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Chapter 5 The end of waiting

  • It was more than a fortnight after Reardon's removal to Islington when Jaspe_ilvain heard for the first time of what had happened. He was coming down fro_he office of the Will-o'-the-Wisp one afternoon, after a talk with the edito_oncerning a paragraph in his last week's causerie which had been complaine_f as libellous, and which would probably lead to the 'case' so much desire_y everyone connected with the paper, when someone descending from a highe_torey of the building overtook him and laid a hand on his shoulder. He turne_nd saw Whelpdale.
  • 'What brings you on these premises?' he asked, as they shook hands.
  • 'A man I know has just been made sub-editor of Chat, upstairs. He has hal_romised to let me do a column of answers to correspondents.'
  • 'Cosmetics? Fashions? Cookery?'
  • 'I'm not so versatile as all that, unfortunately. No, the general informatio_olumn. "Will you be so good as to inform me, through the medium of you_nvaluable paper, what was the exact area devastated by the Great Fire o_ondon?"—that kind of thing, you know. Hopburn—that's the fellow's name—tell_e that his predecessor always called the paper Chat-moss, because of th_rightful difficulty he had in filling it up each week. By-the-bye, what _apital column that is of yours in Will-o'-the-Wisp. I know nothing like it i_nglish journalism; upon my word I don't!'
  • 'Glad you like it. Some people are less fervent in their admiration.'
  • Jasper recounted the affair which had just been under discussion in th_ffice.
  • 'It may cost a couple of thousands, but the advertisement is worth that, Patwin thinks. Barlow is delighted; he wouldn't mind paying double the mone_o make those people a laughing-stock for a week or two.'
  • They issued into the street, and walked on together; Milvain, with his kee_ye and critical smile, unmistakably the modern young man who cultivates th_rt of success; his companion of a less pronounced type, but distinguished b_ certain subtlety of countenance, a blending of the sentimental and th_hrewd.
  • 'Of course you know all about the Reardons?' said Whelpdale.
  • 'Haven't seen or heard of them lately. What is it?'
  • 'Then you don't know that they have parted?'
  • 'Parted?'
  • 'I only heard about it last night; Biffen told me. Reardon is doing clerk'_ork at a hospital somewhere in the East-end, and his wife has gone to live a_er mother's house.'
  • 'Ho, ho!' exclaimed Jasper, thoughtfully. 'Then the crash has come. Of cours_ knew it must be impending. I'm sorry for Reardon.'
  • 'I'm sorry for his wife.'
  • 'Trust you for thinking of women first, Whelpdale.'
  • 'It's in an honourable way, my dear fellow. I'm a slave to women, true, bu_ll in an honourable way. After that last adventure of mine most men would b_avage and cynical, wouldn't they, now? I'm nothing of the kind. I think n_orse of women—not a bit. I reverence them as much as ever. There must be _ood deal of magnanimity in me, don't you think?'
  • Jasper laughed unrestrainedly.
  • 'But it's the simple truth,' pursued the other. 'You should have seen th_etter I wrote to that girl at Birmingham—all charity and forgiveness. I mean_t, every word of it. I shouldn't talk to everyone like this, you know; bu_t's as well to show a friend one's best qualities now and then.'
  • 'Is Reardon still living at the old place?'
  • 'No, no. They sold up everything and let the flat. He's in lodgings somewher_r other. I'm not quite intimate enough with him to go and see him under th_ircumstances. But I'm surprised you know nothing about it.'
  • 'I haven't seen much of them this year. Reardon—well, I'm afraid he hasn'_ery much of the virtue you claim for yourself. It rather annoys him to see m_oing ahead.'
  • 'Really? His character never struck me in that way.'
  • 'You haven't come enough in contact with him. At all events, I can't explai_is change of manner in any other way. But I'm sorry for him; I am, indeed. A_ hospital? I suppose Carter has given him the old job again?'
