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



chapter 34 of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell this LibriVox recording is in the public domain Dixwell forgiveness all forgiveness and a grave Mary God knows the heart my father and I should her to think what thou perchance has acted Dixwell Oh Mary no common load of woe is thine my father Elliott's Kahana Mary still hovered between life and death when gem arrived at the house where she lay and the doctors were as yet unwilling to compromise their wisdom by allowing too much hope to be entertained but the state of things if not less anxious was less distressing than when gem had quitted her she lay now in a stupor which was partly diseased and partly exhaustion after the previous excitement and now gem found the difficulty which everyone who was watched by a sickbed knows full well and which is perhaps more insurmountable to men than it is to women the difficulty of being patient and trying not to expect any visible change for long long hours of sad monotony but after a while the reward came the labored breathing became lower and softer the heavy look of oppressive pain melted away from the face and a languor that was almost peace took the place of suffering she slept a natural sleep and they stole about on tiptoe and spoke low and softly and hardly dared to breathe however much they longed to sigh out their thankful relief she opened her eyes her mind was in the tender state of a lately born infants she was pleased with the gay but not dazzling colors of the paper soothed by the subdued light and quite sufficiently amused by looking at all the objects in the room the drawing of the ships the festoons of the curtain the bright flowers on the painted backs of the chairs to care for any stronger excitement she wondered at the ball of glass containing various coloured sands from the Isle of Wight or some such place which hung suspended from the middle of the little valence over the window but she did not care to exert herself to ask any questions although she saw mrs. Sturgess standing at the bedside with some tea to drop it into her mouth by spoonfuls she did not see the face of honest joy of earnest thankfulness the clasped hands the beaming eyes the trembling eagerness of gesture of one who had long awaited her awakening and who now stood behind the curtains watching through some little chink her every faint motion or if she had caught a glimpse of that loving peeping face she was in too exhausted a state to have taken much notice or had long retained the impression that he/she lived so well was hanging about her and blessing God for every conscious look which stole over her countenance she fell softly into slumber without a word having been spoken by anyone during that half hour of inexpressible joy and again the stillness was enforced by sign and whispered word but with eyes that beamed out their bright thoughts of hope gem sat by the side of the bed holding back the little curtain and gazing as if he could never gaze his fill at the pale wasted face so marbled and so chiseled in its one outline she wakened once more her soft eyes opened and met his over bending look she smiled gently as a baby does when it sees its mother tending its little cot and continued her innocent infantine gaze into his face as if the sight gave her much unconscious pleasure but by and by a different expression came into her sweet eyes a look of memory and intelligence her white face flushed the brightest rosy red and with feeble motion she tried to hide her head in the pillow it required all gems self-control to do what he knew and felt to be necessary to call mrs. Sturgess who was quietly dozing by the fireside and that done he felt almost obliged to leave the room to keep down the happy agitation which would gush out in every feature every gesture and every tone from that time forward Mary's progress toward health was rapid there was every reason but one in favor of her speedy removal home all gems duties lay in Manchester it was his mother's dwelling place and there his plans for life had to be worked out plans which the suspicion and imprisonment he had fallen into had thrown for a time into a chaos which his presence was required to arrange into form for he might find in spite of a jury's verdict that to stronger taint was on his character for him ever to labor in Manchester again he remembered the manner in which someone suspected of having been a convict was shunned by masters and men when he had accidentally met with work in their foundry the recollection smote him now how he himself had thought that he did not become an honest upright man to associate with one who had been a prisoner he could not choose but think on that poor humble being with his downcast conscious look hunted out of the workshop where he had sought to earn an honest livelihood by the looks and half spoken words and the black silence of repugnance worse than words to bear that met him on all sides jem felt that his own character had been attainted and that so many it might still appear suspicious he knew that he could convince the world by a future as blameless as his past had been that he was innocent but at the same time he saw that he must have patience and nerve himself for some trials and the sooner these were undergone the sooner he was aware of the place he held in men's estimation the better he longed to have presented himself once more of the foundry and then the reality would drive away the pictures that would unbidden come of a shunned man ida scans by all and driven forth to shape out some new I said every reason but one inclined gem to hasten Mary's return as soon as she was sufficiently convalescent that one was the meeting which awaited her at home turn it over his gem would he could not decide what was the best course to pursue he could compel himself to any line of conduct that his reason and his sense of right old him to be desirable but they did not tell him it was desirable to speak to Mary in her tender state of mind and body of her father how much would be implied by the mere mention of his name speak it as calmly and as indifferently as he might he could not avoid expressing some consciousness of the terrible knowledge she possessed she for her part was softer and gentler than she'd ever been in her gentlest mood since her illness emotions her voices were all tender in their Langa it seemed almost a trouble to her to break the silence with the low sounds of her own sweet voice and her words fell sparingly on gems greedy listening ear her face was however so full of love and confidence the gem felt no uneasiness at the state of silent abstraction into which she often fell if she did but love him all would yet go right and it was better not to press for confidence on that one subject which must be painful to both there came a fine bright balmy day and Mary tottered once more out into the open air leaning on James arm and close to his beating heart and mrs. Sturgess watched them from her door with a blessing on her lips as they went slowly up the street they came in sight of the river Mary shuddered Oh gem take me home yon River seems all made of glittering heaving dazzling metal just as it did when I began to be ill jem led her home woods she dropped her head as searching for something on the ground gem he was all attention she paused for an instant when Mayor go home to Manchester I mean I'm so weary of this place and I would fain be at home she spoke in a feeble voice not at all impatiently as the words themselves would seem too intimate but in a mournful way as if anticipating sorrow even in the very fulfillment of her wishes darling we will go whenever you wish whenever you feel strong enough I asked job to tell Margaret to get all in readiness for you to go there at first she'll tend you and nurse you you must not go home Joel proffered for you to go there oh but I must go on Jen I'll try and not fail now and what's right there are things we must not speak on lowering her voice but you'll be really kind if you'll not speak against my going on but to say no more about it did gem I must go home and I must go alone not alone Mary yes alone I cannot tell you why I asked it and if you guess I know you well enough to be sure you'll understand why I asked you never to speak on that again to me till I begin promise dear gem promise he promised to gratify that beseeching face he promised and then he repented and felt as if he had done ill then again he felt as if she would the best judge knowing all perhaps more even than he did might be forming plans which his interference would Mar one thing was certain it was a miserable thing to have this awful forbidden ground of discourse to guess at each other's thoughts when eyes were averted and cheeks blanched and words stood still arrested in their flow by some casual illusion at last the day fine enough for Mary to travel on arrived she had wished to go but now her courage failed her how could she have said she was weary of that quiet house where even been sturgis's grumblings only made a kind of harmonious base in the Concord between him and his wife so thoroughly did they know each other with the knowledge of many years how could she have longed to quit