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CHAPTERXIIISTOPPEDPAYMENT TheveryTuesdaymorningonwhichMrJohnsonwasgoingtoshowthefashions,thepost womanbroughttwoletterstothehouse.Isaythepostwoman,butIshouldsaythe postmanswife.Hewasalameshoemaker,averyclean,honestman,muchrespectedinthe town;butheneverbroughtthelettersroundexceptonunusualoccasions,suchas ChristmasDayorGoodFriday;andonthosedaystheletters,whichshouldhavebeen deliveredateightinthemorning,didnotmaketheirappearanceuntiltwoorthreeinthe afternoon,foreveryonelikedpoorThomas,andgavehimawelcomeonthesefestive occasions.Heusedtosay,Hewaswellystawedwieating,fortherewerethreeorfour houseswherenowtwouldserveembuthemustshareintheirbreakfast;andbythetime hehaddonehislastbreakfast,hecametosomeotherfriendwhowasbeginningdinner;but comewhatmightinthewayoftemptation,Tomwasalwayssober,civil,andsmiling;and,as MissJenkynsusedtosay,itwasalessoninpatience,thatshedoubtednotwouldcallout thatpreciousqualityinsomeminds,where,butforThomas,itmighthavelaindormantand undiscovered.PatiencewascertainlyverydormantinMissJenkynssmind.

.Shewasalways expectingletters,andalwaysdrummingonthetabletillthepostwomanhadcalledorgone past.OnChristmasDayandGoodFridayshedrummedfrombreakfasttillchurch,from churchtimetilltwooclockunlesswhenthefirewantedstirring,whensheinvariably knockeddownthefireirons,andscoldedMissMattyforit.Butequallycertainwasthe heartywelcomeandthegooddinnerforThomas;MissJenkynsstandingoverhimlikeabold dragoon,questioninghimastohischildrenwhattheyweredoingwhatschooltheywent to;upbraidinghimifanotherwaslikelytomakeitsappearance,butsendingeventhelittle babiestheshillingandthemincepiewhichwashergifttoallthechildren,withhalfacrown inadditionforbothfatherandmother.Thepostwasnothalfofsomuchconsequenceto dearMissMatty;butnotfortheworldwouldshehavediminishedThomasswelcomeand hisdole,thoughIcouldseethatshefeltrathershyovertheceremony,whichhadbeen regardedbyMissJenkynsasagloriousopportunityforgivingadviceandbenefitingher fellowcreatures.MissMattywouldstealthemoneyallinalumpintohishand,asifshe wereashamedofherself.MissJenkynsgavehimeachindividualcoinseparate,witha There!thatsforyourself;thatsforJenny,etc.MissMattywouldevenbeckonMarthaout ofthekitchenwhileheatehisfood:andonce,tomyknowledge,winkedatitsrapid disappearanceintoabluecottonpockethandkerchief.MissJenkynsalmostscoldedhimif hedidnotleaveacleanplate,howeverheapeditmighthavebeen,andgaveaninjunction witheverymouthful. Ihavewanderedalongwayfromthetwolettersthatawaitedusonthebreakfasttablethat Tuesdaymorning.Minewasfrommyfather.MissMattyswasprinted.Myfatherswas justamansletter;Imeanitwasverydull,andgavenoinformationbeyondthathewas well,thattheyhadhadagooddealofrain,thattradewasverystagnant,andtherewere manydisagreeablerumoursafloat.HethenaskedmeifIknewwhetherMissMattystill retainedhersharesintheTownandCountyBank,astherewereveryunpleasantreports

CAPTULOXIIIPAGODETENIDO ElmismomartesporlamaanaenlaqueelSr.Johnsonibaamostrarlamoda,elpostmujer trajodoscartasalacasa.Yodigoqueelpostmujer,perodebodecirlaesposadelcartero. Eraunzapaterocojo,unlugarmuylimpio,honesto,muyrespetadoenlaciudad,peronunca llevlarondadecartas,salvoenocasionespococomunes,comoeldadeNavidadoel ViernesSanto,yenesosdaslascartas,quedeberahabersidoentregadoalasochodela maana,nohicieronsuaparicinhastalasdosolastresdelatarde,porcadaunolegustaba pobreThomas,ylediolabienvenidaenestasocasionesfestivas.lsoladecir:"lera stawedwelly'comer,porquehabatresocuatrocasasenelnowtservira'wiemperodeben compartirsudesayuno",yporeltiempoquehabahechosultimodesayuno,llegaotro amigoqueestabaempezandolacena,peropasaraloquepasaraenelcaminodela tentacin,Tomsiemprefuesobrio,civil,ysonriendo,y,comoJenkinsseoritasoladecir, eraunaleccindepaciencia,quedudabadenollamarquepreciosacualidadenalgunas mentes,donde,peroporThomas,podrahaberpermanecidoenestadolatenteypor descubrir.LapacienciafuesindudamuylatenteenlamentedelaseoritaJenkins.Siempre estabaesperandocartas,ysiempregolpeandolamesa,hastalapostmujerhaballamadoo sehanpasado.EldadeNavidadyelViernesSantosetamboriledesdeeldesayunohastala iglesia,delaiglesiadetiempohastalasdosamenosquecuandoelfuegorevolviendo quera,cuandoellasiempreechabajolaplanchaalfuego,yregaaMissMattyporello. PeroigualmenteciertoeslacalurosabienvenidaylacenabuenoparaThomas,Jenkins seoritadepiesobrelcomounvalientedragn,lepreguntabanasushijosloqueestaban haciendoloquelaescuelasefuerona,reprendiendoalsiotroeraprobablequesu apariencia,peroelenvodelosbebs,inclusoelchelnylacarnepicadapie,queerasu regaloparatodoslosnios,conmediacorona,ademsdepadreymadre.Elpuestonoerala mitaddetantaimportanciaalaqueridaMissMatty,peronoparaelmundoquehan disminuidoThomasesbienvenidoysusubsidiodedesempleo,aunquepudeverquese sentamsbientmidodurantelaceremonia,quehabasidoconsideradoporJenkins seoritacomounaoportunidadgloriosaparadarconsejosybeneficiandoasussemejantes. MissMattyarobartodoeldineroenunbultoenlamano,comosiestuvieraavergonzadade smisma.LaseoritaJenkinsledioacadamonedaporseparadoindividuales,conun"Ah est!esoesparati,esoesparaJenny",etcMissMattyinclusoinvitanMarthadelacocina mientrassecomasucomida,yunavez,queyosepa,hizounguioasurpidadesaparicin enunalgodnazulpauelo.Jenkinssepierdacasileregaabasinodejarunplatolimpio,sin embargoacumuladoquepodrahabersido,ylediounaordenconcadabocado. Yoheviajadounlargocaminodelasdoscartasquenosesperabaenlamesadeldesayuno delamaanadelmartes.Elmoerademipadre.MissMattyfueimpreso.Mipadreeraslo lacartadeunhombre,quierodecirqueeramuyaburrido,ynodioningunainformacinms alldequeestababien,quehabantenidounabuenacantidaddelluvia,queelcomercio estabamuyestancada,yhabamuchosrumoresdesagradablesaflote.Luegomepreguntsi sabasiMissMattyanconservasuparticipacinenlaCiudadyelBancodelCondado,ya

aboutit;thoughnothingmorethanhehadalwaysforeseen,andhadprophesiedtoMiss Jenkynsyearsago,whenshewouldinvesttheirlittlepropertyinittheonlyunwisestep thatcleverwomanhadevertaken,tohisknowledge(theonlytimesheeveractedagainst hisadvice,Iknew).However,ifanythinghadgonewrong,ofcourseIwasnottothinkof leavingMissMattywhileIcouldbeofanyuse,etc. Whoisyourletterfrom,mydear?Mineisaverycivilinvitation,signedEdwinWilson, askingmetoattendanimportantmeetingoftheshareholdersoftheTownandCounty Bank,tobeheldinDrumble,onThursdaythetwentyfirst.Iamsure,itisveryattentiveof themtorememberme. Ididnotliketohearofthisimportantmeeting,for,thoughIdidnotknowmuchabout business,Ifeareditconfirmedwhatmyfathersaid:however,Ithought,illnewsalways camefastenough,soIresolvedtosaynothingaboutmyalarm,andmerelytoldherthatmy fatherwaswell,andsenthiskindregardstoher.Shekeptturningoverandadmiringher letter.Atlastshespoke IremembertheirsendingonetoDeborahjustlikethis;butthatIdidnotwonderat,for everybodyknewshewassoclearheaded.IamafraidIcouldnothelpthemmuch;indeed,if theycametoaccounts,Ishouldbequiteintheway,forInevercoulddosumsinmyhead. Deborah,Iknow,ratherwishedtogo,andwentsofarastoorderanewbonnetforthe occasion:butwhenthetimecameshehadabadcold;sotheysentheraverypoliteaccount ofwhattheyhaddone.Chosenadirector,Ithinkitwas.Doyouthinktheywantmetohelp themtochooseadirector?IamsureIshouldchooseyourfatheratonce! Myfatherhasnosharesinthebank,saidI. Oh,no!Iremember.HeobjectedverymuchtoDeborahsbuyingany,Ibelieve.Butshe wasquitethewomanofbusiness,andalwaysjudgedforherself;andhere,yousee,they havepaideightpercent.alltheseyears. Itwasaveryuncomfortablesubjecttome,withmyhalfknowledge;soIthoughtIwould changetheconversation,andIaskedatwhattimeshethoughtwehadbettergoandseethe fashions.Well,mydear,shesaid,thethingisthis:itisnotetiquettetogotillafter twelve;butthen,yousee,allCranfordwillbethere,andonedoesnotliketobetoocurious aboutdressandtrimmingsandcapswithalltheworldlookingon.Itisnevergenteeltobe overcuriousontheseoccasions.Deborahhadtheknackofalwayslookingasifthelatest fashionwasnothingnewtoher;amannershehadcaughtfromLadyArley,whodidseeall thenewmodesinLondon,youknow.SoIthoughtwewouldjustslipdownforIdowant thismorning,soonafterbreakfasthalfapoundoftea andthenwecouldgoupand

quehayinformesmuydesagradablessobreella,aunquenadamsdeloquehabaprevisto siempre,yhabaprofetizadoalaseoritaJenkinsaosatrs,cuandoseinviertensusescasos bienes,enellaelnicopasoimprudentequeunamujerinteligentehabatomado,asu conocimiento(lanicavezqueactuencontradesusconsejos,yosaba).Sinembargo,si algohubierasalidomal,porsupuesto,noerapensarensalirdeMissMatty,mientrasque podraserdealgunautilidad,etc "Quinestucartademihijo?Lamaesunainvitacinmuycivil,firmado"EdwinWilson," quemepidequeasistiraunaimportantereunindelosaccionistasdelaCiudadyelBanco delCondado,quesecelebrarenDrumble,eljuevesla21a.Estoyseguro,esmuyatentode quemerecuerde". Nomegustaorhablardeesta"reuninimportante",porque,aunqueyonosabamucho sobreelnegocio,yotemaqueconfirmloquemipadremedijo:sinembargo,pens,malas noticiassiemprefuelosuficientementerpido,asquemedecidadecirnadademialarma, ysloledijequemipadreeraas,yenviasutipoderelacinconella.Siguidandovueltas yadmirandosucarta.Porfinhabl "RecuerdoqueenvaasusDeborahigualqueeste,peroquenomeasombro,portodoel mundosabaqueestabatanlcido.Metemoquenopodaayudarmucho,dehecho,sise llegalascuentas,deberaserbastanteenelcamino,porquenuncapodahacersumasen micabeza.Deborah,los,ynoquerair,ysefuetanlejoscomoparapedirunnuevocap paralaocasin,perocuandollegelmomentoquetenaunfuerteresfriado,asqueleenvi unrelatomuycortsdeloquehabanhecho.Elegidoundirector,creoquefue.Creeusted queellosquierenquelesayudanaelegirundirector?Estoysegurodequedebeelegirasu padrealavez!" "Mipadrenotieneaccionesenelbanco",dijoI. "Oh,no!Recuerdo.lseopusomuchoaDeborahcompraralguno,yocreo.Peroellaestaba muyalamujerdenegocios,ysiempresejuzgaasmisma,yaqu,comoves,sehanpagado ochoporciento.todosestosaos." Erauntemamuyincmodoparam,conmiconocimientoamedias,asquepensqueibaa cambiarlaconversacin,ylepreguntenqumomentopensqueseramejoriraverlas modas."Bueno,querida,"dijo,"loquepasaesesto:noeslaetiquetaparairhastadespus delasdoce,peroluego,yaves,todoCranfordestarall,yunonolegustaserdemasiado curiososobrelavestimentayguarnicionesytapascontodoelmundomirando.Nuncaes gentilaserdemasiadocuriosoenestasocasiones.Deborahtenalahabilidaddemirar siemprecomosilaltimamodanoeranadanuevoparaella,demaneraquehabacogidode LadyArley,quienhizovertodoslosnuevosmodosdeLondres,yasabes.Asquepensque slosedeslizabahaciaabajo paraquequieroestamaana,pocodespusdeldesayunode

examinethethingsatourleisure,andseeexactlyhowmynewsilkgownmustbemade;and then,aftertwelve,wecouldgowithourmindsdisengaged,andfreefromthoughtsof dress. WebegantotalkofMissMattysnewsilkgown.Idiscoveredthatitwouldbereallythefirst timeinherlifethatshehadhadtochooseanythingofconsequenceforherself:forMiss Jenkynshadalwaysbeenthemoredecidedcharacter,whateverhertastemighthavebeen; anditisastonishinghowsuchpeoplecarrytheworldbeforethembythemereforceofwill. MissMattyanticipatedthesightoftheglossyfoldswithasmuchdelightasifthefive sovereigns,setapartforthepurchase,couldbuyallthesilksintheshop;and(remembering myownlossoftwohoursinatoyshopbeforeIcouldtellonwhatwondertospendasilver threepence)Iwasverygladthatweweregoingearly,thatdearMissMattymighthave leisureforthedelightsofperplexity. Ifahappyseagreencouldbemetwith,thegownwastobeseagreen:ifnot,sheinclinedto maize,andItosilvergray;andwediscussedtherequisitenumberofbreadthsuntilwe arrivedattheshopdoor.Weweretobuythetea,selectthesilk,andthenclamberupthe ironcorkscrewstairsthatledintowhatwasoncealoft,thoughnowafashionshowroom. TheyoungmenatMrJohnsonshadontheirbestlooks;andtheirbestcravats,andpivoted themselvesoverthecounterwithsurprisingactivity.Theywantedtoshowusupstairsat once;butontheprincipleofbusinessfirstandpleasureafterwards,westayedtopurchase thetea.HereMissMattysabsenceofmindbetrayeditself.Ifshewasmadeawarethatshe hadbeendrinkinggreenteaatanytime,shealwaysthoughtitherdutytolieawakehalf throughthenightafterward(Ihaveknownhertakeitinignorancemanyatimewithoutsuch effects),andconsequentlygreenteawasprohibitedthehouse;yettodaysheherselfasked fortheobnoxiousarticle,undertheimpressionthatshewastalkingaboutthesilk. However,themistakewassoonrectified;andthenthesilkswereunrolledingoodtruth.By thistimetheshopwasprettywellfilled,foritwasCranfordmarketday,andmanyofthe farmersandcountrypeoplefromtheneighbourhoodroundcamein,sleekingdowntheir hair,andglancingshylyabout,fromundertheireyelids,asanxioustotakebacksomenotion oftheunusualgaietytothemistressorthelassesathome,andyetfeelingthattheywere outofplaceamongthesmartshopmenandgayshawlsandsummerprints.Onehonest lookingman,however,madehiswayuptothecounteratwhichwestood,andboldlyasked tolookatashawlortwo.Theothercountryfolkconfinedthemselvestothegroceryside; butourneighbourwasevidentlytoofullofsomekindintentiontowardsmistress,wifeor daughter,tobeshy;anditsoonbecameaquestionwithme,whetherheorMissMatty wouldkeeptheirshopmenthelongesttime.Hethoughteachshawlmorebeautifulthanthe last;and,asforMissMatty,shesmiledandsighedovereachfreshbalethatwasbrought out;onecoloursetoffanother,andtheheaptogetherwould,asshesaid,makeeventhe rainbowlookpoor.

medialibradetyluegopodamosiryexaminarlascosasennuestrotiempolibre,yver exactamentecmomivestidodesedanuevodebehacerse,yentonces,despusdedoce aos,podemosirconlamentelibre,ylibredepensamientosdevestir". EmpezamosahablardevestidodesedanuevaMissMatty.Descubrqueserarealmentela primeravezensuvidaquehabatenidoqueelegircualquiercosadeimportanciaparaella: laseoritaJenkinshabasidosiempreelcarctermsdecidido,cualquieraqueseasugusto podrahabersido,yesasombrosocmolagentecomollevarelmundodelantedeellospor lamerafuerzadevoluntad.MissMattyanticipadoalavistadelosplieguesbrillantecon tantodeleitecomosiloscincoreyes,apartedelacompra,puedecomprartodaslassedasen latienda,y(recordandomipropiaprdidadedoshorasenunatiendadejuguetesantesde quepudieradecirenloquesepreguntanparapasartrespeniquesdeplata)queestabamuy contentodequebamostemprano,esaqueridaMissMattypodratenertiempolibrepara lasdeliciasdelaperplejidad. Siunfelizmarverdepodraserencontrado,elvestidoeradecolorverdemar:sino, inclinadosalmaz,yhastaelgrisplata,yhemosdiscutidoelnmeronecesariodeanchuras hastaquellegamosalatiendadelapuerta.Fuimosacomprarelt,seleccionelaseda,y luegotreparporlaescaleraespiraldehierroqueconducaaloqueanteseraunloft,aunque ahoraundesfiledemodadelahabitacin. LosjvenesenelSr.Johnsonhatenidoensumejoraspecto,ysusmejorescorbatas,ygir sobresmismoselmostradorconsorprendenteactividad.Ellosqueranquenosmuestre arribaalavez,peroenelprincipiodelprimernegocioyelplacermstarde,nosquedamosa comprarelt.AqulaausenciadeMissMattymentaldesmismotraicionado.Siellasehizo conscientedequehabaestadobebiendoeltverdeencualquiermomento,siemprepens quesudeberdeestarmediodormidotodalanochedespus(heconocidoasutomaenla ignoranciamuchasvecessinlosefectosdeestetipo),yverdeenconsecuenciatfue prohibidoenlacasa,ysinembargoadasepreguntporelartculodesagradable,bajola impresindequeestabahablandodelaseda.Sinembargo,elerrorfuerectificadopronto,y entonceslasedasedesenrollaenverdadbueno.Enesemomentolatiendaestabamuybien lleno,yaqueeradademercadoCranford,ymuchosdelosagricultoresycampesinosdela rondadebarrioentr,sleekingporsupeloymirandotmidamentealrededor,pordebajode susprpados,comoansiedadpararecuperarunaideadelaalegrainusualalaamanteola muchachasenlacasa,ysinembargolasensacindequeestabanfueradelugarentrelos tenderosinteligentesychalesgayylasimpresionesdeverano.Unhonestohombrede aspecto,sinembargo,seabripasohastaelmostradorenelqueestbamos,yconvalenta lepreguntaverunchalodos.Lagentedeotropasselimitaronalapartedecomestibles, peronuestrovecinoera,evidentemente,demasiadollenadebuenaintencinhaciaun amante,esposaohija,asertmido,yprontosehizounapreguntaam,siloMatty seoritamantendrasutenderosmstiempo.Elpensamientodecadamantomshermoso queelanterior,ycomoparaMissMatty,sonriysuspirporcadafardofrescoquefue llevadoacabo,unconjuntodecoloresdeotra,yelmontnjuntossera,segndijo,que

Iamafraid,saidshe,hesitating,WhicheverIchooseIshallwishIhadtakenanother. Lookatthislovelycrimson!itwouldbesowarminwinter.Butspringiscomingon,you know.IwishIcouldhaveagownforeveryseason,saidshe,droppinghervoiceasweall didinCranfordwheneverwetalkedofanythingwewishedforbutcouldnotafford. However,shecontinuedinalouderandmorecheerfultone,itwouldgivemeagreatdeal oftroubletotakecareofthemifIhadthem;so,Ithink,Illonlytakeone.Butwhichmustit be,mydear? Andnowshehoveredoveralilacwithyellowspots,whileIpulledoutaquietsagegreen thathadfadedintoinsignificanceunderthemorebrilliantcolours,butwhichwas neverthelessagoodsilkinitshumbleway.Ourattentionwascalledofftoourneighbour. Hehadchosenashawlofaboutthirtyshillingsvalue;andhisfacelookedbroadlyhappy, undertheanticipation,nodoubt,ofthepleasantsurprisehewouldgivetosomeMollyor Jennyathome;hehadtuggedaleathernpurseoutofhisbreechespocket,andhadoffered afivepoundnoteinpaymentfortheshawl,andforsomeparcelswhichhadbeenbrought roundtohimfromthegrocerycounter;anditwasjustatthispointthatheattractedour notice.Theshopmanwasexaminingthenotewithapuzzled,doubtfulair. TownandCountyBank!Iamnotsure,sir,butIbelievewehavereceivedawarningagainst notesissuedbythisbankonlythismorning.IwilljuststepandaskMrJohnson,sir;butIm afraidImusttroubleyouforpaymentincash,orinanoteofadifferentbank. Ineversawamanscountenancefallsosuddenlyintodismayandbewilderment.Itwas almostpiteoustoseetherapidchange. Dangit!saidhe,strikinghisfistdownonthetable,asiftotrywhichwastheharder,the chaptalksasifnotesandgoldweretobehadforthepickingup. MissMattyhadforgottenhersilkgowninherinterestfortheman.Idontthinkshehad caughtthenameofthebank,andinmynervouscowardiceIwasanxiousthatsheshould not;andsoIbeganadmiringtheyellowspottedlilacgownthatIhadbeenutterly condemningonlyaminutebefore.Butitwasofnouse. Whatbankwasit?Imean,whatbankdidyournotebelongto? TownandCountyBank.

inclusoelarcoirisparecerpobre. "Tengomiedo",dijo,vacilando,"Cualquieraqueseaelqueelijamegustaraquehaba tomadootro.Miraestehermosocarmes!seratanclidaeninvierno.Sinembargo,la primaveraestllegando,yasabes.Megustaratenerunvestidoparacadaestacindelao ",dijo,bajandolavozcomotodoslohicimosenCranfordcadavezquehablamosdetodolo quedeseaba,peronopodapermitirse."Sinembargo",continuenuntonomsfuertey msalegre",medaraunagrancantidaddeproblemasparacuidardeellossilostuviera,de modoque,creo,slovoyatomaruno.Peroquedebeser,querida?" Yahorasecernasobreunalilaconmanchasamarillas,mientrasquesaquuntranquilo verdesalviaquesehabadesvanecidoenlainsignificanciaenloscoloresmsbrillantes,pero quesinembargoesunabuenaseda,asumanerahumilde.Nuestraatencinsesuspendia nuestroprjimo.Habaelegidounchaldevaloralrededordetreintachelines,ysurostrose veafelizentrminosgenerales,enlaanticipacin,sinduda,delaagradablesorpresaquele daraaalgunosMollyoJennyensucasa,tirdelhabaunabolsadecuerodesu pantalonesdesupropiobolsillo,ylehabaofrecidounbilletedecincolibrasenelpagodela manta,yparaalgunasparcelasquehabasidotradotodoalenelmostradordetiendade comestibles,yfueprecisamenteenestepuntoqueatrajonuestraatencin.Eltendero estabaexaminandolanotaconunaireperplejo,dudoso. "CiudadyelBancodelCondado!Noestoyseguro,seor,perocreoquehemosrecibidouna advertenciaencontradelosbilletesemitidosporestebancoestamaana.Melimitara pasoypediralSr.Johnson,seor,perometemoquehedeproblemasparaelpagoen efectivo,oenunanotadeunbancodiferente". Nuncavielrostrodeunhombrecaertanprontoenlaconsternacinydesconcierto.Eracasi patticaparaverelcambiorpido. "Dangit!",Dijo,golpeandoelpuosobrelamesa,comosiparatratardequeeraelms difcil",eltohablacomosilasnotasyelorofueronquesetenaparalarecogida." MissMattyhabaolvidadosuvestidodesedaensuintersporelhombre.Nocreoqueella habacogidoelnombredelbanco,yenmicobardanerviosaqueestabaansiosodequeella nodebe,yasempecaadmirarelvestidolilaconmanchasamarillasqueyohabasido totalmentecondenandoslounminutoantes.Perofueintil. "Qubancofue?Quierodecir,qubancolohizolanotapertenece?" "CiudadyelCondadodeBanco".

Letmeseeit,saidshequietlytotheshopman,gentlytakingitoutofhishand,ashe broughtitbacktoreturnittothefarmer. MrJohnsonwasverysorry,but,frominformationhehadreceived,thenotesissuedbythat bankwerelittlebetterthanwastepaper. Idontunderstandit,saidMissMattytomeinalowvoice.Thatisourbank,isitnot? theTownandCountyBank? Yes,saidI.Thislilacsilkwilljustmatchtheribbonsinyournewcap,Ibelieve,I continued,holdingupthefoldssoastocatchthelight,andwishingthatthemanwould makehasteandbegone,andyethavinganewwonder,thathadonlyjustsprungup,how faritwaswiseorrightinmetoallowMissMattytomakethisexpensivepurchase,ifthe affairsofthebankwerereallysobadastherefusalofthenoteimplied. ButMissMattyputonthesoftdignifiedmanner,peculiartoher,rarelyused,andyetwhich becamehersowell,andlayingherhandgentlyonmine,shesaid Nevermindthesilksforafewminutes,dear.Idontunderstandyou,sir,turningnowto theshopman,whohadbeenattendingtothefarmer.Isthisaforgednote? Oh,no,maam.Itisatruenoteofitskind;butyousee,maam,itisajointstockbank,and therearereportsoutthatitislikelytobreak.MrJohnsonisonlydoinghisduty,maam,asI amsureMrDobsonknows. ButMrDobsoncouldnotrespondtotheappealingbowbyanyansweringsmile.Hewas turningthenoteabsentlyoverinhisfingers,lookinggloomilyenoughattheparcel containingthelatelychosenshawl. Itsharduponapoorman,saidhe,asearnseveryfarthingwiththesweatofhisbrow. However,theresnohelpforit.Youmusttakebackyourshawl,myman;Lizzlemustgoon withhercloakforawhile.AndyonfigsforthelittleonesIpromisedthemtoemIlltake them;butthebacco,andtheotherthings Iwillgiveyoufivesovereignsforyournote,mygoodman,saidMissMatty.Ithinkthere issomegreatmistakeaboutit,forIamoneoftheshareholders,andImsuretheywould havetoldmeifthingshadnotbeengoingonright. TheshopmanwhisperedawordortwoacrossthetabletoMissMatty.Shelookedathim withadubiousair.

