Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life (Version 2) | Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell | Sound Book | 6/9

chapter 19 of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell this LibriVox recording is in the public domain Jim Wilson arrested on suspicion deeds to be hid which were not hid which all confused I could not know whether I suffered or I did for all seemed guilt remorse or whoa Coleridge I left Mary on that same Thursday night which left its burden of Warwick mr. Carson's threshold haunted with depressing thoughts all through the night she tossed restlessly about trying to get quits of the ideas that harassed her and longing for the light when she could rise and find some employment but just as dawn began to appear she became more quiet and fell into a sound heavy sleep which lasted till she was sure it was late in the morning by the full light that shone in she dressed hastily and heard the neighbouring church clock strike eight it was far too late to do as she had planned after inquiring how Alice was to return and tell Margaret and she accordingly went in to inform the latter of her change of purpose and the cause of it but on entering the house she found Jobe sitting alone looking sad enough she told him what she came for Margaret wench why she's been gone to Wilson's these two hours I sure you did say last night you would go but she couldn't arrest in her bed so was off betimes this morning Mary could do nothing but feel guilty of her long morning nap and hastened to follow Margaret's steps for late as it was she felt she could not settle well to her work unless she learned how kind good Alice Wilson was going on so eating her crust of bread breakfast she passed rapidly along the streets she remembered afterwards the little groups of people she had seen eagerly hearing and imparting news but at the time her only care was to hasten on her way in dread of a reprimand from Miss Simmons she went into the house at Jane Wilson's her heart of the instant giving a strange knock and sending the rosy flush into her face at the thought that Jen might possibly be inside the door but I do assure you she had not thought of it before impatient and loving as she was her solicitude about Alice on that horrid morning had not been mingled with any thought of him her heart need not have leaked her color need not have rushed so painfully to her cheeks but he was not there there was the round table with a cup and saucer which had evidently been used and there was Jane Wilson sitting on the other side crying quietly while she ate her breakfast with a sort of unconscious appetite and there was mrs. Davenport washing away at a nightcap or so which by their simple old-world make merry newer to glance were Alice's but nothing no one else Alice was much the same or rather better of the two they told her at any rate she could speak though it was sad rambling talk would Mary like to see her of course she would many are interested by seeing their friends under the new aspect of illness and among the poor there is no wholesome fear of injury or excitement to restrain this wish so Mary went upstairs accompanied by mrs. Davenport wringing the suits off her hands and speaking in a loud whisper far more audible than a usual voice and B hastening home but I'll come again tonight time enough to own a cup would be a sin and a shame if we let her go dirty no she's ill when she's been Sorel and clean all the life long but she sadly forsaken poor thing she'll not know you Mary she knows none on us the room upstairs held two beds one superior in the grandeur of four posts and checked curtains to the other which had been occupied by the twins in their brief lifetime the smaller had been Alice's bed since she had lived there but with the natural reverence to one stricken of God and afflicted she had been installed since her paralytic stroke the evening before in the larger and grander bed while Jane Wilson had taken her short broken rest on the little pallet Margaret came forwards to meet her friend whom she have expected and whose steps she knew mrs. Davenport returned to her washing the two girls did not speak the presence of Alice awed them into silence there she lay with the rosy color absent from her face since the days of childhood flushed once more into it by her sickness nigh unto death she lay on the affected side and with her other arm she was constantly sawing the air not exactly in a restless manner but in a monotonous incessant way barely trying to a watcher she was talking away to almost as constantly in a low indistinct tone but her face her profile countenance looked calm and smiling even interested by the ideas that were passing through her clouded mind listen said Margaret as she stooped her head down to catch the muttered words more distinctly what when mothers say the bees are turning onward forth last time and with a terrible long bit to go yet see is al in its nest in this gauze bush then bird is on it look at her bright eyes she won't stir I women Ariane won't mother be pleased with the bonny lot of Heather we've got may case Sally maybe we shall have cockles for supper a soft cockle man's donkey turn up our way for outside Margaret touched Mary's hand and the pressure in return told her that they understood each other that they knew how in this illness to the old world weary woman God had sent her a veiled blessing she was once more in the scenes of her childhood unchanged and bright as in those long departed days once more with the sister of her youth the Playmate of fifty years ago who had for nearly as many years slept in a grassy grave in the little churchyard beyond burden Alice's face changed she looked sorrowful almost penitent Oh Sally I wish we told her she thinks we're in church all morning and we've gone on deceiving her if we told her at first how it was our sweet thought on smelled through the open church door and oh we were on flus bench in the Isle and now it were the first butterfly we'd seen this spring and how it flew into the very church it's Oh mother is so gentle I wish we'd told her I'll go to her next time she comes inside and say mother we were naughty la Sabbath she stopped and a few tears came stealing down the old withered cheek at the thought of the temptation and deceit of her childhood surely many sins could not have darkened that innocent childlike spirit since mary found a red spotted pocket-handkerchief and put it into the hand which sought about for something to wipe away the trickling tears she took it with a gentle murmur thank you mother barely pulled Margaret away from the bed don't you think she's happy Margaret I better do bless her she feels no pain and knows note of a presence stayed all that I could see Mary I try and be patient with her for me but I'd give odd I have to see her and see what she wants I'm so useless I mean to stay here as long as Jane Wilson is alone and I would fain be here all tonight but how come said Mary decidedly mrs. Davenport said she'd come again but she's hard worked all day I'll come repeated Mary do said Margaret and Albia till you come maybe Gemma knew could take the night between you and Jane Wilson might get a bit of sone sleep in his bed for she were opened down the better part of last night and just when she were in a sound sleep this morning between 2:00 and 3:00 Jem came home and sounder his voice rose during a minute where had he been till that time a night asked Mary nay we're not in my business and indeed I never saw him till he came in here to see Alice he went in again this morning and seemed sadly downcast but you'll maybe managed to comfort him tonight Mary said Margaret smiling while a ray of hope glimmered in Mary's heart and she almost felt glad for an instant of the occasion which would at last bring them together or happy night when would it come many hours had yet to pass then she saw Alice and repented with a bitter self-reproach but she could not help having gladness in the depths of her heart blame herself as she would so she tried not to think as she hurried along to miss Simmons with a dancing step of lightness she was late that she knew she should be miss Simmons was vexed and cross that also she had anticipated but she had intended to smooth her Raven down by extraordinary diligence and attention but there was something about the girl she did not understand had not anticipated they stopped talking when she came in or rather I should say stopped listening for Sally Ledbetter was the talker to whom they were harkening with intense attention at first they I'd Mary as if she had acquired some new interest to them since the day before then they began to whisper and absorbed as Mary had been in her own thoughts she could not help becoming aware that it was of her they spoke at last Sally led bitterest Mary if she had heard the news No what news answered she the girls looked at each other with gloomy mystery Sally went on I mean I heard that young mr. Carson was murdered last night Mary's lips could not utter a negative but no one who looked at her pale and terror stricken face could have doubted that she had not heard before of the fearful occurrence oh it is terrible that sudden information that one you have known has met with a bloody death you seem to shrink from the world where such deeds can be committed and to grow sick with the idea of the violent and wicked men of the earth much as Mary had learned to dread him lately now he was dead and dead in such a manner her feeling was that of oppressive sorrow for him the room went round and round and she felt as though she should faint but miss Simmons came in bringing a waft of fresher air as she opened the door to refresh the body and the certainty of a scolding for inattention to brace the sinking mind she too was full of the mornings news have you heard any more of this horrid affair miss Barton as she as she settled to her work Mary tried to speak at first she could not and when she succeeded in uttering a sentence it seemed as though it were not her own voice that spoke no mom I never heard of it till this minute dear that's strange for everyone is up about it I hope the murder will be found out that I do such a handsome young man to be killed as he was I hope the wretch that did it may be hanged as high as harm on one of the girls reminded them that the Assizes came on next week I replied miss Simmons and the milkman told me they will catch the wretch and have him tried and hung in less than a week serve him right whoever he is such a handsome young man as he was then each began to communicate to miss Simmons the various reports they had heard suddenly she burst out miss Barton as I live dropping tears on that new silk gown of mrs. Hawks don't you