‘Let’s talk about the burial,’ interposed Sidney. ’Make your mind at ease. I’ve got enough to pay for all that, and you must let me lend you what you want.’
‘Lend me money? You as I haven’t spoke to for years?’
’The more fault mine. I ought to have come back again long since; you wouldn’t have refused an old friend that never meant an unkindness to you.’
‘No, it was me as was to blame,’ said the other, with choking voice. ’She always told me so, and she always said what was right. But I can’t take it of you, Sidney; I can’t! Lend it? An’ where am I goin’ to get it from to pay you back? It won’t be so long before I lie like she does there. It’s getting too much for me.’
The first tears he had shed rose at this generosity of the man he had so little claim upon. His passionate grief and the spirit of rebellion, which grew more frenzied as he grew older, were subdued to a sobbing gratitude for the kindness which visited him in his need. Nerveless, voiceless, he fell back again upon the chair and let his head lie by that of the dead woman.
WATCHING FROM AMBUSH
Mr. Joseph Snowdon, though presenting a calm countenance to the world and seeming to enjoy comparative prosperity, was in truth much harassed by the difficulties of his position. Domestic troubles he had anticipated, but the unforeseen sequel of his marriage resulted in a martyrdom at the hands of Clem and her mother such as he had never dreamed of. His faults and weaknesses distinctly those of the civilised man, he found himself in disastrous alliance with two savages, whose characters so supplemented each other as to constitute in unison a formidable engine of tyranny. Clem— suspicious, revengeful, fierce, watching with cruel eyes every opportunity of taking payment on account for the ridicule to which she had exposed herself; Mrs. Peckover—ceaselessly occupied with the basest scheming, keen as an Indian on any trail she happened to strike, excited by the scent of money as a jackal by that of carrion; for this pair Joseph was no match. Not only did they compel him to earn his daily bread by dint of methodical effort such as was torture to his indolent disposition, but, moreover, in pursuance of Mrs. Peckover’s crafty projects, he was constrained to an assiduous hypocrisy in his relations with Michael and Jane which wearied him beyond measure. Joseph did not belong to the most desperate class of hungry mortals; he had neither the large ambitions and the passionate sensual desires which make life an unending fever, nor was he possessed with that foul itch of covetousness which is the explanation of the greater part of the world’s activity. He understood quite sufficiently the advantages of wealth, and was prepared to go considerable lengths for the sake of enjoying them, but his character lacked persistence. This defect explained the