"Such an assault will be a useless massacre," resumed Dujardin. "Ireconnoitred the bastion last night, and saw their preparations forblowing us to the devil; and General Raimbaut, at my request, iseven now presenting my remarks to the commander-in-chiecardano blockchain technologyf, andenforcing them. There will be no assault. In a day or two we shallblow the bastion, mines, and all into the air."At this moment Raynal caught sight of a gray-haired officer comingat some distance. "There IS General Raimbaut," said he. "I will goand pay my respects to him." General Raimbaut shook his handwarmly, and welcomed him to the army. They were old and warmfriends. "And you are come at the right time," said he. "It willsoon be as hot here as in Egypt."Raynal laughed and said all the better.
Driven almost to desperation, Jane suggested the only scheme she could think of. "If you stayed here and I run away and came back, wouldn't you keep me? I'd work all day and all night jes' for the sake of stayin'."bitcoin cash hard fork date"No, Jane," said Holcroft firmly, "you'd make me no end of trouble if you did that. If you'll be a good girl and learn how to do things, I'll try to find you a place among kind people some day when you're older and can act for yourself."
"You're afraid 'fi's here mother'd come a-visitin," said the girl keenly."You're too young to understand half the trouble that might follow. My plans are too uncertain for me to tangle myself up. You and your mother must go away at once, so I can do what I must do before it's too late in the season. Here's a couple of dollars which you can keep for yourself," and he went up to his room, feeling that he could not witness the child's distress any longer.He fought hard against despondency and tried to face the actual condition of his affairs. "I might have known," he thought, "that things would have turned out somewhat as they have, with such women in the house, and I don't see much chance of getting better ones. I've been so bent on staying and going on as I used to that I've just shut my eyes to the facts." He got out an old account book and pored over it a long time. The entries therein were blind enough, but at last he concluded, "It's plain that I've lost money on the dairy ever since my wife died, and the prospects now are worse than ever. That Weeks tribe will set the whole town talking against me and it will be just about impossible to get a decent woman to come here. I might as well have an auction and sell all the cows but one at once. After that, if I find I can't make out living alone, I'll put the place in better order and sell or rent. I can get my own meals after a fashion, and old Jonathan Johnson's wife will do my washing and mending. It's time it was done better than it has been, for some of my clothes make me look like a scarecrow. I believe Jonathan will come with his cross dog and stay here too, when I must be away. Well, well, it's a hard lot for a man; but I'd be about as bad off, and a hundred-fold more lonely, if I went anywhere else."I can only feel my way along and live a day at a time. I'll learn what can be done and what can't be. One thing is clear: I can't go on with this Mrs. Mumpson in the house a day longer. She makes me creep and crawl all over, and the first thing I know I shall be swearing like a bloody pirate unless I get rid of her."If she wasn't such a hopeless idiot I'd let her stay for the sake of Jane, but I won't pay her good wages to make my life a burden a day longer," and with like self-communings he spent the evening until the habit of early drowsiness overcame him.
The morning found Jane dispirited and a little sullen, as older and wiser people are apt to be when disappointed. She employed herself in getting breakfast carelessly and languidly, and the result was not satisfactory."Where's your mother?" Holcroft asked when he came in.His answer was a peal of laughter. "I've done more than threaten him. I've whipped him within an inch of his life, and it was the thought of you that led me, in my rage, to spare his life. I'll tell you all--I'm going to tell you everything now. How much trouble I might have saved if I had told you my thoughts! What was there, Alida, in an old fellow like me that led you to care so?"
Looking up shyly, she replied, "I think it was the MAN in you--and--then you stood up for me so.""Well, love is blind, I suppose, but it don't seem to me that mine is. There never was a man so taken in at his marriage. You were so different from what I expected that I began loving you before I knew it, but I thought you were good to me just as you were to Jane--from a sense of duty--and that you couldn't abide me personally. So I tried to keep out of your way. And, Alida, dear, I thought at first that I was taken by your good traits and your education and all that, but I found out at last that I had fallen in love with YOU. Now you know all. You feel better now, don't you?""Yes," she breathed softly."You've had enough to wear a saint out," he continued kindly. "Lie down on the lounge and I'll bring your supper to you."
