Puslapio vaizdai

ing on tiptoe to see. « No! They ought to be She stopped, and pointed significantly to ashamed of themselves! »

her chest. Tressady shuddered as the curate Tressady wondered who and why; but all whispered to him. he saw was that a thin, tall woman was be- « I've been in 'orspital-cut about fearful. ing handed along the bench in front of him, I can't go at the pace them shops works at. while her neighbors and friends clapped her They 'd give me the sack double-quick if I on the back as she passed, laughing and was to go tryin' 'em. No; it 's settin' as does urging her on. Then, presently, there she it-settin' an' settin'. I'm at it by seven, an' stood on the platform, a wand-like creature, my 'usband-yer can see 'im there— 'e 'll tell with her battered bonnet sidewise on her yer.» head, a woolen crossover on her shoulders in She stopped, and pointed to a burly ruffian spite of July, her hands clasped across her standing amid a group of pals about the door. chest, her queer light eyes wandering and This gentleman had his arms folded, and was smiling hither and thither. In her emacia- alternately frowning and grinning at this tion, her weird cheerfulness, she was like a novel spectacle of his wife as a public perfigure from a Dance of Death. But what was former. Bribes had probably been necessary amazing was her self-possession.

to bring him to consent to the spectacle at « Now yer laughin' at me,» she began in a all; but he was not happy, and when his wife conversational tone, nodding toward the group pointed at him, and the meeting turned to of women she had just left. « You go 'long! look, he suddenly took a dive head foremost I told the lidy I'd speak, an' I will. Well, into the crowd about him, so that when the they comes to me an' they says, (Mrs. Dickson, laughter and horse-play that followed had yer not to work at 'ome no longer; they 'll put subsided, it was seen that Mr. Tom Dickson's yer in prison if yer do 't, they says; yer place knew him no more. to go out ter work, same as the shop 'ands, Meanwhile Mrs. Dickson stood grinning they says; and, what 's more, if they cotch grinning wide and visibly. It was the stranMr. Butterfordi — that 's my landlord; p'r’aps gest mirth, as though hollow pain and laughter yer don’ know 'im-»

strove with each other for the one poor inShe looked down at the meeting with a domitable face. whimsical grin, her eyes screwed up and her « Well, 'e could 'a' told yer, if 'e 'd'ad the crooked brows lifted, so that the room roared mind,» she said, nodding; «for 'e knows. 'E's merely to look at her. The trim lady sec- been out o' work this twelve an' a 'arf year; retary, however, bent forward with an air well, come, I 'll bet yer, anyway, as 'e 'as n't of annoyance. She had not, perhaps, re- done a 'and's turn this three year-an' I don't alized that Mrs. Dickson was so much of a blime 'im. Fust, there is n't the work to be character.

got, and then yer git out of the way o'wantin' « « If they cotch Mr. Butterford, they 'll it. An' beside, I'm used to 'im. When Janey make 'im pay up smart for lettin' yer do such - no, it were Sue-were seven month old, he a thing as make knickers in 'is 'ouse. So I come in one night from the public, an' after asks the lidy, "Wot 's ter become o' me an' 'e 'd broke up most o' the things, he says to the little uns?) An' she says she don' know. me, «Clear out, will yer!) An' I cleared out, (But yer mus' come and speak Tuesday night, and Sue and me set on the door-step till she says — (Manx Road Schools, she says- mornin'. And when mornin' come, Tom (if yer want to perwent 'em makin' a law of opened the door, and 'e says, "What are you it. Which I'm a-doin' of -ain't I?»

doin' there, mother? Why ain't yer got my Fresh laughter and response from the breakfast?) An' I went in an' got it. But, room. She went on, satisfied:

bless yer, nowadays--the women won't do a An', yer know, if I can't make the knick- it ! » ers at 'ome, I can't make 'em aw'y from 'ome. Another roar went up from the meeting. For ther' ain't no shops as want kids squallin' Mrs. Dickson still grinned. round, as fer as I can make out. An' Jimmy's « An' so there's nothink but settin', as I a limb, as boys mos’ly are in my egsperience. said before-settin' till yer can't set no more. Larst week 'e give the biby a 'alfpenny and If I begin o' seven, I gets Mr. Dickson to put two o' my biggest buttons to swaller, an' I the tea-things an' the loaf 'andy, so as I don't on'y jest smacked 'em out of 'er in time. 'ave to get up more 'n jes' to fetch the kettle; Ther'd be murder done if I was to leave 'em. and the children gets the same as me-tea An’’ow 'u'd I be able to pay any one feran' bread, and a red 'erring Sundays; an' Mr. lookin' after 'em? I can't git much, yer know, Dickson 'e gets 'is meals out; I gives 'im the shop or no shop. I ain't wot I was.»