know they will stain and make it shabby forever crying like a baby because a handsome young man meets with an untimely end for shame of yourself miss mind your character and your work if you please or if you must cry seeing her scolding rather increase the flow of Mary's tears than otherwise take this print to cry over that won't be marked like this beautiful silk rubbing it as if she loved it with a clean pocket handkerchief in order to soften the edges of the hard round drops Mary took the print and naturally enough having had leave given her to cry over it rather checked the inclination to weep everybody was full of the one subject the girl sent out to match silk came back with the account gathered at the shop of the coroner's inquest then sitting the ladies who called to speak about gowns first began about the murder and mingled details of that with directions for their dresses Mary felt as though the haunting horror were a nightmare a fearful dream from which awakening would relieve her the picture of the murdered body far more ghastly than the reality seemed to swim in the air before her eyes Sally Ledbetter looked and spoke of her almost accusingly and made no secret now of Mary's conduct more blamable to her fellow book women for its latter changeable nough Stanford its former giddy flirting poor young gentlemen said one as Sally recounted Mary's last interview with mr. Carson what a shame exclaimed another looking indignantly at Mary that's what I call regular jilting said a third and he'll I'm cold and bloody in his coffin now Mary was more thankful than she could express when Miss Simmons returned to put a stop to Sully's communications and to check the remarks of the girls she longed for the Peace of Alice's sick room no more thinking with infinite delight of her anticipated meeting with Jem she felt too much shocked for that now but longing for peace and kindness for the images of rest and beauty and sinless times long ago which the poor old woman's rambling presented she wished to be as near to death as Alice and to have struggled through this world whose suffering she had early learnt and whose crimes now seemed pressing close upon her old texts from the Bible that her mother used to read or rather spell out aloud in the days of childhood came up to her memory where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary air at rest the tears shall be wiped away from all eyes etc and it was to that world Alice was hastening oh that she were Alice I must return to the Wilson's house which was far from being the abode of peace that Mary was picturing it to herself you remember the reward mr. Carson offered for the apprehension of the murderer of his son it was in itself a temptation and to aid its efficacy came the natural sympathy for the aged parents mourning for their child for the young man cut off in the flower of his days and besides this there is always a pleasure in unraveling a mystery in catching at the gossamer clue which will guide to certainty this feeling I am sure gives much impetus to the police their senses are ever and always on the key weave and they enjoy the collecting and collating evidence and the life of adventure they experience a continual unwinding of Jack romances always interesting to the vulgar and uneducated mind to which the outward signs and tokens of crime are ever exciting there was no lack of clue or evidence at the coroner's inquest that morning the shot the finding of the body the subsequent discovery of the gun were rapidly deposed – and then the policeman who had interrupted the quarrel between Jem Wilson and the murdered young man was brought forward and gave his evidence clear simple and straightforward the coroner had no hesitation the jury had none but the verdict was cautiously worded wilful murder against some person unknown this very cautiousness when he deemed the thing so sure as to require no caution irritated mr. Carson it did not soothe him that the superintendent called the verdict a mere forum exhibited a warrant empowering him to seize the body of Jem Wilson committed on suspicion declared his intention of employing a well known officer in the detective service to ascertain the ownership of the gun and to collect other evidence especially as regarded the young woman about whom the policeman deposed that the quarrel had taken place mr. Carson was still excited and irritable Restless in body and mind he made every preparation for the accusation of Jem the following morning before the magistrates he engaged attorneys skilled in criminal practice to watch the case and prepare briefs he wrote to celebrated barristers coming the northern circuit to be speak their services a speedy conviction a speedy execution seemed to be the only things that would satisfy his craving thirst for blood he would have fame being policeman magistrate fusing speaker all but most of all the judge rising with full sentence of death on his lips that afternoon as Jane Wilson had begun to feel the effect of a night's disturbed rest evinced in frequent droppings off to sleep while she sat by her sister-in-laws bedside lulled by the incessant crooning of the invalids feeble voice she was startled by a man speaking in the house place below who we read of knocking at the door without obtaining any answer had entered and was calling lustily for mrs. mrs. when mrs. Wilson caught a glimpse of the intruder through the stair rails she saw at once he was a stranger a working man it might be a fellow laborer with her son for his dress was grimy enough for the supposition he held a gun in his hand may I make so bold to ask if this gun belongs to your son she first looked at the man and then weary and half-asleep not seeing any reason for refusing to answer the inquiry she moved forward to examine it talking while she looked for certain old-fashioned ornaments on the stock it looks like his eyes his sure enough I could speak to it anywhere by these marks you see where his grandfather's as were gamekeeper to someone up in north and they don't make guns so smart nowadays but how come do you buy it he sets great store on it is he bound for shooting gallery he is not for sure now his aunt his soil and me left all alone and the immediate cause for her anxiety being thus recalled to her mind she entered on a long story of Alice's illness interspersed with recollections of her husband's and her children's deaths the disguised policeman listened for a minute or two to glean any further information he could and then saying he was in a hurry he turned to go away she followed him to the door still telling him her troubles and was never struck until it was too late to ask the reason with the unaccountable nosov his conduct in carrying the gun away with him then as she heavily climbed the stairs she put away the Wonder and the thought about his conduct by determining to believe he was some workmen with whom her son had made some arrangement about shooting at the gallery or mending the old weapon or something or other she had enough to fret her without more during herself about old guns jem had given it him to bring to her so it was safe enough or if it was not why she should be glad never to set eyes on it again for she could not abide firearms they were so out to shoot people so comforting herself for her want of thought in not making further inquiry she fell off into another doze feverish dream haunted and unrefreshing meanwhile the police walked off with his prize with an odd mixture of feelings a little contempt a little disappointment and a good deal of pity the contempt and the disappointment were caused by the widows easy admission of the gun being her son's property and her manner of identifying it by the ornaments he liked an attempt to baffle him he was accustomed to it gave some exercise to his wits and his shrewdness there would be no fun in fox hunting if Reynard yielded himself up without any effort to escape then again his mother's milk was yet in him policemen officer of the detective service though he was and he felt sorry for the old woman whose softness had given such material assistance in identifying her son as the murderer however he conveyed the gun and the intelligence he had gained to the superintendent and the result was that in a short time afterwards three policemen went to the works at which gem was Foreman and announced their errand to the astonished overseer who directed them to the part of the foundry where gem was then superintending a casting dark black with the walls the ground the faces around them as they crossed the yard but in the furnace house a deep and lurid red glared over all the furnace roared with mighty flame the men like demons in their fire and soot coloring stood Swart around awaiting the moment when the tons of solid iron should have melted down into fiery liquid fit to be poured with still heavy sound into the delicate molding a fine black sand prepared to receive it the heat was intense and the red glare grew every instant more fierce the policeman stood odd with the novel sight then black figures holding strange shaped bucket shovels came athwart the deep red furnace light and clear and brilliant flowed forth the iron into the appropriate mould the buzz of voices rose again there was time to speak and gasp and wipe the brows and then one by one the men dispersed to some other branch of their employment number b72 pointed out gem as the man he had seen engaged in a scuffle with mr. Carson and then the other two stepped forward and arrested him stating of what he was accused and the grounds of the accusation he offered no resistance though he seemed surprised but calling a fellow workman to him he briefly requested him to tell his mother he had got into trouble and could not return home at present he did not wish her to hear more at first so mrs. Wilson sleep was next interrupted in almost an exactly similar way to the last like a recurring nightmare mrs. mrs. someone called out from below again it was a workman but this time a blacker looking one than before what do you want said she peevishly only nothing but stammered the man a kind-hearted matter-of-fact person with no invention but a great deal of sympathy well speak out can't yaen had done with it gems in trouble said he repeating gems very words as he could think of no other's trouble said the mother in a high-pitched voice of distress trouble god help me trouble will never end I think what do you mean by trouble speak out man can't you is he ill my boy tell me is he ill in a horrid voice of terror now no that's not it he's well enough or he bade me say was tell mother I'm in trouble and can't come home tonight don't come home tonight and what am I to do with Alice I can't go on wearing my life up we watch him he