with a young man?' Still no answer.' 'And who did it?' 'As there was no inquest.' 'How do you know?' 'Because I distinctly put the question to the surgeon of the Infirmary.' 'Then there was a blow or push?' 'I believe so. that the fact of his becoming rapidly worse while in a state of intoxication.' 'Leonards was not killed by any blow or push.' 497 . mother.' 'Betsy says that Woolmer (some man she knows. walking about with a young man who. in consequence of the doctor's opinion. settled the question as to whether the last fatal attack was caused by excess of drinking. killed Leonards by some blow or push. walking backwards and forwards with a young man. At last he said: 'I tell you.' 'The fall! What fall?' 'Caused by the blow or push of which Betsy speaks. caused by Leonards' habit of drinking to excess.' 'But Miss Hale was there?' No answer. I mean.

when her mother lay unburied. I never knew Fanny have weighty reasons for anything. 'You would not have approved of Fanny's being seen out. And in the next place. Hale. the mere circumstance of a grocer's assistant noticing any act does not alter the character of the act to me. after dark. Miss Hale is at liberty to please herself.' said Mr.'I don't see what we have to do with that.' 'I do not see any harm in what she did that evening. Thornton. Thornton. Other people 498 . in rather a lonely place. after what has passed! but I—I made a promise to Mrs. and coming near to his mother. I say nothing of the taste which could choose the time. I shall certainly let her know my opinion of such conduct.' said Mrs. which may and ought to make her overlook any seeming Impropriety in her conduct. eagerly. getting up. 'It certainly signifies very little to us—not at all to you. for such a promenade. walking about with a young man. I can imagine that the one may have weighty reasons.' 'I'm glad to hear you say so. I see a great deal of difference between Miss Hale and Fanny. he stood by the chimney-piece with his face turned away from the room. Should you have liked your sister to have been noticed by a grocer's assistant for doing so?' 'In the first place. that I would not allow her daughter to go wrong without advising and remonstrating with her. as it is not many years since I myself was a draper's assistant.

You have no right to say what you have done against her. I've no doubt. Her whole conduct is clear to me now. I don't want to know what they are. I believe Miss Hale is a guardian to herself.—to play you off against this very young man.' He turned round to his mother.' When he had spoken. I fear there are.' 'A pretty character of your sister.must guard her. indeed! Really. mother. by a bold display of pretended regard for you. I suppose—you agree to that. whoever he is. some dread.' 499 . now really shocked. She drew you on to an offer. 'what do you mean? What do you mean? What do you know?' He did not reply to her. he writhed himself about. 'Yes. He is her lover. and tell her what is best to be done. He leant his face against his hand. one would have thought Miss Hale had done enough to make you clear-sighted. I do believe he is her lover. he turned round again. but she may need help and womanly counsel. go to her. I know that something is wrong. Then before she could speak. he turned sharp again: 'Mother. John!' said his mother.—there may be difficulties or temptations which I don't know. like one in bodily pain. must be a terrible torture to her. his face was very gray and grim. You believe he is her lover.' 'For God's sake. and gain her confidence. John. but as you have ever been a good—ay! and a tender mother to me. 'John! I don't know what I shan't think unless you speak.

' 'Her character! Mother. Thornton. Hale to be that woman!' No!' said Mrs. These half-expressions are what ruin a woman's character. for I felt at the time that it might be out of my power to render these to one of Miss Hale's character and disposition. mother! I _could_ not speak against her.—I have good reason to believe. and looked into her face with his flaming eyes. But never let me hear any one say a word against her. unless you say more. such as I would give to my own daughter. if she had gone gallivanting with a young man in the dusk. You promised Mrs. which is neither more nor less than the simple truth. he said. is perfectly innocent and right. Then. 'I will not say any more than this. that Miss Hale is in some strait and difficulty connected with an attachment which. I promised counsel and advice. without being influenced either one way or another by the "strong reasons" which you 500 . you do not dare—' he faced about. I did not promise kindness and gentleness. drawing himself up into determined composure and dignity. What my reason is. I shall speak with relation to the circumstances I know.' 'Well! you have no right to say what you have done. from my knowledge of Miss Hale's character. I refuse to tell. 'I am happy to say. I shall speak to her as I would do to Fanny.'Not against her. of itself. and I am sure you believe me. implying any more serious imputation than that she now needs the counsel of some kind and gentle woman.

'don't tell me any more about it. her jet black hair. She took a savage pleasure in the idea of 'speaking her mind' to her. the more bitterly she felt inclined towards her. in pleading for a merciful judgment for Margaret's indiscretion. her lucid eyes would not help to save her one word of the just and stern reproach which 501 . to be kept from the light in which I thought she lived perpetually! Oh. if I speak in her dead mother's name. I cannot endure to think of it.' said he passionately. could you not have loved me? I am but uncouth and hard. but I would never have led you into any falsehood for me. how you have tortured me! Oh! Margaret.' which she was well aware Margaret had the power of throwing over many people.—Oh! that look of love!' continued he. She enjoyed the thought of showing herself untouched by the 'glamour. Margaret. 'And that cursed lie.' 'Well!' said he.will not confide to me. which showed some terrible shame in the background. and done my duty. breaking away. than that she should not be spoken to at all.' The more Mrs. as he bolted himself into his own private room. Thornton thought over what her son had said. 'She will have to bear it. She snorted scornfully over the picture of the beauty of her victim. It will be better that you should speak to her any way. in the guise of fulfilment of a duty. Then I shall have fulfilled my promise. Margaret! Mother.' 'She will never bear it. her clear smooth skin. between his teeth.

about which she had spoken to Miss Thornton. and she had her feet inside the little hall before Martha had half answered her question. She exerted herself to find subjects of interest for conversation. It was a softening employment. in spite of all probability. for she had seen her at the window. because she was trying to task herself up to her duty At last. Thornton was fairly discomfited. because in her heart she was feeling very grateful to Mrs. that. she stung herself into its performance by a suspicion which.Mrs. and useless among rose-leaves. she allowed to cross her mind. her manner more gracious. praised Martha. somehow. Mrs. She was so gentle and ladylike in her mode of reception that her visitor was somewhat daunted. so easy of arrangement with no one to address it to. and giving her many particulars of her mother's last days. the other 502 . the servant whom Mrs. Thornton spent half the night in preparing to her mind. Thornton. 'Is Miss Hale within?' She knew she was. Margaret was sitting alone. had asked Edith for a little Greek air. writing to Edith. Her sharp Damascus blade seemed out of place. Thornton was announced. and it became impossible to utter the speech. She was silent. that all this sweetness was put on with a view of propitiating Mr. Thornton had found for them. and she had to brush away the unbidden tears as Mrs. Thornton for the courteous attention of her call. Margaret's low rich voice was softer than usual.

of being confuted in full court! and although her heart sank to think he had not rather chosen to come himself. and upbraid her. at least. I have a duty to perform. that you had been seen walking about with a gentleman. and restore her again to his good opinion. She cleared her throat and began: 'Miss Hale. I would not allow you to act in any way wrongly. with her eyes dilating as she gazed at Mrs. yet she was too much humbled not to bear any blame on this subject patiently and meekly.attachment had fallen through. Mrs. Thornton went on: 'At first. but yet she seemed to have something more to say. and this thought unconsciously added to her natural desire of pleasing one who was showing her kindness by her visit. Thornton was the mother of one whose regard she valued. Poor Margaret! there was perhaps so much truth in the suspicion as this: that Mrs. She thought she had come to speak to her about the falsehood she had told—that Mr. Thornton. blushing like any culprit.' Margaret stood before her. so 503 . and receive her penitence. as far as my poor judgment went. and feared to have lost. I promised your poor mother that. or (she softened her speech down a little here) inadvertently. Thornton had employed her to explain the danger she had exposed herself to. whether you took it or not. Mrs. without offering advice. Thornton stood up to go. and that it suited Miss Hale's purpose to recall her rejected lover. without remonstrating. when I heard from one of my servants.

they must degrade you in the long run in the estimation of the world. her truthfulness causing her to arrest the confession Margaret was on the point of making. though her curiosity was itching 504 . in a tearful voice.' 'For my mother's sake. Thornton saw the battle-spirit in Margaret's eyes. 'For your mother's sake. She never meant me to be exposed to insult. Thornton has told you—-' 'No.' said Margaret. Mrs. a mere stranger—it was too impertinent! She would not answer her—not one word. Miss Hale!' 'Yes. 'I will bear much. many a young woman has lost her character before now—-' Margaret's eyes flashed fire. 'it is insult.' said Mrs. madam. I am sorry to say. If Mrs. Thornton. Thornton had spoken to her about the lie she had told. to say the least. confirmed her story. This was a new idea— this was too insulting.far from home as the Outwood station.' 'Insult. at such a time of the evening. Mr. even if in fact they do not lead you to positive harm. Thornton.' said Margaret more steadily. I have thought it right to warn you against such improprieties. What do you know of me that should lead you to suspect—Oh!' said she. Miss Hale. I am sure. and humiliated herself But to interfere with her conduct—to speak of her character! she—Mrs. but I cannot bear everything. well and good—she would have owned it. and covering her face with her hands—'I know now. breaking down. I could hardly believe it. and it called up her combativeness also. It was indiscreet. But my son.

If he has knowledge of anything which should make you sob so. that. said to me only last night. give any explanation. might not. the fingers of which were wet with tears. He said this. This Milton manufacturer. and she needs womanly counsel.' Still no answer. Margaret was considering what to say. if Fanny had done so we should consider it a great disgrace—and Fanny might be led away—-' 505 ." I believe those were his very words. Mrs. he keeps it to himself. may take off from the seeming impropriety. Thornton was a little mollified. 'Stop. and yet she could not. his great tender heart scorned as it was scorned. Mrs. Listen. if explained. Miss Hale. young lady. 'Come. Thornton has told me nothing.' Margaret's face was still hidden in her hands. "Go to her. she wished to stand well with Mrs. if you can. what sort of a man you rejected. You are not worthy to know him. There may be circumstances. Thornton. Mr. Thornton grew impatient. arising out of some attachment.to hear it. You do not know my son. Farther than that—beyond admitting the fact of your being at the Outwood station with a gentleman. 'I shall be sorry to break off an acquaintance. but for Fanny's sake—as I told my son. I have good reason to know that she is in some strait. that you may understand. on the evening of the twenty-sixth—he has said nothing—not one word against you. I'll allow.

and exposed yourself to the comments of servants and workpeople.' 'Thank you. madam?' asked Margaret. I told my son yesterday. 'He came. Thornton took no notice. you might have heard or learnt something of this other lover—-' 'What must you think of me. madam. that I thought it possible. You must allow me to leave the room. I felt it was no longer right to set myself against my son's wish of proposing to you—a wish. hissing sound. Thornton.'—she had hard work to keep herself from choking with her tears—'but. Mrs. you had apparently changed your mind. but not in the way you think or know about. 'You can say nothing more.' Margaret winced. 'I have done wrong. I decline every attempt to justify myself for anything. I think Mr. throwing her head back with proud disdain. I had not approved of my son's attachment to you. and drew in her breath with a long. however. You did not appear to me worthy of him. It is the last time I shall interfere. Thornton judges me more mercifully than you. when your mother asked me.' 506 . Mrs. I believe. while I only suspected it.' said Margaret. which he had always denied entertaining until the day of the riot. by the way.' said Mrs.'I can give you no explanation. short as was the interval. in a low voice. drawing herself up. 'I was not aware that my meaning was doubted. of which. till her throat curved outwards like a swan's. But when you compromised yourself as you did at the time of the riot. I was unwilling to consent to do it. Thornton. you mean to do rightly.

'you've a pretty good temper of your own. But I don't think you will go a-walking again with your beau. Now as to Fanny.And she swept out of it with the noiseless grace of an offended princess. It showed the effect of her words. She had taken Mrs. poor thing!' Mr. Thornton had quite enough of natural humour to make her feel the ludicrousness of the position in which she was left. I'll do her that justice. in a hurry. A good deal of his capital was locked up in new and expensive machinery. As for that girl. He was trying to understand where he stood. Thornton was not spending the morning so satisfactorily as his mother. and Margaret's passion at once mollified her visitor. she'd be giddy. what damage the strike had done him. to make you know your place. There was nothing for it but to show herself out. she might be hold. She did not care enough for her for that. She. She was not particularly annoyed at Margaret's way of behaving. nor hold by nature. 'My young lady. If John and you had come together. Mrs. Thornton's remonstrance to the full as keenly to heart as that lady expected. Thornton to herself. I like to see a girl fly out at the notion of being talked about.' thought Mrs. and he had also bought 507 . at any rate. at such an hour of the day. and not bold. You've too much pride and spirit in you for that. but she'd never be giddy. She's no courage in her. far more than any silence or reserve could have done. It shows they're neither giddy. was fulfilling her determined purpose. he would have had to keep a tight hand over you.

'What! you there still!' 508 . and his sullenness of temper.' 'Can't stay now. was a daily annoyance. Higgins sighed. then on the other. Even with his own accustomed and skilled workpeople. he stood leaning against the dead wall. who had to be trained to their work. At last Mr. but a short nod of recognition to the few men who knew and spoke to him. as the crowd drove out of the millyard at dinner-time. and out came Mr.' if he had rung the lodge bell. Thornton was half way down the street. I reckon I can wait till yo' come back. hour after hour. The strike had thrown him terribly behindhand. sir. and scowling with all his might at the Irish 'knobsticks' who had just been imported. But it was no use. It was not a favourable hour for Higgins to make his request. But he had promised Margaret to do it at any cost. To catch him in the street was his only chance of seeing 'the measter. Thornton. So.' Mr. his pride. 'I want for to speak to yo'. he would have had some difficulty in fulfilling his engagements. with a view to some great orders which he had in hand. first on one leg. I'm too late as it is. as to the completion of these orders.' 'Well. at a time requiring unusual activity. though every moment added to his repugnance. the incompetence of the Irish hands. sir. or even gone up to the house to ask for him. vouchsafing no answer. he would have been referred to the overlooker. as it was. Thornton returned.cotton largely. At last the latch was sharply lifted. my man. So he stood still again.

'What do you want. as soon as they were in the counting-house of the mill. sir. He stopped to speak to the overlooker. Thornton.' 'Work! You're a pretty chap to come asking me for work. looking round sharply at his follower. sir. 'It is men such as this. at whatever cost to others. Higgins? That's the question. I mun speak to yo'. 'My name is Higgins'— 'I know that.' broke in Mr. and we shall have it to ourselves. one of the leaders of the Union. 'who interrupt commerce and injure the very town they live in: mere demagogues. facing round at him. These good people. closing the door of the porter's lodge. that's very clear.' said Mr. are at dinner. I didn't.' thought he.' 'No. like my betters. that that man is Higgins. Thornton. then.' 'I've getten enemies and backbiters.' said he.' 'Well. Higgins was known to him by name as a turbulent spirit.'Ay. the men are not come back.' said he.' 'Come in here. sir! what do you want with me?' said Mr. You don't want impudence. but I ne'er heerd o' ony of them calling me o'er-modest. Stay.' 'I want work. Thornton. The latter said in a low tone: 'I suppose you know.' 509 . Mr. he that made that speech in Hurstfield. and his tone was rougher than before. we'll go across the yard. 'Come along. I see. lovers of power.

he looked up and said." when I were axed a civil question. for no other fault than following you and such as you. and see whether they'll give you work.' 'I'd take th' risk. on my impudence: but I were taught that it was manners to say either "yes" or "no.said Higgins. that I did what I thought best. Thornton's manner.' 'I gave it you before. Thornton saw a letter addressed to himself on the table. and d'ye think I'll take you on? I might as well put a firebrand into the midst of the cotton-waste. I'd not speak a word as could do harm. I've turned off upwards of a hundred of my best hands. then the recollection of Boucher came over him. if so be yo' did right by us. sir. 'I'd promise yo'.' Higgins turned away. Worst they could say of me is. and he faced round with the greatest concession he could persuade himself to make. Mr. At the end.' 'I've a notion you'd better not send me to Hamper to ask for a character. I might hear more than you'd like. I should be thankfu' to yo' if yo'd give me work. He took it up and read it through.' 'You'd better go and try them. Hamper will speak to my being a good hand. even to my own wrong. Don't waste any more of your time. His blood was a little roused by Mr.' 'Yo' made a remark. more than by his words. my man. measter. 'What are you waiting for?' 'An answer to the question I axed. then. and I'd promise more: I'd promise that when I seed yo' going 510 .

yo' might turn me off at an hour's notice. I suppose?' 'No! I'd be thankful if I was free to do that. and ne'er see Milton again.' 511 . and a steady man—specially when I can keep fro' drink. I wouldn't gi'e the pledge they were asking. So I'm free to make another engagement. or summut. and they wouldn't have me at no rate. But it's winter. if you've any such good intention in your head. and that would be a fair warning.' 'If it were summer. If yo' and I did na agree in our opinion o' your conduct. we parted wi' mutual dissatisfaction. or haymaking. you couldn't do half a day's work at digging against an Irishman. put out of his place by a Paddy that did na know weft fro' warp. and that I shall do now.' 'That you may have more money laid up for another strike. I'd speak to yo' in private first.' said Higgins. I'm a good hand. and go as a navvy. How came he to let you and your wisdom go?' 'Well. I shouldn't advise you to stay in Milton: you're too well known here.wrong. if I ne'er did afore. it's for to keep th' widow and childer of a man who was drove mad by them knobsticks o' yourn. and th' childer will clem. and acting unfair. and as I said before.' 'Well! you'd better turn to something else. you don't think small beer of yourself! Hamper has had a loss of you. measter. 'I'd take to Paddy's work.' 'A pretty navvy you'd make! why.' 'Upon my word. though I should na' say it.

I'll not give you work. There's your answer. It's a very unlikely story. Hoo were mistook. Think how you'd abuse any poor fellow who was willing to take what he could get to keep his own children. You'd be taking less wages than the other labourers—all for the sake of another man's children. and most of a' for yo'r civil way o' saying good-bye. at any rate. I say No! to your question. I'll not give you work. But I'm not the first man as is misled by a woman. if I'm such a firebrand? I'd take any wage they thought I was worth. Be off with you.' 'I'm obleeged to yo' for a' yo'r kindness. Yo're not knowing of any place. where they could gi' me a trial. Let me pass. measter. if I could only do half-a-day's work in th' time. It may be true. I believe women are at the bottom of every plague in this world.' 'Tell her to mind her own business the next time. by one as seemed to think yo'd getten some soft place in. I won't say. I know nothing about it. for the sake of those childer. sir. I don't believe your pretext for coming and asking for work. No! no! if it's only for the recollection of the way in which you've used the poor knobsticks before now. I would na ha' troubled yo'.' 'I hear. away fro' the mills. You and your Union would soon be down upon him.' 512 . or it may not. yo'r heart. but that I were bid to come.'I'd only charge half-a-day for th' twelve hours. instead of taking up your time and mine too. and I were misled.' 'Don't you see what you would be? You'd be a knobstick.

he was struck with the lean. sir. bent figure going out of the yard: the heavy walk was in strange contrast with the resolute. Thornton did not deign a reply. 'it's a long time for a man to wait. looking out of the window a minute after. doing nothing but first hoping and then fearing. sir. He crossed to the porter's lodge: 'How long has that man Higgins been waiting to speak to me?' 'He was outside the gate before eight o'clock. clear determination of the man to speak to him. But.' 513 .Mr.' thought Mr. Thornton.' 'Five hours.' 'And it is now—?' 'Just one. I think he's been there ever since.

she sate down until she heard Mrs. in her old habitual way of showing agitation.CHAPTER XXXIX MAKING FRIENDS 'Nay. yea glad with all my heart. you get no more of me: And I am glad. she compelled her memory to go through with it. Then. remembering that in that slightly-built house every step was heard from one room to another. as if she took pride in any delicacy of feeling which Mr. It is hard and sad. Margaret shut herself up in her own room. after she had quitted Mrs. she rose up. She began to walk backwards and forwards. But still. she pressed her hands tightly together. it is hard to think that any one—any woman—can believe all this of another so easily.' DRAYTON. I have done. Thornton had shown. her words do not touch me. for I am innocent of all the motives she attributes to me. At the end. Thornton go safely out of the house. Thornton. as a new thought came across her. She forced herself to recollect all the conversation that had passed between them. they fall off from me. That thus so clearly I myself am free. in a melancholy tone: 'At any rate. then. she does not accuse me—she does not know. 514 . and said to herself. but. speech by speech. Where I have done wrong. He never told her: I might have known he would not!' She lifted up her head.

Mrs. I am weary of this continual call upon me for strength. Thornton's unjust.) 'I see it now.' 515 . because that is a natural. I only know I cannot help it. It is not merely that he knows of my falsehood. must take poor Frederick for some lover. I must give way sometimes. It would be of no use now. impertinent suspicions. I could have the energy to resent. and. beyond the mere loss of his good opinion as regards my telling the truth or not? I cannot tell. the hopes of womanhood have closed for me—for I shall never marry.' said she. and I anticipate cares and sorrows just as if I were an old woman. I will not. 'I will not—I _will_ not think of myself and my own position. And I think I could bear up against—at any rate. though.'He. but he believes that some one else cares for me. how unhappy this last year has been! I have passed out of childhood into old age. and with the same fearful spirit. see the life that might have been. What has happened to make me so morbid to-day? I do not know. pious duty. I have had no youth—no womanhood. I won't examine into my own feelings.' (She blushed as the word passed through her mind. But I am very miserable! Oh. too. I could bear up for papa. if I live to be an old woman. Some time. and that I—-Oh dear!—oh dear! What shall I do? What do I mean? Why do I care what he thinks. But it is hard to feel how completely he must misunderstand me. No. looking into the embers. I may sit over the fire. springing to her feet.

'You've been to Mrs. I shall find it difficult to behave in the same way to him. at her return. with this miserable consciousness upon me. really ill—not merely ailing. in spite of all her bravery. if I had time. she was hastily putting on her things to go out. with an impatience of gesture at the tears that would come. her father came up: 'Good girl!' said he. and I don't know where it began. there's many a woman makes as sad a mistake as I have done. But. believing what he must about me. and say very little. to be sure. seemed to have taken charge of everything. reddening. and only finds it out too late. I have not. he keeps out of our way evidently.' said Margaret. but I will be very calm and very quiet. And how proudly and impertinently I spoke to him that day! But I did not know then. I will go while you are taking your nap. Mrs. That would be worse than all. before dinner. But I will go directly after dinner.' She went out. Boucher's. 'I dare say. I may not see him. going rapidly towards the country. and trying to drown reflection by swiftness of motion. Now I won't give way.All this time. As she stood on the door-step. 'I never thought about her. Some of the children 516 . I was just meaning to go there. The kind and sensible neighbour. Accordingly Margaret went. It has come upon me little by little.' 'No. And yet no wonder that he avoids me. papa. only stopping from time to time to wipe her eyes. Boucher was very ill. who had come in the other day.

then?' said Margaret. and Margaret thought. sorrowfully. Mary Higgins had come for the three youngest at dinner-time. Margaret thought that she should like to know his opinion. It's no good expecting marcy at the hands o' them measters. 'I've seen and heerd too much on him. 'Ay!' said he. and holding him in her arms. and aren't likely to know their ways. When the penny stopped spinning. He had not come as yet. 'To be sure. Was he angry? He did not speak to you as Hamper did. He. Mrs. Thornton. did he?' 517 .' 'I am sorry I asked you. Boucher was dying. who were clinging to him in a fearless manner. but I knowed it. I knew he'd do it all long.were gone to the neighbours. as well as they. 'lile Johnnie' began to cry. taking him off the dresser. Yo're a stranger and a foreigner. She found Nicholas busily engaged in making a penny spin on the dresser. Thornton. was smiling at a good long spin. she held her watch to his ear. The look on his face changed instantly. and that she could not do better than go and see the Higginses in the meantime. She might then possibly hear whether Nicholas had been able to make his application to Mr.' said Margaret. and since then Nicholas had gone for the doctor.' 'He refused you. while she asked Nicholas if he had seen Mr. and there was nothing to do but to wait. 'Come to me. for the amusement of three little children. that the happy look of interest in his occupation was a good sign.

and there stood Mr. with a look of displeased surprise upon his face. I dunnot think I did. I telled him. We're but where we was. and I were beholden to yo'. my lads. He bent equally low in return.' 'And he—?' asked Margaret.' Margaret put the struggling Johnnie out of her arms. As she hurried to Mrs.—And them's civil words to what he used to me. 'I am sorry I asked you to go to Mr. a woman who knew no better had advised me for to come and see if there was a soft place in his heart. I said. back into his former place on the dresser. spinning the penny again. saying not a word. I gave him as good as I got. and then closed the door after her. I'd not that good opinion on him that I'd ha' come a second time of mysel'. but yo'd advised me for to come. Thornton. Margaret passed out before him. 'Never yo' fret.' There was a slight noise behind her. I'm only where I was. only bowing low to hide the sudden paleness that she felt had come over her face.'He weren't o'er-civil!' said Nicholas. I am disappointed in him. Obeying her swift impulse. Thornton's. 'Said I were to tell yo' to mind yo'r own business.' 'You told him I sent you?' 'I dunno' if I ca'd yo' by your name. as much for his own amusement as for that of the children. 518 . I'll go on tramp to-morrow. Both she and Nicholas turned round at the same moment.— That's the longest spin yet. and I'll break stones on th' road afore I let these little uns clem. But ne'er mind.

It was the five hours of waiting that struck Mr. and touched the latent tenderness of his heart. He had tenderness in his heart—'a soft place. which probably made them both quits. the simple generosity of the motive (for he had learnt about the quarrel between Boucher and Higgins). the tenor of his life. with humble patience. He rather liked him for it. was nothing to Mr. Thornton. and overleap them by a diviner instinct. He had not five hours to spare himself. But if he dreaded exposure of his tenderness. and it seemed to fill up the measure of her mortification. and he felt that he had been unjust. he was equally desirous that all men should recognise his justice. made him forget entirely the mere reasonings of justice.Boucher's. to speak to him. he kept it very sacred and safe. He too was annoyed to find her there. And then the conviction went in.' as Nicholas Higgins called it. as well as bodily labour. of his hard penetrating intellectual. she heard the clang. That the man had spoken saucily to him when he had the opportunity. in giving so scornful a hearing to any one who had waited. did he give up to going about collecting evidence as to the truth of Higgins's story. as if by some spell. but he had some pride in concealing it. for five hours. and was jealous of every circumstance that tried to gain admission. and he was conscious of his own irritability of temper at the time. the patience of the man. but one hour—two hours. He came to tell Higgins he would give 519 . the nature of his character. He tried not to be. Thornton. but was convinced that all that Higgins had said was true.

I've not forgetten. 'that my story might be true or might not.him work. turning round. and he was more annoyed to find Margaret there than by hearing her last words.' replied Higgins.' 'Of course you told that to Miss Hale?' 'In coorse I did. as a motive to what he was doing solely because it was right. yo'd ha' spoken of her more civil than yo' did. Measter. I telled her she weren't to meddle again in aught that concerned yo'. I spoke to you 520 . 'And then. 'So that was the lady you spoke of as a woman?' said he indignantly to Higgins. with ill-smothered fierceness. maybe.' 'Whose children are those—yours?' Mr. 'You might have told me who she was. bur it were a very unlikely one.' 'They are the children you spoke of to me this morning?' 'When yo' said. and he dreaded the admission of any thought of her. Leastways. 'They're not mine. but he felt awkward in turning the conversation round from this unpromising beginning. from what he had heard. then he said: 'No more have I. Thornton was silent for a moment.' Mr. I reckon I did. yo'd getten a mother who might ha' kept yo'r tongue in check when yo' were talking o' women being at the root o' all the plagues. for then he understood that she was the woman who had urged Higgins to come to him. I remember what I said. Thornton had a pretty good notion whose they were. and they are mine.

'I've been thinking. He would not speak. ever sin' I saw you. Mr. although the words were gruff enough. I did not believe you. 'it was not my proposal that we should go together.about those children in a way I had no business to do. as I were now and then given to drink.' 'That's true. 'Yo've no business to go prying into what happened between Boucher and me. and I'm sorry.' Higgins did not turn round. cruel master. and yo' might ha' said wi' some truth. half-laughing. do yo' think we can e'er get on together?' 'Well!' said Mr. An' I ha' called you a tyrant. what a marcy it were yo' did na take me on. for that I ne'er saw a man whom I could less abide. that's where it stands.' said Higgins. Higgins's eye fell on the children.' Higgins's obstinacy wavered. But for th' childer. an' an oud bull-dog. it was in a softened tone. recovered strength. on your own showing. and stood firm. if he had acted towards me as I hear Boucher did towards you. and a mischief-maker. Thornton would not ask again. He's dead. That's enough. Thornton.' 'So it is. I could not have taken care of another man's children myself. 'Yo've called me impudent. But that's maybe been a hasty 521 . But there's one comfort. reflectively. But when he did speak. and a hard. Measter. or immediately respond to this. and a liar. We neither of us can think much worse of the other than we do now. I beg your pardon. But I know now that you spoke truth. Will you take work with me? That's what I came to ask.

with your brains if you can keep them to your own. and speak to her.' continued he. But. So. measter. now she must know he was aware of some other attachment. Boucher's door.' Just before Mr. or would yo' rayther have me 'bout my brains?' ''Bout your brains if you use them for meddling with my business. 522 . Margaret came out of it. I thank yo'. and what's more.' said Mr. So good afternoon.judgment.' said he. He wished too.' 'Your business has not begun yet. this simple emotion of pleasure was tainted. I'll come. resuming the master. 'Now mind you come sharp to your time. Thornton. giving Higgins's hand a good grip. She did not see him. He wished to overtake her. and her tall and graceful figure. we keep pretty sharply. and he followed her for several yards. What fines we have. Thornton fully for the first time. suddenly turning round and facing Mr. So now you know where you are. admiring her light and easy walk. I reckon I may bring it wi' me.' 'Yo' spoke of my wisdom this morning. And the first time I catch you making mischief. more frankly. 'I'll have no laggards at my mill. Thornton came up to Mrs. 'And this is a deal from me. but of this wish he was rather ashamed. and that's a deal fro' me. poisoned by jealousy. to see how she would receive him.' 'I shall need a deal o' brains to settle where my business ends and yo'rs begins. off you go. suddenly. and work's work to such as me. and mine stands still for me.

