A Tale of a Lonely Parish eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 399 pages of information about A Tale of a Lonely Parish.
ignorant labourers who had never heard the real tongue.  The landlord of the Feathers consented to the bargain and Goddard was told that he might sleep in the barn if he liked, and should take a turn at cutting chaff the next day to pay for the convenience.  The convict slept soundly; he was past lying awake in useless fits of remorse, and he was exhausted with his day’s journey.  Moreover he had now the immediate prospect of obtaining sufficient money to carry him safely out of the country, and once abroad he felt sure of baffling pursuit.  He was an accomplished man and spoke French with a fluency unusual in Englishmen; he determined to get across the channel in some fishing craft; he would then make his way to Paris and enlist in the Foreign Legion.  It would be safer than trying to go to America, where people were invariably caught as they landed.  It was a race for life and death, and he knew it.  Had he been able to obtain clothes, money and a disguise in London he would have travelled by rail.  But that had been impossible and it now seemed a wiser plan to “tramp” it.  His beard was growing rapidly and would soon make a complete disguise.  Village constables are generally simple people, easily imposed upon, very different from London detectives; and hitherto he felt sure that he had baffled pursuit by the mere simplicity of his proceedings.  The intelligent officials of Scotland Yard were used to forgers and swindlers who travelled by express trains and crossed to America by fashionable steamers.  It did not strike them as very likely that a man of Walter Goddard’s previous tastes and habits could get through the country in the guise of a tramp.  If he had been possessed at the time of his escape of the money he so much desired he would probably have been caught; as it was, he got away without difficulty, and at the very time when every railway station and every port in the kingdom were being watched for him, he was lurking in the purlieus of Whitechapel, and then tramping his way east in comparative safety, half starved, it is true, but unmolested.

That he was disappointed at the reception his wife had given him did not prevent him from sleeping peacefully that night.  One thing alone disturbed him, and that was her mention of Mr. Juxon, in whose house, as she had told him, she lived.  It seems incredible that a man in Walter Goddard’s position, lost to every sense of honour, a criminal of the worst type, who had deceived his wife before he was indicted for forgery, who had certainly cared very little for her at any time, should now, in a moment of supreme danger, feel a pang of jealousy on hearing that his wife lived in the vicinity of the squire and occupied a house belonging to him.  But he was too bad himself not to suspect others, especially those whom he had wronged, and the feeling was mingled with a strong curiosity to know whether this woman, who now treated him so haughtily and drew back from him as from some monstrous horror, was as good as she pretended

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A Tale of a Lonely Parish from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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