might come and help me I tell you he can't said the man can't and he is well you say stuff it's just that he's getting lack of him young men and wants to go a Larkin but I'll give it him when he comes back the man turned to go he does not trust himself to speak in Jemez justification but she would not let him she stood between him and the door as she said you shall not go till you've told me what he's after I can see plain enough you know and I'll know too before I've done you know soon enough missus I'll know now I tell you what's up that he can't come home and help me nurse me has never got a wink of sleep last night we're watching well if you will have it out said the poor badgered man the police have got old on him on my gem said the enraged mother you're a downright liar and that's what you are my Gemma's never did answer anyone in his life your lair that's what you are he's done army enough now said the man angry in his turn for there's good evidence he murdered young Carson as was shot last night she staggered forward to strike the man for telling the terrible truth but the weakness of old age of motherly agony overcame her and she sank down on a chair and covered her face he could not leave her when next she spoke it was an imploring feeble childlike voice Oh master say you're only joking I actually pardon if I have vexed you but please say you're only joking you don't know what gem is to me she looked humbly anxiously up at him but we shall we were only joking missus but it's true as I say they've taken him up on charge a murder it were his gun as we found this place and one of the police heard him quarreling with mr. Carson a few days back about a girl about a girl broke in the mother once more indignant though too feeble to show it as before my gem was as steady as she hesitated for a comparison wherewith to finish and then repeated steady is Lucifer and he were an angel you know my Jim was not one to quarrel about a girl I but it was that though they got a name quite Pat the man had heard all they said Mary Barton was a name whoever she may be any part and the dirty hussy to bring my gem into trouble of this kind I'll give it her well when I see her that I will oh my poor gem cocking herself to and fro and what about the gun what did you say about that his gun were found on the spot where the murder were done that's a lie for one then a man has got the gun now safe and sound I saw it not an hour ago the man shook his head yes he has indeed a friend of gems as he'd lent it to did you know the chap asked the man who was really anxious for gems exculpation and caught a gleam of Hope from her last speech no I can't say as I did but he you were put on as a workman it may be only one of them policeman disguised Nady gofer to do that and trick me into telling on my own son it would be like saving a kid in its mother's milk and that Bible forbids I don't know replied the man soon afterwards he went away feeling unable to comfort yet distressed at the sight of sorrow she would fain have detained him but go he would and she was alone she never for an instant believed gem guilty she would have doubted if the Sun were fire first but sorrow desolation and at times anger took possession of her mind she told the unconscious Alice hoping to rouse her to sympathy and then was disappointed because still smiling and calm she murmured of her mother and the happy days of infancy end of chapter 19 read by Tony Foster chapter 20 of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell this LibriVox recording is in the public domain Mary's dream and the awakening I saw West Arkan cold he lay beneath the gallows-tree and everyone did point and say it was there he died for thee Oh weeping heart Oh bleeding heart what boots thy pity now bid from his eyes that shade depart that death damp from his brow the Bertil tragedy so there was no more peace in the house of sickness except to Alice the dying Alice but Mary knew nothing of the afternoon's occurrences and gladly did she breathe in the fresh air as she left miss Simmons house to hasten to the Wilsons the very change from the indoor to the outdoor atmosphere seemed to alter the currents of her thoughts she thought less of the dreadful subject which had so haunted her all day she cared less for the upbraiding speeches of her fellow work women the old association of comfort and sympathy received from Alice gave her the idea that even now her bodily presence would soothe and compose those who were in trouble changed unconscious and absent though her spirit might be then again she reproached herself a little for the feeling of pleasure she experienced in thinking that he whom she dreaded could never more beset her path in the security with which she could pass each street corner each shop where he used to lie in ambush Oh beating hard was there no other little thought of joy lurking within to gladden the very air without was she not going to meet to see to hear gem and could they fail at last to understand each other's loving hearts she softly lifted the latch with the privilege of friendship he was not there but his mother was standing by the fire stirring some little mess or other never mind he would come soon and with an unmixed desire to do her grateful duty to all belonging to him she stepped lightly forwards unheard by the old lady who was partly occupied by the simmering bubbling sound of her bit of cookery but more with her own sad thoughts and wailing half uttered murmurings Mary took off bonnet and shawl with speed and advancing made mrs. will and conscious of her presence by saying let me do that for you I'm sure human be tired mrs. Wilson slowly turned round and her eyes gleamed like those of a pent-up wild beast as she recognized her visitor and is it de that dare set foot in this house after what has come to pass is it not enough to have robbed me of my boy with their arts and they profligacy but that must come here to crew over me me his mother just that I know where he is thou bad hussy with the great blue eyes and yellow hair to lead men on to ruin out upon thee with thy angels face thou whited Sepulchre just a nowhere gem is all through thee no quivered out Palmieri scarcely conscious that she spoke so daunted so terrified was she by the indignant mothers greeting he's lying in new Bailey slowly and distinctly spoke the mother watching the effect of her words as if believing in their infinite power to pain daily lies waiting to take his trial for murdering young mr. Carson there was no answer but such a blanched face such wild distended eyes such trembling limbs instinctively seeking support did you know mr. Carson as now lies dead continued the merciless woman Volk say you did and knew him but too well and for that sake of such as you my precious child shot young chap but he did not I know he did not they may hang him but his mother will speak to his innocence with her last dying breath she stopped more from exhaustion and want of words Mary spoke but in so changed and choked a voice that the old woman almost started it seemed as if some third person must be in the room the voice was so hoarse and strange please say it again I don't quite understand you what is Jem Don please to tell me I never said he had done it I said and I'll swear that he never did do it I don't care who word and quarrel or if it is his gun as well near the body it's not my own Gemma's would go for to kill any man choose how a girl had jilted him my own good gem as was a blessing sent upon the house where he was born tears came into the mother's burning eyes as her heart recurred to the days when she had rocked the cradle of her firstborn and then rapidly passing over events till the full consciousness of the present situation came upon her and perhaps annoyed at having shown any softness of character in the presence of the Delilah who had lured him to his danger she spoke again and in a sharper tone I told him and told him to leave off thinking on thee but he wouldn't be led by me the wench they were not good enough to wipe the dust off his feet a vile flirting queen as thou art it's well their mother does not know poor body what a good-for-nothing thou art mother all mother said Mary as if appealing to the merciful dead but I was not good enough for him I know I was not and it she in a voice of touching humility for through her heart went tolling the ominous prophetic words he had used when he had last spoken to her Mary you may be here of me as a drunkard and maybe as a thief and maybe as a murderer remember when all the speaking ill of me you will have no right to blame me but it's your cruelty that will have made me what I feel I shall become and she did not blame him though she doubted not his guilt she felt how madly she might act at once jealous of him and how much cause had she not given him for jealousy miserable guilty wretch that she was speak on desolate mother abuse her as you will her broken spirit feels to have merited all but her last humble self abased words had touched mrs. Wilson's heart sore as it was and she looked at the snow pale girl with those piteous eyes so hopeless of comfort and she relented in spite of herself now sees what comes of light conduct Mary it's that doing that suspicion has lighted on him who is his innocent as the babe unborn dolt have much to answer for if he's hung they'll tab my death two of their door harsh as these words seem she spoke them in a mild its own a voice than she had yet used but the idea of gem on the gallows gem dead took possession of Mary and she covered her eyes with her one hands as if indeed to shut out the fearful side she murmured some words which they'll spoke and low as if choked up from the depths of agony Jane Wilson caught my heart is breaking said she feebly my heart is breaking nonsense said mrs. Wilson don't talk in that silly way my heart has a better right to break than yours and yet I hold up you see but oh dear oh dear with a sudden revulsion of feeling as the reality of the danger in which her son was placed pressed upon her what am I saying how could I hold up if thou wert gone gem though I'm as sure as I stand here of thy innocence if they hang the my lad I will lie down and die she sobbed aloud with bitter consciousness of the fearful chance awaiting her child she cried more passionately still Mary roused herself up oh let me stay with you at any rate till we know the end dearest mrs. Wilson mayn't I stay the more obstinately and abrading lee mrs. Wilson refused the more Mary pleaded with ever the same soft and treating cry let me stay with you her stunned soul seemed to bound its wishes for the hour at least to remaining with one who loved and sorrowed for the same human being that she did but no mrs. Wilson was inflexible