'Higgins did not quite tell you the exact truth.' said she. 'Very few people do speak the exact truth. 'Allow me to say. I am now only speaking 523 . I have no doubt.' The word 'truth. 'The exact truth!' said he. Mr. 'I will ask no farther. Thornton hesitated. he repeated to you. 'He tells me. that you were rather premature in expressing your disappointment. and had repented him of his morning's decision. Miss Hale. your secret is safe with me. I have given up hoping for it. believe me.' said he. 'Nay. and then he remembered the lie she had told.' reminded her of her own untruth. She was wondering whether an explanation of any kind would be consistent with her loyalty to Frederick. have you no explanation to give me? You must perceive what I cannot but think.' she went on a little more eagerly.that she should know that he had justified her wisdom in sending Higgins to him to ask for work. and she stopped short. You had a perfect right to express your opinion. She started. and all that was foregone. feeling exceedingly uncomfortable. Thornton at first was puzzled to account for her silence. Miss Hale. But. I have taken Higgins on.' 'I am glad of it. He came up to her.' Margaret was silent. Margaret took it up: 'About women not meddling. But you run great risks. I may be putting temptation in your way. allow me to say. coldly. At present. which was a very correct one. what I said this morning about—' Mr. in being so indiscreet.

' 'I have not the slightest wish to pry into the gentleman's secrets. I surely am mistress enough of myself to control this wild.' said Margaret. 'My own interest in you is—simply that of a friend. I don't see any occasion for us to go on walking together. But I won't care for him. which tempted me even to betray my own dear Frederick. I thought. perhaps you might have had something to say. that any foolish passion on my part is entirely over. as if I were always thinking that he cared for me.as a friend of your father's: if I had any other thought or hope. strange.' said Margaret. Miss Hale?' 'Yes. but the secret is another person's. but it is—in spite of the persecution I'm afraid I threatened you with at one time—but that is all given up. but I see we are nothing to each other. with growing anger. of course that is at an end. careless way. 'What can he mean?' thought Margaret.—'what could he mean by speaking so. His mother will have said all those cruel things about me to him. so that I might 524 . forcing herself to speak in an indifferent. 'Then. he cannot. You may not believe me. 'I am aware of what I must appear to you. I am quite disinterested. quietly and sadly. I will wish you good afternoon. miserable feeling. If you're quite convinced. You believe me. all passed away.' He walked off very hastily.' 'I am aware of that.' he said. and I cannot explain it without doing him harm. really. Miss Hale. when I know he does not.

but regain his good opinion—the good opinion of a man who takes such pains to tell me that I am nothing to him. and if there was a tinge of bitterness in much of what she said. Hale imagined that he saw traces of tears on her cheeks. if her accounts of the old Harley Street set were a little sarcastic. even 525 . in which that gentleman volunteered a visit to them. she was called down to speak to Mary Higgins. Bell. Mr. her father could not bear to check her. Come poor little heart! be cheery and brave. For some days her spirits varied strangely. Margaret tried to take an interest in what pleased her father. and when she came back. Hale received a letter from Mr. and her father was beginning to be anxious about her. Bell. In the middle of the evening. Her spirits were damped. We'll be a great deal to one another.' Her father was almost startled by her merriment this afternoon. She talked incessantly. and forced her natural humour to an unusual pitch. Hale imagined that the promised society of his old Oxford friend would give as agreeable a turn to Margaret's ideas as it did to his own. as he would have done at another time—for he was glad to see her shake off her cares. at any rate. and she found it very difficult to go on talking at all. for she brought good news—that Higgins had got work at Mr. and Mr. when news arrived from one or two quarters that promised some change and variety for her. But that could not be. much more in the wild way that she had done. Mr. if we are thrown off and left desolate. but she was too languid to care about any Mr. Thornton's mill.

She was more roused by a letter from Edith. Bell's visit brought his tenant's name upon the tapis. So she began to look towards a long visit to the Lennoxes. the baby. on their return to England. however. her father had resumed their readings together. and as Mrs. as to a point—no. she heard of him there. and that they might all go and live again in the old Harley Street house. Thornton. Thornton. monotonous life. Margaret yearned after that old house. and the placid tranquillity of that old wellordered. that as the climate did not suit. and at the end saying. for he wrote word that he believed he must be occupied some great part of his time with Mr. If she went to see the Higginses. and felt so exhausted by this recent struggle with herself.though he were twenty times her godfather. 526 . in which she could regain her power and command over herself. that she thought that even stagnation would be a rest and a refreshment. as a new lease was in preparation. Shaw was talking of returning to England. She had found it occasionally tiresome while it lasted. but since then she had been buffeted about. full of sympathy about her aunt's death. full of details about herself. At present it seemed to her as if all subjects tended towards Mr. would seem very incomplete with-out Margaret. and child. and the terms of it must be agreed upon. and quoted his opinions perpetually. even Mr. her husband. as if she could not for-get him with all her endeavours. which. not of hope—but of leisure. she thought it probable that Captain Lennox might sell out.

Mr. Namely. a socialist—' 'Papa.' 'No. where I have nothing had. it was an hereditary power which she had. a red republican. but when her godfather came. a girl so entirely after his own heart. to walk in and take possession of his regard. Naught ta'en me fro. Bell's visit—she had only looked forward to it on her father's account. that I think your opinions are the oldest and mustiest I have met with this long time. And I'd shave the wild-beast skins and make the wool into 527 . I mean. Yet of my woe I cannot so be quite. Margaret had not expected much pleasure to herself from Mr. I'm afraid I must own. in reply. I'd dig the ground and grow potatoes. since that another may be glad With that. where I can claim no right. that thus in sorrow makes me sad. it's all because I'm standing up for the progress of commerce.CHAPTER XL OUT OF TUNE 'I have no wrong. Hale Her residence in Milton has quite corrupted her. gave him much credit for being so fresh and young under his Fellow's cap and gown.' 'Hear this daughter of yours. 'Fresh and young in warmth and kindness. a member of the Peace Society. Bell would have had it keep still at exchanging wild-beast skins for acorns.' WYATT. He said she had no merit in being what she was. she at once fell into the most natural position of friendship in the world. while she. no. She's a democrat.

Many things might be good for them which would be very disagreeable for other people. in their hurry to get rich. missy. It's the bustle and the struggle they like. without his taking any trouble about it.' 'It might be good for the Miltoners. Don't exaggerate. Hale. No doubt there is many a man here who would be thankful if his property would increase as yours has done. I will show you a place to glory in. or shaping out the future by faithful work done in a prophetic spirit—Why! Pooh! I don't believe there's a man in Milton who knows how to sit still. But I'm tired of this bustle. Thornton is coming to drink tea with us to-night. and it is a great art.broad cloth. 'I should have thought you would have been proud of your town. I suspect.' 'Well!' said Mr. 'Mr.' said Mr. It would be a very good thing if they mixed a little more. and he is as proud of Milton 528 . As for sitting still. Everybody rushing over everybody.' 'It is not every one who can sit comfortably in a set of college rooms. and learning from the past.' 'Milton people. I don't see what there is to be proud of If you'll only come to Oxford.' 'Are you not a Milton man yourself?' asked Margaret.' 'I confess. 'I don't believe they would. Margaret. Hale. think Oxford men don't know how to move. and let his riches grow without any exertion of his own.

' said Mr. he dreamt she came dancing towards him with outspread arms. as completely as if some evil spirit had got possession of her form—was so deeply stamped upon his imagination. Bell. He could not tell. though he would all the time be aware of the colouring which it received by passing through her mind.as you of Oxford. that when he wakened he felt hardly able to separate the Una from the Duessa.' 'I don't want to be more liberal-minded. He felt pretty sure that. and the dislike he had to the latter seemed to envelope and disfigure the former Yet he was too proud to acknowledge his 529 . in spite of himself. and with a lightness and gaiety which made him loathe her. if this interview took place. Thornton had determined that he would make no inquiry of his mother as to how far she had put her project into execution of speaking to Margaret about the impropriety of her conduct. he. 'Is Mr. while he blamed her—while he was jealous of her— while he renounced her—he loved her sorely. You two must try and make each other a little more liberal-minded. He dreamt of her. thank you. He shrank from hearing Margaret's very name mentioned. He told us not to wait. 'Either to tea or soon after. Thornton coming to tea. But the impression of this figure of Margaret—with all Margaret's character taken out of it. even while it allured him. papa?' asked Margaret in a low voice.' Mr. his mother's account of what passed at it would only annoy and chagrin him.

and never set foot in the house again. They found Margaret with a letter open before her. Bell. Bell. Bell nodded. He would neither seek an opportunity of being in her company nor avoid it. while Mr. and talking wearily. Thornton looked at her. Margaret was red as a rose when Mr. Hale's. Thornton would not say a word about moving their quarters. He had the greatest mind in the world to get up and go out of the room that very instant. Bell returned the compliment in secret. At last. It makes Margaret very hopeful. Bell a most prosy companion. and when they might just as well have gone upstairs. Then there were business arrangements to be transacted in the study with Mr. But Mr. by considering Mr.weakness by avoiding the sight of her.' Mr. Thornton's eager senses caught some few words of Mr. 530 . Hale's to Mr. and the latter kept on. it was immediately put aside. sitting over the fire. Thornton about as brusque and curt a fellow as he had ever met with. he lingered over every piece of business this afternoon. and thought Mr. To convince himself of his power of selfcontrol. but Mr. On the entrance of the gentlemen. he chafed and chafed. and terribly gone off both in intelligence and manner. he forced every movement into unnatural slowness and deliberation. and it was consequently past eight o'clock before he reached Mr. some slight noise in the room above suggested the desirableness of moving there. 'A letter from Henry Lennox. long after all business was transacted. eagerly discussing its contents with her father.

'We were thinking. and disdained to inquire. I believe— suggested that it would do him good to associate a little with Milton manufacturers. 'Mr. Thornton had taken Margaret's advice.' said Mr. like the Kilkenny cat's tail. Margaret?' 'I believe I thought it would do both good to see a little more of the other.' 'By living.' 'I beg your pardon. Mr. we were accusing Mr. Now wasn't it so.' 'And so you see. Hale. you were so long in the study.—I did not know it was my idea any more than papa's. 'that you and Mr. All your lives seem to be spent in gathering together the materials for life. Thornton had not a notion what they were talking about. However. and were each trying to convert the other. Margaret thought it would do the Milton manufacturers good to associate a little more with Oxford men. Hale politely enlightened him. and we—Margaret. Thornton. I am willing to do my part now. we ought to have been improving each other down-stairs.' 531 . Mr. I wonder when you Milton men intend to live. I suppose you mean enjoyment. Bell this morning of a kind of Oxonian mediaeval bigotry against his native town. instead of talking over vanished families of Smiths and Harrisons. Pray whose opinion did you think would have the most obstinate vitality?' Mr. Thornton.' 'And you thought there would be nothing left of us but an opinion.

Hale. and I am not sure that I am prepared to do it. I should like to be the representative of Oxford. because I trust we should both consider mere pleasure as very poor enjoyment. Thornton gave her.'Yes. Thornton was silent. 'I really don't know. you were against me this morning. and she was annoyed at the construction which he 532 . you are each of you too individual for that.' 'Well! enjoyment of leisure—enjoyment of the power and influence which money gives. I shall have to lay myself open to such a catechist. Then he said. 'don't let us be personal in our catechism.' 'No!' said Mr. and were quite Miltonian and manufacturing in your preferences. You are neither of you representative men. with its beauty and its learning.' Margaret saw the quick glance of surprise that Mr. Margaret. What do you say.' 'I am not sure whether to consider that as a compliment or not. You are all striving for money. Now I remember.' 'I would rather have the nature of the enjoyment defined. Miss Margaret. enjoyment. and its proud old history. But money is not what _I_ strive for. But there is a difference between being the representative of a city and the representative man of its inhabitants. ought I to be flattered?' 'I don't know Oxford.—I don't specify of what.' 'Very true.' 'What then?' 'It is a home question. What do you want it for?' Mr.

Bell. 'I don't set up Milton as a model of a town. much of which entered in through their outward senses.might put on this speech of Mr. Hale. it is little mingled in this part of England to what it is in others. and to whom Mr. Bell was saying. from childhood upward—every day of our life. He was not in a mood for joking. At another time. he could have enjoyed Mr. I am leaving out our colleges. 'They impress us all. but now. Thornton.' said Mr.' said Mr. Bell went on— 'Ah! I wish I could show you our High Street—our Radcliffe Square. Thornton leave to omit his factories in speaking of the charms of Milton. Mr. to whom beauty was everything. any more than I would ape them. 'No! We've been too busy to attend to mere outward appearances.' 'Wait a little while. he was galled enough to attempt to defend what was never meant to be seriously attacked. Bell might speak of a life of leisure and serene enjoyment. I don't mean to despise them. Bell's. Thornton was annoyed more than he ought to have been at all that Mr. I have a right to abuse my birth-place. Bell's half testy condemnation of a town where the life was so at variance with every habit he had formed. 533 . Mr. Remember I am a Milton man. But I belong to Teutonic blood.' 'Don't say _mere_ outward appearances. just as I give Mr. gently.' 'Not in architecture?' slyly asked Mr. 'Remember. we are of a different race from the Greeks.

and over greater difficulties still. We hate to have laws made for us at a distance. but as a time for action and exertion. for shame!"' 534 . and oppose centralisation. it is because we want something which can apply to the present more directly. Out of the wisdom of the past. But to men groping in new circumstances. instead of continually meddling. you would like the Heptarchy back again. who so ready to cry. Our glory and our beauty arise out of our inward strength. You are regular worshippers of Thor. We wish people would allow us to right ourselves.' 'In short. We are Teutonic up here in Darkshire in another way. It is fine when the study of the past leads to a prophecy of the future. help us over the present. and yet when that duty is all done by others. which is full of difficulties that must be encountered. But no! People can speak of Utopia much more easily than of the next day's duty.' 'If we do not reverence the past as you do in Oxford. we do not look upon life as a time for enjoyment. Well. I revoke what I said this morning— that you Milton people did not reverence the past.we retain much of their language. and upon the mode in which they are met and conquered—not merely pushed aside for the time—depends our future. with their imperfect legislation. We stand up for selfgovernment. "Fie. it would be finer if the words of experience could direct us how to act in what concerns us most intimately and immediately. we retain more of their spirit. which makes us victorious over material resistance. at any rate.

'Edith says she finds the printed calicoes in Corfu better and cheaper than in London. has been respectable. I go so far in my idea of your truthfulness. papa.' Mr.' 'Does she?' said her father.' 535 . Would you Milton men condescend to send up your to-day's difficulty to Oxford? You have not tried us yet. Thornton laughed outright at this. And yet this last strike.' 'Then I am sure of the fact.' 'A respectable strike!' said Mr. Thornton was chagrined by the repeated turning into jest of what he was feeling as very serious. I was thinking of the strikes we have gone through. 'I believe I was talking with reference to a good deal that has been troubling us of late.'And all this time I don't see what you are talking about. as I am finding to my cost. She forced herself to say something. rather than saw.' Margaret felt. because personally. She tried to change the conversation from a subject about which one party cared little. to the other. interesting. that Mr. 'I think that must be one of Edith's exaggerations. that it shall cover your cousin's character. Are you sure of it. 'That sounds as if you were far gone in the worship of Thor. Bell. under which I am smarting. Bell. 'Margaret. it was deeply. I don't believe a cousin of yours could exaggerate. Margaret?' 'I am sure she says so.' said Mr. while. which are troublesome and injurious things enough.

had proved the renewing of its love. to make the evening pass pleasantly away. that made her eyes look like some child's who has met with an unexpected rebuff. Thornton. implying perfect trust in mother's love. after the first momentary glance of grieved surprise. What was he? And why should he stab her with her shame in this way? How evil he was to-night. possessed by ill-humour at being detained so long from her. But he could not help looking at her. and he saw a sigh tremble over her body. with a light heart. irritated by the mention of some name. and rating it. and then they fell. whose manner by this time might be well known to Mr. unable to discern between jest 536 .' had she been called away before her slow confiding smile. in the midst of 'her rocking it. they slowly dilated into mournful. by gay and careless speeches. who had been acquainted with him for many years. he was uneasy and cross. and did not speak again. now ill-tempered because he had been unable to cope. The moment he had done so. as if she quivered in some unwonted chill. reproachful sadness. Thornton. bitterly. as she had done in former days. when his abruptness or his temper had annoyed her. because he thought it belonged to a more successful lover. He gave short sharp answers. he could have bitten his tongue out. and she bent over her work. against one who was trying. And then to speak to Margaret as he had done! She did not get up and leave the room. She sat quite still.'Is Miss Hale so remarkable for truth?' said Mr.—the kind old friend to all parties. He felt as the mother would have done.

as steadily and swiftly as if that were the business of her life. through that furnace he would fight his way out into the serenity of middle age.and earnest. to read the late repentance in his.—all the richer and more human for having known this great passion. Well! He had known what love was—a sharp pang. the very sounds of that voice (like the soft winds of pure melody) had such power to move him from his balance. in the midst of whose flames he was struggling! but. It was well that the long walk in the open air wound up this evening for him. She could not care for him. and had an unusual weight for her languid arms. in order that by some strange overt act of rudeness. He could have struck her before he left. It sobered him back into grave resolution. The long seams were heavy. if but for an instant. straighter form. As the three prepared for 537 . a fierce experience. The round lines in her face took a lengthened. When he had somewhat abruptly left the room. Her round taper fingers flew in and out of her sewing. But she neither looked nor spoke. anxious only for a look.—since the very sight of that face arid form. he might earn the privilege of telling her the remorse that gnawed at his heart. a word of hers. that henceforth he would see as little of her as possible. he thought. before which to prostrate himself in penitent humility. Margaret rose from her seat. and her whole appearance was that of one who had gone through a day of great fatigue. or else the passionate fervour of his wish would have forced her to raise those eyes. and began silently to fold up her work.

'He may care for her. a jest of any kind. Bell gave her one of his sharp glances from above his spectacles. She stood it quite calmly. he suddenly asked. He can't bear a word.' said Mr.' 'Well! I'm a bachelor. Bell muttered forth a little condemnation of Mr.' Mr. you could not offend him. though she really has been almost rude to him at times. after she had left the room. I am almost certain you are mistaken. I am sure you are wrong. 'To-night he has not been like himself Something must have annoyed him before he came here.' 'He is not vain now. Mr. Thornton.bed. because he had no vanity. it is all on Mr.' said Margaret. Everything seems to touch on the soreness of his high dignity. Thornton's side. and have steered clear of love affairs all my life. 'I never saw a fellow so spoiled by success. Hale. Or else I should say there were very pretty symptoms about her!' 'Then I am sure you are wrong. If there is anything. Formerly. he was as simple and noble as the open day. Hale. Margaret would 538 . so perhaps my opinion is not worth having.— 'Hale! did it ever strike you that Thornton and your daughter have what the French call a tendresse for each other?' 'Never!' said Mr. and speaking with quiet distinctness. 'No. but. turning round from the table. first startled and then flurried by the new idea. But she!—why. Poor fellow! I hope and trust he is not thinking of her. for I am sure she would not have him.

Hale he said. Hale! I wish you'd leave Milton.' 'No.—only fit for Oxford. when we shall be two cross old invalids. though it was 539 . I shall bring my young man to stand side by side with your young woman.—a great deal too good for Milton.— 'That Margaret of yours has gone deep into my heart. for she is a very precious creature. I'll betake myself with an easy mind to my own. Bell took his leave the next day. But I merely threw out a suggestion of what might be.never think of him. in fact. just as the genie in the Arabian Nights brought Prince Caralmazan to match with the fairy's Princess Badoura. not the men. we'll have her to nurse us ten years hence. I can't match her yet. Mr. bidding Margaret look to him as one who had a right to help and protect her in all her troubles. I mean. Remember the misfortunes that ensued. having disturbed your night's rest (as I can see) with my untimely fancies. I can't spare Margaret. Hale resolved that he would not be disturbed by any such nonsensical idea.' But Mr.' 'I beg you'll do no such thing.' 'Entering her heart would do. The town. and besides. To Mr. so he lay awake. Seriously. When I can. of whatever nature they might be. I dare say I was wrong. And whether I was wrong or right. I'm sure! Such a thing has never entered her head. which is a most unsuitable place for you. Take care of her. so. on second thoughts. determining not to think about it. I'm very sleepy.

' 'I don't give up my plan yet. in Mary's absence at her work. and read us to sleep in the evenings. and take a college living. The two families were living in one house: the elder children were at humble schools. even the Higginses—so long a vivid interest—seemed to have receded from any need of immediate thought. and remember. where you may find a true friend. I could be very happy in such a life. and take the unwashed off my hands. and 'God bless you!' So they fell back into the monotony of the quiet life they would henceforth lead. Margaret. give me a farewell kiss. If you would. Where's the Pearl? Come. as far as his capability goes. left motherless orphans. and you and Margaret should come and live at the parsonage—you to be a sort of lay curate. and lost in the crowd. and she went pretty often to see Mary Higgins. Remember that. Here I stay out my life. Hale. 'My one great change has been made and my price of suffering paid. and she to be our housekeeper—the village Lady Bountiful—by day. There was no invalid to hope and fear about. What do you think of it?' 'Never!' said Mr. Only I won't bait you with it any more just now.my recommendation in the first instance. by the kind neighbour whose good sense had struck Margaret at the time of 540 . Margaret. who had charge of them. claimed what of Margaret's care she could bestow. the younger ones were tended. my dear. The Boucher children. You are my child. and here will I be buried. I'd swallow my shadows of doubts. decidedly.

but has a queer smack o' 541 .' said he. 'To tell the truth. though. T'other chap hasn't an ounce of measter's flesh about him. for all I take credit for improving him above a bit. not a measter. Thornton. And I reckon he's taken aback by me pretty much as I am by him. as he sees.Boucher's death. He did not speak easily of Mr. which is not agreeable to look at at first. for he sits and listens and stares. It would take a deal to daunt me in my own house. How them two chaps is bound up in one body. which were at variance with his former more eccentric jerks of action. and indeed. whom he had so fully and heartily taken under his care. Meanwhile he comes here pretty often. Hale. that's how I know the chap that's a man. 'he fairly bamboozles me. and regulated method of thinking. is a craddy for me to find out. He's two chaps. that Margaret did not often see him during these winter months. But I'm none daunted. Nicholas showed a sober judgment. as if I were some strange beast newly caught in some of the zones. Sometimes he says a rough thing or two. but when she did. in all his little plans and arrangements for these orphan children. I'll not be beat by it. 'Well! I'll not say th' advantage is all on his side. Of course she was paid for her trouble. And I tell him some of my mind that I reckon he'd ha' been the better of hearing when he were a younger man. she saw that he winced away from any reference to the father of those children. He was so steady at his work.' 'And does he not answer you?' asked Mr. One chap I knowed of old as were measter all o'er.

' She did not breathe freely till they were some distance from the house. Come. they saw Mr. Mr. and he used to sit pondering over the reason that could have occasioned this change. Thornton would arrive. just at the last moment. about them childer's schooling. He startled Margaret. somehow. she wished that she had not been in so great a hurry. 'The evenings are getting longer now. Thornton but very seldom now. Hale's heart. but Margaret. even for the dull cold purpose of lessons.truth in it when yo' come to chew it. one evening as she sate at her work. He'll be coming to-night. and wants for t' examine 'em. and he might have come to see Higgins. showed him her watch. Yes! he came very seldom. 'It is nearly seven. Hale was disappointed in his pupil's lukewarmness about Greek literature. as she became more calm. papa. for. by suddenly asking: 542 . Hale that evening. saying that he was so much engaged that he could not come to read with Mr. and for the old friendship's sake she should like to have seen him to-night. He's not satisfied wi' the make of it. no one was like his first scholar in Mr. And though other pupils had taken more than his place as to time. touching his arm. I reckon. Hale. And now it often happened that a hurried note from Mr. which had but a short time ago so great an interest for him.' 'What are they'—began Mr. Then.' she said. He was depressed and sad at this partial cessation of an intercourse which had become dear to him.

I believe—oh papa. Oh. papa.' But before her father could speak. papa.' 'And you refused him?' A long sigh. and laid her head on his knees. a more helpless. and then the whole thing is so painful to me. he guessed what her reply would be. fixing her eyes upon him. Thornton cared for you?' He almost blushed as he put this question. I am sure you would have told me if you had felt that you could return his regard. but by-and-by a little gentle reluctant 'Yes.'Margaret! had you ever any reason for thinking that Mr.' And she dropped her work. 543 . rosy with some beautiful shame. and I cannot tell you more. don't think that I am impertinently curious. Bell's scouted idea recurred to him. and hid her face in her hands. but by the bent drooping of her head. I am sorry to have lost you this friend. and another 'Yes. every word and action connected with it is so unspeakably bitter. I should have told you. 'No. I have told you this. but I could not help it—but oh! I am very sorry. dear. Margaret did not answer immediately. nerveless attitude. said: 'Now.' She sate down on the ground. but Mr. and the words were out of his mouth before he well knew what he was about. 'Yes. Did he speak to you about it?' No answer at first. and. that I cannot bear to think of it. Margaret lifted up her face.

my dear. But I am very sorry. that Mr. Oh. and smiling with forced brightness. about Frederick's 544 . to-morrow they will be back in Harley Street. she sprang up. I knew that could never be. am sorry. Thornton. As he touched her. how strange it will be! I wonder what room they will make into the nursery? Aunt Shaw will be happy with the baby. Bell! Oh. Hale was too tender-hearted to try to force it back into the old channel. But.'I too. Mr. by half an hour's conversation with Mr. Henry Lennox. on stroking her cheek in a caressing way soon after. did Mr. I hoped the whole thing was but an imagination.' They were very quiet and still for some minutes. Thornton in that way. 'To-morrow—yes. 'I think I must spare you for a fortnight just to run up to town and see the travellers. Bell quite startled me when he said. began to talk of the Lennoxes with such a vehement desire to turn the conversation. anxious to indulge her in this fresh subject of interest. but he took it into his head that you—how shall I say it?—that you were not ungraciously disposed towards Mr. some idea of the kind—' 'Mr. You could learn more. Bell see it?' 'A little. he was almost shocked to find her face wet with tears.' said her father. but I knew too well what your real feelings were to suppose that you could ever like Mr. Fancy Edith a mamma! And Captain Lennox—I wonder what he will do with himself now he has sold out!' 'I'll tell you what.

'that bubble was very pretty. always feeble.' 'No. than in a dozen of these letters of his. as in the old days when Mr. unknown to himself. in fact. At Helstone there had been perpetual occasions for an interchange of visits with neighbouring clergymen. and whose health. whose spirits. the want of a man's intercourse with men. So don't offend me by talking of being able to spare me. There were the regular hours of reading with his pupils. and very dear to our hearts.' Then after a pause. be uniting business with pleasure. I won't be spared.chances. so it would. and what's more. Margaret was conscious of the want under which he was suffering. No.' But the idea of a change took root and germinated in Margaret's heart. but it has burst like many another.' said she. now became too frequently depressed. Thornton came to study under him. She began to consider how desirable something of the kind would be to her father. though he never complained. or 545 . and we must console ourselves with being glad that Frederick is so happy. she added: 'I am losing hope sadly about Frederick. although not in the way in which her father proposed it at first. he is letting us down gently. had been seriously affected by his wife's illness and death. but I can see that Mr. you cannot spare me. for I assure you you can't. papa. and the poor labourers in the fields. or leisurely tramping home at eve. and with being a great deal to each other. papa. Lennox himself has no hope of hunting up the witnesses under years and years of time. but that all giving and no receiving could no longer be called companion-ship.