"Djamever",dijoenvozbajaconeltendero,suavementetomandodesumano,comolo trajodevueltapararegresaralosagricultores. ElSr.Johnsonfuemuytriste,peroapartirdelainformacinquehabarecibido,lasnotas emitidaspordichobancoeranpocomsqueelpapelusado. "Yonoloentiendo",dijoMissMattyamenvozbaja."Eseesnuestrobanco,no?La CiudadyelBancodelCondado"? "S,"dijeyo"EstosedalilaslocoincidirconlascintasenlanuevaPAC,creo",continu, levantandolosplieguesconelfindecaptarlaluz,ydeseandoqueelhombreseapresurany sehaido,ysinembargotenerunanuevamaravilla,queapenashabaaparecido,hastaqu puntoesprudentenijustoenmparaqueMissMattyparahacerestacompracaro,silos asuntosdelbancoeranrealmentetanmalacomolanegativadelanotaimplcita. PeroMissMattypuestoenlaformadignasuave,tanpropiodeella,raravezseutiliza,ysin embargo,quelahizotanbien,yponiendolamanosuavementesobrelama,medijo "Noimportalasedaduranteunosminutos,querida.Yonoleentiendo,seor",volviendo ahoraaladependiente,quehabaestadoasistiendoalosagricultores."Esestounanota falsificada?" "Oh,no,seora.Setratadeunanotarealdeestetipo,peroveusted,seora,esunbanco poracciones,yhayinformesdequeesprobablequeserompa.ElSr.Johnsonesslo cumplirconsudeber,seora,comoestoyseguroqueelSr.Dobsonsabe." PeroelseorDobsonnopudoresponderalaproaatractivaporcualquiersonrisade respuesta.lseestabaconvirtiendolanotaausenteentrelosdedos,mirandocontristezalo suficienteenelpaqueteconelchalltimamenteelegido. "Esdifcilaunhombrepobre",dijo,"queganacadacentavoconelsudordesufrente.Sin embargo,nohayremedio.Deberecuperarsuchal,mihombre;Lizzledebecontinuarconsu mantoporuntiempo.Yallloshigosparalosmspequeoslesprometaelloslosvoya tomar,peroel"tabaco,yotrascosas "Yotedarcincosoberanosdelanota,buenhombre",dijoMissMatty."Creoqueesun errorgrandesobrel,porqueyosoyunodelosaccionistas,yestoysegurodequemelo habradichosilascosasnohabanidoaladerecha." EltenderolesusurrunapalabraodosenlamesadeMissMatty.Ellalomirconunaire dudoso.

Perhapsso,saidshe.ButIdontpretendtounderstandbusiness;Ionlyknowthatifitis goingtofail,andifhonestpeoplearetolosetheirmoneybecausetheyhavetakenournotes Icantexplainmyself,saidshe,suddenlybecomingawarethatshehadgotintoalong sentencewithfourpeopleforaudience;onlyIwouldratherexchangemygoldforthenote, ifyouplease,turningtothefarmer,andthenyoucantakeyourwifetheshawl.Itisonly goingwithoutmygownafewdayslonger,shecontinued,speakingtome.Then,Ihaveno doubt,everythingwillbeclearedup. Butifitisclearedupthewrongway?saidI. Why,thenitwillonlyhavebeencommonhonestyinme,asashareholder,tohavegiven thisgoodmanthemoney.Iamquiteclearaboutitinmyownmind;but,youknow,Ican neverspeakquiteascomprehensiblyasotherscan,onlyyoumustgivemeyournote,Mr Dobson,ifyouplease,andgoonwithyourpurchaseswiththesesovereigns. Themanlookedatherwithsilentgratitudetooawkwardtoputhisthanksintowords;but hehungbackforaminuteortwo,fumblingwithhisnote. Imlothtomakeanotheroneloseinsteadofme,ifitisaloss;but,yousee,fivepoundsisa dealofmoneytoamanwithafamily;and,asyousay,tentooneinadayortwothenote willbeasgoodasgoldagain. Nohopeofthat,myfriend,saidtheshopman. ThemorereasonwhyIshouldtakeit,saidMissMattyquietly.Shepushedhersovereigns towardstheman,whoslowlylaidhisnotedowninexchange.Thankyou.Iwillwaitaday ortwobeforeIpurchaseanyofthesesilks;perhapsyouwillthenhaveagreaterchoice.My dear,willyoucomeupstairs? Weinspectedthefashionswithasminuteandcuriousaninterestasifthegowntobemade afterthemhadbeenbought.Icouldnotseethatthelittleeventintheshopbelowhadin theleastdampedMissMattyscuriosityastothemakeofsleevesorthesitofskirts.She onceortwiceexchangedcongratulationswithmeonourprivateandleisurelyviewofthe bonnetsandshawls;butIwas,allthetime,notsosurethatourexaminationwassoutterly private,forIcaughtglimpsesofafiguredodgingbehindthecloaksandmantles;and,bya dexterousmove,IcamefacetofacewithMissPole,alsoinmorningcostume(theprincipal featureofwhichwasherbeingwithoutteeth,andwearingaveiltoconcealthedeficiency), comeonthesameerrandasourselves.Butshequicklytookherdeparture,because,asshe said,shehadabadheadache,anddidnotfeelherselfuptoconversation. Aswecamedownthroughtheshop,thecivilMrJohnsonwasawaitingus;hehadbeen

"Talvezseaas",dijo."Peroyonopretendoentenderelnegocio,slosquesisevaafallar, ysisonpersonashonestasaperdersudinero,yaquehantomadonuestrasnotasNo puedoexplicarlo",dijo,derepentetomandoconcienciadequeellasehabametidoenuna fraselarga,concuatropersonasparalaaudiencia,"sloquenocambiaramioroparala nota,sisequiere,"convertiralosagricultores",yentoncesustedpuedetomarasuesposa elchal.Queslosevasinmibataunosdasms",continu,dirigindoseam."Entonces, notengoningunaduda,todoseaclarar". "Perosisedespejaelcaminoequivocado?",DijoI. "Porqu,entonces,slohansidolahonestidadcomnenm,comoaccionista,queha dadoestebuenhombreeldinero.Yosoymuyclaroenmimente,pero,yasabes,nopuedo hablartancomprensiblecomootrospueden,slotienesquedarmelanota,elSr.Dobson,si sequiere,yseguirconsuscomprasconestossoberanos". Elhombrelamircongratitudensilenciodemasiadodifcildeponerenpalabrassu agradecimiento,perolsequedatrsporunminutoodos,hurgarensunota. "Soyreacioahacerotravezdeperdermi,sisetratadeunaprdida,sibien,seve,cinco librasesmuchodineroparaunhombreconunafamilia,y,comousteddice,dediezaunoen ununoodosdaslanotasertanbuenocomoelorootravez." "Nohayesperanzadeque,amiamigo",dijoeltendero. "Laraznmsdeporqudebotomar",dijoMissMattyenvozbaja.Empujsoberanoshacia elhombre,quepocoapocopusosunotaenelcambio."Gracias.Voyaesperarundaodos antesdecomprarcualquieradeestassedas,talvezustedtendrunamayorcapacidadde eleccin.Miquerido,vaavenirdearriba?" Seinspeccionaronlasmodascontandiminutoycuriosointers,comosielvestidoquese hizodespusdequehabasidocomprado.Yonopodaverqueeleventopocoenlatienda deabajohabaenlomsmnimoamortiguadoMissMattycuriosidadencuantoala composicindelasmangasosentarsedefaldas.Queunaodosvecesintercambiaron felicitacionesconmigoennuestropuntodevistaprivadoydeociodelossombrerosy chales,peroyoestabatodoeltiempo,notansegurodequeelexamenestabatanprivado, paraquevislumbrunafiguraesquivadetrsdelascapasymantos,y,conunmovimiento diestro,meencontrcaraacaraconlaPole,tambinentrajedemaana(lacaracterstica principalerasusersindientesyconunveloparaocultarladeficiencia),vienenenelmismo propsitocomoanosotrosmismos.Sinembargo,rpidamentetomsupartida,porque, segndijo,tenaunfuertedolordecabeza,ynosesientehastaenlaconversacin. Cuandobajamosatravsdelatienda,elcivil,elSr.Johnsonnosestabaesperando,sele

informedoftheexchangeofthenoteforgold,andwithmuchgoodfeelingandreal kindness,butwithalittlewantoftact,hewishedtocondolewithMissMatty,andimpress uponherthetruestateofthecase.Icouldonlyhopethathehadheardanexaggerated rumourforhesaidthathershareswereworsethannothing,andthatthebankcouldnot payashillinginthepound.IwasgladthatMissMattyseemedstillalittleincredulous;butI couldnottellhowmuchofthiswasrealorassumed,withthatselfcontrolwhichseemed habitualtoladiesofMissMattysstandinginCranford,whowouldhavethoughttheir dignitycompromisedbytheslightestexpressionofsurprise,dismay,oranysimilarfeelingto aninferiorinstation,orinapublicshop.However,wewalkedhomeverysilently.Iam ashamedtosay,IbelieveIwasrathervexedandannoyedatMissMattysconductintaking thenotetoherselfsodecidedly.Ihadsosetmyheartuponherhavinganewsilkgown, whichshewantedsadly;ingeneralshewassoundecidedanybodymightturnherround;in thiscaseIhadfeltthatitwasnouseattemptingit,butIwasnotthelessputoutatthe result. Somehow,aftertwelveoclock,webothacknowledgedtoasatedcuriosityaboutthe fashions,andtoacertainfatigueofbody(whichwas,infact,depressionofmind)that indisposedustogooutagain.Butstillweneverspokeofthenote;till,allatonce, somethingpossessedmetoaskMissMattyifshewouldthinkitherdutytooffersovereigns forallthenotesoftheTownandCountyBankshemetwith?Icouldhavebittenmytongue outtheminuteIhadsaidit.Shelookeduprathersadly,andasifIhadthrownanew perplexityintoheralreadydistressedmind;andforaminuteortwoshedidnotspeak.Then shesaidmyowndearMissMattywithoutashadeofreproachinhervoice Mydear,Ineverfeelasifmymindwaswhatpeoplecallverystrong;anditsoftenhard enoughworkformetosettlewhatIoughttodowiththecaserightbeforeme.Iwasvery thankfultoIwasverythankful,thatIsawmydutythismorning,withthepoorman standingbyme;butitsratherastrainuponmetokeepthinkingandthinkingwhatIshould doifsuchandsuchathinghappened;and,Ibelieve,Ihadratherwaitandseewhatreally doescome;andIdontdoubtIshallbehelpedthenifIdontfidgetmyself,andgettoo anxiousbeforehand.Youknow,love,ImnotlikeDeborah.IfDeborahhadlived,Iveno doubtshewouldhaveseenafterthem,beforetheyhadgotthemselvesintothisstate. Wehadneitherofusmuchappetitefordinner,thoughwetriedtotalkcheerfullyabout indifferentthings.Whenwereturnedintothedrawingroom,MissMattyunlockedherdesk andbegantolookoverheraccountbooks.IwassopenitentforwhatIhadsaidinthe morning,thatIdidnotchoosetotakeuponmyselfthepresumptiontosupposethatIcould assisther;Iratherleftheralone,as,withpuzzledbrow,hereyefollowedherpenupand downtheruledpage.Byandbysheshutthebook,lockedthedesk,andcameanddrewa

habainformadodelcambiodelanotaparaeloro,yconmuchosentimientobuenoyla bondadreal,peroconunpocodefaltadetacto,quisodarelpsameconMissMatty,y grabarenellaelverdaderoestadodelcaso.Slopodaesperarquelhabaodounrumor exageradoporquedijoquesusparticipacioneseranmsquenada,yqueelbanconopoda pagarunchelnporlibra.MealegrdequeMissMattyparecatodavaunpocoincrdulo, peroyonopodradecircuntodeestoerarealosupuesto,conqueelautocontrolque parecahabitualalasdamasdepieMissMattyenCranford,quinhabrapensadoquesu dignidadcomprometidaporlamsmnimaexpresindesorpresa,disgusto,ocualquierotra sensacinsimilarauninferiorenlaestacin,oenunatiendaabiertaalpblico.Sin embargo,nosfuimosacasamuysilenciosa.Yomeavergenzodedecir,creoqueseenfad bastanteymolestoporlaconductadeMissMattyenlatomadelanotaasmismatan decididamente.Quemehabapropuestoporloquemicoraznensuhaberunvestidode sedanuevo,loquequeracontristeza,engeneral,estabatanindecisaquenadiepodra llegarasualrededor,enestecasosentqueeraintilintentarlo,peroyonoeraelmenos ponerenelresultado. Dealgunamanera,despusdelasdoce,ambosreconocieronqueunacuriosidadsaciadapor lasmodas,yunciertocansanciodelcuerpo(queera,dehecho,ladepresindelamente) quenosimpedimentoparasalirdenuevo.Perotodavanohemoshabladodelanota,hasta que,alavez,algometenaquepreguntarlealaseoritaMattysiellalocreesudeberde ofrecersoberanosdetodaslasnotasdelaCiudadyelBancosereuniconelcondado?Yo podrahabermordidolalenguaelmomentoenquelohabadicho.Ellalevantlavistayno contristeza,ycomosimehubieralanzadounanuevaperplejidadensumenteyaen dificultades,yporunminutoodosquenohablaban.Yelladijo:mipropiaqueridaMiss Mattysinuntonodereprocheensuvoz "Miquerido,nuncamesientocomosimimenteeraloquelagentellamamuyfuerte,ycon frecuenciaeslosuficientementedurotrabajoparam,pararesolverloquetengoquever conelcasodelantedem.Yoestabamuyagradecidoayoestabamuyagradecido,quevia mideberdeestamaana,conelpobrehombredepiejuntoam,perosulugarunatensin sobremparaseguirpensandoypensandoloquedebohacersitalytalcosasucedi,y, creo,prefieroesperaryverloquerealmenteviene,ynodudodequeseayuda continuacin,sinomeinquietanammismo,ydemasiadoansiosadeantemano.Usted sabe,elamor,yonosoycomoDeborah.SiDeborahhabavivido,notengoningunadudade quehabravistodespusdeellos,antesdequesehabanmetidoenesteestado". Tuvimosqueningunodenosotrosmuchoapetitoparalacena,apesardequetratde hablaralegrementedecosasindiferentes.Cuandovolvimosalasala,MissMatty desbloqueadosuescritorioycomenzamirarporencimadesucuentadeloslibros.Yo estabatanarrepentidodeloquehabadichoenlamaana,queyonoelegatomarsobre mlapresuncinparasuponerquepodraayudaraella,yonoladejabasola,yaque,conla frenteconfundido,susojossiguieronsuplumahaciaarribayabajodelapginagobernados.

chairtomine,whereIsatinmoodysorrowoverthefire.Istolemyhandintohers;she claspedit,butdidnotspeakaword.Atlastshesaid,withforcedcomposureinhervoice,If thatbankgoeswrong,Ishallloseonehundredandfortyninepoundsthirteenshillingsand fourpenceayear;Ishallonlyhavethirteenpoundsayearleft.Isqueezedherhandhard andtight.Ididnotknowwhattosay.Presently(itwastoodarktoseeherface)Ifelther fingersworkconvulsivelyinmygrasp;andIknewshewasgoingtospeakagain.Iheardthe sobsinhervoiceasshesaid,Ihopeitsnotwrongnotwickedbut,oh!Iamsogladpoor Deborahissparedthis.Shecouldnothavebornetocomedownintheworldshehadsuch anoble,loftyspirit. Thiswasallshesaidaboutthesisterwhohadinsisteduponinvestingtheirlittlepropertyin thatunluckybank.Wewerelaterinlightingthecandlethanusualthatnight,anduntilthat lightshamedusintospeaking,wesattogetherverysilentlyandsadly. However,wetooktoourworkafterteawithakindofforcedcheerfulness(whichsoon becamerealasfarasitwent),talkingofthatneverendingwonder,LadyGlenmires engagement.MissMattywasalmostcomingroundtothinkitagoodthing. Idontmeantodenythatmenaretroublesomeinahouse.Idontjudgefrommyown experience,formyfatherwasneatnessitself,andwipedhisshoesoncominginascarefully asanywoman;butstillamanhasasortofknowledgeofwhatshouldbedoneindifficulties, thatitisverypleasanttohaveoneathandreadytoleanupon.Now,LadyGlenmire,instead ofbeingtossedabout,andwonderingwheresheistosettle,willbecertainofahome amongpleasantandkindpeople,suchasourgoodMissPoleandMrsForrester.AndMr Hogginsisreallyaverypersonableman;andasforhismanners,why,iftheyarenotvery polished,Ihaveknownpeoplewithverygoodheartsandveryclevermindstoo,whowere notwhatsomepeoplereckonedrefined,butwhowerebothtrueandtender. ShefelloffintoasoftreverieaboutMrHolbrook,andIdidnotinterrupther,Iwassobusy maturingaplanIhadhadinmymindforsomedays,butwhichthisthreatenedfailureofthe bankhadbroughttoacrisis.Thatnight,afterMissMattywenttobed,Itreacherously lightedthecandleagain,andsatdowninthedrawingroomtocomposealettertotheAga Jenkyns,aletterwhichshouldaffecthimifhewerePeter,andyetseemamerestatementof dryfactsifhewereastranger.ThechurchclockpealedouttwobeforeIhaddone. Thenextmorningnewscame,bothofficialandotherwise,thattheTownandCountyBank

Poryporellacerrellibro,cerrlamesadetrabajo,yvinieronasacarunasillaalama, dondeyoestabasentadoeneldolordemalhumorsobreelfuego.Merobaronmimanoen lasuya,ellaseapret,peronohablunapalabra.Porfindijo,concalmaforzadaensuvoz: "Siesebancovamal,voyaperderelcientocuarentaynuevelibrastrecechelinesycuatro peniquesalao,.Slotendrtrecelibrasunaoms",meapretlamanodurayfirme.Yo nosabaqudecir.Enlaactualidad(erademasiadooscuroparaversucara)Mesentsus dedoseltrabajoconvulsivamenteenmismanos,yyosabaqueibaahablardenuevo. Escuchlossollozosensuvozcuandodijo:"Esperoquenoestmalnomalopero,oh! EstoymuycontentodelospobresDeborahestasalvodeeste.Ellanopodrahaberdadoa luzaentrarenelmundoquehabaunespritutannoble,elevado". Estofuetodoloquedijoacercadelahermana,quehabainsistidoenqueinvertirsus escasosbienes,enesebancodemalasuerte.Estbamosmstardeenlailuminacindela velaquedecostumbreesanoche,yhastaquelaluznosavergonzahablar,nossentamos juntosensilencioymuytriste. Sinembargo,nosllevanuestrotrabajodespusdeltconunaespeciedealegraforzada (queprontoseconvirtienrealidadenloquefue),hablandodeesamaravilladenunca acabar,elcompromisoSeoradeGlenmire.MissMattyeracasitodovienedepensarquees algobueno. "Yonopretendonegarqueloshombressonmolestosenunacasa.Yonojuzgopormipropia experiencia,puesmipadreeralapulcritudens,yselimpiloszapatosalentrarenel mismocuidadoquecualquiermujer,perosiguesiendounhombretieneuntipode conocimientodeloquedebehacerseenlasdificultades,queesmuyagradabletenerunaa mano,listoparaapoyarse.Ahora,LadyGlenmire,enlugardeserzarandeada,ysepregunta dndeseencuentrapararesolver,serndeterminadosdeunaviviendaentrelagente agradableyamable,comonuestrobuenPoloseoritaylaseoraForrester.YelSr.Hoggins esrealmenteunhombremuyagradable,yencuantoasusmodales,porqu,sinoestn muypulidos,heconocidoagenteconuncoraznmuybuenoylamentemuyinteligente tambin,quenoeranloquealgunaspersonascontarrefinados,peroqueeranalavez verdaderaysensible." SecayenunaensoacinsuavesobreelseorHolbrook,yyonolainterrumpa,yoestaba tanocupadoconvencimientodeunplanquehabatenidoenmimentedesdehacealgunos das,peroqueestefracasolaamenazadequeelbancohaballevadoaunacrisis.Esanoche, despusdeMissMattyfuealacama,atraicinencendilaveladenuevo,ysesentenla saladeredactarunacartaparaelAgaJenkins,unacartaquelehabadeafectarsifuera Pedro,ysinembargo,pareceunameradeclaracindeloshechossecosifueraunextrao.El relojdelaiglesiarepicaronadosantesdequeyohabahecho. Lanoticialamaanasiguientevino,tantooficialescomono,quelaCiudadyelBancodel

hadstoppedpayment.MissMattywasruined. Shetriedtospeakquietlytome;butwhenshecametotheactualfactthatshewouldhave butaboutfiveshillingsaweektoliveupon,shecouldnotrestrainafewtears. Iamnotcryingformyself,dear,saidshe,wipingthemaway;IbelieveIamcryingforthe verysillythoughtofhowmymotherwouldgrieveifshecouldknow;shealwayscaredforus somuchmorethanforherself.Butmanyapoorpersonhasless,andIamnotvery extravagant,and,thankGod,whentheneckofmutton,andMarthaswages,andtherent arepaid,Ihavenotafarthingowing.PoorMartha!Ithinkshellbesorrytoleaveme. MissMattysmiledatmethroughhertears,andshewouldfainhavehadmeseeonlythe smile,notthetears. CHAPTERXIVFRIENDSINNEED Itwasanexampletome,andIfancyitmightbetomanyothers,toseehowimmediately MissMattysetabouttheretrenchmentwhichsheknewtoberightunderheraltered circumstances.WhileshewentdowntospeaktoMartha,andbreaktheintelligencetoher, IstoleoutwithmylettertotheAgaJenkyns,andwenttothesignorslodgingstoobtainthe exactaddress.Iboundthesignoratosecrecy;andindeedhermilitarymannershada degreeofshortnessandreserveinthemwhichmadeheralwayssayaslittleaspossible, exceptwhenunderthepressureofstrongexcitement.Moreover(whichmademysecret doublysure),thesignorwasnowsofarrecoveredastobelookingforwardtotravellingand conjuringagaininthespaceofafewdays,whenhe,hiswife,andlittlePhoebewouldleave Cranford.Indeed,Ifoundhimlookingoveragreatblackandredplacard,inwhichtheSignor Brunonisaccomplishmentsweresetforth,andtowhichonlythenameofthetownwhere hewouldnextdisplaythemwaswanting.Heandhiswifeweresomuchabsorbedin decidingwheretheredletterswouldcomeinwithmosteffect(itmighthavebeenthe Rubricforthatmatter),thatitwassometimebeforeIcouldgetmyquestionaskedprivately, andnotbeforeIhadgivenseveraldecisions,thewhichIquestionedafterwardswithequal wisdomofsincerityassoonasthesignorthrewinhisdoubtsandreasonsontheimportant subject.AtlastIgottheaddress,speltbysound,andveryqueeritlooked.Idroppeditin thepostonmywayhome,andthenforaminuteIstoodlookingatthewoodenpanewitha gapingslitwhichdividedmefromtheletterbutamomentagoinmyhand.Itwasgone frommelikelife,nevertoberecalled.Itwouldgettossedaboutonthesea,andstained withseawavesperhaps,andbecarriedamongpalmtrees,andscentedwithalltropical fragrance;thelittlepieceofpaper,butanhouragosofamiliarandcommonplace,hadset outonitsracetothestrangewildcountriesbeyondtheGanges!ButIcouldnotaffordto losemuchtimeonthisspeculation.Ihastenedhome,thatMissMattymightnotmissme.

