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Chapter I.: THE WIFE'S JOURNEY. - Harriet Martineau, Illustrations of Political Economy, vol. 5 
Illustrations of Political Economy (3rd ed) in 9 vols. (London: Charles Fox, 1834). Vol. 5.
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THE WIFE'S JOURNEY.
Hester had been married four years, and had scarcely seen the face of an old friend in all that time. Mr. Pye had once been obliged to visit London on business, and Mrs. Parndon took advantage of his escort to visit her daughter, which she had not previously appeared inclined to do. Her visit was, however, very short, as she declared that she always pined for home,—that she was bewildered with the bustle of London,—that she could not sleep well in any house but her own; and that, in short, Haleham was tlie best place for her. Hester anxiously endeavoured to find out whether there was anything in the ways of her household which was displeasing to her mother. Edgar happened to be absent—gone down to Brighton tor a holiday — which was very well, as it was certain that there was much in his habits which would astonish and terrify his good mother-in-law. His wife feared that Mrs. Parndon's visit being concluded before his return, was too plain a sign that she was aware of his domestic conduct being such as it would be painful to her to witness; it being unlikely, as the still loving wife said to herself, that anybody but herself should understand Edgar's reasons for all that he did, and make allowance for the practices that young men fall into when they are thrown together as clerks in a public establishment are. Since irregularity of hours had become far from the most trying circumstance in Edgar's way of life, Hester had carefully concealed even that one from her mother; and Mrs. Parndon made no reference to it during her stay: yet her hurry to be gone looked as if she might know it, and with it, much more; and this suspicion prevented Hester from saying anything about a repetition of her visit. Her voice was lost in tears when she saw her mother preparing with alacrity to depart, and when she remembered how long it might be before she should again be cheered by the sight of a Hale-ham face, or by conversation about the concerns of her early friends; concerns which were more interesting to her than ever as her own grew less and less pleasant in the contemplation.
Invitations were given, from time to time, to go down among these old friends;—invitations which she would fain have accepted, but on which Edgar made but one reply, as often as they were communicated to him—that he could not spare her. Her consolation in this answer was, that it would keep up his credit with the Haleham people as an attached husband; but it could not but appear strange to herself that he found it BO difficult to spare her when he dispensed with as much of her society as he could at home, and seized every opportunity of running down into the country, or taking a flight to the seaside without her. She could not help thinking, as she sat solitary, with the dusty beams of an August sun shining into her close parlour, that it would not have cost so very much to have taken a week's trip to Haleham;—not so much as any one of Edgar's many trips elsewhere, which were paid for, she supposed, out of the earnings of her pencil. She would not have troubled him for the money; she would have made a great effort to work harder, if he would have let her go. The prospect of once more beholding the harvest-fields and green lanes, the church-tower, and quiet, clean market-street of Haleham, would give her strength for an unusual effort; while it was really very difficult to draw every day and all day long, with nothing better under her window than the hot rattling street, and with nobody to speak to but Philip, who yawned incessantly between his counter and his bed.
Such a train of thought happened to pass through her mind one day when Edgar was no farther off than the Mint. She had been drawing all the morning—she had been drawing for two hours since dinner; and was now sitting with her hands pressed to her dazzled aching eyes. It was somewhat startling to feel a pail of hands folded over her own, and her cheek and forehead repeatedly kissed before she could recover the use of her eyes. It was only Edgar; but what joy that Edgar should be playing such a trick as this once more, after years of a most business-like gravity of deportment!
“Your poor head is aching, I am sure,” said he. “And this little hand is whiter than it should be. You are not well, Hester.”
“It is very foolish to sit down to draw directly after dinner in such hot weather as this,” observed Hester, struggling with tears which would come, she could scarcely have told why.
“My dear little woman, you are quite nervous and overworked and ill. You must go down to your mother, and see if she and Haleham cannot set you right again.”
Hester looked up at her husband, with a cheek no longer pale. He went on,—
“No time like the present. I will send and have your place taken by the early morning coach,”
“0, how very good you are!” cried Hester. “You cannot think—I am sure it will do me more good than—0, Edgar, you do not know how I have longed this summer to see those meadows again!”
“Well; you shall see them before to-morrow evening.”
“Had it not better be one day later?” inquired Hester, timidly, knowing that her husband did not like being opposed in any of his determinations. “It might be an inconvenience to my mother to have me go without notice; and I cannot get all my things together to-night; and one day more will finish these drawings.”