But in Milton every one was too busy for quiet speech. or any ripened intercourse of thought. very present and actual. or some beer-shop. they sunk into fallow rest until next morning. 546 . that Margaret was sure that it would not be well done until he could look upon it with some kind of zest. according to his degree of character. and when the tension of mind relating to their daily affairs was over. but he contemplated doing this so much as an effort of duty. he had gone away to some lecture. Mr. and with so little of the genial impulse of love towards his work and its end. what they said was about business. were always at liberty to speak or be spoken to. The workman was not to be found after the day's work was done. or some club.tending their cattle in the forest. Hale thought of trying to deliver a course of lectures at some of the institutions.

never avoiding and never seeking any mention of her name. Margaret could even discover that he spoke from time to time of her. Thornton had of course entirely ceased to come to the house. Mr. Hale set only the higher value on it. Hale spoke of him as always the same. Nay. In His good time!' BROWNING'S PARACELSUS. And from what Margaret could gather of what Mr. Thornton came occasionally. without bringing with them any of the brightness of hope which usually accompanies the rays of a February sun. Thornton had said. and always. So the winter was getting on. as far as she could learn. indeed. 547 . there was nothing in the cessation of his visits which could arise from any umbrage or vexation. In some time—his good time—I shall arrive. I ask not: but unless God send his hail Or blinding fire-balls.CHAPTER XLI THE JOURNEY'S END 'I see my way as birds their trackless way— I shall arrive! what time. in the same calm friendly way. or stifling snow. but his visits were addressed to her father. and required closer attention than he had given to them last winter. and the days were beginning to lengthen. what circuit first. Mrs. Mr. the very rarity of their intercourse seemed to make Mr. and were confined to the study. His business affairs had become complicated during the strike. He guides me and the bird. sleet.

hard. her life seemed still bleak and dreary. and worked hard at goodness. The only thing she did well. and he with little turns and inversions of words which proved how far the idioms of his bride's country were infecting him. March brought the news of Frederick's marriage. he wished he could unnative himself. for her heart seemed dead to the end of all her efforts. as was but natural. the silent comforting and consoling of her father. Frederick had written to Margaret a pretty vehement letter. was what she did out of unconscious piety. she in Spanish-English. yet she stood as far off as ever from any cheerfulness. I say most truly. and declared that he would not take his pardon if it were 548 . The dreary peacefulness of the present time had been preceded by so long a period of anxiety and care— even intermixed with storms—that her mind had lost its elasticity. He and Dolores wrote. She tried to find herself occupation in teaching the two younger Boucher children. Not a mood of his but what found a ready sympathiser in Margaret. in the absence of the missing witnesses. They were quiet wishes to be sure. not a wish of his that she did not strive to forecast.She was not in spirits to raise her father's tone of mind. and though she made them punctually and painfully. and hardly named without hesitation and apology. announcing how little hope there was of his ever clearing himself at a court-martial. All the more complete and beautiful was her meek spirit of obedience. containing his renunciation of England as his country. and to fulfil. On the receipt of Henry Lennox's letter.

that her feminine care peeped out at every erasure. girlish letters of Dolores were beginning to have a charm for both Margaret and her father. and Margaret found a use in herself for the patience she had been craving for him. and the letters announcing the marriage. All of which made Margaret cry sorely. timid. and into it he was received as a junior partner. and then sighed as she remembered afresh her old tirades against trade. In the next letter. and protested silently against the confusion implied between a Spanish merchant and a Milton mill-owner. Margaret smiled a little. She would have to be patient. Here was her preux chevalier of a brother turned merchant. The young Spaniard was so evidently anxious to make a favourable impression upon her lover's English relations. were accompanied by a splendid black lace mantilla. Barbour and Co. was one of the most extensive Spanish houses. so unnatural did it seem to her at the first opening. Frederick's worldly position was raised by this marriage on to as high a level as they could desire. Well! trade or no 549 . but on consideration. she saw rather in such expression the poignancy of the disappointment which had thus crushed his hopes. wisdom and virtue. trader! But then she rebelled against herself. whom Frederick had represented as a paragon of beauty.offered him. But the pretty. nor live in the country if he had permission to do so. chosen by Dolores herself for her unseen sister-in-law. and she felt that there was nothing for it but patience. Frederick spoke so joyfully of the future that he had no thought for the past.

Frederick was very. For months past. no one depending on her for cheering care. and the mantilla was exquisite! And then she returned to the present life. Dolores must be charming. almost stunning. Mr. and silent. no invalid to plan and think for. and mourn over them. but she still was so desirous of his shaking off the liability altogether. very happy. Her father had occasionally experienced a difficulty in breathing this spring. It was astonishing. and study their nature.—and what seemed worth more than all the other privileges—she might be unhappy if she liked. When her father had driven off on his way to the railroad. but now she had leisure to take them out. Margaret was less alarmed. and seek the true method of subduing them 550 . Bell's invitation included Margaret. Bell's invitation to visit him at Oxford this April. and so to rest her mind and heart in a manner which she had not been able to do for more than two years past. all her own personal cares and troubles had had to be stuffed away into a dark cupboard. Margaret felt how great and long had been the pressure on her time and her spirits. which had for the time distressed him exceedingly. as this difficulty went off completely in the intervals. but she felt as if it would be a greater relief to her to remain quietly at home. he wrote a special letter commanding her to come. as to make her very urgent that he should accept Mr. she might be idle. and forgetful.trade. entirely free from any responsibility whatever. to feel herself so much at liberty. if not for positive happiness. Nay more.

et 551 . She now would not even acknowledge the force of the temptation. et esperons en elle qu'elle nous assistera pour desormais estre plus fermes. et sembables choses. So she sat almost motionless for hours in the drawing-room. and faith in the power of truth so infinitely the greater wisdom! In her nervous agitation. though they were hidden out of sight.—a mockery which had never had life in it. All these weeks she had been conscious of their existence in a dull kind of way. once for all she would consider them.—the words that caught her eye in it. mais je voudrois le corriger par voye de compassion.into the elements of peace. impudent. her plans for Frederick had all failed. laquelle nous avions tant resolu d' eschapper. traistre et desloyal a ton Dieu. she unconsciously opened a book of her father's that lay upon the table. aveugle. Ah! relevons-nous. and appoint to each of them its right work in her life. seemed almost made for her present state of acute self-abasement:— 'Je ne voudrois pas reprendre mon coeur en ceste sorte: meurs de honte. nous voila tombez dans la fosse. reclamons la misericorde de Dieu. Or sus. mon pauvre coeur. at the stinging thought of the faithlessness which gave birth to that abasing falsehood. et quittons-la pour jamais. Now. the lie had been so despicably foolish. Only once she cried aloud. seen by the light of the ensuing events. going over the bitterness of every remembrance with an unwincing resolution. and the temptation lay there a dead mockery.

' 'The way of humility. She found it difficult to induce Martha to speak of any of her personal interests. and tried to find out what was below the grave. but at last she touched the right chord. 552 . respectful. Dieu nous aydera. 'that is what I have missed! But courage. on a little encouragement. had even been in a position to show him some kindness. which crusted over her individual character with an obedience that was almost mechanical. and her mother being dead. soyons meshuy sur nos gardes. in naming Mrs. she called in Martha. as she passed the drawing-room door in going up-stairs. To begin with. for it had happened when she was quite a little child. little heart.remettons-nous au chemin de l'humilite. to use Martha's own expression. she and her sister. Ah. Martha's whole face brightened. and. and circumstances had intervened to separate the two families until Martha was nearly grown up. Martha hardly knew.' thought Margaret. would have been 'lost' but for Mrs. what. and by God's help we may find the lost path. Thornton's husband—nay. servant-like manner. who sought them out. and cared for them. when. and determined at once to set to on some work which should take her out of herself. her father having sunk lower and lower from his original occupation as clerk in a warehouse. and thought for them. We will turn back.' So she rose up. Thornton. Courage. out came a long story. of how her father had been in early life connected with Mrs. Thornton.

' 'Miss Fanny going to be married!' exclaimed Margaret. 'Yes. and his milk are somewhere out beyond Hayleigh. The doctors said the fever was catching. and sent me to the sea and all. He too seemed. her habitual shortness of answer. She swept up the hearth. asked at what time she should prepare tea. for all he's got such gray hair. to have 553 . and. and Mr. they never rested till they had nursed me up in their own house. Somewhat to Margaret's surprise. His name is Watson. with it. Thornton would affect him: whether he would like it or dislike it. and took a long walk. and she went a-visiting these folk that she is going to marry into. it has all ended well. Thornton too. though she was afraid at the time. and Mrs. The next day she had the little Boucher children for their lessons. by his manners. and to a rich gentleman.' At this piece of information. the lengthening light had deceived her as to the lateness of the evening. So. it's a very good marriage. of trying to imagine how every event that she heard of in relation to Mr. she found Nicholas already come home from his work. and ended by a visit to Mary Higgins. Margaret was silent long enough for Martha to recover her propriety. which she had lately fallen into. only he's a deal older than she is. Margaret had to pull herself up from indulging a bad trick. Thornton. and was but delicate. and quitted the room with the same wooden face with which she had entered it. but they cared none for that—only Miss Fanny. too.'I had had the fever.

him at th' shop yonder. It were you as getten me the place. much to her surprise. and one on 'em in her grave. That's right. My measter. When Margaret had duly applauded. that's all. 'Little 'uns telled me so.' said he. and say yo'r pretty hymn to Miss Margaret. and less self-asserting.' 'Is that the reason you're so soon at home to-night?' asked Margaret innocently. 'I'm not one wi' two faces—one for my measter. as she found him thus 554 . and four away!' The little fellow repeated a Methodist hymn. Nicholas called for another. 'Thou know'st nought about it. three mak' ready. No! yon Thornton's good enough for to fight wi'. two to stay. is spinning about th' world somewhere. Stand down. and right arm out as straight as a shewer. I counted a' th' clocks in the town striking afore I'd leave my work. far above his comprehension in point of language. and t'other for his back. is he?' said he. as times go. he was quieter. I reckon. but too good for to be cheated.entered a little more on the way of humility. lad. I a'most think they beat my own wenches for sharpness. and yet another. but of which the swinging rhythm had caught his ear. Thornton's is not a bad mill. contemptuously. 'So th' oud gentleman's away on his travels. and which he repeated with all the developed cadence of a member of parliament. and I thank yo' for it. One to stop. Eh! but they're sharp 'uns. though mappen it's wrong to say so. they are. as sets folk a-wandering. steady on thy legs. There's summut in th' weather.

Lennox had never forgotten his relation to her in any interest he might feel in the subject of the correspondence. so she laid them carefully on one side. to ascertain exactly on how fine a chance the justification of her brother hung. They were clever letters.oddly and unconsciously led to take an interest in the sacred things which he had formerly scouted. They were to be preserved. and she carefully read them over again. It was past the usual tea-time when she reached home. however. She almost blamed herself for having felt her solitude (and consequently his absence) as a relief. After tea she resolved to examine a large packet of letters. with the sole intention. Margaret saw that in a twinkling. Henry Lennox's. Among them she came to four or five of Mr. But when she had finished the last. the little personal revelation of character contained in them forced itself on her notice. instead of anxiously watching another person to learn whether to be grave or gay. but these two days had set her up afresh. she fell into a reverie. and pick out those that were to be destroyed. and the thought of her absent father ran strangely in Margaret's head this night. as valuable. from the stiffness of the wording. and of thinking her own thoughts while she rested. but she missed out of them all hearty and genial atmosphere. and weighed the pros and cons. relating to Frederick's affairs. that Mr. when she began. with new strength 555 . but she had the comfort of feeling that no one had been kept waiting for her. It was evident enough. When this little piece of business was ended.

The morbid scales had fallen from her eyes. now appeared like pleasures. If only Mr. took him to their hearts. And Mr. She sighed as she rose up to go to bed.—there lay at her heart an anxiety and a pang of sorrow.—though she should never see him. though not brilliant in prospect.and brighter hope. In spite of the 'One step's enough for me. Hale thought of Margaret. He had had exaggerated ideas of the change which his altered opinions might make in his friends' reception of him. and she saw her position and her work more truly. For Mr. Hale had not been known to many. they forgot his opinions in himself. Thornton would restore her the lost friendship. that April evening. she felt as if the course of her future life. but although some of them might have felt shocked or grieved or indignant at his falling off in the abstract. or only remembered them enough to give an additional tender gravity to their manner. but those who in youth had cared to penetrate to the delicacy of thought and feeling that lay below his silence and indecision. and had always been shy and reserved. might lie clear and even before her.'—in spite of the one plain duty of devotion to her father. as soon as they saw the face of the man whom they had once loved.—nay. He had been fatigued by going about among his old friends and old familiar places. he had belonged to one of the smaller colleges. with 556 . just as strangely and as persistently as she was thinking of him. if he would only come from time to time to cheer her father as in former days. Plans which had lately appeared to her in the guise of tasks.

'These last few years!' said he. in one of Mr. and an interval of so much change. overpowered him more than any roughness or expression of disapproval could have done. 'I am tired. 'I'm afraid we've done too much. I'm fifty-five years of age.' said Mr. 'But it is not Milton air. even if I could have foreseen that cruellest martyrdom of suffering.' 'Nonsense! I'm upwards of sixty.' Mr.something of the protecting kindness which they would have shown to a woman. that if I could have foreseen all that would come of my change of opinion. and that little fact of itself accounts for any loss of strength.' said Mr. through the sufferings of one whom I loved. 'You're suffering now from having lived so long in that Milton air. you're quite a young man. As I think now. Don't let me hear you talking so. Hale. Bell's luxurious easy-chairs. Bell. Fifty-five! why. and feel no loss of strength. But after a minute's pause. And the renewal of this kindliness. Hale shook his head. and my resignation of my living—no! not even if I could have known how _she_ would have suffered. I would have done just the same as far as that step of openly 557 . he raised himself from his half recumbent position. and said with a kind of trembling earnestness: 'Bell! you're not to think.— that I would undo it—the act of open acknowledgment that I no longer held the same faith as the church in which I was a priest. either bodily or mental. after the lapse of years.

Mr. Margaret loves her with all her 558 . The veriest idiot who obeys his own simple law of right. But I don't think God endued me with overmuch wisdom or strength. What sort of people are the Lennoxes?' 'He. falling hack into his old position. Edith.' he added. and all that cant. a sweet little spoiled beauty. but she forgets to love the absent. and acted more wisely. Mr. I know I have not that much. if it be but in wiping his shoes on a door-mat. But what gulls men are!' There was a pause. I try to think they will.' 'A very common fault. and yet men set me down in their fool's books as a wise man. handsome. Her aunt Shaw loved her well in her own quiet way.leaving the church went. fluent. Bell blew his nose ostentatiously before answering. in continuation of his thought: 'About Margaret. an independent character. and agreeable. is wiser and stronger than I. What then?' 'If I die—-' 'Nonsense!' 'What will become of her—I often think? I suppose the Lennoxes will ask her to live with them. strong-minded. and I don't see that we need any higher or holier strength than that.' 'Well! about Margaret. in all that I subsequently did for my family. or wisdom either. Hale spoke first. I might have done differently. Then he said: 'He gave you strength to do what your conscience told you was right.

sixty and gouty though I be. will be her preux chevalier. and may be struggling. I told you that before. when I die. or you wouldn't be happy. you must have to worry yourself about. Yes. following the car of the conqueror. and Edith with as much of her heart as she can spare. shall be hers. You spare. whether she will or no. you know that girl of yours has got pretty nearly all my heart. old friend. Something. For. I know of old. and will be hers. But this visit that I paid to you at Milton made me her slave. Hale laid his head down on the pillow on which it never more 559 . Hale. But you're going to outlive me by many a long year. your daughter shall be my principal charge in life. florid fellows like me.' 'Now. and the angel with the grave and composed face standing very nigh. all I have is at her service. Bell had had a prophetic eye he might have seen the torch all but inverted. indeed. I myself. and yet has the victory secure in sight.' If Mr. a willing old victim. as my god-daughter. I went. beckoning to his friend. Seriously. and all the help that either my wit or my wisdom or my willing heart can give. that always go off first. thin men are always tempting and always cheating Death! It's the stout. she looks as grand and serene as one who has struggled. in spite of all her present anxieties.heart. And so. as your daughter. I don't choose her out as a subject for fretting. Moreover. that was the look on her face. if she needs it. That night Mr. I took great interest in her before I saw her the last time. Of course.

in twenty minutes from the moment of this decision. the railway reached. He threw himself back in his seat.' The bag was packed. at the feeling of which he opened his keen eyes. and saw the calm. 'A coroner's inquest? Pooh. The servant who entered his room in the morning. The action of the heart must have ceased as he lay down. He was not going to blubber before a set of strangers. pack up a carpet-bag for me in five minutes. Bell was hurried by the impatient guard. to understand how one in life yesterday could be dead to-day. with closed eyes. The London train whizzed by. and shortly tears stole out between his grizzled eye-lashes. I say. Pack it up. drew back some yards. Mr. I must go to Milton by the next train. Forbes says it is just the natural end of a heart complaint. and in Mr. the cab ordered. to try. Poor old friend! how he talked of his—-Wallis. Not he! 560 . Bell was stunned by the shock. there had been no pain— no struggle. You don't think I poisoned him! Dr. received no answer to his speech. The attitude was exquisitely easy. Here have I been talking. beautiful face lying white and cold under the ineffaceable seal of death. and only recovered when the time came for being angry at every suggestion of his man's. and looked as severely cheerful as his set determination could make him. Poor old Hale! You wore out that tender heart of yours before its time. drew near the bed.should stir with life.

and behind the great sheet of the outspread 'Times. Hale is dead for all that. Thornton! is that you?' said he. Hale dead!' 'Ay. only one sitting far from him on the same side. 'I'm going to Milton. Thornton said: 'And she!' and stopped full short. Thornton vehemently by the hand. By and bye Mr. and was quite cold this morning when my servant went to call him. And how immeasurably 561 . I keep saying it to myself. He shook Mr. He went to bed well. for the hand was wanted to wipe away tears. Yes! I am going to tell her.' Not one word was spoken for above a quarter of an hour.There was no set of strangers. 'Why. Bell peered at him. Thornton. last night. Going to break to Hale's daughter the news of his sudden death!' 'Death! Mr. "Hale is dead!" but it doesn't make it any the more real. to all appearance. He had last seen Mr. He came to stay with me. until the gripe ended in a sudden relaxation. bound on a melancholy errand. Then Mr. 'Margaret you mean. hadn't been in Oxford this seventeen years—and this is the end of it.' he recognised Mr. removing hastily to a closer proximity. to discover what manner of man it was that might have been observing his emotion. Poor fellow! how full his thoughts were of her all last night! Good God! Last night only.' 'Where? I don't understand!' 'At Oxford. Thornton in his friend Hale's company.

if. you must understand) a young barrister. and he was only kept back by her want of fortune. 'Oh. (the captain's a fool. Well. Thornton with trembling interest. who will be setting his cap at Margaret. Mrs. 562 . And then there's that brother!' 'What brother? A brother of her aunt's?' 'No. And there's her aunt. But there are those Lennoxes!' 'Who are they?' asked Mr. a clever Lennox. I know he has had her in his mind this five years or more: one of his chums told me as much. Good enough people. Thornton made one or two fruitless attempts to speak. too earnestly curious to be aware of the impertinence of his question. by my offering to marry that worthy lady! but that would be quite a pis aller. I could make my old age happy with having Margaret for a daughter. Now that will be done away with. Captain Lennox married her cousin—the girl she was brought up with.' 'How?' asked Mr.' Mr. and setting up an establishment of my own. by hiring such a chaperon. no. There might be a way open. I dare say. before he could get out the words: 'What will become of her!' 'I rather fancy there will be two people waiting for her: myself for one. Thornton. smart London people. I would take a live dragon into my house to live. who very likely will think they've the best right to her. I take her for both. Shaw. perhaps. I said last night I would take her for her own sake.distant he is now! But I take Margaret as my child for his sake.

Poor old Hale! Poor old Hale! If you could have known the change which it was to him from Helstone. and smoke. Do you know the New Forest at all?' 'Yes. Bell.' He took up his newspaper with a determined air.' 'Ugh! Cotton. and unwashed and neglected hands. so the oddity of any of the speeches which the former made was unnoticed by them. like some in the Odenwald? You know Helstone?' 'I have seen it. wellcleansed and well-cared-for machinery. without finding comfort or rest while Mr.' Neither Mr. 'Then you can fancy the difference between it and Milton. Bell 563 . Bell nor Mr. and she likes him—well! I might find another way of getting a home through a marriage. 'To Havre. and Mr. and speculations. changed his seat. I'm dreadfully afraid of being tempted.' (Very shortly). Trying to detect the secret of the great rise in the price of cotton.'Why. at length. she'll have my money at my death. Thornton was in a laughing humour. Mr. Thornton sat immoveably still. And if this Henry Lennox is half good enough for her. at an unguarded moment. 'Where have you been?' asked Mr. It was a great change to leave it and come to Milton. as if resolved to avoid further conversation. his eyes fixed on one spot in the newspaper. without emitting any sound beyond a long hissing breath. Bell whistled. which he had taken up in order to give himself leisure to think. What part were you in? Were you ever at Helstone? a little picturesque village. by the aunt.

'Oh! don't tell me! I know it from your face! You would have sent—you would not have left him—if he were alive! Oh papa. as if arrested in her first impulse to rush downstairs. and as if by the same restraining thought she had been turned to stone. she guessed the truth with an instinctive flash. so white and immoveable was she. She stood in the middle of the drawing-room. she saw him alight.was fain to resort to his former occupation of trying to find out how he could best break the news to Margaret. She was at an up-stairs window. papa!' 564 .

and then replying in whispers. faileth suddenly. Bell was perplexed. even for the dinner which Dixon had prepared for him down-stairs. She lay on the sofa. He would not leave her. he dared not ask her to accompany him back to Oxford. considering what he had better do. would fain have tempted him to eat. Margaret fell into a state of prostration. In general. He dared not leave her. 565 . And silence. and. but now the devilled chicken tasted like sawdust. Margaret lay motionless. or even find the relief of words. and almost breathless by him. Aches round you like a strong disease and new— What hope? what help? what music will undo That silence to your sense?' MRS. never speaking but when spoken to. Mr. He had a plateful of something brought up to him. her physical exhaustion was evidently too complete for her to undertake any such fatigue—putting the sight that she would have to encounter out of the question.CHAPTER XLII ALONE! ALONE! 'When some beloved voice that was to you Both sound and sweetness. Mr. and knew well each shade of flavour in his food. he was particular and dainty enough. Bell sate over the fire. The shock had been great. which did not show itself in sobs and tears. with sobbing hospitality. against which you dare not cry. which had been one of the plans he had formed on the journey to Milton. with her eyes shut. BROWNING.

Lennox was too near her confinement to be able to undertake any journey at present. but when Dixon. Lennox come to her? I'll write and tell her she must. 'I can't leave her. Bell. The girl must have some woman-friend about her.' Dixon was crying—enough for two. after wiping her eyes and steadying her voice. 'She could be content to be at Venice or Naples. Lennox at such an interesting time. to share with her in her ruling care of Margaret. she's come back to England. she's come back. to see that the preparations are made: they can be getting on with these till I arrive. Shaw." which took 566 . if only to talk her into a good fit of crying.' said Dixon. food would only choke. or some of those Popish places. but. Bell restricted himself to coughing over the end of his sentence. tried to feed her. following his directions. Can't Mrs.He minced up some of the fowl for Margaret. I must write to them at Oxford. 'Interesting time be—' Mr. at the last "interesting time. sir. lifted up his stout old limbs (stiff with travelling) from their easy position. and followed Dixon out of the room. who did not much approve of a stranger entering the household. 'Well! I suppose we must have Mrs. not nourish her. she managed to tell Mr. that Mrs. Bell gave a great sigh. Mr. isn't she?' 'Yes. the languid shake of head proved that in such a state as Margaret was in. but I don't think she will like to leave Mrs. and peppered and salted it well.

to be so like one of the dear general's when he was going to have a fit of the gout. I'll take care she comes. and allow herself to be packed by her maid. Bell wrote a letter. came out to the top of the stairs. by requesting or urging her. homeless. and tears. friendless Margaret—lying as still on that sofa as if it were an altar-tomb. shawls. Mr. Sholto will go to Oxford on Wednesday. 'If you don't 567 . he can go on from Oxford to Milton. If he had given her the option. I tell you. and you must send word by Mr. Without lifting his head. you are to bring back Margaret. he said. cutting open the pages of a new Review. Margaret must come and live with us. as if a refusal were possible. Don't forget. Mrs. Shaw declared. in comparison with that poor creature there.place in Corfu. with many tears. after the latter had completed the boxes. mamma. It needed the sharp uncourteous command to make her conquer her vis inertiae. See that a room. is got ready for her by tomorrow night. Bell to him when we're to expect you.' Accordingly Mr. Edith. she might not have come—true and sincere as was her sympathy with Margaret. or whatever she wants. as Captain Lennox was taking her mother down to the carriage: 'Don't forget. And what does that little prosperous woman's "interesting time" signify. and she the stone statue on it. which Mrs.' Edith re-entered the drawing-room. mamma. Henry Lennox was there. all cap. that she should always value and preserve it. And if you want Sholto.—that helpless. I think. Shaw shall come.

Dear. perhaps not—I forget. with an appearance of being interested in a passage in the Review. occasionally dreading the first meeting. if I had known what it was! I must have come and fetched her and Margaret away. thank you. years ago. I was so full of Sholto. But doesn't it fall out well. and more help may not be needed. 'I dare say old Mr.' said Edith. and make it look new and bright. it should be just now.' In the same spirit of kindness. when we are come home.' And to herself she acknowledged. and give what assistance I can. that she had always 568 .like Sholto to be so long absent from you.' 'Oh.' 'Were we?' asked he indifferently. that if my uncle was to die. 'Well. and quite ready to receive Margaret? Poor thing! what a change it will be to her from Milton! I'll have new chintz for her bedroom. Mrs. darling Margaret! won't it be nice to have her here. Only one does not look for much savoir-faire from a resident Fellow. I hope you will let me go down to Milton. again? You were both great allies. Bell will do everything he can. Shaw journeyed to Milton. and settled in the old house. Edith.' and back into the pleasant comforts of Harley Street. 'Oh dear!' she said to her maid. 'look at those chimneys! My poor sister Hale! I don't think I could have rested at Naples. but more frequently planning how soon she could get Margaret away from 'that horrid place. and cheer her up a little. and wondering how it would be got over.

by eating them all himself But Margaret was the first to hear the stopping of the cab that brought her aunt from the railway station. and gesture. or dislike to the idea. tone. Margaret was standing. of tenderness for years. motionless. and which reminded Margaret so forcibly at this moment of her mother. that seem to belong to one family. where he ordered a fire.thought her brother-in-law rather a weak man.—came in to melt and soften her numbed heart into the overflow of warm tears. and who appreciated Dixon's endeavours to gratify it. Bell stole out of the room. of relationship to the dead. white. They had told her that her aunt Shaw was coming. and he was obliged to console himself for her rejection. she went forward to the arms open to receive her. when she saw for what a place he had exchanged the lovely Helstone home. but she had not expressed either surprise or pleasure. Shaw. and went down into the study. Bell went down to meet Mrs. Her eyelids quivered. her lips coloured and trembled. and when they came up. Margaret had remained in the same state. whose appetite had returned. trying to steady her dizzy self. tearless. Mr. Bell. Mr. and tried to divert his thoughts by taking down and examining the 569 . but never so weak as now. in vain urged upon her to taste some sweetbreads stewed with oysters. speechless.—all that inexplicable likeness in look. Mr. All thoughts of quiet habitual love. and first found the passionate relief of tears on her aunt's shoulder. she shook her head with the same quiet obstinacy as on the previous day. and when she saw her aunt.

of the 'station' (so she was pleased to term it) from which her young lady had been ousted. of the Beresford blood. and Dixon had to retreat into the kitchen. when he was high sheriff. for the edification of the listening Martha). and calling out: 'Thornton! is that you? Come in for a minute or two. though she always stood rather in awe of Mr. for with the appearance of Mrs. Shaw's maid. Thornton went into the study. and to which she was now. 570 . came visions of former grandeur. Thornton. please God. I want to speak to you. Dixon was rather cavalierly dismissing him. It was rather uncomfortable to be contradicted in her statement by Mr. Each volume brought a remembrance or a suggestion of his dead friend. but it was no change of thought. These visions. she was as curt as she durst be in telling him that he could see none of the inmates of the house that night. made Dixon rather inclined to be supercilious in her treatment of any inhabitant of Milton.different books. Shaw's maid (skilfully eliciting meanwhile all the circumstances of state and consequence connected with the Harley Street establishment. Thornton's voice. to be restored. so. making enquiry at the door. which she had been dwelling on with complacency in her conversation with Mrs.' So Mr. and reinstate herself in her own esteem by a prodigious story of Sir John Beresford's coach and six. He was glad to catch the sound of Mr. Bell's opening the study-door. It might be a change of employment from his two days' work of watching Margaret.

' 'Then I'll only run up-stairs and wish that wan girl good-night.' Mr. and very justly.'I don't know what I wanted to say to you after all. Shaw is anxious to get home—on account of her daughter. Yet Margaret and her aunt must have the drawing-room to themselves!' 'Is Mrs. and make my bow to her aunt.' 'Well aired?' 'I think you may trust my mother for that. Bell was some time up-stairs. for he was full of business. and was she forgetful of old friends? And 571 . 'Come? Yes! maid and all. and then her aunt worried her about old claims. that she has friends she must see—that she must wish good-bye to several people. Mrs. and had hardly been able to spare the time for running up to Crampton.' 'You must not go to the Clarendon. Thornton. and go off with you straight. Only it's dull enough to sit in a room where everything speaks to you of a dead friend. Thornton began to think it long.—is her aunt come?' asked Mr. Mr. One would have thought she might have come by herself at such a time! And now I shall have to turn out and find my way to the Clarendon. and enquiring how Miss Hale was. Now she is no more fit for travelling than I am for flying. Mr. she says—and wants Margaret to go off with her at once. Besides. When they had set out upon their walk. Bell said: 'I was kept by those women in the drawing-room. she says. We have five or six empty bed-rooms at home.

which was worth all the rest of life's sweetness—would be remembered. dear as she was to Mr. Now I must return to Oxford to-morrow. could have poisoned the remembrance of the weeks. as it brought him nearer and nearer to her. the hours. or pleasant pungency in her character. compared to the poverty that crept round and clipped the anticipation of the future down to 572 . as it were—as a time of suffering. Thornton. down to its very bitterness. with all its stings and contumelies. when he could have seen her every day—when he had her within his grasp. but he received no answer from his companion. It had been a royal time of luxury to him. with a great burst of crying. took him to her sweet presence—every step of which was rich.' Alas! and that was the way in which this eighteen months in Milton—to him so unspeakably precious. external to his relation to her. the days. when a walk of two miles.' He paused. the echo of whose thoughts kept repeating— 'Where she had suffered so much. Neither loss of father. Yes! whatever had happened to him. as if asking a question. she should be glad enough to go from a place where she had suffered so much. and I don't know on which side of the scale to throw in my voice. he could never have spoken of that time.she said. as each recurring moment that bore him away from her made him recall some fresh grace in her demeanour. nor loss of mother. every step of which was pleasant.