Condadodejdepago.MissMattysearruin. Ellatratdehablarenvozbajaparam,perocuandollegalarealidadquetendra,pero alrededordecincochelinesalasemanaparavivir,nopudoconteneralgunaslgrimas. "Noestoyllorandoporm,querida",dijo,secndosealabasura,"creoqueestoyllorando porelpensamientomuytontodecmomimadrellorarasisupiera,ellasiempreseocupa denosotrosmuchomsqueparasmisma.Peromsdeunapersonapobretienemenos,y noestoymuyextravagante,ygraciasaDios,cuandoelcuellodecordero,ylossalariosde Marta,yelalquilersepaga,notienenunacausacntimo.PobreMarta!Creoquevaa arrepentirdedejarme". MissMattymesonrientrelaslgrimas,yellahubieraqueridomeveaslolasonrisa,nolas lgrimas. CAPTULOXIVAMIGOSENNECESIDAD Fueunejemploparam,ymeimaginoquepodraserlademuchosotros,paravercmo inmediatamenteMissMattysededicalareduccindegastosqueellasabaqueera correctoensusnuevascircunstancias.MientrasqueellafueahablarconMarta,yromperla inteligenciadeella,merobaronconmicartaalosJenkinsAga,ysefuealosalojamientosdel firmanteparaobtenerladireccinexacta.Yoobligadosaguardarsecretodelaseora,yde hechosusmodalesmilitarestenanungradodedificultadydereservaenlosquelahicieron siempredigolomenosposible,exceptocuandobajolapresindelaemocinfuerte.Por otraparte(loquehizomisecretodoblementeseguro),elseorestabayatanlejosquese recuperaenformadeganasdeviajaryconjurardenuevoenelespaciodeunosdas,cuando l,suesposa,yPhoebepocodejaraCranford.Dehecho,loencontrbuscandoenuncartel grandeennegroyrojo,enelqueloslogrosdelseorBrunonifueronestablecidas,yque sloelnombredelaciudadenlaquealladolesquierenmostrarera.lysuesposaerantan absortoenladecisindequelasletrasrojasquevienenconlamayoradelosefectos(que podrahabersidolarbricaparaelcaso),quepasalgntiempoantesdequepudiera recuperarmipreguntaenprivado,yantesnomehabadadovariasdecisiones,locualme preguntdespusconlasabiduradelaigualdaddesinceridadtanprontocomoelseortir susdudasyrazonessobreelimportantetema.Porfinconseguladireccin,escritoporel sonido,ymuyraroloquepareca.Semecayenelpuestoenmicaminoacasa,yluegopor unmomentomequedmirandoelpaneldemaderaconunahendiduraquemeseparabade laletra,perohaceunmomentoenmimano.Semehaidocomolavida,quenuncase record.Serabotanporelmar,ysetieronconolasdelmartalvez,yselleventre palmerasyperfumadocontodaslasfraganciastropicales,elpequeopedazodepapel,pero unahoraatrs,porlofamiliarycotidiana,sehabapropuestodesucarrerahacialospases extraossalvajesmsalldelGanges!Peroyonopodapermitirseellujodeperdermucho tiempoenestaespeculacin.Corracasa,quelaseoritaMattynopodraecharmede

Marthaopenedthedoortome,herfaceswollenwithcrying.Assoonasshesawmeshe burstoutafresh,andtakingholdofmyarmshepulledmein,andbangedthedoorto,in ordertoaskmeifindeeditwasalltruethatMissMattyhadbeensaying. Illneverleaveher!No;Iwont.Itelledherso,andsaidIcouldnotthinkhowshecould findinherhearttogivemewarning.Icouldnothavehadthefacetodoit,ifIdbeenher.I mighthabeenjustasgoodfornothingasMrsFitzAdamsRosy,whostruckforwagesafter livingsevenyearsandahalfinoneplace.IsaidIwasnotonetogoandserveMammonat thatrate;thatIknewwhenIdgotagoodmissus,ifshedidntknowwhenshedgotagood servant But,Martha,saidI,cuttinginwhileshewipedhereyes. Dont,butMarthame,sherepliedtomydeprecatorytone. Listentoreason Illnotlistentoreason,shesaid,nowinfullpossessionofhervoice,whichhadbeenrather chokedwithsobbing.Reasonalwaysmeanswhatsomeoneelsehasgottosay.NowIthink whatIvegottosayisgoodenoughreason;butreasonornot,Illsayit,andIllsticktoit. IvemoneyintheSavingsBank,andIveagoodstockofclothes,andImnotgoingtoleave MissMatty.No,notifshegivesmewarningeveryhourintheday! Sheputherarmsakimbo,asmuchastosayshedefiedme;and,indeed,Icouldhardlytell howtobegintoremonstratewithher,somuchdidIfeelthatMissMatty,inherincreasing infirmity,neededtheattendanceofthiskindandfaithfulwoman. WellsaidIatlast. Imthankfulyoubeginwithwell!Ifyoudhavebegunwithbut,asyoudidafore,Idnot halistenedtoyou.Nowyoumaygoon. IknowyouwouldbeagreatlosstoMissMatty,Martha Itelledherso.Alossshedneverceasetobesorryfor,brokeinMarthatriumphantly. Still,shewillhavesolittlesoverylittletoliveupon,thatIdontseejustnowhowshe couldfindyoufoodshewillevenbepressedforherown.Itellyouthis,Martha,becauseI feelyouarelikeafriendtodearMissMatty,butyouknowshemightnotliketohaveit spokenabout.

menos.Marthaabrilapuertaam,sucarahinchadaporelllanto.Tanprontocomomevio, seechanuevo,yapoderndosedemibrazomesacde,ygolpelapuertapara,conelfin demepreguntansiesqueeraverdadquelaseoritaMattyhabaestadodiciendo. "Nuncavoyadejarla!No,nolohar.Letelledas,ymedijoquenopodapensarencmo podaencontrarensucoraznparadarmeaviso.Yonopodrahabertenidolacarade hacerlo,siyohubierasidoella.Podraha'sidotanbuenoparanadacomolaseoraRosy FitzAdn,elcualgolpealossalariosdespusdehabervividosieteaosymedioenunsolo lugar.LedijequenoerauniryserviraMammonenestetipo;queyosabaquecuando habaconseguidounabuenaseora,siellanosabacuandohabaconseguidounbuen siervo" "Pero,Marta,"dije,mientrasqueenelcorteseseclosojos. "No",peroMartha"yo",respondiamitonodespectivo. "Escucharalarazn" "Novoyaentrarenrazn",dijo,ahoraenplenaposesindesuvoz,quehabasidobastante ahogadaporsollozos."Laraznsiempresignificaloquealguienmstienequedecir.Ahora creoqueloquetengoquedeciresraznsuficiente,perolaraznono,lovoyadecir,yyo mequedoconl.HedineroenlaCajadeAhorros,ytengounbuenstockderopa,yyono voyadejardeMissMatty.No,simedaunaalertacadahoraenelda!" Pusolosbrazosenjarras,tantocomoparadecirquemedesafi,y,dehecho,casinopoda decirlecmocomenzaraprotestarconella,hastatalpuntomeparecequeMissMatty,en sudebilidadcreciente,esnecesariolapresenciadeestetipoyunamujerfiel. "Bueno"medijoalfin. "Estoyagradecidodecomenzarconel"bien!"Sihubieraempezadocon'pero',comolohizo anteriormente,nomeha"escuchado.Ahoraustedpuedeseguiradelante." "YosqueseraunagranprdidaparaMissMatty,Martha" "Yoletelledas.Unaprdidaquenuncadejadeserpenapor"rompienMarthatriunfante. "Sinembargo,tendrmuypocoporlomuypocoparavivir,quenoveoahoracmopodra ustedencontrarcomidaqueinclusosepresionaasmisma.Tedigoesto,Martha,porque sientoquesoncomounamigoamiqueridamissMatty,peroustedsabequeellanolegusta tenerquehablardeello."

ApparentlythiswasevenablackerviewofthesubjectthanMissMattyhadpresentedto her,forMarthajustsatdownonthefirstchairthatcametohand,andcriedoutloud(we hadbeenstandinginthekitchen). Atlastsheputheraprondown,andlookingmeearnestlyintheface,asked,Wasthatthe reasonMissMattywouldntorderapuddingtoday?Shesaidshehadnogreatfancyfor sweetthings,andyouandshewouldjusthaveamuttonchop.ButIllbeuptoher.Never youtell,butIllmakeherapudding,andapuddingshelllike,too,andIllpayforitmyself; somindyouseesheeatsit.Manyaonehasbeencomfortedintheirsorrowbyseeinga gooddishcomeuponthetable. IwasrathergladthatMarthasenergyhadtakentheimmediateandpracticaldirectionof puddingmaking,foritstavedoffthequarrelsomediscussionastowhethersheshouldor shouldnotleaveMissMattysservice.Shebegantotieonacleanapron,andotherwise prepareherselfforgoingtotheshopforthebutter,eggs,andwhatelseshemightrequire. Shewouldnotuseascrapofthearticlesalreadyinthehouseforhercookery,butwentto anoldteapotinwhichherprivatestoreofmoneywasdeposited,andtookoutwhatshe wanted. IfoundMissMattyveryquiet,andnotalittlesad;butbyandbyshetriedtosmileformy sake.ItwassettledthatIwastowritetomyfather,andaskhimtocomeoverandholda consultation,andassoonasthisletterwasdespatchedwebegantotalkoverfutureplans. MissMattysideawastotakeasingleroom,andretainasmuchofherfurnitureaswouldbe necessarytofitupthis,andselltherest,andtheretoquietlyexistuponwhatwouldremain afterpayingtherent.Formypart,Iwasmoreambitiousandlesscontented.Ithoughtofall thethingsbywhichawoman,pastmiddleage,andwiththeeducationcommontoladies fiftyyearsago,couldearnoraddtoalivingwithoutmateriallylosingcaste;butatlengthI puteventhislastclauseononeside,andwonderedwhatintheworldMissMattycoulddo. Teachingwas,ofcourse,thefirstthingthatsuggesteditself.IfMissMattycouldteach childrenanything,itwouldthrowheramongthelittleelvesinwhomhersouldelighted.I ranoverheraccomplishments.OnceuponatimeIhadheardhersayshecouldplayAh! vousdiraije,maman?onthepiano,butthatwaslong,longago;thatfaintshadowof musicalacquirementhaddiedoutyearsbefore.Shehadalsooncebeenabletotraceout patternsverynicelyformuslinembroidery,bydintofplacingapieceofsilverpaperoverthe designtobecopied,andholdingbothagainstthewindowpanewhileshemarkedthe scollopandeyeletholes.Butthatwashernearestapproachtotheaccomplishmentof drawing,andIdidnotthinkitwouldgoveryfar.Thenagain,astothebranchesofasolid EnglisheducationfancyworkandtheuseoftheglobessuchasthemistressoftheLadies Seminary,towhichallthetradespeopleinCranfordsenttheirdaughters,professedtoteach. MissMattyseyeswerefailingher,andIdoubtedifshecoulddiscoverthenumberof

Alparecer,estoeraanunavisinmsnegradelaasignaturadeMissMattylehaba presentado,porMarthasimplementesesentenlaprimerasillaqueencontramano,y gritenvozalta(quehabaestadodepieenlacocina). Alfinsepusoeldelantalhaciaabajo,ymirndomeconseriedadenelrostro,lepregunt: "EraesalaraznporlaSrta.Mattynoordenaraunpudnada?Elladijoquenotenauna granimaginacinporlascosasdulces,yustedyellaacabadetenerunachuletadecordero. Perovoyaestaraella.Nuncalodir,perolavoyahacerunpastel,yunpostrequetegusta, tambin,yyopagodemibolsillo,demodoquelamenteseveselocome.Msdeunoha sidoconsoladoensudoloralveraunbuenplatollegadoalamesa". YoestababastantecontentodequelaenergadeMartahabatomadoladireccin inmediatayprcticadebudndedecisiones,yaqueevitladiscusincontenciosoencuanto asidebeonodebedejarelserviciodeMissMatty.Ellaempezaatarenundelantallimpio, ydeotramanerasepreparanparairalatiendaparalamantequilla,loshuevosyquotra cosapodranrequerir.Ellanoseutiliceunpedazodelosartculosqueyaestnenlacasade sucocina,perofueaunaviejateteraenlaquefuedepositadosualmacnprivadode dinero,ysacloquequera. EncontralaseoritaMattymuytranquilo,ynounpocotriste,peroporyporellatratde sonrerporm.Sedecidiqueyoibaaescribiramipadre,yleinvitoaveniracelebraruna consulta,ytanprontocomoestacartafueenviadacomenzamosahablarsobreplanes futuros.MissMattyideaeratomarunahabitacinindividual,yretenerlamayorcantidadde susmueblescomoseranecesarioparaajustarseaesta,yvenderelresto,ynoexistiendoen silencioenloquesequedandespusdepagarelalquiler.Pormiparte,yoerams ambiciosoysecontentmenos.Pensentodaslascosasporlasqueunamujer,demediana edadelpasado,yconlaeducacincomnalasdamasdehacecincuentaaos,podraganar oaadiralavidasinperdermaterialmentecasta,peroalfinmepuseinclusoestaltima clusula,porunlado,ysepreguntquenelmundodeMissMattypodahacer. Laenseanzaera,porsupuesto,loprimeroquesepropuso.SiMissMattypodraenseara losniosalgo,seraarrojarlaentrelosduendecillosenelquesualmasedeleita.Corrhacia suslogros.Hubountiempoenqueyolehabaododecirquepodrajugar"Ah!vousdirai je,maman"enelpiano,peroesofuehacemucho,mucho;?quelevesombradeadquisicin musicalhabamuertoaosantes.Ellatambinhabaunavezsidocapacesderastrearlos patronesmuybienparaelbordadodemuselina,afuerzadecolocarunpedazodepapelde platasobreeldiseoquedeseecopiar,ylacelebracindeamboscontraelcristaldela ventanamientrasellamarcelfestnyojetes.Peroesofuesuaproximacinmscercanaa larealizacindeldibujo,yyonocreaquefueraallegarmuylejos.Porotraparte,encuanto alasramasdeunaeducacinslidaInglseltrabajodefantasayelusodelosglobos comolaamantedelSeminariodelasDamas,alaquetodosloscomerciantesenCranford enviadoasushijas,profesindeensear.LosojosdeMissMattyestabancomoqueno,yyo

threadsinaworstedworkpattern,orrightlyappreciatethedifferentshadesrequiredfor QueenAdelaidesfaceintheloyalwoolworknowfashionableinCranford.Asfortheuseof theglobes,Ihadneverbeenabletofinditoutmyself,soperhapsIwasnotagoodjudgeof MissMattyscapabilityofinstructinginthisbranchofeducation;butitstruckmethat equatorsandtropics,andsuchmysticalcircles,wereveryimaginarylinesindeedtoher,and thatshelookeduponthesignsoftheZodiacassomanyremnantsoftheBlackArt. Whatshepiquedherselfupon,asartsinwhichsheexcelled,wasmakingcandlelighters,or spills(asshepreferredcallingthem),ofcolouredpaper,cutsoastoresemblefeathers, andknittinggartersinavarietyofdaintystitches.Ihadoncesaid,onreceivingapresentof anelaboratepair,thatIshouldfeelquitetemptedtodroponeoftheminthestreet,inorder tohaveitadmired;butIfoundthislittlejoke(anditwasaverylittleone)wassuchadistress tohersenseofpropriety,andwastakenwithsuchanxious,earnestalarm,lestthe temptationmightsomedayprovetoostrongforme,thatIquiteregrettedhavingventured uponit.Apresentofthesedelicatelywroughtgarters,abunchofgayspills,orasetof cardsonwhichsewingsilkwaswoundinamysticalmanner,werethewellknowntokensof MissMattysfavour.Butwouldanyonepaytohavetheirchildrentaughtthesearts?or, indeed,wouldMissMattysell,forfilthylucre,theknackandtheskillwithwhichshemade triflesofvaluetothosewholovedher? Ihadtocomedowntoreading,writing,andarithmetic;and,inreadingthechapterevery morning,shealwayscoughedbeforecomingtolongwords.Idoubtedherpowerofgetting throughagenealogicalchapter,withanynumberofcoughs.Writingshedidwelland delicatelybutspelling!Sheseemedtothinkthatthemoreoutofthewaythiswas,and themoretroubleitcosther,thegreaterthecomplimentshepaidtohercorrespondent;and wordsthatshewouldspellquitecorrectlyinherletterstomebecameperfectenigmas whenshewrotetomyfather. No!therewasnothingshecouldteachtotherisinggenerationofCranford,unlesstheyhad beenquicklearnersandreadyimitatorsofherpatience,herhumility,hersweetness,her quietcontentmentwithallthatshecouldnotdo.Iponderedandpondereduntildinnerwas announcedbyMartha,withafaceallblubberedandswollenwithcrying. MissMattyhadafewlittlepeculiaritieswhichMarthawasapttoregardaswhimsbelowher attention,andappearedtoconsideraschildishfanciesofwhichanoldladyoffiftyeight shouldtryandcureherself.Buttodayeverythingwasattendedtowiththemostcareful regard.ThebreadwascuttotheimaginarypatternofexcellencethatexistedinMiss Mattysmind,asbeingthewaywhichhermotherhadpreferred,thecurtainwasdrawnso astoexcludethedeadbrickwallofaneighboursstable,andyetleftsoastoshowevery tenderleafofthepoplarwhichwasburstingintospringbeauty.MarthastonetoMiss

dudabasipodadescubrirelnmerodehilosenunpatrndelanapeinadaysustrabajos,o bienapreciarlosdiferentesmaticesnecesariosparaenfrentarlareinaAdelaidaeneltrabajo lealdelana,ahorademodaenCranford.Encuantoalautilizacindelosglobos,nunca habasidocapazdeencontrarpormmismo,asquequizsyonoeraunbuenjuezdela capacidaddeMissMattydeinstruccinenestaramadelaeducacin,perosemeocurri queecuadorylostrpicos,ytalloscrculosmsticos,eranlneasmuyimaginariohechoa ella,yquemirabaalossignosdelzodiaco,comorestosdemuchasdelasArteNegro. Loquesepreciaba,comolasartesenlasquesedestac,fuelafabricacindevelas, encendedores,o"derrames"(comoellapreferallamarlos),depapeldecolor,corteconel findeparecersealasplumasyligasdepuntoenunavariedaddedelicadospuntosde sutura.Mehabadichounavez,alrecibirunregalodeunpardedetalles,quemesiento muytentadoasoltarunodeellosenlacalle,afindequeloadmiraba,peroheencontrado estapequeabroma(yeraunpocouna)eraunpeligroparasusentidodeladecencia,yfue llevadocontalalarmaansiosa,serio,noseaquelatentacindealgndaserdemasiado fuerteparam,paraquetodosearrepintidehaberaventuradoenl.Unregalodeestas ligasdelicadamentelabrada,ungrupodehomosexuales"derrames",ounconjuntode tarjetasenlasquefueheridadecoserdesedadeunamaneramstica,fueronlossmbolos conocidosdelfavordelaSrta.Matty.Sinoquecualquierpagoqueunotengaasushijos enseanestasartes?o,incluso,quelaseoritavenderMatty,porgananciadeshonesta, destrezaylahabilidadconlaquehizotonterasdevalorparalosquelaamaba? Yotenaqueveniralalectura,escriturayaritmtica,yenlalecturadelcaptulotodaslas maanas,siempretosaantesdellegaralaspalabraslargas.Yodudabadesupoderde conseguiratravsdeuncaptulogenealgico,concualquiernmerodelatos.Porescrito quelefuebienydelicadamenteperolaortografa!Parecaquecuantomsfueradela formaenqueestaera,ymsproblemasquesucosto,mayoreselcomplementoquepagaa sucorresponsal,ylaspalabrasqueibaaescribirtodalaraznensuscartasquemehizo perfectoenigmasqueellaleescribiamipadre. No!nohabanadaquepudieraensearalanuevageneracindeCranford,amenosquese leshabaaprendenrpidoylistoimitadoresdesupaciencia,suhumildad,sudulzura,su alegratranquila,contodoloqueellanopodahacer.Meditysepreguntabahastalacena fueanunciadaporMartha,conlacaratodahinchadaybalbuceconelllanto. MissMattytenaalgunaspeculiaridadespocoqueMarthasetiendenaconsiderarcomo caprichospordebajodesuatencin,yalparecerconsideranfantasasinfantilesdelos cualesunaseoramayordecincuentayochodebentratarycurarasmisma.Sinembargo, adadetodoloquecontconlapresenciadelarelacinmscuidadosa.Elpansecortacon elmodeloimaginariodelaexcelenciaqueexisteenlamentedeMissMatty,comolaforma enquesumadrehabapreferido,eltelnseelaborconelfindeexcluirlapareddeladrillos muertosdelaestabilidaddeunvecino,ysinembargo,alaizquierdaconelfindemostrar

Mattywasjustsuchasthatgood,roughspokenservantusuallykeptsacredforlittle children,andwhichIhadneverheardherusetoanygrownupperson. IhadforgottentotellMissMattyaboutthepudding,andIwasafraidshemightnotdo justicetoit,forshehadevidentlyverylittleappetitethisday;soIseizedtheopportunityof lettingherintothesecretwhileMarthatookawaythemeat.MissMattyseyesfilledwith tears,andshecouldnotspeak,eithertoexpresssurpriseordelight,whenMarthareturned bearingitaloft,madeinthemostwonderfulrepresentationofalioncouchantthateverwas moulded.MarthasfacegleamedwithtriumphasshesetitdownbeforeMissMattywithan exultantThere!MissMattywantedtospeakherthanks,butcouldnot;soshetook Marthashandandshookitwarmly,whichsetMarthaoffcrying,andImyselfcouldhardly keepupthenecessarycomposure.Marthaburstoutoftheroom,andMissMattyhadto clearhervoiceonceortwicebeforeshecouldspeak.Atlastshesaid,Ishouldliketokeep thispuddingunderaglassshade,mydear!andthenotionofthelioncouchant,withhis curranteyes,beinghoisteduptotheplaceofhonouronamantelpiece,tickledmyhysterical fancy,andIbegantolaugh,whichrathersurprisedMissMatty. Iamsure,dear,Ihaveseenuglierthingsunderaglassshadebeforenow,saidshe. SohadI,manyatimeandoft,andIaccordinglycomposedmycountenance(andnowIcould hardlykeepfromcrying),andwebothfelltouponthepudding,whichwasindeedexcellent onlyeverymorselseemedtochokeus,ourheartsweresofull. Wehadtoomuchtothinkabouttotalkmuchthatafternoon.Itpassedoververytranquilly. Butwhentheteaurnwasbroughtinanewthoughtcameintomyhead.Whyshouldnot MissMattysellteabeanagenttotheEastIndiaTeaCompanywhichthenexisted?Icould seenoobjectionstothisplan,whiletheadvantagesweremanyalwayssupposingthatMiss Mattycouldgetoverthedegradationofcondescendingtoanythingliketrade.Teawas neithergreasynorstickygreaseandstickinessbeingtwoofthequalitieswhichMissMatty couldnotendure.Noshopwindowwouldberequired.Asmall,genteelnotificationofher beinglicensedtosellteawould,itistrue,benecessary,butIhopedthatitcouldbeplaced wherenoonewouldseeit.Neitherwasteaaheavyarticle,soastotaxMissMattysfragile strength.Theonlythingagainstmyplanwasthebuyingandsellinginvolved. WhileIwasgivingbutabsentanswerstothequestionsMissMattywasputtingalmostas absentlyweheardaclumpingsoundonthestairs,andawhisperingoutsidethedoor,

todaslashojastiernasdelamoqueestabareventandoenlabellezadeprimavera.Eltono deMartaalaSrta.Mattyeracomoquebueno,incultocriadogeneralmentesemantiene sagradoparalosniospequeos,yqueyonuncahabaodohablardesuusoacualquier personaadulta. SemehabaolvidadodecirlealaseoritaMattysobreelpudding,yyotenamiedodeque nopodrahacerlejusticia,porquehaba,evidentemente,muypocoapetitoeldadehoy,as queaprovechlaoportunidaddedejarlaenelsecreto,mientrasqueMarthasellevaronla carne.LosojosdeMissMattysellenarondelgrimas,yellanopodahablar,yaseapara expresarsorpresaoalegra,cuandoMartharegresconellaenalto,realizadoenla representacinmsmaravillosadeuncouchantlenquenuncafuemoldeado."Hay"el rostrodeMartharesplandecaconeltriunfocomoellaestablecidaantesdelMissMattycon unaexultantequeraMissMattyadecirloquegracias,peronopoda,asqueellatomla manodeMarthaylaestrechcalurosamente,queestableciMarthadellorar,yyoyo apenaspodamantenerlacomposturanecesaria.Marthaaparecienlaotrahabitacin,yla Srta.Mattytenaquelimpiarsuvozunaodosvecesantesdehablar.Alfindijo:"Megustara mantenerestepostreenunapantalladevidrio,querida!"Ylanocindelacouchantlen, consusojosdegrosella,deserizadahastaellugardehonorenunarepisadelachimenea, mehacacosquillasenhistricafantasa,ymeecharer,loquesorprendeMissMatty. "Estoyseguro,querido,hevistocosasmsfeasenunapantalladevidrioantesdeahora", dijo. Asquetuve,msdeunavezyfrecuentemente,yqueestablecilacomposicindemi rostro(yahoracasinopodacontenerlaslgrimas),yamboscayeronasobreelpudding, quesindudaeraexcelenteslounodecadabocadonospareciahogarse,nuestra corazonesestabantanllenos. Tenamosmuchoquepensarenhablarmuchodelatarde.Sepasmuytranquilamente. Perocuandolateterasetrajounnuevopensamientomevinoalacabeza.PorqunoMiss MattyvendertunagentedelaCompaadeTdelaIndiaOrientalqueexistan entonces?Yonoveaobjecionesaesteplan,mientrasquelasventajaseranmuchos siempresuponiendoquelaseoraMattypodraobtenermsdeladegradacindelos condescendienteconnadacomoelcomercio.Eltfuenigrasanipegajosalagrasayla rigidezsondosdelascualidadesqueMissMattynopodasoportar.Noescaparatesera necesario.Unanotificacindepequeo,elegantedesuserconlicenciaparavendertque, escierto,sernecesario,peroyoesperabaquepodrasercolocadoenelquenadielovera. Tampocofueunartculodetfuerte,demodoquelafuerzafrgildeimpuestosdeMiss Matty.Lonicoencontrademiplaneralacomprayventaencuestin. Mientrasestabadandorespuestas,peroausentealaspreguntasdeMissMattyestaba poniendocasicomoausente seescuchunsonidoagruparenlasescaleras,yun

whichindeedonceopenedandshutasifbysomeinvisibleagency.Afteralittlewhile Marthacamein,draggingafterheragreattallyoungman,allcrimsonwithshyness,and findinghisonlyreliefinperpetuallysleekingdownhishair. Please,maam,hesonlyJemHearn,saidMartha,bywayofanintroduction;andsooutof breathwasshethatIimagineshehadhadsomebodilystrugglebeforeshecouldovercome hisreluctancetobepresentedonthecourtlysceneofMissMatildaJenkynssdrawingroom. Andplease,maam,hewantstomarrymeoffhand.Andplease,maam,wewanttotakea lodgerjustonequietlodger,tomakeourtwoendsmeet;andwedtakeanyhouse conformable;and,ohdearMissMatty,ifImaybesobold,wouldyouhaveanyobjectionsto lodgingwithus?JemwantsitasmuchasIdo.[ToJem]Yougreatoaf!whycantyou backme!Buthedoeswantitallthesame,verybaddontyou,Jem?only,yousee,hes dazedatbeingcalledontospeakbeforequality. Itsnotthat,brokeinJem.Itsthatyouvetakenmeallonasudden,andIdidntthinkfor togetmarriedsosoonandsuchquickwordsdoesflabbergastaman.ItsnotthatIm againstit,maam(addressingMissMatty),onlyMarthahassuchquickwayswithherwhen onceshetakesathingintoherhead;andmarriage,maammarriagenailsaman,asone maysay.IdaresayIshantminditafteritsonceover. Please,maam,saidMarthawhohadpluckedathissleeve,andnudgedhimwithher elbow,andotherwisetriedtointerrupthimallthetimehehadbeenspeakingdontmind him,hellcometo;twasonlylastnighthewasanaxingme,andanaxingme,andallthe morebecauseIsaidIcouldnotthinkofitforyearstocome,andnowhesonlytakenaback withthesuddennessofthejoy;butyouknow,Jem,youarejustasfullasmeaboutwanting alodger.(Anothergreatnudge.) Ay!ifMissMattywouldlodgewithusotherwiseIvenomindtobecumberedwith strangefolkinthehouse,saidJem,withawantoftactwhichIcouldseeenragedMartha, whowastryingtorepresentalodgerasthegreatobjecttheywishedtoobtain,andthat,in fact,MissMattywouldbesmoothingtheirpathandconferringafavour,ifshewouldonly comeandlivewiththem. MissMattyherselfwasbewilderedbythepair;their,orratherMarthassuddenresolution infavourofmatrimonystaggeredher,andstoodbetweenherandthecontemplationofthe planwhichMarthahadatheart.MissMattybegan Marriageisaverysolemnthing,Martha.

murmullofueradelapuerta,quedehechounavezqueseabranycerrabancomosipor algunaagenciainvisible.DespusdeunratollegMarta,arrastrandotrasellaungran hombrejovenyalto,todosloscarmes,contimidez,yencontrarsunicoalivioensleeking perpetuamenteporsucabello. "Porfavor,seora,esslodeJemHearn",dijoMartha,amododeintroduccin,yassin alientofuequemeimaginoqueellahabatenidounaluchacuerpoantesdequepudiera superarsurenuenciaapresentarseenlacorteescenadelaseoritaMatildeJenkinselsaln. "Yporfavor,seora,quequierecasarseconmimanoizquierda.Yporfavor,seora, queremostomarunhuspedunsoloinquilinotranquilo,paraquenuestrosdosafinde mes,yquetomaracualquiercasaadaptable,y,ohqueridaMissMatty,sisemepermiteel atrevimiento,seTieneustedalgunaobjecinalapresentacinconnosotros?JEMquiere tantocomoyo".[AJem]"Esungranzoquete!Porqunomepuedevolver!Perollo quieredetodosmodos,muymalonoesas,Jem?Sloseve,estaturdidoporhaber sidollamadosahablarantelacalidad". "Noesque"serompienJem."Esquemehetomadodeimproviso,ynopensquepara casarsetanprontoyconpalabrastanrpidanodejarsinhablaaunhombre.Noesqueyo estoyencontradel,seora"(dirigindoseaMissMatty),"Marthatieneslounamanera tanrpidaconellaunavezquesetomaunacosaenlacabeza,yelmatrimonio,seorael matrimoniouasaunhombre,comosepuededecir.Meatrevoadecirquenolamente despusdequeunavezms." "Porfavor,seora",dijoMarthaquehabaarrancadodelamanga,yloempujconelcodo, ydeotramaneratratarondeinterrumpirtodoeltiempoquehabaestadohablando"no lesimporta,lvendra,'twaslanocheanterioreraunhacharm,ymeunohachazos,y todoslosms,porquemedijoquenopodapensarenellaenlosprximosaos,yahora slosesorprendiconlarapidezdelaalegra,peroyasabes,Jem,queesttanllenocomo yosobreeldeseodeuninquilino".(Otrogranempujn.) "Ay!siMissMattysealojenconnosotrosdelocontrarionotengolamentequesedistraa congenteextraaenlacasa",dijoJem,conunafaltadetactoquepudeverenfureci Martha,queestabatratandoderepresentarauninquilinocomoelgranobjetodesudeseo deobtener,yque,dehecho,MissMattyserasuavizarsucaminoyqueconfiereunfavor,si ellavinieraavivirconellos. Srta.Mattysequedperplejoporlapareja,su,omsbienrepentinadecisindeMartaa favordelmatrimoniodesuescalonada,yseinterpusoentreellaylacontemplacindelplan queMartahabaenelcorazn.MissMattycomenz "Elmatrimonioesunacosamuysolemne,Martha."