needful, and 'e don't make no trouble; an' the VOL. LII.-6.



1 1

children is dreadful fractious sometimes, and pass gradually from expectation to nervous-
gets in my way fearful. But there, if I can ness, from nervousness to dismay.
set-set till l'ear Stepney Church goin' twelve What was happening ? She had once told
- I can earn my ten shillin' a week, an' keep him that she was not a speaker, and he had
the lot of 'em. Wot does any lidy or genel- not believed her. She had begun well, he
man want, a-comin' meddlin' down 'ere? Now, thought, though with a hesitation he had not
that's the middle an' both ends on it. Done? expected. But now-had she lost her thread,
Well, I dessay I is done. Lor', I says to 'em in or what? Incredible, when one remembered
the 'orspital, it do seem rummy to me to be her in private life, in conversation. Yet these
layin' abed like that. If Tom was 'ere, why, stumbling sentences, this evident distress!
'e 'd-»

Tressady found himself fidgeting in sym-
She made a queer, significant grimace. But pathetic misery. He and Watton look
the audience laughed no longer. They stared each other.
silently at the gaunt creature, and with their A little more, and she would have lost her
silence her own mood changed.

audience. She had lost it. At first there had Suddenly she whipped up her apron. She been eager listening, for she had plunged drew it across her eyes, and flung it away straightway into a set explanation and deagain passionately.

fense of the bill point by point, and half the «I dessay we shall be lyin' abed in kingdom room knew that she was Lord Maxwell's wife. come,” she said defiantly, yet piteously; « but But by the end of ten minutes their attention we've got to git there fust. An' I don't want was gone. They were only staring at her beno shops, thank yer!>>

cause she was handsome and a great lady. She rambled on a little longer; then, at a Otherwise, they seemed not to know what to sign from the lady secretary, made a grinning make of her. She grew white; she wavered. courtesy to the audience, and departed. Tressady saw that she was making great

« What do they get out of that? » said Wat- efforts, and all in vain. The division between ton in Tressady's ear. «Poor galley-slave in her and her audience widened with every senpraise of servitude! »

tence, and Fontenoy's lady organizer in the « Her slavery keeps her alive, please.» background sat smilingly erect. Tressady,

« Yes, and drags down the standard of a who had been at first inclined to hate the whole class.»

thought of her success in this inferno, grew « You ll admit she seemed content ? » hot with wrath and irritation. His own vanity

« It's that content we want to kill. Ah! at suffered in her lack of triumph. last,» and Watton clapped loudly, followed Amazing! How could her personal magic, by about half the meeting, while the rest sat so famous on so many fields, have deserted silent. Then Tressady perceived that the her like this in an East End school-room, bechairwoman had called upon Lady Maxwell to fore people whose lives she knew, whose move the next resolution, and that the tall griefs she carried in her heart? figure had risen.

Then an idea struck him. The thought was She came forward slowly, glancing from 'an illumination; he understood. He shut his side to side, as though doubtful where to look eyes and listened. Maxwell's sentences, Maxfor her friends. She was in black, and her well's manner-even, at times, Maxwell's head was covered with a little black lace voice! He had been rehearsing to her his bonnet, in the strings of which, at her throat, coming speech in the House of Lords, and shone a small diamond brooch. The delicate she was painfully repeating it! To his diswhiteness of her face and hands, and this gust, Tressady saw the reporters scribbling sparkle of light on her breast, that moved as away; no doubt they knew their business. she moved, struck a thrill of pleasure through Ay, there was the secret. The wife's adoTressady's senses. The squalid monotony and ration showed through her very failurephysical defect of the crowd about him passed through this strange conversion of all that from his mind. Her beauty redressed the bal- was manly, solid, and effective in Maxwell ance. « (Loveliness, magic, and grace—they into a confused mass of facts and figures, are here; they are set in the world! and pedantic, colorless, and cold! ugliness and pain have not conquered while Edward Watton began to look desperately this face still looks and breathes. This, and unhappy. «Too long," he said, whispering in nothing less, was the cry of the young man's Tressady's ear, «and too technical. They heart and imagination as he strained forward, can't follow.) waiting for her voice.

