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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 475 pages of information about The Nether World.

‘Are you going to help at that place all the winter?’ he inquired.

‘Yes; I think so.’

If he had spoken his thought, he would have railed against the soup-kitchen and all that was connected with it.  So far had he got in his revolt against circumstances; Jane’s ‘mission’ was hateful to him; he could not bear to think of her handing soup over a counter to ragged wretches.

’You’re nothing like as cheerful as you used to be, he said, suddenly, and all but roughly.  ‘Why is it?’

What a question!  Jane reddened as she tried to look at him with a smile; no words would come to her tongue.

‘Do you go anywhere else, besides to—­to that place?’

Not often.  She had accompanied Miss Lant on a visit to some people in Shooter’s Gardens.

Sidney bent his brows.  A nice spot, Shooter’s Gardens.

‘The houses are going to be pulled down, I’m glad to say,’ continued Jane.  ’Miss Lant thinks it’ll be a good opportunity for helping a few of the families into better lodgings.  We’re going to buy furniture for them—­so many have as good as none at all, you know.  It’ll be a good start for them, won’t it?’

Sidney nodded.  He was thinking of another family who already owed their furniture to Jane’s beneficence, though they did not know it.

‘Mind you don’t throw away kindness on worthless people,’ he said presently.

’We can only do our best, and hope they’ll keep comfortable for their own sakes.’

’Yes, yes.  Well, I’ll say good-night to you here.  Go home and rest; you look tired.’

He no longer called her by her name.  Tearing himself away, with a last look, he raged inwardly that so sweet and gentle a creature should be condemned to such a waste of her young life.

Jane had obtained what she came for.  At times the longing to see him grew insupportable, and this evening she had yielded to it, going out of her way in the hope of encountering him as he came from work.  He spoke very strangely.  What did it all mean, and when would this winter of suspense give sign of vanishing before sunlight?

CHAPTER XXIX

PHANTOMS

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Snowdon were now established in rooms in Burton Crescent, which is not far from King’s Cross.  Joseph had urged that Clerkenwell Close was scarcely a suitable quarter for a man of his standing, and, though with difficulty, he had achieved thus much deliverance.  Of Clem he could not get rid—­just yet; but it was something to escape Mrs. Peckover’s superintendence.  Clem herself favoured the removal, naturally for private reasons.  Thus far working in alliance with her shrewd mother, she was now forming independent projects.  Mrs. Peckover’s zeal was assuredly not disinterested, and why, Clem mused with herself, should the fruits of strategy be shared?  Her husband’s father could not, she saw every

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