that little peaceful room where she had experienced such loving tendance even the very Czech bed curtain became dear to her under the idea of seeing them no more if it was so with inanimate objects if they had such power of exciting regret what were her feelings with regard to the kind old couple who had taken the stranger in and cared for her and nursed her as though she had been a daughter each willful sentence spoken in the half unconscious irritation of feebleness came now with a vengeance elf reproach to her memory as she hung about mrs. Sturgess with many tears which served instead of words to express her gratitude and love been docile about with a square bottle of golden wasa in one of his hands and a small tumbler in the other he went to marry gem and his wife in succession pouring out a glass for each and bidding them drink it to keep their spirits up but as each severally refused he drank it himself and passed on to offer the same hospitality to another with the like refusal and the like result when he had swallowed the last of the three drafts he condescended to give his reasons for having done so I cannot abide waste what poured out moon be drunk that's my maxim so saying he replaced the bottle in the cupboard it was he who in a firm commanding voice at last told Gemma Mary to be off or they would be too late mrs. Sturgess had kept up till then but as they left her house she could no longer restrain her tears and cried aloud in spite of her husband's upbraiding perhaps they'll be too late for the chain exclaimed she with a degree of hope as the clock struck two what a come back again no no that would never do we've done our part and cried our cry it's no use going over the same ground again I should have to give him more out of yon bottle when next part in time came and then three glasses they had made a hole in the stuff I can tell you time jack was back from Hamburg with some more when they reached Manchester Mary looked very white and the expression on her face was almost Stern she was in fact summoning up her resolution to meet her father if he were at home gem had never named his midnight glimpse of John Barton to human being but Mary had a sort of presentiment that wander where he would he would seek his home at last but in what mood she dreaded to think for the knowledge of her father's capability of guilt seemed to have opened a dark gulf in his character into the depths of which she trembled to look at one moment she would fain have claimed protection against the life she must lead for some time at least alone with a murderer she thought of his gloom before his mind was haunted by the memory of so terrible a crime his Moody irritable ways she imagined the evenings as of old she toiling at some work long after houses were shut and folks Abed he more savage than he had ever been before with the inward knowing of his remorse at such time she could have cried aloud with terror at the scenes her fancy conjured up but her filial duty nay her love and gratitude for many deeds of kindness done to her as a little child conquered all fear she would endure all imaginable terrors although of daily occurrence and she would patiently bear alway word violence of temper more than patiently would she bear it pitifully as one who knew of some awful curse awaiting the bloodshed err she would watch over him tenderly as the innocent should watch over the guilty awaiting the gracious seasons wherein to pour oil and balm into the bitter wounds with the untroubled peace which the resolve to endured to the end gives she approached the house that from habit she still called home but which possessed the holiness of home no longer gem said she as they stood at the entrance to the court close by Jolie's door you must go in there and wait half an hour not less if in that time I don't come back you go your ways to your mother give her my dear love I was send by Margaret when I want to see you she sighed heavily Mary Mary I cannot leave you you speak as coldly as if we were to beam out to each other and my ass bound up in you I know why you bid me keep away but she put her hand on his arm as he spoke in a loud annotated tone she looked into his face with a braiding love in her eyes and then she said while her lips quivered and he felt her whole frame trembling dear gem I often could have told you more of love if had nots once spoken out so free remember that time gem if ever you think me cold then the love that's in my heart would out in words but now though I'm silent on the pain I'm feeling in quitting you the love is in my heart all the same but this is not the time to speak on such things if I do not do what I feel to be right now I may blame myself all my lifelong gem you promised and so saying she left him she went quicker than she would otherwise have passed over those few yards of ground for fear he should still try to accompany her her hand was on the latch and in her breath the door was opened there sat her father still and motionless not even turning his head to see who had entered but perhaps he recognized the footstep the trick of action he sat by the fire the great I should say for fire there was none some dull gray ashes negligently left long days ago coldly choked up the bars he had taken the accustomed seat from mere force of habit which ruled his automaton body for all energy both physical and mental seemed to have retreated inwards to some of the great Citadel's of life there to do battle against the destroyer conscience his hands were crossed his fingers interlaced usually a position implying some degree of resolution or strength but in him it was so faintly maintained that it appeared more the result of chance an attitude requiring some application of outward force to alter and a blow with a straw seemed as though it would be sufficient and as for his face it was sunken worn like a skull with the etta suffering expression that school have not your heart would have ached to have seen the man however hardly you might have judged his crime but crime and all was forgotten by his daughter as she saw his abashed look his smitten helplessness all along she had felt it difficult as I may have said before to reconcile the two ideas of her father and a bloodshed er but now it was impossible he was her father her own dear father and in his sufferings whatever their cause more dearly loved than ever before his crime was a thing apart never more to be considered by her and tenderly did she treat him and fondly did she serve him in every way that Hart could devise or hand execute he had some money about her the price of her strange services as a witness and when the lingering dusk drew on she stole out to effect some purchases necessary for her father's comfort or how body and soul had been kept together even as much as they were during the days he had dwelt alone no one can say the house was as bare as when Mary had left it of coal or of candle of food or of blessing in any shape she came quickly home but as she passed Jolie's door she stopped doubtless gem had long since gone and doubtless too he had given Margaret some good reason for not intruding upon her friend for this night at least otherwise Mary would have seen her before now but tomorrow would she not come in tomorrow and who so quick as blind Margaret in noticing tones and size and even silence she did not give herself time for further thought her desire to be once more with her father was too pressing but she opened the door before she well knew what to say it's Barry Barton I know her by her breathing grandfather its Mary Barton Margaret's joy at meeting her the open demonstration of her love affected Mary much she could not keep from crying and sat down weak and agitated on the first chair she could find hi I'm Mary they're looking a bit different too when I saw the last they'll get Gemma me good characters for sick nurses I trust if all trades fail I'll turn to that gems places for life I reckon they never read and so lass you and II know each other's minds by this time Margaret's held her hand and gently smiled into her face Jolie took the candle up began a leisurely inspection thus getting a bit of pink in their cheeks not much when last I saw they the lips were as white as a sheet the nose his sharp he should thend but more like their father than ever there were it before Lord Chad was the matter they're going to faint for Mary had sickened at the mention of that name yet she felt that now or never was the time to speak father's come home she said but he's very poorly and never saw him as he is now before I asked Jim not to come near him for fear it might fidget him she spoke hastily and to her own idea in an unnatural manner but they did not seem to notice it nor to take the hint she had thrown out of company being unacceptable for Jolie directly put down some insect which he was impaling on a caulking pin and exclaimed there father come on why Jim never said a word of it and hailing – I'll go in and cheer him with a bit of talk and there knew any good could come a delegate any Oh Joe father cannot stand father is too ill don't calm not but that you're very kind and good but tonight indeed said she at last in despair seeing job still persevere in putting aways things you must not come