And he looked at a group of rough factory Then he settled himself to listen-only to girls beginning to scuffle with the young men


near them, at the restless crowd of « green- looked ahead, he wished that they were ers,) at the women in the center of the hall safely off, and that there were more police. lifting puzzled faces to the speaker, as though For this meeting, which had been only in a pain of listening.

mildly disorderly and inattentive while Mar. Tressady nodded. In the struggle of devo- cella was speaking, had suddenly flamed, tion with a half-laughing annoyance, he could after she sat down, into a fierce confusion only crave that the thing should be over. and tumult; why, Tressady hardly now under

But the next instant his face altered. He stood. As she sat down, a man had sprung up pushed forward instinctively, turning his to speak who was apparently in bad repute back on Watton, hating the noisy room that with most of the unions of the district. At would hardly let him hear.

any rate, there had been immediate uproar Ah! those few last sentences, that voice, and protest. The trade-unionists would not that quiver of passion-they were her own, hear him, hurled names at him— « Thief! » herself, not Maxwell. The words were very «Blackleg!»-as he attempted to speak. Then simple, and a little tremulous-words of per- the Free Workers, for whom this dubious sonal reminiscence and experience. But for person had been lately acting, rose in a mass one listener there they changed everything. and « booed » at the unionists; and finally some The room, the crowd, the speaker-he saw of the dark-eyed, black-bearded « greeners » them for a moment under another aspect- near the door, urged on, probably, by the that poetic, eternal aspect which is always masters, whose slaves they were, had leaped there, behind the veil of common things, the benches near them, shouting strange ready to flash out on mortal eyes. He felt tongues, and making for the hostile throng the woman's heart, oppressed with a pity too about the platform. great for it; the delicate, trembling conscious- Then it had been time for Naseby and the ness, like a point in space, weighed on by the police to clear the platform and open a pasburden of the world; he stood, as it were, be- sage for the Maxwell party. Unfortunately, side her, hearing with her ears, seeing the there was no outlet to the back, no chance of earth spectacle as she saw it with that ter- escaping the shouting crowd in Manx Road. rible second-sight of hers: the all-environing Tressady, joining his friends at last by dint woe and tragedy of human things, the creed- of his height and a free play of elbows, found ing hunger and pain, the struggle that leads himself suddenly alone with Lady Maxwell, nowhither, the life that hates to live and Naseby and Lady Madeleine borne along far yet dreads to die, the death that cuts all behind, and no chance but to follow the curshort, and does but add one more hideous rent, with such occasional help as the police question to the great pile that hems the path stationed along the banks of it might be able of man.

to give. A hard, reluctant tear rose in his eyes. Is Outside Tressady strained his eyes for a it starved tailoresses and shirt-makers alone cab. who suffer? Is there no hunger of the heart « Here, sir! » cried the sergeant in front, that matches and overweighs the physical? carving a passage by dint of using his own Is it not as easy for the rich as for the poor stalwart frame as a ram. to miss the one thing needful, the one thing They hurried on, for some rough lads on that matters and saves ? Angrily, and in a kind the edges of the crowd had already begun of protest, he put out his hand to claim, as stone-throwing. The faces about them seemed it were, his own share of the common pain. to be partly indifferent, partly hostile. « Look

at the bloomin' bloats! » cried a wild factory « Make way there! make way,» cried a police girl with a tousled head as Lady Maxwell sergeant, holding back the crowd, «and let passed. «Let 'em stop at ’ome and mind their the lady pass!»

own 'usbands-yah!» Tressady did his best to push through with « Garn! who paid for your bonnet ? » shouted Lady Maxwell on his arm. But there was an another, until a third girl pulled her back, angry hum of voices in front of him, an angry panting, « If you say that any more I 'll scrag pressure round the doors.

yer!» For this third girl had spent a fortnight « We shall soon get a cab,» he said, bend- in the Mile End Road house, getting fed and ing over her. «You are very tired, I fear. strengthened before an operation. Please lean upon me.”

