Half an hour later, he entered the lighted kitchen shaking and gasping, tears rolling down his furrowed cheeks into the corners of his gargoyle’s mouth, and panted out:
“O, my Gord! Fetch the farmer—fetch an ’urdle! O my Gord! Betty, you and cook—I can’t get ’er off him. She don’t speak. I felt her—all cold. Come on, you sluts—quick! O my Gord! The poor guv’nor! That ’orse must ‘a’ galloped into the linhay and killed him. I’ve see’d the marks on the devil’s shoulder where he rubbed it scrapin’ round the wall. Come on—come on! Fetch an ’urdle or she’ll die there on him in the mud. Put the child to bed and get the doctor, and send a wire to London, to the major, to come sharp. Oh, blarst you all—keep your ’eads! What’s the good o’ howlin’ and blubberin’!”
In the whispering corner of those fields, light from a lantern and the moon fell on the old stone linhay, on the ivy and the broken gate, on the mud, the golden leaves, and the two quiet bodies clasped together. Gyp’s consciousness had flown; there seemed no difference between them. And presently, over the rushy grass, a procession moved back in the wind and the moonlight—two hurdles, two men carrying one, two women and a man the other, and, behind, old Pettance and the horse.
When Gyp recovered a consciousness, whose flight had been mercifully renewed with morphia, she was in her bed, and her first drowsy movement was toward her mate. With eyes still closed, she turned, as she was wont, and put out her hand to touch him before she dozed off again. There was no warmth, no substance; through her mind, still away in the mists of morphia, the thoughts passed vague and lonely: ‘Ah, yes, in London!’ And she turned on her back. London! Something—something up there! She opened her eyes. So the fire had kept in all night! Someone was in a chair there, or—was she dreaming! And suddenly, without knowing why, she began breathing hurriedly in little half-sobbing gasps. The figure moved, turned her face in the firelight. Betty! Gyp closed her eyes. An icy sweat had broken out all over her. A dream! In a whisper, she said:
The muffled answer came.
“Yes, my darlin’.”
“What is it?”
No answer; then a half-choked, “Don’t ’ee think—don’t ’ee think! Your Daddy’ll be here directly, my sweetie!”
Gyp’s eyes, wide open, passed from the firelight and that rocking figure to the little chink of light that was hardly light as yet, coming in at one corner of the curtain. She was remembering. Her tongue stole out and passed over her lips; beneath the bedclothes she folded both her hands tight across her heart. Then she was not dead with him—not dead! Not gone back with him into the ground— not—And suddenly there flickered in her a flame of maniacal hatred. They were keeping her alive! A writhing smile forced its way up on to her parched lips.