  • 'Don't know. Biffen doesn't talk very freely about it; there's a good deal o_elicacy in Biffen, you know. A thoroughly good-hearted fellow. And so i_eardon, I believe, though no doubt he has his weaknesses.'
  • 'Oh, an excellent fellow! But weakness isn't the word. Why, I foresaw all thi_rom the very beginning. The first hour's talk I ever had with him was enoug_o convince me that he'd never hold his own. But he really believed that th_uture was clear before him; he imagined he'd go on getting more and more fo_is books. An extraordinary thing that that girl had such faith in him!'
  • They parted soon after this, and Milvain went homeward, musing upon what h_ad heard. It was his purpose to spend the whole evening on some work whic_ressed for completion, but he found an unusual difficulty in settling to it.
  • About eight o'clock he gave up the effort, arrayed himself in the costume o_lack and white, and journeyed to Westbourne Park, where his destination wa_he house of Mrs Edmund Yule. Of the servant who opened to him he inquired i_rs Yule was at home, and received an answer in the affirmative.
  • 'Any company with her?'
  • 'A lady—Mrs Carter.'
  • 'Then please to give my name, and ask if Mrs Yule can see me.'
  • He was speedily conducted to the drawing-room, where he found the lady of th_ouse, her son, and Mrs Carter. For Mrs Reardon his eye sought in vain.
  • 'I'm so glad you have come,' said Mrs Yule, in a confidential tone. 'I hav_een wishing to see you. Of course, you know of our sad trouble?'
  • 'I have heard of it only to-day.'
  • 'From Mr Reardon himself?'
  • 'No; I haven't seen him.'
  • 'I do wish you had! We should have been so anxious to know how he impresse_ou.'
  • 'How he impressed me?'
  • 'My mother has got hold of the notion,' put in John Yule, 'that he's no_xactly compos mentis. I'll admit that he went on in a queer sort of way th_ast time I saw him.'
  • 'And my husband thinks he is rather strange,' remarked Mrs Carter.
  • 'He has gone back to the hospital, I understand—'
  • 'To a new branch that has just been opened in the City Road,' replied Mr_ule. 'And he's living in a dreadful place—one of the most shocking alleys i_he worst part of Islington. I should have gone to see him, but I really fee_fraid; they give me such an account of the place. And everyone agrees that h_as such a very wild look, and speaks so strangely.'
  • 'Between ourselves,' said John, 'there's no use in exaggerating. He's livin_n a vile hole, that's true, and Carter says he looks miserably ill, but o_ourse he may be as sane as we are.
  • Jasper listened to all this with no small astonishment.
  • 'And Mrs Reardon?' he asked.
  • 'I'm sorry to say she is far from well,' replied Mrs Yule. 'To-day she ha_een obliged to keep her room. You can imagine what a shock it has been t_er. It came with such extraordinary suddenness. Without a word of warning, her husband announced that he had taken a clerkship and was going to remov_mmediately to the East-end. Fancy! And this when he had already arranged, a_ou know, to go to the South Coast and write his next book under th_nfluences of the sea air. He was anything but well; we all knew that, and w_ad all joined in advising him to spend the summer at the seaside. It seeme_etter that he should go alone; Mrs Reardon would, of course, have gone dow_or a few days now and then. And at a moment's notice everything is changed, and in such a dreadful way! I cannot believe that this is the behaviour of _ane man!'
  • Jasper understood that an explanation of the matter might have been given i_uch more homely terms; it was natural that Mrs Yule should leave out of sigh_he sufficient, but ignoble, cause of her son-in-law's behaviour.
  • 'You see in what a painful position we are placed,' continued the euphemisti_ady. 'It is so terrible even to hint that Mr Reardon is not responsible fo_is actions, yet how are we to explain to our friends this extraordinary stat_f things?'
  • 'My husband is afraid Mr Reardon may fall seriously ill,' said Mrs Carter.
  • 'And how dreadful! In such a place as that!'
  • 'It would be so kind of you to go and see him, Mr Milvain,' urged Mrs Yule.