Itisindeed,maam,quothJem.NotthatIvenoobjectionstoMartha. YouveneverletmeabeforaskingmefortofixwhenIwouldbemarried,saidMartha herfaceallafire,andreadytocrywithvexationandnowyoureshamingmebeforemy missusandall. Nay,now!Marthadontee!dontee!onlyamanlikestohavebreathingtime,saidJem, tryingtopossesshimselfofherhand,butinvain.Thenseeingthatshewasmoreseriously hurtthanhehadimagined,heseemedtotrytorallyhisscatteredfaculties,andwithmore straightforwarddignitythan,tenminutesbefore,Ishouldhavethoughtitpossibleforhimto assume,heturnedtoMissMatty,andsaid,Ihope,maam,youknowthatIamboundto respecteveryonewhohasbeenkindtoMartha.Ialwayslookedonherastobemywife sometime;andshehasoftenandoftenspokenofyouasthekindestladythateverwas;and thoughtheplaintruthis,Iwouldnotliketobetroubledwithlodgersofthecommonrun,yet if,maam,youdhonourusbylivingwithus,ImsureMarthawoulddoherbesttomakeyou comfortable;andIdkeepoutofyourwayasmuchasIcould,whichIreckonwouldbethe bestkindnesssuchanawkwardchapasmecoulddo. MissMattyhadbeenverybusywithtakingoffherspectacles,wipingthem,andreplacing them;butallshecouldsaywas,Dontletanythoughtofmehurryyouintomarriage:pray dont.Marriageissuchaverysolemnthing! ButMissMatildawillthinkofyourplan,Martha,saidI,struckwiththeadvantagesthatit offered,andunwillingtolosetheopportunityofconsideringaboutit.AndImsureneither shenorIcaneverforgetyourkindness;noryourseither,Jem. Why,yes,maam!ImsureImeankindly,thoughImabitflutteredbybeingpushed straightaheadintomatrimony,asitwere,andmayntexpressmyselfconformable.ButIm sureImwillingenough,andgivemetimetogetaccustomed;so,Martha,wench,whatsthe useofcryingso,andslappingmeifIcomenear? Thislastwassottovoce,andhadtheeffectofmakingMarthabounceoutoftheroom,tobe followedandsoothedbyherlover.WhereuponMissMattysatdownandcriedvery heartily,andaccountedforitbysayingthatthethoughtofMarthabeingmarriedsosoon gaveherquiteashock,andthatsheshouldneverforgiveherselfifshethoughtshewas hurryingthepoorcreature.IthinkmypitywasmoreforJem,ofthetwo;butbothMiss MattyandIappreciatedtothefullthekindnessofthehonestcouple,althoughwesaidlittle aboutthis,andagooddealaboutthechancesanddangersofmatrimony.

"Esenverdad,seora,"DijoJem."NoesquenotengoningunaobjecinaMartha". "Nuncamedejunserparapedirmequearreglarcuandomeibaacasar",dijoMarthasu caratodounfuego,yapuntodellorardedespecho"yahorameestsavergonzando delantedemiseoraytodos". "No,ahora!Marthanoee!noee!slounhombrelegustatenerdificultadpararespirara tiempo",dijoJem,tratandodeapoderarsedesumano,peroenvano.Entonces,viendoque estabamsheridodegravedaddeloquehabaimaginado,parecatratardereunirasus facultadesdispersas,yconmsdignidadsencillaque,diezminutosantes,hubierapensado quefueraposibleparaquelasuma,sevolviaMissMatty,yledijo:"Espero,seora, ustedsabequeestoyobligadoarespetaracadaunoquehasidoamableconMartha.Yo siemprelamirabacomoamiesposauntiempo,yqueamenudoyconfrecuenciahablade ustedcomoelmsamableseoraquealgunavezlofue,yaunquelaverdades,nomegusta estarconproblemasconinquilinosdelapolticaejecutar,sinembargo,si,seora,ustednos honranconestarconnosotros,estoysegurodeMarthaharatodoloposibleparahacerlo sentircmodoymemantengafueradesucaminolomsquepude,quemeconsiderarsera lamejorbondadcomounextraocaptuloqueyopodahacer." MissMattyhabaestadomuyocupadoconquitndoselasgafasylossec,ysusustitucin, perolonicoquepudedecirfue:"Nodejesqueningnpensamientodequemedaprisaen elmatrimonio:porfavor,no.Elmatrimonioesunacosamuysolemne!" "PerolaseoritaMatildavaapensardesuplan,Martha,"dije,golpeconlasventajasque ofrece,ynoquierenperderlaoportunidaddeopinaralrespecto."Yestoysegurodequeni ellaniyopodemosolvidarsubondad,niladecualquiera,Jem." "Puess,seora!Estoysegurodequequierodecirconamabilidad,aunqueestoyunpoco ondeabanalserempujadohaciadelanteenelmatrimonio,porasdecirlo,ymayn't expresarmeconforme.Peroestoysegurodequeestoylosuficientementedispuesto,yme datiempoparaacostumbrarse,as,Marta,muchacha,culeselusodelloraras,y golpeandomisimeacerco?" Esteltimoerasottovoce,ytuvoelefectodequeMartharebotefueradelahabitacin,que seseguiryaliviadoporsuamante.ConlocualMissMattymesentyllormuybuena gana,ydiocuentadelaldecirqueelpensamientodeMarthaestarcasadotanprontole diounbuensusto,yquenuncadebenperdonarseasmismasiellapensabaqueibadeprisa alapobrecriatura.CreoquemipenaeramsdeJem,delosdos,peroambosMissMattyy yoagradecalmximolasbondadesdelaparejahonesta,aunquedijopocoacercadeesto,y muchosobrelasposibilidadesylospeligrosdelmatrimonio.

Thenextmorning,veryearly,IreceivedanotefromMissPole,somysteriouslywrappedup, andwithsomanysealsonittosecuresecrecy,thatIhadtotearthepaperbeforeIcould unfoldit.AndwhenIcametothewritingIcouldhardlyunderstandthemeaning,itwasso involvedandoracular.Imadeout,however,thatIwastogotoMissPolesateleven oclock;thenumberelevenbeingwritteninfulllengthaswellasinnumerals,andA.M.twice dashedunder,asifIwereverylikelytocomeatelevenatnight,whenallCranfordwas usuallyabedandasleepbyten.TherewasnosignatureexceptMissPolesinitialsreversed, P.E.;butasMarthahadgivenmethenote,withMissPoleskindregards,itneededno wizardtofindoutwhosentit;andifthewritersnamewastobekeptsecret,itwasvery wellthatIwasalonewhenMarthadeliveredit. IwentasrequestedtoMissPoles.ThedoorwasopenedtomebyherlittlemaidLizzyin Sundaytrim,asifsomegrandeventwasimpendingoverthisworkday.Andthedrawing roomupstairswasarrangedinaccordancewiththisidea.Thetablewassetoutwiththe bestgreencardcloth,andwritingmaterialsuponit.Onthelittlechiffonierwasatraywitha newlydecantedbottleofcowslipwine,andsomeladiesfingerbiscuits.MissPoleherself wasinsolemnarray,asiftoreceivevisitors,althoughitwasonlyelevenoclock.Mrs Forresterwasthere,cryingquietlyandsadly,andmyarrivalseemedonlytocallforthfresh tears.Beforewehadfinishedourgreetings,performedwithlugubriousmysteryof demeanour,therewasanotherrattattat,andMrsFitzAdamappeared,crimsonwith walkingandexcitement.Itseemedasifthiswasallthecompanyexpected;fornowMiss Polemadeseveraldemonstrationsofbeingabouttoopenthebusinessofthemeeting,by stirringthefire,openingandshuttingthedoor,andcoughingandblowinghernose.Then shearrangedusallroundthetable,takingcaretoplacemeoppositetoher;andlastofall, sheinquiredofmeifthesadreportwastrue,asshefeareditwas,thatMissMattyhadlost allherfortune? Ofcourse,Ihadbutoneanswertomake;andIneversawmoreunaffectedsorrowdepicted onanycountenancesthanIdidthereonthethreebeforeme. IwishMrsJamiesonwashere!saidMrsForresteratlast;buttojudgefromMrsFitzAdams face,shecouldnotsecondthewish. ButwithoutMrsJamieson,saidMissPole,withjustasoundofoffendedmeritinhervoice, we,theladiesofCranford,inmydrawingroomassembled,canresolveuponsomething.I imaginewearenoneofuswhatmaybecalledrich,thoughweallpossessagenteel competency,sufficientfortastesthatareelegantandrefined,andwouldnot,iftheycould, bevulgarlyostentatious.(HereIobservedMissPolerefertoasmallcardconcealedinher hand,onwhichIimagineshehadputdownafewnotes.)

Alamaanasiguiente,muytemprano,recibunanotadelaseoritaPole,tan misteriosamenteenvuelto,yconlossellosdetantosqueparaasegurarelsecreto,quetena queromperelpapelantesdequepudieradesarrollarse.Ycuandollegualaescrituraque apenaspodaentenderelsignificado,erataninvolucradosyoracular.Hehecho,sin embargo,queyoibaairaMissPolealasonce,elnmeroonceseescribeentodasu longitud,ascomoennmeros,yAMeldobledepuntospordebajo,comosiestuvieramuy probablequealasoncedelanoche,cuandotodoslosCranforderaporlogeneralunacama ydormirsealasdiez.Nohabafirma,salvolasinicialesdeMissPoleinvertido,PE,perocomo Marthamehabadadolanota,"conlaclasedeMissPoleserefiere,"nonecesitabaasistente paraaveriguarquinloenvi,ysielnombredelescritordebasermantenidoensecreto, quefuemuybienqueyoestabasolocuandoMarthaloentreg. FuialosolicitadoalaseoritaPole.LapuertaseabriparamporsudoncellaLizzyen Domingocorte,comosialgngraneventofueinminenteduranteestedadetrabajo.Yla partedearribadelasalaseorganizdeacuerdoconestaidea.Lamesaestabapuestaconlo mejordelatarjetaverdedetelaymaterialparaescribirsobreella.Enelchifonierpoco habaunabandejaconunabotellarecindecantadodevinodeprmula,yalgunasgalletas ladies'dedos.LapropiaseoritaPolefueenordensolemne,comosifueraarecibiralos visitantes,aunquesloonce.LaseoraForresterestabaall,llorandoensilencioycon tristeza,ymillegadaparecasloparallamaralaslgrimasadelantefresco.Antesdehaber terminadonuestrossaludos,realizadoconelmisteriodelaconductalgubre,nohabaotra rattattat,ylaseoraFitzAdamapareci,carmesparacaminarylaemocin.Parecacomo sitodoestoeraquelacompaaesperaba,porahora,seoritaPolehizovarias demostracionesdeestarapuntodeabrirelnegociodelareunin,agitandoelfuego, abriendoycerrandolapuerta,yaltoserysonarselanariz.Entoncesellanosdispuestospor todalamesa,teniendocuidadodecolocarfrenteamconella,yporltimo,preguntaamsi elinformetristeescierto,yaquetemaeraquelaseoritaMattyhabaperdidotodasu fortuna? Porsupuesto,yoslotenaunarespuestaparahacer,ynuncahevistomsafectadodolor representadoencualquierrostroqueyoallenlostresdelantedem. !QuieroseoraJamiesonestabaaqu",dijolaseoraForrester,alfin,peroajuzgarporla caralaseoraFitzAdn,nopodaelsegundodeseo. "PerosinlaseoraJamieson,"dijolaseoritaPole,conslounsonidodemritoofendido ensuvoz,"nosotros,lasdamasdeCranford,enmisaladeestarreunidos,puederesolver conalgo.Meimaginoqueestamosningunodenosotrosloquepuedellamarsericos,aunque todostienenunacompetenciaelegante,suficienteparatodoslosgustosquesonelegantesy refinados,ynolohara,sipudiera,servulgarmenteostentosos."(AquheobservadoPolese refierenenunatarjetapequeaocultaenlamano,enelquemeimaginoquesehaba puestoalgunasnotas.)

MissSmith,shecontinued,addressingme(familiarlyknownasMarytoallthecompany assembled,butthiswasastateoccasion),IhaveconversedinprivateImadeitmy businesstodosoyesterdayafternoonwiththeseladiesonthemisfortunewhichhas happenedtoourfriend,andoneandallofushaveagreedthatwhilewehaveasuperfluity, itisnotonlyaduty,butapleasureatruepleasure,Mary!hervoicewasratherchoked justhere,andshehadtowipeherspectaclesbeforeshecouldgoontogivewhatwecan toassistherMissMatildaJenkyns.Onlyinconsiderationofthefeelingsofdelicate independenceexistinginthemindofeveryrefinedfemaleIwassureshehadgotbackto thecardnowwewishtocontributeourmitesinasecretandconcealedmanner,soasnot tohurtthefeelingsIhavereferredto.Andourobjectinrequestingyoutomeetusthis morningisthat,believingyouarethedaughterthatyourfatheris,infact,herconfidential adviser,inallpecuniarymatters,weimaginedthat,byconsultingwithhim,youmightdevise somemodeinwhichourcontributioncouldbemadetoappearthelegalduewhichMiss MatildaJenkynsoughttoreceivefromProbablyyourfather,knowingherinvestments,can filluptheblank. MissPoleconcludedheraddress,andlookedroundforapprovalandagreement. Ihaveexpressedyourmeaning,ladies,haveInot?AndwhileMissSmithconsiderswhat replytomake,allowmetoofferyousomelittlerefreshment. Ihadnogreatreplytomake:Ihadmorethankfulnessatmyheartfortheirkindthoughts thanIcaredtoputintowords;andsoIonlymumbledoutsomethingtotheeffectthatI wouldnamewhatMissPolehadsaidtomyfather,andthatifanythingcouldbearrangedfor dearMissMatty,andhereIbrokedownutterly,andhadtoberefreshedwithaglassof cowslipwinebeforeIcouldcheckthecryingwhichhadbeenrepressedforthelasttwoor threedays.Theworstwas,alltheladiescriedinconcert.EvenMissPolecried,whohad saidahundredtimesthattobetrayemotionbeforeanyonewasasignofweaknessand wantofselfcontrol.Sherecoveredherselfintoaslightdegreeofimpatientanger,directed againstme,ashavingsetthemalloff;and,moreover,IthinkshewasvexedthatIcouldnot makeaspeechbackinreturnforhers;andifIhadknownbeforehandwhatwastobesaid, andhadacardonwhichtoexpresstheprobablefeelingsthatwouldriseinmyheart,I wouldhavetriedtogratifyher.Asitwas,MrsForresterwasthepersontospeakwhenwe hadrecoveredourcomposure. Idontmind,amongfriends,statingthatIno!Imnotpoorexactly,butIdontthinkIm whatyoumaycallrich;IwishIwere,fordearMissMattyssakebut,ifyouplease,Illwrite downinasealedpaperwhatIcangive.Ionlywishitwasmore;mydearMary,Idoindeed.

"MissSmith",continu,dirigindoseam(familiarmenteconocidocomo"Mara"atodoslos reunidos,peroestafueunaocasindeestado),"Heconversadoenprivadolehicemi negocioahacerloayerporlatardeconestasmujeresenladesgraciaquehasucedidoa nuestroamigo,ytodosycadaunodenosotroshemosacordadoque,sibientenemosuna superfluidad,noessloundeber,sinounplacerunverdaderoplacer,Mara"suvozera msbienaqusloseatragantytuvoquelimpiarsusgafasantesdequepudieracontinuar "paradarloquepodamosparaayudarlaMissJenkinsMatilda.Sloteniendoencuenta lossentimientosdeindependenciadelicadosqueexistenenlamentedecadamujer refinada"estabasegurodequehaballegadoalatarjetaahora"queremoscontribuircon nuestracarosdeformasecretayoculta,paranohacerdaoalossentimientosquemehe referido.Ynuestroobjetodesolicitarareunirseconnosotrosestamaanaesque,creyendo queereslahijaquesupadrees,dehecho,supersonadeconfianza,entodoslosasuntos pecuniarios,nosimaginamosque,mediantelaconsultaconl,esposibleidearalgnel modoenelquepodrasernuestracontribucinaaparecerporlaquelaseoritaJenkins legalMatildadeberecibirdeProbablementetupadre,asabiendasdesusinversiones,se puedellenarelespacioenblanco". Poleconcluysudiscursoymirasualrededorparasuaprobacinyelacuerdo. "Heexpresadosusignificado,seoras,noescierto?YmientraslaseoritaSmithconsidera quelarespuestaparahacer,mepermitoofrecerleunrefrescopequeo." Yonotenarespuestaidealparahacer:tenamsgratitudenmicoraznlospensamientos desutipoquemeimportabaponerenpalabras,yporloqueslomurmuralgoenel sentidode"queibaanombrarloquePolehabadichoamipadre,yquesialgopodraser arregladoparamiqueridamissMatty",yaquserompiporcompleto,ytuvoqueser refrescadaconunacopadevinodeprmulaantesdequepudieraverelllantoquehabasido reprimidodurantelosltimosdosotresdas.Lopeorfue,atodaslasdamaslloren concierto.InclusolaseoritaPolelloraba,quehabadichocienvecesquetraicionarala emocinantesdequeunoeraunsignodedebilidadyfaltadeautocontrol.Serecuperen unligerogradodeenojoimpaciente,contram,comohaberpuestoatodosde,y,porotra parte,creoqueellaseenfaddequenopodadarundiscursoacambiodelasuya,ysiyo hubierasabidodeantemanoloqueibaadecir,ytenaunatarjetaenlaqueexpresarlos sentimientosprobablequeselevantaraenmicorazn,mehantratadodecomplacerla.As lascosas,laseoraForrestereralapersonaahablarcuandosehabarecuperadola compostura. "Nomeimporta,entreamigos,diciendoqueyono!Yonosoypobreexactamente,peroyo nocreoquesealoqueustedpuedellamaralrico,ymegustaraestar,porelamordemi queridamissMatty,pero,porfavor,voyaescribirenunpapelsellado,loquepuededar. Slomegustaraquefuerams,miqueridaMara,dehecho".

NowIsawwhypaper,pens,andinkwereprovided.Everyladywrotedownthesumshe couldgiveannually,signedthepaper,andsealeditmysteriously.Iftheirproposalwas accededto,myfatherwastobeallowedtoopenthepapers,underpledgeofsecrecy.Ifnot, theyweretobereturnedtotheirwriters. Whentheceremonyhadbeengonethrough,Irosetodepart;buteachladyseemedtowish tohaveaprivateconferencewithme.MissPolekeptmeinthedrawingroomtoexplain why,inMrsJamiesonsabsence,shehadtakentheleadinthismovement,asshewas pleasedtocallit,andalsotoinformmethatshehadheardfromgoodsourcesthatMrs Jamiesonwascominghomedirectlyinastateofhighdispleasureagainsthersisterinlaw, whowasforthwithtoleaveherhouse,andwas,shebelieved,toreturntoEdinburghthat veryafternoon.OfcoursethispieceofintelligencecouldnotbecommunicatedbeforeMrs FitzAdam,moreespeciallyasMissPolewasinclinedtothinkthatLadyGlenmires engagementtoMrHogginscouldnotpossiblyholdagainsttheblazeofMrsJamiesons displeasure.AfewheartyinquiriesafterMissMattyshealthconcludedmyinterviewwith MissPole. OncomingdownstairsIfoundMrsForresterwaitingformeattheentrancetothedining parlour;shedrewmein,andwhenthedoorwasshut,shetriedtwoorthreetimestobegin onsomesubject,whichwassounapproachableapparently,thatIbegantodespairofour evergettingtoaclearunderstanding.Atlastoutitcame;thepooroldladytremblingallthe timeasifitwereagreatcrimewhichshewasexposingtodaylight,intellingmehowvery, verylittleshehadtoliveupon;aconfessionwhichshewasbroughttomakefromadread lestweshouldthinkthatthesmallcontributionnamedinherpaperboreanyproportionto herloveandregardforMissMatty.Andyetthatsumwhichshesoeagerlyrelinquished was,intruth,morethanatwentiethpartofwhatshehadtoliveupon,andkeephouse,and alittleservingmaid,allasbecameonebornaTyrrell.Andwhenthewholeincomedoesnot nearlyamounttoahundredpounds,togiveupatwentiethofitwillnecessitatemany carefuleconomies,andmanypiecesofselfdenial,smallandinsignificantintheworlds account,butbearingadifferentvalueinanotheraccountbookthatIhaveheardof.Shedid sowishshewasrich,shesaid,andthiswishshekeptrepeating,withnothoughtofherselfin it,onlywithalonging,yearningdesiretobeabletoheapupMissMattysmeasureof comforts. ItwassometimebeforeIcouldconsoleherenoughtoleaveher;andthen,onquittingthe house,IwaswaylaidbyMrsFitzAdam,whohadalsoherconfidencetomakeofpretty nearlytheoppositedescription.Shehadnotlikedtoputdownallthatshecouldaffordand wasreadytogive.ShetoldmeshethoughtshenevercouldlookMissMattyintheface againifshepresumedtobegivinghersomuchassheshouldliketodo.MissMatty! continuedshe,thatIthoughtwassuchafineyoungladywhenIwasnothingbutacountry girl,comingtomarketwitheggsandbutterandsuchlikethings.Formyfather,thoughwell

Entoncesvielporqudepapel,plumasytintaeran.Cadamujerescribilasumaquepodra darcadaao,firmelpapel,ylosellmisteriosamente.Sisupropuestafueadheridoal, mipadreeraqueselespermitaabrirlosdiarios,bajojuramentodeguardarsecreto.Sino, ibanaserdevueltosasusautores. Cuandolaceremoniahabatenidoquepasar,melevantparasalir,perocadamujerpareca deseartenerunareuninprivadaconmigo.Polememantuvoenlasalaparaexplicarpor qu,enausenciadelaseoraJamieson,quehabatomadoladelanteraeneste "movimiento",comoellasecomplacaenllamarlo,ytambinparainformarmequehaba ododebuenafuentequeSra.Jamiesonfuedirectamenteacasaenunestadode descontentodealtacontrasuhermanaenley,quefuedeinmediatoasalirdesucasa,yfue, segnella,paravolveraEdimburgoesamismatarde.Porsupuesto,estapiezadela inteligencianopuedensercomunicadosantesdelaseoraFitzAdam,sobretodocomo MissPoleseinclinaapensarqueelcompromisoSeoraGlenmirealSr.Hogginsnopodra sostenercontralasllamasdeldescontentoseoraJamieson.Apreguntasdealgunos abundantedelasaluddeMissMattyconcluymientrevistaconMissPole. EnlaplantabajaquevienemeparecilaseoraForrestermeesperaenlaentradadel comedorsaln,ellamellam,ycuandosecerrlapuerta,tratdedosotresvecespara comenzarenalgntema,queerataninaccesiblealparecer,queempecadesesperarde nuestrasiemprellegaraunentendimientoclaro.Porfinllegelcabo,elpobreanciana temblandotodoeltiempocomosisetrataradeungrancrimenqueseestabaexponiendoa laluzdelda,endecirmelomuy,muypocotenadequvivir,unaconfesinqueletrajeron parahacerdeunmiedoparaquenodebemospensarquelapequeacontribucin nombradoensupapeltenaningunaproporcinconsuamoryrespetoporMissMatty.Ysin embargo,quelasumaqueellacontantoentusiasmofueabandonado,enverdad,msde unavigsimapartedeloquetenaparaviviren,ymantenerlacasa,yunpocodesirvienta, todoellocomoseconvirtienunonacidoTyrrell.Ycuandotodoelingresonocercadela cantidaddecienlibras,arenunciaraunavigsimapartedeloquerequierenmuchas economasdecuidado,ymuchaspiezasdeautonegacin,pequeaseinsignificantesen cuentaenelmundo,peroteniendounvalordiferenteenotrolibrodecuentasqueheodo hablar.Aslohizodeseoerarica,dijo,yestedeseonodejabaderepetir,sinpensarens mismaenl,sloconunvehementedeseodedeseo,parapoderacumularmedidaMiss Mattydecomodidades. Pasalgntiempoantesdequepudieraconsolalosuficientecomoparadejarla,yluego,al salirdelacasa,fueasaltadoporlaseoraFitzAdam,quetenatambinsuconfianzapara hacerdemuycercaladescripcindelocontrario.Ellanolehabagustadoparaacabarcon todoloquepodapagaryestabadispuestoadar.Ellamedijoquepensquenuncapodra mirarMattyseoritaalacarasiellapresumequedarletantocomoellaquisierahacer. "Mattyseorita!",Continu,"queyopensabaqueeraunadamajovencuandoyonoera msqueunachicadecampo,quelleganalmercadoconloshuevosylamantequillaycosas