Neither taste nor dress were in her line of subjects. it was to compare her and them with the pale sorrow he had left behind him. that arose out of Fanny's desire to choose and superintend everything herself. Mrs. which certainly rivalled. Thornton and Fanny were in the dining-room. and she heartily wished that Fanny had accepted her brother's offer of having the wedding clothes provided by some first-rate London dressmaker. When her brother and Mr. Bell came in. with bent head and folded hands. Her mother really tried to sympathise with her. and life without an atmosphere of either hope or fear. sitting motionless. Bell. yet hovering round their beloved. who could be captivated by Fanny's second-rate airs and graces. and unsettled wavering. Fanny blushed and simpered.sordid fact. Bell had 573 . but could not. the latter in a flutter of small exultation. and fluttered over the signs of her employment. to try the effect of the wedding-dresses by candlelight. If he thought about her and her silks and satins at all. For. if it did not exceed. Thornton was only too glad to mark his grateful approbation of any sensible man. when Mr. by giving her ample means for providing herself with the finery. Mr. as the maid held up one glossy material after another. in a way which could not have failed to draw attention from any one else but Mr. the lover in her estimation. without the endless troublesome discussions. in a room where the stillness was so great that you might almost fancy the rush in your straining ears was occasioned by the spirits of the dead.

' 'I am sure it is very well for her that she has such a friend as you. hospitable welcome. but here have I been displaced. The aunt brought her up. Mrs. I daresay it sounds very brutal. She was never so gracious as when receiving her Son's friends in her son's house.' 'She must indeed be weak. and turned out of my post of comforter and adviser by a fine lady aunt.first gone up-stairs. Thornton. the more honour to her admirable housekeeping preparations for comfort. She left the room to make her household arrangements. 'They have been living abroad. I will do them that justice. Bell her formal. madam.' 'I wish I were her only friend. 'have these relations been all this time that Miss Hale has appeared almost friendless. Thornton gave Mr.' said Mrs. as if she were a lap-dog belonging to them. and no sound broke the silence. 'But where. They have some kind of claim upon her. and she and the cousin have been like 574 . and the more unexpected they were. Shaw lay asleep on the sofa. 'How is Miss Hale?' she asked. Mrs.' continued Mrs. and has certainly had a good deal of anxiety to bear?' But she did not feel interest enough in the answer to her question to wait for it. Thornton. and there are cousins and what not claiming her in London. And she is too weak and miserable to have a will of her own. with an implied meaning which her son understood well. 'About as broken down by this last stroke as she can be.

He spoke to me.' 'But about Frederick. Have you not heard—' 'I never heard his name before. Poor fellow! he will grieve at not being able to attend his father's funeral. after all. and I am jealous of these people. Bell in surprise. about you at Oxford. Thornton. 'Frederick. 'Why don't you know? He's her brother.' 'Frederick!' exclaimed Mr. Where is he? Who is he?' 'Surely I told you about him. Thornton. who don't seem to value the privilege of their right. Does he never come to England?' 575 . only the other day. when the family first came to Milton—the son who was concerned in that mutiny.sisters. 'Who is he? What right—?' Me stopped short in his vehement question. Hale liked you. thankfully. I am obliged to you for wishing to show him respect. We must be content with Captain Lennox. You're a good fellow. is that I wanted to take her for a child of my own.' 'I hope I may be allowed to go?' 'Certainly. The thing vexing me. Where does he live?' 'In Spain. you see. He's liable to be arrested the moment he sets foot on English ground.' 'I never heard of him till this moment. He regretted he had seen so little of you lately. for I don't know of any other relation to summon.' said Mr. Now it would be different if Frederick claimed her.

' 'Oh. But poor Frederick Hale was not here then. 'that I once fancied you had a little tenderness for Margaret?' No answer. if you remember.'Never. 'and I think it was about that time. the better to bring the forces of the other to bear with keen scrutiny on Mr. the Captain's brother. and they were in pretty constant correspondence with him. and not till I had put it into his head. Though I believe—in fact I know. No change of countenance. I did hope you had had nobleness enough in you to make you pay her the homage of the heart. 'Is that all! You can speak of her in that measured way.' 'He was not over here about the time of Mrs. that would be this young Lennox. Do you know. Bell's pertinacious questioning.' said Mr. I was here then. He's a lawyer.' said Mr. Every one must do so. wheeling round.' replied Mr. and shutting one eye. I hadn't seen Hale for years and years and. it was some time after that that I came.' 'I admired Miss Hale. I came—No. Bell. Thornton. she would have rejected you. What made you think he was?' 'I saw a young man walking with Miss Hale one day. She is a beautiful creature. still to have loved her without return 576 . and I remember Mr. Thornton's face. as simply a "beautiful creature"—only something to catch the eye. driven to bay by Mr. Why. 'And so did poor Hale. Thornton. Hale's death?' 'No. Not at first. Hale told me he thought he would come down.

to every word that Mr. to outdo him in laudation. none. Bell and him. So he turned to some of the dry matters of business that lay between Mr.would have lifted you higher than all those. you should remember that all men are not as free to express what they feel as you are. He was no mocking-bird of praise. yet he would not be forced into any expression of what he felt towards Margaret. a bachelor. and though he knew that what he had said would henceforward bind the thought of the old Oxford Fellow closely up with the most precious things of his heart. and I put one or two children in whom he is interested to 577 . I'm very much obliged to you. 'What is that heap of brick and mortar we came against in the yard? Any repairs wanted?' 'No.' 'I've got acquainted with a strange kind of chap. Thornton's eyes glowed like red embers.' For though his heart leaped up. if this room wasn't good enough to satisfy you. "Beautiful creature" indeed! Do you speak of her as you would of a horse or a dog?' Mr.' 'I'm building a dining-room—for the men I mean— the hands. to try because another extolled what he reverenced and passionately loved. Bell had said. as at a trumpet-call. Bell.' 'I thought you were hard to please. that have never known her to love.' said he. be they who they may. 'before you speak so.' 'Are you building on your own account? If you are. 'Mr. thank you. as landlord and tenant. Let us talk of something else.

as I happened to be passing near his house one day. and much comfort gained." I confess. and. I just went there about some trifling payment to be made. suddenly. just because I myself did not receive all the honour and consequence due to the originator. to whom he had spoken. as first set me athinking. So I spoke to my friend—or my enemy—the man I told you of—and he found fault with every detail of my plan. when. both as impracticable.' 'I hope you give satisfaction in your new capacity. the approval of several of his fellow-workmen. and in consequence I laid it aside. and cooking a good quantity of provisions together. I was a little "riled. and I saw such a miserable black frizzle of a dinner—a greasy cinder of meat. and thought of throwing the whole thing overboard to sink or swim. Thornton assists you in your marketing. and also because if I forced it into operation I should be interfering with the independence of my men. by his manner. So.' 578 . which is something like that of steward to a club. that I might fairly have claimed it. and provide a fitting matron or cook. Are you a good judge of potatoes and onions? But I suppose Mrs. I buy in the provisions wholesale. this Higgins came to me and graciously signified his approval of a scheme so nearly the same as mine. But it seemed childish to relinquish a plan which I had once thought wise and well-laid. moreover. So I coolly took the part assigned to me. much money might be saved.school. by buying things wholesale. But it was not till provisions grew so high this winter that I bethought me how.

the beef was too large. I would no more have intruded on them than I'd have gone to the mess at the barracks without invitation. I can assure you. win yo' come?" If they had not asked me. but I saw that the men would be hurt if. in virtue of your office? I hope you have a white wand. and now we never mention it to each other. I told them (my next neighbours I mean. there's hot-pot for dinner to-day. two or three of the men—my friend Higgins among them—asked me if I would not come in and take a snack. I didn't meet them half-way.' replied Mr. the hot dinners the matron turns out are by no means to be despised. and for some time.' 'I was very scrupulous. so. at first. getting in great stocks from Liverpool. in confining myself to the mere purchasing part.' 'Do you taste each dish as it goes in. It was a very busy day. and not to intrude my own ideas upon them. and even in that I rather obeyed the men's orders conveyed through the housekeeper.' 579 . one day. than went by my own judgment. I was sure to be met by these men. with a "Master. at another the mutton was not fat enough. Thornton. But I manage pretty well.'Not a bit. At one time. 'She disapproves of the whole plan. I think they saw how careful I was to leave them free. and being served in butcher's meat by our own family butcher. for I'm no speech-maker) how much I'd enjoyed it. so I went in. and I never made a better dinner in my life. after making the advance. whenever that especial dinner recurred in their dietary.

I hate theories. They pay me rent for the oven and cooking-places at the back of the mill: and will have to pay more for the new dining-room. the philosopher and idiot. But if any of the old disputes came up again. The philosopher dies sententiously—the pharisee ostentatiously—the simplehearted humbly—the poor idiot blindly.'I should think you were rather a restraint on your hosts' conversation. all eat after the same fashion—given an equally good digestion. To show my penitence. Dying is nothing to it. I don't want donations. But you are hardly acquainted with our Darkshire fellows. They can't abuse the masters while you're there. I would certainly speak out my mind next hot-pot day.' 'Nothing like the act of eating for equalising men. but I'd rather not. for all you're a Darkshire man yourself They have such a sense of humour. and give the poor fellows a feast?' 'Thank you. will you accept a ten pound note towards your marketing. Once let in the principle. There's theory for theory for you!' 'Indeed I have no theory. as the sparrow falls to the ground. publican and pharisee. and such a racy mode of expression! I am getting really to know some of them now. and I should have 580 . I suspect they take it out on non-hot-pot days. and they talk pretty freely before me.' 'Well! hitherto we've steered clear of all vexed questions.' 'I beg your pardon. I don't want it to fall into a charity.

' 'People will talk about any new plan.people going. and I expect you will pay my experiment the respect of silence.' 'My enemies. but you are a friend. may make a philanthropic fuss about this dinner-scheme. and sweeps clean enough. But by-and-by we shall meet with plenty of stumbling-blocks.' 581 . if I have any. It is but a new broom at present. and spoiling the simplicity of the whole thing. no doubt. You can't help that. and talking.

Mrs. She was sure Margaret would never regain her lost strength while she stayed in Milton. weary.CHAPTER XLIII MARGARET'S FLITTIN' 'The meanest thing to which we bid adieu. Shaw took as vehement a dislike as it was possible for one of her gentle nature to do. had his clothes made to fit him. high or low. when Mr.' ELLIOTT. This. as soon as Wednesday was over she would prepare to accompany her aunt back to town. leaving Dixon in charge of all the arrangements for paying bills. and brokenspirited. and that quickly. disposing of furniture. and the rich ladies over-dressed. weak. and shutting up the house. and the poor people whom she saw in the streets were dirty. Margaret must return with her. and she herself was afraid of one of her old attacks of the nerves. for she thought that if she had not given way to that overwhelming stupor during the first sad days. and far away from the wife who lay lonely among strangers (and this last was Margaret's great trouble. she could have arranged things 582 . if not the exact force of her words. Before that Wednesday—that mournful Wednesday. against Milton. yielded a reluctant promise that. far away from either of the homes he had known in life. till the latter. and smoky. It was noisy. Hale was to be interred. Loses its meanness in the parting hour. and not a man that she saw. was at any rate the spirit of what she urged on Margaret.

Thornton are here. so select what things you wish reserved. I will put matters into the hands of my Milton attorney if there is no will. Captain Lennox and Mr. his moustachios are splendid. 'MY DEAR MARGARET:—I did mean to have returned to Milton on Thursday. and has proposed to go over to Milton. but unluckily it turns out to be one of the rare occasions when we. that you are to have my money and goods when I die. as 583 . Bell. are called upon to perform any kind of duty. if you followed my directions. You know. well-meaning man. and can hold her. or your own. Now two things more. and. Margaret received a letter from Mr. There will have to be a sale. for I doubt this smart captain is no great man of business.otherwise)—before that Wednesday. The former seems a smart. However. and I must not be absent from my post. in his wife's present state. of course there is none. So it is best to start with a formal agreement. till I come. Nevertheless. Not that I mean to die yet. namely. perhaps not. and perhaps may continue to be. Or you can send a list afterwards. I don't see how you can expect him to remain away longer than Friday. and assist you in any search for the will. your poor father did. or you would have found it by this time. These Lennoxes seem very fond of you now. Plymouth Fellows. that Dixon of yours is trusty. and I have done. Then the Captain declares he must take you and his mother-inlaw home. or if you don't. but I name this lust to explain what is coming. that you are to pay them two hundred and fifty pounds a year.

' In 584 . having a hidden consciousness of your superiority in such things. "who is there to mourn for Adam Bell?" and his whole heart is set and bent upon this one thing. he would fain do you the poor good of endowing you materially. and confectionery (all young ladies eat confectionery till wisdom comes by age). Margaret. to tell me your answer. he stood beside him on his wedding-day. and personal expenses. and Margaret Hale is not the girl to say him nay. if. and Dixon. Then as to dress. he closed his eyes in death. And the old man has not a known relation on earth.long as you and they find it pleasant to live together. have you flown out before you have read this far.' Margaret took up a pen and scrawled with trembling hand. and as he cannot do you much good spiritually. indeed. he is your godfather. Now. 'Margaret Hale is not the girl to say him nay. Yet the old man has a right. He has loved your father for five and thirty years. I shall consult some lady of my acquaintance. of course. if some day the captain wishes to have his house to himself. and wondered what right the old man has to settle your affairs for you so cavalierly? I make no doubt you have. and see how much you will have from your father before fixing this. includes Dixon. Moreover. Write by return. But _no thanks_.) Then you won't be thrown adrift. mind you don't be cajoled into paying any more for her. (This. if only two lines. I have not claimed you to come and keep house for me first. but you can carry yourself and your two hundred and fifty pounds off somewhere else.

Shaw's directions fires were lighted in every bedroom. she could not have sate up to write a syllable of it.her weak state she could not think of any other words. I have been very happy here. and by Mrs. The house teemed with comfort now.' and Margaret closed her eyes by way of stopping the conversation. But she was so much fatigued even by this slight exertion.' 'It is sometimes very pretty—in summer. 'I shall be better when tomorrow is over. The evenings were chilly. She petted Margaret in every possible way. 'My dearest child! Has that letter vexed or troubled you?' 'No!' said Margaret feebly. and yet she was vexed to use these. you can't judge by what it is now. or soft luxury in which she herself would have burrowed and sought comfort. compared to what it had done. I dare say it was all for the best.' 'Where could I go to? I could not leave papa and mamma. and bought every delicacy. But Margaret was indifferent to all these things.' 'Well! don't distress yourself. Our butler's wife lives in a better house than this. my dear. She was obliged to lie down again. darling. you won't be better till I get you out of this horrid air. or. if they 585 . only I had no conception of how you were living. that if she could have thought of another form of acceptance. How you can have borne it this two years I can't imagine. and try not to think.' 'I feel sure.

that 'she doubted whether Miss Hale heard a word of what she said. 'These books. and wrote: 'DEAR SIR. I will keep. Shaw's desire. 'Yours sincerely.' And she sate down hastily. She was restless.' She set out again upon her travels through the house. as they might be. and languidly setting aside such articles as she wished to retain.forced themselves upon her attention. and Dixon's report to Mrs. who was putting herself so much out of her way to think of her. turning over articles. it was simply as causes for gratitude to her aunt. worn and shabby.—The accompanying book I am sure will be valued by you for the sake of my father.' The 586 . Shaw was. though she talked the whole time. with a sort of caressing reluctance to leave them—old-fashioned. All the rest will you send to Mr. Thornton. Dixon followed her by Mrs. she kept herself from thinking of the ceremony which was going on at Oxford. though so weak. I will write a note with it. Dixon. Bell? They are of a kind that he will value for themselves. All the day long. But she hardly spoke again. This—-I should like you to take this to Mr. as well as for papa's sake. known to her from her childhood. as if afraid of thinking. by wandering from room to room. 'MARGARET HALE. but with a private injunction to soothe her into repose as soon as might be. ostensibly to receive instructions. after I am gone. to whom it belonged. Stay. in order to divert her attention.

my dear. besides. before you have been at church. At breakfast time the next day. that she had often made by herself at all hours of the day. and walk up the court. I will go with you. we shall go to-morrow. and a better night's rest than she had had since she had heard of Mr. you can have no friends here with whom you are sufficiently intimate to justify you in calling upon them so soon. Hale's death. Mrs. yes. if you must pay these calls. Edith expects us. she expressed her wish to go and bid one or two friends good-bye. Dixon can get us a coach. and at every breath 587 . if Captain Lennox comes this afternoon. She was half afraid of owning that one place to which she was going was Nicholas Higgins'. Margaret's face was too sad to lighten up into a smile at all this preparation for paying two visits. Shaw went to take care of Margaret. No. I am more and more convinced that this air is bad for you.' 'But to-day is my only day. at your age. Shaw objected: 'I am sure. and took her maid with her to. and if we must—if I must really go tomorrow—-' 'Oh. my dear. and she may be waiting me. and you cannot be left alone. take care of the shawls and aircushions. and makes you look so pale and ill. I suppose?' So Mrs. all she could do was to hope her aunt would be indisposed to get out of the coach.consequence of being on her feet all day was excessive bodily weariness in the evening.

of wind have her face slapped by wet clothes. Shaw's mind between ease and a sense of matronly propriety. Margaret was vexed with herself for not having timed her visit better. As she was leaving the place. and bid her tell her father how much she wished. at some possible time. her aunt permitted her to go where she had often been before without taking any precaution or requiring any permission. and the instant she understood what Margaret's purpose was in coming to see them. and not to catch any fever. but the former gained the day. that he should come to see her when he had done his work in the evening. only Mary and one or two of the Boucher children at home. she began to cry and sob with so little restraint that Margaret found it useless to say any of the thousand little things which had suggested themselves to her as she was coming along in the coach. if he could manage it.' 588 . and with many an injunction to Margaret to be careful of herself. Nicholas was out. hanging out to dry on ropes stretched from house to house. she stopped and looked round. There was a little battle in Mrs. in some possible place. then hesitated a little before she said: 'I should like to have some little thing to remind me of Bessy. although her feelings were warm and kind. such as was always lurking in such places. Mary had a very blunt intellect. She could only try to comfort her a little by suggesting the vague chance of their meeting again.

while the light caused by the pleasure of having something to give yet lingered on Mary's face. there was even a shade of tenderness in her manner. in which a fire had only just been kindled. 'What an icy room!' she said.Instantly Mary's generosity was keenly alive. Mary said: 'Oh. and she went quickly away. They (for Mrs. There was some softening in her heart towards Margaret. They had to wait for some time before Mrs. Shaw alighted here) were shown into the drawing-room. 'It must be done. and why she should go to bid her farewell. 'Now to Mrs. now that she was going away out of her sight. as shown at various times and places even more than the patience with which she had endured long and wearing cares.' But she looked rather rigid and pale at the thought of it. Thornton's. and had hard work to find the exact words in which to explain to her aunt who Mrs. She remembered her spirit. thank you. as she noticed the white. Shaw huddled herself up in her shawl. Mrs. What could they give? And on Margaret's singling out a little common drinking-cup.' said Margaret. and shivered. as she greeted her. take summut better. Her countenance was blander than usual.' thought she to herself. which she remembered as the one always standing by Bessy's side with drink for her feverish lips. Thornton entered. Thornton was. that only cost fourpence!' 'That will do. tear-swollen face. 589 .

You never liked Milton. Thornton. Mrs. and her eyes so pleading. Mrs.and the quiver in the voice which Margaret tried to make so steady. I am glad you do me justice. 'but for all that. I have always desired to act the part of a friend to you. with a sort of grim smile. Shaw. you know. 'Allow me to introduce my aunt. I am going away from Milton to-morrow. 'will you do me justice. Bell that you were going to leave Milton. Miss Hale? I understood from Mr. I do not know if you are aware of it. and to say that I am sure you meant kindly—however much we may have misunderstood each other. blushing excessively as she spoke. to—to apologise for my manner the last time I saw you. Thornton replied: 'Miss Hale.' said Margaret. 'Yes. I do believe you. but I wanted to see you once again.' 'And. Shaw looked extremely perplexed by what Margaret had said. and believe that though I cannot—I do not choose—to give explanations of my conduct. I am glad you do me justice. Thornton was for once affected by the charm of manner to which she had hitherto proved herself invulnerable. Let us say no more about it.' Mrs. Where are you going to reside. that Mrs. I did no more than I believed to be my duty in remonstrating with you as I did. Thornton. I have not acted in the unbecoming way you apprehended?' Margaret's voice was so soft. Thanks for kindness! and apologies for failure in good manners! But Mrs. you must not 590 .' said Mrs.

Miss Hale's aunt. and Mrs. Lennox. my son and daughter.' said Mrs. His mourning suit spoke of the reason that had called him there.' said Margaret.' At this instant Mr. Thornton. Shaw. turning towards Mrs. Shaw. If you and your husband ever come to town.' 'You are going then!' said he. that Miss Hale's call is to wish us good-bye. I am sorry to say. I never go to London. towards whom the fine-lady aunt was extending her soft patronage.' Mrs. 591 . Thornton entered the room. She is almost like a daughter to me. in a low voice.' replied Margaret.expect me to congratulate you on quitting it. he had only just returned from Oxford. 'Yes. 'this lady is Mrs. join with me in wishing to do anything in our power to show you attention. looking fondly at Margaret. so she answered shortly. Shaw. Shaw. Where shall you live?' 'With my aunt.' 'My son-in-law comes this evening to escort us. I am sure. 'My niece will reside with me in Harley Street.' said his mother. Thornton thought in her own mind.' said Mrs. 'and I am glad to acknowledge my own obligation for any kindness that has been shown to her. 'My husband is dead. so I am not likely to be able to avail myself of your polite offers. Thornton is my son. Captain and Mrs. Mr. 'John. 'We leave to-morrow. will. that Margaret had not taken much care to enlighten her aunt as to the relationship between the Mr.

Into his it came associated with the speeches of the following day. however. and I lost it all. Let her go. And at the remembrance of her taunting words. 'No!' said he. his brow grew stern.— how set and terrible her look is now. or emotion of any kind in the voice with which he said good-bye. almost as if he had discovered an unopened letter. 'I put it to the touch once. and her beauty. she will find it hard to meet with a truer heart than mine. As it drove up. He was busily engaged. He did not even seem to be aware when they got up to take leave. He had not sat down. Beauty and heiress as she may be. Thornton turned away. and dropped as carelessly as if it had been a dead and withered flower. Thornton again that day. Let her go!' And there was no tone of regret. and the offered hand was taken with a resolute calmness. and it was impossible but that the recollection of the day of the riot should force itself into both their minds. He started forwards. though his heart beat thick with longing love. her passionate declaration that there was not a man in all that violent and desperate crowd. 592 . or so he said. which had made him forget the present company. Let her go. to hand Mrs.Mr. and now he seemed to be examining something on the table. he and Margaret stood close together on the door-step. But none in his household saw Mr. Shaw down to the carriage. for whom she did not care as much as for him.—with her stony heart. for all her loveliness of feature! She is afraid I shall speak what will require some stern repression.

" said I.' from her aunt.Margaret's strength was so utterly exhausted by these visits.' So the arrangements went on. I want to forget. and she and Mrs. aren't yo'?' 593 . and Margaret found that the indifferent. that she had to submit to much watching. but them women in th' kitchen wouldn't tell yo' I were there. "Mr. and said: 'Oh! let us go. 'Eh!' said he. the latter writhed her body as if in acute suffering. but yo' dunnot look like th' same wench. and Captain Lennox came. and tell yo' how grieved I were. I shall not get well here. 'to think of th' oud gentleman dropping off as he did! Yo' might ha' knocked me down wi' a straw when they telled me. I cannot be patient here. "him as was th' parson?" "Ay. however kind. "Then. Dixon said she was quite as bad as she had been on the first day she heard of her father's death. let who will be t' other!" And I came to see yo'. She roused up. and petting. Shaw consulted as to the desirableness of delaying the morrow's journey. did her good. she was able to leave the room quietly. They said yo' were ill. and by the time that she knew she might expect Higgins. as she came in. and with him news of Edith and the little boy. was not too warm and anxious a sympathiser. And yo're going to be a grand lady up i' Lunnon. and sighing 'I-told-you-so's. Hale?" said I. careless conversation of one who. But when her aunt reluctantly proposed a few days' delay to Margaret. and await in her own chamber the expected summons." said they.—and butter me. "there's as good a man gone as ever lived on this earth.

my fine chap. And you'll not forget me. and hoo'l not go doubting that I'm main sorry for th' oud gentleman's death. I'm sure. half smiling. "if I dunnot see her afore hoo goes. and papa too." "Measter. "there's a pack o' women who won't let me at her. "Yo'll not have much time for to try and see her. I'll strive to get up to Lunnun next Whissuntide. I have kept it for you. You know how good and how tender he was. I'll not be baulked of saying her good-bye by any relations whatsomdever. wench? I'm not going for to take yo'r brass. and we sha'n't see her no more. She and I knows each other pretty well. She's not for staying with us a day longer nor she can help.' said Margaret. and they're carrying her off. have yo' seen Miss Hale?" "No. "Higgins. I'm certain you will. that I will. so dunnot think it. just because I can't get at her and tell her so. It were only for to humour the measter. and th' oud gentleman's." says I. a day or two ago. for his sake. I knowed yo'd come. if she's ill.'Not a grand lady. Higgins! here is his bible." But. I'd do it. If no one else in Milton remembers me. and yo' axed me to read in it for yo'r sake.' 'Yo' may say that. I can ill spare it. But I can bide my time.' said Margaret. I let on as if I thought yo'd mappen leave Milton without seeing me. Look. I'm sure you'll care for it. If it were the deuce's own scribble." And says he. but I know he would have liked you to have it. bless yo'. 'Well! Thornton said—says he. 'You only do me justice. Whatten's this. and study what is In it." said I.' 'You're quite right. She's got grand relations. We've 594 .

' 595 .' said Margaret. Bless yo'! and bless yo'!—and amen. You've no right to refuse it for them. smiling. hurriedly.' she said.' 'Well.been great friends. 'don't think there's any of it for you. I would not give you a penny. wench! I can nobbut say. 'bout the sound o' money passing between us.' 'For the children—for Boucher's children. 'They may need it.

CHAPTER XLIV EASE NOT PEACE 'A dull rotation. Edith was impatient to get well.' RUCKERT. where the bare knowledge of the existence of every trouble or care seemed scarcely to have penetrated. Mrs. Yesterday's face twin image of to-day. during Edith's recovery from her confinement. with her anxious father and her invalid mother. and went along with delicious smoothness. and all the small household cares of comparative poverty. composed her idea of home. and 596 . his joy can ne'er be full. She found herself at once an inmate of a luxurious house.' COWPER. on her return to what they persisted in calling her home. never at a stay. he sees the form and rule. Shaw and Edith could hardly make enough of Margaret. even the poor little house at Milton. It was very well for Margaret that the extreme quiet of the Harley Street house. in order to fill Margaret's bed-room with all the soft comforts. It gave her time to comprehend the sudden change which had taken place in her circumstances within the last two months. gave her the natural rest which she needed. The wheels of the machinery of daily life were well oiled. And till he reach to that. 'Of what each one should be. And she felt that it was almost ungrateful in her to have a secret feeling that the Helstone vicarage—nay.

Just before Margaret had recovered from her necessity for quiet and repose—before she had begun to feel her life wanting and dull—Edith came down-stairs and resumed her usual part in the household. but she never saw them. Captain Lennox was easy. and Margaret was often left alone. reminded her of engagements. with which her own abounded. when he was not engaged out to dinner. Shaw and her maid found plenty of occupation in restoring Margaret's wardrobe to a state of elegant variety. tended her when no gaiety was in prospect. the very servants lived in an underground world of their own. and Margaret fell into the old habit of watching. But all the rest of the family were in the full business of the London season. and here. and lounged away the rest of his time at his club. played with his little boy for another hour. answered notes. Mrs. of which she knew neither the hopes nor the 597 . She gladly took all charge of the semblances of duties off Edith's hands. sate with his wife in her dressing-room an hour or two every day.pretty nick-knacks. with a strange sense of the contrast between the life there. and admiring. and ministering to her cousin. and she was consequently rather inclined to fancy herself ill. She was getting surfeited of the eventless ease in which no struggle or endeavour was required. She was afraid lest she should even become sleepily deadened into forgetfulness of anything beyond the life which was lapping her round with luxury. and gentlemanly. There might be toilers and moilers there in London. Then her thoughts went back to Milton. kind.