Edgar said if she meant to go at all, it must be the next morning.
“I should be paid for these to-morrow, if I carried them home myself,” once more urged Hester, thus intimating at the same time that she was bare of cash.
“Leave all that to me,” replied Edgar, good-humouredly. “I will take care and get your due out of your employer.”
Hester had no doubt of this. Her husband went on more to the purpose.
“You must want money, I know; and here is a supply for you. Aye, you look surprised to see such a parcel of notes, but they are all ones. I took care to bring you ones, because the Haleham people have been terribly pinched for small money since the crash. You would have found it difficult to get change for tens or fives.”
“How very kind of you to think of such little things, when you were planning this journey for me!” exclaimed the grateful wife. “But here is far more money than I can possibly want in a week,”
“Why should you stay only a week? So seldom as you leave home, I should be sorry to hurry you back again. My trips are short enough, to be sure; but you have no business at the Mint to bring you back just when you are beginning to enjoy yourself; and I am sure I should be sorry to hurry you.”
“But, Edgar, if I were to stay a month, I could not spend all this money.”
“Not on yourself, little woman, I dare say; for you are not one of the wives who like to see their husbands work hard that they may spend in idleness. You work as hard as I do; and if you do not bring me quite such a bundle of notes as this, neither do you bedizen yourself like half your neighbours in this street. But, Hester, we have carried our economy a little too far.”
“I am so glad to hear it!” cried Hester. “But I did not know how much we might spend; and it is always safer to spend too little than too much.”
“True; but now is a good time to be setting ourselves up with some things that we want. Get yourself a new gown or two, my dear, and a bonnet, and whatever else you think you really want.”
“I will go this moment, there is time before dark, and I can take my place myself,” cried Hester, hastily putting away her drawing materials; but her husband laid a heavy hand upon her shoulder.
“You shall do no such thing. You have enough to do to pack up, and make arrangements for the time of your absence; and I am sure we had both rather that you should spend your little money among your old Haleham friends. Philip will spare his boy to run and take your place, I am sure.”
The boy came for orders, and Hester was giving him a note out of her new treasure, when Edgar stopped her hand. He gave the boy a sovereign from his own pocket, observing that she should carry her little fund with her untouched.
“And while you are spending,” he went on, “you may as well get a few more things that we want very much.”
“My mother and I can make you some new shirts,” observed Hester.
“Yes; and I have always meant that you should have a more complete stock of house-linen than I could afford when we were married. That table-cover is terribly stained and shabby. I am nearly out of writing-paper too: you may get as large a stock of stationery as you please from your old friend Pye.”
“Do you mean that I am to get all these things at Haleham? Will not the Haleham people laugh at a Londoner going down to buy the goods they get from London?”
Never mind if they do. Tell them you had rather have accounts with old acquaintance than with new. You can take boxes that will hold your purchases; and if not, I shall not grumble at a little extra expense for carriage. And now go and pack up; for I have no doubt of there being a place for you.”
Hester felt as if in a dream. The journey might be a reality; the bundle of bank notes might be no illusion; but Edgar's consideration for her convenience, and for the gratification of the Haleham people, was wholly astonishing. She was haunted with a dread that a change would yet come over her happy prospects. When assured that her place was taken, she trembled at her husband's approaching footstep, lest he should be coming to recall his permission. When she went to bed, scarcely able to stand from fatigue, but too excited to expect immediate sleep, she was certain of not waking in time for the coach. Every thing seemed more probable than that she should, by the same hour the next night, be in the little light-green room, with its white curtains, and eastern window open to the moon, where she had slept the happy sleep of childhood and youth. Such enjoyment was, however, actually in store for her. Edgar did not change his mind, but rather seemed eager that nothing should delay her departure. She did not sleep too late, but, on the contrary, started up when the first brick-red reflection from the opposite chimnies entered her chamber. She had a full quarter of an hour to wait in the morning shadows of the inn-yard, amidst the shouts of the ostlers, the clatter of horses' hoofs, the stare of yawning loungers, and the importunities of porters. When fairly off the stones, and bowling over the smooth roads, she felt as much inclined to talk and be merry as any school-girl going home for the holidays. Her companions not looking particularly exhilarated, however, she kept her spirits to herself, and sat, with her face close to the open window, letting the dewy hedges and the flowery banks whirl away amidst a dreamy kind of half notice, watching for glimpses into the green lanes which led to retired farm-houses, and feeling disposed to nod to every meek-faced sheep that looked up from its browsing as the coach passed by. She was going back to Haleham a happy wife; for Edgar's revived attention was felt in combination with the delicious associations awakened by the scenery of a summer morning in the country; her many long days of disappointment, and nights of weary watching were forgotten; and all sense of pain and injury was lost in her present emotions of grateful pleasure.