have maybe being a bit hard on you Mary I'll own that but I cannot abide you yet with me I cannot but remember it's your giddiness as has brought this woe I'll stay we Alice and perhaps mrs. Davenport may come help a bit I cannot put up with you about me goodnight tomorrow I may look on you different maybe goodnight and Mary turned out of the house which had been his home where he was loved and mourned for into the busy desolate crowded Street where they were crying Halfpenny broadsides giving an account of the bloody murder coroner's inquest and a raw head and bloody bones picture of the suspected murderer James Wilson but Mary heard not she heeded not she staggered on like one in a dream with hung head and tottering steps she instinctively chose the shortest cut to that home which was to her in her present state of mind only the hiding place of four walls where she might vent her agony unseen and unnoticed by the keen unkind world without but where no welcome no love no sympathizing tears awaited her as she neared that home within two minutes walk of it her impetuous course was arrested by a light touch on her arm and turning hastily she saw a little Italian boy with his humble Showbox a white mouse or some such thing the Setting Sun cast its red glow on his face otherwise the olive complexion would have been very pale and the glittering teardrops hung on the long curled eyelashes with his soft voice and pleading looks he uttered in his pretty broken English the words hungry so angry and as if to aid by gesture the effect of the solitary word he pointed to his mouth with its white quivering lips Mary answered him impatiently all that hunger is nothing nothing and she rapidly passed on but her heart upbraided her the next minute with her unrelenting speech and she hastily entered her door and seized the scanty remnant of food which the cupboard contained and retraced her steps to the place where the little hopeless stranger had sunk down by his mute companion in loneliness and starvation and was raining down tears as he spoke in some foreign tongue with low cries for the far distant mamma mia' with the elasticity of heart belonging to childhood he sprang up as he saw the food the girl brought she whose face lovely in its woe had tempted him first to address her and with the graceful courtesy of his country he looked up and smiled while he kissed her hand and then poured forth his fangs and shared her bounty with his pet companion she stood an instant diverted from the of her own grief by the sight of his infantine gladness and then bending down and kissing his smooth forehead she left him and sought to be alone with her agony once more she re-entered the house locked the door and tore off her bonnet as if greedy of every moment which took her from the full indulgence of painful despairing thought then she threw herself on the ground yes on the hard flag she threw her soft limbs down and the comb fell out of her hair and those bright tresses swept the dusty floor while she pillowed and hid her face on her arms and burst forth into hard suffocating sobs Oh doubt it seemed but a dreary dwelling place for thy poor child that night non to comfort non to pity and self-reproach knowing at her heart oh why did she ever listen to the tempter why did she ever give ear to her own suggestions and cravings after wealth and grandeur why had she thought it a fine thing to have a rich lover she she had deserved it all but he was the victim he the beloved she could not conjecture she could not even pause to think who had revealed or how he had discovered her acquaintance with Harry Carson it was but to clear some way or another he had learnt all and what would he think of her no hope of his love oh that she would give up and be content it was his life his precious life that was threatened and she tried to recall the particulars which when mrs. Wilson had given them had fallen but upon a deafened ear something about a gun a quarrel which she could not remember clearly oh how terrible to think of his crime his blood guiltiness he who had hitherto been so good so noble and now an assassin and then she shrank from him in thought and then with bitter remorse clone more closely to his image with passionate self upbraiding was it not she who had led him to the pit into which he had fallen was she to blame him she to judge him who could tell how maddened he might have been by jealousy how one moment's uncontrollable passion might have led him to be murderer and she had blamed him in her heart after his lust deprecating imploring prophetic speech then she burst out crying afresh and when weary of crying fell to thinking again the gallows the gallows Blackett stood against the burning light which dazzled her shut eyes press on them as she would oh she was going mad and for a while she lay outwardly still but with the pulses careering through her head with wild vehemence and then came a strange forgetfulness of the present in thought of the long pastimes of those days when she hid her face on her mother's pitying loving bosom and her tender words of comfort be her grief or her error what it might of those days when she had felt as if her mother's love was too mighty not to last forever of those days when hunger had been to her as to the Little Stranger she had that evening relieved something to be thought about and mourned over when gem and she had played together he with the condescension of an older child and she with unconscious earnestness believing that he was as much gratified with important trifles as she was when her father was a cheery hearted man rich in the love of his wife and the companionship of his friend when for it still worked round to that when mother was alive and he was not a murderer and then heaven blessed her unaware and she sank from remembering to wandering unconnected thought and thence to sleep yes it was sleep though in that strange posture on that hard cold bed and she dreamt of the happy times of long ago and her mother came to her and kissed her as she lay and once more the dead were alive again in that happy world of dreams all was restored to the gladness of childhood even to the little kitten which had been her playmate and bosom friend then and which had been long forgotten in her waking hours all the loved ones were there she's suddenly wakened clear and wide awake some noise had startled her from sleep she sat up and put her hair still wet with tears back from her flushed cheeks and listened at first she could only hear her beating heart all was still without that it was after midnight such hours of agony had passed away but the moon shone clearly in at the unshut 'red window making the room almost as light as day in its cold ghastly radiance there was a low knock at the door a strange feeling crept over Mary's heart as if something spiritual were near as if the dead so lately present in her dreams were yet gliding and hovering round her with their dim dread forms and yet why dread had they not loved her and who loved her now was she not lonely enough to welcome the spirits of the dead who had loved her while here if her mother had conscious being her love for her child injured so she quieted her fears and listened listened still Mary Mary open the door as a little movement on her part seemed to tell the being outside of her wakeful watchful they were the accents of her mother's voice the very South Country pronunciation that Mary was so well remembered and which she had sometimes tried to imitate when alone with the Fond mimicry of affection so without fear without hesitation she rose and unbarred the door there against the moonlight stood a form so closely resembling her dead mother that Mary never doubted the identity but exclaiming as if she were a terrified child secure of safety when near the protecting care of its parent Oh mother mother you come at last she threw herself or rather fell into the trembling arms of her long lost unrecognized aunt Esther end of chapter 20 read by Tony Foster chapter 21 of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell this LibriVox recording is in the public domain Esther's motive in seeking marry my rest is gone my heart is sore Pease find I never and Nevermore Margaret's song in Faust I must go back a little to explain the motives which caused Esther to seek an interview with her niece the murder had been committed early on thursday night and between then and the dawn of the following day there was ample time for the news to spread far and wide among all those whose duty or whose want or whose errors caused them to be abroad in the streets of Manchester among those who listened to the tale of violence was Esther a craving desire to know more took possession of her mind far away as she was from Turner Street she immediately set off to the scene of the murder which was faintly lighted by the gray Don as she reached the spot it was so quiet and still that she could hardly believe it to be the place the only vestige of any scuffle or violence was a trail on the dust as if somebody had been lying there and then been raised by extraneous force the little birds were beginning to hop and Twitter in the leafless hedge making the only sound that was near and distinct she crossed into the field where she guessed the murderer to have stood it was easy of access for the Warne stunted Hawthorn hedge had many gaps in it the night smell of bruised grass came up from under her feet as she went towards the sore pit and carpenter shed which as I have said before were in a corner of the field near the road and where one of her informants had told her it was supposed by the police that the murderer had lurked while waiting for his victim there was no sign however that anyone had been about the place if the grass had been bruised or bent where he had trod it had had enough of the elasticity of life to raise itself under the juhi influences of night she hushed her breath with involuntary or but nothing else told of the violent deed by which a fellow creature had passed away she stood still for a minute imagining to herself the position of the parties guided by the only circumstance which afforded any evidence the trailing mark on the dust in the road suddenly it was before the Sun had risen above the horizon she became aware of something white in the hedge all other colors wore the same murky hue though the forms of objects were perfectly distinct what was it it could not be a flower that the time of year made clear a frozen lump of snow lingering late in one of the Nile Tufts of the hedge she stepped forward to examine it proved to be a little piece of stiff writing paper compressed into a round shape she understood it instantly it was the paper that had served as wadding for the murderers