But here was the cab. Lady Maxwell's foot Yet he could but feel grateful to the was already on the step when Tressady felt crowd. It gave him this joy of protecting something fly past him. and supporting her. Nevertheless, as he There was a slight cry. The form in front

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of him seemed to waver a moment. Then When she reappeared, attended by her two Tressady himself mounted, caught her, and in little servants, frightened and round-eyed at another moment, after a few plunges from the their mistress's mishap, she had thrown a excited horse, they were off down Manx Road, thick lace scarf round her head, which hid followed by a shouting crowd that gradually the bandage and gave to her pale beauty a thinned.

singularly touching, appealing air. « You are hurt!» he said.

« I wish I could see Madeleine,» she said « Yes,» she said faintly; « but not much. anxiously, standing beside the cab and lookWill you tell him to drive first to Mile End ing up the road. « Ah!» Road ? »

For she had suddenly caught sight of a cab « I have told him. Can I do anything to in the distance driving smartly up. As it apstop the bleeding ?>>

proached, Naseby and Lady Madeleine were He looked at her in despair. The handker- plainly to be seen inside it. The latter jumped chief and the delicate hand itself that she was out almost at Marcella's feet, looking more holding to her brow were dabbled in blood. scared than ever as she saw the black scarf

« Have you a silk handkerchief to spare?» twisted round the white face. But in a few she asked him, smiling slightly and suddenly moments Marcella had soothed her, and given through her pallor, as though at their common her over, apparently, to the care of another predicament.

lady staying in the house. Then she waved By good fortune he had one. She took off her hand to Naseby, who, with his usual coolher bonnet, and gave him a few business-like ness, asked no questions and made no redirections. His fingers trembled as he tried marks, and she and Tressady drove off. to obey her; but he had the practical sense « Madeleine will stay the night,» Marcella that the small vicissitudes and hardships of explained as they sped toward Aldgate. travel often develop in a man, and between «That was our plan. My secretary will look them they adjusted a rough but tolerable after her. She has been often here with me bandage.

lately, and has things of her own to do. But Then she leaned against the side of the I ought not to have taken her to-night. Lady cab, and he thought she would have swooned. Kent would never have forgiven me if she had There was a pause, during which he watched been hurt. Oh, it was all a mistake-all a the quivering lines of the lips and nostrils great mistake! I suppose I imagined—that and the pallor of the cheeks with a feeling is one's folly—that I could really do some of dismay.

good-make an effect.» But she did not mean to faint, and little by She bit her lip, and the furrow reappeared little her will answered to her call upon it. in the white brow. Presently she said, with eyes shut and brow Tressady felt by sympathy that her heart contracted:

was all sore, her moral being shaken and «I trust the others are safe. Oh, what a vibrating. After these long months of labor failure-what a failure! I am afraid I have and sympathy and emotion, the sudden touch done Aldous harm.»

of personal brutality had unnerved her. The tone of the last words touched Tres- Mere longing to comfort, to « make up,» sady deeply. Evidently she could hardly overcame him. restrain her tears.

« You would n't talk of mistake-of failing « They were not worthy you should go and - if you knew how to be near you, to listen speak to them,» he said quickly. «Besides, it to you, to see you, touches and illuminates was only a noisy minority.»

some of us! » She did not speak again till they drew up His cheek burned, but he turned a manly, before the house in the Mile End Road. Then eager look upon her. she turned to him.

Her cheek, too, flushed, and he thought he « I was to stay here for the night, but I saw her bosom heave. think I must go home. Aldous might hear « Oh, no-no!» she cried. « How impossible, that there had been a disturbance. I will when one feels one's self so helpless, so leave a message here, and drive home.» clumsy, so useless. Why could n't I do better?

