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indolent and even lethargic. There was nothing, therefore,

time:2023-12-07 04:29:09 author:meat read:614次

‘I reckon, he’ll want a’ the comfort he can get out o’ either pipe or drink afore he’s done.’

indolent and even lethargic. There was nothing, therefore,

Her father went out of doors, evidently to finish his pipe.

indolent and even lethargic. There was nothing, therefore,

‘Now am not I a fool — am I not, Miss? — there, I knew I ought for to keep father at home, and away fro’ the folk that are always ready for to tempt a man, in time o’ strike, to go drink — and there my tongue must needs quarrel with this pipe o’ his’n — and he’ll go off, I know he will — as often as he wants to smoke — and nobody knows where it’ll end. I wish I’d letten myself be choked first.’

indolent and even lethargic. There was nothing, therefore,

‘But does your father drink?’ asked Margaret.

‘No — not to say drink,’ replied she, still in the same wild excited tone. ‘But what win ye have? There are days wi’ you, as wi’ other folk, I suppose, when yo’ get up and go through th’ hours, just longing for a bit of a change — a bit of a fillip, as it were. I know I ha’ gone and bought a four-pounder out o’ another baker’s shop to common on such days, just because I sickened at the thought of going on for ever wi’ the same sight in my eyes, and the same sound in my ears, and the same taste i’ my mouth, and the same thought (or no thought, for that matter) in my head, day after day, for ever. I’ve longed for to be a man to go spreeing, even it were only a tramp to some new place in search o’ work. And father — all men — have it stronger in ’em than me to get tired o’ sameness and work for ever. And what is ’em to do? It’s little blame to them if they do go into th’ gin-shop for to make their blood flow quicker, and more lively, and see things they never see at no other time — pictures, and looking-glass, and such like. But father never was a drunkard, though maybe, he’s got worse for drink, now and then. Only yo’ see,’ and now her voice took a mournful, pleading tone, ‘at times o’ strike there’s much to knock a man down, for all they start so hopefully; and where’s the comfort to come fro’? He’ll get angry and mad — they all do — and then they get tired out wi’ being angry and mad, and maybe ha’ done things in their passion they’d be glad to forget. Bless yo’r sweet pitiful face! but yo’ dunnot know what a strike is yet.’

‘Come, Bessy,’ said Margaret, ‘I won’t say you’re exaggerating, because I don’t know enough about it: but, perhaps, as you’re not well, you’re only looking on one side, and there is another and a brighter to be looked to.’

‘It’s all well enough for yo’ to say so, who have lived in pleasant green places all your life long, and never known want or care, or wickedness either, for that matter.’

‘Take care,’ said Margaret, her cheek flushing, and her eye lightening, ‘how you judge, Bessy. I shall go home to my mother, who is so ill — so ill, Bessy, that there’s no outlet but death for her out of the prison of her great suffering; and yet I must speak cheerfully to my father, who has no notion of her real state, and to whom the knowledge must come gradually. The only person — the only one who could sympathise with me and help me — whose presence could comfort my mother more than any other earthly thing — is falsely accused — would run the risk of death if he came to see his dying mother. This I tell you — only you, Bessy. You must not mention it. No other person in Milton — hardly any other person in England knows. Have I not care? Do I not know anxiety, though I go about well-dressed, and have food enough? Oh, Bessy, God is just, and our lots are well portioned out by Him, although none but He knows the bitterness of our souls.’


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