gun then she had been standing just where the murderer must have been but a few hours before probably as the rumor had spread through the town reaching her is one of the poor mud and turnouts who hung about everywhere with black fierce looks as if contemplating some deed of violence her sympathy was all with them as she had known what they suffered and besides this there was her own individual dislike of mr. Carson and dread of him for Mary's sake yet Palmeri death was a terrible though sure remedy for the evil Esther had dreaded for her and how would she stand the shock loving as her aunt believed her to do poor Mary who would comfort her Esther's thoughts began to picture her sorrow her despair when the news of her lover's death should reach her and she longed to tell her there might have been a keener grief yet had he lived bright beautiful came the slanting rays of the Morning Sun it was time for such a she to hide themselves with the other obscene things of night from the glorious light of day which was only for the happy so she turned her steps towards town still holding the paper but in getting over the hedge it encumbered her to hold it in her clasp and as she threw it down she passed on a few steps her thoughts still of Mary till the idea crossed her mind could it blank as it appeared to be give any clue to the murderer as I said before her sympathies were all on that side so she turned back and picked it up and then feeling as if in some measure and accessory she hid it unexamined in her hand and hastily passed out of the street at the opposite end to that by which she had entered it and what do you think she felt when having walked some distance from the spot she dared to open the crushed paper and saw written on it Mary Barton's name and not only that but the street in which she lived true a letter or two was torn off but nevertheless there was the name clear to be recognized and oh what terrible thought flashed into her mind or was it only fancy but it looked very like the writing which she had once known well the writing of Jim Wilson who when she lived at her brother-in-law's and he was a near neighbor had often been employed by her to write her letters to people to whom she was ashamed of sending her own misspelled scrawl she remembered the wonderful flourishes she had so much admired in those days while she sat by dictating and gem in all the pride of newly acquired penmanship used to dazzle her eyes by extraordinary graces and twirls if it were his Oh perhaps it was merely that her head was running so on Mary that she was associating every trifle with her as if only one person wrote in that flourishing meandering style it was enough to fill her mind to think from what she might have saved merely by securing the paper she would look at it just once more and see if some very dense and stupid policeman could have mistaken the name or if Mary would certainly have been dragged in to notice in the affair no no one could have mistaken that Wray Barton and it was gems handwriting oh if it was so she understood it all and she had been the cause with her violence and unregulated nature rendered morbid by the course of life she led and her consciousness of her degradation she cursed herself for the interference which she believed had led to this for the information and the warning she had given to gem which had roused him into this murderous action how could she the abandoned and polluted outcast ever have dared to hope for a blessing even on her efforts to do good the black curse of heaven rested on all her doings were they for good or for evil poor diseased mind and there were non to minister to thee so she wandered about too Restless to take a usual heavy morning sleep up and down the streets greedily listening to every word of the passers-by and loitering near each group of stalkers anxious to scrape together every morsel of information or conjecture or suspicion though without possessing any definite purpose in all this and ever and always she clenched the scrap of paper which might betray so much until her nails had deeply indented the palm of her hand so fearful was Sheen her nervous dread lest unaware she should let it drop towards the middle of the day she could no longer evade the body's craving want of rest and refreshment but the rest was taken in a spirit vault and the refreshment was a glass of gin then she started up from the stupor she had taken for repose and suddenly driven before the gusty impulses of her mind she pushed her way to the place where at that very time the police were bringing the information they had gathered with regard to the all engrossing murder she listened with painful acuteness of comprehension to dropped words and unconnected sentences the meaning of which became clearer and yet more clear to her gem was suspected gem was ascertained to be the murderer she saw him although he absorbed in deep sad thought saw her not she saw him brought handcuffed and guarded out of the Co she saw him enter the station she gasped for breath till he came out still handcuffed and still guarded to be conveyed to the new bailey he was the only one who had spoken to her with hope that she might yet win her way back to virtue his words had lingered in her heart with a sort of call to heaven like distant Sabbath bells although in her despair she had turned away from his voice he was the only one who had spoken to her kindly the murder shocking though it was was an absent abstract thing on which her thoughts could not and would not dwell all that was present in her mind was gems danger and his kindness then Mary came to remembrance Esther wondered till she was sick of wondering in what way she was taking the affair in some manner it would be a terrible blow for the poor motherless girl with her dreadful father – who was – Esther a sort of accusing angel she set off towards the court where Mary lived to pick up what she could there of information but she was ashamed to enter in where once she had been innocent and hung about the neighbouring streets not daring to question so she learned but little nothing in fact but the knowledge of John Barton's absence from home she went up a dark entry to rest her weary limbs on a doorstep and think her elbows on her knees her face hidden in her hands she tried to gather together and arrange her thoughts but still every now and then she opened her hand to see if the paper were yet there she got up at last she had formed a plan and had a course of action to look forward to that would satisfy one craving desire at least the time was long gone by when there was much wisdom or consistency in her projects it was getting late and that was so much the better she went to a pawn shop and took off her finery in a back room she was known by the people and had a character for honesty so she had no very great difficulty in inducing them to let her have a suit of outer clothes befitting the wife of a working man a black silk bonnet a printed gown a plaid shawl dirty and rather worn to be sure but which had a sort of sanctity to the eyes of the streetwalker as being the appropriate garb of that happy class to which she could never never more belong she looked at herself in the little glass which hung against the wall and sadly shaking her head thought how easy were the duties of that Eden of innocence from which she was shut out how she would work and toil and starve and die if necessary for a husband a home for children but that thought she could not bear a little form rose up Stern in its innocence from the witch's cauldron of her imagination and she rushed into action again you know now how she came to stand by the threshold of Mary's door waiting trembling until the latch was lifted and her niece with words that spoke of such desolation among the living fell into her arms she had felt as if some holy spell would prevent her even as the unholy Lady Geraldine was prevented in the abode of Christabel from crossing the threshold of that home of her early innocence and she had meant to wait for an invitation but Mary's helpless action did away with all reluctant feeling and she bore or dragged her to a seat and looked on her bewildered eyes as puzzled with the likeness which was not identity she gazed on her aunt's features in pursuance of her plan Esther meant to assume the manners and character as she had done the dress of a mechanic's wife but then to account for her long absence and her long silence towards all that ought to have been dear to her it was necessary that she should put on an indifference far distant from her heart which was loving and yearning in spite of all its faults and perhaps she over acted her part for certainly Mary felt a kind of repugnance to the changed and altered aunt who so suddenly reappeared on the scene and it would have cut ester to the very core could she have known how her little darling of former days was feeling toward her you don't remember me I see Mary she begun it's a long while since I left you all to be sure and I many a time thought of coming to see you and your father that lives so far off and I'm always so busy I cannot do just what I wish you recollect Aunt Esther don't you Mary are you unhappy asked Mary faintly still looking at the face which was so different from the old recollections of her aunt's fresh dazzling beauty yes I am out Hetty oh it's so long since I heard that name sighing forth the thoughts it suggested then recovering herself and striving after the hard character she wished to assume she continued and today I heard a friend of yours and of mine too long ago was in trouble and I guessed you would be in sorrow so I thought I would just step this far and see you Mary's tears flowed afresh but she had no desire to open her heart to her strangely found aunt who had by her own confession kept aloof from and neglected them for so many years yet she tried to feel grateful for kindness however late from anyone and wished to be civil moreover she had a strong discipline ation to speak on the terrible subject uppermost in her mind so after a pause she said thank you I dare say you mean very kind have you had a long walk I'm so sorry said she rising with a sudden thought which was as suddenly checked by recollection but have nothing to eat in the house and I'm sure you must be hungry after you walk for Mary concluded that certainly her aunt's residence must be far away on the other side of the town out of sight or hearing but after all she did not think much about her her heart was so aching full of other things that all besides seemed like a dream she received feelings and impressions from her conversation with her aunt but did not could not put them together or think or argue about them and Esther how scanty had been her food for days