Chapter 33

Four-and-twenty hours before this time Sue had written the following note to Jude:

It is as I told you; and I am leaving to-morrow evening. Richard and I thought it could be done with less obtrusiveness after dark. I feel rather frightened, and therefore ask you to be sure you are on the Melchester platform to meet me. I arrive at a little to seven. I know you will, of course, dear Jude; but I feel so timid that I can't help begging you to be punctual. He has been so very kind to me through it all!

Now to our meeting! S.

As she was carried by the omnibus farther and farther down from the mountain town - the single passenger that evening - she regarded the receding road with a sad face. But no hesitation was apparent therein.

The up-train by which she was departing stopped by signal only. To Sue it seemed strange that such a powerful organization as a railway train should be brought to a stand-still on purpose for her - a fugitive from her lawful home.

The twenty minutes' journey drew towards its close, and Sue began gathering her things together to alight. At the moment that the train came to a stand-still by the Melchester platform a hand was laid on the door and she beheld Jude. He entered the compartment promptly. He had a black bag in his hand, and was dressed in the dark suit he wore on Sundays and in the evening after work. Altogether he looked a very handsome young fellow, his ardent affection for her burning in his eyes.

`Oh Jude!' She clasped his hand with both hers, and her tense state caused her to simmer over in a little succession of dry sobs. `I - I am so glad! I get out here?'

`No. I get in, dear one! I've packed. Besides this bag I've only a big box which is labelled.'

`But don't I get out? Aren't we going to stay here?'

`We couldn't possibly, don't you see. We are known here - I, at any rate, am well known. I've booked for Aldbrickham; and here's your ticket for the same place, as you have only one to here.'

`I thought we should have stayed here,' she repeated.

`It wouldn't have done at all.'

`Ah! Perhaps not.'

`There wasn't time for me to write and say the place I had decided on. Aldbrickham is a much bigger town - sixty or seventy thousand inhabitants - and nobody knows anything about us there.'

`And you have given up your cathedral work here?'

`Yes. It was rather sudden - your message coming unexpectedly. Strictly, I might have been made to finish out the week. But I pleaded urgency and I was let off. I would have deserted any day at your command, dear Sue. I have deserted more than that for you!'

`I fear I am doing you a lot of harm. Ruining your prospects of the Church; ruining your progress in your trade; everything!'

`The Church is no more to me. Let it lie! I am not to be one of

The soldier-saints who, row on row,
Burn upward each to his point of bliss,
if any such there be! My point of bliss is not upward, but here.'

`Oh I seem so bad - upsetting men's courses like this!' said she, taking up in her voice the emotion that had begun in his. But she recovered her equanimity by the time they had travelled a dozen miles.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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