till I send or come for you father's in that strange way I can't answer for it if you see strangers please don't come I'll come and tell you every day how he goes on I must be off now to see after him did job kind job don't be angry with me if you knew all you pity me for job was muttering away in high dudgeon and even Margaret's tone was altered as she wished Mary goodnight just then she could ill Brooke coldness from anyone and least of all bear the idea of being considered and grateful by so kind and zealous a friend as job had been so she turned round suddenly even when her hand was on the latch of the door and ran back and threw her arms about his neck and kissed him first and then Margaret and then the tears fast falling down her cheeks but no words spoken she hastily left the house and went back to her home there was no change in her father's position or in his spectral look he had answered her questions but few in number for so many subjects were unapproachable by monosyllables and in a week hi childish voice but he had not lifted his eyes he could not meet his daughter's look and she when she spoke or as she moved about avoided letting her eyes rest upon him she wished to be her usual self but while everything was done with a consciousness of purpose she felt it was impossible in this manner things went on for some days at night II feebly clambered upstairs to bed and during those long dark hours Mary heard those groans of agony which never escaped his lips by day when they were compressed in silence over his inward woe many a time she sat up listening and wondering if it would ease his miserable heart if she went to him and told him she knew all and loved and pitied him more than words could tell by day the monotonous hours wore on in the same heavy hushed manner as on that first dreary afternoon he ate but without relish and food seemed no longer to nourish him for each morning his face had caught more of the ghastly foreshadowing of death the neighbors kept strangely aloof of late years John Barton had had a repellent power about him felt by all except to the few who would even known him in his better and happier days are those to whom he had given his sympathy and his confidence people did not care to enter the doors of one whose very depth of thoughtfulness rendered him Moody and Stern and now they contented themselves with a kind inquiry when they saw Mary in her goings out or in her comings in with her oppressing knowledge she imagined their reserv'd conduct stranger than it was in reality he missed job and Margaret to who in all former times of sorrow or anxiety since their acquaintance first began had been ready with their sympathy but most of all she missed the delicious luxury she had lately enjoyed in having gems tender love at hand every hour of the day to ward off every wind of heaven and every disturbing thought she knew he was often hovering about the house though the knowledge seemed to come more by intuition than by any positive sight or sound for the first day or two on the third day she met him at Jolie's they received her with every effort of cordiality but still there was a cobweb veil of separation between them to which Mary was morbidly acute while in Jemez voice and eyes and manner there was every evidence of most passionate most admiring and most trusting love the trust was shown by his respectful silence on that one point of reserve on which she had interdicted conversation he left Jo Glee's house when she did they lingered on the step he holding her hand between both of his as loath to let her go he questioned her as to when he should see her again mother does so want to see you whispered he can you come to see her tomorrow or when I cannot tell replied she softly not yet wait a while perhaps only a little while dear gem I must go to him dearest Jen the next day the fourth from Mary's return home as she was sitting near the window sadly dreaming over some work she caught a glimpse of the last person she wished to see of Sully led bitter he was evidently coming to their house another moment and she tapped up the door John Barton gave an anxious uneasy side glance Mary knew that if she delayed answering the knock Sally would not scruple to enter so was hastily as if the visit had been desired she opened the door and stood there with the latch in her hand barring appalled entrance and as much as possible obstructing all curious glances into the interior well marry but mm you know I'm at last I heard you'd get known so I thought that just step over and hear the news she was bent on coming in and saw Mary's preventive design so she stood on tiptoe looking over Mary's shoulders into the room where she suspected a lover to be lurking but instead she saw only the figure of the stern gloomy father she had always been in the habit of avoiding and she dropped down again content to carry on the conversation where Mary chose and as Mary chose in whispers so the old governor's back again eh and what does he say to all you fine doings at Liverpool and before you and I know where he can't hide it now Mary it's all in print Mary gave a low moan and then implored Sully to change the subject for unpleasant as it always was it was doubly unpleasant in the manner in which she was treating it if they had been alone Mary would have borne it patiently or so she thought but now she felt almost certain her father was listening there was a subdued breathing a slight bracing up of the listless attitude but there was no arresting Sally's curiosity to hear all she could respecting the adventures Mary had experienced she in common with the rest of Miss simians young ladies was almost jealous of the fame that Mary had obtained to herself such miserable notoriety hey there's no use shunning talking it over why it was in The Guardian and the courier and someone told Jane Hudson it was even copied into a London paper you've setup heroine on your own account Mary Barton how do you like standing witness aren't them lawyers impudent things still at once so I'll be bound you wish to take my offer and borrowed my black watered scarf now didn't you Mary speak truth to tell truth I never thought about it then Sally how could I ask e reproachfully Oh for God you were all for that stupid James Wilson well I've ever the look to go witness on a trial see if I don't pick up a better bowl than the prisoner I'll aim at a lawyers Clark but I'll not take less than a turnkey cast down as Mary was she could hardly keep from smiling at the idea so wildly incongruous with the scene she had really undergone of looking out for admirers during a trial for murder no thought to be looking out for bow I can assure you Sally but don't let us talk anymore about it I can't bear to think on it how is Miss Simmons and everybody oh very well and by the way she gave me a bit of a message for you you may come back to work if you'll behave yourself she says I told you she'd be glad to have you back after all this piece of business by way of tempting people to come to a shop I come from Salford up a peep at you for six months at least don't talk so I cannot come I can never face miss Simmons again and even if I could she stopped and blushed aye I know what you're thinking on but that will not be this sometime as he's turned off from the foundry he'd better think twice afore refusing miss Simmons offer turned off from the foundry gem cried Mary to be sure didn't you know it decent man we're not going to work with it no I suppose I mustn't say sin you went to such trouble to get up an alibi not but I should think much the worse of a spirited young fellow for falling foul of a rival they always do at the theater but parish thoughts were with Jem how good he had been never to name his dismissal to her how much he had had to endure for her sake tell me all about it she gasped out why you see they've always swords quite handy at them plays began Sally but merely with an impatient shake of her head interrupted about Jen about Jem I want to know oh my don't pretend to know more than his everyone's mouth he's turned away from the foundry because folks don't think you've cleared him outright of the murder though perhaps the jury were lot to hang him Oh mr. Carson his savage against judge and jury and lawyers and all as I heard I must go to him I must go to him repeated Mary in a hurried manner he'll tell you all I've said is true and not a word of a lie replied Sally so I'll not give you answer to miss Simmons but leave you to think twice about it good afternoon Mary shut the door and turned into the house her father sat in the same attitude the old unchanging attitude on his head was more bowed towards the ground she put on her bonnet to go to encodes for C and question and comfort and worshipped gem she must as she hung about her father for an instant before leaving him he spoke voluntarily spoke for the first time since her return but his head was drooping so low she could not hear what he said so she stooped down and after a moment's pause he repeated the words told young Wilson to come here at eight o'clock tonight could he have overheard her conversation with Sally led bitter they had whispered low she thought pondering on this and many other things she reached ankles end of chapter 34 read