What a bustle was there in Mrs. Parndon's house that afternoon! There was dinner to be brought up again, when the little maid had nearly finished what her mistress had left; and the sheets to be aired, and the hanging of the tent-bed to be put on; and Mrs. Price, the mantua-maker and milliner, to be sent for to take orders about improving Hester's shabby wardrobe with all possible speed; and a hundred reasons for this shabbiness to be invented,—such as London dust in the summer—leaving handsome winter things behind—and so forth. When Mrs. Price had been duly impressed with the necessity of her apprentice working all night, in order to Hester's genteel appearance before the old acquaintances who would certainly call; when the newest fashion of a morning cap had been sent over, approved, and purchased, and a bonnet promised by the time Mrs. Morrison should want to show herself in town in the middle of the day, —that is, by the time the mother's vanity was catered for—she began to think of indulging a mother's affection.
“Well, my dear,” said she, “I believe you are right, and we will keep snug for to-day, unless Mr. Pye should happen to go past. You will not object to his coming in; and he will never observe your gown being so much faded, depend upon it. Now, rest yourself on my bed. We can easily beat it up again; and I will sit beside you, and rub up your straw bonnet a-bit, while we talk. I think I can get off some of the tan, and I have a ribbon that is better than this; and then you can go out in it early in the morning, or in the gray of the evening, till Mrs. Price sends home your new one. Come, lie down; and I will get my work-basket in a minute.”
Hester was not at all tired. She had rather sit by the window and look at the London Pride in the court, and at the town's-people as they passed by. There was one corner of the window-seat too, whence she could catch an angle of the church tower.
Just as she pleased; only it would be as well not to let herself be seen over the blind till dusk. Could not she be just quilling up a frill or a collar while they sat, that would look a little better than the one she had on? Well, well: to be sure she might not be inclined for work, and there would be plenty of time, perhaps, when the bonnet was done. Whom or what did Hester want to hear about first?
Everybody. Everything. How was Mr. Pye? “O very well, in all respects but his hearing. Poor man! Everybody sees that his deafness is growing upon him sadly; but he does not like to have it noticed, and I am afraid it would hurt him very much to mention such a thing as his using a trumpet; but how he is to get on in his shop, all by himself, without it, I don't see. It was but “last week I was there when a lady from the country was buying- a little book; and while he was tying it up, she asked him what the bells were ringing for, forgetting that it was a royal birth-day.” ‘What are the bells ringing for, Mr. Pye?’ says she. ‘Eighteen-pence, Madam,’ said he ‘No,— the bells are ringing. Do you know what it is for?’ says she. ‘One and sixpence, Madam,’ said he. It it goes on so, ladies will not like coming to his shop; but he will never be persuaded to get a trumpet.”
“If we get him one,—if one came down from London on purpose for him, would he not use it? I think he would hardly refuse any gift from me.”
“If he thanked you, he would just put it by, and we should see no more of it.”
“Then he should have somebody to wait in his shop.”
“Aye: or somebody to be at his elbow to help him when he is puzzled. When he comes here of an evening, be has all sorts of ways of trying to find out what he is at a loss about, without exactly saying that he is at a loss. You cannot think what work I have sometimes to help him to guess out what people's orders can mean, when he has caught only half of them.”
“What weakness! What a pity he should give so much trouble to himself and everybody else! However, I suppose there is one good consequence of this false shame. He does not teaze his next neighbour to tell him all that everybody says.”
“No. I am generally with him when there is conversation going on; and he knows I tell him all that is worth hearing. Only, it is rather a pity that he pretends to have heard it the first time. However, we none of us know,—we might do the the same; and there is not a more upright, or a kinder man than Mr. Pye;—except, indeed, that he need not speak quite so sharply, sometimes when he happens to have heard what was said, and one repeats it all for his sake. But, as I said, we none of us know. I do to wonder whether he will come to-night! It is seldom he misses; especially since he has been a little out of spirits about his business.”
