Sidney did not reply at once; as he was about to speak, Snowdon bent forward suddenly and touched his arm.
’Let me see her. Let me send Jane to her to-morrow morning, and ask her to come here. I might—I can’t say—but I might do some good.’
To this Sidney gave willing assent, but without sanguine expectation. In further talk it was agreed between them that, if this step had no result, John Hewett ought to be immediately informed of the state of things.
This was at ten o’clock on Sunday evening. So do we play our tragi-comedies in the eye of fate.
The mention of Jane led to a brief conversation regarding her before Sidney took his leave. Since her recovery she had been going regularly to school, to make up for the time of which she had been defrauded by Mrs. Peckover. Her grand. father’s proposal was, that she should continue thus for another six months, after which, he said, it would be time for her to learn a business. Mrs. Byass had suggested the choice of artificial-flower making, to which she herself had been brought up; possibly that would do as well as anything else.
‘I suppose so,’ was Sidney’s reluctant acquiescence. ’Or as ill as anything else, would be a better way to put it.’
Snowdon regarded him with unusual fixedness, and seemed on the point of making some significant remark; but immediately his face expressed change of purpose, and he said, without emphasis:
‘Jane must be able to earn her own living.’
Sidney, before going home, walked round to the street in which he had already lingered several times to-day, and where yesterday he had spoken with Clara. The windows of the house he gazed at were dark.
So at length came Monday, the first Monday in August, a day gravely set apart for the repose and recreation of multitudes who neither know how to rest nor how to refresh themselves with pastime. To-day will the slaves of industrialism don the pileus. It is high summertide. With joy does the awaking publican look forth upon the blue-misty heavens, and address his adorations to the Sun-god, inspirer of thirst. Throw wide the doors of the temple of Alcohol! Behold, we come in our thousands, jingling the coins that shall purchase us this one day of tragical mirth. Before us is the dark and dreary autumn; it is a far cry to the foggy joys of Christmas. Io Saturnalia!
For certain friends of ours this morning brought an event of importance. At a church in Clerkenwell were joined together in holy matrimony Robert Hewett and Penelope (otherwise Pennyloaf) Candy, the former aged nineteen, the latter less than that by nearly three years. John Hewett would have nothing to do with an alliance so disreputable; Mrs. Hewett had in vain besought her stepson not to marry so unworthily. Even as a young man of good birth has been known to enjoy a subtle self-flattery in the thought that he graciously bestows his name upon a maiden who, to all intents and purposes, may be said never to have been born at all, so did Bob Hewett feel when he put a ring upon the scrubby finger of Pennyloaf. Proudly conscious was Bob that he a ’married beneath him’— conscious also that Clem Peckover was gnawing her lips in rage.