todo,wouldalwaysmakemegoonasmymotherhaddonebeforeme,andIhadtocome intoCranfordeverySaturday,andseeaftersales,andprices,andwhatnot.Andoneday,I remember,ImetMissMattyinthelanethatleadstoCombehurst;shewaswalkingonthe footpath,which,youknow,israisedagoodwayabovetheroad,andagentlemanrode besideher,andwastalkingtoher,andshewaslookingdownatsomeprimrosesshehad gathered,andpullingthemalltopieces,andIdobelieveshewascrying.Butaftershehad passed,sheturnedroundandranaftermetoaskoh,sokindlyaboutmypoormother, wholayonherdeathbed;andwhenIcriedshetookholdofmyhandtocomfortmeand thegentlemanwaitingforherallthetimeandherpoorheartveryfullofsomething,Iam sure;andIthoughtitsuchanhonourtobespokentointhatprettywaybytherectors daughter,whovisitedatArleyHall.Ihavelovedhereversince,thoughperhapsIdnoright todoit;butifyoucanthinkofanywayinwhichImightbeallowedtogivealittlemore withoutanyoneknowingit,Ishouldbesomuchobligedtoyou,mydear.Andmybrother wouldbedelightedtodoctorherfornothingmedicines,leeches,andall.Iknowthathe andherladyship(mydear,IlittlethoughtinthedaysIwastellingyouofthatIshouldever cometobesisterinlawtoaladyship!)woulddoanythingforher.Weallwould. ItoldherIwasquitesureofit,andpromisedallsortsofthingsinmyanxietytogethometo MissMatty,whomightwellbewonderingwhathadbecomeofmeabsentfromhertwo hourswithoutbeingabletoaccountforit.Shehadtakenverylittlenoteoftime,however, asshehadbeenoccupiedinnumberlesslittlearrangementspreparatorytothegreatstepof givingupherhouse.Itwasevidentlyarelieftohertobedoingsomethinginthewayof retrenchment,for,asshesaid,whenevershepausedtothink,therecollectionofthepoor fellowwithhisbadfivepoundnotecameoverher,andshefeltquitedishonest;onlyifit madehersouncomfortable,whatmustitnotbedoingtothedirectorsofthebank,who mustknowsomuchmoreofthemiseryconsequentuponthisfailure?Shealmostmademe angrybydividinghersympathybetweenthesedirectors(whomsheimaginedoverwhelmed byselfreproachforthemismanagementofotherpeoplesaffairs)andthosewhowere sufferinglikeher.Indeed,ofthetwo,sheseemedtothinkpovertyalighterburdenthan selfreproach;butIprivatelydoubtedifthedirectorswouldagreewithher. Oldhoardsweretakenoutandexaminedastotheirmoneyvaluewhichluckilywassmall,or elseIdontknowhowMissMattywouldhaveprevaileduponherselftopartwithsuch thingsashermothersweddingring,thestrange,uncouthbroochwithwhichherfatherhad disfiguredhisshirtfrill,&c.However,wearrangedthingsalittleinorderastotheir pecuniaryestimation,andwereallreadyformyfatherwhenhecamethenextmorning. Iamnotgoingtowearyyouwiththedetailsofallthebusinesswewentthrough;andone

parecidas.Paramipadre,aunquetambinahacer,siempremehacenseguircomomimadre habahechoantesqueyo,ytuvequeentrarenCranfordtodoslossbados,yverdespusde lasventasylosprecios,yquno.Yunda,recuerdo,conocaMissMattyenelcarrilque conduceaCombehurst,estabacaminandoporelsendero,que,ustedsabe,selevantauna buenamaneraporencimadelacarretera,yuncaballerocabalgabaasulado,yhablandose aella,yellaestabamirandohaciaabajoenalgnprimaverasquesehabanreunido,y tirandodeellosenpedazos,yyocreoqueellaestaballorando.Sinembargo,despusdeque ellahabapasado,sevolviycorritrasdemapreguntaroh,tanamablementedemi pobremadre,queyacaensulechodemuerte,ycuandoyollorabaellaseapoderdemi manoparacomodidadyelcaballeroesperndolatodoeltiempoysupobrecoraznmuy llenodealgo,estoyseguro,ypensqueeraunhonorqueseleshabledeesemodobastante porlahijadelrector,quienvisitaArleyHall.Heamadodesdeentonces,aunquetalvezno habaderechoahacerlo,perosipuedopensarenningunaformaenlaquesemepermitiera darunpocomssinquenadiesaberlo,yodeberasertantolaobligacindeusted,mi querido.Ymihermanoestaraencantadoconsumdicoparanadamedicamentos, sanguijuelas,ytodoeso.Yosquelysuseora(querida,pocaatencinenlosdasquete decadequenuncadebellegaraserlahermanaenley,aunaseora!)Haracualquiercosa porella.Atodosnos". Yoledijequeestabamuysegurodeella,yleprometitodotipodecosasenmiansiedad porllegaracasadeMissMatty,quebienpuedeestarpreguntndosequhabrasidodem ausentedesusdoshorassinpoderdarcuentadeella.Habatomadonotamuypocotiempo, sinembargo,comohabasidoocupadaenunsinnmerodepequeosarreglosde preparacinparaelgranpasodeabandonarsucasa.Era,evidentemente,unalivioparaella queestarhaciendoalgoenelcaminodelareduccindepersonal,para,segndijo,cadavez quesedetuvoapensar,elrecuerdodelapobreconsumalanotadecincolibrasseapoder deella,yellasesintimuydeshonestos,yslosiselehizomuyincmodo,loquenodebe haceralosdirectoresdelbanco,quedebeconocermuchomsdelamiseriacomo consecuenciadeestefracaso?Ellacasimehizoenojar,dividiendosussimpatasentrelos directores(aquienseimaginabrumadoporlaautoreprocheporlamalagestindelos asuntosdeotraspersonas)ylosquesufrancomoella.Dehecho,delosdos,parecaquela pobrezaenunacargamsligeraquelaautoreproche,peroyodudabadequeenprivadoa losdirectoresdeacuerdoconella. Hordasdeedadfueronsacadosyexaminadaencuantoasuvalorenefectivoqueporsuerte erapequeo,sino,noscmoMissMattyhubieseprevalecidosobresmismaalaparte concosastalescomosumadre,elanillodeboda,elbrocheextrao,tosco,conquesupadre lehabadesfiguradosucamisavolante,&c.Sinembargo,arreglamosunpocolascosasen ordenencuantoasuestimacinpecuniaria,yestabanlistosparamipadrecuandollegala maanasiguiente. Novoyacansarlosconlosdetallesdetodoslosnegociosquehemospasado,yunadelas

reasonfornottellingaboutthemis,thatIdidnotunderstandwhatweweredoingatthe time,andcannotrecollectitnow.MissMattyandIsatassentingtoaccounts,andschemes, andreports,anddocuments,ofwhichIdonotbelieveweeitherofusunderstoodaword; formyfatherwasclearheadedanddecisive,andacapitalmanofbusiness,andifwemade theslightestinquiry,orexpressedtheslightestwantofcomprehension,hehadasharpway ofsaying,Eh?eh?itsasdearasdaylight.Whatsyourobjection?Andaswehadnot comprehendedanythingofwhathehadproposed,wefounditratherdifficulttoshapeour objections;infact,weneverweresureifwehadany.SopresentlyMissMattygotintoa nervouslyacquiescentstate,andsaidYes,andCertainly,ateverypause,whether requiredornot;butwhenIoncejoinedinaschorustoaDecidedly,pronouncedbyMiss Mattyinatremblinglydubioustone,myfatherfiredroundatmeandaskedmeWhatthere wastodecide?AndIamsuretothisdayIhaveneverknown.But,injusticetohim,Imust sayhehadcomeoverfromDrumbletohelpMissMattywhenhecouldillsparethetime, andwhenhisownaffairswereinaveryanxiousstate. WhileMissMattywasoutoftheroomgivingordersforluncheonandsadlyperplexed betweenherdesireofhonouringmyfatherbyadelicate,daintymeal,andherconviction thatshehadnoright,nowthatallhermoneywasgone,toindulgethisdesireItoldhimof themeetingoftheCranfordladiesatMissPolesthedaybefore.Hekeptbrushinghishand beforehiseyesasIspokeandwhenIwentbacktoMarthasoffertheeveningbefore,of receivingMissMattyasalodger,hefairlywalkedawayfrommetothewindow,andbegan drummingwithhisfingersuponit.Thenheturnedabruptlyround,andsaid,See,Mary, howagood,innocentlifemakesfriendsallaround.Confoundit!Icouldmakeagoodlesson outofitifIwereaparson;but,asitis,IcantgetatailtomysentencesonlyImsureyou feelwhatIwanttosay.YouandIwillhaveawalkafterlunchandtalkabitmoreabout theseplans. Thelunchahotsavourymuttonchop,andalittleofthecoldloinslicedandfriedwasnow broughtin.Everymorselofthislastdishwasfinished,toMarthasgreatgratification.Then myfatherbluntlytoldMissMattyhewantedtotalktomealone,andthathewouldstroll outandseesomeoftheoldplaces,andthenIcouldtellherwhatplanwethoughtdesirable. Justbeforewewentout,shecalledmebackandsaid,Remember,dear,Imtheonlyone leftImean,theresnoonetobehurtbywhatIdo.Imwillingtodoanythingthatsright andhonest;andIdontthink,ifDeborahknowswheresheis,shellcaresoverymuchifIm notgenteel;because,yousee,shellknowall,dear.OnlyletmeseewhatIcando,andpay thepoorpeopleasfarasImable. Igaveheraheartykiss,andranaftermyfather.Theresultofourconversationwasthis.If

razonesparanodecirdeellosesqueyonoentendaloqueestbamoshaciendoenese momento,ynopuederecordarloahora.MissMattyyyonossentamosasintiendoalas cuentas,ylosplaneseinformes,ydocumentos,deloscualesnocreoqueningunodelosdos entendaunapalabra,porquemipadreestabalcidoydecidido,yunhombredecapitalde losnegocios,ysihemoshecholamsmnimainformacin,oexpresanlamsmnimafalta decomprensin,quetenaunaformaagudadedecir:"Eh?eh?queestanqueridocomo laluzdelda.Culessuobjecin"Ycomonohabacomprendidonadadeloquelhaba propuesto,nospareciqueerabastantedifcilparadarformaanuestrasobjeciones;?De hecho,noestbamossegurosdesitenamosalguna.AsqueenlaactualidadMissMattyse metienunestadodenerviosismocondescendiente,ydijo:"S",y"Porsupuesto",encada pausa,sirequiereono,perocuandounavezseunieronencorocomoaun "Decididamente",pronunciadoporlaSra.Mattyenuntonotemblorosodudosa,mipadre despidialrededordemymepregunt:"Quhayquedecidir?"Yestoysegurodeque estedanuncaheconocido.Pero,enjusticiaal,debodecirquelhabavenidodeDrumble paraayudaraMissMattycuandoapenaspodaperdereltiempo,ycuandosuspropios asuntosestabanenunestadomuyansioso. MientrasqueMissMattyestabafueradelahabitacindandordenesparaelalmuerzoy tristementeperplejoentresudeseodehonraramipadreconunacomidadelicada, exquisita,ysuconviccindequeellanotenaderecho,yaquetodosudinerosehabaido, paradisfrutardeestedeseoledijedelareunindelasdamasdeCranford,eneldade MissPoleantes.Nodejabadelavarselamanoantesusojosmientrashablaba,ycuando volvalaofertadeMartalanocheanterior,larecepcindeMissMattycomohusped,lo bastantealejadodemalaventanayempezateclearconlosdedossobreella.Luegose volvibruscamentevuelta,yledijo:"Mira,Mara,cmounavidabuena,inocente,hace amigosportodaspartes.Confundiraella!Yopodrahacerunasalidabuenaleccindequesi yofueraunpastor,pero,comoes,nopuedoconseguirunacolademisfrasesSloestoy segurodequesienteloquequierodecir.Ustedyyotendremosunacaminatadespusde comeryhablarunpocomssobreestosplanes." Elalmuerzouncalorsabrosocorderochop,yunpocodefroellomoenrodajasyfritos fuellevadoahorapulgadascadabocadodeesteltimoplatofueterminado,paragran satisfaccindeMarta.EntoncesmipadreledijosinrodeosMissMattyquequerahablar conmigoasolas,yqueibaapasearyveralgunosdeloslugaresantiguos,yentoncesyo podradecirleculeselplanqueconsideraconveniente.Justoantesdesalir,ellamellamy medijo:"Recuerden,queridos,yosoyeldelaizquierdasloquierodecir,nohayunser heridoporloquehago.Yoestoydispuestoahacercualquiercosaqueseacorrectoy honesto,ynocreoque,siDeborahsabedndeest,ellalaatencinporlomuchoqueyono soygentil,porque,comoven,vaasabertodo,querida.Slodjameverqupuedohacer,y pagarlospobresporloquesoycapaz." Lediunbesosincero,ycorritrasdemipadre.Elresultadodenuestraconversacinfue

allpartieswereagreeable,MarthaandJemweretobemarriedwithaslittledelayas possible,andtheyweretoliveoninMissMattyspresentabode;thesumwhichthe Cranfordladieshadagreedtocontributeannuallybeingsufficienttomeetthegreaterpart oftherent,andleavingMarthafreetoappropriatewhatMissMattyshouldpayforher lodgingstoanylittleextracomfortsrequired.Aboutthesale,myfatherwasdubiousatfirst. Hesaidtheoldrectoryfurniture,howevercarefullyusedandreverentlytreated,wouldfetch verylittle;andthatlittlewouldbebutasadropintheseaofthedebtsoftheTownand CountyBank.ButwhenIrepresentedhowMissMattystenderconsciencewouldbe soothedbyfeelingthatshehaddonewhatshecould,hegaveway;especiallyafterIhadtold himthefivepoundnoteadventure,andhehadscoldedmewellforallowingit.Ithen alludedtomyideathatshemightaddtohersmallincomebysellingtea;and,tomysurprise (forIhadnearlygivenuptheplan),myfathergraspedatitwithalltheenergyofa tradesman.Ithinkhereckonedhischickensbeforetheywerehatched,forheimmediately ranuptheprofitsofthesalesthatshecouldeffectinCranfordtomorethantwentypounds ayear.Thesmalldiningparlourwastobeconvertedintoashop,withoutanyofits degradingcharacteristics;atablewastobethecounter;onewindowwastoberetained unaltered,andtheotherchangedintoaglassdoor.Ievidentlyroseinhisestimationfor havingmadethisbrightsuggestion.IonlyhopedweshouldnotbothfallinMissMattys. Butshewaspatientandcontentwithallourarrangements.Sheknew,shesaid,thatwe shoulddothebestwecouldforher;andsheonlyhoped,onlystipulated,thatsheshould payeveryfarthingthatshecouldbesaidtoowe,forherfatherssake,whohadbeenso respectedinCranford.MyfatherandIhadagreedtosayaslittleaspossibleaboutthebank, indeednevertomentionitagain,ifitcouldbehelped.Someoftheplanswereevidentlya littleperplexingtoher;butshehadseenmesufficientlysnubbedinthemorningforwantof comprehensiontoventureontoomanyinquiriesnow;andallpassedoverwellwithahope onherpartthatnoonewouldbehurriedintomarriageonheraccount.Whenwecameto theproposalthatsheshouldselltea,Icouldseeitwasratherashocktoher;notonaccount ofanypersonallossofgentilityinvolved,butonlybecauseshedistrustedherownpowersof actioninanewlineoflife,andwouldtimidlyhavepreferredalittlemoreprivationtoany exertionforwhichshefearedshewasunfitted.However,whenshesawmyfatherwasbent uponit,shesighed,andsaidshewouldtry;andifshedidnotdowell,ofcourseshemight giveitup.Onegoodthingaboutitwas,shedidnotthinkmeneverboughttea;anditwasof menparticularlyshewasafraid.Theyhadsuchsharploudwayswiththem;anddidup accounts,andcountedtheirchangesoquickly!Now,ifshemightonlysellcomfitsto children,shewassureshecouldpleasethem!

esta.Sitodaslaspartesestuviesendeacuerdo,MarthayJemsecasaranconlamenor demoraposible,yfueronavivirenlamoradaactualMissMattyes,lasumaquelasdamas Cranfordhabaaccedidoaqueaportencontribucionesanualessonsuficientespara satisfacerlamayorpartedelarenta,ydejandoaMarthalibredeapropiarsedelodeMiss Mattydebepagarporsualojamientoacualquierpequeascomodidadesextraquese requiere.Acercadelaventa,mipadreeradudosaenunprincipio.Dijoquelosmueblesvieja rectora,pormuybienutilizadosytratadosconreverencia,sevenderapormuypoco,yque pocosehara,perocomounagotaenelmardelasdeudasdelaCiudadyelBancodel Condado.PerocuandomerepresentabacmolaconcienciadeMissMattyofertasera mitigadoporlasensacindequeellahabahecholoquepoda,lecedielpaso,sobretodo despusdequeyolehabacontadolaaventurabilletedecincolibras,yquelmehaba regaadobienparaquelopermitan.Luegoaludiamiideadequepodraaadirasu pequeoingresoporlaventadet,y,paramisorpresa(porqueyohabadadocasielplan), mipadreagarralcontodalaenergadeuncomerciante.Creoquecontarsuspollosantes dequenacieron,paraquedeinmediatocorrihacialosbeneficiosdelasventasquepodra afectarenCranfordamsdeveintelibrasalao.Elpequeocomedorsalaseibaaconvertir enunatienda,sinqueningunodesuscaractersticasdegradantes;unamesaibaaserel contador,unaventanasequesemantengainalterado,yelotroconvertidoenunapuertade cristal.Yo,evidentemente,selevantdesuestimacinporhaberhechoestasugerencia brillante.SloesperabaquenosedebetantoalacadadeMissMatty. Peroellafuepacienteyelcontenidodetodosnuestrosacuerdos.Saba,dijo,quedebemos hacerlomejorquepudimosparaella,ysloesperaba,sloseestipulaquesedebepagar cadacentavoquepodadecirsequedebe,porelamordesupadre,quehabasidotan respetadoenCranford.Mipadreyyohabamosacordadohablarlomenosposiblesobreel banco,dehechonuncalomencionaunavezms,sipudieraserayudado.Algunosdelos planesfueronevidentementeunpocodesconcertanteparaella,peroellamehabavistolo suficientedesairadoporlamaanaporfaltadecomprensindeaventurarseendemasiadas muchaspreguntasahora,ytodopasmuybienconlaesperanzadesupartequenadiesese apresuracasarseensucuenta.Cuandollegamosalapropuestaquedebevenderelt,me dicuentaqueeramsbienunasorpresaparaella,noacausadelaprdidapersonalde eleganciaqueparticipan,perosloporquedesconfiabadesuspropiospoderesdeaccinen unanuevalneadevida,y,tmidamente,hubierapreferidounpocomslaprivacinde cualquieresfuerzoparaqueellatemaquenoserva.Sinembargo,cuandoviamipadrese inclinabasobreella,suspir,ydijoqueibaatratar,ysiellanolefuebien,claroquepodra renunciaraella.Unacosabuenaacercadequeera,quenocreaqueloshombresnunca comprt,yfuedeloshombresenparticularquetenamiedo.Tenanunamaneratan agudavozaltaconellos,ylocuentas,ycontsucambiotanrpido!Ahora,sitanslo pudieravenderconfitesalosnios,estabaseguradequepodraporfavor!

CHAPTERXVAHAPPYRETURN BeforeIleftMissMattyatCranfordeverythinghadbeencomfortablyarrangedforher.Even MrsJamiesonsapprovalofhersellingteahadbeengained.Thatoraclehadtakenafew daystoconsiderwhetherbysodoingMissMattywouldforfeitherrighttotheprivilegesof societyinCranford.IthinkshehadsomelittleideaofmortifyingLadyGlenmirebythe decisionshegaveatlast;whichwastothiseffect:thatwhereasamarriedwomantakesher husbandsrankbythestrictlawsofprecedence,anunmarriedwomanretainsthestation herfatheroccupied.SoCranfordwasallowedtovisitMissMatty;and,whetherallowedor not,itintendedtovisitLadyGlenmire. ButwhatwasoursurpriseourdismaywhenwelearntthatMrandMrsHogginswere returningonthefollowingTuesday!MrsHoggins!Hadsheabsolutelydroppedhertitle,and so,inaspiritofbravado,cutthearistocracytobecomeaHoggins!She,whomighthave beencalledLadyGlenmiretoherdyingday!MrsJamiesonwaspleased.Shesaiditonly convincedherofwhatshehadknownfromthefirst,thatthecreaturehadalowtaste.But thecreaturelookedveryhappyonSundayatchurch;nordidweseeitnecessarytokeep ourveilsdownonthatsideofourbonnetsonwhichMrandMrsHogginssat,asMrs Jamiesondid;therebymissingallthesmilinggloryofhisface,andallthebecomingblushes ofhers.IamnotsureifMarthaandJemlookedmoreradiantintheafternoon,whenthey, too,madetheirfirstappearance.MrsJamiesonsoothedtheturbulenceofhersoulby havingtheblindsofherwindowsdrawndown,asifforafuneral,onthedaywhenMrand MrsHogginsreceivedcallers;anditwaswithsomedifficultythatshewasprevaileduponto continuetheStJamessChronicle,soindignantwasshewithitshavinginsertedthe announcementofthemarriage. MissMattyssalewentofffamously.Sheretainedthefurnitureofhersittingroomand bedroom;theformerofwhichshewastooccupytillMarthacouldmeetwithalodgerwho mightwishtotakeit;andintothissittingroomandbedroomshehadtocramallsortsof things,whichwere(theauctioneerassuredher)boughtinforheratthesalebyanunknown friend.IalwayssuspectedMrsFitzAdamofthis;butshemusthavehadanaccessory,who knewwhatarticleswereparticularlyregardedbyMissMattyonaccountoftheirassociations withherearlydays.Therestofthehouselookedratherbare,tobesure;allexceptonetiny bedroom,ofwhichmyfatherallowedmetopurchasethefurnitureformyoccasionalusein caseofMissMattysillness. Ihadexpendedmyownsmallstoreinbuyingallmannerofcomfitsandlozenges,inorderto temptthelittlepeoplewhomMissMattylovedsomuchtocomeabouther.Teainbright greencanisters,andcomfitsintumblersMissMattyandIfeltquiteproudaswelooked roundusontheeveningbeforetheshopwastobeopened.Marthahadscouredthe boardedfloortoawhitecleanness,anditwasadornedwithabrilliantpieceofoilcloth,on

CAPTULOXVUNFELIZREGRESO AntesdesalirdeMissMattyenCranfordtodohabasidoorganizadasdeformacmodapara ella.InclusolaaprobacindelaseoraJamiesondelaventadesutazadetquesehaba ganado.QueOraclehabatomadounosdasparaconsiderarsi,alhacerlo,MissMatty perderasuderechoalosprivilegiosdelasociedadenCranford.Creoquetenaunaidea pocodemortificarGlenmireSeoradeladecisinquedioporfin,loquefueeneste sentido:quemientrasqueunamujercasadatienerangodesumaridoporlasestrictasleyes deprioridad,unamujersolteraconservalaestacindesupadreocupado.AsCranfordsele permitivisitarMissMatty,y,sipermiteono,tenalaintencindevisitaraladyGlenmire. Peroloquefuenuestrasorpresanuestropesar,cuandonosenteramosdequeelseory laseoraHogginsregresabanelmartessiguiente!Sra.Hoggins!Sihubieracado absolutamentesuttulo,yporlotanto,enunespritudevalenta,lanoblezadecortepara convertirseenunHoggins!Ella,quepodrahabersidollamadoGlenmireSeoraadadesu muerte!Sra.Jamiesonestabacontento.Elladijoqueslolaconvencideloqueellasaba desdeelprincipio,quelacriaturatenaunsaborbajo.Sinembargo,"lacriatura"sevean muyfeliceseldomingoenlaiglesia,nitampocovemosqueesnecesarioparamantenera nuestrosvelosabajoenelladodenuestrosgorrosenlaqueelSr.ylaSra.Hogginssent, comolaseoraJamiesonhizo,perdiendoastodalagloriasonrientesurostro,ytodoslos sonrojacadavezquetiene.NoestoysegurodesiMarthayJemparecamsradiantedela tarde,cuandoellostambinhicieronsuprimeraaparicin.Sra.Jamiesoncalmarlas turbulenciasdesualmaportenerlaspersianasdesusventanasdispuestos,comosideun funeral,eldaenqueelseorylaseoraHogginsrecibidollamadas,ylohizoconalguna dificultadquefuepersuadidoparacontinuarconelStCrnicadeJames,tanindignadaque estabaconsuhaberinsertadoelanunciodelaboda. VentadeMissMattysedisparfamoso.Ellaconservalosmueblesdesusaladeestaryel dormitorio,elprimerodeloscualesibaaocuparhastaqueMartapudoreunirseconun inquilinoquequisierantomarla,yenestesalnyeldormitorioquetenaquemetertoda clasedecosas,quefueron(elsubastadorleasegur)comprenporellaenlaventaporun amigodesconocido.SiempresospechlaseoraFitzAdamdeesto,peroelladebehaber tenidounaccesorio,quesabaloquelosartculoseranconsideradosparticularmenteporla Srta.Mattyacausadesusasociacionesconsusprimerosdas.Elrestodelacasaparecams bienaldescubierto,sinduda,todasexceptounahabitacinpequea,dequemipadreme permiticomprarlosmueblesparamiusoocasionalencasodeenfermedaddeMissMatty. Yohabagastadomipropiatiendapequeaenlacompradetodotipodeconfitesypastillas, conelfindetentaralagentepequeaqueMissMattyamabatantoavenirporella.Ten latasbrillantesverdesyconfitesenvasosMissMattyyyomesentmuyorgullosocuando miramosanuestroalrededorenlanocheantesdelatiendaibaaserabierto.Marthahaba recorridoelsuelodemaderaparaunalimpiezablanca,yestabaadornadaconunabrillante

whichcustomersweretostandbeforethetablecounter.Thewholesomesmellofplaster andwhitewashpervadedtheapartment.AverysmallMatildaJenkyns,licensedtosell tea,washiddenunderthelintelofthenewdoor,andtwoboxesoftea,withcabalistic inscriptionsalloverthem,stoodreadytodisgorgetheircontentsintothecanisters. MissMatty,asIoughttohavementionedbefore,hadhadsomescruplesofconscienceat sellingteawhentherewasalreadyMrJohnsoninthetown,whoincludeditamonghis numerouscommodities;and,beforeshecouldquitereconcileherselftotheadoptionofher newbusiness,shehadtrotteddowntohisshop,unknowntome,totellhimoftheproject thatwasentertained,andtoinquireifitwaslikelytoinjurehisbusiness.Myfathercalled thisideaofhersgreatnonsense,andwonderedhowtradespeopleweretogetonifthere wastobeacontinualconsultingofeachothersinterests,whichwouldputastoptoall competitiondirectly.And,perhaps,itwouldnothavedoneinDrumble,butinCranfordit answeredverywell;fornotonlydidMrJohnsonkindlyputatrestallMissMattysscruples andfearofinjuringhisbusiness,butIhavereasontoknowherepeatedlysentcustomersto her,sayingthattheteashekeptwereofacommonkind,butthatMissJenkynshadallthe choicesorts.Andexpensiveteaisaveryfavouriteluxurywithwelltodotradespeopleand richfarmerswives,whoturnuptheirnosesattheCongouandSouchongprevalentatmany tablesofgentility,andwillhavenothingelsethanGunpowderandPekoeforthemselves. ButtoreturntoMissMatty.Itwasreallyverypleasanttoseehowherunselfishnessand simplesenseofjusticecalledoutthesamegoodqualitiesinothers.Sheneverseemedto thinkanyonewouldimposeuponher,becausesheshouldbesogrievedtodoittothem.I haveheardherputastoptotheasseverationsofthemanwhobroughthercoalsbyquietly saying,Iamsureyouwouldbesorrytobringmewrongweight;andifthecoalswereshort measurethattime,Idontbelievetheyeverwereagain.Peoplewouldhavefeltasmuch ashamedofpresumingonhergoodfaithastheywouldhavedoneonthatofachild.Butmy fathersayssuchsimplicitymightbeverywellinCranford,butwouldneverdointheworld. AndIfancytheworldmustbeverybad,forwithallmyfatherssuspicionofeveryonewith whomhehasdealings,andinspiteofallhismanyprecautions,helostupwardsofa thousandpoundsbyrogueryonlylastyear. IjuststayedlongenoughtoestablishMissMattyinhernewmodeoflife,andtopackupthe library,whichtherectorhadpurchased.HehadwrittenaverykindlettertoMissMatty, sayinghowgladheshouldbetotakealibrary,sowellselectedasheknewthatthelateMr Jenkynssmusthavebeen,atanyvaluationputuponthem.Andwhensheagreedtothis, withatouchofsorrowfulgladnessthattheywouldgobacktotherectoryandbearranged ontheaccustomedwallsoncemore,hesentwordthathefearedthathehadnotroomfor themall,andperhapsMissMattywouldkindlyallowhimtoleavesomevolumesonher