"No, please! It will do me more good to go on and act as if nothing had happened.""Well, have your own way, little wife. You're boss now, sure enough."
She drew him to the porch, and together they looked upon the June landscape which she had regarded with such despairing eyes an hour before."Happiness never kills, after all," she said."Shouldn't be alive if it did," he replied. "The birds seem to sing as if they knew."Jane emerged from the barn door with a basket of eggs, and Alida sped away to meet her. The first thing the child knew the arms of her mistress were about her neck and she was kissed again and again.
"What did you do that for?" she asked."You'll understand some day.""Say," said Jane in an impulse of good will, "if you're only half married to Mr. Holcroft, I'd go the whole figure, 'fi's you. If you'd 'a' seen him a-thrashin' that scamp you'd know he's the man to take care of you.""Yes, Jane, I know. He'll take care of me always."
The next morning Holcroft and Alida drove to town and went to the church which she and her mother used to attend. After the service they followed the clergyman home, where Alida again told him her story, though not without much help from the farmer. After some kindly reproach that she had not brought her troubles to him at first, the minister performed a ceremony which found deep echoes in both their hearts.Time and right, sensible living soon remove prejudice from the hearts of the good and stop the mouths of the cynical and scandal-loving. Alida's influence, and the farmer's broadening and more unselfish views gradually bought him into a better understanding of his faith, and into a kinder sympathy and charity for his neighbors than he had ever known. His relations to the society of which he was a part became natural and friendly, and his house a pretty and a hospitable home. Even Mrs. Watterly eventually entered its portals. She and others were compelled to agree with Watterly that Alida was not of the "common sort," and that the happiest good fortune which could befall any man had come to Holcroft when he fell in love with his wife.
The End"Well, anyway, it's no business of ours."
"It's very much my business. He was the man who drove me here. . . . I'll give you fifty pounds if you'll get me out before he comes back.""I shouldn't think it worth while. I should get sacked more likely than not. I've got a good job here.""Suppose I say eighty?""I can see it first?""I haven't got it here. If you come with me to Grosvenor Gardens I'll give it to you at once.""We couldn't get away without being seen. And after that, money wouldn't be much use to me."
"Isn't it worth trying?"The girl stared at her with expressionless eyes. It was impossible to tell what she thought. Irene controlled herself to silence till she should hear her reply. Till she had it, she felt it hard to guess what further argument would avail.
"You're sure they killed him?" the girl asked at last."He was alive when he drove me here."
"I daresay they did. They kill beautiful dogs. Mr. Snacklit likes doing that.""We're losing time, If we're going - - "
"It's not that simple, Miss. There's Billson too - - WasBillson one of them two?""I don't know who Billson is.""Did one of them have red hair?"
"I didn't notice; but I don't think so.""I'd like to hear what he says."
The girl went to the door and gave a shrill whistle. A moment later a man came into the room, showing a close-cropped head of red hair and a sharp-nosed foxy face."Bill" the girl said, with a familiarity which was equally evident in his manner to her, "this lady says a taxi-driver's been killed in the yard, and they've just burnt his body. I've told her that, if they did, it was nothing to do with you."
The man did not appear to regard this statement as incredible, but, unless he were an exceptionally good actor, it was a surprising item of news."I hadn't heard tell of that," he said. "The master told me to stay by the stairs, and not let anyone go down unless he came along with them."
"This young lady says she'll give me eighty pounds if I'll let her out."Or a hundred," Irene interrupted quickly, "if you're sharing between you."The man looked at her sharply. "You'd like to get out," he asked, "to make trouble for us? That'll have to be what the master says.""There's plenty of trouble coming," Irene replied, "whether I get out or not. But I shouldn't make any for you. I might save your life."
"I'd like to know how you'd do that?""By saying that I saw the two men who'd got the taxidriver's body, and that neither of them had red hair."
"I don't know that anyone's been killed. It sounds just a tale to me.""Well; it isn't. You'll find somebody's going to get hanged. More than one, I expect. But I don't want anyone to get hanged for murdering me."
The man looked at her speculatively. It had become obvious that he believed her tale, and was considering whether it would be best for himself that he should remain loyal to his employer or purchase the immunity she had offered at the price of assisting her to escape.But as he hesitated Snacklit re-entered the room.