  • 'We should be so glad to hear what you think.'
  • 'Certainly, I will go,' replied Jasper. 'Will you give me his address?'
  • He remained for an hour, and before his departure the subject was discusse_ith rather more frankness than at first; even the word 'money' was once o_wice heard.
  • 'Mr Carter has very kindly promised,' said Mrs Yule, 'to do his best to hea_f some position that would be suitable. It seems a most shocking thing that _uccessful author should abandon his career in this deliberate way; who coul_ave imagined anything of the kind two years ago? But it is clearly quit_mpossible for him to go on as at present—if there is really no reason fo_elieving his mind disordered.'
  • A cab was summoned for Mrs Carter, and she took her leave, suppressing he_ative cheerfulness to the tone of the occasion. A minute or two after, Milvain left the house.
  • He had walked perhaps twenty yards, almost to the end of the silent street i_hich his friends' house was situated, when a man came round the corner an_pproached him. At once he recognised the figure, and in a moment he was fac_o face with Reardon. Both stopped. Jasper held out his hand, but the othe_id not seem to notice it.
  • 'You are coming from Mrs Yule's?' said Reardon, with a strange smile.
  • By the gaslight his face showed pale and sunken, and he met Jasper's look wit_ixedness.
  • 'Yes, I am. The fact is, I went there to hear of your address. Why haven't yo_et me know about all this?'
  • 'You went to the flat?'
  • 'No, I was told about you by Whelpdale.'
  • Reardon turned in the direction whence he had come, and began to walk slowly; Jasper kept beside him.
  • 'I'm afraid there's something amiss between us, Reardon,' said the latter, just glancing at his companion.
  • 'There's something amiss between me and everyone,' was the reply, in a_nnatural voice.
  • 'You look at things too gloomily. Am I detaining you, by-the-bye? You wer_oing—'
  • 'Nowhere.'
  • 'Then come to my rooms, and let us see if we can't talk more in the old way.'
  • 'Your old way of talk isn't much to my taste, Milvain. It has cost me to_uch.'Jasper gazed at him. Was there some foundation for Mrs Yule's seemin_xtravagance? This reply sounded so meaningless, and so unlike Reardon'_anner of speech, that the younger man experienced a sudden alarm.
  • 'Cost you too much? I don't understand you.'
  • They had turned into a broader thoroughfare, which, however, was littl_requented at this hour. Reardon, his hands thrust into the pockets of _habby overcoat and his head bent forward, went on at a slow pace, observan_f nothing. For a moment or two he delayed reply, then said in an unstead_oice:
  • 'Your way of talking has always been to glorify success, to insist upon it a_he one end a man ought to keep in view. If you had talked so to me alone, i_ouldn't have mattered. But there was generally someone else present. You_ords had their effect; I can see that now. It's very much owing to you that _m deserted, now that there's no hope of my ever succeeding.'
  • Jasper's first impulse was to meet this accusation with indignant denial, bu_ sense of compassion prevailed. It was so painful to see the defeated ma_andering at night near the house where his wife and child were comfortabl_heltered; and the tone in which he spoke revealed such profound misery.
  • 'That's a most astonishing thing to say,' Jasper replied. 'Of course I kno_othing of what has passed between you and your wife, but I feel certain tha_ have no more to do with what has happened than any other of you_cquaintances.'
  • 'You may feel as certain as you will, but your words and your example hav_nfluenced my wife against me. You didn't intend that; I don't suppose it fo_ moment. It's my misfortune, that's all.'
  • 'That I intended nothing of the kind, you need hardly say, I should think. Bu_ou are deceiving yourself in the strangest way. I'm afraid to speak plainly; I'm afraid of offending you. But can you recall something that I said abou_he time of your marriage? You didn't like it then, and certainly it won't b_leasant to you to remember it now. If you mean that your wife has grow_nkind to you because you are unfortunate, there's no need to examine int_ther people's influence for an explanation of that.'
  • Reardon turned his face towards the speaker.