by Tony Foster you chapter 35 of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell this LibriVox recording is in the public domain forgive us our trespasses Oh had he lived reply Drusilla never penitence had equal his well I know his heart the Hemans in all things he would on himself have wreaked such penance as had reached the height of fleshly suffering yeh which being told with its pretentious rigour should have made the memory of his fault overpowered and lost in shuddering pity and astonishment fade like a feeble horror so this Roderick as Mary was turning into the street where the Wilsons lived gem overtook her he came upon her suddenly and she started you're going to see mother he asked tenderly placing her arm within his and slackening his pace yes and you too Oh Jem is it true tell me she felt rightly that he would guess the meaning of her only half expressed inquiry he hesitated a moment before he answered her darling it is it's no use I'd in it if you mean it on the Lord to work at Duncan's foundry it's no time to my mind to have secrets from each other though I did not name it yesterday thinking you might fret I should soon get work again never fear but why did they turn you off when the jury had said you were innocent it was not just to say turned off oh I don't think I could have well stayed on a good number of the men managed to let out that they should not like to work under me again there was some few who knew me well enough to feel I could not have done it but more were doubtful and once spoke to young mr. Duncan hinting at what they thought Oh Jem what a shame said Mary with mournful indignation nay darling I'm not for blaming them poor fellows like them I have now to stand upon and be proud of but the character and it's fitting they should take care of that and keep that free from soil and taint but you what could they get but good from you they might have known you by this time so some do the Overlook I'm sure would know I'm innocent indeed he said as much today and he said he has had some talk with old mr. Dunkleman they thought it might be better if I left Manchester for a bit they'd recommend me to some other place but Mary could only shake her head in a mournful way and repeat her words they might have known the better gem gem pressed the little hand he held between his own work hardened ones after a minute or two he asked Mary out there much bound to Manchester would it grieve this or to quit the old smoke jack with the chest in a quiet glancing way eyeless trust me and they asked Lee to leave Manchester while harmony because I've heard find things of Canada and our overlooker as a cousin in the foundry line there thou knowest where Canada is Mary not rightly not now at any rate but with the gem a voice sunk to a soft low whisper anywhere what was the use of a geographical description but father said Mary suddenly breaking that delicious silence with the one sharp discord in her present life she looked up at her lover's grey face and then the message her father had sent flashed across her memory Oh Jim did I tell you father sent word he wished to speak with you I was to bid you come to him at 8:00 tonight what can he want Jem I cannot tell replied he at any rate I'll go so I used troubling ourselves to guess he continued after a pause of a few minutes during which they slowly and silently paced up and down the by-street into which he had led her when their conversation began I would see mother and then I'll take the old Mary there was all in a tremble when I first came up with thee that not fit to be trusted on by herself said he with fond exaggeration of her helplessness yet a little more lovers loitering a few more words in themselves nothing to you nothing but to those two what tender passionate language can I use to express the feelings which thrilled through that young man and maid and as they listened to the syllables made dear and léa through life by that hours low whispered talk it struck the half hour past seven come and speak to mother she knows you to be a daughter Mary darling so they went in Jane Wilson was rather chafed at her son's delay in returning home for as yet he had managed to keep her in ignorance of his dismissal from the foundry and it was her way to prepare some little pleasure some little comfort for those she loved and if they unwittingly did not appear at the proper time to enjoy her preparation she worked herself up into a state of fretfulness which found vent in abrading x' as soon as ever the objects of her care appeared thereby marring the peace which should ever be the atmosphere of a home however humble and causing a feeling almost amounting to loathing to arise at the sight of the stalled ox which though an effect and proof of careful love has been the cause of so much disturbance mrs. Wilson had first side and then grumbled to herself over the increasing toughness of the potato cakes she had made for her son's tea the door opened and he came in his face brightening into proud smiles Mary Barton hanging on his arm blushing and dimpling with eyelids veiling the happy light of her eyes there was around the young couple a radiant atmosphere a glory of happiness but his mother Marit could she break into it with her Martha like cares only for one moment did she remember her sense of injury who wasted trouble and then her whole woman's heart heaving with motherly love and sympathy she opened her arms and received Mary into them as shedding tears of agitated joy she murmured in her ear bless thee Mary bless thee only make him happy and God bless thee forever it took some of gems self-command to separate those whom he so much loved and who were beginning for his sake to love one another so dearly but the time for his meeting John Barton drew on and it was a long way to his house as they walked briskly vivir they hardly spoke though many thoughts were in their minds the Sun had not long set but the first faint shade of Twilight was overall and when they opened the door gem could hardly perceive the objects within by the waning light of day and the flickering fire blazed but Mary saw all at a glance her eye accustomed to what was usual in the aspect of the room saw instantly what was unusual saw and understood it all her father was standing behind his obituary about it as if for support and opposite to him there stood mr. Carson the dark outline have his stern figure looming large against the lights of the fire in that little room behind her father sat Jolie his head in his hands and resting his elbows on the little family table listening evidently but as evidently deeply affected by what he heard as seemed to be some pause in the conversation Mary and Jem stood at the half-open door not daring to stir hardly to breathe and have I heard you were right began mr. Carson with his deep quivering voice Mun have I heard you were right was it you then who killed my boy my only son he said these last few words almost as if appealing for pity and then he changed his tone to one more vehement and fierce cold air to think that I shall be merciful and spare you because you have come forward to accuse yourself I tell you I will not spare you the least pang the law can inflict you who did not show pity on my boy shall have anon from me I did not ask for any said John Barton in a low voice ask or not ask what care I you shall be hanged hanged man said he advancing his face and repeating the word with slow grinding emphasis as if to infuse some of the bitterness of his soul into it John Barton gasped but not with fear it was only that he felt it terrible to have inspired such hatred as was concentrated into every word every gesture of mr. Carson's as for being hang sir I know it's all right and proper I dare say it's bad enough but I tell you what sir speaking with an outburst if you'd and me the day after I'd done the deed I would have gone down on my knees and blessed you death Lord what is it to life to such a life as I have been leading this for a night past life at best is no great thing but such a life as I am dragged through since that night he shuddered at the thought why Sir I've been on the point of killing myself this many a time to get away from my own thoughts I didn't and I'll tell you why I didn't know but that I should be more on to Dan ever with the recollection of my sin o God above can only tell the agony with which I've repented me of it and part perhaps because I feared II would think I were impatient of the misery he sent as punishment far far worse misery than any onion sir he ceased from excessive emotion then he began again sin that day it may be very wicked sir but is the truth I've kept thinking and thinking if I were but in that world where they say God is he would maybe teach me right from wrong even if it were with many stripes I've been saw possibly I would go through L fire if I could but get free from sin at last it's such an awful thing as for onion that's just nowt at all his exhaustion compelled him to sit down Mary rushed to him it seemed as if till then he had been unaware of her presence I I wench he said he feebly is it the where's Jim Wilson Jem came forward John Barton spoke again with many a break and gasping Poor's lad I was born a deal for me it's a meanest thing