The moon caught her.
She turned full face to him; and her eyes were tender and brilliant as he had never known them.
“D’you care for me?” she asked.
“I love you,” said Silver.
She squeezed his hand, but answered nothing.
“D’you care for me?” he asked in his turn.
She did not answer for some time.
“I’m not going to marry you,” she said at last.
He thought she gulped.
“I’m not going to marry a gentleman.”
Again she paused.
“It doesn’t do.”
He lifted her little hand in his great gloved one and kissed it.
“Bless you, dear Boy,” was all he said.
The Fat Man Goes Under
It was two days later that the girl met Joses in the village street.
She crossed to him swiftly, and she was white and sparkling.
“Here’s your knife, Mr. Joses,” she said, handing it him.
There came into his eyes at once that hunted look.
He put both hands behind him and bowed with his honeyed smile.
“It’s not mine, Miss Woodburn, thank you,” he said.
The girl was growing apace.
A few months back she would have said “It is,” and have dropped it at his feet. Now she answered:
“You may have it whenever you like to call for it,” and passed on.
A little farther down the street she met the vicar.
On her face was that frosty look that Mr. Haggard said made him afraid.
“Well, Boy?” he said.
“Good morning, Mr. Haggard,” she answered, but she did not stop.
That evening she called at the cottage where Joses lodged and handed Mrs. Boam the knife done up in brown paper.
“Will you give this to Mr. Joses?” she said.
The woman’s apron was to her lips, and over it her frightened eyes peered at the girl.
“He’s gone, Miss,” she said.
The girl was surprised.
“Gone?” she said. “Where?”
The woman nibbled her apron.
“An hour since. The police come for him. I was makin’ the tea.”
That strange tide of Other-Consciousness overwhelmed the girl.
“Are you fond of him?” asked the Voice that used her as an instrument.
The woman with the streaming eyes nodded over her apron.
“Our Jenny love him,” she said.
End of Part I
It was Old Mat who was responsible for the arrest of Joses on the charge of incendiarism.
“I got to do me duty by the pore feller,” he said quietly. “And will do, de we. Same as the Psalmist says. It’s because you love ’em you got to chastise of ’em. Only where it is,” he ended disconsolately, “don’t somehow seem as they can understand.”