  • 'Then you have always regarded my wife as a woman likely to fail me in time o_eed?'
  • 'I don't care to answer a question put in that way. If we are no longer t_alk with the old friendliness, it's far better we shouldn't discuss thing_uch as this.'
  • 'Well, practically you have answered. Of course I remember those words o_ours that you refer to. Whether you were right or wrong doesn't affect what _ay.'
  • He spoke with a dull doggedness, as though mental fatigue did not allow him t_ay more.
  • 'It's impossible to argue against such a charge,' said Milvain. 'I a_onvinced it isn't true, and that's all I can answer. But perhaps you thin_his extraordinary influence of mine is still being used against you?'
  • 'I know nothing about it,' Reardon replied, in the same unmodulated voice.
  • 'Well, as I have told you, this was my first visit to Mrs Yule's since you_ife has been there, and I didn't see her; she isn't very well, and keeps he_oom. I'm glad it happened so—that I didn't meet her. Henceforth I shall kee_way from the family altogether, so long, at all events, as your wife remain_ith them. Of course I shan't tell anyone why; that would be impossible. Bu_ou shan't have to fear that I am decrying you. By Jove! an amiable figure yo_ake of me!'
  • 'I have said what I didn't wish to say, and what I oughtn't to have said. Yo_ust misunderstand me; I can't help it.'
  • Reardon had been walking for hours, and was, in truth, exhausted.
  • He became mute. Jasper, whose misrepresentation was wilful, though no_aliciously so, also fell into silence; he did not believe that hi_onversations with Amy had seriously affected the course of events, but h_new that he had often said things to her in private which would scarcely hav_allen from his lips if her husband had been present—little depreciator_hrases, wrong rather in tone than in terms, which came of his irresistibl_esire to assume superiority whenever it was possible. He, too, was weak, bu_ith quite another kind of weakness than Reardon's. His was the weakness o_anity, which sometimes leads a man to commit treacheries of which he woul_elieve himself incapable. Self-accused, he took refuge in the pretence o_isconception, which again was a betrayal of littleness.
  • They drew near to Westbourne Park station.
  • 'You are living a long way from here,' Jasper said, coldly. 'Are you going b_rain?'
  • 'No. You said my wife was ill?'
  • 'Oh, not ill. At least, I didn't understand that it was anything serious. Wh_on't you walk back to the house?'
  • 'I must judge of my own affairs.'
  • 'True; I beg your pardon. I take the train here, so I'll say good-night.'
  • They nodded to each other, but did not shake hands.
  • A day or two later, Milvain wrote to Mrs Yule, and told her that he had see_eardon; he did not describe the circumstances under which the interview ha_aken place, but gave it as his opinion that Reardon was in a state of nervou_llness, and made by suffering quite unlike himself. That he might be on th_ay to positive mental disease seemed likely enough. 'Unhappily, I myself ca_e of no use to him; he has not the same friendly feeling for me as he used t_ave. But it is very certain that those of his friends who have the powe_hould exert themselves to raise him out of this fearful slough of despond. I_e isn't effectually helped, there's no saying what may happen. One thing i_ertain, I think: he is past helping himself. Sane literary work cannot b_xpected from him. It seems a monstrous thing that so good a fellow, and on_ith such excellent brains too, should perish by the way when influentia_eople would have no difficulty in restoring him to health and usefulness.'
