Joanna bitterly resented Arthur’s going, but she could not prevent it, for if he stayed Ellen threatened to go herself.
“I’ll get a post as lady’s-maid sooner than stay on here with you and Arthur. Have you absolutely no delicacy, Jo?—Can’t you see how awkward it’ll be for me if everywhere I go I run the risk of meeting him? Besides, you’ll be always plaguing me to go back to him, and I tell you I’ll never do that—never.”
Arthur, too, did not seem anxious to stay. He saw that if Ellen was at Ansdore he could not be continually running to and fro on his errands for Joanna. That tranquil life of service was gone, and he did not care for the thought of exile at Donkey Street, a shutting of himself into his parish of Old Romney, with the Kent Ditch between him and Joanna like a prison wall.
When Joanna told him what Ellen had said, he accepted it meekly—
“That’s right, Joanna—I must go.”
“But that ull be terrible hard for you, Arthur.”
He looked at her.
“Reckon it will.”
“Where ull you go?”
“Oh, I can go to Tom’s.”
“That’s right away in the shires, ain’t it?”
“Where they do the hunting.”
“What’s the farm?”
“Grain mostly—and he’s done well with his sheep. He’d be glad to have me for a bit.”
“What’ll you do with Donkey Street?”
“Let it off for a bit.”
“Don’t you sell!”
“You’ll be meaning to come back?”
“I’ll be hoping.”
Joanna gazed at him for a few moments in silence, and a change came into her voice—
“Arthur, you’re doing all this because of me.”
“I’m doing it for you, Joanna.”
“Well—I don’t feel I’ve any call—I haven’t any right.... I mean, if Ellen don’t like you here, she must go herself ... it ain’t fair on you—you at Donkey Street for more’n twenty year ...”
“Don’t you trouble about that. A change won’t hurt me. Reckon either Ellen or me ull have to go and it ud break your heart if it was Ellen.”