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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 334 pages of information about Joanna Godden.

The cessation of the music and scattering of the crowd recalled Joanna to a sense of her position.  She realized also that it was quite dark—­the last redeeming ray had left the sky.  She stood up—­

“Well, I must be getting back.”

“Where are you staying?”

“The Palace Hotel.”

What ho!  She must have some money.

“May I walk back with you?”

“Oh, thanks,” said Joanna—­“it ain’t far.”

They walked, rather awkwardly silent, the few hundred yards to the hotel.  Joanna stopped and held out her hand.  She suddenly realized that she did not want to say good-bye to the young man.  Their acquaintanceship had been most shockingly begun—­Ellen must never know—­but she did not want it to end.  She felt, somehow, that he just meant to say good-bye and go off, without any plans for another meeting.  She must take action herself.

“Won’t you come and have dinner—­I mean lunch—­with me to-morrow?”

She scanned his face eagerly as she spoke.  It suddenly struck her what a terrible thing it would be if he went out of her life now after having just come into it—­come back into it, she had almost said, for she could not rid herself of that strange sense of Martin’s return, of a second spring.

But she need not have been afraid.  He was not the man to refuse his chances.

“Thanks no end—­I’ll be honoured.”

“Then I’ll expect you.  One o’clock, and ask for Miss Godden.”

Sec.14

Joanna had a nearly sleepless night.  The torment of her mind would not allow her to rest.  At times she was overwhelmed with shame at what she had done—­taken up with a strange man at the band, like any low servant girl on her evening out—­My! but she’d have given it to Mene Tekel if she dared behave so!  At other times she drifted on a dark sweet river of thought ... every detail of the boy’s appearance haunted her with disturbing charm—­his eyes, black and soft like Martin’s—­his mouth which was coarser and sulkier than Martin’s, yet made her feel all disquieted ... the hair which rolled like Martin’s hair from his forehead—­dear hair she used to tug....  Oh, he’s the man I could love—­he’s my sort—­he’s the kind I like....  And I don’t even know his name....  But he talks like Martin—­knows all about old places when they were new—­queer he should talk about them floods....  Romney Church, you can see the marks on the pillars....  I can’t bear to think of that....  I wonder what he’ll say when he comes to-morrow?—­Maybe he’ll find me too old—­I’m ten year older than him if I’m a day....  I must dress myself up smart—­I’m glad I brought my purple body....  Martin liked me in the old basket hat I fed the fowls in ... but I was slimmer then....  I’m getting on now ... he won’t like me as well by daylight as he did in the dark—­and properly I’ll deserve it, carrying on like that.  I’ve half a mind not to be in—­I’ll leave a polite message, saying “Miss Godden’s compliments, but she’s had to go home, owing to one of her cows having a miscarriage.”  I’ll be wise to go home to-morrow—­reckon I ain’t fit to be trusted alone.

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