`A fall from your horse - shook you a bit - that's all, I think,' said Mr Glegg. `But you'll soon get over it, let's hope.'

Mr Tulliver fixed his eyes on the bed clothes, and remained silent for two or three minutes. A new shadow came over his face. He looked up at Maggie first, and said in a lower tone, `You got the letter, then, my wench?'

`Yes, father,' she said, kissing him with a full heart. She felt as if her father were come back to her from the dead, and her yearning to show him how she had always loved him could be fulfilled.

`Where's your mother?' he said, so preoccupied that he received the kiss as passively as some quiet animal might have received it.

`She's downstairs with my aunts, father: shall I fetch her?'

`Ay, ay: poor Bessy!' and his eyes turned towards Tom as Maggie left the room.

`You'll have to take care of 'em both, if I die, you know, Tom. You'll be badly off, I doubt. But you must see and pay everybody. And mind - there's fifty pound o' Luke's as I put into the business, he gave it me a bit at a time and he's got nothing to show for it. You must pay him first thing.'

Uncle Glegg involuntarily shook his head, and looked more concerned than ever, but Tom said firmly,

`Yes, father. And haven't you a note from my uncle Moss for three hundred pounds? We came to look for that. What do you wish to be done about it, father?'

`Ah! I'm glad you thought o' that my lad,' said Mr Tulliver. `I allays meant to be easy about that money, because o' your aunt. You mustn't mind losing the money, if they can't pay it - and it's like enough they can't. The note's in that box, mind! I allays meant to be good to you, Gritty,' said Mr Tulliver, turning to his sister, `but, you know, you aggravated me when you would have Moss.'

At this moment Maggie re-entered with her mother who came in much agitated by the news that her husband was quite himself again.

`Well, Bessy,' he said, as she kissed him, `you must forgive me if you're worse off than you ever expected to be. But it's the fault o' the law - it's none o' mine,' he added, angrily. `It's the fault o' raskills! Tom - you mind this - if ever you've got the chance, you make Wakem smart. If you don't, you're a good-for-nothing son. You might horsewhip him - but he'd set the law on you - the law's made to take care o' raskills.'

Mr Tulliver was getting excited, and an alarming flush was on his face. Mr Glegg wanted to say something soothing, but he was prevented by Mr Tulliver's speaking again to his wife. `They'll make a shift to pay everything, Bessy,' he said, `and yet leave you your furniture; and your sisters'll do something for you... and Tom'll grow up... though what he's to be I don't know... I've done what I could... I've given him a eddication... and there's the little wench, she'll get married... but it's a poor tale... '

The sanative effect of the strong vibration was exhausted, and with the last words, the poor man fell again rigid and insensible. Though this was only a recurrence of what had happened before, it struck all present as if it had been death, not only from its contrast with the completeness of the revival, but because his words had all had reference to the possibility that his death was near. But with poor Tulliver, death was not to be a leap: it was to be a long descent under thickening shadows.

Mr Turnbull was sent for, but when he heard what had passed, he said this complete restoration, though only temporary, was a hopeful sign, proving that there was no permanent lesion to prevent ultimate recovery.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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