piezadehule,enelquelosclientessepresentaranantelamesadeventalibre.Elolorsano deyesoycalinvadielapartamento.Unmuypequeo"MatildaJenkins,conlicenciapara vendert",seocultabajoeldinteldelapuertanueva,ydoscajasdet,coninscripciones cabalsticasportodoslados,estabadispuestoaarrojarsucontenidoenlosfrascos. MissMatty,comotendraquehabermencionadoantes,habatenidoalgunosescrpulosde concienciaenlaventadet,cuandoyaexistaelSr.Johnsonenlaciudad,queloincluy entresusnumerososproductos,y,antesdequeellaconseguareconciliarseconlaadopcin desunuevonegocio,tenaaltrotehastasutienda,desconocidoparam,paradecirlequeel proyectoquefueentretenido,yparapreguntarsieracapazdeperjudicarasunegocio.Mi padrellamalaideadeella"sinsentidomuybien",y"sepreguntcmoloscomerciantes ibanasubirsinoibaaserunaempresadeconsultoracontinuadelosinteresesdelotro,lo quepondrafinatodalacompetenciadirecta."Y,talvez,nolohabrahechoenDrumble, peroenCranfordquerespondimuybien,puesnosloelSr.Johnsonamablementepuso enreposoescrpulostodosMattyseoritayeltemordeherirasunegocio,perotengo razonesparasaberqueenrepetidasocasionesenvaalosclientesaella,diciendo:queelt semantuvodeunaespeciecomn,peroquelaseoritaJenkinstenatodaslasclases eleccin.Yeltcaroesunlujomuyfavoritodelosbienahacerloscomerciantesylas mujeresdeloscampesinosricos,queasuvezsusnaricesenelCongouySouchong frecuenteenlasmesasdemuchosdegentileza,ynotendrnadamsquelaplvoray Pekoeporsmismos. PerovolvamosaMissMatty.Fuerealmentemuyagradabledevercmosugenerosidadyel sentidosimpledelajusticia,llamadoalasmismascualidadesbuenasdelosdems.Nunca parecaquecualquierapodraimponersobreella,porqueelladebeestartanafligidoque hacerloparaellos.Heodoponerfinalasaseveracionesdequeelhombrequetrajoasu carbnporsilenciodiciendo:"Estoysegurodequeseralstimaquemetraigaelpesomal", ysilasbrasasestabanmedidaacortoesetiempo,nocreoquealgunavezfueronunavez ms.Lagentesehabrasentidotanavergonzadodepresumirdesubuenafe,comolo habranhechoeneldeunnio.Peromipadrediceque"talsimplicidadpodrasermuybien enCranford,peronuncaloharaenelmundo."Ymeimaginoqueelmundodebesermuy malo,yaqueconlasospechademipadreesdetodosycadaunoconquientienerelaciones, yenApesardetodossusmuchasprecauciones,perdimsdemillibrasporpicardaelao pasado. MequedabaeltiemposuficienteparaestablecerMissMattyensunuevomododevida,y paraempacarlabiblioteca,queelrectorhabacomprado.lhabaescritounacartamuy amabledeMissMatty,diciendoque"lofelizquesedebetenerunabiblioteca,tanbien seleccionadoscomosabaqueeldifuntoJenkinsseordebehabersido,encualquier valoracinpuestosobreellos."Ycuandoellaestuvodeacuerdoaeste,conuntoquede alegratristequevolveraalacasaparroquialyestarndispuestasenlasparedes,unavez msacostumbrados,lmandadecirquetemaquenohabaespacioparatodosellos,ytal

shelves.ButMissMattysaidthatshehadherBibleandJohnsonsDictionary,andshould nothavemuchtimeforreading,shewasafraid;still,Iretainedafewbooksoutof considerationfortherectorskindness. Themoneywhichhehadpaid,andthatproducedbythesale,waspartlyexpendedinthe stockoftea,andpartofitwasinvestedagainstarainydayi.e.oldageorillness.Itwasbut asmallsum,itistrue;anditoccasionedafewevasionsoftruthandwhitelies(allofwhichI thinkverywrongindeedintheoryandwouldrathernotputtheminpractice),forwe knewMissMattywouldbeperplexedastoherdutyifshewereawareofanylittlereserve fundbeingmadeforherwhilethedebtsofthebankremainedunpaid.Moreover,shehad neverbeentoldofthewayinwhichherfriendswerecontributingtopaytherent.Ishould havelikedtotellherthis,butthemysteryoftheaffairgaveapiquancytotheirdeedof kindnesswhichtheladieswereunwillingtogiveup;andatfirstMarthahadtoshirkmanya perplexedquestionastoherwaysandmeansoflivinginsuchahouse,butbyandbyMiss Mattysprudentuneasinesssankdownintoacquiescencewiththeexistingarrangement. IleftMissMattywithagoodheart.Hersalesofteaduringthefirsttwodayshadsurpassed mymostsanguineexpectations.Thewholecountryroundseemedtobealloutofteaat once.TheonlyalterationIcouldhavedesiredinMissMattyswayofdoingbusinesswas, thatsheshouldnothavesoplaintivelyentreatedsomeofhercustomersnottobuygreen tearunningitdownasaslowpoison,suretodestroythenerves,andproduceallmannerof evil.Theirpertinacityintakingit,inspiteofallherwarnings,distressedhersomuchthatI reallythoughtshewouldrelinquishthesaleofit,andsolosehalfhercustom;andIwas driventomywitsendforinstancesoflongevityentirelyattributabletoaperseveringuseof greentea.Butthefinalargument,whichsettledthequestion,wasahappyreferenceof minetothetrainoilandtallowcandleswhichtheEsquimauxnotonlyenjoybutdigest. Afterthatsheacknowledgedthatonemansmeatmightbeanothermanspoison,and contentedherselfthenceforwardwithanoccasionalremonstrancewhenshethoughtthe purchaserwastooyoungandinnocenttobeacquaintedwiththeevileffectsgreentea producedonsomeconstitutions,andanhabitualsighwhenpeopleoldenoughtochoose morewiselywouldpreferit. IwentoverfromDrumbleonceaquarteratleasttosettletheaccounts,andseeafterthe necessarybusinessletters.And,speakingofletters,Ibegantobeverymuchashamedof rememberingmylettertotheAgaJenkyns,andverygladIhadnevernamedmywritingto anyone.Ionlyhopedtheletterwaslost.Noanswercame.Nosignwasmade.

vezMissMattyamablementelepermitendejarunpocodevolmenesensusestantes.Pero MissMattydijoqueellatenasuBibliayel"DiccionariodeJohnson,"ynodebetenermucho tiempoparaleer,tenamiedo,todava,mequedabaunpardelibrosenconsideracinala bondaddelrector. Eldineroquehabapagado,yelproducidodelaventa,segastaronpartedelasexistencias det,ypartedeellaseinvirtieronencontradeundadelluviaesdecir,laedaddeedado enfermedad.Noeramsqueunapequeasuma,escierto,yqueocasionunaevasin pocasdelaverdadylasmentiraspiadosas(todolocualmeparecemuymalhechoen teoraynodeseaponerlosenprctica),yaquesabaquelaseoritaMattyseraperplejo encuantoasudebersiestuvieraaltantodecualquierpequeareservafondoquesehizo paraella,mientrasquelasdeudasdelbanconofuepagado.Porotraparte,nuncahabasido informadodelaformaenquesusamigosestabancontribuyendoapagarlarenta.Me hubieragustadodecirleesto,peroelmisteriodelarelacindiounsaborpicanteasuactode bondad,quelasseorasnoestabandispuestosarenunciar,yenunprimermomento Marthatuvoqueesquivarmuchosunapreguntaperplejoencuantoasusformasymedios dequevivenenunacasa,sinoporyporlainquietudprudenteSrta.Mattyhundien conformidadconlanormativaexistente. MefuiMissMattyconunbuencorazn.Susventasdetdurantelosprimerosdosdas habasuperadomisexpectativasmsoptimistas.Lacomarcaenteraparecasertododeta lavez.LanicaalteracinquepodrahaberdeseadoenformadeMissMattydehacer negocioseraqueellanodebehaberalgunastanlastimerosuplicdesusclientesano comprareltverdecorriendohaciaabajocomounvenenolento,asegresededestruirlos nerviosyproducirtodaclasedemal.Supertinaciaenlatomadeella,apesardetodassus advertencias,suangustiatantoqueyorealmentepensabaqueibaarenunciaralaventade lamisma,yaspierdenlamitaddesucostumbre,ymellevaronaterminarconmiingenio "paraloscasosdelongevidaddeltodoatribuibleaunusoperseverantedetverde.Peroel argumentofinal,quezanjlacuestin,eraunareferenciafelizdelaminaalaformacinde aceiteyvelasdeseboquelosesquimalesnoslodisfrutar,sinodigerir.Despusdequeella reconocique"lacarnedeunhombrepuedeservenenoparaotro",ysecontentallhacia adelanteconunaprotestaocasionalcuandoellapensabaqueelcompradorerademasiado joveneinocenteparaestarfamiliarizadoconeltdelosefectosdelmalverdeproducidoen algunasconstituciones,yunsuspirodehabitualcuandolagentelaedadsuficientepara elegirmssabiamenteloprefiere. MepasdeDrumbleunavezportrimestrealmenosparasaldarlascuentas,yverdespus delasletrasdenegocionecesarias.Y,hablandodeletras,empecaestarmuyavergonzado demicartarecordandoalosJenkinsAga,ymuycontentodequenuncahaballamadomi formadeescribiranadie.Yosloesperabaquelacartaseperdi.Nohuborespuesta. Ningunasealsehizo.

AboutayearafterMissMattysetupshop,IreceivedoneofMarthashieroglyphics,begging metocometoCranfordverysoon.IwasafraidthatMissMattywasill,andwentoffthat veryafternoon,andtookMarthabysurprisewhenshesawmeonopeningthedoor.We wentintothekitchenasusual,tohaveourconfidentialconference,andthenMarthatold meshewasexpectingherconfinementverysooninaweekortwo;andshedidnotthink MissMattywasawareofit,andshewantedmetobreakthenewstoher,forindeed,miss, continuedMartha,cryinghysterically,Imafraidshewontapproveofit,andImsureI dontknowwhoistotakecareofherassheshouldbetakencareofwhenIamlaidup. IcomfortedMarthabytellingherIwouldremaintillshewasaboutagain,andonlywished shehadtoldmeherreasonforthissuddensummons,asthenIwouldhavebroughtthe requisitestockofclothes.ButMarthawassotearfulandtenderspirited,andunlikeher usualself,thatIsaidaslittleaspossibleaboutmyself,andendeavouredrathertocomfort Marthaunderalltheprobableandpossiblemisfortuneswhichcamecrowdinguponher imagination. Ithenstoleoutofthehousedoor,andmademyappearanceasifIwereacustomerinthe shop,justtotakeMissMattybysurprise,andgainanideaofhowshelookedinhernew situation.ItwaswarmMayweather,soonlythelittlehalfdoorwasclosed;andMissMatty satbehindthecounter,knittinganelaboratepairofgarters;elaboratetheyseemedtome, butthedifficultstitchwasnoweightuponhermind,forshewassinginginalowvoiceto herselfasherneedleswentrapidlyinandout.Icallitsinging,butIdaresayamusician wouldnotusethatwordtothetunelessyetsweethummingofthelowwornvoice.Ifound outfromthewords,farmorethanfromtheattemptatthetune,thatitwastheOld Hundredthshewascrooningtoherself;butthequietcontinuoussoundtoldofcontent,and gavemeapleasantfeeling,asIstoodinthestreetjustoutsidethedoor,quiteinharmony withthatsoftMaymorning.Iwentin.Atfirstshedidnotcatchwhoitwas,andstoodupas iftoserveme;butinanotherminutewatchfulpussyhadclutchedherknitting,whichwas droppedineagerjoyatseeingme.Ifound,afterwehadhadalittleconversation,thatit wasasMarthasaid,andthatMissMattyhadnoideaoftheapproachinghouseholdevent. SoIthoughtIwouldletthingstaketheircourse,securethatwhenIwenttoherwiththe babyinmyarms,IshouldobtainthatforgivenessforMarthawhichshewasneedlessly frighteningherselfintobelievingthatMissMattywouldwithhold,undersomenotionthat thenewclaimantwouldrequireattentionsfromitsmotherthatitwouldbefaithlesstreason toMissMattytorender. ButIwasright.Ithinkthatmustbeanhereditaryquality,formyfathersaysheisscarcely everwrong.Onemorning,withinaweekafterIarrived,IwenttocallMissMatty,witha littlebundleofflannelinmyarms.ShewasverymuchawestruckwhenIshowedherwhat itwas,andaskedforherspectaclesoffthedressingtable,andlookedatitcuriously,witha

UnaodespusdeMissMattyseinstal,recibunodelosjeroglficosdeMarta,pidiendo queyovayaaCranfordmuypronto.TenamiedodequeMissMattyestabaenfermo,yse fueesamismatarde,ytomporsorpresaaMartacuandomevioenlaaperturadela puerta.Entramosenlacocinacomodecostumbre,paraquenuestraconferencia confidencial,acontinuacin,Marthamedijoqueestabaesperandosuencierromuypronto enunaodossemanas,yquenocreaqueMissMattyeraconscientedeello,yellaquera queyolanoticiaaella",dehecho,seorita",continuMarta,llorandohistricamente,"me temoquenolaaprueban,yestoysegurodequenosquevaacuidardeellacomoque debeseratendidocuandoestoyencama". MeconsoldicindolequeMarthamequedarahastaqueellaestabaapuntodenuevo,y slodeseabaqueellamehabadichoquesurazndeestaconvocatoriarepentina,como entoncessehanllevadoelstocknecesarioderopa.PeroMartaestabatanllorosoytierno espritu,yadiferenciadeladesiempre,quemedijolomenosposibleacercademmismo,y seesforzenlugardeconsolaraMartaentodaslasdesgraciasprobablesyposibles,que acudieronentropelasuimaginacin. Entoncesmerobarondelapuertadelacasa,ehicemiaparicincomosifueraunclienteen latienda,sloparatomarMissMattyporsorpresa,ytenerunaideadecmoseveaensu nuevasituacin.Fueelclimaclidodemayo,porloqueslolapequeamediapuerta estabacerrada,yMissMattysesentdetrsdelmostrador,tejerunpardedetallesdelas ligas,elaboradaquemepareci,peroelpuntonoeradifcildepesoensumente,paraque cantabaenvozbajaasmismacomosusagujasfueronrpidamentedentroyfuera.Yole llamocanto,peromeatrevoadecirqueunmsiconousaraesapalabraalatarareando desafinadoperodulcedelavozdesgastada.Meenterdelaspalabras,muchomsque desdeelintentodelameloda,queeralacentsimaAntiguofuecanturreandoparasus adentros,peroelsonidocontinuosilencio,dijodeloscontenidos,ymediounasensacin placentera,mientrasestabaenellacallejuntoalapuerta,muyenarmonaconlasuave maanademayo.YoentrAlprincipioellanoentendiquinera,yselevantcomosiami servicio,peroenotrocoovigilanteminutoshabaagarradosulabordepunto,quefue abandonadoenlaalegraansiosaporverme.Mepareci,despusdehabertenidouna pequeaconversacin,quefuecomoMartha,dijo,yqueMattyseoritanotenaniideadel eventodelhogarseaproxima.Asquepensqueibaadejarquelascosassigansucurso, seguroquecuandomefuiaellaconelbebenmisbrazos,quedebeobtenerelperdnde Martha,queerainnecesariamenteasmismatemibleenlacreenciadequelaseorita Mattynegara,enunaideaqueelnuevopretendienterequeriratencionesdesumadreque seraunatraicininfielaMissMattyvaarepresentar. Peroyotenarazn.Creoquedebeserunacualidadhereditaria,porquemipadrediceque casinuncamal.Unamaana,dentrodeunasemanadespusdemillegada,fuiallamarala Srta.Matty,conunpequeopaquetedefranelaenmisbrazos.Ellaestabamuyatemorizada cuandoleenseloqueera,ylepidisusgafasfueradelamesadetocador,ymircon

sortoftenderwonderatitssmallperfectionofparts.Shecouldnotbanishthethoughtof thesurpriseallday,butwentaboutontiptoe,andwasverysilent.Butshestoleuptosee Marthaandtheybothcriedwithjoy,andshegotintoacomplimentaryspeechtoJem,and didnotknowhowtogetoutofitagain,andwasonlyextricatedfromherdilemmabythe soundoftheshopbell,whichwasanequalrelieftotheshy,proud,honestJem,whoshook myhandsovigorouslywhenIcongratulatedhim,thatIthinkIfeelthepainofityet. IhadabusylifewhileMarthawaslaidup.IattendedonMissMatty,andpreparedher meals;Icastupheraccounts,andexaminedintothestateofhercanistersandtumblers.I helpedher,too,occasionally,intheshop;anditgavemenosmallamusement,and sometimesalittleuneasiness,towatchherwaysthere.Ifalittlechildcameintoaskforan ounceofalmondcomfits(andfourofthelargekindwhichMissMattysoldweighedthat much),shealwaysaddedonemorebywayofmakeweight,asshecalledit,althoughthe scalewashandsomelyturnedbefore;andwhenIremonstratedagainstthis,herreplywas, Thelittlethingslikeitsomuch!Therewasnouseintellingherthatthefifthcomfit weighedaquarterofanounce,andmadeeverysaleintoalosstoherpocket.SoI rememberedthegreentea,andwingedmyshaftwithafeatheroutofherownplumage.I toldherhowunwholesomealmondcomfitswere,andhowillexcessinthemmightmake thelittlechildren.Thisargumentproducedsomeeffect;for,henceforward,insteadofthe fifthcomfit,shealwaystoldthemtoholdouttheirtinypalms,intowhichsheshookeither peppermintorgingerlozenges,asapreventivetothedangersthatmightarisefromthe previoussale.Altogetherthelozengetrade,conductedontheseprinciples,didnotpromise toberemunerative;butIwashappytofindshehadmademorethantwentypoundsduring thelastyearbyhersalesoftea;and,moreover,thatnowshewasaccustomedtoit,shedid notdisliketheemployment,whichbroughtherintokindlyintercoursewithmanyofthe peopleroundabout.Ifshegavethemgoodweight,they,intheirturn,broughtmanyalittle countrypresenttotheoldrectorsdaughter;acreamcheese,afewnewlaideggs,alittle freshripefruit,abunchofflowers.Thecounterwasquiteloadedwiththeseofferings sometimes,asshetoldme. AsforCranfordingeneral,itwasgoingonmuchasusual.TheJamiesonandHogginsfeud stillraged,ifafeuditcouldbecalled,whenonlyonesidecaredmuchaboutit.MrandMrs Hogginswereveryhappytogether,and,likemostveryhappypeople,quitereadytobe friendly;indeed,MrsHogginswasreallydesiroustoberestoredtoMrsJamiesonsgood graces,becauseoftheformerintimacy.ButMrsJamiesonconsideredtheirveryhappiness aninsulttotheGlenmirefamily,towhichshehadstillthehonourtobelong,andshe doggedlyrefusedandrejectedeveryadvance.MrMulliner,likeafaithfulclansman, espousedhismistresssidewithardour.IfhesaweitherMrorMrsHoggins,hewouldcross thestreet,andappearabsorbedinthecontemplationoflifeingeneral,andhisownpathin particular,untilhehadpassedthemby.MissPoleusedtoamuseherselfwithwondering whatintheworldMrsJamiesonwoulddo,ifeithershe,orMrMulliner,oranyother

curiosidad,conunaespeciedeasombrodelicitacinalaperfeccindelaspiezaspequeas. Ellanopudodesterrarlaideadelasorpresatodoslosdas,peroanduvodepuntillas,y estabamuysilencioso.Sinembargo,lerobaveraMarta,alosdosllorarondealegra,yse metienundiscursodecortesaaJem,ynosabacmosalirdeellaotravez,yse desprendislodesudilemaporelsonidodelatiendaBell,quefueunalivioequivalentea latmida,Jemorgulloso,honesto,quemediolamanocontantafuerza,cuandolofelicit, quecreoquesientoeldolordeellatodava. Tenaunavidamuyocupada,mientrasqueMarthaestabaencama.AsistalaSrta.Matty,y preparsucomida,mearrojansuscuentas,yseexaminaenelestadodesuslatasyvasos. Leayud,tambin,devezencuando,enlatienda,ymedisteisdeatraccionespequeo,ya vecesunpocodeinquietud,paraverasumaneraall.Siunniollegapedirunaonzade almendras,confites(ycuatrodeltipograndequeMissMattyvendidopesamucho),ella siempreseaadeunomsporla"formadehacerelpeso",comoellalollamaba,aunquela escalaseconvirtigenerosamenteantes,ycuandoprotestcontraesto,fuesurespuesta, "Lascosaspequeasgustatanto"Notenasentidodecirlequeenelquintoconfitadas pesabauncuartodeonza,yhechotodoloventaenunaprdidadesubolsillo.Asqueme acorddequeeltverde,yconalasdemiejeconunaplumadesupropioplumaje.Le contlomalsanoconfitesdealmendra,ycuanmalenexceso,puedehacerquelosnios pequeos.Esteargumentoseproducealgnefecto,yaque,apartirdeahora,enlugardela quintaconfitadas,ellasiemprelesdecaamantenersusmanosdiminutas,enelqueella negconlamentaojengibreolaspastillas,comomedidapreventivaalospeligrosque pudieranderivarsedelaventaanterior.Entotal,elcomerciodepastillas,llevadaacaboen estosprincipios,noprometenserrentables,peroyoestabafelizdeencontrarquehaba hechomsdeveintelibrasduranteelltimoaoporsusventasdet,y,adems,queahora estabaacostumbradoa,ellanoledisgustabaelempleo,quelallevatenerrelaciones amablementeconmuchosdelospueblosdealrededor.Siselesdiounbuenpeso,que,asu vez,llevamuchosdeunpaspequeoregaloalos"viejosrector,lahijade",unqueso crema,algunosrecinpuestosloshuevos,unpocodefrutasfrescasymaduras,unramode flores.Elcontadorsehacargadocompletamenteconestasofertas,aveces,comomedijo. EncuantoaCranford,engeneral,loqueestabapasandocomodecostumbre.Lapelea JamiesonyHogginstodavaarda,siunapeleaquepodraserllamado,cuandoslounode losladossepreocupmuchoalrespecto.ElSr.ylaSra.Hogginseranmuyfelicesjuntos,y, comolamayoradelagentemuyfeliz,muydispuestaaseramable,dehecho,laseora estabarealmentedeseosoHogginsserrestauradoacongraciarseconlaseoraJamieson, debidoalaantiguaintimidad.PerolaseoraJamiesonconsiderasufelicidadmisma,un insultoalafamiliaGlenmire,aloqueellatodavatenaelhonordepertenecer,yque obstinadamentesenegyrechaztodoslosavances.Sr.Mulliner,comounfielmiembrode unclan,abrazadojuntoasuamaconardor.SiveabienelseorolaseoraHoggins, cruzabalacalle,ypareceabsortoenlacontemplacindelavidaengeneral,ysupropio camino,enparticular,hastaquelleshabapasadoporalto.Poleutilizaparadivertirsecon

memberofherhouseholdwastakenill;shecouldhardlyhavethefacetocallinMrHoggins afterthewayshehadbehavedtothem.MissPolegrewquiteimpatientforsome indispositionoraccidenttobefallMrsJamiesonorherdependents,inorderthatCranford mightseehowshewouldactundertheperplexingcircumstances. Marthawasbeginningtogoaboutagain,andIhadalreadyfixedalimit,notveryfardistant, tomyvisit,whenoneafternoon,asIwassittingintheshopparlourwithMissMattyI remembertheweatherwascoldernowthanithadbeeninMay,threeweeksbefore,and wehadafireandkeptthedoorfullyclosedwesawagentlemangoslowlypastthe window,andthenstandoppositetothedoor,asiflookingoutforthenamewhichwehad socarefullyhidden.Hetookoutadoubleeyeglassandpeeredaboutforsometimebefore hecoulddiscoverit.Thenhecamein.And,allonasudden,itflashedacrossmethatitwas theAgahimself!Forhisclotheshadanoutofthewayforeigncutaboutthem,andhisface wasdeepbrown,asiftannedandretannedbythesun.Hiscomplexioncontrastedoddly withhisplentifulsnowwhitehair,hiseyesweredarkandpiercing,andhehadanoddway ofcontractingthemandpuckeringuphischeeksintoinnumerablewrinkleswhenhelooked earnestlyatobjects.HedidsotoMissMattywhenhefirstcamein.Hisglancehadfirst caughtandlingeredalittleuponme,butthenturned,withthepeculiarsearchinglookIhave described,toMissMatty.Shewasalittleflutteredandnervous,butnomoresothanshe alwayswaswhenanymancameintohershop.Shethoughtthathewouldprobablyhavea note,orasovereignatleast,forwhichshewouldhavetogivechange,whichwasan operationsheverymuchdislikedtoperform.Butthepresentcustomerstoodoppositeto her,withoutaskingforanything,onlylookingfixedlyatherashedrummeduponthetable withhisfingers,justforalltheworldasMissJenkynsusedtodo.MissMattywasonthe pointofaskinghimwhathewanted(asshetoldmeafterwards),whenheturnedsharpto me:IsyournameMarySmith? Yes!saidI. Allmydoubtsastohisidentityweresetatrest,andIonlywonderedwhathewouldsayor donext,andhowMissMattywouldstandthejoyfulshockofwhathehadtoreveal. Apparentlyhewasatalosshowtoannouncehimself,forhelookedroundatlastinsearch ofsomethingtobuy,soastogaintime,and,asithappened,hiseyecaughtonthealmond comfits,andheboldlyaskedforapoundofthosethings.IdoubtifMissMattyhada wholepoundintheshop,and,besidestheunusualmagnitudeoftheorder,shewas distressedwiththeideaoftheindigestiontheywouldproduce,takeninsuchunlimited quantities.Shelookeduptoremonstrate.Somethingoftenderrelaxationinhisfacestruck hometoherheart.Shesaid,Itisoh,sir!canyoubePeter?andtrembledfromheadto foot.Inamomenthewasroundthetableandhadherinhisarms,sobbingthetearlesscries

