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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesNorth And South - Chapter XXXVIII - PROMISES FULFILLED
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North And South - Chapter XXXVIII - PROMISES FULFILLED Post by :homebizgateway Category :Long Stories Author :Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell Date :January 2011 Read :1681

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'Then proudly, proudly up she rose,

Tho' the tear was in her e'e,

"Whate'er ye say, think what ye may,

Ye's get na word frae me!"'


It was not merely that Margaret was known to Mr. Thornton to have
spoken falsely,--though she imagined that for this reason only
was she so turned in his opinion,--but that this falsehood of
hers bore a distinct reference in his mind to some other lover.
He could not forget the fond and earnest look that had passed
between her and some other man--the attitude of familiar
confidence, if not of positive endearment. The thought of this
perpetually stung him; it was a picture before his eyes, wherever
he went and whatever he was doing. In addition to this (and he
ground his teeth as he remembered it), was the hour, dusky
twilight; the place, so far away from home, and comparatively
unfrequented. His nobler self had said at first, that all this
last might be accidental, innocent, justifiable; but once allow
her right to love and be beloved (and had he any reason to deny
her right?--had not her words been severely explicit when she
cast his love away from her?), she might easily have been
beguiled into a longer walk, on to a later hour than she had
anticipated. But that falsehood! which showed a fatal
consciousness of something wrong, and to be concealed, which was
unlike her. He did her that justice, though all the time it would
have been a relief to believe her utterly unworthy of his esteem.
It was this that made the misery--that he passionately loved her,
and thought her, even with all her faults, more lovely and more
excellent than any other woman; yet he deemed her so attached to
some other man, so led away by her affection for him as to
violate her truthful nature. The very falsehood that stained her,
was a proof how blindly she loved another--this dark, slight,
elegant, handsome man--while he himself was rough, and stern, and
strongly made. He lashed himself into an agony of fierce
jealousy. He thought of that look, that attitude!--how he would
have laid his life at her feet for such tender glances, such fond
detention! He mocked at himself, for having valued the mechanical
way in which she had protected him from the fury of the mob; now
he had seen how soft and bewitching she looked when with a man
she really loved. He remembered, point by point, the sharpness of
her words--'There was not a man in all that crowd for whom she
would not have done as much, far more readily than for him.' He
shared with the mob, in her desire of averting bloodshed from
them; but this man, this hidden lover, shared with nobody; he had
looks, words, hand-cleavings, lies, concealment, all to himself.

Mr. Thornton was conscious that he had never been so irritable as
he was now, m all his life long; he felt inclined to give a short
abrupt answer, more like a bark than a speech, to every one that
asked him a question; and this consciousness hurt his pride he
had always piqued himself on his self-control, and control
himself he would. So the manner was subdued to a quiet
deliberation, but the matter was even harder and sterner than
common. He was more than usually silent at home; employing his
evenings in a continual pace backwards and forwards, which would
have annoyed his mother exceedingly if it had been practised by
any one else; and did not tend to promote any forbearance on her
part even to this beloved son.

'Can you stop--can you sit down for a moment? I have something to
say to you, if you would give up that everlasting walk, walk,

He sat down instantly, on a chair against the wall.

'I want to speak to you about Betsy. She says she must leave us;
that her lover's death has so affected her spirits she can't give
her heart to her work.'

'Very well. I suppose other cooks are to be met with.'

'That's so like a man. It's not merely the cooking, it is that
she knows all the ways of the house. Besides, she tells me
something about your friend Miss Hale.'

'Miss Hale is no friend of mine. Mr. Hale is my friend.'

'I am glad to hear you say so, for if she had been your friend,
what Betsy says would have annoyed you.'

'Let me hear it,' said he, with the extreme quietness of manner
he had been assuming for the last few days.

'Betsy says, that the night on which her lover--I forget his
name--for she always calls him "he"----'


'The night on which Leonards was last seen at the station--when
he was last seen on duty, in fact--Miss Hale was there, walking
about with a young man who, Betsy believes, killed Leonards by
some blow or push.'

'Leonards was not killed by any blow or push.'

'How do you know?'

'Because I distinctly put the question to the surgeon of the
Infirmary. He told me there was an internal disease of long
standing, caused by Leonards' habit of drinking to excess; that
the fact of his becoming rapidly worse while in a state of
intoxication, settled the question as to whether the last fatal
attack was caused by excess of drinking, or the fall.'

