"The terms is fore shillins a weke,” she wrote, “but i am that lonelie sins my own littel one lef me i wood tike your swete darling for nothin if I cud afford it and you can cum to see her as offen as you pleas.”
In my ignorance and simplicity this captured me completely, so I replied at once saying I would take baby to Ilford the next day.
I did all this in a rush, but when it came to the last moment I could scarcely part with my letter, and I remember that I passed three pillar-boxes in the front street before I could bring myself to post it.
I suppose my eyes must have been red when I returned home, for my Welsh landlady (whom I had taken into my confidence about my means) took me to task for crying, telling me that I ought to thank God for what had happened, which was like a message from heaven, look you, and a dispensation of Providence.
I tried to see things in that light, though it was difficult to do so, for the darker my prospects grew the more radiant shone the light of the little angel by whose life I lived, and the harder it seemed to live without her.
“But it isn’t like losing my child altogether, is it?” I said.
“’Deed no, and ’twill he better for both of you,” said my landlady.
“Although Ilford is a long way off I can go there every day, can’t I’!”
“’Deed thee can, if thee’st not minding a journey of nine miles or more.”
“And if I can get a good situation and earn a little money I may be able to have baby back and hire somebody to nurse her, and so keep her all to myself.”
“And why shouldn’t thee?” said my Welsh landlady. “Thee reading print like the young minister and writing letters like a copybook!”
So in the fierce bravery of motherly love I dried my eyes and forced back my sobs, and began to pack up my baby’s clothes, and to persuade myself that I was still quite happy.
My purse was very low by this time. After paying my rent and some other expenses I had only one pound and a few shillings left.
At half past seven next morning I was ready to start on my journey.
I took a hasty glance at myself in the glass before going out, and I thought my eyes were too much like the sky at daybreak—all joyful beams with a veil of mist in front of them.
But I made myself believe that never since baby was born had I been so happy. I was sure I was doing the best for her. I was also sure I was doing the best for myself, for what could be so sweet to a mother as providing for her child?
My Welsh landlady had told me it was nine miles to Ilford, and I had gathered that I could ride all the way in successive omnibuses for less than a shilling. But shillings were scarce with me then, so I determined to walk all the way.
Emmerjane, by her own urgent entreaty, carried baby as far as the corner of the Bayswater Road, and there the premature little woman left me, after nearly smothering baby with kisses.