Chapter 46

The man whom Sue, in her mental volte-face, was now regarding as her inseparable husband, lived still at Marygreen.

On the day before the tragedy of the children, Phillotson had seen both her and Jude as they stood in the rain at Christminster watching the procession to the theatre. But he had said nothing of it at the moment to his companion Gillingham, who, being an old friend, was staying with him at the village aforesaid, and had, indeed, suggested the day's trip to Christminster.

`What are you thinking of?' said Gillingham, as they went home. `The university degree you never obtained?'

`No, no,' said Phillotson gruffly. `Of somebody I saw to-day.' In a moment he added, `Susanna.'

`I saw her, too.'

`You said nothing.'

`I didn't wish to draw your attention to her. But, as you did see her, you should have said: `How d'ye do, my dear-that-was?''

`Ah, well. I might have. But what do you think of this: I have good reason for supposing that she was innocent when I divorced her - that I was all wrong. Yes, indeed! Awkward, isn't it?'

`She has taken care to set you right since, anyhow, apparently.'

`H'm. That's a cheap sneer. I ought to have waited, unquestionably.'

At the end of the week, when Gillingham had gone back to his school near Shaston, Phillotson, as was his custom, went to Alfredston market; ruminating again on Arabella's intelligence as he walked down the long hill which he had known before Jude knew it, though his history had not beaten so intensely upon its incline. Arrived in the town he bought his usual weekly local paper; and when he had sat down in an inn to refresh himself for the five miles' walk back, he pulled the paper from his pocket and read awhile. The account of the `strange suicide of a stone-mason's children' met his eye.

Unimpassioned as he was, it impressed him painfully, and puzzled him not a little, for he could not understand the age of the elder child being what it was stated to be. However, there was no doubt that the newspaper report was in some way true.

`Their cup of sorrow is now full!' he said: and thought and thought of Sue, and what she had gained by leaving him.

Arabella having made her home at Alfredston, and the schoolmaster coming to market there every Saturday, it was not wonderful that in a few weeks they met again - the precise time being just alter her return from Christminster, where she had stayed much longer than she had at first intended, keeping an interested eye on Jude, though Jude had seen no more of her. Phillotson was on his way homeward when he encountered Arabella, and she was approaching the town.

`You like walking out this way, Mrs. Cartlett?' he said.

`I've just begun to again,' she replied. `It is where I lived as maid and wife, and all the past things of my life that are interesting to my feelings are mixed up with this road. And they have been stirred up in me too, lately; for I've been visiting at Christminster. Yes; I've seen Jude.'

`Ah! How do they bear their terrible affliction?'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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