which seemed to say that the business of his life must be carried on, whether he had a wife or no, he took the candle and went upstairs to his lonely room on the other side of the landing.
No further incident touching the matter between them occurred till the following evening, when, immediately school was over, Phillotson walked out of Shaston, saying he required no tea, and not informing Sue where he was going. He descended from the town level by a steep road in a north-westerly direction, and continued to move downwards till the soil changed from its white dryness to a tough brown clay. He was now on the low alluvial beds
Where Duncliffe is the traveller's mark,More than once he looked back in the increasing obscurity of evening. Against the sky was Shaston, dimly visible
On the grey-topp'd heightThe new-lit lights from its windows burnt with a steady shine as if watching him, one of which windows was his own. Above it he could just discern the pinnacled tower of Trinity Church. The air down here, tempered by the thick damp bed of tenacious clay, was not as it had been above, but soft and relaxing, so that when he had walked a mile or two he was obliged to wipe his face with his handkerchief.
Leaving Duncliffe Hill on the left he proceeded without hesitation through the shade, as a man goes on, night or day, in a district over which he has played as a boy. He had walked altogether about four and a half miles
Where Stour receives her strength,when he crossed a tributary of the Stour, and reached Leddenton - a little town of three or four thousand inhabitants - where he went on to the boys' school, and knocked at the door of the master's residence.
 William Barnes.  Drayton.
A boy pupil-teacher opened it, and to Phillotson's inquiry if Mr. Gillingham was at home replied that he was, going at once off to his own house, and leaving Phillotson to find his way in as he could. He discovered his friend putting away some books from which he had been giving evening lessons. The light of the paraffin lamp fell on Phillotson's face - pale and wretched by contrast with his friend's, who had a cool, practical look. They had been schoolmates in boyhood, and fellow-students at Wintoncester Training College, many years before this time.
`Glad to see you, Dick! But you don't look well? Nothing the matter?'
Phillotson advanced without replying, and Gillingham closed the cupboard and pulled up beside his visitor.
`Why you haven't been here - let me see - since you were married? I called, you know, but you were out; and upon my word it is such a climb after dark that I have been waiting till the days are longer before lumpering up again. I am glad you didn't wait, however.'
Though well-trained and even proficient masters, they occasionally used a dialect-word of their boyhood to each other in private.
`I've come, George, to explain to you my reasons for taking a step that I am about to take, so that you, at least, will understand my motives if other people question them anywhen - as they may, indeed certainly will.... But anything is better than the present condition of things God forbid that you should ever have such an experience as mine!'
`Sit down. You don't mean - anything wrong between you and Mrs. Phillotson?'
`I do.... My wretched state is that I've a wife I love who not only does not love me, but - but Well, I won't say. I know her feeling! I should prefer hatred from her!'
|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.|