'The fall! What fall?'

'Caused by the blow or push of which Betsy speaks.'

'Then there was a blow or push?'

'I believe so.'

'And who did it?'

'As there was no inquest, in consequence of the doctor's opinion,
I cannot tell you.'

'But Miss Hale was there?'

No answer.

'And with a young man?'

Still no answer. At last he said: 'I tell you, mother, that there
was no inquest--no inquiry. No judicial inquiry, I mean.'

'Betsy says that Woolmer (some man she knows, who is in a
grocer's shop out at Crampton) can swear that Miss Hale was at
the station at that hour, walking backwards and forwards with a
young man.'

'I don't see what we have to do with that. Miss Hale is at
liberty to please herself.'

'I'm glad to hear you say so,' said Mrs. Thornton, eagerly. 'It
certainly signifies very little to us--not at all to you, after
what has passed! but I--I made a promise to Mrs. Hale, that I
would not allow her daughter to go wrong without advising and
remonstrating with her. I shall certainly let her know my opinion
of such conduct.'

'I do not see any harm in what she did that evening,' said Mr.
Thornton, getting up, and coming near to his mother; he stood by
the chimney-piece with his face turned away from the room.

'You would not have approved of Fanny's being seen out, after
dark, in rather a lonely place, walking about with a young man. I
say nothing of the taste which could choose the time, when her
mother lay unburied, for such a promenade. Should you have liked
your sister to have been noticed by a grocer's assistant for
doing so?'

'In the first place, as it is not many years since I myself was a
draper's assistant, the mere circumstance of a grocer's assistant
noticing any act does not alter the character of the act to me.
And in the next place, I see a great deal of difference between
Miss Hale and Fanny. I can imagine that the one may have weighty
reasons, which may and ought to make her overlook any seeming
Impropriety in her conduct. I never knew Fanny have weighty
reasons for anything. Other people must guard her. I believe Miss
Hale is a guardian to herself'

'A pretty character of your sister, indeed! Really, John, one
would have thought Miss Hale had done enough to make you
clear-sighted. She drew you on to an offer, by a bold display of
pretended regard for you,--to play you off against this very
young man, I've no doubt. Her whole conduct is clear to me now.
You believe he is her lover, I suppose--you agree to that.'

He turned round to his mother; his face was very gray and grim.
'Yes, mother. I do believe he is her lover.' When he had spoken,
he turned round again; he writhed himself about, like one in
bodily pain. He leant his face against his hand. Then before she
could speak, he turned sharp again:

'Mother. He is her lover, whoever he is; but she may need help
and womanly counsel;--there may be difficulties or temptations
which I don't know. I fear there are. I don't want to know what
they are; but as you have ever been a good--ay! and a tender
mother to me, go to her, and gain her confidence, and tell her
what is best to be done. I know that something is wrong; some
dread, must be a terrible torture to her.'

'For God's sake, John!' said his mother, now really shocked,
'what do you mean? What do you mean? What do you know?'

He did not reply to her.

'John! I don't know what I shan't think unless you speak. You
have no right to say what you have done against her.'

'Not against her, mother! I ~could~ not speak against her.'

'Well! you have no right to say what you have done, unless you
say more. These half-expressions are what ruin a woman's

'Her character! Mother, you do not dare--' he faced about, and
looked into her face with his flaming eyes. Then, drawing himself
up into determined composure and dignity, he said, 'I will not
say any more than this, which is neither more nor less than the
simple truth, and I am sure you believe me,--I have good reason
to believe, that Miss Hale is in some strait and difficulty
connected with an attachment which, of itself, from my knowledge
of Miss Hale's character, is perfectly innocent and right. What
my reason is, I refuse to tell. But never let me hear any one say
a word against her, implying any more serious imputation than
that she now needs the counsel of some kind and gentle woman. You
promised Mrs. Hale to be that woman!'

No!' said Mrs. Thornton. 'I am happy to say, I did not promise
kindness and gentleness, for I felt at the time that it might be
out of my power to render these to one of Miss Hale's character
and disposition. I promised counsel and advice, such as I would
give to my own daughter; I shall speak to her as I would do to
Fanny, if she had gone gallivanting with a young man in the dusk.
I shall speak with relation to the circumstances I know, without
being influenced either one way or another by the "strong
reasons" which you will not confide to me. Then I shall have
fulfilled my promise, and done my duty.'

'She will never bear it,' said he passionately.