loquepreguntanenelmundodelaseoraJamiesonhara,sibienella,oelseorMulliner,o cualquierotromiembrodesufamiliaseenferm,ellanopodatenerlacaradellamaraSr. Hogginsdespusdelaformasehabacomportadoconellos.Polepusomuyimpacientepor algunaindisposicinoaccidenteaaconteceralaseoraJamiesonosusfamiliaresacargo,a findequeCranfordpodravercmoibaaobrardeacuerdoconlascircunstancias desconcertantes. Marthaempezairsobrelaotravez,yyoyahabafijadounlmite,nomuylejano,demi visita,cuandounatarde,mientrasestabasentadoenlatiendasalnconMissMatty Recuerdoqueelclimaeramsfroahoraquequehabasidoenmayo,tressemanasantes,y tuvimosunincendioydejlapuertacompletamentecerradaqueviauncaballeroirpocoa pocoporlaventana,yluegodepiefrentealapuerta,comosiestuvieramirandohaciafuera paraelnombrequehabamostancuidadosamenteoculta.Sacundoblegafasymir alrededorporalgntiempoantesdequepudieradescubrir.Entonceslentry,de improviso,secruzpormiquefueelpropioAga!Porsuropatenauncortedelava exteriordeellos,ysurostroeradecolormarrnoscuro,comosirecurtidoybronceadopor elsol.Sutezcontrastabaextraamenteconsupeloblancocomolanieveabundante,sus ojoseranoscurosypenetrantes,ytenaunaextraamaneradecontratarlosyarrugassus mejillaseninnumerablesarrugascuandomirfijamentealosobjetos.LohizoparaMiss Mattylaprimeravezqueentrsumiradahaballamadoprimeroysequedunpocoms sobrem,peroluegosevolvi,conlamiradabuscandopeculiarquehedescrito,alaSrta. Matty.Ellaestabaunpoconerviosoyagit,peronomsqueellasiemprefuecuandoun hombreentrensutienda.Pensqueprobablementehabraunanota,ounsoberano,al menos,porlaquetendraquedaracambio,quefueunaoperacinalaquemuchonole gustaballevaracabo.Peroelclienteestabapresentefrenteaella,sinpedirnada,slo mirandofijamenteaellamientrastamborileabasobrelamesaconsusdedos,sloparatodo elmundocomolaseoritaJenkinssolahacer.MissMattyestabaapuntodepreguntarlelo quequera(comoellamedijodespus),cuandosevolvifuerteparam:"Estsunombre MarySmith" "S!",DijoI. Todasmisdudassobresuidentidadsefijaroneneldescanso,yslomepreguntabaquiba adecirohacer,ycmoMissMattyquesoportarelimpactoalegredeloquetenaque revelar.Alparecer,nosabacmoseanuncian,porquemirasualrededor,porfin,enbusca dealgoparacomprar,conelfindeganartiempo,y,comosucedi,susojoscaptaronenla almendra,confites,yaudazmentepidiunalibrade"esascosas".DudoqueMissMatty tenaunalibraenteraenlatienda,y,ademsdelainusualmagnituddelaorden,queestaba angustiadoconlaideadelaindigestinqueleproduce,tomadaencantidadesilimitadas. Ellalevantlavistaparaprotestar.Algoderelajacindelicitacinensucaragolpeelhogar desucorazn.Elladijo,"esoh,seor!puedeserPeter?"yseestremecidepiesacabeza. Enunmomentoenquefuealrededordelamesaytenaensusbrazos,llorandosinlgrimas,

ofoldage.Ibroughtheraglassofwine,forindeedhercolourhadchangedsoastoalarm meandMrPetertoo.Hekeptsaying,Ihavebeentoosuddenforyou,MattyIhave,my littlegirl. Iproposedthatsheshouldgoatonceupintothedrawingroomandliedownonthesofa there.Shelookedwistfullyatherbrother,whosehandshehadheldtight,evenwhennearly fainting;butonhisassuringherthathewouldnotleaveher,sheallowedhimtocarryher upstairs. IthoughtthatthebestIcoulddowastorunandputthekettleonthefireforearlytea,and thentoattendtotheshop,leavingthebrotherandsistertoexchangesomeofthemany thousandthingstheymusthavetosay.IhadalsotobreakthenewstoMartha,who receiveditwithaburstoftearswhichnearlyinfectedme.Shekeptrecoveringherselftoask ifIwassureitwasindeedMissMattysbrother,forIhadmentionedthathehadgreyhair, andshehadalwaysheardthathewasaveryhandsomeyoungman.Somethingofthesame kindperplexedMissMattyatteatime,whenshewasinstalledinthegreateasychair oppositetoMrJenkynsinordertogazeherfill.Shecouldhardlydrinkforlookingathim, andasforeating,thatwasoutofthequestion. Isupposehotclimatesagepeopleveryquickly,saidshe,almosttoherself.Whenyouleft Cranfordyouhadnotagreyhairinyourhead. Buthowmanyyearsagoisthat?saidMrPeter,smiling. Ah,true!yes,IsupposeyouandIaregettingold.ButstillIdidnotthinkweweresovery old!Butwhitehairisverybecomingtoyou,Peter,shecontinuedalittleafraidlestshe hadhurthimbyrevealinghowhisappearancehadimpressedher. IsupposeIforgotdatestoo,Matty,forwhatdoyouthinkIhavebroughtforyoufrom India?IhaveanIndianmuslingownandapearlnecklaceforyousomewhereinmychestat Portsmouth.Hesmiledasifamusedattheideaoftheincongruityofhispresentswiththe appearanceofhissister;butthisdidnotstrikeherallatonce,whiletheeleganceofthe articlesdid.Icouldseethatforamomentherimaginationdweltcomplacentlyontheidea ofherselfthusattired;andinstinctivelysheputherhanduptoherthroatthatlittledelicate throatwhich(asMissPolehadtoldme)hadbeenoneofheryouthfulcharms;butthehand metthetouchoffoldsofsoftmuslininwhichshewasalwaysswatheduptoherchin,and thesensationrecalledasenseoftheunsuitablenessofapearlnecklacetoherage.Shesaid, ImafraidImtooold;butitwasverykindofyoutothinkofit.TheyarejustwhatIshould havelikedyearsagowhenIwasyoung.

losgritosdelavejez.Letrajounvasodevino,dehechosucolorhabacambiadotantocomo paraalarmaramyelSr.Petertambin.Siguidiciendo:"Hesidodemasiadobruscopara usted,Matty.Quetengo,minia" Yopropusequedebairalavezhastaenelsalnyseacuesteenelsofall.Ellamircon nostalgiaasuhermano,cuyamanosehabamantenidoapretado,inclusocuandocasi desmayos,peroensusuasegurandoquelnoladejaba,ellalepermitillevaralpisode arriba. Pensquelomejorquepodahacereracorreryponerlateteraenelfuegoparatomarelt temprano,ydespusdeasistiralatienda,dejandoaloshermanosparaelintercambiode algunosdelosmuchosmilesdecosasquetienenquetienenquedecir.Tambintuveque darlelanoticiaaMartha,quienlarecibiconunaexplosindelgrimas,quecasimeinfect. Ellamantuvolarecuperacindesmismaparapreguntarsiestabasegurodequeerade hecholaseoritahermanoMatty,porqueyolehabadichoquetenaelpelogris,yella siemprehabaodoqueleraunjovenmuyapuesto.AlgodelamismaclasedeMissMatty perplejosalahoradelt,cuandoseinstalenelgransillnfrentealSr.Jenkinsafinde llenarsumirada.Casinopodabeberporlomiraba,yencuantoacomer,queestabafuera delacuestin. "Supongoquelaspersonasmayoresdeclimascalientesmuyrpidamente",dijo,casiparas. "CuandotefuisteCranfordnotenaunpelogrisensucabeza." "Pero,cmohacemuchosaoseseso?",DijoPeter,sonriendo. "Ah,cierto!s,supongoqueustedyyoestamoshaciendoviejos.Anas,yonocreoque eranmuyviejos!Sinembargo,elpeloblancoesmuyconvirtiendoati,Pedro",prosiguiun pocodemiedoparaquenolehabahechodao,alrevelarcmosuaparicinlahaba impresionado. "Supongoquemeolviddelasfechastambin,Matty,paraqucreesquehetradoparati delaIndia?.TengounvestidodemuselinadelaIndiayuncollardeperlasparaqueen algnlugardemipechoenelPortsmouth",sonricomosidivertalaideadela incongruenciadesusregalosconlaaparicindesuhermana,peroestonoleparecialavez su,mientrasquelaeleganciadelosartculoslohizo.Pudeverqueporunmomentosu imaginacinmorabacomplacenciaenlaideadesmismavestidaas,einstintivamentese llevlamanoalagargantaquelagargantapequeaydelicada,que(comoMissPoleme habadicho)habasidounodesusencantosjuveniles,perolamanosereuniconel contactodelosplieguesdemuselinasuaveenlaqueestabaenvueltosiemprehastala barbilla,ylasensacinderecordarelsentidodelaunsuitablenessdeuncollardeperlasde suedad.Elladijo:"Metemoquesoydemasiadoviejo,peroeramuyamabledesuparte pensarenello.Sonloquemehubieragustadoaos.Cuandoyoerajoven"

SoIthought,mylittleMatty.Irememberedyourtastes;theyweresolikemydear mothers.Atthementionofthatnamethebrotherandsisterclaspedeachothershands yetmorefondly,and,althoughtheywereperfectlysilent,Ifanciedtheymighthave somethingtosayiftheywereuncheckedbymypresence,andIgotuptoarrangemyroom forMrPetersoccupationthatnight,intendingmyselftoshareMissMattysbed.Butatmy movement,hestartedup.ImustgoandsettleaboutaroomattheGeorge.Mycarpet bagistheretoo. No!saidMissMatty,ingreatdistressyoumustnotgo;please,dearPeterpray,Mary oh!youmustnotgo! Shewassomuchagitatedthatwebothpromisedeverythingshewished.Petersatdown againandgaveherhishand,whichforbettersecuritysheheldinbothofhers,andIleftthe roomtoaccomplishmyarrangements. Long,longintothenight,far,farintothemorning,didMissMattyandItalk.Shehadmuch totellmeofherbrotherslifeandadventures,whichhehadcommunicatedtoherasthey hadsatalone.Shesaidallwasthoroughlycleartoher;butIneverquiteunderstoodthe wholestory;andwheninafterdaysIlostmyaweofMrPeterenoughtoquestionhim myself,helaughedatmycuriosity,andtoldmestoriesthatsoundedsoverymuchlikeBaron Munchausens,thatIwassurehewasmakingfunofme.WhatIheardfromMissMattywas thathehadbeenavolunteeratthesiegeofRangoon;hadbeentakenprisonerbythe Burmese;andsomehowobtainedfavourandeventualfreedomfromknowinghowtobleed thechiefofthesmalltribeinsomecaseofdangerousillness;thatonhisreleasefromyears ofcaptivityhehadhadhislettersreturnedfromEnglandwiththeominouswordDead markeduponthem;and,believinghimselftobethelastofhisrace,hehadsettleddownas anindigoplanter,andhadproposedtospendtheremainderofhislifeinthecountryto whoseinhabitantsandmodesoflifehehadbecomehabituated,whenmyletterhad reachedhim;and,withtheoddvehemencewhichcharacterisedhiminageasithaddonein youth,hehadsoldhislandandallhispossessionstothefirstpurchaser,andcomehometo thepooroldsister,whowasmoregladandrichthananyprincesswhenshelookedathim. Shetalkedmetosleepatlast,andthenIwasawakenedbyaslightsoundatthedoor,for whichshebeggedmypardonasshecreptpenitentlyintobed;butitseemsthatwhenI couldnolongerconfirmherbeliefthatthelonglostwasreallyhereunderthesameroof shehadbeguntofearlestitwasonlyawakingdreamofhers;thatthereneverhadbeena PetersittingbyherallthatblessedeveningbutthattherealPeterlaydeadfaraway beneathsomewildseawave,orundersomestrangeeasterntree.Andsostronghadthis nervousfeelingofhersbecome,thatshewasfaintogetupandgoandconvinceherselfthat hewasreallytherebylisteningthroughthedoortohiseven,regularbreathingIdontlike tocallitsnoring,butIhearditmyselfthroughtwocloseddoorsandbyandbyitsoothed MissMattytosleep.

"Asquepens,miMattypoco.Meacorddesusgustos,.Fuerontanparecidoamimadre querida"Enlamencindequeelnombredelhermanoylahermanadejuntasdelasmanos anmscario,y,aunqueeranperfectamentesilencioso,mepareciquepodrateneralgo quedecirsisecontrolaconmipresencia,ymelevantparaarreglarmicuartoparala ocupacindelSr.Pedroesanoche,conlaintencindecompartirmicamadeMissMatty. Peroamimovimiento,enmarcha."Tengoqueiryresolveracercadeunahabitacinenel" George".Mibolsadeviajetambinestall." "No!",DijolaSrta.Matty,enunagranangustia"nohayqueir,porfavor,queridoPedro orar,Maraoh!nohayqueir!" Ellaestabatanagitadoquelosdosnosprometitodoloqueelladeseaba.Petersesentde nuevoylediolamano,queparamayorseguridadquetenaenlassuyas,ysaldela habitacinparallevaracabomisplanes. Mucho,muchotiempoenlanoche,lejos,muylejosenlamaana,MissMattyyyo hablamos.Ellatenamuchoquemedicendelavidadesuhermanoyaventuras,quese habacomunicadoconella,yaquesehabasentadosolo.Elladijoquetodoestababienclaro paraella,peronuncaentendbienlahistoriacompleta,ycuandodespusdedasperdmi admiracinporelSr.Peterlosuficientecomoparammismolapregunta,seridemi curiosidad,ymecontaronhistoriasquesonabatanaligualqueelBarndeMunchausen, queyoestabasegurodequeseestababurlandodem.LoqueescuchdeMissMattyera quelhabasidovoluntarioenelsitiodeRangn,habasidotomadoprisioneroporlos birmanos,ydealgunamaneraobtenerlalibertadafavoryfinalmentedesabercmose purgaeljefedelatribupequeaenalgunoscasosdepeligroenfermedad,queensupuesta enlibertaddespusdeaosdecautiverioquehabatenidosuscartasregresdeInglaterra conlapalabraominosa"Dead"marcadossobreellos,y,creyendoqueleraelltimodesu raza,sehabaestablecidocomounplantadordeail,yhabapropuestopasarelrestodesu vidaenelpasacuyoshabitantesylosmodosdevidaquehabahabituado,cuandomicarta lehaballegado,y,conlavehemenciaquelecaracterizararoenlaedadcomolohaba hechoenlajuventud,quehabavendidosutierraytodossusbienesalprimercomprador,y regresaracasaconlahermanapobre,queeramsfelizyricaquecualquierprincesacuando ellalomir.Ellamehabldelsueo,porfin,ydespusmedespertunligeroruidoenla puerta,porlaquemepidiperdnyarrepentirsecomosedeslizabaenlacama,peroparece quecuandoyanopodaconfirmarsucreenciadequeeltiemposehabaperdidorealmente aqubajoelmismotechoquehabacomenzadoatemerquesloeraunsueodespierto deella,quenuncahabahabidounPetersentadoenellatodalanochebendita,sinoqueel verdaderoPeteryacamuertolejospordebajodealgunossalvajesdelmar,lasolas,obajo algnrboldeesteextrao.Ytanfuertehabaesasensacinnerviosadeserdeella,quese vioobligadoalevantarseeiraconvencersedequerealmenteestabaallescuchandoa travsdelapuertadesuuniforme,regularlarespiracinNomegustallamarloelronquido, peroyoloescuchammismoatravsdedospuertascerradas yporyporlocalmMiss

IdontbelieveMrPetercamehomefromIndiaasrichasanabob;heevenconsidered himselfpoor,butneitherhenorMissMattycaredmuchaboutthat.Atanyrate,hehad enoughtoliveuponverygenteellyatCranford;heandMissMattytogether.Andadayor twoafterhisarrival,theshopwasclosed,whiletroopsoflittleurchinsgleefullyawaitedthe showerofcomfitsandlozengesthatcamefromtimetotimedownupontheirfacesasthey stoodupgazingatMissMattysdrawingroomwindows.OccasionallyMissMattywouldsay tothem(halfhiddenbehindthecurtains),Mydearchildren,dontmakeyourselvesill;but astrongarmpulledherback,andamorerattlingshowerthaneversucceeded.Apartofthe teawassentinpresentstotheCranfordladies;andsomeofitwasdistributedamongthe oldpeoplewhorememberedMrPeterinthedaysofhisfrolicsomeyouth.TheIndian muslingownwasreservedfordarlingFloraGordon(MissJessieBrownsdaughter).The GordonshadbeenontheContinentforthelastfewyears,butwerenowexpectedtoreturn verysoon;andMissMatty,inhersisterlypride,anticipatedgreatdelightinthejoyof showingthemMrPeter.Thepearlnecklacedisappeared;andaboutthattimemany handsomeandusefulpresentsmadetheirappearanceinthehouseholdsofMissPoleand MrsForrester;andsomerareanddelicateIndianornamentsgracedthedrawingroomsof MrsJamiesonandMrsFitzAdam.Imyselfwasnotforgotten.Amongotherthings,Ihadthe handsomestboundandbesteditionofDrJohnsonsworksthatcouldbeprocured;anddear MissMatty,withtearsinhereyes,beggedmetoconsideritasapresentfromhersisteras wellasherself.Inshort,noonewasforgotten;and,whatwasmore,everyone,however insignificant,whohadshownkindnesstoMissMattyatanytime,wassureofMrPeters cordialregard. CHAPTERXVIPEACETOCRANFORD ItwasnotsurprisingthatMrPeterbecamesuchafavouriteatCranford.Theladiesviedwith eachotherwhoshouldadmirehimmost;andnowonder,fortheirquietliveswere astonishinglystirredupbythearrivalfromIndiaespeciallyasthepersonarrivedtoldmore wonderfulstoriesthanSindbadtheSailor;and,asMissPolesaid,wasquiteasgoodasan ArabianNightanyevening.Formyownpart,IhadvibratedallmylifebetweenDrumbleand Cranford,andIthoughtitwasquitepossiblethatallMrPetersstoriesmightbetrue, althoughwonderful;butwhenIfoundthat,ifweswallowedananecdoteoftolerable magnitudeoneweek,wehadthedoseconsiderablyincreasedthenext,Ibegantohavemy doubts;especiallyasInoticedthatwhenhissisterwaspresenttheaccountsofIndianlife werecomparativelytame;notthatsheknewmorethanwedid,perhapsless.Inoticedalso thatwhentherectorcametocall,MrPetertalkedinadifferentwayaboutthecountrieshe hadbeenin.ButIdontthinktheladiesinCranfordwouldhaveconsideredhimsucha wonderfultravelleriftheyhadonlyheardhimtalkinthequietwayhedidtohim.Theyliked

Mattyadormir. NocreoqueelseorPedrollegacasadelaIndiatanricocomounnabab,sinoqueincluso seconsiderabapobre,peronilniMattyseoritasepreocupmuchoporeso.Encualquier caso,ltenalosuficienteparaviviren"muygentilmente"enCranford,lyMissMatty juntos.Yundaodosdespusdesullegada,latiendaestabacerrada,mientrasquelas tropasdeloserizosdepocoalegrementeesperabanlalluviadeconfitesypastillasque venandevezencuandohaciaabajosobresusrostros,yaquesepusodepie,mirandoala seoritaMattyelsalndeventanas.DevezencuandoMissMattylesdeca(medio escondidodetrsdelascortinas),"Misqueridoshijos,nohacenmalasmismos,"peroun brazofuertetirdeellahaciaatrs,yunaduchadetraqueteo,msquenuncasucedi.A partedeltquefueenviadoenregalosalasdamasCranford,yalgunosdelosquese distribuyentrelagentemayorquerecordabaelseorPedroenlosdasdesujuventud, juguetn.ElvestidodemuselinaindiasereservparalafloraqueridoGordon(hijadeMiss JessieBrown).LosGordonhabasidoenelcontinentedelosltimosaos,peroahorase esperabaquevolvermuypronto,yMissMatty,ensuorgullofraternal,anticipaungran placerenelplacerdemostrarleselSr.Peter.Elcollardeperlasdesaparecido,yenese tiempomuchosregaloshermososytileshicieronsuaparicinenloshogaresdeMissPoley laseoraForrester,yalgunosadornosdelaIndiararaydelicadaadornadolossalonesdela seoraJamiesonylaseoraFitzAdam.Yomismonofueolvidado.Entreotrascosas,que tenalaedicinmsguapocondestinomejordelasobrasyelDr.Johnson,quepodranser adquiridos,yqueridaMissMatty,conlgrimasenlosojos,merogqueloconsiderancomo unregalodesuhermana,ascomoellamisma.Enresumen,nadiequedenelolvido,ylo queesms,cadauno,pormsinsignificante,quehabamostradolabondaddeMissMatty encualquiermomento,estabasegurodeloqueserefierecordialSr.Pedro. CAPTULOXVILAPAZACRANFORD NoesdeextraarqueelSr.PeterseconvirtienunadelasfavoritasenCranford.Las seorascompetanentresquinleibaaadmirarms,ynoesdeextraar,porsuvida tranquilaseagitaronasombrosamenteporlallegadadelaIndiaespecialmentecuandola personallegacontarhistoriasmsmaravillosasqueSimbadelMarino,y,comoMissPole dijo,eratanbuenocomocualquiernocheMilyUnaNoches.Pormiparte,yohabavibrado todamividaentreDrumbleyCranford,ypensqueeramuyposiblequetodaslashistorias dePeterdelseorpodrasercierto,aunquemaravillosa,perocuandomeenterdeque,si seingiereunaancdotademagnitudtolerableunasemanas,hemostenidoladosisaument considerablementeelsiguiente,empecatenermisdudas,sobretodoporquemedicuenta dequecuandosuhermanasepresentanlascuentasdevidadelosindioseranrelativamente manso,noesqueellasabamsquenosotros,talvezmenos.Medicuentatambinque cuandoelrectorllegallamar,elseorPedrohabldeunamaneradiferentesobrelos pasesquehabanestadoadentro,peronocreoquelasmujeresenCranfordlehubiera

himthebetter,indeed,forbeingwhattheycalledsoveryOriental. Oneday,ataselectpartyinhishonour,whichMissPolegave,andfromwhich,asMrs Jamiesonhonoureditwithherpresence,andhadevenofferedtosendMrMullinertowait, MrandMrsHogginsandMrsFitzAdamwerenecessarilyexcludedonedayatMissPoles, MrPetersaidhewastiredofsittinguprightagainstthehardbackeduneasychairs,and askedifhemightnotindulgehimselfinsittingcrosslegged.MissPolesconsentwaseagerly given,anddownhewentwiththeutmostgravity.ButwhenMissPoleaskedme,inan audiblewhisper,ifhedidnotremindmeoftheFatheroftheFaithful?Icouldnothelp thinkingofpoorSimonJones,thelametailor,andwhileMrsJamiesonslowlycommentedon theeleganceandconvenienceoftheattitude,Irememberedhowwehadallfollowedthat ladysleadincondemningMrHogginsforvulgaritybecausehesimplycrossedhislegsashe satstillonhischair.ManyofMrPeterswaysofeatingwerealittlestrangeamongstsuch ladiesasMissPole,andMissMatty,andMrsJamieson,especiallywhenIrecollectedthe untastedgreenpeasandtwoprongedforksatpoorMrHolbrooksdinner. ThementionofthatgentlemansnamerecallstomymindaconversationbetweenMrPeter andMissMattyoneeveninginthesummerafterhereturnedtoCranford.Thedayhadbeen veryhot,andMissMattyhadbeenmuchoppressedbytheweather,intheheatofwhichher brotherrevelled.IrememberthatshehadbeenunabletonurseMarthasbaby,whichhad becomeherfavouriteemploymentoflate,andwhichwasasmuchathomeinherarmsasin itsmothers,aslongasitremainedalightweight,portablebyonesofragileasMissMatty. ThisdaytowhichIrefer,MissMattyhadseemedmorethanusuallyfeebleandlanguid,and onlyrevivedwhenthesunwentdown,andhersofawaswheeledtotheopenwindow, throughwhich,althoughitlookedintotheprincipalstreetofCranford,thefragrantsmellof theneighbouringhayfieldscameineverynowandthen,bornebythesoftbreezesthat stirredthedullairofthesummertwilight,andthendiedaway.Thesilenceofthesultry atmospherewaslostinthemurmuringnoiseswhichcameinfrommanyanopenwindow anddoor;eventhechildrenwereabroadinthestreet,lateasitwas(betweentenand eleven),enjoyingthegameofplayforwhichtheyhadnothadspiritsduringtheheatofthe day.ItwasasourceofsatisfactiontoMissMattytoseehowfewcandleswerelighted,even intheapartmentsofthosehousesfromwhichissuedthegreatestsignsoflife.MrPeter, MissMatty,andIhadallbeenquiet,eachwithaseparatereverie,forsomelittletime,when MrPeterbrokein Doyouknow,littleMatty,Icouldhaveswornyouwereonthehighroadtomatrimony whenIleftEnglandthatlasttime!Ifanybodyhadtoldmeyouwouldhavelivedanddiedan

