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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 169 pages of information about Lancashire Idylls (1898).

Still Mr. Penrose was in darkness.

Then the boy turned to old Malachi, and, with a farewell look of recognition and a last effort of speech, said: 

’Malachi, ax Him as is aboon to leet His great candle, and show me th’ road along th’ seam.  It’s some fearsome and dark.’

And Malachi knelt by the side of the lad, and, in broken accents and rude vernacular, said: 

‘O God O’meety, little Job’s baan along th’ four-foot seam, an’ he connot see his gate (way).  Leet Thy candle, Lord—­Thy great candle—­and mak’ it as leet as day for th’ lad.  Leet it, Lord, and dunnot put it aat till he geds through to wheere they’ve no need o’ candles, becose Thaa gies them th’ leet o’ Thysel.’

The prayer over, every eye was turned to the boy, on whose face there had broken a great light—­a light from above.

II.

THE TWO MOTHERS.

The royal repose of death reigned over the features of little Job as his mother entered the kitchen of the Granny Houses Farm.  She had been summoned from Rehoboth by a collier, fleet of foot, who, as soon as the injured boy was brought to the pit-bank, started with the sad news to the distant village.  No sooner did the woman catch the purport of the news, than she ran out wildly into the snowy air—­not waiting to don shawl or clogs, but speeding over the white ground as those only speed who love, and who know their loved ones are in need.

A wild wind was blowing from the north, and the fleecy particles fell in fantastic whirls and spirals, to drift in treacherous banks over the gullies and falls that lay along the path; while here and there thin black lines, sinuous in their trend, told where moorland waters flowed, and guided the hurrying mother to her distant goal.  The groaning trees, tossed by the tempest, flung off showers of half-frozen flakes, that falling on her flaming cheeks failed to cool the fever of her suspense, while the yielding snow beneath her feet became a tantalus path, delaying her advance, and seeming to make more distant her suffering child.

Ploughing her way through the Green Fold Clough, she climbed the steeps at the further end, and stood, breathless, on the bank of the great reservoir that lay dark in the hollow of the white hills.  Her heart beat savagely and loud—­so loud that she heard it above the din of the storm; and cruel pain relentlessly stabbed her heaving side, while her breath was fetched in quick respirations.

As she thus stood, tamed in her race of love by the imperative call of exhausted nature, Dr. Hale loomed through the snowy haze, and, reading instinctively who she was and whither she was bound, proffered his assistance for the remaining half of the journey.

He had not walked with her for many yards before he saw her exposed condition.  Her hair was flying in frozen tresses about her unshawled bosom, and no outer covering protected her from the chill blast.

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