'She will have to bear it, if I speak in her dead mother's name.'

'Well!' said he, breaking away, 'don't tell me any more about it.
I cannot endure to think of it. It will be better that you should
speak to her any way, than that she should not be spoken to at
all.--Oh! that look of love!' continued he, between his teeth, as
he bolted himself into his own private room. 'And that cursed
lie; which showed some terrible shame in the background, to be
kept from the light in which I thought she lived perpetually! Oh,
Margaret, Margaret! Mother, how you have tortured me! Oh!
Margaret, could you not have loved me? I am but uncouth and hard,
but I would never have led you into any falsehood for me.'

The more Mrs. Thornton thought over what her son had said, in
pleading for a merciful judgment for Margaret's indiscretion, the
more bitterly she felt inclined towards her. She took a savage
pleasure in the idea of 'speaking her mind' to her, in the guise
of fulfilment of a duty. She enjoyed the thought of showing
herself untouched by the 'glamour,' which she was well aware
Margaret had the power of throwing over many people. She snorted
scornfully over the picture of the beauty of her victim; her jet
black hair, her clear smooth skin, her lucid eyes would not help
to save her one word of the just and stern reproach which Mrs.
Thornton spent half the night in preparing to her mind.

'Is Miss Hale within?' She knew she was, for she had seen her at
the window, and she had her feet inside the little hall before
Martha had half answered her question.

Margaret was sitting alone, writing to Edith, and giving her many
particulars of her mother's last days. It was a softening
employment, and she had to brush away the unbidden tears as Mrs.
Thornton was announced.

She was so gentle and ladylike in her mode of reception that her
visitor was somewhat daunted; and it became impossible to utter
the speech, so easy of arrangement with no one to address it to.
Margaret's low rich voice was softer than usual; her manner more
gracious, because in her heart she was feeling very grateful to
Mrs. Thornton for the courteous attention of her call. She
exerted herself to find subjects of interest for conversation;
praised Martha, the servant whom Mrs. Thornton had found for
them; had asked Edith for a little Greek air, about which she had
spoken to Miss Thornton. Mrs. Thornton was fairly discomfited.
Her sharp Damascus blade seemed out of place, and useless among
rose-leaves. She was silent, because she was trying to task
herself up to her duty At last, she stung herself into its
performance by a suspicion which, in spite of all probability,
she allowed to cross her mind, that all this sweetness was put on
with a view of propitiating Mr. Thornton; that, somehow, the
other attachment had fallen through, and that it suited Miss
Hale's purpose to recall her rejected lover. Poor Margaret! there
was perhaps so much truth in the suspicion as this: that Mrs.
Thornton was the mother of one whose regard she valued, and
feared to have lost; and this thought unconsciously added to her
natural desire of pleasing one who was showing her kindness by
her visit. Mrs. Thornton stood up to go, but yet she seemed to
have something more to say. She cleared her throat and began:

'Miss Hale, I have a duty to perform. I promised your poor mother
that, as far as my poor judgment went, I would not allow you to
act in any way wrongly, or (she softened her speech down a little
here) inadvertently, without remonstrating; at least, without
offering advice, whether you took it or not.'

Margaret stood before her, blushing like any culprit, with her
eyes dilating as she gazed at Mrs. Thornton. She thought she had
come to speak to her about the falsehood she had told--that Mr.
Thornton had employed her to explain the danger she had exposed
herself to, of being confuted in full court! and although her
heart sank to think he had not rather chosen to come himself, and
upbraid her, and receive her penitence, and restore her again to
his good opinion, yet she was too much humbled not to bear any
blame on this subject patiently and meekly.

Mrs. Thornton went on:

'At first, when I heard from one of my servants, that you had
been seen walking about with a gentleman, so far from home as the
Outwood station, at such a time of the evening, I could hardly
believe it. But my son, I am sorry to say, confirmed her story.
It was indiscreet, to say the least; many a young woman has lost
her character before now----'

Margaret's eyes flashed fire. This was a new idea--this was too
insulting. If Mrs. Thornton had spoken to her about the lie she
had told, well and good--she would have owned it, and humiliated
herself But to interfere with her conduct--to speak of her
character! she--Mrs. Thornton, a mere stranger--it was too
impertinent! She would not answer her--not one word. Mrs.
Thornton saw the battle-spirit in Margaret's eyes, and it called.
up her combativeness also.

