`How do you know?'
`She knocked like that last time.'
They listened, and the knocking came again. No servant was kept in the house, and if the summons were to be responded to one of them would have to do it in person. `I'll open a window,' said Jude. `Whoever it is cannot be expected to be let in at this time.'
He accordingly went into his bedroom and lifted the sash. The lonely street of early retiring workpeople was empty from end to end save of one figure - that of a woman walking up and down by the lamp a few yards off.
`Who's there?' he asked.
`Is that Mr. Fawley?' came up from the woman, in a voice which was unmistakably Arabella's.
Jude replied that it was.
`Is it she?' asked Sue from the door, with lips apart.
`Yes, dear,' said Jude. `What do you want, Arabella?' he inquired.
`I beg your pardon, Jude, for disturbing you,' said Arabella humbly. `But I called earlier - I wanted particularly to see you to-night, if I could. I am in trouble, and have nobody to help me!'
`In trouble, are you?'
There was a silence. An inconvenient sympathy seemed to be rising in Jude's breast at the appeal. `But aren't you married?' he said.
Arabella hesitated. `No, Jude, I am not,' she returned. `He wouldn't, after all. And I am in great difficulty. I hope to get another situation as barmaid soon. But it takes time, and I really am in great distress because of a sudden responsibility that's been sprung upon me from Australia; or I wouldn't trouble you - believe me I wouldn't. I want to tell you about it.'
Sue remained at gaze, in painful tension, hearing every word, but speaking none.
`You are not really in want of money, Arabella?' he asked, in a distinctly softened tone.
`I have enough to pay for the night's lodging I have obtained, but barely enough to take me back again.'
`Where are you living?'
`In London still.' She was about to give the address, but she said, `I am afraid somebody may hear, so I don't like to call out particulars of myself so loud. If you could come down and walk a little way with me towards the Prince Inn, where I am staying to-night, I would explain all. You may as well, for old time's sake!'
`Poor thing! I must do her the kindness of hearing what's the matter, I suppose,' said Jude in much perplexity. `As she's going back to-morrow it can't make much difference.'
`But you can go and see her to-morrow, Jude! Don't go now, Jude!' came in plaintive accents from the doorway. `Oh, it is only to entrap you, I know it is, as she did before! Don't go, dear! She is such a low- passioned woman - I can see it in her shape, and hear it in her voice!
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