`I don't wish to talk of it.'

`No, no: of course you don't. Only it shows what kind of woman - - '

`Don't speak of her I say! She's a fool! And she's an angel, too, poor dear!'

`If it's done, he'll have a chance of getting back to his old position, by everybody's account, so Anny says. All his well-wishers will be pleased, including the bishop himself.'

`Do spare me, Arabella.'

Arabella was duly installed in the little attic, and at first she did not come near Jude at all. She went to and fro about her own business, which, when they met for a moment on the stairs or in the passage, she informed him was that of obtaining another place in the occupation she understood best. When Jude suggested London as affording the most likely opening in the liquor trade, she shook her head. `No - the temptations are too many,' she said. `Any humble tavern in the country before that for me.'

On the Sunday morning following, when he breakfasted later than on other days, she meekly asked him if she might come in to breakfast with him, as she had broken her teapot, and could not replace it immediately, the shops being shut.

`Yes, if you like,' he said indifferently.

While they sat without speaking she suddenly observed: `You seem all in a brood, old man. I'm sorry for you.'

`I am all in a brood.'

`It is about her, I know. It's no business of mine, but I could find out all about the wedding - if it really did take place - if you wanted to know.'

`How could you?'

`I wanted to go to Alfredston to get a few things I left there. And I could see Anny, who'll be sure to have heard all about it, as she has friends at Marygreen.'

Jude could not bear to acquiesce in this proposal; but his suspense pitted itself against his discretion, and won in the struggle. `You can ask about it if you like,' he said. `I've not heard a sound from there. It must have been very private, if - they have married.'

`I am afraid I haven't enough cash to take me there and back, or I should have gone before. I must wait till I have earned some.'

`Oh - I can pay the journey for you,' he said impatiently. And thus his suspense as to Sue's welfare, and the possible marriage, moved him to dispatch for intelligence the last emissary he would have thought of choosing deliberately.

Arabella went, Jude requesting her to be home not later than by the seven o'clock train. When she had gone he said: `Why should I have charged her to be back by a particular time! She's nothing to me - nor the other neither!'

But having finished work he could not help going to the station to meet Arabella, dragged thither by feverish haste to get the news she might bring, and know the worst. Arabella had made dimples most successfully all the way home, and when she stepped out of the railway carriage she smiled. He merely said `Well?' with the very reverse of a smile.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
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.