  • All the months of summer went by. Jasper kept his word, and never visited Mr_ule's house; but once in July he met that lady at the Carters', and hear_hen, what he knew from other sources, that the position of things wa_nchanged. In August, Mrs Yule spent a fortnight at the seaside, and Am_ccompanied her. Milvain and his sisters accepted an invitation to visi_riends at Wattleborough, and were out of town about three weeks, the last te_ays being passed in the Isle of Wight; it was an extravagant holiday, bu_ora had been ailing, and her brother declared that they would all work bette_or the change. Alfred Yule, with his wife and daughter, rusticated somewher_n Kent. Dora and Marian exchanged letters, and here is a passage from on_ritten by the former:
  • 'Jasper has shown himself in an unusually amiable light since we left town. _ooked forward to this holiday with some misgivings, as I know by experienc_hat it doesn't do for him and us to be too much together; he gets tired o_ur company, and then his selfishness—believe me, he has a good deal o_t—comes out in a way we don't appreciate. But I have never known him s_orbearing. To me he is particularly kind, on account of my headaches an_eneral shakiness. It isn't impossible that this young man, if all goes wel_ith him, may turn out far better than Maud and I ever expected. But thing_ill have to go very well, if the improvement is to be permanent. I only hop_e may make a lot of money before long. If this sounds rather gross to you, _an only say that Jasper's moral nature will never be safe as long as he i_xposed to the risks of poverty. There are such people, you know. As a poo_an, I wouldn't trust him out of my sight; with money, he will be a tolerabl_reature—as men go.'
  • Dora, no doubt, had her reasons for writing in this strain. She would not hav_ade such remarks in conversation with her friend, but took the opportunity o_eing at a distance to communicate them in writing.
  • On their return, the two girls made good progress with the book they wer_anufacturing for Messrs Jolly and Monk, and early in October it was finished.
  • Dora was now writing little things for The English Girl, and Maud had begun t_eview an occasional novel for an illustrated paper. In spite of their poo_odgings, they had been brought into social relations with Mrs Boston Wrigh_nd a few of her friends; their position was understood, and in acceptin_nvitations they had no fear lest unwelcome people should pounce down upo_hem in their shabby little sitting-room. The younger sister cared little fo_ociety such as Jasper procured them; with Marian Yule for a companion sh_ould have been quite content to spend her evenings at home. But Maud relishe_he introduction to strangers. She was admired, and knew it. Prudence coul_ot restrain her from buying a handsomer dress than those she had brought fro_er country home, and it irked her sorely that she might not reconstruct al_er equipment to rival the appearance of well-to-do girls whom she studied an_nvied. Her disadvantages, for the present, were insuperable. She had no on_o chaperon her; she could not form intimacies because of her poverty. A rar_nvitation to luncheon, a permission to call at the sacred hour of small- talk—this was all she could hope for.
  • 'I advise you to possess your soul in patience,' Jasper said to her, as the_alked one day on the sea-shore. 'You are not to blame that you live withou_onventional protection, but it necessitates your being very careful. Thes_eople you are getting to know are not rigid about social observances, an_hey won't exactly despise you for poverty; all the same, their charit_ustn't be tested too severely. Be very quiet for the present; let it be see_hat you understand that your position isn't quite regular—I mean, of course, do so in a modest and nice way. As soon as ever it's possible, we'll arrang_or you to live with someone who will preserve appearances. All this i_ontemptible, of course; but we belong to a contemptible society, and can'_elp ourselves. For Heaven's sake, don't spoil your chances by rashness; b_ontent to wait a little, till some more money comes in.'
  • Midway in October, about half-past eight one evening, Jasper received a_nexpected visit from Dora. He was in his sitting-room, smoking and reading _ovel.
  • 'Anything wrong?' he asked, as his sister entered.
  • 'No; but I'm alone this evening, and I thought I would see if you were in.
  • 'Where's Maud, then?'
  • 'She went to see the Lanes this afternoon, and Mrs Lane invited her to go t_he Gaiety to-night; she said a friend whom she had invited couldn't come, an_he ticket would be wasted. Maud went back to dine with them. She'll come hom_n a cab.'
  • 'Why is Mrs Lane so affectionate all at once? Take your things off; I hav_othing to do.'
  • 'Miss Radway was going as well.'
  • 'Who's Miss Radway?'
  • 'Don't you know her? She's staying with the Lanes. Maud says she writes fo_he West End.'
  • 'And will that fellow Lane be with them?'
  • 'I think not.'
  • Jasper mused, contemplating the bowl of his pipe.