and weeks her thinly covered bones and pale lips might tell but her words should never reveal so with a little unreal laugh she replied Oh Mary my dear don't talk about eating we've the best of everything and plenty of it for my husband is in good work I'd such a supper before I came out I couldn't touch a morsel if you had it a words shot a strange pang through Mary's heart she had always remembered her aunts loving and unselfish disposition how was it changed if living in plenty she had never thought it worthwhile to ask after her relations who were all but starving she shut up her heart instinctively against her aunt and all the time poor Esther was swallowing her sobs and overacting her part and controlling herself more than she had done for many a long day in order that her niece might not be shocked and revolted by the knowledge of what her aunt had become a prostitute an outcast for she longed to open her wretched wretched heart so hopeless so abandoned by all living things to one who had loved her once and yet she refrained from dread of the averted eye the altered voice the internal loathing which he feared such disclosure might create she would go straight to the subject of the day she could not tarry long for she felt unable to support the character she had assumed for any length of time they sat by the little round table facing each other the candle was placed right between them and Esther moved it in order to have a clearer view of Mary's face so that she might read her emotions and ascertain her interests then she began it's a bad business I'm afraid this of mr. Carson's murder Mary winced a little here Jim Wilson is taken up through it merely covered her eyes with her hands as if to shade them from the light and Esther herself less accustomed to self-command was getting too much agitated for calm observation of another I was taking a walk near Turner Street and I went to see the spot continued Esther and as luck would have it I spied this bit of paper in the hedge producing the precious piece still folded in her hand it has been used as wadding for the gun I reckon indeed that's clear enough from the shape it's crammed into I was sorry for the murderer whoever he might be I didn't then no of gems being suspected and I thought I would never leave a thing about as might help if ever so little to convict him the police are so cute about straws so I carried it a little way and then I opened it and saw your name Mary Mary took her hands away from her eyes and looked with surprise at her Anne's face as she uttered these words she was kind after all for was she not saving her from being summoned and from being questioned and examined a thing to be dreaded above all others as she felt sure that her own willing answers framed them how she might would add to the suspicions against Jim her aunt was indeed kind to think of what would spare her this Esther went on without noticing Mary's look the very action of speaking was so painful to her and so much interrupted by the hard raking little cough which had been her constant annoyance for months that she was too much engrossed by the physical difficulty of utterance to be a very close observer there could be no mistake if they had found it look at your name together with the very name of this court and in gems handwriting – or are much mistaken look marry and now she did watch her marry took the paper and flooded then suddenly stood stiff up with irrepressible movement as if petrified by some horror abruptly disclosed her face strong and rigid her lips compressed tight to keep down some rising exclamation she dropped on her seat as suddenly as if the braced muscles had in an instant given way but she spoke no word it is his handwriting isn't it assessed er though Mary's manner was almost confirmation enough you will not tell he never will tell demanded Mary in a tone so sternly earnest as almost to be threatening nay Mary said Esther rather reproachfully I'm not so bad as the head Oh Mary you cannot think I would do that whatever I may be that is sprang to her eyes at the idea that she was suspected of being one who would help to inform against an old friend Mary caught her sad and upbraiding look no I know you would not tell aunt I don't know what to say I'm so shocked but say you will not tell do know indeed I will not tell come up may Mary sat still looking at the writing and turning the paper round with careful examination trying to hope but her very fears be lying her hopes I thought you cared for the young man that's murdered observed Esther half aloud but feeling that she could not mistake this strange interest in the suspected murderer implied by Mary's eagerness to screen him from anything which might strengthen suspicion against him she had come desirous to know the extent of Mary's grief from mr. Carson and glad of the excuse afforded her by the important scrap of paper her remark about its being gems handwriting she had with this view of ascertaining Mary state of feeling felt to be most imprudent the instant after she uttered it but Mary zhang xue'er that she should not tell was too great and too decided to leave a doubt as to her interest for gem she grew more and more bewildered and her dizzy head refused to reason Mary never spoke she held the bit of paper firmly determined to retain possession of it come what might and anxious and impatient for our aunt to go as she sat her face bore a likeness to Esther's dead child you're so like my little girl Mary said Esther weary of the one subject on which she could get no satisfaction and recurring with full heart to the thought of the dead merely looked up her aunt had children then that was all the idea she received no faint imagination of the love and the wall of that poor creature crossed her mind or she would have taken her all guilty and earring to her bosom and tried to bind up the broken heart no it was not to be her aunt had children then and she was on the point of putting some question about them but before it could be spoken another thought turned it aside and she went back to her task of unraveling the mystery of the paper and the handwriting oh how she wished her aunt would go as if according to the believers in mesmerism the intenseness of her wish gave her power over another although the wish was unexpressed Esther felt herself unwelcome and that her absence was desired she felt this some time before she could summon up resolution to go she was so much disappointed in this longed for dreaded interview with Mary she had wished to impose upon her with a tale of married respectability and yet she had yearned and craved for sympathy in her real lot and she had imposed upon her well she should perhaps be glad of it afterwards but her desolation of hope seemed for the time redoubled and she must leave the old dwelling place whose very walls and flags dingy and sordid as they were had a charm for her must leave the abode of poverty for the more terrible abodes of Vice she must she would go well good night Mary that bit of paper is safe enough with you I see but you made me promise I would not tell about it and you must promise me to destroy it before you sleep I promise said Mary hoarsely but firmly then you're going yes not if you wish me to stay not if I could be of any comfort to you Mary catching at some glimmering hope oh no said Mary anxious to be alone your husband would be wondering where you are some day you must tell me all about yourself I forget what your name is Ferguson said Esther sadly mrs. Ferguson repeated Mary half unconsciously and where did you say you lived I never did say muttered Esther then aloud in angels meadow 145 Nicholas Street 145 Nicholas Street angel meadow I shall remember as Esther drew her shawl around her and prepared to depart a thought crossed Mary's mind that she had been cold and hard in her manner towards one who had certainly meant to act kindly in bringing her the paper that dread terrible piece of paper and the saving her from she could not rightly think how much or how little she was spared so desirous of making up for her previous indifferent manner she advanced to kiss her on before her departure but to her surprise her aren't pushed her off with a frantic kind of gesture and saying the words not me you must never kiss me you she rushed into the outer darkness of the street and there wept long and bitterly end of chapter 21 read by Tony Foster chapter twenty-two of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell this LibriVox recording is in the public domain Mary's efforts to prove an alibi there was a listening fear in her regard as if calamity had bird begun as if the van would clouds of evil days had spent their malice and the southern rear was with it's stored Thunder laboring up Keats Hyperion no sooner was Mary alone than she fastened the door and put the shutters up against the window which had all this time remained shaded only by the curtains hastily drawn together on Esther's entrance and the lighting of the candle she did all this with the same compressed lips and the same stony look that her face had assumed on the first examination of the paper then she sat down for an instant to think and rising directly went with a step rendered firm by inward resolution of purpose up the stairs past her own door two steps into her father's room what did she want there I must tell you I must put into words the dreadful secret which she believed that bit of paper had revealed to her her father was the murderer that corner of stiff shining thick writing paper she recognized as part of the sheet on which she had copied Samuel Bamford's beautiful lines so many months ago copied as you perhaps remember on the blank part of a valentine sent to her by Jim Wilson in those days when she did not treasure and hoard up everything he had touched as she would do now that copy had been given to her father for whom it was made and she had occasionally seen him reading it over not a fortnight ago she was sure but she resolved to ascertain if the other part still remained in his possession he might it was just possible he might have given it away to some friend and if so that person was the guilty one but she could swear to the paper anywhere first of all she pulled out every article from the little old chest of drawers amongst them were some things which had belonged to her mother but she had no time now to examine and try to remember them all the reverence she could pay them was to carry them and lay them on the bed carefully while the other things were tossed impatiently out upon the floor the copy of Bamford's lines was not there Oh perhaps he might have given it away but then must not have been to Jem it was his gun and she set to with redoubled vigor to examine the deal