« I trust you will let me go with you. We But perhaps it is as well. It all prepares should none of us be happy to think of you as one-braces one-against-) alone just yet. And I am due at the House She paused, and leaned forward, looking out by eleven.»

at the maze of figures and carriages on the She smiled, assenting; then descended, lean- Mansion House crossing, her tight-pressed ing heavily upon him in her weakness. lips trembling against her will.

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« Against the last inevitable disappoint- But I was without a sense when I went into ment » — that, no doubt, was what she meant. this game of politics; and now—»

« If you only understood how loath some His heart beat. What would he not have of us are to differ with you,» he cried; « how said, mad youth-within the limits imposed hard it seems to have to press another view by her nature and his own dread-to make - to be already pledged!»

her look at him, to soften this preposterous « Oh, yes!- please, I know that you are sadness! pledged," she said, in hasty distress, her deli- But it needed no more. She opened her cacy shrinking as before from the direct eyes, and looked at him with a wild sweetness personal argument.

and gratitude which dazzled him, and struck They were silent a little. Tressady looked his memory with the thought of the Southern, out at the houses in Queen Victoria street, romantic strain in her. at the lamplit summer night, grudging the « You are very kind and comforting,» she progress of the cab, the approach of the said; « but then, from the first, somehow, I river, of the Embankment, where there would knew you were a friend to us. One felt itbe less traffic to bar their way-clinging to through all difference.» the minutes as they passed.

The little sentences were steeped in emo« Oh, how could they put up that woman!» tion-emotion springing from many sources, she said presently, her eyes still shut, her fed by a score of collateral thoughts and hand shaking as it rested on the door. «How memories, with which Tressady had, in truth, could they! It is the thought of women like nothing to do. Yet the young man gulped inthat-the hundreds and thousands of them- wardly. She had been a tremulous woman that goads one on. A clergyman who knows till the words were said. Now-strange!the East End well said to me the other day, through her very gentleness and gratefulness (The difference between now and twenty a barrier had risen between them. Something years ago is that the women work much stern and quick told him that this was the very more, the men less. I can never get away utmost of what she could ever say to him from the thought of the women. Their lives the farthest limit of it all. come to seem to me the mere refuse, the rags They passed under Charing Cross railway and shreds, that are thrown every day into bridge. Beside them, as they emerged, the the mill and ground to nothing, without a moon shone out above the darks and silvers thought, without a word of pity, an hour of of the river, and in front the towers of happiness. Cancer- three children left out Westminster rose purplish gray against a of nine-and barely forty, though she looks west still golden. sixty. They tell me she may live eighteen « How were things going in the House this months. Then, when the parish has buried afternoon? » she asked, looking at the towers. her, the man has only to hold up his finger to «Oh, I forgot. You see, the clock says close find some one else to use up in the same way. on eleven. Please let me drop you here. I can And she is just one of thousands.»

manage by myself quite well.» «I can only reply by the old stale ques- He protested, and she yielded with a pation,» said Tressady, sturdily— « Did we make tient kindness that made him sore. Then he the mill? Can we stop its grinding? And if gave his account, and they talked a little of not, is it fair, even, to the race that has some- Monday's division and of the next critical thing to gain from courage and gaiety-is it votes in committee, each of them, so he felt reasonable to take all our own poor little joy in his exaltation, a blow dealt to her-that and drench it in this horrible pain of sym- he must help to deal. Yet there was a fascipathy, as you do? But we have said all these nation in the topic. Neither could get away things before. »

from it. He bent over to her, smiling; but she did Presently, Pall Mall being very full of trafnot look up. And he saw a tear, which her fic, they had to wait a moment at the corner weakness, born of shock and fatigue, could not of the street that turns into St. James's restrain, steal from the lashes on the cheek. Square. In the pause Tressady caught sight Then he added, still leaning toward her: of a man on the pavement. The man smiled,

« Only, what I never have said-I think- looked astonished, and took off his hat. Lady is what is true to-night. At last you have Maxwell bowed coldly, and immediately looked made one person feel— if that matters any- away. Tressady recognized Harding Watthing-the things you feel. I don't know ton; but neither he nor she mentioned his that I am particularly grateful to you. And, name. practically, we may be as far apart as ever. In another minute Tressady had seen her

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