Lennox's taste.' and Mrs.—she on a footstool by the sofa where Edith lay. But we shall be having our dinnerparties soon—as soon as Henry comes back from circuit—and then there will be a little pleasant variety for you. with a view to her beauty making a sufficient impression on the world. wearied with dancing the night before. and she could hardly keep herself from expressing her feelings. the latter. There was a strange unsatisfied vacuum in Margaret's heart and mode of life.' as she said. But Edith piqued herself on her dinnerparties. poor darling!' Margaret did not feel as if the dinner-parties would be a panacea. excepting when he was anxiously attentive to Edith's dress and appearance. languidly stroked Margaret's cheek as she sat by her in the old attitude. 'It is a little sad for you to be left.fears. they only seemed to start into existence when some want or whim of their master and mistress needed them. 'from the old dowager dinners under mamma's regime. No wonder it is moped. night after night. Shaw herself seemed to take exactly the same kind of pleasure in the very different arrangements and circle of acquaintances which were to Captain and Mrs. Captain Lennox was always extremely kind and brotherly to Margaret. She was really very fond of him. Then all the latent Vashti in Margaret was roused. and. once when she had dimly hinted this to Edith. just at this time when all the world is so gay. 'so different. as she did in the more formal and ponderous entertainments which she herself used to give. 598 . 'Poor child!' said Edith.

besides the care of the children during the servants' dinner. every now and then. although they none of them concerned her. Thornton's as to what she had better do about the furniture. and some dinner or morning engagement for her aunt and cousins. an opinion of Mr. an unpunctual meal. it is true. though unspoken interest to the homely object of Dixon's return from Milton. a quiet hour or two before a late breakfast. at which. where. or any Milton name. It was true. the old servant had been busily engaged in winding up all the affairs of the Hale family. she was expected to give her sympathy. but rather wearied with the inactivity of the day. this entire cessation of any news respecting the people amongst whom she had lived so long. because.The course of Margaret's day was this. came a discussion of plans. that Dixon. she was expected to be present. It had appeared a sudden famine to her heart. in all its dragged-out length. lazily eaten by weary and half-awake people. with many caressing compliments as to her eloquence du billet. an endless number of notes to write. or how act in regard to the landlord of the Crampton Terrace house. quoted. which left Margaret free. coming upon depressed spirits and delicate health. a little play with Sholto as he returned from his morning's walk. a drive or callers. But it was only here and there that the name came in. She looked forward with longing. if she could not assist with her advice. directly afterwards. which Edith invariably left to her. indeed. in her business-letters. until now. and Margaret was sitting one 599 . but yet at which.

But never mind. there is no one who cares less for eating than I do. not reading Dixon's letters. Only they don't cook as well as they did. and picturing the busy life out of which her own had been taken and never missed. I dined at my club. I hope. to tell you the truth. you know. and Margaret hurried the letters into her work-basket. Bell! I never thought of seeing you!' 'But you give me a welcome. so I thought. 'Oh. If their skill and their fires will stand it.) when. Bell was announced. Mr. Mr.evening. never mind! There aren't ten cooks in England to be trusted at impromptu dinners. I might try and make out my dinner. she was not thinking of him. and recalling the days which had been.' 'If you're going to have any. blushing as if she had been doing some guilty thing. as well as that very pretty start of surprise.' 'Have you dined? How did you come? Let me order you some dinner. But where are the others? Gone out to dinner? Left you alone?' 'Oh yes! and it is such a rest. I was just thinking—But will you run the risk of dinner? I don't know if there is anything in the house. if you were going to dine. which yet she held in her hand. questioning within herself. Otherwise. suddenly. but thinking over them. their tempers 600 . all alone in the Lennoxes's drawing-room. if no one in all the crowd missed her. and started up.' 'Why. (not Higgins. wondering if all went on in that whirl just as if she and her father had never been.

you might. Margaret.' replied Mr. in the first instance. and a fair indication of his character. growing very red. But I thought. 'Yes. 'Whew! is that all? Who do you think came up in the train with me?' 'I don't know. Is he a great deal here?' 601 . Margaret?' 'No! certainly not. perhaps. Do you call him good looking.' said Margaret.won't. And now.' said Margaret. glancing down for a moment. 'Your what d'ye call him? What's the right name for a cousin-in-law's brother?' 'Mr. 'You knew him formerly. didn't you? What sort of a person is he. and he may be changed. Margaret?' 'I liked him long ago. that you hid away so speedily?' 'Only Dixon's. that he never let out what he was. Bell. What did you think of him?' 'I don't know. And then she looked straight up and went on in her natural manner. You shall make me some tea. 'You know we have been corresponding about Frederick since. but I have not seen him for nearly three years. Whose letters were those. and what I was in the second. resolved against making a guess. god-daughter. what were you thinking of? you were going to tell me. He was so busy trying to find out who I was. Henry Lennox?' asked Margaret. unless indeed that veiled curiosity of his as to what manner of man he had to talk to was not a good piece.' replied Margaret. Do you?' 'Not I.

Mr. I can tell you. either as principal or accessory. Luckily. with half the trouble your Milton landlord has given me. But—Mr. Bell—have you come from Oxford or from Milton?' 'From Milton. and carried away by her daughter's enthusiasm for orange-blossoms and lace. I was surprised to find the old lady falling into the current. I thought Mrs. Thornton found a tenant for it. Thornton had been made of sterner stuff. Taken more than half the trouble off my hands. Why don't you ask after Mr. Don't you see I'm smoke-dried?' 'Certainly. He's getting past the age for caring for such things. But I thought that it might be the effect of the antiquities of Oxford. 'I suppose they're well.' 'Come now. though she tried to speak out. He won't take the house off our hands till next June twelvemonth. I've been staying at their house till I was driven out of it by the perpetual clack about that Thornton girl's marriage. Margaret? He has proved himself a very active friend of yours.'I fancy he is when he is in town. I could have managed all the landlords in the place. He has been on circuit now since I came. and had my own way. It was too much for Thornton himself. and defeated me after all.' 'And how is he? How is Mrs. be a sensible woman! In Oxford. though she was his sister. Thornton?' asked Margaret hurriedly and below her breath. He used to go and sit in his own room perpetually.' 602 . Thornton.

Bell. Lennox. with a view of getting over an awkward meeting. She began to talk on the subject which came uppermost in her mind. and had evidently expected to find his brother and sister-in-law at home. which gave her an excuse for keeping silence. Margaret. She was the first to recover her selfpossession. 'Mr. and the person to whom he must naturally and perforce address a great part of his conversation. awkward even in the presence of Captain Lennox and Edith. have you? She doesn't seem over fond of you. and him an opportunity of recovering himself. 'Oh. on this their first meeting since the memorable day of his offer. and her refusal at Helstone. he had rather forced himself up to Harley Street this evening. as if 603 . I have been so much obliged to you for all you have done about Frederick. Margaret suspected him of being as thankful as she was at the presence of a third party.' 'I am only sorry it has been so unsuccessful. who had walked up to Harley Street after a late dinner.'She would put on any assumption of feeling to veil her daughter's weakness. to tell the truth.' said Margaret in a low voice. as if relieved.' 'I know it.' replied he. She could hardly tell what to say at first.' said Margaret. For. with a quick glance towards Mr. and doubly awkward now that he found her the only lady there. You've studied her. and was thankful for all the tea-table occupations. And with tea came Mr. after the first flush of awkward shyness. here is tea at last!' exclaimed she. 'Perhaps so. Henry Lennox.

I am not living in a talking. it was a great secret. 'Never mind.' said Margaret. a little dismayed. for no one will ask me. 'I thought you knew. with a little professional dryness of implied reproach. I shall never name his having been in England. Bell in surprise. both including him in the conversation. and implying that he was perfectly aware of the endeavours that had been made to clear Frederick.reconnoitring how much he might say before him. 'I have never named it to either my brother or your cousin. Lennox has discovered that he sailed for Australia only last August. I shall be out of temptation. has proved as unavailing as all the others.' said Mr. and perhaps I should not have named it now. Stay!' (interrupting himself rather abruptly) 'was it at your mother's funeral?' 'He was with mamma when she died. you needn't look so frightened because you have let the cat out of the bag to a faithful old hermit like me. Margaret. as if she read his thought. softly. I never doubted you had been told. addressed herself to Mr.' said Margaret. Of course. and gave us the names of—-' 'Frederick in England! you never told me that!' exclaimed Mr. nor yet among people who are trying to worm facts out of me. babbling world. Bell. Mr. Lennox. Margaret. only two months before Frederick was in England. 604 . 'That Horrocks—that very last witness of all.

Mr. Thornton who had made the enquiry. Lennox said.' 'I have an engagement at half-past eleven. and although Margaret would have given much to know if her suspicions were right. though I am sure you would be welcome. we will go over the names of these missing gentry. which made Margaret shrink into herself. much as she longed to do so. with a little afterthought of extreme willingness. But I will certainly come if you wish it. Bell. There was a pause for a moment or two. Bell got up and looked around him for his hat. if I may. 605 . she could not ask the question of Mr. Lennox. But let me know all I can about Frederick. So. and almost wish that she had not proposed her natural request. if he will do me the honour to breakfast with me to-morrow. Bell is now acquainted with all the circumstances attending your brother's unfortunate dilemma. which had been removed to make room for tea. and I denied it stoutly—not many weeks ago—who could it have been? Oh! I recollect!' But he did not say the name. and it had been Mr.' 'I should like to hear all the particulars. addressing himself to Margaret. Then Mr.'To be sure! To be sure! Why. even though there may be no hope at present. 'I suppose as Mr. Cannot you come here? I dare not ask you both to breakfast. I cannot do better than inform him exactly how the research into the evidence we once hoped to produce in his favour stands at present.' replied Mr. some one asked me if he had not been over then.

'I want you to see Edith. who. but she has the honesty to change her word when she comes to me— Mrs. 'I don't know what Mr. she 606 . and I want Edith to know you.' said he. and journeys begin to tell upon my sixty and odd years. and threw the ball back. to give her time to recover from the slight flutter which he had detected in her manner on his proposal to leave. 'Don't go yet. laying a light but determined hand on his arm.' 'I believe I shall stay and see my brother and sister. Lennox wondered how his brother. I suppose I am not much to "see. and saw the confusion stirring in her countenance.' said she. the Captain. Lennox. in her quiet black dress. Margaret?' He joked.'Well!' said he. Mr. as if her little touch had been possessed of resistless strength. Bell. please. 'You see how she overpowers me. making no movement of departure. The scene on the little terrace in the Helstone garden was so present to her. hastily. Margaret was seized with a shy awkward dread of being left alone with him. Lennox is inclined to do. 'And I hope you noticed the happy choice of her expressions. is a great beauty. he sate down again.' said Mr." eh. I am told. that she could hardly help believing it was so with him. I've been a journey to-day. could have reported her as having lost all her good looks. Mr. Mr. she wants me to "see" this cousin Edith. Please!' said she. but I'm disposed to be moving off homewards. and she caught the tone. He looked at her. Lennox. Lennox is to "know" me. To be sure.

' said her brother-in-law. Bell! for Margaret's Mr. 'Even a dinnerparty! and the delight of wearing this very becoming dress. winning him over to like them almost in spite of himself. even in the shape of an old Fellow of a College. 'You. She dimpled and blushed most becomingly when introduced to Mr. Bell. 'What a shame that we were not at home to receive you. and that it would not do to have a Mordecai refusing to worship and admire. and long floating golden hair. especially when he saw how naturally Margaret took her place as sister and daughter of the house. to meet Mr. But it did not suit Mr. first by asking me to breakfast. And for Mr. Shaw and Captain Lennox. Lennox to drive her to the first of these alternatives. Bell. dancing in her white crape mourning.' said Edith. all softness and glitter. which nobody had ever heard of. and secondly. Henry! though I don't know that we should have stayed at home for you. Mrs. by being so kind as to order it at half-past nine. instead of ten o'clock? I have some letters and papers that I want to show to Miss Hale and Mr. Bell—-' 'There is no knowing what sacrifices you would not have made. gave Mr.' 607 . too. Bell. conscious that she had her reputation as a beauty to keep up. so he went on. Bell a kind and sincere welcome. each in their separate way.' Edith did not know whether to frown or to smile.was a contrast to Edith. 'Will you show your readiness to make sacrifices tomorrow morning.

bowing all round. Bell will make our house his own during his stay in London. if put into plain language. 'You have known Miss Hale for a long time. I believe. as to his admiration of Margaret. for I should decline it.'I hope Mr. Here he suddenly remembered Margaret's little look of entreaty as she urged him to stay longer.' His self-satisfaction lasted him till he was fairly out in the streets. You would only think me a churl if you had. she looked as well as ever I saw her do. But certainly. which.' 608 . in spite of all the temptations of such agreeable company. How do you think her looking? She strikes me as pale and ill. would have been more to this effect: 'I couldn't stand the restraints of such a proper-behaved and civil-spoken set of people as these are: it would be like meat without salt. And how well I rounded my sentence! I am absolutely catching the trick of good manners. Lennox's. 'I am only so sorry we cannot offer him a bed-room.' said Mr. Bell. I am much obliged to you.' 'Thank you. It gave a new direction to his thoughts. walking side by side with Henry Lennox. and secretly congratulating himself on the neat turn he had given to his sentence. Perhaps not when I first came in—now I think of it. I believe. when she grew animated.' said Captain Lennox. I'm thankful they haven't a bed. and he also recollected a few hints given him long ago by an acquaintance of Mr.' 'I thought her looking remarkably well.

and throw up certain opportunities of doing good for very uncertain fancies of their own. and a thoroughly active clergyman—that there was no call upon Mr. Hale to do what he did. He showed more resolute strength than I should ever have given him credit for formerly. Bell. by whose minds they might regulate their own. 'Yes! I have been sorry to hear of all she has had to bear. Bell. sensible man. and so had no occasion to resign. He behaved in the most conscientious manner. but if he had come to entertain certain doubts.' 'Perhaps I have been wrongly informed. he could have remained where he was. I mean. and discover when they were going either too fast or too slow—that they are very apt to disturb themselves with imaginary doubts as to the articles of faith. by his successor in the living—a clever. 'You must have heard some wrong statement. the bishop had offered him another living. in an accent of surprise. But I have been told.' 609 . but all the annoyance which her father's conduct must have caused her. not merely the common and universal sorrow arising from death. these country clergymen live such isolated lives— isolated. But the truth is.' said Mr.'She has had a great deal to go through. and then—-' 'Her father's conduct!' said Mr. it is true. from all intercourse with men of equal cultivation with themselves. relinquish the living. and throw himself and his family on the tender mercies of private teaching in a manufacturing town.

with a mixture of pity in one's admiration. he was very indifferent as to the exact side he took upon the question. and quietly came round by saying: 'To be sure. and as he had talked pretty much for the sake of saying something.'I differ from you. Lennox with perfect coolness. there is something fine in a man of Mr. or a morbid state of conscience. in order to lull certain qualms of his own conscience. I imagine. Bell was inwardly chafing.' Only half mollified. in saying "very apt. and giving up all settled habits. 'You don't meet with any self-sufficiency among the lawyers." But certainly. for an idea which was probably erroneous—but that does not matter—an untangible thought.' replied Mr. for instance?' asked Mr. 'And seldom. any cases of morbid conscience. Mr. something like what one feels for Don Quixote. their lives are such as very often to produce either inordinate self-sufficiency. Bell. Such a gentleman as he was too! I shall never forget the refined and simple hospitality he showed to me that last day at Helstone. and forgetting his lately-caught trick of good manners. to believe that 610 . and so passing the time while their road lay together. One cannot help admiring him.' He was becoming more and more vexed.' Mr. and yet anxious. Hale's age leaving his home of twenty years. 'Perhaps I used too general an expression. Lennox saw now that he had annoyed his companion. I do not think they are very apt to do as my poor friend Hale did.

Bell growled out—'Aye! And you don't know Milton. Do we part here? Well. Such a change from Helstone! It is years since I have been at Helstone—but I'll answer for it. while Milton! I go there every four or five years—and I was born there—yet I do assure you. Hale's conduct had a tinge of Quixotism in it. I suppose we shall meet in Harley Street to-morrow morning. I often lose my way—aye.Mr. among the very piles of warehouses that are built upon my father's orchard. Mr. sir. good night.' 611 . it is standing there yet—every stick and every stone as it has done for the last century.

But the trees were gorgeous in their autumnal leafiness—the warm odours of flower and herb came sweet upon the sense—the young wife moved about her house with just that mixture of annoyance at her position. The idea of Helstone had been suggested to Mr. Lennox. it was again a long vacation. as regarded wealth. and he was staying with his newly married friend. not by its actual existence. with pride in her handsome and devoted husband. Bell's waking mind by his conversation with Mr. Over babbling brooks they took impossible leaps. which seemed to keep them whole days suspended in the air. and happy Vicar of Helstone. The dream was so like life that. 612 . And they who listened are no more. Every event was measured by the emotions of the mind. LANDOR. and all night long it ran riot through his dreams.' W. which Mr. Ah! let me close my eyes and dream. for existence it had none. the proud husband. Bell had noticed in real life a quarter of a century ago. He was again the tutor in the college where he now held the rank of Fellow. his present life seemed like a dream. when he awoke. though all other things seemed real. S.CHAPTER XLV NOT ALL A DREAM 'Where are the sounds that swam along The buoyant air when I was young? The last vibration now is o'er. Time and space were not. Where was he? In the close.

touched him. adopted his wife's country as his own. in a concerned voice. and tried to forget what never more might be.' said he. Even Mr. The utter loneliness of his life was insupportable to think about.' 613 . that she at last fairly gave way to tears. every morsel of evidence which would exonerate Frederick. It was not that Margaret had not been perfectly aware of the result before. more secure in fortune and future prospects than he could ever have been in the navy. as he saw. Lieutenant Hale. Lennox's well-regulated professional voice took a softer. made Margaret's eyes dilate. was soothing to Margaret. 'It was a foolish proposal of mine. He was an old man. tenderer tone.handsomely furnished room of a London hotel! Where were those who spoke to him. as one by one fate decreed. in a hurried dressing for the breakfast in Harley Street. Mr. or so it seemed. so lately exultant in the full strength of manhood. should fall from beneath her feet and disappear. and has. He could not attend to all the lawyer's details. 'I had better not go on. not an instant ago? Dead! buried! lost for evermore. 'Lieutenant Hale is happy now. and her lips grow pale. He got up hastily. Lennox stopped reading. which. moved around him. doubtless. as far as earth's for evermore would extend. as he drew near to the extinction of the last hope.' and even this giving him the title of the service from which he had so harshly been expelled. It was only that the details of each successive disappointment came with such relentless minuteness to quench all hope.

I know.—and go and get an appetite in the forest. Yet it was pain she would not have been without. if we can get it at all—and then I'll take my nap while you go out 614 . otherwise. he also kept silence. 'I suppose your aunt Shaw will trust you with me. 'It seems so selfish in me to regret it. and I am so lonely.' said Margaret. 'and yet he is lost to me. We'll go to-morrow morning. I fancy. and kissed it. that's enough. Bell. 'I am going down to Helstone to-morrow. She thanked Mr. 'Margaret!' said he. don't be afraid. it used to be. to both of us. Lennox very courteously for his trouble. Would you like to come with me? Or would it give you too much pain? Speak out. at least. but it will be a pleasure to me. But she took his old gouty hand.' Mr. and order dinner at the little inn—the Lennard Arms. by her behaviour. We'll take a snack. and Margaret. all the more courteously and graciously because she was conscious that. to look at the old place. Bell came up to wish her good-bye. Mr. but.' said she—and could say no more. he might have probably been led to imagine that he had given her needless pain. Bell blew his nose. Mr. Lennox turned over his papers. Mr.'That is it.' trying to smile. in a minute or two. and wished that he were as rich and prosperous as he believed he should be some day.' said he. and we shall get there about two o'clock. had apparently recovered her usual composure. Can you stand it. come. Margaret? It will be a trial. And there we'll dine—it will be but doe-venison. 'Come. reddening with awkwardness.' 'Oh. as he fumbled with his gloves.

Shaw by lunch-time on Friday. who was first startled. 'There's my good girl.' 'It's no use my trying to say how much I shall like it. barring railway accidents. whether it was right or wrong. and just what she herself had been wishing for Margaret. and I'll insure your life for a thousand pounds before starting. winking her eyes to shake the tears off her eye-lashes. then doubtful and perplexed. So.' 615 . while Mr. prove your gratitude by keeping those fountains of yours dry for the next two days.' 'I won't cry a drop. the happy fulfilment of the project. and I don't like that. Bell's.' said Margaret.' said Margaret. she could not settle to her own satisfaction. Then we'll go up-stairs and settle it all. after all the anxious time she had had. for to the last. but otherwise. if you say yes. I'll bring you back to Mrs. gave her decision enough to say. I'll give you back safe and sound. proper or improper. till Margaret's safe return. Bell's words than to her own conviction. and in the end. and forcing a smile. 'she was sure it had been a very kind thought of Mr. Bell discussed his plan with her aunt Shaw. yielding rather to the rough force of Mr. through her tears. which may be some comfort to your relations. 'Well. then. I'll just go up-stairs and propose it. as giving her the very change which she required. If you don't.and see old friends. I shall feel queer myself about the lachrymal ducts.' Margaret was in a state of almost trembling eagerness.

Still must I miss the friends so tried. none of the bustle and stir that Margaret had 616 . quietly. In spirit then our bliss we found. which gave a yet ruddier colour to their tiled roofs. seeing the old south countrytowns and hamlets sleeping in the warm light of the pure sun. shiny feathers. But ever when true friendship binds. Margaret was ready long before the appointed time. when unobserved. seated in the carriage opposite to Mr. and she breathed freely and happily at length. as if exposing every fibre to the delicious warmth. and had leisure enough to cry a little. slowly settling here and there. Whom Death has severed from my side. Broods of pigeons hovered around these peaked quaint gables. and to smile brightly when any one looked at her. In spirit yet to them I'm bound. it almost seemed as if they were too lazily content to wish to travel. Her last alarm was lest they should be too late and miss the train. and whirling away past the well-known stations. There were few people about at the stations. Bell. but no! they were all in time. Spirit it is that spirit finds.' UHLAND. and ruffling their soft.CHAPTER XLVI ONCE AND NOW 'So on those happy days of yore Oft as I dare to dwell once more. so different to the cold slates of the north.

' with ineffable longing. whether pain or pleasure she could hardly tell. but as to the constant going to and fro of busy tradespeople it would always be widely different from the northern lines. with his hands in his pockets. Every mile was redolent of associations.noticed in her two journeys on the London and NorthWestern line. had gone away from her. but each of which made her cry upon 'the days that are no more. the season. had been gloomy. which she would not have missed for the world. The last time she had passed along this road was when she had left it with her father and mother—the day. this line of railway should be stirring and alive with rich pleasure-seekers. farm after farm was left behind. an orphan. so absorbed in the simple act of watching. and she herself hopeless. From this waking dream she was roused. and they. strangely. And now sharper feelings came shooting through her heart. Later on in the year. Now she was alone. and every turn and every familiar tree so precisely the same in its 617 . Here a spectator or two stood lounging at nearly every station. that it made the travellers wonder what he could find to do when the train whirled away. It hurt her to see the Helstone road so flooded in the sun-light. but they were there with her. It was the place to leave the train and take the fly to Helstone. and only the blank of a railway. some sheds. each reminding Margaret of German Idyls—of Herman and Dorothea—of Evangeline. and a distant field or two were left for him to gaze upon. and vanished from the face of the earth. The hot air danced over the golden stillness of the land.

The house fronted the village green. and calling to her daughter. almost as if they had been invited guests. and right before it stood an immemorial lime-tree benched all round. Jenny. and she had been too busy packing up the baskets to hear the noise of wheels over the road. in some hidden recesses of whose leafy wealth hung the grim escutcheon of the Lennards. Mr. 'Why. Nature felt no change. 'Come here. and was ever young. rather. 'It's Miss Hale. they. The door of the inn stood wide open. bless me!' exclaimed she. as much as to say. hitherto unobserved in that shady parlour. as to have to court it by any obtrusiveness. and wisely and kindly held his tongue. that the host did not so depend on the custom of travellers.summer glory as it had been in former years. and the provisions for the men had to be sent a-field. must seek him out. standing a little apart from the road. They drove up to the Lennard Arms.' said she. that it was hay-time. 618 . half farmhouse. by saying. ran over soft short turf. come directly. but there was no hospitable hurry to receive the travellers. since they had left the highway. and apologised for her coming having been so delayed. as at the end of her apology. it's Miss Hale!' And then she went up to Margaret. and shook her hands with motherly fondness. running to the door. which. a glint of sunlight showed her Margaret's face. When the landlady did appear— and they might have abstracted many an article first— she gave them a kind welcome. half-inn. Bell knew something of what would be passing through her mind.

'Papa. It's only this very morning I plunged 619 . and wash your face. He was a good man. but my name is Bell. 'He died quite suddenly. 'There was a gentleman here in the spring—it might have been as long ago as last winter— who told us a deal of Mr. Hale and Miss Margaret.' Margaret tried to speak and tell her of her father's death. Mrs. sir. Let me show you to a room. But never a word of the Vicar's being ailing!' 'It is so. I ask your pardon. You don't remember me I see. Bell. it's never so!' said Mrs. when on a visit to me at Oxford. Come Margaret. of her mother's it was evident that Mrs. and tasted your good ale. and I know of old you can give us comfortable rooms and a capital dinner. Hale was gone. however. I've slept here.' 'To be sure. and could only touch her deep mourning.' 'Surely. Purkis. so I thought we would just come down together and see the old place. and he said Mrs. Miss Margaret. and say the one word. and once or twice when the parsonage has been full. Purkis. But she choked in the effort. Purkis was aware.' said Mr.'And how are you all? How's the Vicar and Miss Dixon? The Vicar above all! God bless him! We've never ceased to be sorry that he left. where you can take off your bonnet. and she's my god-daughter. turning to Mr. but you see I was taken up with Miss Hale. and there's many of us that might be thankful to have as calm an end as his. Bell for confirmation of the sad suspicion that now entered her mind. poor lady. my dear! Her father was my oldest friend. from her omission of her name.

after you have attended to Miss Hale. 'Aye!' said Mrs. for. and despatching Jenny for an armful of lavender-scented towels. and there's nothing so sweet as spring-water scented by a musk rose or two. she could see the tops of the parsonage chimneys above the trees. and a magistrate. miss. He and his wife are stirring people. thought I. and distinguish many a wellknown line through the leaves. but pushing them aside. at least they say it's doing good. and his wife has a deal of receipts for economical cooking. and stretching a little out. And he has had new grates put in. smoothing down the bed.some fresh-gathered roses head downward in the waterjug. Mrs. to be sure. I should call it turning things upside down for very little purpose.' The little casement window in Margaret's bedchamber was almost filled up with rose and vine branches. our new Vicar has seven children. just out where the arbour and tool-house used to be in old times. 'times is changed. we must all die.' 'Come down to me. only that gentleman said. perhaps some one will be coming. and is building a nursery ready for more. Hale's death. The new Vicar is a teetotaller. miss. and is for making bread without yeast. that they knock one 620 . and they both talk so much. if it were not. Purkis. and a plateglass window in the drawing-room. and have done a deal of good. he was quite picking up after his trouble about Mrs. To think of the Vicar being dead! Well. I want to have a consultation with you about dinner. Purkis. and both at a time.

Hepworth does want to give me comfits instead of medicine. Bell had strawberries and cream. as she says. and after this rustic luncheon they set out to walk. Here and there old trees had been felled the autumn before. 'No.down as it were. Lennox had sketched.' replied Margaret. lightning-scarred trunk of the 621 . (together with a Stilton cheese and a bottle of port for his own private refreshment. I'll come back to you before long. Margaret missed them each and all. is a deal pleasanter. and it's not till they're gone. They came past the spot where she and Mr. not yet. though I'm wanting to hear many a thing. a loaf of brown bread. though Mrs. and make a round so as to come back by it. miss. and a jug of milk. The white.) ready for Margaret on her coming down stairs. and took salts and senna when anything ailed them. and peeping in. and I must e'en go on in their ways. My mother and my grandmother before me sent good malt liquor to haymakers. We will go this way. Mr. Bell. that one can think that there were things one might have said on one's own side of the question. But I must go. and then there'll be an ado because it's not ginger beer. hardly knowing in what direction to turn. which. 'Shall we go past the vicarage?' asked Mr. so many old familiar inducements were there in each. and grieved over them like old friends. He'll be after the men's cans in the hay-field. but I can't help it. or a squatter's roughly-built and decaying cottage had disappeared. only I've no faith in it. and one's a little at peace.

You would think it romantic to be walking with a person "fat and scant o' breath" if I 622 . But I have a kindness for all Susans. for simple Susan's sake. was dead.' said Margaret after a pause of silence. the inhabitant of the ruinous cottage. 'I did not think I had been so old. had been built in its stead.' 'Let us go on to see little Susan. the old man. among whose roots they had sate down was there no more. here there are no views that can give one an excuse for stopping to take breath. The instability of all human things is familiar to me. and it has been on my conscience ever since. and a new one. I take changes in all I see as a matter of course. There was a small garden on the place where the beech-tree had been.venerable beech. the cottage had been pulled down. afterwards we lose the sense of the mysterious. tidy and respectable. You see. drawing her companion up a grassy road-way. Are you sure you will not be tired?' 'Quite sure. But it is a long way. 'With all my heart. to you it is new and oppressive. leading under the shadow of a forest glade. That is. 'Yes!' said Mr. that I gave her pain which a little more exertion on my part might have prevented. and she turned away sighing. 'It is the first changes among familiar things that make such a mystery of time to the young. if you don't walk so fast.' said Margaret. though I have not an idea who little Susan may be.' 'My little Susan was disappointed when I left without wishing her goodbye. Bell.