box which served as and which had once contained her father's Sunday clothes in the days when she could afford to have Sunday clothes he had redeemed his better coat from the pawn shop before he left that she had noticed here was his old one what wrestled under her hand in the pocket the paper Oh father yes it fitted jagged end to jagged end letter to letter and even the part which Esther had considered blank had it's tallying mark with the larger piece its tales of wise and G's and then as if that were not damning evidence enough she felt again and found some bullets or shot I don't know which you would call them in that same pocket along with a small paper parcel of gunpowder as she was going to replace the jacket having obstructed the paper and bullets etc she saw a woolen gun case made of that sort of striped horse cloth he must have seen a thousand times appropriated to such a purpose the sight of it made her examine still further but there was nothing else that could afford any evidence so she locked the box and sat down on the floor to contemplate the articles now with a sickening despair now with a kind of wandering curiosity how her father had managed to evade observation after all it was easy enough he had evidently got possession of some gun was it really gems was he an accomplice no she did not believe it he never never would deliberately plan a murder with another however he might be wrought up to it by passionate feeling at the time least of all would he accuse her to her father without previously warning her it was out of his nature then having obtained possession of the gun her father had loaded it at home and might have carried it away with him sometime when the neighbors were not noticing and she was out or asleep and then he might have hidden it somewhere to be in readiness when he should want it she was sure he had no such thing with him when he went away the last time she felt it was of no use to conjecture his motives his actions had become so wild and irregular of late that she could not reasonably enough to know that he was guilty of this terrible offence her love for her father seemed to return with painful force mixed up as it was with horror at his crime that dear father who was once so kind so warm-hearted so ready to he'll be the man or beast in distress to murder but in the desert of misery with which these thoughts surrounded her the arid depths of whose gloom she dared not venture to contemplate a little spring of comfort was gushing up at her feet unnoticed at first but soon to give her strength and hope and that was the necessity for exertion on her part which this discovery enforced oh I do think that the necessity for exertion for some kind of action bodily or mental in time of distress is a most infinite blessing although the first efforts at such seasons are painful something to be done implies that there is yet hope of some good thing to be accomplished or some additional evil that may be avoided and by degrees the hope absorbs much of the sorrow it is the woes that cannot in any earthly way be escaped that admit least earthly comforting of all trite worn-out hollow mockeries of comfort that were ever uttered by people who will not take the trouble of sympathizing with others the one I dislike the most is the exhortation not to grieve over an event for it cannot be helped do you think if I could help it I would sit still with folded hands content to mourn do you not believe that as long as hope remained I would be up and doing I mourn because what has occurred cannot be helped the reason you give me for not grieving is the very and sole reason of my grief give me nobler and higher reasons for enduring meekly what my father sees fit to send and I will try honestly and faithfully to be patient but mock me not or any other mourner with the speech do not grieve for it cannot be helped it is past remedy but some remedy to marry sorrow came with thinking if her father was guilty Jem was innocent if innocent there was a possibility of saving him he must be saved and she must do it for was she not the sole depository of the terrible secret her father was not suspected and never should be if by any foresight or any exertions of her own she could prevent him she did not yet know how Jem was to be saved while her father was also to be considered innocent it would require much thought and much prudence but with the call upon her exertions and her various qualities of judgment and discretion came the answering consciousness of innate power to meet the emergency every step now nay the employment of every minute was of consequence for you must remember she had learnt at miss Simmons the probability that the murderer would be brought to trial the next week and you must remember too that never was so young a girl so friendless or so penniless as Mary was at this time but the lion accompanied Oona through the wilderness and the danger and so will a high resolved purpose of right doing ever guard and accompany the helpless it struck too deep murk night it was of no use bewildering herself with plans this weary endless night nothing could be done before morning and at first in her impatience she began to long for day but then she felt in how unfit a state her body was for any plan of exertion and she resolutely made up her mind to husband her physical strength first of all she must burn the telltale paper the powder bullets and gun case she tied into a bundle and hid in the sacking of the bed for the present although there was no likelihood of their affording evidence against anyone then she carried the paper downstairs and burnt it on the half powdering the very ashes with her fingers and dispersing the fragments a fluttering black film among the cinders of the great then she breathed again her head ached with dizzying violence she must get quit of the pain or it would incapacitate her for thinking and planning she looked for food but there was nothing but a little roar oatmeal in the house still although it almost choked her she ate some of this knowing from experience how often headaches were caused by long fasting then she sought for some water to bathe her throbbing temples and quench her feverish thirst there was none in the house so she took the jug and went out to the pump at the other end of the court whose echoes resounded her light footsteps in the quiet stillness of the night the hard square outlines of the houses cut sharply against the cold bright sky from which Myriad's of stars were shining down in eternal repose there was little sympathy in the outward scene with the internal trouble or was so still so motionless so hard very different to this lovely night in the country in which I am now writing where the distant horizon is soft and undulating in the moonlight and the nearer trees sway gently to and fro in the night wind with something of almost human motion and the rustling air makes music among their branches as if speaking soothingly to the weary ones who lie awake in heaviness of heart the sights and sounds of such a night lull pain and grief to rest but Mary re-entered her home after she had filled her pitcher with a still stronger sense of anxiety and a still clearer a conviction of how much rested upon her unassisted and friendless self alone with her terrible knowledge in the hard cold populous world she bathed her forehead and quenched her thirst and then with wise deliberation of purpose went upstairs and undressed herself as if for a long night slumber although so few hours intervened before day dawn she believed she never could sleep but she lay down and shut her eyes and before many minutes she was in as deep and sound a slumber as if there was no sin nor sorrow in the world she awakened as it was natural much refreshed in body but with a consciousness of some great impending calamity she sat up in bed to recollect and when she did remember she sank down again with all the helplessness of despair but it was only the weakness of an instant for were not the very minutes precious for deliberation if not for action before she had finished the necessary morning business of dressing and setting her house in some kind of order she had disentangled her reviled ideas and arranged some kind of a plan for action if Jem was innocent and now of his guilt even his slightest participation in or knowledge of the murder she acquitted him with all her heart and soul he must have been somewhere else when the crime was committed probably with some others who might bear witness to the fact if she only knew where to find them everything rested on her she had heard of an alibi and believed it might mean the deliverance she wished to accomplish but she was not quite sure and determined to apply to job as one of the few among her acquaintances gifted with the knowledge of hard words for to her all terms of law or natural history were alike many syllables mysteries no time was to be lost she went straight to job Lee's house and found the old man and his granddaughter sitting at breakfast as she opened the door she heard their voices speaking in a grave hushed subdued tone as if something grieved their hearts they stopped talking on her entrance and then she knew they had been conversing about the murder about gems probable guilt and it flashed upon her for the first time on the new light they would have obtained regarding herself but until now they had never heard of her giddy flirting with mr. Carson not in all her confidential talk with Margaret had she ever spoken of him and now Margaret would hear her conduct talked of by all as that of a bold bad girl and even if she did not believe everything that was said she could hardly help feeling wounded and disappointed in Mary so it was in a timid voice that Mary wished her usual good morrow and her heart sank within her a little when job with a form of civility bade her welcome in that dwelling where until now she had been too well assured to require to be asked to sit down she took a chair margaret continued silent I'm come to speak to you about this about Jim Wilson it's a bad business I'm afeared replied job sadly I it's bad enough anyhow but gems innocent indeed he is I'm as sure as sure can be how can you know wench bare strong again him poor fellow though he'd a deal to put him up and had grave AIDS him they say I poor lad he's done for himself I'm afeard job said Mary rising from her chair in her eagerness you must not say he did it he didn't I'm sure and certainly didn't Oh why do shake your head who's to believe me who was to think him innocent if you who knowed him so well stick to it is guilty I'm laughing off to do it last reply job but I think he's been ill-used and jilted that's plain truth Mary hard as it may seem and his blood has been up and