Hester was very sorry to hear of this. She had hoped that Mr. Pye's old-established concern had been one of the least likely to suffer from the changes of the times.
“After such a crash as Cavendish's,” replied the widow, “all concerns in the neighbourhood must feel a great difference. But, besides bad debts and much loss of custom, you would hardly believe how Mr. Pye's business has suffered only from the scarcity of small change. The great country folks come to buy children's books as they used to do, and they let their bills run up to a large even sum. But the middling and poor people, who do not run bills, have mostly left off sending for their little supply of stationery, and their cheap tracts, and even their almanacks. You may be in the shop the whole morning, and not a customer will come for a penny sheet of paper; which is a thing I should not have believed five years ago. Mr. Pye laughs, poor man, and says that if love-letters are written in Haleham now, it must be on the backs of old letters; for none of the Haleham lovers seem to have any pence to spare.”
“How do the grocers and drapers and butchers get on?” asked Hester. “The same inconvenience must affect them.”
“There is nothing for it but letting bills run, or serving two or three customers together, who pay each other afterwards as they may agree. Some of our shopkeepers excuse a small part of the price in consideration of being paid in change. They are very unwilling to take large notes. A ten will rarely change for any thing but two fives; and five may go round the town for days before any one will take it for a small payment.”
“It is very well,” observed Hester, “that my husband remembered this, and gave me only ones. To be sure he is the person to be aware of such things if any body is, for the Mint has been very busy lately coining bank tokens. But if small change bears a premium, I suppose much that has disappeared will soon come back again.”
The widow wished it might; and that it would bring with it the credit and the plenty of money in which Haleham had formerly rejoiced. Hester observed, that the credit must co-exist with the abundance of money in order to make it of any use; and that credit would ‘be now of some use, she supposed, in compensating’ for the scarcity of money, it' its diminution had not unfortunately been the cause of such scarcity. She was surprised, however, to find her mother, an annuitant, sighing for the days of high prices. She thought she must now find her income go much father than during the time when Cavendish's bank was flourishing. This was very true; and Mrs. Parndon's sighs were for Enoch and not for herself. She brightened when reminded to relate how the little matters of her housekeeping had grown cheaper since her daughter left her. When the list was gone through, Hester remarked that the recollection of this comforted her about the Berkelevs. Edgar had told her that the partners of the D—bank were living on allowances made by the creditors, while the affairs of the bank were being wound up. It was pleasant to think that such an allowance became worth more as money grew scarcer; and she hoped that what she at first thought a very poor income for Mr. and Mrs, Berkeley, might by this time have been proved enough to make them very comfortable. The young ladies too had salaries; and these were days when salaries were very advantageous.
“You forget, my dear, how far the debts of the family exceed the allowance and the earnings on which they live. The D——bank incurred these debts when money was cheap, and has to pay them now that money is dear; which adds to the difficulties of the partners in a way that nobody could have foreseen. It is a subject that poor Mr. Berkeley cannot bear. He is forever complaining of the injustice of it, though nobody can help him now.”
“It would be very well, however, if every body complained, mother; for there would be more care in future) how money was made too plentiful at one time and too scarce at another. You know you used to lament very much when not only nobody could help you, but very few were inclined, because there was a great appearance of prosperity while Haleham was filled with Cavendish's notes. But how is Mrs. Berkeley? for I always liked her better than the old gentleman; and the young ladies, whom I love best of all? It will be a sad blank not to see them here.”
“There is somebody who feels the blank more than you, Hester, and will help to fill it up some day. We all look to Mr. Craig to bring Miss Melea among us again, you know. He always gives me pleasant accounts about the young ladies, when I venture to ask him; and I am sure, from what he says, that they are in no wise down-hearted about a way of life that nobody at one time thought of their following.”
“Did they look so when they came in the spring?”
“By no means. Miss Melea has a grave look in her sweet face now; but that would be natural from her prospects, you know. And she laughs as merrily as ever when she is with the children at their play, and sings like an angel. She is fonder of children than ever, which is a very good sign of her being happy, so much more as she has to do with them now.”
“She always was fond of children, from the time she used to run races with the little Martins in the hay-field, outstripping them every one; and if she lives to be an old lady, sitting in her easy chair from morning to night, depend upon it she will always be the first person in the room that the children will run to.”
