Perusing this, it was too tremendous. “Oh, that’s awful!” she said, getting her body a little away from the manuscript. “Ye couldn’t curse much louder.”
A fresh trial found her again rounding the fact that Mr. Pole had not written to her, and again flying into consequent angers. She had some dim conception of the sculpture of an offended Goddess. “I look so,” she said before the glass “I’m above ye, and ye can’t hurt me, and don’t come anigh me: but here’s a cheque—and may ye be haunted in your dreams!—but here’s a cheque.”
There was pain in her heart, for she had felt faith in Mr. Pole’s affection for her. “And he said,” she cried out in her lonely room—“he said, ’Martha, ye’ve onnly to come and be known to ’m, and then they’ll take to the ideea.’ And wasn’t I a patient creature! And it’s Pole that’s turned—Pole!”
Varied with the frequent ‘Oh!’ and ‘Augh!’ these dramatic monologues occupied her time while the yacht was sailing for her Devon bay.
At last the thought struck her that she would send for Braintop—telegraphing that expenses would be paid, and that he must come with a good quill. “It goes faster,” she whispered, suggesting the pent-up torrent, as it were, of blackest ink in her breast that there was to pour forth. A very cunning postscript to the telegram brought Braintop almost as quick to her as a return message. It was merely ’Little Belloni.’
She had forgotten this piece of artifice: but when she saw him start at the opening of the door, keeping a sheepish watch in that direction, “By’n-by,” she said, with a nod; and shortly afterward unfolded her object in summoning him from his London labours: “A widde-woman ought to get marrud, Mr. Braintop, if onnly to have a husband to write letters for ’rr. Now, that’s a task! But sup to-night, and mind ye say yer prayers before gettin’ into bed; and no tryin’ to flatter your Maker with your knees cuddled up to your chin under the counterpane. I do ’t myself sometimes, and I know one prayer out of bed’s worrth ten of ’m in. Then I’ll pray too; and mayhap we’ll get permission and help to write our letter to-morrow, though Sunday, as ye say.”
On the morrow Braintop’s spirits were low, he having perceived that the ‘Little Belloni’ postscript had been but an Irish chuckle and nudge in his ribs, by way of sly insinuation or reminder. He looked out on the sea, and sighed to be under certain white sails visible in the offing. Mrs. Chump had received by the morning’s post another letter from Arabella, enclosing one for Wilfrid. A dim sense of approaching mastery, and that she might soon be melted, combined with the continued silence of Mr. Pole to make her feel yet more spiteful. She displayed no commendable cunning when, to sharpen and fortify Braintop’s wits, she plumped him at breakfast with all things tempting to the appetite of man. “I’ll help ye to ’rr,” she said from time to time, finding that no encouragement made him potent in speech.