But as my mother has not murdered my father. like the Hamlet you compare yourself to. Walk at your own pace. Susan was not there. and afterwards married my uncle. I like you twenty times better than Hamlet. What do you think?' 'I am in good hopes.' 'But have you considered the distraction of mind produced by all this haymaking?' Margaret felt all Mr. They reached the cottage where Susan's widowed mother lived.were Hamlet. Have compassion on my infirmities for his sake.' 'I will walk slower for your own sake.' 'Very well.' 'I am content to take your liking me. She was gone to the 623 . I don't analyse my feelings. if indeed she were not ungrateful enough to wish that she might have been alone. unless it were balancing the chances of our having a well-cooked dinner or not. if I go too fast. Bell's kindness in trying to make cheerful talk about nothing.' 'On the principle that a living ass is better than a dead lion?' 'Perhaps so. Only we need not walk at a snail's' pace. to endeavour to prevent her from thinking too curiously about the past. and I will follow. Or stop still and meditate.' 'Thank you. Prince of Denmark. She used to be considered a famous cook as far as Helstone opinion went. without examining too curiously into the materials it is made of. I shouldn't know what to think about. But she would rather have gone over these dear-loved walks in silence.

and helping her mother. But she's a deal above me in learning now. than from all the schooling under the sun. But I should say. 'How is old Betty Barnes?' 'I don't know. But she were getting such a handy girl. and I miss her sadly. who had formerly been the peacemaker of the village. I reckon not. she did. 'I am very glad to hear it.' 'Why not?' asked Margaret. I used to teach her what little I knew at nights. and learning to read a chapter in the New Testament every night by her side. I might have thought of it.' said Margaret. that I miss her sore.' growled Mr.' Margaret did not want to encourage him to go on by replying to him. and the poor woman saw it.' 'Did she know it was yours?' 'I don't know. It were not much to be sure. So she turned to her and asked. and began to make a kind of apology. 'Don't mind what I say. 'She stole my cat.' And the mother sighed.' 624 .' 'Yes.' said the woman rather shortly. and more natural education stopping at home. 'We'se not friends. and so prolonging the discussion before the mother. Bell. I'm a hundred years behind the world. 'Oh! it is quite right.parochial school. Only she used to stop at home with you. 'I'm all wrong. that the child was getting a better and simpler. Margaret was disappointed.

compelled (as it were) the powers of darkness to fulfil the wishes of the executioner. It was no explanation.' 'Burnt it!' exclaimed both Margaret and Mr. and her consequent dread of her husband's anger. Margaret extracted from her the horrible fact that Betty Barnes. and as. and she should not like to do it. according to one of the savage country superstitions. having been induced by a gypsy fortune-teller to lend the latter her husband's Sunday clothes. Margaret listened in horror. on promise of having them faithfully returned on the Saturday night before Goodman Barnes should have missed them. 'Roasted it!' explained the woman. Bell. and endeavoured in vain to enlighten the woman's mind. By dint of questioning. she had heard it all her life. namely. her only feeling was indignation that her cat had been chosen out from all others for a sacrifice. but at the end. the bewildered woman simply repeated her first assertion. but it were very 625 . became alarmed by their non-appearance. that 'it were very cruel for sure. in the agonies of being boiled or roasted alive. but she was obliged to give it up in despair.'Well! could not you get it back again when you told her it was yours?' 'No! for she'd burnt it. of which the logical connexion and sequence was perfectly clear to Margaret. Step by step she got the woman to admit certain facts. The poor woman evidently believed in its efficacy. the cries of a cat. resort had been had to the charm. but that there were nothing like it for giving a person what they wished for.

only in a more soft and languid manner. made itself heard as soon as they emerged from the forest on the more open village-green on which the school was situated. perceived them.' said Mr. and bade them welcome with somewhat of the hostess-air which. I am curious to see something of the teaching she is to receive. and they entered. and everywhere.' 'Oh! I remember. the manner of which betrayed such utter want of imagination. a recital too. but thridded their way through many a bosky dell. like the murmur of a hive of busy human bees. She knew at once it was the present Vicar's wife.' They did not speak much more.' Margaret gave it up in despair. A brisk lady in black. her mother's 626 . here. when any rare visitors strayed in to inspect the school. and walked away sick at heart. The door was wide open. I am wrong about schooling. would you mind calling at the school?' 'Not a bit.cruel for all that. and therefore of any sympathy with the suffering animal. 'How? What do you mean?' 'I own. Margaret remembered. Poor little Susan! I must go and see her. Anything rather than have that child brought up in such practical paganism. there. whose soft green influence could not charm away the shock and the pain in Margaret's heart. The buzz of voices. caused by the recital of such cruelty. her mother was wont to assume. Bell. 'You are a good girl not to triumph over me.

and holding Susan's hand for a minute or two. wondering all the time how Mr. First class stand up for a parsing lesson with Miss Hale. not in any degree inspective. felt herself taken in. I am sure I am very glad to see you. 'Ah! I see you would like to take a class. Bell. Miss Hale. and stammered out the fact of his death. I know it by myself. and left it to Mr. She did not hear what Mrs.' Margaret explained that it was not her father. meanwhile. sir. half losing herself in tracing out the changing features of the girls. and her manner at once became more kindly. but in an instant she had conquered this feeling. for her old acquaintances. Hale could have borne coming to revisit Helstone. and hearing many a half-suppressed murmur of 'It's Miss Hale. but as in some way bringing her in contact with little eager faces. and who had received the solemn rite of baptism from her father. Hepworth was saying. 627 . she sate down. Miss Hale. Margaret wished she could have helped feeling that it also became more patronising. and modestly advanced. once well-known.successor.' The Vicar's lady heard the name. and so will the Vicar be. I presume. The lady held out a hand to Mr. and she would have drawn back from the interview had it been possible. meeting many a bright glance of recognition. I see it by the likeness. if it had been as the Vicar's lady supposed.' Poor Margaret. with— 'Your father. looking round. Bell to reply. whose visit was sentimental.

mildly. 'A. it was yet early in the summer afternoon. and Mrs. as she.' uncertain what to call it. 'I beg your pardon. though a tinge of sadness mixed itself with her pleasure. she went quietly round to one or two old favourites. Bell turned away. When school was over for the day. an indefinite article. till all at once there was a pause—one of the girls was stumbling over the apparently simple word 'a.' said the Vicar's wife. and smiled. and talked to them a little. and seeing nothing but that—hearing the buzz of children's voices.' said half-a-dozen voices at once. Bell by the button. and her eyes filled with tears. 'but we are taught by Mr. all eyes and ears. and gave him a conversation she had had with the Inspector about it. But after it was over.unobserved by all. old times rose up.' said Margaret. Milsome to call "a" an— who can remember?' 'An adjective absolute. They were growing out of children into great girls. and the Vicar's lady went as near as a lady could towards holding Mr. and she thought of them. Bell should accompany her to the parsonage. and see the—the word 628 . Margaret bent over her book. while she explained the Phonetic system to him. passing out of her recollection in their rapid development. by her three years' absence. was vanishing from theirs. The children knew more than she did. Hepworth proposed to Margaret that she and Mr. Margaret spoke no more during the lesson. And Margaret sate abashed. Mr. Still she was glad to have seen them all again. while the first class sought for their books.

but really it was 629 . 'You have many children. a hoop there. formerly so daintily trim that even a stray rose-leaf seemed like a fleck on its exquisite arrangement and propriety. I shall insist upon a little order. to the destruction of a long beautiful tender branch laden with flowers. without a nursery?' 'We were but two. The garden. When the nursery is finished.' said Margaret. Look here! we are throwing out a window to the road on this side. I presume?' 'Seven. which in former days would have been trained up tenderly. Mr. I believe. the grass-plat. Hepworth is spending an immense deal of money on this house. a bag of marbles here. 'you must excuse this untidiness. even though she shivered away from the pain which she knew she should feel. as if beloved. that the real pain was less than she had anticipated. but she longed to see the old place once more. Miss Hale. 'Ah!' said Mrs. a straw-hat forced down upon a rose-tree as on a peg. was strewed with children's things. We are building a nursery out of your room. The parsonage was so altered. which jarred upon her fond recollection of what her home had been.'improvements' had half slipped out of her mouth. How did you manage. It was not like the same place. Hepworth. The little square matted hall was equally filled with signs of merry healthy rough childhood. but she substituted the more cautious term 'alterations' which the present Vicar was making. Margaret did not care a straw about seeing the alterations. Miss Hale. both inside and out.

Hepworth pointed out. Margaret. and with such good faith. and not troubled with much delicacy of perception. Margaret feared that Mrs. But no! she took it all literally. Hale's study formerly. besides the one of which Mrs. but not unobserved in reality. Bell was playing upon her. as Mrs. even during the composition of his most orthodox sermons. and had a hat and stick hanging ready at hand to seize. Hepworth spoke. as he had said. and where the green gloom and delicious quiet of the place had conduced. From it the wandering sheep of her husband's flock might be seen. but. The new window gave a view of the road. before sallying out after his parishioners. in some degree to the formation of a character more fitted for thought than action.' Every room in the house was changed. that Margaret could not help remonstrating with him as they walked slowly away from the parsonage back to their inn. who straggled to the tempting beer-house. 'Don't scold. of course. brisk. loud-talking. kindhearted. for the active Vicar kept his eye on the road. and had many advantages. which had been Mr. If she had not shown you every change with such evident 630 . in the admiration he thought fit to express for everything that especially grated on his taste. The whole family were quick.scarcely habitable when we came—for so large a family as ours I mean. perhaps. to a habit of meditation. It was all because of you. Hepworth would find out that Mr. who had need of quick legs if they could take refuge in the 'Jolly Forester' before the teetotal Vicar had arrested them. unobserved as they might hope.

when it will send me to sleep. or marriage. And. and the green straggling pathway by its side enclosed and cultivated. which carry us on imperceptibly from childhood to youth.exultation in their superior sense. keep it till after dinner. At last he was roused by the entrance of the tea-tray. sadly gazing out upon the gathering shades of night. slight. whence we drop like fruit. that she was unwilling to go out as she had proposed to do. in perceiving what an improvement this and that would be. a bough there. and Margaret herself so much so. and the grassy wayside of former days. somehow. yet pervading all. Bell slept soundly. the old gloom. A great improvement it was called. and thence through manhood to age. but Margaret sighed over the old picturesqueness. into the quiet mother earth. bringing in a long ray of light where no light was before—a road was trimmed and narrowed. and have another ramble among the woods and fields so close to the home of her childhood. or death. But if you must go on preaching. Mr. Households were changed by absence. which harmonised well with her pensive thought. She sate by the window on the little settle. and help my digestion. I could have behaved well. brought in by a flushed631 . after his unusual exercise through the day.' They were both of them tired. fully ripe. this visit to Helstone had not been all— had not been exactly what she had expected. or the natural mutations brought by days and months and years. There was change everywhere. Places were changed—a tree gone here.

and she took the same sort of smiling notice of his opinion as if he had agreed with her. 'Nothing. I recollect we talked about him. who had evidently been finding some variety from her usual occupation of waiter. coming to the window.' Margaret was silent for some time. She played with her teaspoon. He contradicted her.— Margaret? Oh.looking country-girl. Bell. apropos of nothing at all. you remember what we were saying about Frederick last night. What were you looking at?' asked Mr. to be sure. Yes. and in the high-pitched voice which usually shows that the speaker has been thinking for some time on the subject that they wish to introduce—'Mr. don't you?' 'Last night. Where was I? Oh. in assisting this day in the hayfield. she began. and come in and make tea. 'Hallo! Who's there! Where are we? Who's that.' said she. now I remember all. and speaking as cheerfully as she could at a moment's notice. poor fellow. and did not attend particularly to what Mr. I remember! Why it seems a week ago. Then she sighed. and a great waft of damp air. and her face looking so steadfastly before her. and putting down her spoon. Shut the window. Bell. Bell said. and standing behind Margaret. rising up quickly. I could not imagine what woman was sitting there in such a doleful attitude.' 632 . some white linen hung out on the sweet-briar hedge. 'Nothing indeed! A bleak back-ground of trees. with her hands clasped straight out upon her knees.

Margaret?' 'I want to tell you of something I did that was very wrong. if it ends in this way. and second cousins-once-removed. Margaret? Well! a great number of folk. child? Nay. 'I recollect. You know who is the father of lies. and it's long ago now. as I suppose you did. have odd sorts of connexion with lies.' 'No! he never did. and not very sad.' and her face became scarlet. but in actions. that was bad I own. now we'll not talk of it. I dare say you have been sorry for it.'Yes—and do you not remember that Mr. But what about it. not but what I have told a pretty round number in my life. I hadn't heard of it before. about that time. this evening. suddenly looking up at him with her clear honest eyes. or in some shabby circumlocutory way. left-hand marriages. or believe a falsehood. but suddenly she burst out afresh. her voice now lower than usual. leading people either to disbelieve the truth. thinking themselves very good. and in short I want you to be very cheerful. 'I told a lie.' 'And I thought—I always thought that papa had told you about it. and that you won't do it again. I should have guessed you as far from it as most people. The tainting blood of falsehood runs through us all. 633 . Lennox spoke about his having been in England about the time of dear mamma's death?' asked Margaret.' said Margaret. What! crying.' Margaret wiped her eyes. not all in downright words. and tried to talk about something else. 'True.

let me tell you about it—you could perhaps help me a little. but if you knew the truth. and it was just getting rather dusk. but I did not know who it was at first. I saw him look at me. after all. somewhere in the neighbourhood. he and I. that I might have drawn him into danger. and afraid. child. no. and then. 'Tell me all about it. mamma was very ill. for Dixon met some one in Milton—a man called Leonards—who had known Fred.' said he. where. too. and I was undone with anxiety. as you would understand from what we said the other night. and we had an alarm just after her death. Bell's whole manner changed. I knew. Mr.' said she. who was. Bell.'Please. or at any rate to be tempted by the recollection of the reward offered for his apprehension. and who seemed to owe him a grudge. 'It's a long story.— went to the railway station. and with this new fright. the low red sunlight just in my face. Lennox as to his chances if he stood the trial. I thought I had better hurry off Fred to London. Mr. So we—that is. but still light enough to recognise and be recognised. in despair at not being able to express herself more exactly as she wished. some one came by on horseback in the road just below the field-style by which we stood. and went out to walk in a field just close by. he was to go to consult Mr. perhaps you could put me to rights— that is not it. not help me. it was one evening. but when Fred came. when we were in the field. and we were too early. I was always in a panic about this Leonards. the sun was so in 634 .

nervously twining her fingers together. and I said it was not me. I was not at the railway station that night.' 635 .my eyes. Bell.'—'And he saw Frederick of course. 'A police inspector came and taxed me with having been the companion of the young man. Bell! now comes the bad part. accused of causing that mutiny. discovered. but in an instant the dazzle went off. not deep. and fell over the edge of the platform. not above three feet. and I saw it was Mr.' said she.' 'Then he did not die directly?' 'No! not for two or three days. and his identity with the Lieutenant Hale. Mr. I suppose. And then—oh. he might be shot.' said Mr. Bell. I knew nothing about it. helping her on with her story. whose push or blow had occasioned Leonards' death. and then at the station a man came up—tipsy and reeling—and he tried to collar Fred. It was this Leonards. And how did Fred get off?' 'Oh! he went off immediately after the fall. that was a false accusation. all this flashed through my mind. I had no conscience or thought but to save Frederick. but we had not heard that Fred had sailed. which we never thought could have done the poor fellow any harm. and we bowed. you know. 'Yes. he might still be in London and liable to be arrested on this false charge. and overbalanced himself as Fred wrenched himself away. not far. as he thought. somehow that fall killed him!' 'How awkward. it seemed so slight an injury. Thornton. but oh! Mr.

'Did you have any explanation with him? Did you ever tell him the strong.' 'No! the proceedings they had begun to talk about on the inquest were stopped. instinctive motive?' 'The instinctive want of faith. It was wrong. Bell!' She suddenly covered her face with her hands. faithless. and in my blindness I forgot that there was another witness who could testify to my being there. 'No! How could I? He knew nothing of Frederick. 636 .' 'Well! he would know nothing of this riot about the drunken fellow's death. You forgot yourself in thought for another. involving. Mr. the chances of poor Frederick's entire exculpation? Fred's last words had been to enjoin me to keep his visit a secret from all. He was a magistrate.' 'No.' 'Who?' 'Mr. I suppose the inquiry never came to anything. and he found out that it was not the fall that had caused the death. even you.'I say it was right. But not before he knew what I had said. To put myself to rights in his good opinion. At that very time Fred was safely out of England.' said she bitterly. and clutching at a sin to keep myself from sinking. I hope I should have done the same. Thornton did know all about it. you would not. You see. papa never told. as they seemed to do. You know he had seen me close to the station. Mr. Thornton. I should have done the same. was I to tell him of the secrets of our family. we had bowed to each other. disobedient. Oh. as if wishing to hide herself from the presence of the recollection.

I know it now. I maintain.' said Mr. By-and-by she said: 'Will you tell me what you refer to about "reservations" in his manner of speaking of me?' 'Oh! simply he has annoyed me by not joining in my praises of you.' There was a long pause of silence. I am sure. 'To be sure. reddening. But how was he to know that?' 'I don't know. I thought that every one would have the same opinions as I had. But he always speaks of you with regard and esteem. There was first your walking out with a young man in the dark—' 'But it was my brother!' said Margaret. under the circumstances. 637 .' Margaret did not speak. lost all sense of it. 'True. Mr.' 'He respects you. But he must be perplexed. I did bear it. Like an old fool. if the affair has never been in the least explained.No! I could bear the shame—I thought I could at least. it accounts a little for—-. I bitterly repent it. did not attend to what Mr.— which. Thornton has never respected me since. and he evidently could not agree with me. Bell went on to say. 'And perhaps he never would.' 'It was not.' said Margaret. surprised. and looking hurt and offended. Bell. but for the lie. I was puzzled at the time. though now I understand certain reservations in his manner. was necessary. Margaret was the first to speak. I never thought of anything of that kind.

and almost all wish of ever clearing himself. But it is not to clear myself of any suspicion of improper conduct that I wish to have him told—if I thought that he had suspected me. I should not care for his good opinion—no! it is that he 638 . and if you can. 'There are many things more unlikely. (don't force an explanation upon him. though we may never be likely to meet again?' 'Certainly." Yet still I should choose to have it explained. if any natural opportunity for easy explanation occurs. somehow one does not like to have sunk so low in—in a friend's opinion as I have done in his. 'I hold it is "Honi soit qui mal y pense. If you please. 'And now that Frederick has given up all hope. rather haughtily. 'But I believe I never shall. because I felt that for papa's sake I should not like to lose his respect.' 'As for that. Still. I do not like you to rest even under the shadow of an impropriety. I should say. I think he ought to know. it would be only doing myself justice to have all this explained.' said Margaret.'— and there she stopped.' Her eyes were full of tears.) but if you can. he would not know what to think of seeing you alone with a young man. and returning to England. Thornton again. and Mr. pray.'I am not likely ever to see Mr. if there is a good opportunity.' replied Mr. Bell was not looking at her. will you tell him the whole circumstances. but her voice was steady. Bell. and tell him also that I gave you leave to do so.

that Mr. Bell was saying. for when it jumps into existence it surprises me by its size. I have now to put it behind me. if you please. She hardly attended to what Mr.' But it was no smiling matter to Margaret. don't I clap the seal on the vase. that I really did not know of your existence. would you once more compress yourself into your former dimensions?" And when I've got him down. but which now had assumed the strength of a conviction. why I told that falsehood. instead of growing larger and larger every instant. be so. wisest of men. sir. It is no partiality of mine. and take good care how I open it again. It is done—my sin is sinned. Thornton no longer held his former good opinion of her—that he was disappointed in her. if I can. my innate conviction that it was wrong. and bewildering me with your misty outlines. and how I fell into the snare. before entertained. in short. Her thoughts ran upon the Idea." say I. But we will not talk of that any more. and be truthful for evermore. who confined him there. and how I go against Solomon.' 'Which I don't blame you for. Pray.' 'Very well. I assure you. So I coax it down again.may learn how I was tempted. I always keep my conscience as tight shut up as a jack-in-a-box. If you like to be uncomfortable and morbid. "Wonderful. "to think that you have been concealed so long.' 'What other people may think of the rightness or wrongness is nothing in comparison to my own deep knowledge. She did not feel 639 . and in so small a compass. as the fisherman coaxed the genie.

A sense of change. 'To turn and look back when thou hearest The sound of my name.as if any explanation could ever reinstate her—not in his love. over-powered Margaret. of perplexity and disappointment. and this slight. She tried to comfort herself with the idea. Nothing had been the same. had given her greater pain than if all had been too entirely changed for her to recognise it. until the new one was built. that what he imagined her to be. gazing out on the purple dome above. did not alter the fact of what she was. and twinkled and disappeared behind the great umbrageous trees before she went to bed. where she sate long hours by the open window. Bell. there burnt a little light on earth. but not one of them did she utter. where the stars arose. She had twenty questions on the tip of her tongue to ask Mr. But it was a truism. a phantom. for that and any return on her part she had resolved never to dwell upon. all-pervading instability. Bell thought that she was tired. which was the nursery with the present inhabitants of the parsonage. in the spirit of Gerald Griffin's beautiful lines. and broke down under the weight of her regret. and she kept rigidly to her resolution—but in the respect and high regard which she had hoped would have ever made him willing. and sent her early to her room. All night long too. 640 . Mr. a candle in her old bedroom.' She kept choking and swallowing all the time that she thought about it. of individual nothingness.

'I begin to understand now what heaven must be— and. I seek heavenly steadfastness in earthly monotony.' said she. and for ever. stun it with some great blow. in which nothing abides by me. wearily she arose in four or five hours' time. and yet it will. I must not think so much of how circumstances affect me myself. 'If the world stood still. to-day. If I were a Roman Catholic and could deaden my heart. the progress all around me is right and necessary. But with the morning came hope. no. Perhaps it ought to be so. hearing the voices of children at play while she was dressing." Everlasting! "From everlasting to everlasting. oh! the grandeur and repose of the words—"The same yesterday. Thou art God. for love for my species could never fill my heart to the utter exclusion of love for individuals. no place. not my kind. but how they affect others. or a hopeful trustful heart. I am so tired—so tired of being whirled on through all these phases of my life. and my own painful sense of change.' And with a smile ready in her eyes to 641 . if that is not Irish. I might become a nun. if I wish to have a right judgment. But I should pine after my kind. it is like the circle in which the victims of earthly passion eddy continually. it would retrograde and become corrupt. I cannot decide to-night. I am in the mood in which women of another religion take the veil. perhaps not. and a brighter view of things. 'After all it is right." That sky above me looks as though it could not change.' Wearily she went to bed. no creature. Looking out of myself.

the life more 642 . Don't fidget yourself. How much the desire of giving our hostess a teetotal lecture for the benefit of the haymakers. and so you're late this morning. Let us start at twelve. literally in the dewy morning. The common sounds of life were more musical there than anywhere else in the whole world. when I came down just before nine. Bell. Now I've got a little piece of news for you. It is very good and kind of them. and gathered a little straggling piece of honeysuckle. and we are asked to dine there to-day. on his way to the school. I don't know. for fear of being observed. Still it is open. Missy! you were up late last night. the place was reinvested with the old enchanting atmosphere. I thought you would not want to go. 'Yes! I know.' Before they left Margaret stole round to the back of the Vicarage garden. 'Let us keep to our plan. but indeed I could not go. she went into the parlour and greeted Mr. and I'll arrange it all. Why.' 'Very well.' 'But Edith expects me back—I cannot go.' 'Oh. so I told him. I've had the Vicar here already. if you would like it. What do you think of an invitation to dinner? a morning call.quiver down to her lips. no!' said Margaret. the light more golden. but here he was. But as she returned across the common. 'Ah. had to do with his earliness. She would not take a flower the day before. and her motives and feelings commented upon.' said Margaret. thankful to have so good an excuse.

As Margaret remembered her feelings yesterday. and that to her it would always be the prettiest spot in the world. she had found her level. Helstone! I shall never love any place like you. Bell. and especially with her father and mother. but that it was so full of associations with former days. 643 . that if it were all to come over again.tranquil and full of dreamy delight. and now suddenly discovering that the reality is far more beautiful than I had imagined it. now that— now disappointed and peevish because all is not exactly as I had pictured it. and that she had seen it again. A few days afterwards. and decided that she was very glad to have been there. Oh. she should shrink back from such another visit as that which she had paid with Mr. she said to herself: 'And I too change perpetually—now this.

Mr. at that interesting ceremony. if he had come himself it would have 644 . Of God's will in His worlds. and assumed her post as Margaret's maid. She brought endless pieces of Milton gossip: How Martha had gone to live with Miss Thornton. Bell had sent all sorts of orders about the books.' MRS. with an account of the bridesmaids. much to the enjoyment of the bystanders. BROWNING. Mr. Thornton had come one day and got two or three good bargains. there was no understanding him. which was a shame considering how rich folks were at Milton. had bid against himself. About this time Dixon returned from Milton. like a pale musician. he was so particular.CHAPTER XLVII SOMETHING WANTING 'Experience. and in his desire to obtain one or two things. and had had to pay so much for the failure of his contracts. Whence harmonies we cannot understand. the strain unfolds In sad. dresses and breakfasts. and Mr. perplexed minors. Thornton had made too grand a wedding of it. on the latter's marriage. Thornton paid too much. holds A dulcimer of patience in his hand. considering he had lost a deal by the strike. so as Dixon observed. that made things even. how little money articles of furniture—long cherished by Dixon—had fetched at the sale. how Mrs. if Mrs. how people thought that Mr. Thornton paid too little. Thornton had come the next.

for it had been well 645 . a great. that Mary had gone to work at Mr. nor in any way gratified her insinuating enquiries. Still it was pleasant to have some one now with whom she could talk of Milton. rather wishing to leave that part of her life in shadow. because her father wished her to know how to cook. slatternly thing! She did hear. or perhaps it was only a dream of hers. Nicholas was very well she believed. Bell's. except once Mr. and Milton people. but letters always were and always will be more puzzling than they are worth. Thornton's mill. Dixon was not over-fond of the subject. She liked much more to dwell upon speeches of Mr. though it would be strange if she had dreamt of such people as the Higginses. Bell had gone to pay one of his business visits to Milton. and was very treacherous whenever she tried to recall any circumstance connected with those below her in life. Thornton. Her memory had an aristocratic bias. But her young lady gave her no encouragement. Margaret rather agreed with her that the story was incoherent enough to be like a dream. but what nonsense that could mean she didn't know. All this time. however disguised in the form of suspicions or assertions. And Mary? oh! of course she was very well. which had suggested an idea to her of what was really his intention—making Margaret his heiress. stout. Margaret had a strange undefined longing to hear that Mr. Dixon had not much to tell about the Higginses.been all right. He had been several times at the house asking for news of Miss Margaret—the only person who ever did ask.

they were short. Mr. that he was suffering from that. saying there was an old-fashioned complaint called the spleen. and be weary of the present. but in answer to some enquiry of hers as to his health. he rather seemed to regret the past. Mr. and even in that manner should be in nowise forced upon him. that the explanation she had desired should only be given to Mr. but that he should like to indulge himself in grumbling. Bell. yet she always put away his notes with a little feeling of disappointment. he sent her a short note. One day Edith let out accidentally a fragment of a conversation which she had had with Mr. Bell's letters were hardly like his usual self.understood between them. at the time of their conversation at Helstone. and although Margaret was not conscious of any definite hope. Sooner or later the mists would be cleared away. with every now and then a little touch of bitterness that was unusual. without being obliged to send a bulletin every time. He was not going to Milton. Bell was no great correspondent. and complaining. he said nothing about it at any rate. Well! she must be patient. In consequence of this note. on receiving them. but he wrote from time to time long or short letters. as the humour took him. Margaret made no more enquiries about his health. He did not look forward to the future. when he was last in London. which possessed Margaret with the idea that he had 646 . Thornton by word of mouth. and it was for her to decide if it was more mental or physical. Margaret fancied that he could not be well.

