‘Is that all that’s the matter?’ he returned pettishly (this being the first time of his showing such a mood). ’Upon my heart and life such trifling is trying to any man’s temper, Baptista! Sending me about from here to yond, and then when I come back saying ’ee don’t like the place that I have sunk so much money and words to get for ’ee. ’Od dang it all, ’tis enough to—But I won’t say any more at present, mee deer, though it is just too much to expect to turn out of the house now. We shan’t get another quiet place at this time of the evening—every other inn in the town is bustling with rackety folk of one sort and t’other, while here ’tis as quiet as the grave—the country, I would say. So bide still, d’ye hear, and tomorrow we shall be out of the town altogether—as early as you like.’
The obstinacy of age had, in short, overmastered its complaisance, and the young woman said no more. The simple course of telling him that in the adjoining room lay a corpse which had lately occupied their own might, it would have seemed, have been an effectual one without further disclosure, but to allude to that subject, however it was disguised, was more than Heddegan’s young wife had strength for. Horror broke her down. In the contingency one thing only presented itself to her paralysed regard—that here she was doomed to abide, in a hideous contiguity to the dead husband and the living, and her conjecture did, in fact, bear itself out. That night she lay between the two men she had married—Heddegan on the one hand, and on the other through the partition against which the bed stood, Charles Stow.
Kindly time had withdrawn the foregoing event three days from the present of Baptista Heddegan. It was ten o’clock in the morning; she had been ill, not in an ordinary or definite sense, but in a state of cold stupefaction, from which it was difficult to arouse her so much as to say a few sentences. When questioned she had replied that she was pretty well.
Their trip, as such, had been something of a failure. They had gone on as far as Falmouth, but here he had given way to her entreaties to return home. This they could not very well do without repassing through Pen-zephyr, at which place they had now again arrived.
In the train she had seen a weekly local paper, and read there a paragraph detailing the inquest on Charles. It was added that the funeral was to take place at his native town of Redrutin on Friday.
After reading this she had shown no reluctance to enter the fatal neighbourhood of the tragedy, only stipulating that they should take their rest at a different lodging from the first; and now comparatively braced up and calm—indeed a cooler creature altogether than when last in the town, she said to David that she wanted to walk out for a while, as they had plenty of time on their hands.
‘To a shop as usual, I suppose, mee deer?’