many a man has done the like afore from like causes Oh God and you won't help me job to prove him innocent Oh Jo Jo believe me Jem never did harm to no one not a for and mine wench I don't over blame him for this job relapsed into silence Mary thought a moment well job you'll not refuse me this I know I won't man what you think if you help me as if he was innocent now suppose I know I knew he was innocent it's only supposing job what must I do to prove it tell me job isn't it called an alibi the getting folk to swear to where he really was at the time best way if you'd know him innocent would be to find out the real murderer someone did it that's clear enough if it wasn't Jem who was it how can I tell answered Mary in an agony of terror at lest jobs question was prompted by any suspicion of the truth but he was far enough from any such thought indeed he had no doubt in his own mind that gem had in some passionate moment urged on by slighted love and jealousy being the murderer and he was strongly inclined to believe that Mary was aware of this only that too late repentant of a light conduct which had led to such fatal consequences she was now most anxious to save her old playfellow her early friend from the doom awaiting the shedder of blood if gems not done it I don't see as any honors can tell who did we might find out something if we time but they say is to be tried on Tuesday it's no use hiding it Mary things look strong against him I know they do I know they do but Oh Joe isn't an alibi approving where he really was at the time of the murder and how must I set about an alibi an alibi is that sure enough he thought a little human ask yous motherese doings and his whereabouts that night the knowledge of that will guide you a bit for he was anxious that on another should fall the task of enlightening Mary on the hopelessness of the case and he felt that her own sense would be more convinced by inquiry and examination than any mere assertion of his bar but had sat silent and grave all this time to tell the truth she was surprised and disappointed by the disclosure of Mary's conduct with regard to mr. Henry Carson gentle reserved and prudent herself never exposed to the trial of being admired for her personal appearance and unsusceptible enough to be in doubt even yet whether the fluttering tender infinitely joyous feeling she was for the first time experiencing at sight or sound or thought of will Wilson was loved or not Margaret had no sympathy with the temptations to which loveliness vanity ambition or the desire of being admired exposes so many no sympathy with flirting girls in short then she had no idea of the strength of the conflict between will and principle in some who were differently stitute from herself with her to be convinced that an action was wrong was tantamount to a determination not to do so again and she had little or no difficulty in carrying out her determination so she could not understand how it was that Mary had acted wrongly and had felt too much ashamed in spite of all internal sophistry to speak of her actions Margaret considered herself deceived felt aggrieved and at the time of which I am now telling you was strongly inclined to give Mary up altogether as a girl devoid of the modest proprieties of her sex and capable of gross duplicity in speaking of one lover as she had done of Jem while she was encouraging another in attentions at best of a very doubtful character but now margaret was drawn into the conversation suddenly it flashed across Mary's mind that the night of the murder was the very night or rather the same early morning that Margaret had been with Alice she turned sharp round with Oh Margaret you can tell me you were there when he came back that night were you not no you were not but you were there not many hours after did not you hear where he'd been he was away the night before too when Alice was first taken when you were there for your tea oh where was he Margaret I don't know she answered stay I do remember something about his keeping will company in his walk to Liverpool I can't just lease a what it was so much happened that night I'll go to his mother's said Mary resolutely they neither of them spoke either to advise or dissuade Mary felt she had no sympathy from them and braced up her soul to act without such loving Aid of friendship she knew that their advice would be willingly given at her demand and that was all she really required for gems sake still her courage failed a little as she walked to Jane Wilson's alone in the world with her secret Jane Wilson's eyes were swelled with crying and it was sad to see the ravages which intense anxiety and sorrow had made on her appearance in four and twenty hours all night long she and mrs. Davenport had crooned over their sorrows always recurring like the burden of an old song to the dreaded sorrow of all which was now impending over mrs. Wilson she had grown I hardly know what word to use but something like proud of her martyrdom she had grown to hug her grief to feel an excitement in her agony of anxiety about her boy so all Mary you here or Murray lass is to be tried on Tuesday she fell to sobbing in the convulsive breath catching manner which tells so of much previous weeping oh mrs. Wilson don't take on so we'll get him off you'll see don't fret they can't prove him guilty but that tell me they will interrupted mrs. Wilson half irritated at the light way as she considered it in which Mary spoke and a little displeased that another could hope when she had almost brought herself to find pleasure in despair it may suit Lee well continued she to make light of the misery that was caused but I shall laze death at the door as long as I live and die I know he will and all for what he never did no he never did my own blessed boy she was too weak to be angry long her wrath sank away too feeble sobbing and worn-out moans Mary was most anxious to soothe her from any violence of either grief or anger she did so want her to be clear in her recollection and besides her tenderness was great towards James mother so she spoke in a low gentle tone the loving sentences which sound so broken and powerless in repetition and which yet have so much power when accompanied with caressing looks and actions fresh from the heart and the old woman insensibly gave herself up to the influence of those sweet loving blue eyes those tears of sympathy those words of love and and was lulled into a less morbid state of mind and now dear mrs. Wilson can you remember where he said he was going on Thursday night he was out when Alice was taken ill and he did not come home til early in the morning or to speak true in the night did he I he went out near upon 5:00 he went out with will he said he were going to set him a part of the way for will were hot upon walking to Liverpool and wouldn't hearken to James offer of lending him five shilling for his fare so the two lads set off together and mind it all now but they ceased alice is illness and this business of poor James drove it out of my head they went off together to what to Liverpool that's to say Jem were to go a part of the way but who knows falling back into the old desponding tone if he really went he might be led off on the road Oh Mary wench they Laing him for what he's never done no they won't they shan't I see my way a bit now women get will to help there'll be time he can swear the general with him where is Jem Fox said he were taken to Kirk Dale it's prison van this morning without my seeing him poor chap Oh wench but they've hurried on the business at a cruel rate I they've not let grass grow under their feet in hunting out the man that did it said Mary sorrowfully and bitterly but keep up your heart they got on the wrong scent when they took to suspecting Jem don't be afeard you'll see it'll end right for Jem I should mind it less if I could do out said Jane Wilson but I'm such a poor a week old body and my head's so gone and I'm so dazed like what with Alice and all and her think and think and can do note to help my child I might have gone and seen him last night they tell me now and then a misty Oh Miriam misty I may never see the lad again she looked so piteously in Mary's face with her miserable eyes that Mary felt her heart giving way and dreading the weakening of her powers which with the bursts of crying she longed forward occasion hastily changed the subject to Alice and Jane in a heart feeling that there was no sorrow like a mother's sorrow replied she keeps on much the same thank you she's happy for she knows now – what's going on but the doctor says she grows weaker and weaker they'll maybe like to see her Mary went upstairs partly because it is the etiquette in humble life to offer to friends a last opportunity of seeing the dying or the dead while the same etiquette forbids a refusal of the invitation and partly because she longed to breathe for an instant the atmosphere of wholly calm which seemed ever to surround the pious good old woman Alice lay as before without pain or at least any outward expression of it but totally unconscious of all present circumstances and absorbed in recollections of the days of her girlhood which were vivid enough to take the place of realities to her still she talked of green fields and still she spoke to the long dead mother and sister low lying in their graves this many a year as if they were with her and about her in the pleasant places where her youth had passed but the voice was fainter the motions were more languid she was evidently passing away but how happily Mary stood for a time in silence watching and listening then she bent down and reverently kissed Alice's cheek and drawing Jane Wilson away from the bed as if the spirit of her who lay there were yet cognizant of present realities she whispered a few words of hope to the poor mother and kissing her over and over again in a warm loving manner she made her goodbye went a few steps and then once more came back to bid her keep up her heart and when she had fairly left the house Jane Wilson felt as if a sunbeam had ceased shining into the room yet oh how sorely Mary's heart ached for more and more the fell certainty came on her that her father was the murderer she struggled hard not to dwell on this conviction to think alone on the means of proving Jemez innocence that was her first duty and that should be done end of chapter 22 read by Tony Foster

1 thought on “Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life (Version 2) | Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell | Sound Book | 6/9

  1. Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life (Version 2) | Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell | Sound Book | 6/9

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