The girl made a mental note, wrinkling her brow.
“Shelley’s Clutton Brock,” she said. “I’ll remember.”
She sat beside his bed. His eyes dwelt on her keen, earnest young face, and the blue eyes gazing thoughtfully out of the window.
“You’re a Philistine,” he said at last. “But you’re clean. Philistines are. That’s the best of them.”
“What’s a Philistine?” she asked.
He did not answer her.
“You’re the cleanest thing I’ve met,” he continued. “There’s a flame burning in you all the time that devours all your rubbish. Mine accumulates and corrupts.”
“I don’t like you to talk like that,” said the girl, withdrawing.
“There’s only one thing that’ll purge me,” the other continued.
The girl’s eyes darkened.
“Are you afraid?” she asked swiftly.
“Of Hell with a large H?”
She nodded, and he laughed.
“What I’ve had I’ve paid for across the counter and got the receipt stamped and signed by the Almighty. No, it’s not the fires of Hell; it’s the power of the old sun working on my vile body through the ages that’ll renew me with beauty and youth in time. Life’s eternal, sure enough; but not on the lines the parsons tell us.”
A little later she rose to go.
He detained her.
“Shall you come and see me again?” he asked her.
She gave him a shy and brilliant smile.
“Rather,” she said. “So’ll mother.”
He kissed her hand, and there was beauty in his eyes.
Next day she called with the book from Mr. Haggard.
Dr. Pollock was coming down the path.
“He’s out of pain,” he said gravely.
Boy returned to Putnam’s and picked some violets.
Then she came back to the cottage.
Mrs. Boam was weeping as she opened.
“May I see him?” said the girl.
“Yes, Miss,” answered the other. “We shall miss him, Jenny and me. He were that lovable.”
Boy went upstairs and entered.
Joses was at peace: the dignity of death upon him.
She laid the violets on his breast.
Old Mat on Heaven and Earth
When Old Mat returned home from Liverpool he hung his hat on the peg and informed Silver that he had undergone conversion—for good this time.
“Nebber no more,” he announced solemnly. “I done with bettin’—now I got the cash. Always promised Mar I’d be God’s good man soon as I could afford it. Moreover, besides I might lose some o’ what I made. And then I might have another backslide.” He settled himself in his leather chair, drew his feet out of his slippers, and his pass-book out of his pocket.