Edith hoped Margaret did not want to leave them. mere Chateau en Espagne as it might be. and could only let it escape by the safety-valve of asking Dixon. or at best a proof of indifference.some notion of taking her to pay a visit to her brother and new sister-in-law. she cried. And then. and that it would be a good opportunity for Margaret to become acquainted with her new sister-in-law. and declared that there was nothing more to remember. if she would not like to see Master Frederick and his new wife very much indeed? 'She's a Papist. Miss. and said that she knew she cared much more for Margaret than Margaret did for her. and did not see why he should not go to Spain as well as anywhere else. having nothing else particular to do. and hear for himself what Frederick had to say about the mutiny. So Margaret had to keep her pleasure to herself. Edith was in the mood to think that any pleasure enjoyed away from her was a tacit affront. all he had said was that he half-thought he should go. till the latter was weary. charmed and delighted her. a little damped for an instant at this recollection. certainly!' said Margaret. 'And they live in a Popish country?' 647 . That was all. Margaret comforted her as well as she could. in the autumn. She questioned and cross-questioned Edith. when she dressed for dinner. isn't she?' 'I believe—oh yes. that she was so anxious about all this. but she could hardly explain to her how this idea of Spain. that he always went somewhere during the long vacation. at Cadiz.

but Dixon always winced away from the application of the word to herself.' 'Then I'm afraid I must say. she asked Miss Hale. with all her terror. was. and if I go.' said Margaret. who. In the first place. But I'm afraid it is a long "if. a lurking curiosity about Spain. whether she thought if she took care never to see a priest. had gone over unaccountable. in the very prime of life. there would be so very much danger of her being converted? Master Frederick. 'I do not know that I am going. sighing. after clearing her throat. I should be in a perpetual terror. his own dear self. and Popish mysteries. if we go.' as a sort of term of endearment. being not much past fifty. So. She knew that Miss Hale was apt to call all people that she liked 'old. to be sure. I am not such a fine lady as to be unable to travel without you. 'I fancy it was love that first predisposed him to conversion. lest I should be converted. No! dear old Dixon. Secondly. that my soul is dearer to me than even Master Frederick.'Yes. Miss. as if to show her willingness to do away with difficulties. you shall have a long holiday. she did not like Margaret's trick of calling her 'dear old Dixon' whenever she was particularly demonstrative. she did not like being so easily taken at her word."' Now Dixon did not like this speech. or enter into one of their churches. the Inquisition. she thought. she had.' 'Oh' said Margaret. 648 .

Nor did she feel at liberty to name what Edith had told her of the idea he had entertained. He had never named it at Helstone.' Margaret was afraid of letting her mind run too much upon this Spanish plan. during all that sunny day of leisure.' But Margaret almost liked him better in these manifestations of character than in his good blue649 . Margaret. Bell appeared for the present to be stationary at Oxford. He was the pride and plaything of both father and mother. please ring the bell for Hanley. as long as he was good. One of the great pleasures of Margaret's life at this time. Mr. But it took off her thoughts from too impatiently dwelling upon her desire to have all explained to Mr. what shall I do with him! Do. it was very probably but the fancy of a moment. Edith would throw herself back in despair and fatigue. what a bright outlet it would be from the monotony of her present life. or alluding again to any probability of such a visit on his part. and sigh out. and as soon as he burst out into one of his stormy passions. which was beginning to fall upon her. and prevent her from even asking. but he had a strong will of his own. and to have no immediate purpose of going to Milton.—it might be but for five minutes. 'Oh dear.'Indeed.—of going to Spain. 'well! I can preserve myself from priests. and from churches. but love steals in unawares! I think it's as well I should not go. Thornton.—but if it were true. and some secret restraint seemed to hang over Margaret. was in Edith's boy. Miss!' said Dixon.

was exerted on the side of right. He once or twice spoke to his brother. while every sudden charm and wile she possessed. Henry Lennox added a new and not disagreeable element to the course of the household life by his frequent presence. that he had quite enough to live upon. and for their mode of life. when the one is cleverer and always leads the other. which gave flavour to the otherwise rather insipid conversation. she had seen Mr. 'And is that all you live for?' But the brothers were much attached to each other. She would carry him off into a room. and on Captain Lennox's reply. Margaret thought him colder. which he seemed to consider as frivolous and purposeless. and much and varied knowledge. kissing and caressing till he often fell asleep in her arms or on her shoulder. if more brilliant than formerly. in the way that any two persons are. Lennox's curl of the lip as he said. until he would rub his little hot and tear-smeared face all over hers. she with a firm power which subdued him into peace. and this last is patiently content to be led. but there were strong intellectual tastes. Mr. They gave her a taste of the feeling that she believed would be denied to her for ever. Those were Margaret's sweetest moments. Mr. in Margaret's presence. Lennox was pushing on 650 . in a pretty sharp tone of enquiry. as to whether he meant entirely to relinquish his profession.sashed moods. Margaret saw glimpses in him of a slight contempt for his brother and sister-in-law. where they two alone battled it out.

intelligent. 651 . which she had with him the first evening in Mr. And yet. she had had no great intercourse with him. side by side. or with remarkable epigrammatic point. in the family intercourse which constantly threw them together. further than that which arose out of their close relations with the same household. with profound calculation.—the more complete. far-seeing. keen-sighted. when he had spoken unusually well.in his profession. all those connections that might eventually be of service to him. her opinion was the one to which he listened with a deference. and any symptoms of mortified pride and vanity on his. in many of their opinions. Since the one long conversation relating to Frederick's affairs. and proud. Bell's presence. as well as she. but she thought that he rather avoided being alone with her. because it was reluctantly paid. But this was enough to wear off the shyness on her side. They met continually. sarcastic. and that. and concealed as much as possible. she felt that his eye sought the expression of her countenance first of all. of course. perceived that they had drifted strangely apart from their former anchorage. if but for an instant. she fancied that he. cultivating. and all their tastes.

but even here Margaret's dissatisfaction found her out. Mr. the cleverness. the keen and extensive knowledge of which they knew well enough how to avail themselves without seeming pedantic. Henry Lennox and the sprinkling of rising men who were received as his friends. Captain Lennox the easy knowledge of the subjects of the day. One day. they squandered their capabilities of appreciation into a mere flow of appropriate words. after the gentlemen had come up into the drawing-room. and never thought about them when they were alone. sacred fire. How dear thou art to me. every feeling. my father's friend! I cannot part with thee! I ne'er have shown. They lashed themselves up into an enthusiasm about high subjects in company.' ANON. every acquirement. The elements of the dinner-parties which Mrs. were these. or burdening the rapid flow of conversation. brought the wit. thou ne'er hast known. the hidden. Lennox gave. and Mr. nay. exhausted itself in sparkle and crackle.CHAPTER XLVIII 'NE'ER TO BE FOUND AGAIN' 'My own. They talked about art in a merely sensuous way. Every talent. her friends contributed the beauty. instead of allowing themselves to learn what it has to teach. dwelling on outside effects. even every tendency towards virtue was used up as materials for fireworks. These dinners were delightful. Lennox drew near 652 .

How every word told! Do you remember the happy epithets?' 'Yes. and so give me the chance of learning to please you?' All these weeks there was no intelligence of Mr. but he must have transacted his 653 . and turned away. hastily.' 'Didn't I? My face must be very expressive. Pray don't scruple.' 'There! that is the exact tone in you. or modes of thought. but she only reddened.' replied Margaret. she heard him say. are what you dislike. 'his way of advocating what he knew to be wrong—so glaringly wrong—even in jest. though he is my friend. Bell's going to Milton. clear voice. before she did so.' 'And despise them.— 'If my tones.to Margaret. He listened for a moment to see if she would finish her sentence.' 'But it was very clever. you would like to add. It has not lost the trick of being eloquent. that—' she stopped short. in a very low. and addressed her in almost the first voluntary words he had spoken to her since she had returned to live in Harley Street. He had spoken of it at Helstone as of a journey which he might have to take in a very short time from then.' 'I did not like. 'It always was.' said Margaret. 'You did not look pleased at what Shirley was saying at dinner. will you do me the justice to tell me so. however.

he wanted to see her about a plan which he had in his head. or winter. and. and she knew that if he could. he would avoid going to a place which he disliked. and there had been no mention of the Spanish journey to which he had alluded to Edith. ere now.business by writing. There was altogether a tone of forced cheerfulness in the letter. and moreover would little understand the secret importance which she affixed to the explanation that could only be given by word of mouth. It was now August. everybody has left but our dear stupid selves. he intended to treat himself to a little doctoring. But one morning she received a letter. She knew that he would feel that it was necessary that it should be done. and Margaret tried to reconcile herself to the fading away of this illusion. but at the time her attention was taken up by Edith's exclamations. There would be nobody to meet him. when he found himself irritable and cross. it would signify very little. moreover. that it would be pleasanter to think that his health was more in fault than he. Besides. saying that next week he meant to come up to town. 'Coming up to town! Oh dear! and I am so worn out by the heat that I don't believe I have strength enough in me for another dinner. Margaret thought. but whether in summer. as he had begun to come round to her opinion. who can't settle where to go to. as Margaret noticed afterwards. autumn.' 'I'm sure he would much rather come and dine with us quite alone than with the most agreeable strangers 654 .

" I'm afraid my cry is. and check me from giving way to such passionate wishes. and yet he would not answer me when I asked him. that he 655 . and double nonsense! Why.' 'He never mentions Spain.you could pick up. if he is not well he won't wish for invitations. But would you really go in such weather as this?' 'Oh! it will get cooler every day. or else I die."' 'My dear Margaret! You'll be persuaded to stay there. and then what shall I do? Oh! I wish I could find somebody for you to marry here. I don't think it is. that I could be sure of you!' 'I shall never marry. "Let me go to Cadiz.' 'No! but his plan that is to be proposed evidently relates to that. Margaret. or else I die. Only it ought to warn me. while in the spirit it gives no pleasure. and I had no third person to whom I could apply for news. Yes! Think of it! I am only afraid I have thought and wished too much— in that absorbing wilful way which is sure to be disappointed—or else gratified. Besides. It is a sort of "Give me children. to the letter. I'm sure. as Sholto says.' 'No. I was sure he was ill from the whole tone of his letters. or he would not think of Spain.' 'But that's superstitious.' 'Oh! he is not very ill.' 'Nonsense. I am glad he has owned it at last. you're such an attraction to the house.

Mr. that by the time Miss Hale received this letter his poor master would be no more.' Edith began to sob so bitterly. while that little lady. The next morning there came a letter from Wallis. it was. stating that his master had not been feeling well for some time. I sometimes think your Corfu life has taught you—-' 'Well!' 'Just a shade or two of coarseness.knows ever so many men who will be glad to Visit here next year for your sake. his servant. 'Do you know. and more than probable. and no longer looked upon her as a friend. that Margaret came to think that she had expressed too harsh an opinion for the relief of her own wounded pride. and that at the very time when he should have set out for London. which had been the true reason of his putting off his journey. indeed. and to declare so vehemently that Margaret had lost all love for her. Bell did not make his appearance even on the day to which he had for a second time deferred his visit. lay like a victim on the sofa. 656 . and ended by being Edith's slave for the rest of the day. he had been seized with an apoplectic fit. overcome by wounded feeling. Wallis added.' Margaret drew herself up haughtily. the opinion of the medical men—that he could not survive the night. till at last she fell asleep. Edith. heaving occasionally a profound sigh.

There is a train in half-anhour. and do ask her before you go. frightened. Don't stop me. and Margaret was hastily putting on her bonnet. Mamma won't like it at all. but I could have gone by myself. Come and ask her about it. You don't know where you're going. I must see him again. much to her husband's distress. and turned very pale as she read it. Mrs. and her hands trembling so that she could hardly tie the strings. Edith. 'Oh. Dixon was packing up a few toilette articles. Besides. childish way. shedding tears all the time. I should not mind if he had a house of his own. Dixon has offered to go with me. then silently putting it into Edith's hands. Here was a man who was to have dined with them to-day lying dead or dying instead! It was some time before she could think of Margaret.Margaret received this letter at breakfast-time. dear Margaret! how shocking! What are you doing? Are you going out? Sholto would telegraph or do anything you like. He has been like a father to me. Shaw was breakfasting in her own room. It will not take a minute. Edith was terribly shocked as she read it.' 'But I must. and followed her upstairs into her room. Margaret. she left the room. and cried in a sobbing. and want some care. he may be better. for the first time that she could remember in her life.' 657 .' 'I am going to Oxford. but in his Fellow's rooms! Come to mamma. Then she started up. and upon him devolved the task of reconciling his wife to the near contact into which she seemed to be brought with death.

and a quiet farewell taken of the kind old face that had so often come out with pleasant words. had to be interrupted. though it was only to hear that he had died in the night. it was decided that Captain Lennox should accompany Margaret. They had promised Edith before starting.Margaret yielded. and after various discussions on propriety and impropriety. Shaw became bewildered and hysterical. and lost her train. and his one cherished and faithful friend. 658 . her own friend. and associated them ever after most fondly in her memory with the idea of her father. was lying at the point of death. as the one thing to which she was constant was her resolution to go. and merry quips and cranks. by the next train. and five minutes before the time for starting. that she was surprised herself at the firmness with which she asserted something of her right to independence of action. and the thought of this came upon her with such vividness. she found herself sitting in a railway-carriage opposite to Captain Lennox. that if all had ended as they feared. alone or otherwise. Her father's friend. and so the precious time slipped by. lingering look around the room in which her father had died. so that long. they would return to dinner. She saw the rooms that he had occupied. It was always a comfort to her to think that she had gone. But there was another train in a couple of hours. In the suddenness of the event. whatever might be said of the propriety or impropriety of the step. Mrs.

But when night came—solemn night. Sholto was taught to carry aunt Margaret's cup of tea very carefully to her. and bethink her of this fatal year. but to re-open wounds and feelings scarcely healed.Captain Lennox fell asleep on their journey home. On some such night as this she remembered promising to herself to live as brave and noble a life as any 659 . and Margaret could cry at leisure. with their mistress pretty in her paleness and her eager sorrowful interest. and when the feelings and conscience had been first awakened into full activity. Margaret roused herself from her heavy trance of almost superstitious hopelessness. But at the sound of the tender voices of her aunt and Edith. of merry little Sholto's glee at her arrival. and began to feel that even around her joy and gladness might gather. and at the sight of the well-lighted rooms. and by the time she went up to dress. on such a summer evening. She had Edith's place on the sofa. No sooner was she fully aware of one loss than another came—not to supersede her grief for the one before. out of the warm gloom which lies motionless around the horizon. Margaret's room had been the day nursery of her childhood. and all the house was quiet. the faint pink reflection of earthly lights on the soft clouds that float tranquilly into the white moonlight. just when it merged into girlhood. and all the woes it had brought to her. she could thank God for having spared her dear old friend a long or a painful illness. Margaret still sate watching the beauty of a London sky at such an hour.

660 . she might have fearlessly told the truth. all temptation to it. Bell had promised to do. in the presence of God. that all excuses for it. as Mr. she prayed that she might have strength to speak and act the truth for evermore. was a necessary condition in the truly heroic. Trusting to herself. Her own first thought of how. Mr. she had fallen.heroine she ever read or heard of in romance. It was a just consequence of her sin. but also to pray. a life sans peur et sans reproche. and dearest lives in peril. it had seemed to her then that she had only to will.—if no one should ever know of her truth or her falsehood to measure out their honour or contempt for her by. and such a life would be accomplished. acted. And now she had learnt that not only to will. or kept silence with intent to deceive. Thornton's eyes. If all the world spoke. straight alone where she stood. was a very small and petty consideration. should remain for ever unknown to the person in whose opinion it had sunk her lowest. She knew it for what it was. now that she was afresh taught by death what life should be. Nay. and that the motive ennobled the evil. if she had known all. seemed low and poor. She stood face to face at last with her sin. had never had much real weight with her. even now.—if dearest interests were at stake. her anxiety to have her character for truth partially excused in Mr. Bell's kindly sophistry that nearly all men were guilty of equivocal actions.

Grief hath an influence so hush'd and holy. and you are wrong. it seems she knew she was to have it all along. and two hundred and fifty pounds a year was something ridiculous. only she had no idea it was so much. Margaret has had a lawyer's letter. She had pulled his tall head down. she came prancing towards her husband. Captain Lennox was. A week afterwards. if he had ever heard.' HOOD. at the present value of property in Milton. considering that she did not take wine. With many doubtful pauses by the way. but he had never wanted her to pay for her board.' 'Indeed! and how does she take her good fortune?' 'Oh. he had forgotten. most noble Captain. 'Is not Margaret the heiress?' whispered Edith to her husband. as they were in their room alone at night after the sad journey to Oxford. She looks very 661 . it could not be much that a Fellow of a small college had to leave. and stood upon tiptoe. and implored him not to be shocked. Edith came down upon her feet a little bit sadder. before she had ventured to ask this question. however. and she is residuary legatee—the legacies being about two thousand pounds. quite in the dark. and made him a low curtsey: 'I am right.CHAPTER XLIX BREATHING TRANQUILLITY 'And down the sunny beach she paces slowly. and the remainder about forty thousand. with a romance blown to pieces.

I don't. She has been very farouche with me for a long time.' said Edith. and stole away to tell you. 'What you are thinking of. I will see my ground clear. you know. I know so very few!' 662 . but that's nonsense.white and pale.' It seemed to be supposed. It may not be very civil. I left mamma pouring congratulations down her throat. She has the making of a Cleopatra in her. 'Henry. may or may not happen.' said Edith.' said he. Edith. 'I am very glad she is a Christian. He was never so happy as when teaching her of what all these mysteries of the law were the signs and types. She was so entirely ignorant of all forms of business that in nearly everything she had to refer to him. that the most natural thing was to consider Mr.' 'For my part. and will soon go off.' said he with forced coolness. and says she's afraid of it.' 'Oh. and is only just beginning to thaw a little from her Zenobia ways. very well. archly. reddening. 'And I desire you not to tell me. if only she were a little more pagan. He chose out her attorney. Montagu so often to the house. but if you meddle in it you will mar it. one day. but this time. he came to her with papers to be signed. before I commit myself. 'do you know what I hope and expect all these long conversations with Margaret will end in?' 'No.' 'Just as you choose. then I need not tell Sholto not to ask Mr. Lennox henceforward as Margaret's legal adviser. by general consent. Ask whom you choose. a little maliciously.

she had to content herself with Cromer. that Mr. They had all along wished her to accompany them. and why she had done it. Whatever opinion—however changed it might be from what Mr. Bell would have given Mr. would have given her rest on a point on which she should now all her life be restless. that there was no possible way of explaining them save the one which she had lost by Mr. To that place her aunt Shaw and the Lennoxes were bound. her heart did not ache the less with 663 . She must just submit. to be misunderstood. unless she could resolve not to think upon it. and. with their characters. they made but lazy efforts to forward her own separate wish. Bell's death. It was now so long after the time of these occurrences. Thornton the simple facts of the family circumstances which had preceded the unfortunate accident that led to Leonards' death. Perhaps Cromer was. the best for her. consequently. but. although to the last she hoped that some fortunate occasion would call Frederick to Paris. whither she could easily have met with a convoy. She needed bodily strengthening and bracing as well as rest. Thornton had once entertained.There was no Spain for Margaret that autumn. she had wished it to be based upon a true understanding of what she had done. like many another. was the hope. Among other hopes that had vanished. It would have been a pleasure to her. though reasoning herself into the belief that in this hers was no uncommon lot. in one sense of the expression. Instead of Cadiz. the trust she had had.

which went up continually. that Mr.longing that some time—years and years hence—before he died at any rate. her hands clasped round her knees. and hailed a proposal of her husband's with great satisfaction. the eternal psalm.—or she looked out upon the more distant heave. on his return from Scotland in October. gazing intently on the waves as they chafed with perpetual motion against the pebbly shore. The nurses. while her aunt Shaw did small shoppings. Listlessly she sat there. Henry Lennox should be asked to take Cromer for a week. on the ground. and resolved to strive and make the best of that. sauntering on with their charges. he might know how much she had been tempted. if only she could be sure that he would know. And when the family gathered at dinnertime. and heard. But this wish was vain. and when she had schooled herself into this conviction. But all this time for thought enabled Margaret to put events in their right places. without being conscious of hearing. She was soothed without knowing how or why. She thought that she did not want to hear that all was explained to him. and wonder in whispers what she could find to look at so long. and Edith and Captain Lennox rode far and wide on shore and inland. Margaret was so silent and absorbed that Edith voted her moped. as to origin and 664 . She used to sit long hours upon the beach. day after day. and sparkle against the sky. like so many others. would pass and repass her. she turned with all her heart and strength to the life that lay immediately before her.

'I knew it would suit her the moment I saw it. or her lips so ripe and red—and her face altogether so full of peace and light. He saw the latent sweep of her mind.' 'That's the bonnet I got her!' said Edith. Lennox.' From this time the clever and ambitious man bent all his powers to gaining Margaret. in the halfcontemptuous.' said he. He looked upon her fortune only as a part of the complete and superb character of herself and her position: yet he was fully aware of the rise which it would immediately enable 665 .'—he dropped his voice. I should fancy. half-indulgent tone he generally used to Edith. No mere bonnet would have made Miss Hale's eyes so lustrous and yet so soft. the look that Margaret's face was gradually acquiring. He loved her sweet beauty. Mr. Those hours by the sea-side were not lost. triumphantly. 'But I believe I know the difference between the charms of a dress and the charms of a woman. which could easily (he thought) be led to embrace all the objects on which he had set his heart. Henry Lennox was excessively struck by the change.—She is like. as any one might have seen who had had the perception to read. and yet more.' 'I beg your pardon. both as regarded her past life and her future. when she first left the room after his arrival in their family circle. 'She looks ten years younger than she did in Harley Street. or the care to understand.—'like the Margaret Hale of Helstone.significance.' said Mr. 'The sea has done Miss Hale an immense deal of good.

him, the poor barrister, to take. Eventually he would earn such success, and such honours, as would enable him to pay her back, with interest, that first advance in wealth which he should owe to her. He had been to Milton on business connected with her property, on his return from Scotland; and with the quick eye of a skilled lawyer, ready ever to take in and weigh contingencies, he had seen that much additional value was yearly accruing to the lands and tenements which she owned in that prosperous and increasing town. He was glad to find that the present relationship between Margaret and himself, of client and legal adviser, was gradually superseding the recollection of that unlucky, mismanaged day at Helstone. He had thus unusual opportunities of intimate intercourse with her, besides those that arose from the connection between the families. Margaret was only too willing to listen as long as he talked of Milton, though he had seen none of the people whom she more especially knew. It had been the tone with her aunt and cousin to speak of Milton with dislike and contempt; just such feelings as Margaret was ashamed to remember she had expressed and felt on first going to live there. But Mr. Lennox almost exceeded Margaret in his appreciation of the character of Milton and its inhabitants. Their energy, their power, their indomitable courage in struggling and fighting; their lurid vividness of existence, captivated and arrested his attention. He was never tired of talking about them; and had never perceived how selfish and

material were too many of the ends they proposed to themselves as the result of all their mighty, untiring endeavour, till Margaret, even in the midst of her gratification, had the candour to point this out, as the tainting sin in so much that was noble, and to be admired. Still, when other subjects palled upon her, and she gave but short answers to many questions, Henry Lennox found out that an enquiry as to some Darkshire peculiarity of character, called back the light into her eye, the glow into her cheek. When they returned to town, Margaret fulfilled one of her sea-side resolves, and took her life into her own hands. Before they went to Cromer, she had been as docile to her aunt's laws as if she were still the scared little stranger who cried herself to sleep that first night in the Harley Street nursery. But she had learnt, in those solemn hours of thought, that she herself must one day answer for her own life, and what she had done with it; and she tried to settle that most difficult problem for women, how much was to be utterly merged in obedience to authority, and how much might be set apart for freedom in working. Mrs. Shaw was as good-tempered as could be; and Edith had inherited this charming domestic quality; Margaret herself had probably the worst temper of the three, for her quick perceptions, and over-lively imagination made her hasty, and her early isolation from sympathy had made her proud; but she had an indescribable childlike sweetness of heart, which made her manners, even in her rarely wilful moods, irresistible of old; and

now, chastened even by what the world called her good fortune, she charmed her reluctant aunt into acquiescence with her will. So Margaret gained the acknowledgment of her right to follow her own ideas of duty. 'Only don't be strong-minded,' pleaded Edith. 'Mamma wants you to have a footman of your own; and I'm sure you're very welcome, for they're great plagues. Only to please me, darling, don't go and have a strong mind; it's the only thing I ask. Footman or no footman, don't be strong-minded.' 'Don't be afraid, Edith. I'll faint on your hands at the servants' dinner-time, the very first opportunity; and then, what with Sholto playing with the fire, and the baby crying, you'll begin to wish for a strong-minded woman, equal to any emergency.' 'And you'll not grow too good to joke and be merry?' 'Not I. I shall be merrier than I have ever been, now I have got my own way.' 'And you'll not go a figure, but let me buy your dresses for you?' 'Indeed I mean to buy them for myself. You shall come with me if you like; but no one can please me but myself.' 'Oh! I was afraid you'd dress in brown and dustcolour, not to show the dirt you'll pick up in all those places. I'm glad you're going to keep one or two vanities, just by way of specimens of the old Adam.' 'I'm going to be just the same, Edith, if you and my aunt could but fancy so. Only as I have neither

husband nor child to give me natural duties, I must make myself some, in addition to ordering my gowns.' In the family conclave, which was made up of Edith, her mother, and her husband, it was decided that perhaps all these plans of hers would only secure her the more for Henry Lennox. They kept her out of the way of other friends who might have eligible sons or brothers; and it was also agreed that she never seemed to take much pleasure in the society of any one but Henry, out of their own family. The other admirers, attracted by her appearance or the reputation of her fortune, were swept away, by her unconscious smiling disdain, into the paths frequented by other beauties less fastidious, or other heiresses with a larger amount of gold. Henry and she grew slowly into closer intimacy; but neither he nor she were people to brook the slightest notice of their proceedings.


CHANGES AT MILTON 'Here we go up, up, up; And here we go down, down, downee!' NURSERY SONG. Meanwhile, at Milton the chimneys smoked, the ceaseless roar and mighty beat, and dizzying whirl of machinery, struggled and strove perpetually. Senseless and purposeless were wood and iron and steam in their endless labours; but the persistence of their monotonous work was rivalled in tireless endurance by the strong crowds, who, with sense and with purpose, were busy and restless in seeking after—What? In the streets there were few loiterers,—none walking for mere pleasure; every man's face was set in lines of eagerness or anxiety; news was sought for with fierce avidity; and men jostled each other aside in the Mart and in the Exchange, as they did in life, in the deep selfishness of competition. There was gloom over the town. Few came to buy, and those who did were looked at suspiciously by the sellers; for credit was insecure, and the most stable might have their fortunes affected by the sweep in the great neighbouring port among the shipping houses. Hitherto there had been no failures in Milton; but, from the immense speculations that had come to light in making a bad end in America, and yet nearer home, it was known that some Milton houses of business must suffer so severely that every day men's faces asked, if their tongues did not, 'What news? Who

is gone? How will it affect me?' And if two or three spoke together, they dwelt rather on the names of those who were safe than dared to hint at those likely, in their opinion, to go; for idle breath may, at such times, cause the downfall of some who might otherwise weather the storm; and one going down drags many after. 'Thornton is safe,' say they. 'His business is large— extending every year; but such a head as he has, and so prudent with all his daring!' Then one man draws another aside, and walks a little apart, and, with head inclined into his neighbour's ear, he says, 'Thornton's business is large; but he has spent his profits in extending it; he has no capital laid by; his machinery is new within these two years, and has cost him—we won't say what!—a word to the wise!' But that Mr. Harrison was a croaker,—a man who had succeeded to his father's trade-made fortune, which he had feared to lose by altering his mode of business to any having a larger scope; yet he grudged every penny made by others more daring and far-sighted. But the truth was, Mr. Thornton was hard pressed. He felt it acutely in his vulnerable point—his pride in the commercial character which he had established for himself. Architect of his own fortunes, he attributed this to no special merit or qualities of his own, but to the power, which he believed that commerce gave to every brave, honest, and persevering man, to raise himself to a level from which he might see and read the great game of worldly success, and honestly, by such far-sightedness, command more power and influence

than in any other mode of life. Far away, in the East and in the West, where his person would never be known, his name was to be regarded, and his wishes to be fulfilled, and his word pass like gold. That was the idea of merchant-life with which Mr. Thornton had started. 'Her merchants be like princes,' said his mother, reading the text aloud, as if it were a trumpet-call to invite her boy to the struggle. He was but like many others—men, women, and children—alive to distant, and dead to near things. He sought to possess the influence of a name in foreign countries and far-away seas,—to become the head of a firm that should be known for generations; and it had taken him long silent years to come even to a glimmering of what he might be now, to-day, here in his own town, his own factory, among his own people. He and they had led parallel lives—very close, but never touching—till the accident (or so it seemed) of his acquaintance with Higgins. Once brought face to face, man to man, with an individual of the masses around him, and (take notice) out of the character of master and workman, in the first instance, they had each begun to recognise that 'we have all of us one human heart.' It was the fine point of the wedge; and until now, when the apprehension of losing his connection with two or three of the workmen whom he had so lately begun to know as men,—of having a plan or two, which were experiments lying very close to his heart, roughly nipped off without trial,—gave a new poignancy to the subtle fear that came over him from time to time; until

now, he had never recognised how much and how deep was the interest he had grown of late to feel in his position as manufacturer, simply because it led him into such close contact, and gave him the opportunity of so much power, among a race of people strange, shrewd, ignorant; but, above all, full of character and strong human feeling. He reviewed his position as a Milton manufacturer. The strike a year and a half ago,—or more, for it was now untimely wintry weather, in a late spring,—that strike, when he was young, and he now was old—had prevented his completing some of the large orders he had then on hand. He had locked up a good deal of his capital in new and expensive machinery, and he had also bought cotton largely, for the fulfilment of these orders, taken under contract. That he had not been able to complete them, was owing in some degree to the utter want of skill on the part of the Irish hands whom he had imported; much of their work was damaged and unfit to be sent forth by a house which prided itself on turning out nothing but first-rate articles. For many months, the embarrassment caused by the strike had been an obstacle in Mr. Thornton's way; and often, when his eye fell on Higgins, he could have spoken angrily to him without any present cause, just from feeling how serious was the injury that had arisen from this affair in which he was implicated. But when he became conscious of this sudden, quick resentment, he resolved to curb it. It would not satisfy him to avoid Higgins; he must convince himself that he was master

over his own anger, by being particularly careful to allow Higgins access to him, whenever the strict rules of business, or Mr. Thornton's leisure permitted. And byand-bye, he lost all sense of resentment in wonder how it was, or could be, that two men like himself and Higgins, living by the same trade, working in their different ways at the same object, could look upon each other's position and duties in so strangely different a way. And thence arose that intercourse, which though it might not have the effect of preventing all future clash of opinion and action, when the occasion arose, would, at any rate, enable both master and man to look upon each other with far more charity and sympathy, and bear with each other more patiently and kindly. Besides this improvement of feeling, both Mr. Thornton and his workmen found out their ignorance as to positive matters of fact, known heretofore to one side, but not to the other. But now had come one of those periods of bad trade, when the market falling brought down the value of all large stocks; Mr. Thornton's fell to nearly half. No orders were coming in; so he lost the interest of the capital he had locked up in machinery; indeed, it was difficult to get payment for the orders completed; yet there was the constant drain of expenses for working the business. Then the bills became due for the cotton he had purchased; and money being scarce, he could only borrow at exorbitant interest, and yet he could not realise any of his property. But he did not despair; he exerted himself day and night to foresee and to provide

for all emergencies; he was as calm and gentle to the women in his home as ever; to the workmen in his mill he spoke not many words, but they knew him by this time; and many a curt, decided answer was received by them rather with sympathy for the care they saw pressing upon him, than with the suppressed antagonism which had formerly been smouldering, and ready for hard words and hard judgments on all occasions. 'Th' measter's a deal to potter him,' said Higgins, one day, as he heard Mr. Thornton's short, sharp inquiry, why such a command had not been obeyed; and caught the sound of the suppressed sigh which he heaved in going past the room where some of the men were working. Higgins and another man stopped over-hours that night, unknown to any one, to get the neglected piece of work done; and Mr. Thornton never knew but that the overlooker, to whom he had given the command in the first instance, had done it himself. 'Eh! I reckon I know who'd ha' been sorry for to see our measter sitting so like a piece o' grey calico! Th' ou'd parson would ha' fretted his woman's heart out, if he'd seen the woeful looks I have seen on our measter's face,' thought Higgins, one day, as he was approaching Mr. Thornton in Marlborough Street. 'Measter,' said he, stopping his employer in his quick resolved walk, and causing that gentleman to look up with a sudden annoyed start, as if his thoughts had been far away. 'Have yo' heerd aught of Miss Marget lately?'

