Surely, said the blind man, surely. Have you no answer, widow? Is your mind, he slowly added, not made up yet?
Let me speak with you, she answered, apart.
Lay your hand upon my sleeve, said Stagg, arising from the table; and lead me where you will. Courage, bold Barnaby. Well talk more of this: Ive a fancy for you. Wait there till I come back. Now, widow.
She led him out at the door, and into the little garden, where they stopped.
You are a fit agent, she said, in a half breathless manner, and well represent the man who sent you here.
Ill tell him that you said so, Stagg retorted. He has a regard for you, and will respect me the more (if possible) for your praise. We must have our rights, widow.
Rights! Do you know, she said, that a word from me
Why do you stop? returned the blind man calmly, after a long pause. Do I know that a word from you would place my friend in the last position of the dance of life? Yes, I do. What of that? It will never be spoken, widow.
You are sure of that?
Quiteso sure, that I dont come here to discuss the question. I say we must have our rights, or we must be bought off. Keep to that point, or let me return to my young friend, for I have an interest in the lad, and desire to put him in the way of making his fortune. Bah! you neednt speak, he added hastily; I know what you would say: you have hinted at it once already. Have I no feeling for you, because I am blind? No, I have not. Why do you expect me, being in darkness, to be better than men who have their sightwhy should you? Is the hand of Heaven more manifest in my having no eyes, than in your having two? Its the cant of you folks to be horrified if a blind man robs, or lies, or steals; oh yes, its far worse in him, who can barely live on the few halfpence that are thrown to him in streets, than in you, who can see, and work, and are not dependent on the mercies of the world. A curse on you! You who have five senses may be wicked at your pleasure; we who have four, and want the most important, are to live and be moral on our affliction. The true charity and justice of rich to poor, all the world over!
He paused a moment when he had said these words, and caught the sound of money, jingling in her hand.
Well? he cried, quickly resuming his former manner. That should lead to something. The point, widow?
First answer me one question, she replied. You say he is close at hand. Has he left London?
Being close at hand, widow, it would seem he has, returned the blind man.
I mean, for good? You know that.
Yes, for good. The truth is, widow, that his making a longer stay there might have had disagreeable consequences. He has come away for that reason.
Listen, said the widow, telling some money out, upon a bench beside them. Count.
Six, said the blind man, listening attentively. Any more?
They are the savings, she answered, of five years. Six guineas.
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