'For your mother's sake, I have thought it right to warn you
against such improprieties; they must degrade you in the long run
in the estimation of the world, even if in fact they do not lead
you to positive harm.'

'For my mother's sake,' said Margaret, in a tearful voice, 'I
will bear much; but I cannot bear everything. She never meant me
to be exposed to insult, I am sure.'

'Insult, Miss Hale!'

'Yes, madam,' said Margaret more steadily, 'it is insult. What do
you know of me that should lead you to suspect--Oh!' said she,
breaking down, and covering her face with her hands--'I know now,
Mr. Thornton has told you----'

'No, Miss Hale,' said Mrs. Thornton, her truthfulness causing her
to arrest the confession Margaret was on the point of making,
though her curiosity was itching to hear it. 'Stop. Mr. Thornton
has told me nothing. You do not know my son. You are not worthy
to know him. He said this. Listen, young lady, that you may
understand, if you can, what sort of a man you rejected. This
Milton manufacturer, his great tender heart scorned as it was
scorned, said to me only last night, "Go to her. I have good
reason to know that she is in some strait, arising out of some
attachment; and she needs womanly counsel." I believe those were
his very words. Farther than that--beyond admitting the fact of
your being at the Outwood station with a gentleman, on the
evening of the twenty-sixth--he has said nothing--not one word
against you. If he has knowledge of anything which should make
you sob so, he keeps it to himself.'

Margaret's face was still hidden in her hands, the fingers of
which were wet with tears. Mrs. Thornton was a little mollified.

'Come, Miss Hale. There may be circumstances, I'll allow, that,
if explained, may take off from the seeming impropriety.'

Still no answer. Margaret was considering what to say; she wished
to stand well with Mrs. Thornton; and yet she could not, might
not, give any explanation. Mrs. Thornton grew impatient.

'I shall be sorry to break off an acquaintance; but for Fanny's
sake--as I told my son, if Fanny had done so we should consider
it a great disgrace--and Fanny might be led away----'

'I can give you no explanation,' said Margaret, in a low voice.
'I have done wrong, but not in the way you think or know about. I
think Mr. Thornton judges me more mercifully than you;'--she had
hard work to keep herself from choking with her tears--'but, I
believe, madam, you mean to do rightly.'

'Thank you,' said Mrs. Thornton, drawing herself up; 'I was not
aware that my meaning was doubted. It is the last time I shall
interfere. I was unwilling to consent to do it, when your mother
asked me. I had not approved of my son's attachment to you, while
I only suspected it. You did not appear to me worthy of him. But
when you compromised yourself as you did at the time of the riot,
and exposed yourself to the comments of servants and workpeople,
I felt it was no longer right to set myself against my son's wish
of proposing to you--a wish, by the way, which he had always
denied entertaining until the day of the riot.' Margaret winced,
and drew in her breath with a long, hissing sound; of which,
however, Mrs. Thornton took no notice. 'He came; you had
apparently changed your mind. I told my son yesterday, that I
thought it possible, short as was the interval, you might have
heard or learnt something of this other lover----'

'What must you think of me, madam?' asked Margaret, throwing her
head back with proud disdain, till her throat curved outwards
like a swan's. 'You can say nothing more, Mrs. Thornton. I
decline every attempt to justify myself for anything. You must
allow me to leave the room.'

And she swept out of it with the noiseless grace of an offended
princess. Mrs. Thornton had quite enough of natural humour to
make her feel the ludicrousness of the position in which she was
left. There was nothing for it but to show herself out. She was
not particularly annoyed at Margaret's way of behaving. She did
not care enough for her for that. She had taken Mrs. Thornton's
remonstrance to the full as keenly to heart as that lady
expected; and Margaret's passion at once mollified her visitor,
far more than any silence or reserve could have done. It showed
the effect of her words. 'My young lady,' thought Mrs. Thornton
to herself; 'you've a pretty good temper of your own. If John and
you had come together, he would have had to keep a tight hand
over you, to make you know your place. But I don't think you will
go a-walking again with your beau, at such an hour of the day, in
a hurry. You've too much pride and spirit in you for that. I like
to see a girl fly out at the notion of being talked about. It
shows they're neither giddy, nor hold by nature. As for that
girl, she might be hold, but she'd never be giddy. I'll do her
that justice. Now as to Fanny, she'd be giddy, and not bold.
She's no courage in her, poor thing!'