  • 'I suppose she was in rare excitement?'
  • 'Pretty well. She has wanted to go to the Gaiety for a long time. There's n_arm, is there?'
  • Dora asked the question with that absent air which girls are wont to assum_hen they touch on doubtful subjects.
  • 'Harm, no. Idiocy and lively music, that's all. It's too late, or I'd hav_aken you, for the joke of the thing. Confound it! she ought to have bette_resses.'
  • 'Oh, she looked very nice, in that best.'
  • 'Pooh! But I don't care for her to be running about with the Lanes. Lane i_oo big a blackguard; it reflects upon his wife to a certain extent.'
  • They gossiped for half an hour, then a tap at the door interrupted them; i_as the landlady.
  • 'Mr Whelpdale has called to see you, sir. I mentioned as Miss Milvain wa_ere, so he said he wouldn't come up unless you sent to ask him.'
  • Jasper smiled at Dora, and said in a low voice.
  • 'What do you say? Shall he come up? He can behave himself.'
  • 'Just as you please, Jasper.'
  • 'Ask him to come up, Mrs Thompson, please.'
  • Mr Whelpdale presented himself. He entered with much more ceremony than whe_ilvain was alone; on his visage was a grave respectfulness, his step wa_ight, his whole bearing expressed diffidence and pleasurable anticipation.
  • 'My younger sister, Whelpdale,' said Jasper, with subdued amusement.
  • The dealer in literary advice made a bow which did him no discredit, and bega_o speak in a low, reverential tone not at all disagreeable to the ear. Hi_reeding, in truth, had been that of a gentleman, and it was only of lat_ears that he had fallen into the hungry region of New Grub Street.
  • 'How's the "Manual" going off?' Milvain inquired.
  • 'Excellently! We have sold nearly six hundred.'
  • 'My sister is one of your readers. I believe she has studied the book wit_uch conscientiousness.'
  • 'Really? You have really read it, Miss Milvain?'
  • Dora assured him that she had, and his delight knew no bounds.
  • 'It isn't all rubbish, by any means,' said Jasper, graciously. 'In the chapte_n writing for magazines, there are one or two very good hints. What a pit_ou can't apply your own advice, Whelpdale!'
  • 'Now that's horribly unkind of you!' protested the other. 'You might hav_pared me this evening. But unfortunately it's quite true, Miss Milvain. _oint the way, but I haven't been able to travel it myself. You mustn't thin_ have never succeeded in getting things published; but I can't keep it up a_ profession.
  • Your brother is the successful man. A marvellous facility! I envy him. Few me_t present writing have such talent.'
  • 'Please don't make him more conceited than he naturally is,' interposed Dora.
  • 'What news of Biffen?' asked Jasper, presently.
  • 'He says he shall finish "Mr Bailey, Grocer," in about a month. He read me on_f the later chapters the other night. It's really very fine; most remarkabl_riting, it seems to me. It will be scandalous if he can't get it published; it will, indeed.'
  • 'I do hope he may!' said Dora, laughing. 'I have heard so much of "Mr Bailey,"
  • that it will be a great disappointment if I am never to read it.'
  • 'I'm afraid it would give you very little pleasure,' Whelpdale replied, hesitatingly. 'The matter is so very gross.'
  • 'And the hero grocer!' shouted Jasper, mirthfully. 'Oh, but it's quite decent; only rather depressing. The decently ignoble—or, the ignobly decent? Which i_iffen's formula? I saw him a week ago, and he looked hungrier than ever.'
  • 'Ah, but poor Reardon! I passed him at King's Cross not long ago.
  • He didn't see me—walks with his eyes on the ground always—and I hadn't th_ourage to stop him. He's the ghost of his old self He can't live long.'
  • Dora and her brother exchanged a glance. It was a long time since Jasper ha_poken to his sisters about the Reardons; nowadays he seldom heard either o_usband or wife.
  • The conversation that went on was so agreeable to Whelpdale, that he los_onsciousness of time. It was past eleven o'clock when Jasper felt obliged t_emind him.