I ever did to leave thee to bear the brunt though who worked as innocent of any knowledge of it as the babe unborn are not blessed affari blessing from such as me would not bring me any good that love Mary though she is my child he ceased and there was a pause of a few seconds then mr. Carson turned to go when his hand was on the latch of the door he hesitated for an instant you can have no doubt for what purpose I go straight to the police office to send men to take care of you wretched man and your accomplice tomorrow morning your tale shall be repeated to those who can commit you to jail and before long you shall have the opportunity of trying how desirable hanging is Oh sir said Mary springing forward and catching hold of mr. Carson's arm my father is dying look at him sir if you want death for death you have it don't take him away from me these last hours you must go alone through death but let me be with him as long as I can Oh sir if you have any mercy in you leave him here to die John himself stood up stiff and rigid and replied Mary wench I owe him summer I will go die where and as he wishes me that was said true I'm standing side by side with death and it matters little where I spend a bit of time left of life that time I must pass in wrestling with my soul but a character to take into the other world I'll go where you see fit sir he's innocent faintly indicating gem as he fell back in his chair never fear it cannot touch him said Joe Lee in a low voice but as mr. Carson was on the point of leaving the house with no sign of relenting about him he was again stopped by John Barton who had risen once more from his chair and stood supporting himself on gem while he spoke so one word wears a grey with suffering and yours with years and have I had no suffering asked mr. Carson as if appealing for sympathy even to the murderer of his child and the murderer of his child answered to the appeal and groaned in spirit over the anguish he had caused have I had no inward suffering to blanch these hairs have not I toiled and struggled even to these years with hopes in my heart that all centered in my boy I did not speak of them but were they not there I seemed hard and cold and so I might be to others but not to him who shall ever imagine the love I bore to him even he never dreamed how my heart lept up at the sound of his footstep and how precious he was to his poor old father and he's gone killed out of the hearing of all my loving words out of my sight forever he was my sunshine and now it is night oh my god comfort me comfort me cried the old man aloud the eyes of John Barton grew dim with tears rich and poor masters and men were then brothers in the deep suffering of the heart for was not this the very anguish he had felt for little Tom in years so long by that they seemed like another life the mourner before him was no longer the employer a being of another race eternally placed in antagonistic attitude going through the world glittering like gold with a stony heart within which knew no sorrow but through the accidents of trade no longer the enemy the oppressor but a very poor and desolate old man the sympathy for suffering formerly so prevalent a feeling with him again filled John Barton's heart and almost impelled him to speak as best he could some earnest tender words to the stern man shaking in his agony but who was he that he should or to sympathy or consolation the cause of all this woe or blasting thought o miserable remembrance he had forfeited all right to bind up his brother's wounds stunned by the thought he sank upon the seat almost crushed with the knowledge of the consequences of his own action for he had no more imagined to himself the blighted home and the miserable parents then does the soldier who discharged his musket picture to himself the desolation of the wife and the pitiful cries of the helpless little ones who are in an instance to be made widowed and fatherless to intimidate a class of men known only to those below them as desirous to obtain the greatest quantity of work for the lowest wages at most to remove an overbearing partner from an obnoxious firm who stood in the way of those who struggled as well as they were able to obtain their rights this was the light in which John Barton had viewed his deed and even so viewing it after the excitement had passed away the Avenger the sure Avenger had found him out but now he knew that he had killed a man and a brother now he knew that no good thing could come out of this evil even to the sufferers whose cause he had so blindly espoused he lay across the table brokenhearted every fresh quivering sob of mr. Carson stabbed him to his soul he felt execrated by all and as if he could never lay bare the perverted reasonings which had made the performance of undoubted sin appear a duty the longing to bleed some faint excuse grew stronger and stronger he feebly raised his head and looking at Joe bleah he whispered out I did not know what I was doing Joe bleah God knows I didn't Oh sir said he wildly almost throwing himself and mr. Carson's feet say you forgive me the anguish I now see I've caused you I care not for pain or death you know I don't but oh man forgive me the trespass I have done forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us said Jobe solemnly and lo as if in prayer as if the words were suggested by those john bond had used mr. Carson took his hands away from his face I would rather see death than the ghastly gloom which darkened that countenance let my trespasses be Unforgiven so that I may have vengeance for my son's murder there are blasphemous actions as well as blasphemous words all unloving cruel deeds are acted blasphemy mr. Carson left the house and John Barton lay on the ground as one dead they lifted him up and almost hoping that that deep trance might be to him the end of all earthly things they bore him to his bed for a time they listened with divided attention to his faint breathing's for in each hasty hurried step that echoed in the street outside they thought they heard the approach of the officers of Justice when mr. Carson left the house he was dizzy with agitation the hot blood went careering through his frame he could not see the deep blue of the night heavens for the fierce pulses which throbbed in his head and partly to steady and calm himself he leaned against a railing and looked up into those calm majestic depths with all their thousand stars and by and by his own voice returned upon him as if the last words he had spoken were being uttered through all that infinite space but in their echoes there was a tone of unutterable sorrow let my trespasses be Unforgiven so that I may have vengeance for my son's murder he tried to shake off the spiritual impression made by this imagination he was feverish and ill and no wonder so he turned to go home words not as he had threatened to the police office after all he told himself that would do in the morning no fear of the man's escaping unless he escaped to the grave so he tried to banish the Phantom voices and shapes which came unbidden to his brain and to recall his balance of mind by walking calmly and slowly and noticing everything which struck his senses it was a warm soft evening in spring and there were many persons in the streets among others a nurse with a little girl in her charge conveying her home from some children's gaiety a dance most likely for the lovely little creature was daintily decked out in soft snow a muslin and her fairy feet tripped along by her nurse's side as if to the measure of some tune she had lately kept time to suddenly up behind her they came a rough rude errand-boy nine or ten years of age giant he looked by the fairy child as she fluttered along I don't know how it was but in some awkward way he knocked the poor little girl down upon the hard pavement as he brushed rudely past not much caring whom he heard so that he got along the child arose sobbing with pain and not without cause for blood was dropping down from the face but a minute before so fair and bright dropping down on the pretty frock making those scarlet marks so terrible two little children the nurse a powerful woman had seized the boy just as mr. Carsen who had seen the whole transaction came up you naughty little rascal I'll give you to a policeman that I will do you see how you've heard the little girl do accompanying every sentence with a violent jerk of passionate anger the lad looked hard and defying but withal terrified at the threat of the policeman those ogres of our streets to all unlucky urchins the nurse saw it and began to drag him along with a view of making what she called a wholesome impression his terror increased and with it his irritation when the little sweet face choking away its sobs pulled down nurse's head and said please dear nurse I'm not much hurt it was very silly to cry you know he did not mean to do it he did not know what he was doing did you little boy nurse won't call a policeman so don't be frightened and she put up a little mouth to be kissed by her injury just as she had been taught to do at home to make peace but Lud will mind and be more gentle for the time to come I'll be bound thanks to that little lady said a passerby half to himself and half to mr. Carsen whom he