“Bless her bright face! one can hardly fancy it with the eyes dim and the hair grey; but the smile will never leave her. It will be the same if she lives to eighty. Pray Heaven she may! Here comes master Lewis, I declare. Well; you will have seen one person to-night, though not an old acquaintance. Come in, master Lewis, and see my daughter, Mrs. Edgar Morrison.”
When the introduction had been properly gone through, Lewis told his errand. He could not find Mr. Pye at home, and came to seek him here, to tell him that the schoolmaster was very wroth at a set of copy-books, which had been expected and inquired for for several days, not having made its appearance; and some of the boys had been obliged to have a fragment of a holiday this afternoon from this cause. They had been upon the heath to fly kites and play cricket, whence Lewis had brought the bunch of broom, heath, and harebells which Hester had been devouring with her eyes while lie was telling his story. Lewis observed that the boys were agreeably surprised at having gained a half holiday by Enoch's fault about the copy-books, instead of being punished for it as they had expected.
Hester was surprised at this; she thought the schoolmaster had been a remarkably good-tempered person. Lewis remembered that he had considered him so at first; but the master had been an altered man from the day of Cavendish's failure. He had not only lost four pupils, and the prospect of more, by that failure, but a great deal of money. He, like every one else, had been paid in Cavendish's notes; and Lewis remembered the awful morning when the master came into the school, as white as a sheet with passion, and called out the four Master Cavendishes to stand in a row before his desk, out of which he took a handful of bank-notes, held them up in the face of the whole school, declared them as worthless as if they had been forged, denounced their issuer as a swindler, and ordered the four little boys to march off, and never show their faces to him again, since they bore the disgrace of being their father's children.—Mrs. Parndon reminded Lewis that he should not have repeated this story, as the master was long ago ashamed of the cruel conduct into which his sense of injury had goaded him.—Hester would have wondered that Lewis was allowed to go to school any more to a man who could thus give way to his passion, but that she knew that the circumstance was totally unlike the general character of the man; and she now learned that Lewis went to him for the inferior parts of his education only, studying the classics and some still better things under Mr. Craig.
“Was nothing left of all the grand show the Cavendishes made to pay the creditors with ?” asked Hester. “Was it a dead loss to everybody?”
“There was about seven-pence in the pound,” replied her mother; “so they left few people to care what became of them. But it comes across my mind sometimes how that poor little tribe is fed. Nobody can conceive how they are living.”
“And the premises here stand empty?”
“Yes. They are in bad repute, from nobody having kept them long together. They look so desolate!”
Hester observed that it was growing dusk, that her straw bonnet was beautified nearly as much as it could be, and that it would be very refreshing to walk out a little way. Why should not they just go and peep about at Cavendish's, and see what kind of a state the place was in?
They were presently there, and Lewis shewed them a sly way of obtaining entrance into the yards. He had been before with many a boy to play see-saw on the two or three timbers that were left, or to fish from the wharf, or to salute the lingering pigeons.
These pigeons had, as slyly, found entrance into the deserted granary, which, though called empty, contained wherewith to support a flock of pigeons through many a year of neglect. At the sound of voices, they came peeping out of their hole, flapping their wings prodigiously, and perking their heads, and twisting their bright necks, while they eyed the strangers from the housetop. The very sound of their wings, and the feel of the weedy soil was luxury to Hester after four years of London canaries and London payement. She was running towards the timbers with a view to see-saw, when a ripple of the water caught her eye. She turned to the steps of the staithe, stood on the lowest above the stream, now touching it with the extremity of her shoe, and now stooping to look for the minnows. It made her thirsty to watch the weeds waving in the clear water when Lewis switched the surface, and to listen to the lapse of the stream.
While she was settling with Lewis that she would go and see him fish one day, and asking whether it was permitted now to loiter among the clumped alders a little way down the other bank, or to sit and read in the boat that was moored under their shade, the widow was walking round the house, trying what she could see through the windows, that were too thickly coated with dust to allow much revelation of matters within. She put on her spectacles to read the weather-stained board which told that these premises were to be sold or let: she lifted the knocker, in spite of the rust, and knocked, just to see that nobody would come: lastly, having pulled out the rickety handle of the door in trying whether it was fastened, and broken off a large splinter of the rotten window-sill in raising herself to look in, she stuck in the one and stuck on the other, with a guilty look round her, and went to tell Hester that it was quite time to be going home.