Mr. Thornton was not spending the morning so satisfactorily as
his mother. She, at any rate, was fulfilling her determined
purpose. He was trying to understand where he stood; what damage
the strike had done him. A good deal of his capital was locked up
in new and expensive machinery; and he had also bought cotton
largely, with a view to some great orders which he had in hand.
The strike had thrown him terribly behindhand, as to the
completion of these orders. Even with his own accustomed and
skilled workpeople, he would have had some difficulty in
fulfilling his engagements; as it was, the incompetence of the
Irish hands, who had to be trained to their work, at a time
requiring unusual activity, was a daily annoyance.

It was not a favourable hour for Higgins to make his request. But
he had promised Margaret to do it at any cost. So, though every
moment added to his repugnance, his pride, and his sullenness of
temper, he stood leaning against the dead wall, hour after hour,
first on one leg, then on the other. At last the latch was
sharply lifted, and out came Mr. Thornton.

'I want for to speak to yo', sir.'

'Can't stay now, my man. I'm too late as it is.'

'Well, sir, I reckon I can wait till yo' come back.'

Mr. Thornton was half way down the street. Higgins sighed. But it
was no use. To catch him in the street was his only chance of
seeing 'the measter;' if he had rung the lodge bell, or even gone
up to the house to ask for him, he would have been referred to
the overlooker. So he stood still again, vouchsafing no answer,
but a short nod of recognition to the few men who knew and spoke
to him, as the crowd drove out of the millyard at dinner-time,
and scowling with all his might at the Irish 'knobsticks' who had
just been imported. At last Mr. Thornton returned.

'What! you there still!'

'Ay, sir. I mun speak to yo'.'

'Come in here, then. Stay, we'll go across the yard; the men are
not come back, and we shall have it to ourselves. These good
people, I see, are at dinner;' said he, closing the door of the
porter's lodge.

He stopped to speak to the overlooker. The latter said in a low

'I suppose you know, sir, that that man is Higgins, one of the
leaders of the Union; he that made that speech in Hurstfield.'

'No, I didn't,' said Mr. Thornton, looking round sharply at his
follower. Higgins was known to him by name as a turbulent spirit.

'Come along,' said he, and his tone was rougher than before. 'It
is men such as this,' thought he, 'who interrupt commerce and
injure the very town they live in: mere demagogues, lovers of
power, at whatever cost to others.'

'Well, sir! what do you want with me?' said Mr. Thornton, facing
round at him, as soon as they were in the counting-house of the

'My name is Higgins'--

'I know that,' broke in Mr. Thornton. 'What do you want, Mr.
Higgins? That's the question.'

'I want work.'

'Work! You're a pretty chap to come asking me for work. You don't
want impudence, that's very clear.'

'I've getten enemies and backbiters, like my betters; but I ne'er
heerd o' ony of them calling me o'er-modest,' said Higgins. His
blood was a little roused by Mr. Thornton's manner, more than by
his words.

Mr. Thornton saw a letter addressed to himself on the table. He
took it up and read it through. At the end, he looked up and
said, 'What are you waiting for?'

'An answer to the question I axed.'

'I gave it you before. Don't waste any more of your time.'

'Yo' made a remark, sir, on my impudence: but I were taught that
it was manners to say either "yes" or "no," when I were axed a
civil question. I should be thankfu' to yo' if yo'd give me work.
Hamper will speak to my being a good hand.'

'I've a notion you'd better not send me to Hamper to ask for a
character, my man. I might hear more than you'd like.'

'I'd take th' risk. Worst they could say of me is, that I did
what I thought best, even to my own wrong.'

'You'd better go and try them, then, and see whether they'll give
you work. I've turned off upwards of a hundred of my best hands,
for no other fault than following you and such as you; and d'ye
think I'll take you on? I might as well put a firebrand into the
midst of the cotton-waste.'

Higgins turned away; then the recollection of Boucher came over
him, and he faced round with the greatest concession he could
persuade himself to make.

'I'd promise yo', measter, I'd not speak a word as could do harm,
if so be yo' did right by us; and I'd promise more: I'd promise
that when I seed yo' going wrong, and acting unfair, I'd speak to
yo' in private first; and that would be a fair warning. If yo'
and I did na agree in our opinion o' your conduct, yo' might turn
me off at an hour's notice.'

'Upon my word, you don't think small beer of yourself! Hamper has
had a loss of you. How came he to let you and your wisdom go?'