had observed to notice the scene the latter took no apparent heed of the remark but passed on but the child's pleading reminded him of the low broken voice he had so lately heard penitently and homely urging the same extenuation of his great guilt I did not know what I was doing he had some association with those words he had heard or read of that place somewhere before where was it could it be he would look when he go home so when he entered his house he went straight and silently upstairs to his library and took down the great large handsome Bible or grand and golden with its leaves are dealing together from the bookbinders press so little had it been used on the first page which fell open to mr. Carson's view were written the names of his children and his own Henry John son of the above John and Elizabeth Carson born September 29th 1815 to make the entry complete his death should now be added but the page became hidden by the gathering mists of Tears thought upon thought and recollection upon recollection came crowding in from the remembrance of the proud day when he had purchased the costly book in order to write down the birth of the little babe of a day old he laid his head down on the open page and let the tears fall slowly on the spotless leaves his son's murderer was discovered had confessed his guilt and yet strange to say he could not hate him with the vehemence of hatred he had felt when he had imagined him a young man full of lusty life defying all laws human and divine in spite of his desire to retain the revengeful feeling he considered as a duty to his dead son something of pity would steal in for the poor wasted skeleton of a man the smitten creature who had told him of his sin and implored his pardon that night in the days of his childhood and youth mr. Carson had been accustomed to poverty but it was honest decent poverty not the grinding squalid misery he had remarked in every part of John Barnes house and which contrasted strangely with the pompous sumptuousness of the room in which he now sat unaccustomed wonder filled his mind at the reflection of the different lots of the Brethren of mankind then he roused himself from his reverie and turned to the object of his search the gospel where he half expected to find the tender pleading they know not what they do it was murk midnight by this time and the house was still and quiet there was nothing to interrupt the old man in his unwonted study years ago the gospel had been his task book in learning to read so many years ago that he had become familiar with the events before he could comprehend the spirit that made the life he fell to the narrative now afresh with all the interest of a little child he began at the beginning and read on almost greedily understanding for the first time the full meaning of the story he came to the end the awful end and there were the haunting words of pleading he shut the book and thought deeply all night long the Archangel combatted with the demon all night long others watched by the bed of death John Barton had revived surfeit full intelligence he spoke at times with even something of his former energy and in the racy Lancashire dialect he had always used when speaking freely you see I've so often been anchoring after the right way and it's a hard one for a poor man to find at least it's been sold to me no one learned me and no one tailed me when I was a little chap they taught me to read and then they ner gaming all books only I heard say the Bible was a good book so when I grew thoughtful and puzzled I took to it we never believed black was black or night was night when you saw all about YOU acting as if black was white and night was day it's not much I can say for myself until the world God forgive me but I can say this I would fain have gone after the Bible rules if I'd have seen folk credit it they all spoke up for it and when and did clean contrary in those days I would have gone about with my Bible like a little child with fingerings place and asking the meaning of this or that texts and no one told me then I took out two or three texts as clear as glass and I tried to do what they bid miss to but I don't know how it was masters and men all alike cared no more for minding those texts that I did forth Lord Mayor of London so I grew to think it must be a sham put upon poor ignorant folk women and such like it was not long I tried to live gospel wise but it was like heaven than any other bit of Earth has been I had old Alice to strengthen me but everyone else said stand up for their rights or they'll never get him and wife and children never spoke but their helplessness cried aloud and I was driven to do as others did and then Tom died you know all about her I'm getting scanned to breath and blind like then again he spoke after some minutes of hushed silence all along it came natural to love folk though now I am what I am I think one time I could you know the love the masters if they're letting me that was in my gospel days before my child a donger I was tolling too often times between my sorrow for poor suffering folk am i trying to love them as cause their sufferings to my mind at last I gave it up in despair trying to make folks action square with Bible and I thought I'd no longer labor at following Bible Massell I've said all this a for maybe but from that time I've dropped down down down after that he only spoke in broken sentences I did not think he'd been such an old man oh that he had but forgiven me and then some earnest passionate broken words of prayer Jolie had gone home like one struck down with the unexpected shock Mary and Jem together waited the approach of death but as the final struggle drew on and morning dawned gem suggested some alleviation to the gasping breath to purchase which he left the house in search of a druggist shop which should be open up at early hour during his absence Barton grew worse he had fallen across the bed and his breathing seemed almost stopped in vain did Mary strive to raise him her sorrow and exhaustion had rendered her too weak so on hearing someone enter the house space below she cried out for Jem to come to her assistance a step which was not gems came up the stairs mr. Carson stood in the doorway in one instance he comprehended the case he raised up the powerless frame and the departing soul looked out of the eyes with gratitude he held the dying man propped in his arms John Barton folded his hands as if in prayer pray for us said Mary sinking on her knees and forgetting in that solemn hour all that had divided her father and mr. Carson no other words could suggest themselves than some of those he had read only a few hours before God be merciful to us sinners forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us and when the words were said John Barton lay a corpse in mr. Carson's arms so ended the tragedy of a poor man's life Mary knew nothing more for many minutes when she recovered consciousness she found herself supported by gem on the settle in the house place Jobe and mr. Carson were there talking together lowly and solemnly then mr. Carson bade farewell and left the house and Jobe said aloud but as if speaking to himself God has heard that man's prayer he is comforted him end of chapter 35 read by Tony Foster you chapter 36 of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell this LibriVox recording is in the public domain Jem's interview with mr. Duncan the first dark day of nothingness the last of danger and distress Byron although Mary had hardly been conscious of her thoughts and it had been more like a secret instinct informing her soul than the result of any process of reasoning she had felt for some time ever since her return from Liverpool in fact that for her father there was but one thing to be desired and anticipated and that was death she had seen that conscience had given the mortal wound to his earthly frame she did not dare to question of the infinite mercy of God what the future life would be to him though at first desolate and stunned by the blow which had fallen on herself she was resigned and submissive as soon as she recovered strength enough to ponder and consider a little and you may be sure that no tenderness or love was wanting on Jim's part and no consideration and sympathy on that of Jobe and Margaret to soothe and comfort the girl who now stood alone in the world as far as blood relations were concerned she did not ask or care to know what Arrangements they were making in whispered tones with regard to the funeral she put herself into their hands with the trust of a little child glad to be undisturbed in the reveries and remembrances which filled her eyes with tears and caused them to fall quietly down her pale cheeks it was the longest day she had ever known in her life every charge in every occupation was taken away from her but perhaps the length of quiet time thus afforded was really good although its duration weighed upon her for by this means she contemplated her situation in every light and fully understood that the morning's event had left her an orphan and thus she was spared the pangs caused to us by the occurrence of death in the evening just before we should naturally in the usual course of events lie down to slumber for in such case worn out