‘Mamma, you will kiss me before you go?’
‘I will cover you with kisses when you return to your own home.’ But in spite of this, Hester went down with her into the hall, holding by her raiment; and as Mrs. Bolton got into the fly, she did succeed in kissing her mother’s hand.
‘She has gone,’ said Hester, going to her father-in-law’s room. ’Though I was so glad to see her, I wish she had not come. When people think so very, very differently on a matter which is so very, very important, it is better that they should not meet, let them love each other ever so.’
As far as Hester and Mr. Caldigate were concerned the visit had in truth been made without much inconvenience. There had been no absolute violence,—no repetition of such outward quarrelling as had made those two days at the Grange so memorable. There was almost a feeling of relief in Hester’s bosom when her mother was driven away after that successful grasp at the parting hand. Though they had differed much, they had not hated each other during that last half-hour. Hester had been charged with sin;—which, however, had been a matter of course. But in Mrs. Bolton’s heart there was a feeling which made her return home very uncomfortable. Having twitted her husband with his lack of power, she had been altogether powerless herself; and now she was driven to confess to herself that no further step could be taken. ’She is obstinate,’ she said to her husband,—’stiff-necked in her sin, as are all determined sinners. I can say no more to her. It may be that the Lord will soften her heart when her sorrows have endured yet for a time.’ But she said no more of burning words, or of eloquence, or of the slackness of the work of those who work as though they were not in earnest.
Curlydown and Bagwax
There had been a sort of pledge given at the trial by Sir John Joram that the matter of the envelope should be further investigated. He had complained in his defence that the trial had been hurried on,—that time had not been allowed for full inquiries, seeing that the character of the deed by which his client had been put in jeopardy depended upon what had been done on the other side of the globe. ‘This crime,’ he had said, ’if it be a crime, was no doubt committed in the parish church of Utterden in the early part of last year; but all the evidence which has been used or which could be used to prove it to have been a crime, has reference to things done long ago, and far away. Time has not been allowed us for rebutting this evidence by counter-evidence.’ And yet much time had been allowed. The trial had been postponed from the spring to the summer assizes; and then the offence was one which, from its very nature, required speedy notice. The Boltons, who became the instigators of the prosecution, demanded that the ill-used woman should be relieved as quickly as possible from her degradation. There had been a general feeling that the trial should not be thrown over to another year; and, as we are aware, it had been brought to judgment and the convicted criminal was in jail. But Sir John still persevered, and to this perseverance he had been instigated very much by a certain clerk in the post-office.