Just then the clock struck, and Hester could not move till she had listened to its last stroke;— its sound was so different, coming through the still evening air, from that of any London clock heard amidst the din of the streets. They had, however, kept Lewis from home too long, and Mrs. Parndon was secretly fidgeting lest Mr. Pye should have called in their absence. She could not object to see Lewis home, especially as the circuit would bring her back by her favourite way.
Hester asked fifty questions about the houses they passed, and walked slowly by wherever there were lights within, while the shutters were yet unclosed. Again and again she longed to walk in where there were girls at work round a table, or some whom she had known as girls, hushing a baby to sleep, or tying on the night-caps of ruddy-faced, drowsy boys. She did not know the apothecary's apprentice who was lighting the lamps behind the red and green jars; but every drawer with its gilt label was familiar to her. The butcher was shutting up shop; and the catch and snap of his shutters was exactly what she remembered it. There was, just as formerly, a crate and a litter of straw before the door of the crockery shop; and, as she looked in at the second-rate mantua-maker's window, she saw the curl-papered apprentice sweeping together the scattered pins, and doubling up the tapes and measures, preparatory to putting on her bonnet and shawl for a turn and a breath of fresh air.
“Now, Master Lewis, run home. We shall see you in from this corner, you know. Our respects at home, and my daughter will do herself the honour of calling within a day or two. Be sure you remember, Master Lewis.”
“0, I forgot all about the copy-books,” cried Lewis.
“Never mind! We are going past, and I will remind Mr. Pye.—This way, Hester. You forget your way, child.”
No. Hester was only exploring the extent of the dwelling. Was this small, ugly, upright red brick house, with a formal little garden in front, really the abode of the Berkeleys? When she remembered how Mr. Berkeley used to stretch himself out in his resting chair in the large bay window that overlooked his rosary and an expanse of meadows beyond, she could not imagine him breathing at his ease in a little parlour with only one window, and that within sight of the road.
“Why, there is Mr. Pye, I declare!” cried the widow, when she had peeped through the interstices of the picture books with which the window was decorated. “And I do not believe he has been beyond his door this evening.”
It was very true that he had not. He had got hold of his favourite newspaper, which told of all the religious meetings, and all the good publications of the week; and this refreshment of his spirit Enoch could not forego, even for Mrs. Parndon. He either would not or did not hear the tinkle of the shop-door bell: perhaps he thought” that a customer who came so late must be one who might wait till he had finished his paragraph: but Hester made bold to project her face over the top of his tall newspaper, and the next moment repented having thus surprised the nervous old man. He upset his single candle with his elbow, and when more light was brought, looked by no means certain whether he should see a ghost or a form of flesh and blood. He jerked his spectacles about wonderfully for some minutes, and could remember nothing at first about the order for copy-books. When he began to recover himself, he threw Hester into distress by asking in his simple, unceremonious way, whether Providence had blessed her as she deserved in husband and in home; and whether she was not come to show her young companions what rewards in marriage attend dutiful and diligent children. The best thing she could do,— and it quite satisfied him,—was to tell the story of her sudden journey. Then how Edgar's praises resounded through the shop, and into the little back parlour where the maid of all work was lingering to overhear the fine moral lesson of a London husband being the appropriate reward of filial duty! It was very well for her morals that it reached her thus; for she would not have found it in any of the books she was sometimes employed to dust in the window; and it is certain that Mr. Craig never preached it in church.
When Enoch had been brought to give a shy promise that he would look in at the widow's at spare hours, Hester was hurried home and to rest by her happy mother.
“How fagged you must be, my dear'.” she cried, as she saw her daughter stopping before some palings, and supposed it was to rest.
“Very little indeed,” replied Hester. “This mignionette smells so sweet in the night air, I must try whether it is not within reach. That in my window at home is always either black with smoke or brown with dust: and what is dew in London?”
So saying, she stole a few sprigs through the paling, promising to call and confess the next day.
“I am so glad we went out!” said she, at bed-time, cherishing her mignionette till the last moment before putting out her light. “It would have been a pity to lose one whole evening out of a single week.”
“And will you stay no more than a week? We shall not let you go so soon as that, I rather think.”
Hester kept down a sigh, hoped that Edgar's indulgent mood might last, and went to sleep to dream that she was called home the very next day.