by anxiety and he may be by much watching our very excess of grief rocks itself to sleep before we have had time to realize its cause and we waken with a start of agony like a fresh stab to the consciousness of the one awful vacancy which shall never while the world endures be filled again the day brought its burden of duty to mrs. Wilson she felt bound by regard as well as by etiquettes to go and see her future daughter-in-law and by an old association of ideas perhaps of death with churchyards and churches with sunday she thought it necessary to put on her best and latterly unused clothes the airing of which on a little clothes horse before the fire seemed to give her a not unpleasing occupation when gem returned home late in the evening succeeding John Barton's death weary and oppressed with the occurrences and excitements of the day he found his mother busy about her morning and much inclined to talk although he longed for quiet he could not avoid sitting down and answering her questions well gem is gone at last is he yes how did your mother or job came over here and tells me on his way to the Undertaker's did he make a fine end it struck gem that she had not heard of the confession which had been made by John Barton on his deathbed he remembered Jolie's discretion and he determined that if he could be avoided his mother should never hear of it many of the difficulties to be anticipated in preserving the secret would be obviated if he could induce his mother to fall into the plan he had named to marry of emigrating to Canada the reasons which rendered this secrecy desirable related to the domestic happiness he hoped for with his mother's irritable temper he could hardly expect that all allusion to the crime of John Barton would be forever restrained from passing her lips and he knew the deep trial such references would be to Mary accordingly he resolved as soon as possible in the morning to go to job and beseech his silence he trusted that secrecy in that quarter even if the knowledge had been extended to Margaret might be easily secured but what would be mr. Carson's course whether any means by which he might be persuaded to spare John Barton's memory he was roused up from this train of thought by his mother's more irritated tone of voice gem she was saying though much just as well and never be at a deathbed again if there cannot bring off more news about it you never been by Marcelo day except when our job came in but think sigh when gem comes he'll be sure to be good company seeing he was in the house at the very time of the death and here thou art without a word to throw at a dog much less than mother so used that going to a deathbed if there cannot carry away any of the sayings he did not make any mother replied gem well to be sure so fond as he used to be of olden forth to miss such a fine opportunity that will never come again did he die easy he was very restless all night long said gem reluctantly returning to the thoughts of that time and in course they looked the pillow away doubt it's not well with thy bringing up and thy learning L might have known that were they only helped in such a case there were pigeon feathers in the pillow depend on it to think a to grown-up fault like you and Mary not knowing death could never come easy to a person lying on a pillow with pigeons feathers in Jim was glad to escape from all this talking to the solitude and quiet of his own room where he could lie and think uninterruptedly of what had happened and remained to be done the first thing was to seek an interview with mr. Duncan his former master accordingly early the next morning Jem set off on his walk to the works where for so many years his days had been spent where for so long a time his thoughts had been thought his hopes and fears experienced it was not a cheering feeling to remember that henceforward he was to be severed from all these familiar places nor were his spirits enlivened by the evident feelings of the majority of those who had been his fellow workmen as he stood in the entrance to the foundry awaiting mr. Duncan's leisure many of those employed in the works passed him on their return from breakfast and with one or two exceptions without any acknowledgements of former acquaintances beyond a distant nod at the utmost it's his heart said jem to himself with a bitter and indignant feeling rising in his throat that let a man's life be what it may focus already to credit the first word against him I could live it down if I stayed in England but then what would not marry up to bear sooner or later the truth would out and then she would be a show to folk for many a day as John Barnes daughter well God does not judges hardly as a man that's the one comfort for all of us mr. Duncan did not believe in Jemez guilt in spite of the silence in which he again this day heard the imputation of it but he agreed that under the circumstances it was better he should leave the country we've been written to by government as I think had told you before to recommend an intelligent man well acquainted with mechanics as instrument maker to the Agricultural College they're establishing at Toronto in Canada it's a comfortable appointment house land and a good percentage on the instruments made I will show you the particulars if I can lay my hand on the letter which I believe I must have left at home thank you sir no need for seeing the letter to say I'll accept it I must leave Manchester and I just leave quick England at 1:00 one I'm about it of course government will give you your passage indeed I believe an allowance would be made for a family if you had one but you're not a married man I believe no sir but gem hung back from a confession with the awkwardness of a girl but said Mr Duncan smiling you would like to be a married man before you go I suppose hey Wilson if you please sir and there's my mother too I hope she'll go with us but I can pay her passage no need to trouble government neh neh I'll write today and recommend you and say that you have a family of – they'll never ask if the family goes upwards or downwards I shall see you again before you sail I hope Wilson though I believe they'll not allow you long to wait come to my house next time you'll find it Pleasant or I dare say these men are so wrong headed keep up your heart Jem felt that it was a relief to have this point settled and that he need no longer weigh reasons for and against his emigration and with his path growing clearer and clearer before him the longer he contemplated it he went to see Mary and if he judged it fit to tell her what he had decided upon Margaret was sitting with her grandfather wants to see you said she's a gem on his entrance and I want to see him replied Jem suddenly remembering his last night's determination – enjoined secrecy on Joely so he hardly stayed to kiss poor Mary sweet woebegone face but tore himself away from his darling to go to the old man who awaited him impatiently of getting a note from mr. Carson exclaimed job the moment he saw gem and man alive he wants to see thee and me for sure there's no more mischief up is there said he looking at Jem with an expression of wonder but if any suspicion mingled for an instant with the thoughts that crossed job's mind it was immediately dispelled by gems honest fearless opened countenance I can't guess what is want in poor old chap answered he maybe there's some point is not yet satisfied on maybe but it's no use guessing let's be off it won't be better for thee to be skirted it would it and leave me to go and find out what so it has perhaps getting some crotch it into his head there's an accomplice and he's laying a trap for thee I'm not afeared said Jen I've done nowt wrong and no nowt wrong about young poor dead lad though alone had evil thoughts once on a time thought can't me state long if once they'll search into the truth I'm gonna give the old gentlemen all the satisfaction in my power now it can injure no one at my own reasons for wanting to see him besides and it all falls in right enough for me Joe was a little reassured by gems boldness but still if the truth must be told he wished the young man would follow his advice and leave him to sound mr. Carson's intentions meanwhile Jane Wilson had donned her sunday suit of black and set off on her errand of condolence she felt nervous and uneasy at the idea of the moral sayings and texts which she fancied were expected from visitors on occasions like the present and prepared many a good set speech as she walked towards the house of mourning as she gently opened the door Mary sitting idly by the fire caught a glimpse of her of gems mother of the early friend of her dead parents of the kind minister to many a little want in days of childhood and rose and came and fell about her neck with many a sob and moan saying Oh his gun is dead oh gone Oh dead I'm left alone poor inch poor poor wench said Jane Wilson tenderly kissing her that not alone so do not take on soul I'll send out of him ooze above for thou no STIs ever the orphans friend but think on gem day Mary think of me I'm but a fry bit woman at times but I've an art within me through all my temper and thou shalt be as a daughter henceforward as mine own you lamb gem shalt not love thee better in his way than I