DAY AND NIGHT AGAIN, day and night again. No Stephen Blackpool. Where was the man, and why did he not come back?
Every night, Sissy went to Rachaels lodging, and sat with her in her small neat room. All day, Rachael toiled as such people must toil, whatever their anxieties. The smoke-serpents were indifferent who was lost or found, who turned out bad or good; the melancholy mad elephants, like the Hard Fact men, abated nothing of their set routine, whatever happened. Day and night again, day and night again. The monotony was unbroken. Even Stephen Blackpools disappearance was falling into the general way, and becoming as monotonous a wonder as any piece of machinery in Coketown.
I misdoubt, said Rachael, if there is as many as twenty left in all this place, who have any trust in the poor dear lad now.
She said it to Sissy, as they sat in her lodging, lighted only by the lamp at the street corner. Sissy had come there when it was already dark, to await her return from work; and they had since sat at the window where Rachael had found her, wanting no brighter light to shine on their sorrowful talk.
If it hadnt been mercifully brought about, that I was to have you to speak to, pursued Rachael, times are, when I think my mind would not have kept right. But I get hope and strength through you; and you believe that though appearances may rise against him, he will be proved clear?
I do believe so, returned Sissy, with my whole heart. I feel so certain, Rachael, that the confidence you hold in yours against all discouragement, is not like to be wrong, that I have no more doubt of him than if I had known him through as many years of trial as you have.
And I, my dear, said Rachel, with a tremble in her voice, have known him through them all, to be, according to his quiet ways, so faithful to everything honest and good, that if he was never to be heard of more, and I was to live to be a hundred years old, I could say with my last breath, God knows my heart. I have never once left trusting Stephen Blackpool!
We all believe, up at the Lodge, Rachael, that he will be freed from suspicion, sooner or later.
The better I know it to be so believed there, my dear, said Rachael, and the kinder I feel it that you come away from there, purposely to comfort me, and keep me company, and be seen wi me when I am not yet free from all suspicion myself, the more grieved I am that I should ever have spoken those mistrusting words to the young lady. And yet
You dont mistrust her now, Rachael?
Now that you have brought us more together, no. But I cant at all times keep out of my mind
Her voice so sunk into a low and slow communing with herself, that Sissy, sitting by her side, was obliged to listen with attention.
I cant at all times keep out of my mind, mistrustings of some one. I cant think who tis, I cant think how or why it may be done, but I mistrust that some one has put Stephen out of the way. I mistrust that by his coming back of his own accord, and showing himself innocent before them all, some one would be confounded, who to prevent that has stopped him, and put him out of the way.
That is a dreadful thought, said Sissy, turning pale.
It is a dreadful thought to think he may be murdered.
Sissy shuddered, and turned paler yet.
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|