  • 'Dora, I think I must be taking you home.'
  • The visitor at once made ready for departure, and his leave-taking was a_espectful as his entrance had been. Though he might not say what he thought, there was very legible upon his countenance a hope that he would again b_rivileged to meet Miss Dora Milvain.
  • 'Not a bad fellow, in his way,' said Jasper, when Dora and he were alon_gain.
  • 'Not at all.'
  • She had heard the story of Whelpdale's hapless wooing half a year ago, and he_ecollection of it explained the smile with which she spoke.
  • 'Never get on, I'm afraid,' Jasper pursued. 'He has his allowance of twent_ounds a year, and makes perhaps fifty or sixty more. If I were in hi_osition, I should go in for some kind of regular business; he has people wh_ould help him. Good-natured fellow; but what's the use of that if you've n_oney?'
  • They set out together, and walked to the girls' lodgings. Dora was about t_se her latch-key, but Jasper checked her. 'No. There's a light in the kitche_till; better knock, as we're so late.'
  • 'But why?'
  • 'Never mind; do as I tell you.'
  • The landlady admitted them, and Jasper spoke a word or two with her, explaining that he would wait until his elder sister's return; the darkness o_he second-floor windows had shown that Maud was not yet back.
  • 'What strange fancies you have!' remarked Dora, when they were upstairs.
  • 'So have people in general, unfortunately.'
  • A letter lay on the table. It was addressed to Maud, and Dora recognised th_andwriting as that of a Wattleborough friend.
  • 'There must be some news here,' she said. 'Mrs Haynes wouldn't write unles_he had something special to say.
  • Just upon midnight, a cab drew up before the house. Dora ran down to open th_oor to her sister, who came in with very bright eyes and more colour tha_sual on her cheeks.
  • 'How late for you to be here!' she exclaimed, on entering the sitting-room an_eeing Jasper.
  • 'I shouldn't have felt comfortable till I knew that you were back all right.'
  • 'What fear was there?'
  • She threw off her wraps, laughing.
  • 'Well, have you enjoyed yourself?'
  • 'Oh yes!' she replied, carelessly. 'This letter for me? What has Mrs Hayne_ot to say, I wonder?'
  • She opened the envelope, and began to glance hurriedly over the sheet o_aper. Then her face changed.
  • 'What do you think? Mr Yule is dead!'
  • Dora uttered an exclamation; Jasper displayed the keenest interest.
  • 'He died yesterday—no, it would be the day before yesterday. He had a fit o_ome kind at a public meeting, was taken to the hospital because it wa_earest, and died in a few hours. So that has come, at last! Now what'll b_he result of it, I wonder?'
  • 'When shall you be seeing Marian?' asked her brother.
  • 'She might come to-morrow evening.'
  • 'But won't she go to the funeral?' suggested Dora.
  • 'Perhaps; there's no saying. I suppose her father will, at all events. The da_efore yesterday? Then the funeral will be on Saturday, I should think.'
  • 'Ought I to write to Marian?' asked Dora.
  • 'No; I wouldn't,' was Jasper's reply. 'Better wait till she lets you hear.
  • That's sure to be soon. She may have gone to Wattleborough this afternoon, o_e going to-morrow morning.'
  • The letter from Mrs Haynes was passed from hand to hand. 'Everybody feel_ure,' it said, 'that a great deal of his money will be left for publi_urposes. The ground for the park being already purchased, he is sure to hav_ade provision for carrying out his plans connected with it. But I hope you_riends in London may benefit.'
  • It was some time before Jasper could put an end to the speculativ_onversation and betake himself homewards. And even on getting back to hi_odgings he was little disposed to go to bed. This event of John Yule's deat_ad been constantly in his mind, but there was always a fear that it might no_appen for long enough; the sudden announcement excited him almost as much a_f he were a relative of the deceased.
  • 'Confound his public purposes!' was the thought upon which he at length slept.