'Miss—who?' replied Mr. Thornton. 'Miss Marget—Miss Hale—th' oud parson's daughter—yo known who I mean well enough, if yo'll only think a bit—' (there was nothing disrespectful in the tone in which this was said). 'Oh yes!' and suddenly, the wintry frost-bound look of care had left Mr. Thornton's face, as if some soft summer gale had blown all anxiety away from his mind; and though his mouth was as much compressed as before, his eyes smiled out benignly on his questioner. 'She's my landlord now, you know, Higgins. I hear of her through her agent here, every now and then. She's well and among friends—thank you, Higgins.' That 'thank you' that lingered after the other words, and yet came with so much warmth of feeling, let in a new light to the acute Higgins. It might be but a will-o'-th'wisp, but he thought he would follow it and ascertain whither it would lead him. 'And she's not getten married, measter?' 'Not yet.' The face was cloudy once more. 'There is some talk of it, as I understand, with a connection of the family.' 'Then she'll not be for coming to Milton again, I reckon.' 'No!' 'Stop a minute, measter.' Then going up confidentially close, he said, 'Is th' young gentleman cleared?' He enforced the depth of his intelligence by a


wink of the eye, which only made things more mysterious to Mr. Thornton. 'Th' young gentleman, I mean—Master Frederick, they ca'ad him—her brother as was over here, yo' known.' 'Over here.' 'Ay, to be sure, at th' missus's death. Yo' need na be feared of my telling; for Mary and me, we knowed it all along, only we held our peace, for we got it through Mary working in th' house.' 'And he was over. It was her brother!' 'Sure enough, and I reckoned yo' knowed it or I'd never ha' let on. Yo' knowed she had a brother?' 'Yes, I know all about him. And he was over at Mrs. Hale's death?' 'Nay! I'm not going for to tell more. I've maybe getten them into mischief already, for they kept it very close. I nobbut wanted to know if they'd getten him cleared?' 'Not that I know of. I know nothing. I only hear of Miss Hale, now, as my landlord, and through her lawyer.' He broke off from Higgins, to follow the business on which he had been bent when the latter first accosted him; leaving Higgins baffled in his endeavour. 'It was her brother,' said Mr. Thornton to himself. 'I am glad. I may never see her again; but it is a comfort— a relief—to know that much. I knew she could not be unmaidenly; and yet I yearned for conviction. Now I am glad!'

It was a little golden thread running through the dark web of his present fortunes; which were growing ever gloomier and more gloomy. His agent had largely trusted a house in the American trade, which went down, along with several others, just at this time, like a pack of cards, the fall of one compelling other failures. What were Mr. Thornton's engagements? Could he stand? Night after night he took books and papers into his own private room, and sate up there long after the family were gone to bed. He thought that no one knew of this occupation of the hours he should have spent in sleep. One morning, when daylight was stealing in through the crevices of his shutters, and he had never been in bed, and, in hopeless indifference of mind, was thinking that he could do without the hour or two of rest, which was all that he should be able to take before the stir of daily labour began again, the door of his room opened, and his mother stood there, dressed as she had been the day before. She had never laid herself down to slumber any more than he. Their eyes met. Their faces were cold and rigid, and wan, from long watching. 'Mother! why are not you in bed?' 'Son John,' said she, 'do you think I can sleep with an easy mind, while you keep awake full of care? You have not told me what your trouble is; but sore trouble you have had these many days past.' 'Trade is bad.' 'And you dread—'

'I dread nothing,' replied he, drawing up his head, and holding it erect. 'I know now that no man will suffer by me. That was my anxiety.' 'But how do you stand? Shall you—will it be a failure?' her steady voice trembling in an unwonted manner. 'Not a failure. I must give up business, but I pay all men. I might redeem myself—I am sorely tempted—' 'How? Oh, John! keep up your name—try all risks for that. How redeem it?' 'By a speculation offered to me, full of risk; but, if successful, placing me high above water-mark, so that no one need ever know the strait I am in. Still, if it fails—' 'And if it fails,' said she, advancing, and laying her hand on his arm, her eyes full of eager light. She held her breath to hear the end of his speech. 'Honest men are ruined by a rogue,' said he gloomily. 'As I stand now, my creditors, money is safe—every farthing of it; but I don't know where to find my own— it may be all gone, and I penniless at this moment. Therefore, it is my creditors' money that I should risk.' 'But if it succeeded, they need never know. Is it so desperate a speculation? I am sure it is not, or you would never have thought of it. If it succeeded—' 'I should be a rich man, and my peace of conscience would be gone!' 'Why! You would have injured no one.' 'No; but I should have run the risk of ruining many for my own paltry aggrandisement. Mother, I have

mother. What can you do?' 'Be always the same John Thornton in whatever circumstances.' said he. It is hard. 'how it comes about. and now I don't believe there is such a thing in the world. I have discovered new powers in my situation too late—and now all is over. mother. you. he labours.' He turned away from her.decided! You won't much grieve over our leaving this house. and his labour comes to nought. with gloomy defiance in her tone. and hold their paltry names high and dry above shame. 680 . just man. and she cares no more for his affection than if he had been any common man. I am too old to begin again with the same heart. and kissed him through her tears. Here is my boy—good son. and covered his face with his hands.' said she. though you and I may be beggars together— my own dear son!' She fell upon his neck. endeavouring to do right.' 'Shame never touched me. and then trying to be brave in setting to afresh. tender heart—and he fails in all he sets his mind upon: he finds a woman to love. But it is hard. Other people prosper and grow rich. in a low tone: but she went on.—now you are come to this. 'I sometimes have wondered where justice was gone to. dear mother?' 'No! but to have you other than what you are will break my heart. 'I can't think. shall you. my own John Thornton. I have so worked and planned. and making great blunders.

'Mother.' 'I have had a many. The silence around her struck her at last.' She shook with the sobs that come so convulsively when an old person weeps. have been rebellious. She would have nothing to do with religion just then. which I have never forgotten. but not for you. 'but none so sore as this. noble.' he went on. remembering all the cares and trials you have had to bear.'Mother!' said he. very. trustful words then. She looked. you said brave. and we were sometimes sorely short of comforts—which we shall never be now. 'I. too. as you helped me when I was a child. sobbing. 'who has sent me my lot in life. it would make me feel something of the pious simplicity of my childhood. mother. Speak to me again in the old way. his arms thrown half across it. his head bent face downwards. No sound. If you would say the old good words. though they may have lain dormant. mother. but they would come differently from you. both of good and of evil?' She shook her head. John. To see you cast down from your rightful place! I could say it for myself. Not for you! God has seen fit to be very hard on you. holding her gently in his arms. seeing that she would not speak. Do not let us have to think that the world has too much hardened our hearts. Then you said many good words—when my father died. 681 . I say them to myself. and she quieted herself to listen. Her son sate by the table. but I am striving to be so no longer. Help me.' said she.

and were. and she saw that he was himself once again. That hope for the revival of trade must utterly be given up. But the wind was in the east. if not in harmony. as the rigidity melted out of the countenance and the natural colour returned.'Oh. She thanked God for this. and let the ruddy light of dawn flood the room. but. pallid look of gloom was on it. however they might henceforward keep silence on all these anxieties. that for a moment it struck her that this look was the forerunner of death. Fanny's husband was vexed at Thornton's refusal to take any share in the speculation which he had offered to him. he had to give 682 . there would be no demand for light summer goods this year. which indeed the speculator needed for his own venture. but he went and opened the shutters. but that which Mr. He did not speak readily. at least not in discord with each other. the weather was piercing cold. all worldly mortification sank to nothing before the consciousness of the great blessing that he himself by his simple existence was to her. and she lifted his face up. John!' she said. they yet understood each other's feelings. There was nothing for it at last. and withdrew from any possibility of being supposed able to assist him with the ready money. Such a strange. and this alone. in their way of viewing them. and to feel sure that. as it had been for weeks. It was a great comfort to have had this conversation with his mother. with a fervour that swept away all rebellious feelings from her mind. Thornton had dreaded for many weeks.

whom he was setting up with a large capital in a neighbouring town. Thornton. they must.up the business in which he had been so long engaged with so much honour and success. be relet. He would sooner consent to be only a manager. Watson. which would frustrate what few plans he had that survived the wreck of his fortunes. where he could have a certain degree of power beyond the mere money-getting part. Success brought with it its worldly consequence of extreme admiration. 683 . if possible. Mr. than have to fall in with the tyrannical humours of a moneyed partner with whom he felt sure that he should quarrel in a few months. Thornton declined having any share in a partnership. So he waited. as the news swept through the Exchange. Hamper would have been only too glad to have secured him as a steady and experienced partner for his son. but the young man was halfeducated as regarded information. It was a nine days' wonder. of the enormous fortune which his brother-in-law had made by his daring speculation. and wholly uneducated as regarded any other responsibility than that of getting money. There was an immediate choice of situations offered to Mr. Marlborough Mills and the adjacent dwelling were held under a long lease. and brutalised both as to his pleasures and his pains. and look out for a subordinate situation. No one was considered so wise and far-seeing as Mr. Mr. and stood on one side with profound humility.

'I can't think. 'how my aunt allowed her to get into such rambling habits in Milton! I'm sure I'm always expecting to hear of her having met with something horrible among all those wretched places she pokes herself into. No one was there at first. as soon as she had tried the effect of the garniture. They're not fit for ladies. Dixon! not those horrid blue flowers to that dead gold-coloured gown. 'Oh. It was a hot summer's evening.' she went on. Edith remained to fidget about. the second ready dressed for dinner. 'Where is Miss Hale?' asked Edith. brave heart! we will be calm and strong.CHAPTER LI MEETING AGAIN 'Bear up. or tongue. but no Margaret. ma'am.' 'It's not a dead gold-colour. It's a strawcolour. What taste! Wait a minute. Sure. we can master eyes. or cheek. the first time in her habit. and I will bring you some pomegranate blossoms.' 684 . Edith came into Margaret's bedroom. the next time Edith found Dixon laying out Margaret's dress on the bed. Nor let the smallest tell-tale sign appear She ever was.' RHYMING PLAY. and will be dear. And blue always goes with straw-colour. pettishly.' But Edith had brought the brilliant scarlet flowers before Dixon had got half through her remonstrance. I should never dare to go down some of those streets without a servant. and is.

Dixon was still huffed about her despised taste.' 'I don't mind dinner. I shall really be glad to lie down. and making use of your name for an excuse.) You know we planned you to talk about Milton to Mr. and we can't do without you possibly. Oh! to be sure! and this man comes from Milton. in a low voice. But how your cheeks are flushed with the heat. Colthurst can pump him well on all the subjects in which he is interested. (Those flowers a little lower.' said Margaret. They look glorious flames. he exceeds brother-in-law's limits. delicate. with an apology it is true. rather shortly: 'It's no wonder to my mind. Margaret. and it will be great fun to trace 685 . to be sure. Colthurst. You do look wretchedly white. but that is just the heat. Mr.' 'No. 'Dixon can get me a cup of tea here. Just when my party was made up so beautifully—fitted in so precisely for Mr. in your black hair. dainty ladies too—I say it's no wonder to me that there are no longer any saints on earth—-' 'Oh. Dixon. and I will be in the drawing-room by the time you come up. so she replied. quite. after all. and asked me if he may bring that Mr. Margaret! here you are! I have been so wanting you. Thornton of Milton—your tenant. Colthurst—there has Henry come. when I hear ladies talk such a deal about being ladies—and when they're such fearful. I believe it will be capital. I don't want any. really. It will spoil my number. poor child! But only think what that tiresome Henry has done. you know—who is in London about some law business. no! that will never do.

" So I suppose he Is able to sound his h's. in a constrained voice. Dixon. that's capital. Miss Hale does us credit. which is not a common Darkshire accomplishment—eh. And now come down with me. and as brown as a gipsy. Henry will like nothing better than to tell you all about it. and a very respectable man. does she not?) I wish I was as tall as a queen. Thornton's wisdom. Lennox did not say why Mr.' The privileged brother-in-law came early and Margaret reddening as she spoke. 'He came up about this sub-letting the property— Marlborough Mills. began to ask him the questions she wanted to hear answered about Mr. Colthurst's next speech in the House. and this Mr. in Mr. and as I did not know how. Thornton?' 'Oh I really have such a terrible head for law business. Thornton. Thornton was come up to town? Was it law business connected with the property?' asked Margaret. my little sister.—what was it? (There. Really.out your experiences. I know the impression he made upon me was. and the house and premises 686 . 'Oh! he's failed. that Mr. Margaret.' 'But about Mr. that Henry told you of that day you had such a headache. or something of the kind. and rest on the sofa for a quarter of an hour. Thornton is very badly off. I asked him if he was a man one would be ashamed of. I came to you to ask you to help me. I think it is a happy hit of Henry's. and that I'm to be very civil to him. Margaret?' 'Mr. "Not if you've any sense in you. and he replied.

Thornton while he was thus occupied. and events had occurred to change him much in that time. He was aware. that Margaret was there. Henry Lennox. and there are deeds and leases to be looked over. and agreements to be drawn up. I mean. but his face looked older and care-worn. who had that moment entered. but as he ended he sprang up. and he came up to her with the perfectly regulated manner of an old friend. by whom he was sitting. as I could see. His fine figure yet bore him above the common height of men. But I thought you would like to have some attention shown him: and one would be particularly scrupulous in paying every respect to a man who is going down in the world. yet a noble composure sate upon it. and gave him a distinguished appearance. Thornton. from the first glance he had given round the room. He is unable to keep it on. Margaret looked with an anxious eye at Mr. with a sense of inherent dignity and manly strength.' He had dropped his voice to speak to Margaret. I hope Edith will receive him properly. but she was rather put out. which impressed those who had just been hearing of his changed position. With his first calm words a vivid colour flashed into her cheeks. by the liberty I had taken in begging for an invitation for him. It was considerably more than a year since she had seen him. which never left them again during the 687 . he had seen her intent look of occupation as she listened to Mr. from the ease of motion which arose out of it. to Edith and Captain Lennox. and introduced Mr.adjoining. and was natural to him.

Thornton and Mr. she found. Last autumn she was fatigued with a walk of a couple of miles. and a rising member of parliament. Thornton made at dinner-time. He had a quick eye at discerning character. Lennox talked together from time to time.' said Mr. where he and Mr.evening. She disappointed him by the quiet way in which she asked what seemed to him to be the merely necessary questions respecting her old acquaintances. Yet on Saturday she looked as well as she does now. To-night she is looking radiant. from the tone of his 'Indeed!' that Mr. Her dinner was going off well. On Friday evening we walked up to Hampstead and back. reserving them for more private after-dinner talk. Colthurst found one or two mutual subjects of interest. and brought out his dry caustic wit admirably. but others came in—more intimate in the house than he—and he fell into the background. But she is much stronger. rather to her surprise. Margaret looked beautiful in the pomegranate flowers. 'You think Miss Hale looking well. I thought I had never seen any one so much changed. Thornton of Milton was not such an unknown name to him as she had imagined it would be. I imagine. and. Lennox. Henry was in good humour. 'don't you? Milton didn't agree with her. which they could only touch upon then. Colthurst was a very clever man. and was struck by a remark which Mr. 'We!' Who? They two alone? Mr. 688 . in Milton. He enquired from Edith who that gentleman was. Mr. She did not seem to have much to say to him. for when she first came to London.

Only at some unexpected mot of Mr. as if he wanted her sympathy. Margaret languidly employed herself about some work. He never looked at her. Thornton in close conversation. Presently the gentlemen came up. Mr. his whole countenance changed. I can't conceive how he contrived to mismanage his affairs. Thornton's face. You've no idea what an agreeable. There were only two ladies besides their own party.' said Margaret. He has been the very man to give Colthurst all the facts he wanted coaching in. Margaret was watching Mr. Lennox drew near to Margaret. and for an instant. and he resolutely avoided even looking near her again during dinner. Lennox's. and note the changes which even this short time had wrought in him. But when their eyes met. his glance instinctively sought hers. He did not quite relish the 689 . Colthurst and Mr. Mr. he was grave and anxious once more. Edith was not annoyed. and as these were occupied in conversation by her aunt and Edith. the merry brightness returned to his eyes. his face flashed out into the old look of intense enjoyment. when they went up into the drawing-room. so she might study him unobserved. the lips just parted to suggest the brilliant smile of former days.' 'With his powers and opportunities you would have succeeded. sensible fellow this tenant of yours is. and said in a low voice: 'I really think Edith owes me thanks for my contribution to her party.and if she did lean back in her chair and speak but little. for the conversation flowed on smoothly without her.

and when next they could hear Mr. and that. Thornton resumed the conversation just where it 690 . Thornton was speaking. But as soon as the newly-started subject had come to a close.' 'You say "were. I heard it spoken of with great interest—curiosity as to its result. As he was silent. hastily. I fall slowly into new projects. they were mistaken." I trust you are intending to pursue the same course?' 'I must stop Colthurst.' said Henry Lennox. and with whom I would fain have no reserve. they caught a swell in the sound of conversation going on near the fire-place between Mr.' Then they lost some words. The advantages were mutual: we were both unconsciously and consciously teaching each other. Yet. 'I have not the elements for popularity—if they spoke of me in that way. even with all these drawbacks. even by those whom I desire to know. I heard your name frequently mentioned during my short stay in the neighbourhood.tone in which she spoke. although the words but expressed a thought which had passed through his own mind. I was becoming acquainted with many. so as not to give Mr. I felt that I was on the right path. starting from a kind of friendship with one. and I find it difficult to let myself be known. he turned the current of the conversation. Colthurst and Mr. perhaps I should rather say. yet apropos question. Thornton. Mr. 'I assure you. Thornton the mortification of acknowledging his want of success and consequent change of position. And by an abrupt.

Colthurst. and however much thought may have been required to organise and arrange them. I have arrived at the conviction that no mere institutions.' said Mr. I can depend upon myself for having no go-ahead theories that I would rashly bring into practice. where I may meet with employment under some one who will be willing to let me go along my own way in such matters as these.' 'You call them "experiments" I notice. and gave Mr. But I am sure they ought to be tried. who shake their heads and look grave as soon as I name the one or two experiments that I should like to try. to judge from the importance attached to it by some of our manufacturers. I am not sure of the consequences that may result from them. can attach class to class as they should be attached. Colthurst the reply to his inquiry.had been interrupted. 'Because I believe them to be such. A working man can hardly be made 691 . and have had to give up my position as a master." But it might be the point Archimedes sought from which to move the earth. unless the working out of such institutions bring the individuals of the different classes into actual personal contact. 'I have been unsuccessful in business. My only wish is to have the opportunity of cultivating some intercourse with the hands beyond the mere "cash nexus. Such intercourse is the very breath of life. however wise. I am on the look out for a situation in Milton. with a delicate increase of respect in his manner.

We should understand each other better. cease to be living. and becoming acquainted with each others' characters and persons. the working out of which would necessitate personal intercourse.' 'And you think they may prevent the recurrence of strikes?' 'Not at all. as soon as it was no longer carried on by that sort of common interest which invariably makes people find means and ways of seeing each other. apparently fitted for every emergency. But I would take an idea. it might not go well at first.' 692 . A more hopeful man might imagine that a closer and more genial intercourse between classes might do away with strikes. and even then I am sure that it would lose its vitality. and at last its success in working come to be desired by all. But I am not a hopeful man. But the hands accept it as they do machinery. and even tricks of temper and modes of speech. My utmost expectation only goes so far as this—that they may render strikes not the bitter. as all had borne a part in the formation of the plan. without understanding the intense mental labour and forethought required to bring it to such perfection. but at every hitch interest would be felt by an increasing number of men.to feel and know how much his employer may have laboured in his study at plans for the benefit of his workpeople. and I'll venture to say we should like each other more. venomous sources of hatred they have hitherto been. A complete plan emerges like a piece of machinery.

as if he knew she had been listening to all that had passed: 'Miss Hale. Lennox took his departure. 'Can I speak to you to-morrow? I want your help about—something. without having which he had determined never to offer to her again. and then dropping them under his eloquent glance. and never spoke to her again until he bid her a formal 'good night. wasn't it?' 'Yes. I will come at whatever time you name.' His eye brightened with exultation. Margaret said.Suddenly. as if he did not know exactly what he was about. You cannot give me a greater pleasure than by making me of any use. At eleven? Very well. How she was learning to depend upon him! It seemed as if any day now might give him the certainty. and began. with a blush that she could not repress. 693 . he crossed over to where Margaret was sitting. and saying.' 'Certainly. if ever I was in a position to employ men again on my own behalf. and with some hesitation. I had a round-robin from some of my men—I suspect in Higgins' handwriting—stating their wish to work for me. Just right. as if a new idea had struck him.' As Mr. I am glad of it. That was good.' said Margaret.' he turned away. 'I knew you would like it. without preface. Then sighed. He gazed back at her for a minute. looking up straight into his face with her speaking eyes.

Edith went about on tip-toe.' said Edith despondingly. I am always afraid of her going off to Cadiz.CHAPTER LII 'PACK CLOUDS AWAY' 'For joy or grief. Then there was a man's footstep running down stairs. For all hereafter. in storm or shine. as for here. 694 . 'No! not at all. and checked Sholto in all loud speaking that next morning. Henry?' said she. as if any sudden noise would interrupt the conference that was taking place in the drawing-room. if the "it" is what I conjecture you mean. That will never be. 'Come in to lunch!' 'No. and Edith peeped out of the drawing-room. rather shortly. with a look of interrogation. for hope or fear. I can't. and they still sate there with closed doors.' 'I will try. In peace or strife. 'Well. when I marry. It never will be settled.' 'But it would be so nice for us all. I've lost too much time here already. thank you. 'Well!' said he. so give up thinking about it. Two o'clock came.' ANON. 'I should always feel comfortable about the children. if I had Margaret settled down near me. to look out for a young lady who has a knowledge of the management of children. Edith. As it is.' pleaded Edith.' 'Then it's not all settled.

after keeping him waiting for nearly an hour.' 'The only detail I want you to understand is.' 'Oh. Thornton with me. Mr. You and she will be unbearably stupid. In general. Thornton came true to his time. go away if that's all. Thornton! What has he to do with it?' 'He is Miss Hale's tenant. I can't understand details. I'm coming again to-morrow.' No one ever knew why Mr.' 'Then.' 'Very well. so don't give them me. to let us have the back drawing-room undisturbed. She began hurriedly: 695 . what have you been talking about?' 'A thousand things you would not understand: investments. the children and servants are so in and out.' 'Mr. that I can never get any business satisfactorily explained. Lennox. and value of land. turning away.That is all I can do. And I shall not ask her. Miss Hale would not have me. 'And he wishes to give up his lease. and the arrangements we have to make tomorrow are of importance. Margaret came in looking very white and anxious. to have some more talk with Miss Hale. if you've been talking all this time about such weary things. as it was today. and leases. and bringing Mr. and.' 'Oh! very well. Lennox did not keep to his appointment on the following day.' said Mr.

lying just at this moment unused in the 696 . he does not understand what it is to find oneself no longer young—yet thrown back to the starting-point which requires the hopeful energy of youth—to feel one half of life gone. and nothing done—nothing remaining of wasted opportunity. if it troubles you. Miss Hale. But. Mr.' said Mr.'I am so sorry Mr. I would rather not hear Mr. Those who are happy and successful themselves are too apt to make light of the misfortunes of others.' said Margaret. I wanted to tell you. He is my adviser in this'—'I am sorry that I came. Shall I go to Mr. Lennox is not here. and statements of accounts in a trembling hurried manner.—he could have done it so much better than I can. 'Happy and fortunate in all a man cares for. Lennox's opinion of my affairs. 'Mr. but the bitter recollection that it has been. thank you. eighteen thousand and fiftyseven pounds. how grieved I was to find that I am to lose you as a tenant. Lennox has only spoken of the great probability which he believes there to be of your redeeming—your more than redeeming what you have lost—don't speak till I have ended—pray don't!' And collecting herself once more. Lennox's chambers and try and find him?' 'No. Lennox knows little about it.' 'You are unjust. she went on rapidly turning over some law papers. Thornton quietly. gently. Lennox says. 'Oh! here it is! and—he drew me out a proposal—I wish he was here to explain it—showing that if you would take some money of mine. things are sure to brighten'—'Mr.

and she went on looking for some paper on which were written down the proposals for security. towards him. for she was most anxious to have it all looked upon in the light of a mere business arrangement. and might go on working Marlborough Mills. if I must go. in which the principal advantage would be on her side. more closely hidden was the face. He came close to her.' Her voice had cleared itself and become more steady. Thornton spoke. Mr. hiding it even there. as he said:— 'Margaret!' For an instant she looked up. and whispered-panted out the words:— 'Take care. and bringing me in only two and a half per cent. 'Margaret!' Still lower went the head. Thornton did not speak.bank. and then sought to veil her luminous eyes by dropping her forehead on her hands. He knelt by her side. almost resting on the table before her. her very heart-pulse was arrested by the tone in which Mr. His voice was hoarse.—If you do not speak—I shall claim you as my own in some strange presumptuous way.—Margaret!—' At that third call she turned her face. Again.—Send me away at once. and laid it on his shoulder. and trembling with tender passion. to bring his face to a level with her ear. he besought her with another tremulous eager call upon her name. and it was too 697 . stepping nearer.—you could pay me much better interest. still covered with her small white hands. While she sought for this paper.

drawing out his pocket-book. He clasped her close.' 'Look here! Lift up your head. 'And how I requited you with my insolence the next day?' 'I remember how wrongly I spoke to you. in which were treasured up some dead flowers. I am not good enough!' 'Not good enough! Don't mock my own deep feeling of unworthiness. 'Do you remember. you did not. Mr. wondering for a minute. 'Did I give them to you?' 'No! Vanity. then she smiled a little as she said— 'They are from Helstone. Thornton. But they both kept silence. 'No!' she replied. You may have worn sister roses very probably. glowing with beautiful shame. Oh! have you been there? When were you there?' 698 . At length she murmured in a broken voice: 'Oh. he gently disengaged her hands from her face.delicious to feel her soft cheek against his.' She looked at them. and laid her arms as they had once before been placed to protect him from the rioters. love?' he murmured. for him to wish to see either deep blushes or loving eyes.—that is all. I have something to show you!' She slowly faced him. with innocent curiosity. 'Do you know these roses?' he said.' After a minute or two. are they not? I know the deep indentations round the leaves.

even at the worst time of all. after some time of delicious silence.—but what will she say?' 'I can guess.' 'Oh. Her first exclamation will be.'I wanted to see the place where Margaret grew to what she is. no! I owe to her. "That woman!"' 699 . when I had no hope of ever calling her mine. Only you must pay me for them!' 'How shall I ever tell Aunt Shaw?' she whispered.' 'You must give them to me. 'Very well. 'Let me speak to her. trying to take them out of his hand with gentle violence. 'or I shall try and show you your mother's indignant tones as she says. I went there on my return from Havre.' she said. "That man!"' 'Hush!' said Margaret.