“And who knows it were not yan on ’em—who?” added Mrs. Garth, after a moment’s silence.
“Nay, mother,” said Joe, and his gruff voice was husky in his throat,—“nay, mother, but there is them that knows.”
The woman gave a short forced titter.
“Ye wad mak a swine laugh, ye wad,” she said.
Then, coming closer to where her son now stood with a “lash” comb in his hand before a scratched and faded mirror, she said under her breath,—
“There’ll be no rest for him till summat’s done, none; tak my word for that. But yance they hang some riff-raff for him it will soon be forgotten. Then all will be as dead as hissel’, back and end. What’s it to thee, man, who they tak for’t? Nowt, Theer’s nea sel’ like awn sel’, Joey.”
Mrs. Garth emphasized her sentiment with a gentle prod of her son’s breast.
“That’s what you told me long ago,” said the blacksmith, “when you set me to work to help hang the tailor. I cannot bear the sight of him, I cannot.”
Mrs. Garth took her son roughly by the shoulder.
“Ye’d best git off and see to t’ horse and car. Stand blubbering here and ye’ll gang na farther in two days nor yan.”
There was a step on the road in front.
“Who’s that gone by?” asked Mrs. Garth.
Joe stepped to the window.
“Little Sim,” he said, and dropped his head.
THE DAWN OF LOVE.
Though she lost the best of her faculties, Mrs. Ray did not succumb to the paralytic seizure occasioned by the twofold shock which she had experienced. On the morning after Ralph’s departure from Wythburn she seemed to awake from the torpor in which she had lain throughout the two preceding days. She opened her eyes and looked up into the faces that were bent above her.
There were evidences of intelligence surviving the wreck of physical strength. Speech had gone, but her eyes remained full of meaning. When they spoke to her she seemed to hear. At some moments she, appeared to struggle with the impulse to answer, but the momentary effort subsided into an inarticulate gurgle, and then it was noticed that for an instant the tears stood in her eyes.
“She wants to say, ‘God bless you,’” said Rotha when she observed these impotent manifestations, and at such times the girl would stoop and put her lips to the forehead of the poor dear soul.
There grew to be a kind of commerce in kind between these two, destitute as the one was of nearly every channel of communication. The hundred tricks of dumb show, the glance, the lifted brow, the touch of the hand, the smile, the kiss,—all these acquired their several meanings, and somehow they seemed to speak to the silent sufferer in a language as definite as words. It came to be realized that this was a condition in which Mrs. Ray might live for years.