'Well, we parted wi' mutual dissatisfaction. I wouldn't gi'e the
pledge they were asking; and they wouldn't have me at no rate. So
I'm free to make another engagement; and as I said before, though
I should na' say it, I'm a good hand, measter, and a steady
man--specially when I can keep fro' drink; and that I shall do
now, if I ne'er did afore.'

'That you may have more money laid up for another strike, I

'No! I'd be thankful if I was free to do that; it's for to keep
th' widow and childer of a man who was drove mad by them
knobsticks o' yourn; put out of his place by a Paddy that did na
know weft fro' warp.'

'Well! you'd better turn to something else, if you've any such
good intention in your head. I shouldn't advise you to stay in
Milton: you're too well known here.'

'If it were summer,' said Higgins, 'I'd take to Paddy's work, and
go as a navvy, or haymaking, or summut, and ne'er see Milton
again. But it's winter, and th' childer will clem.'

'A pretty navvy you'd make! why, you couldn't do half a day's
work at digging against an Irishman.'

'I'd only charge half-a-day for th' twelve hours, if I could only
do half-a-day's work in th' time. Yo're not knowing of any place,
where they could gi' me a trial, away fro' the mills, if I'm such
a firebrand? I'd take any wage they thought I was worth, for the
sake of those childer.'

'Don't you see what you would be? You'd be a knobstick. You'd be
taking less wages than the other labourers--all for the sake of
another man's children. Think how you'd abuse any poor fellow who
was willing to take what he could get to keep his own children.
You and your Union would soon be down upon him. No! no! if it's
only for the recollection of the way in which you've used the
poor knobsticks before now, I say No! to your question. I'll not
give you work. I won't say, I don't believe your pretext for
coming and asking for work; I know nothing about it. It may be
true, or it may not. It's a very unlikely story, at any rate. Let
me pass. I'll not give you work. There's your answer.'

'I hear, sir. I would na ha' troubled yo', but that I were bid to
come, by one as seemed to think yo'd getten some soft place in,
yo'r heart. Hoo were mistook, and I were misled. But I'm not the
first man as is misled by a woman.'

'Tell her to mind her own business the next time, instead of
taking up your time and mine too. I believe women are at the
bottom of every plague in this world. Be off with you.'

'I'm obleeged to yo' for a' yo'r kindness, measter, and most of
a' for yo'r civil way o' saying good-bye.'

Mr. Thornton did not deign a reply. But, looking out of the
window a minute after, he was struck with the lean, bent figure
going out of the yard: the heavy walk was in strange contrast
with the resolute, clear determination of the man to speak to
him. He crossed to the porter's lodge:

'How long has that man Higgins been waiting to speak to me?'

'He was outside the gate before eight o'clock, sir. I think he's
been there ever since.'

'And it is now--?'

'Just one, sir.'

'Five hours,' thought Mr. Thornton; 'it's a long time for a man
to wait, doing nothing but first hoping and then fearing.'

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North And South - Chapter XXXIX - MAKING FRIENDS North And South - Chapter XXXIX - MAKING FRIENDS

North And South - Chapter XXXIX - MAKING FRIENDS
CHAPTER XXXIX - MAKING FRIENDS 'Nay, I have done; you get no more of me:And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart,That thus so clearly I myself am free.'DRAYTON.Margaret shut herself up in her own room, after she had quittedMrs. Thornton. She began to walk backwards and forwards, in herold habitual way of showing agitation; but, then, rememberingthat in that slightly-built house every step was heard from oneroom to another, she sate down until she heard Mrs. Thornton gosafely out of the house. She forced herself to recollect all theconversation that had passed between them; speech by speech, shecompelled

North And South - Chapter XXXVII - LOOKING SOUTH North And South - Chapter XXXVII - LOOKING SOUTH

North And South - Chapter XXXVII - LOOKING SOUTH
CHAPTER XXXVII - LOOKING SOUTH 'A spade! a rake! a hoe!A pickaxe or a bill!A hook to reap, or a scythe to mow,A flail, or what ye will--And here's a ready handTo ply the needful tool,And skill'd enough, by lessons rough,In Labour's rugged school.'HOOD.Higgins's door was locked the next day, when they went to paytheir call on the widow Boucher: but they learnt this time froman officious neighbour, that he was really from home. He had,however, been in to see Mrs. Boucher, before starting on hisday's business, whatever that was. It was but an unsatisfactoryvisit to Mrs. Boucher; she considered herself