consideradocomounviajeromaravillosoqueslolohabaodohablardelamanera tranquilaquelehizoal.Legustelmejor,dehecho,porserloqueellosllamaron"tan oriental". Unda,enunafiestadeseleccionarensuhonor,quelaseoritaPoledio,ydelque,comola seoraJamiesonlohonrconsupresencia,ylehabaofrecidoinclusoaenviarelseor Mullinerqueesperar,eranelseorylaseoraylaseoraFitzHogginsAdam necesariamenteexcluidoundaalaseoritaPole,elSr.Peterdijoqueestabacansadode estarsentadoenposicinverticalcontraelincmodosillasderespaldoduro,ylepregunt sinopodradisfrutardelconlaspiernascruzadas.ConsentimientoPolefuedadacon entusiasmo,yabajosefueconlamayorgravedad.Perocuandomepreguntlaseorita Pole,enunsusurroaudible,"sinomerecuerdanalPadredeloscreyentes?"Nopodadejar depensarenlospobresSimonJones,elsastrecojo,ymientraslaseoraJamieson lentamentecomentlaeleganciaylaconvenienciadelaactitud,meacorddecmohaba seguidotodoslosquellevanlaVirgenenlacondenadelSr.Hogginslavulgaridadporque simplementecruzlaspiernasmientrasestabasentadotodavaensusilla.Muchosdelos Sres.PedroformasdecomereraunpocoextraaentrelasdamascomoMissPole,yMatty seorita,ylaseoraJamieson,sobretodocuandorecordabalosguisantesverdessinprobar ytenedoresdedospuntasenlacenapobreseorHolbrook. LamencindelnombredeestecaballerorecuerdaamimenteunaconversacinentreelSr. PeteryMissMatty,unanocheenelveranodespusderegresaraCranford.Eldahabasido muycaliente,yMissMattyhabasidomuchomsoprimidosporelmaltiempo,enelcalor delquesuhermanosedeleitaba.Recuerdoqueellahabasidoincapazdebebenfermera Martha,quesehabaconvertidoensutrabajofavoritodelosltimostiempos,yquetana gustoensusbrazoscomoenladesumadre,mientrassemantuvounpesoligero,porttil poruno,parafrgilcomoMissMatty.Estedaalquemerefiero,MissMattylehaba parecidomsqueporlogeneraldbilylnguida,yslosereavivcuandoelsolsepona,y elsofensilladeruedasalaventanaabierta,atravsdelcual,aunqueseveaenlacalle principaldeCranford,elolorfragantedeloscamposdehenovecinosllegarondevezen cuando,llevadoporlasuavebrisaqueagitaelaireopacodelatardedeverano,yluegose apag.Elsilenciodelaatmsferasofocanteseperdienelmurmulloruidosquevenande muchosunaventanaabiertaylapuerta,einclusolosniosestabanfuera,enlacalle,lo tardequeera(entrediezyonce),disfrutandodeljuegodeljuegoparaquequenohaba tenidonimoduranteelcalordelda.FueunafuentedesatisfaccinparaMissMattypara vercmoalgunasvelasfueronencendidas,inclusoenlosapartamentosdelascasasdelas queemitielmayorsignodevida.Sr.Pedro,Mattyseorita,yyohabaestadotodo tranquilo,cadaunoconunsueoporseparado,poralgntiempo,cuandoelseorPedro rompien "Sabeusted,Mattypoco,yohabrajuradoqueestabaenelcaminoalmatrimoniocuando mefuideInglaterraquelaltimavez!Sialguienmehubieradichoquesehanvividoy

oldmaidthen,Ishouldhavelaughedintheirfaces. MissMattymadenoreply,andItriedinvaintothinkofsomesubjectwhichshould effectuallyturntheconversation;butIwasverystupid;andbeforeIspokehewenton ItwasHolbrook,thatfinemanlyfellowwholivedatWoodley,thatIusedtothinkwould carryoffmylittleMatty.Youwouldnotthinkitnow,Idaresay,Mary;butthissisterofmine wasonceaveryprettygirlatleast,Ithoughtso,andsoIveanotiondidpoorHolbrook. WhatbusinesshadhetodiebeforeIcamehometothankhimforallhiskindnesstoagood fornothingcubasIwas?Itwasthatthatmademefirstthinkhecaredforyou;forinallour fishingexpeditionsitwasMatty,Matty,wetalkedabout.PoorDeborah!Whatalectureshe readmeonhavingaskedhimhometolunchoneday,whenshehadseentheArleycarriage inthetown,andthoughtthatmyladymightcall.Well,thatslongyearsago;morethanhalf alifetime,andyetitseemslikeyesterday!IdontknowafellowIshouldhavelikedbetter asabrotherinlaw.Youmusthaveplayedyourcardsbadly,mylittleMatty,somehowor anotherwantedyourbrothertobeagoodgobetween,eh,littleone?saidhe,puttingout hishandtotakeholdofhersasshelayonthesofa.Why,whatsthis?youreshiveringand shaking,Matty,withthatconfoundedopenwindow.Shutit,Mary,thisminute! Ididso,andthenstoopeddowntokissMissMatty,andseeifshereallywerechilled.She caughtatmyhand,andgaveitahardsqueezebutunconsciously,Ithinkforinaminute ortwoshespoketousquiteinherusualvoice,andsmiledouruneasinessaway,although shepatientlysubmittedtotheprescriptionsweenforcedofawarmbedandaglassofweak negus.IwastoleaveCranfordthenextday,andbeforeIwentIsawthatalltheeffectsof theopenwindowhadquitevanished.Ihadsuperintendedmostofthealterationsnecessary inthehouseandhouseholdduringthelatterweeksofmystay.Theshopwasoncemorea parlour:theemptyresoundingroomsagainfurnisheduptotheverygarrets. TherehadbeensometalkofestablishingMarthaandJeminanotherhouse,butMissMatty wouldnothearofthis.Indeed,IneversawhersomuchrousedaswhenMissPolehad assumedittobethemostdesirablearrangement.AslongasMarthawouldremainwith MissMatty,MissMattywasonlytoothankfultohaveherabouther;yes,andJemtoo,who wasaverypleasantmantohaveinthehouse,forsheneversawhimfromweeksendto weeksend.Andasfortheprobablechildren,iftheywouldallturnoutsuchlittledarlingsas hergoddaughter,Matilda,sheshouldnotmindthenumber,ifMarthadidnt.Besides,the nextwastobecalledDeborahapointwhichMissMattyhadreluctantlyyieldedto MarthasstubborndeterminationthatherfirstbornwastobeMatilda.SoMissPolehadto lowerhercolours,andevenhervoice,asshesaidtomethat,asMrandMrsHearnwerestill togoonlivinginthesamehousewithMissMatty,wehadcertainlydoneawisethingin

muertoenunasolteronaentonces,mehabraredoenlacara." MissMattynorespondi,ymetratenvanodepensarenalgntemaqueefectivamente debedesviarlaconversacin,peroyoeramuyestpido,yantesdehablarcontinu "FueHolbrook,quebuenhombrevaronilquevivienWoodley,queyosolapensarquese llevaraamiMattypoco.Nolopiensoahora,meatrevoadecir,Mara,peroestahermana mafueunavezunaniamuybonitaporlomenos,meloimaginaba,yastengounaidea delopobreHolbrook.Qunegocioshabademorirantesdevolveracasaparadarlelas graciasportodasubondadaunbuenoparanadaalcachorrocomoyo?Sequeesomehizo pensarprimerosepreocupabaporti,porqueentodasnuestrasexpedicionesdepescase Matty,Matty,quehemoshablado.PobreDeborah!Quleccinmeleyelhaberpedidoa sucasaaalmorzarunda,cuandoellahabavistoelcarrodeArleyenlaciudad,ypensque miseorapuedallamar.Bueno,esoeshacemuchosaos,msdelamitaddeuntiempode vida,ysinembargoparecequefueayer!Nosporuncompaeromehubieragustado mejorcomounhermanoenlaley.Debeshaberjugadomalsuscartas,miMattypoco,de algunamanerauotraqueraasuhermanoparaserunbuenintermediario,eh,unpoco", dijo,poniendolamanoparaapoderarsedeellamientrasyacaenelsof."Porqu,ques esto?Eststemblandoytemblando,Matty,conlaventanaabiertaconfundido.Cllate, Mara,enestemismoinstante!" Aslohice,yluegoseinclinparabesaraMissMatty,yversirealmenteseenfriaron.Ella cogimimano,ylediounfuerteapretnperoinconscientemente,creoenunoodos minutosnoshablbastanteensuvozhabitual,ysonrinuestrainquietuddedistancia,a pesardequepacientementesometidosalasdisposicionesqueaplicandeunacamacaliente yunvasodesangradbil.YoibaasalirdeCranfordaldasiguiente,yantesdeirmevique todoslosefectosdelaventanaabierta,habadesaparecidodeltodo.Tuvesupervisla mayorpartedelasmodificacionesnecesariasenlacasayfamiliadurantelasltimas semanasdemiestancia.Latiendaestabaunavezms,unsalndelashabitacionesrotundo vacounavezmsequipadashastalosdesvanesmuy. HabahabidoalgunasconversacionessobreelestablecimientodeMarthayJemenotra casa,perolaseoritaMattynoqueraorhablardeesto.Dehecho,nuncavitantocomo cuandodespertPolehabaasumidoqueeralasolucinmsdeseable.MientrasMarthase quedaraconMissMatty,MissMattyestabamsqueagradecidodecontarconellaacerca deella,s,yJemtambin,queeraunhombremuyagradabletenerenlacasa,yaquenunca loviodesdeelfindesemanaasemanafinales.Yencuantoalosniosprobable,sitodo saldracomoangelitoscomosuahijada,Matilda,quenodebeimportarelnmero,siMartha nolohizo.Adems,elsiguienteibaaserllamadoDeborahunpuntoqueMissMattyhaba dadodemalaganaalaobstinadadeterminacindeMartaquesuprimognitoerade Matilda.AsquePoletuvoquebajarsuscolores,einclusosuvoz,comoellamedijoque, comoelseoryHearnseoratodavaseguirviviendoenlamismacasaconMissMatty,que

hiringMarthasnieceasanauxiliary. IleftMissMattyandMrPetermostcomfortableandcontented;theonlysubjectforregret tothetenderheartoftheone,andthesocialfriendlynatureoftheother,beingthe unfortunatequarrelbetweenMrsJamiesonandtheplebeianHogginsesandtheirfollowing. Injoke,IprophesiedonedaythatthiswouldonlylastuntilMrsJamiesonorMrMulliner wereill,inwhichcasetheywouldonlybetoogladtobefriendswithMrHoggins;butMiss Mattydidnotlikemylookingforwardtoanythinglikeillnessinsolightamanner,andbefore theyearwasoutallhadcomeroundinafarmoresatisfactoryway. IreceivedtwoCranfordlettersononeauspiciousOctobermorning.BothMissPoleandMiss MattywrotetoaskmetocomeoverandmeettheGordons,whohadreturnedtoEngland aliveandwellwiththeirtwochildren,nowalmostgrownup.DearJessieBrownhadkept heroldkindnature,althoughshehadchangedhernameandstation;andshewrotetosay thatsheandMajorGordonexpectedtobeinCranfordonthefourteenth,andshehoped andbeggedtoberememberedtoMrsJamieson(namedfirst,asbecameherhonourable station),MissPoleandMissMattycouldsheeverforgettheirkindnesstoherpoorfather andsister?MrsForrester,MrHoggins(andhereagaincameinanallusiontokindness showntothedeadlongago),hisnewwife,whoassuchmustallowMrsGordontodesireto makeheracquaintance,andwhowas,moreover,anoldScotchfriendofherhusbands.In short,everyonewasnamed,fromtherectorwhohadbeenappointedtoCranfordinthe interimbetweenCaptainBrownsdeathandMissJessiesmarriage,andwasnowassociated withthelattereventdowntoMissBettyBarker.Allwereaskedtotheluncheon;allexcept MrsFitzAdam,whohadcometoliveinCranfordsinceMissJessieBrownsdays,andwhomI foundrathermopingonaccountoftheomission.PeoplewonderedatMissBettyBarkers beingincludedinthehonourablelist;but,then,asMissPolesaid,wemustrememberthe disregardofthegenteelproprietiesoflifeinwhichthepoorcaptainhadeducatedhisgirls, andforhissakeweswallowedourpride.Indeed,MrsJamiesonrathertookitasa compliment,asputtingMissBetty(formerlyhermaid)onalevelwiththoseHogginses. ButwhenIarrivedinCranford,nothingwasasyetascertainedofMrsJamiesonsown intentions;wouldthehonourableladygo,orwouldshenot?MrPeterdeclaredthatshe shouldandshewould;MissPoleshookherheadanddesponded.ButMrPeterwasaman ofresources.Inthefirstplace,hepersuadedMissMattytowritetoMrsGordon,andtotell herofMrsFitzAdamsexistence,andtobegthatonesokind,andcordial,andgenerous, mightbeincludedinthepleasantinvitation.Ananswercamebackbyreturnofpost,witha prettylittlenoteforMrsFitzAdam,andarequestthatMissMattywoulddeliveritherself andexplainthepreviousomission.MrsFitzAdamwasaspleasedascouldbe,andthanked MissMattyoverandoveragain.MrPeterhadsaid,LeaveMrsJamiesontome;sowedid;

habamoshechosindudaunabuenacosaenlacontratacindeMartasobrinacomoauxiliar. MefuiMissMattyyPeterseormscmodoycontento,eltemasloparalamentarqueel tiernocorazndeuno,yelcarctersocialamistosodelaotra,siendoladisputa desafortunadaentrelaSra.JamiesonyelHogginsesplebeyoysuseguimiento.Enbroma,le profetizundaqueestoslodurarahastaquelaseoraJamiesonoMullinerseorestaba enfermo,encuyocasosloseramuycontentosdeseramigosconelseorHoggins,pero MissMattynolegustabanmisganasdealgoparecidoalaenfermedadenlaluzdeuna manera,yantesdefinalizarelaotodoshabanllegadoalrededordeunamaneramucho mssatisfactoria. HerecibidodoscartasdeCranfordenunauspiciosodadeoctubre.TantoPoleyMatty seoritaescribiparapedirmequevengaacumplirconlosGordon,quehabaregresadoa Inglaterrasanoysalvoconsusdoshijos,ahoracasiunadulto.DearJessieBrownhaba mantenidosunaturalezaamabledeedad,apesardequehabacambiadosunombreydela estacin,yellameescribiparadecirmequeellayGordonMayoresperaqueesten Cranford,aloscatorce,yellaesperabayrogabaatenerencuentaalaseoraJamieson( nombradoenprimerlugar,queseconvirtiensuestacindehonor),MissPoleyMatty Misspodaolvidarsubondadasupobrepadreysuhermana?LaseoraForrester,elSr. Hoggins(yaquvolviaentrarenunaalusinalabondadmostradaalosmuertoshace muchotiempo),sunuevaesposa,quecomotaldebepermitirquelaseoraGordondeseo deconocerla,yqueera,adems,unviejoScotchamigodesumarido.Enresumen,cadauno fuenombrado,desdeelrectorquehabasidonombradoaCranford,enelintervaloentrela muertedelCapitnBrownyelmatrimoniodelaseoritaJessie,yseasociaahoraconel ltimocasoporlaseoritaBettyBarker.Todosselespidialacomida,todo,exceptola seoraFitzAdam,quehabavenidoavivirenCranforddesdelosdasdelaseoritaJessie Brown,yquemeparecibastantedesanimadoacausadelaomisin.Lagentese preguntabaalaseoritaBettyBarkerestsiendoincluidoenlalistadehonor,pero, entonces,comoMissPoledijo,hayquerecordareldespreciodelaspropiedadeselegante delavidaenlaqueelpobrecapitnhabaeducadoasushijas,yporlnostragamosorgullo. Dehecho,laseoraJamiesonnolotomcomouncumplido,comoponerlaseoritaBetty (antesdesulimpieza)alaalturade"losHogginses". PerocuandolleguaCranford,nadaestabaandeterminadodeintencioneslaseora Jamieson,quelaseoradiputadair,onolohara?Sr.Pedrodeclarquedebayquesi quera,MissPolenegconlacabezaydesponded.PeroelseorPedroeraunhombrede recursos.Enprimerlugar,persuadiaMissMattyaescribiralaseoraGordon,ypara decirledelaexistenciadelaseoraFitzAdn,ydepedirquealguientanamableycordialy generosa,podraserincluidoenlainvitacinagradable.Unarespuestallegavueltade correo,conunanotamuypocoalaseoraFitzAdam,ylasolicituddequeMissMattylo entregaraasmismayexplicarlaomisinanterior.LaseoraFitzAdamestabatan satisfechocomopodraser,ygraciasalaseoritaMattyunayotravez.Sr.Pedrohaba

especiallyasweknewnothingthatwecoulddotoalterherdeterminationifonceformed. Ididnotknow,nordidMissMatty,howthingsweregoingon,untilMissPoleaskedme,just thedaybeforeMrsGordoncame,ifIthoughttherewasanythingbetweenMrPeterandMrs Jamiesoninthematrimonialline,forthatMrsJamiesonwasreallygoingtothelunchatthe George.ShehadsentMrMullinerdowntodesirethattheremightbeafootstoolputto thewarmestseatintheroom,asshemeanttocome,andknewthattheirchairswerevery high.MissPolehadpickedthispieceofnewsup,andfromitsheconjecturedallsortsof things,andbemoanedyetmore.IfPetershouldmarry,whatwouldbecomeofpoordear MissMatty?AndMrsJamieson,ofallpeople!MissPoleseemedtothinktherewereother ladiesinCranfordwhowouldhavedonemorecredittohischoice,andIthinkshemusthave hadsomeonewhowasunmarriedinherhead,forshekeptsaying,Itwassowantingin delicacyinawidowtothinkofsuchathing. WhenIgotbacktoMissMattysIreallydidbegintothinkthatMrPetermightbethinkingof MrsJamiesonforawife,andIwasasunhappyasMissPoleaboutit.Hehadtheproofsheet ofagreatplacardinhishand.SignorBrunoni,MagiciantotheKingofDelhi,theRajahof Oude,andthegreatLamaofThibet,&c.&c.,wasgoingtoperforminCranfordforone nightonly,theverynextnight;andMissMatty,exultant,showedmealetterfromthe Gordons,promisingtoremainoverthisgaiety,whichMissMattysaidwasentirelyPeters doing.Hehadwrittentoaskthesignortocome,andwastobeatalltheexpensesofthe affair.Ticketsweretobesentgratistoasmanyastheroomwouldhold.Inshort,Miss Mattywascharmedwiththeplan,andsaidthattomorrowCranfordwouldremindherof thePrestonGuild,towhichshehadbeeninheryouthaluncheonattheGeorge,withthe dearGordons,andthesignorintheAssemblyRoomintheevening.ButIIlookedonlyat thefatalwords: UnderthePatronageoftheHONOURABLEMRSJAMIESON. She,then,waschosentopresideoverthisentertainmentofMrPeters;shewasperhaps goingtodisplacemydearMissMattyinhisheart,andmakeherlifelonelyoncemore!I couldnotlookforwardtothemorrowwithanypleasure;andeveryinnocentanticipationof MissMattysonlyservedtoaddtomyannoyance. So,angryandirritated,andexaggeratingeverylittleincidentwhichcouldaddtomy irritation,IwentontillwewereallassembledinthegreatparlourattheGeorge.Major andMrsGordonandprettyFloraandMrLudovicwereallasbrightandhandsomeand friendlyascouldbe;butIcouldhardlyattendtothemforwatchingMrPeter,andIsawthat MissPolewasequallybusy.IhadneverseenMrsJamiesonsorousedandanimatedbefore; herfacelookedfullofinterestinwhatMrPeterwassaying.Idrewneartolisten.Myrelief

dicho:"DejalaseoraJamiesonam,"yaslohicimos,sobretodoporquenosabamosnada quepodamoshacerparacambiarsudeterminacindesiunavezformado. Yonosaba,niMissMatty,cmoibanlascosas,hastaquelaseoritaPolemepregunt, justoeldaantesdelaseoraGordonlleg,siyopensabaquehabaalgoentreelSr.Peter Jamiesonylaseoraenlalneadematrimonio,paraquelaSra.Jamiesonquerealmente estabapasandoconelalmuerzoenel"George".EllahabaenviadoelseorMullinerhastael deseodequepodrahaberuntabureteparaponerelmsclidoasientoenlasala,como ellaqueravenir,ysabaquelassillaseranmuyaltas.Polehabarecogidoestanoticia,yde ellaseconjeturtodotipodecosas,ylamentanms."SiPetersecasen,quseradelos pobresdeMattyqueridaseorita?YlaseoraJamieson,detodaslaspersonas!"Pareca PoleparapensarqueeranotrasseorasenCranford,quehabrahechomscrditoasu eleccin,ycreoquedebehabertenidoaalguienquenoestabacasadaenlacabeza,porque ellamedeca:"Fuetanfaltodedelicadezaenunaviudaapensarentalcosa." CuandoregresalaseoritadeMattyquerealmentecomenzapensarqueelSr.Peter podraestarpensandoenlaseoraJamiesonparaunamujer,yyoerataninfelizcomola seoritaPolealrespecto.Tenalahojadepruebadeungrancartelenlamano."Elseor Brunoni,magodelreydeDelhi,elrajdeOude,yelgranLamadelTibet",&c.&C.,queiba a"llevaracaboenCranfordporunasolanoche",lanochesiguiente,yMissMatty, exultante,memostrunacartadelosGordon,conlapromesadepermanecermsdeesta alegra,quelaseoritaMattydijoqueeratotalmentePeteresthaciendo.Quelhaba escritoparapedirelfirmanteporvenir,yeraestarentodoslosgastosdelasunto.Entradas ibanaserenviadosgratuitamenteaunmximodelasalasemantendra.Endefinitiva,Miss Mattyestabaencantadoconelplan,ydijoquemaanaCranfordlerecordabadelaCofrada dePreston,alaquehabasidoensujuventudunalmuerzoenel"George",conelGordons queridos,ylafirmanteenelSalndeSesionesdelatarde.Peroyoyoslomirabaalas palabrasfatales: "BajoelpatrociniodelaHonorableJAMIESONMRS". Ella,entonces,fueelegidoparapresidiresteentretenimientodeD.Pedro,eratalvezvaa desplazaramiqueridaseoritaMattyensucorazn,yhacersuvidasolitaria,unavezms! Yonopodaesperaraldasiguienteconcualquierplacer,ycadaanticipacininocentede MissMattyslosirviparaaadiramimolestia. Porlotanto,enojadoeirritado,yexagerandocadapequeoincidentequepodraaadira miirritacin,queseprolonghastaquesereunierontodosenelgransalnenel"George". MajorylaseoraGordonybastanteflorayLudovicseorerantanbrillantesyguapoy agradablecomopodraser,peroyonopodaasistiraellosparalaobservacindePeter,yvi quelaseoritaPolefueigualmenteocupada.NuncahabavistoalaseoraJamiesonlo despertyanimadoantes,sucaraseveallenodeintersporloqueelseorPedroestaba

wasgreatwhenIcaughtthathiswordswerenotwordsoflove,butthat,forallhisgrave face,hewasathisoldtricks.HewastellingherofhistravelsinIndia,anddescribingthe wonderfulheightoftheHimalayamountains:onetouchafteranotheraddedtotheirsize, andeachexceededtheformerinabsurdity;butMrsJamiesonreallyenjoyedallinperfect goodfaith.Isupposesherequiredstrongstimulantstoexcitehertocomeoutofher apathy.MrPeterwounduphisaccountbysayingthat,ofcourse,atthataltitudetherewere noneoftheanimalstobefoundthatexistedinthelowerregions;thegame,everything wasdifferent.Firingonedayatsomeflyingcreature,hewasverymuchdismayedwhenit fell,tofindthathehadshotacherubim!MrPetercaughtmyeyeatthismoment,andgave mesuchafunnytwinkle,thatIfeltsurehehadnothoughtsofMrsJamiesonasawifefrom thattime.Shelookeduncomfortablyamazed But,MrPeter,shootingacherubimdontyouthinkIamafraidthatwassacrilege! MrPetercomposedhiscountenanceinamoment,andappearedshockedattheidea,which, ashesaidtrulyenough,wasnowpresentedtohimforthefirsttime;butthenMrsJamieson mustrememberthathehadbeenlivingforalongtimeamongsavagesallofwhomwere heathenssomeofthem,hewasafraid,weredownrightDissenters.Then,seeingMiss Mattydrawnear,hehastilychangedtheconversation,andafteralittlewhile,turningtome, hesaid,Dontbeshocked,primlittleMary,atallmywonderfulstories.IconsiderMrs Jamiesonfairgame,andbesidesIambentonpropitiatingher,andthefirststeptowardsitis keepingherwellawake.Ibribedherherebyaskinghertoletmehavehernameas patronessformypoorconjurorthisevening;andIdontwanttogivehertimeenoughtoget upherrancouragainsttheHogginses,whoarejustcomingin.Iwanteverybodytobe friends,foritharassesMattysomuchtohearofthesequarrels.Ishallgoatitagainbyand by,soyouneednotlookshocked.IintendtoentertheAssemblyRoomtonightwithMrs Jamiesonononeside,andmylady,MrsHoggins,ontheother.YouseeifIdont. Somehoworanotherhedid;andfairlygotthemintoconversationtogether.MajorandMrs Gordonhelpedatthegoodworkwiththeirperfectignoranceofanyexistingcoolness betweenanyoftheinhabitantsofCranford. EversincethatdaytherehasbeentheoldfriendlysociabilityinCranfordsociety;whichIam thankfulfor,becauseofmydearMissMattysloveofpeaceandkindliness.WeallloveMiss Matty,andIsomehowthinkweareallofusbetterwhensheisnearus.

diciendo.Meacerquparaescuchar.Mialiviofuegrandecuandoviquesuspalabrasno eranpalabrasdeamor,peroque,apesardesurostrograve,queestabaensusviejostrucos. LedecadesusviajesenlaIndia,yquedescribelaalturamaravillosasdelasmontaasdel Himalaya:untoquetrasotroaadidoasutamao,ycadaunosuperaalprimeroenlo absurdo,perolaseoraJamiesongustmuchoatodosenperfectabuenafe.Supongoque requierefuertesestimulantesparaexcitaraqueellasalieradesuapata.Sr.Pedrotermin surelatodiciendoque,porsupuesto,aesaalturanohabaningunodelosanimalesquese encontrqueexistaenlasregionesmsbajas,eljuego,todoeradiferente.Disparandoun daaunacriaturavoladora,queestabamuyconsternadocuandosecay,paraencontrar quehabadisparadoaunquerubn!Sr.Petermellamlaatencinenestemomento,yme diounguiogracioso,queestabasegurodequenotenapensamientosdelaseora Jamiesoncomounamujerdeesapoca.Mirsorprendidodesagradablemente "Pero,seorPedro,disparandounquerubnnotepareceMetemoqueeraun sacrilegio!" Sr.Petercompusosurostroenunmomento,yparecasorprendidoporlaidea,que,comol dijorealmentelosuficiente,sepresentaahoraalporprimeravez,peroentonceslaseora Jamiesondeberecordarquelhabaestadoviviendodurantemuchotiempoentrelos salvajestodosloscualeseranpaganosalgunasdeellas,tenamiedo,erandisidentes francamente.Entonces,viendoMissMattyseacerca,seapresuracambiarlaconversacin, ydespusdeunrato,sevolvihaciam,dijo,"noteasustes,primpequeaMara,entodas mishistoriasmaravillosas.ConsideroquelaseoraJamiesonjuegojusto,yademsestoy empeadoenpropiciarella,yelprimerpasoesmantenersubiendespierto.Yolesoborn aqualpedirlequemedejequesunombrecomopatronademipobremagoestatarde,yno quierodarleeltiemposuficienteparallegarhastasurencorencontradelaHogginses,que estnprximospulgquieroquetodosseanamigos,porloacosaMattytantoorhablarde estasdisputas.Voyairenldenuevoypor,porloquenonecesitamirarsorprendido. TengolaintencindeentrarenelSalndeActosdelanocheconlaseoraJamieson,porun lado,ymiseora,laseoraHoggins,porelotro.Aversinolohago." Dealgunamanerauotralohizo,ycasiselasmetienlaconversacinjuntos.Mayoryla seoraGordonayudaunbuentrabajoconsuignoranciaperfectadecualquierfrialdad existenteentrecualquieradeloshabitantesdeCranford. DesdeesedanohasidolasociabilidadAmistadenCranfordlasociedad,loqueestoy agradecido,porqueelamordemiqueridaseoritaMattydelapazylabondad.Atodosnos gustaMissMatty,ydealgunamaneracreoqueestamostodosmejorcuandoellaestcerca denosotros.