will in mine and out bear with my turns marry knowing that in my soul God sees the love that shall ever be thine if they'll take me for thy mother and speak no more have been alone mrs. Wilson was weeping herself long before she had ended this speech which was so different to all she had planned to say and from all the formal piety he had laid in store for the visit for this was the hearts piety and needed no garnish of text to make it true religion pure and undefiled they sat together on the same chair their arms and circling each other they wept for the same dead they had the same hope and trust and overflowing love in the living from that time forward hardly a passing cloud dimmed the happy confidence of their intercourse even by gem would his mother's ten pursue nur be irritated them by marry before the latter she repressed her occasional nervous ill humour so the habit of indulging it was perceptibly decreased years afterwards in conversation with gem he was startled by a chance expression which dropped from his mother's lips it implied a knowledge of John Barnes crime it was many a long days since they had seen any Manchester people who could have revealed the secret if indeed it was known in Manchester against which gem had guarded in every possible way and he was led to inquire first as to the extent and then as to the source of her knowledge it was Mary herself who had told all four on the morning to which this chapter principally relates as Mary sat weeping and as mrs. Wilson comforted her by every tenderest word and caress she revealed to the dismayed and astonished Jane the sting of her deep sorrow the crime which stained her dead father's memory she was quite unconscious that gem had kept it secret from his mother she had imagined it bruited abroad as the suspicion against her lover had been so word after word dropped from her lips in the supposition that mrs. Wilson knew all had told the tale and revealed the cause of her deep anguish deeper than his ever caused by death alone on large occasions like the present mrs. Wilson's innate generosity came out her weakened ailing frame imparted its irritation to her conduct in small things and daily trifles but she had deep and noble sympathy with great sorrows and even at the time that Mary spoke she allowed no expression of surprise or horror to escape her lips she gave way to no curiosity as to the untold details she was a secret and trustworthy as her son himself and if in years to come her anger was occasionally excited against Mary and she on rare occasions yielded to ill temper against her daughter-in-law she would have braid her for extravagance or stinginess or over dressing or under dressing or too much mirth or too much gloom but never never in her most uncontrolled moments did she allude to any one of the circumstances relating to Mary's flirtation with Harry Carson or his murderer and always when she spoke of John Barton named him with the respect due to his conduct before the last miserable guilty month of his life therefore it came like a blow to Jem when after years had passed away he gathered his mother's knowledge of the whole affair from the day when he learnt not without remorse what hidden depths of self-restraint she had in her soul his manner to her always tender and respectful became reverential and it was more than ever a loving strife between him and Mary which should most contribute towards the happiness of the declining years of their mother but I'm speaking of the events which have occurred only lately while I have yet many things to tell you that happened six or seven years ago end of chapter 36 read by Tony Foster chapter 37 of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell this LibriVox recording is in the public domain details can affected with the murder the Richmond dines while the poor man Pines and eats his heart away they teach us lies he sternly cries wood brothers do as they the dream mr. Carson stood at one of the breathing moments of life the object of the toils the fears and the wishes of his past years was suddenly hidden from his sight vanished into the deep mystery which circumscribes existence nay even the Vengeance which he had proposed himself as a name for exertion had been taken away from before his eyes as by the hand of God events like these would have startled the most thoughtless into reflection much more such a man as mr. Carson whose mind if not enlarged was energetic indeed whose very energy having been hitherto the cause of the employment of his powers in only one direction had prevented him from becoming largely and philosophically comprehensive in his views but now the foundations of his past life were razed to the ground and the place they had once occupied was sewn with salt to be forever rebuilt no more it was like the change from this life to that other hidden one when so many of the motives which have actuated all our earthly existence will have become more fleeting than the shadows of a dream with a wrench of his soul from the past so much of which was as nothing and worse than nothing to him now mr. Carson took some hours after he had witnessed the death of his son's murderer to consider his situation but suddenly while he was deliberating and searching for motives which should be effective to compel him to exertion and action once more while he contemplated the desire after riches social distinction a name among the merchant princes amidst whom he moved and saw these false substances fade away into the shadows they truly are and one by one disappear into the grave of his son suddenly I say the thought arose within him that more yet remained to be learned about the circumstances and feelings which had prompted John Barnes crime and when once this mournful curiosity was excited it seemed to gather strength in every moment that its gratification was delayed accordingly he sent a message to summon job Lee and Jem Wilson from whom he promised himself some elucidation of what was as yet unexplained while he himself set forth to call on mr. Bridgnorth whom he knew to have been gems attorney with a glimmering suspicion intruding on his mind which he strove to repel that gem might have had some share in his son's death he had returned before his summoned visitors arrived and had time enough to recur to the evening on which John Barton had made his confession he remembered with mortification how he had forgotten his proud reserve and his a bitch alert of his feelings and had laid bare his agony of grief in the presence of these two men who were coming to see him by his desire and he entrenched himself behind stiff barriers of self-control through which he hoped no appearance of emotion would force its way in the conversation he anticipated nevertheless when the servant announced the two men were there by appointment to speak to him and he had desired that they might be shown into the library where he sat any watcher might have perceived by the trembling hands and shaking head not only how much he was aged by the occurrences of the last few weeks but also how much he was agitated at the thought of the impending interview but he so far succeeded in commanding himself at first as to appear to Jim Wilson and Joe Lee one of the hardest and most haughty men they had ever spoken to and to forfeit all the interest which he had previously excited in their minds by his unreserved display of deep and genuine feeling when he had desired them to be seated he shaded his face with his hand for an instant before speaking I've been calling on mr. Bridgnorth this morning said he at last as I expected he can give me but little satisfaction on some points respecting the occurrence on the 18th of last month which I desire to have cleared up perhaps you too can tell me what I want to know as intimate friends of Barnes you probably know or can conjecture a good deal have no scruple as to speaking the truth what you say in this room shall never be named again by me besides you are aware that the law allows no one to be tried twice for the same offense he stopped for a minute for the mere act of speaking was fatiguing to him after the excitement of the last few weeks Jolie took the opportunity of speaking I'm not going to be affronted either for myself or Jem at what you've just known been saying about the truth you don't know us and there's an end on it only it's as well for folk to think of as good and true until they're proved contrary ask what you like sir I'll answer for it will either tell truth or older tongs I beg your pardon said mr. Carson slightly bowing his head what I wish to know was referring to a slip of paper he held in his hand and shaking so much he could hardly adjust his glasses to his eyes whether you Wilson can explain how Barton came possessed of your gun I believe you refused this explanation to mr. Bridgnorth I did sir if I said what I knew then I saw it would criminate Barton and so I refused telling out see you sir now I will tell everything and anything only it is but little the gun was my father's before it was mine and long ago he and John Barton had a fancy for shooting at the gallery and they used to always take this gun and brag that though it was old-fashioned it was sure Jem saw with self upbraiding pain how mr. Carson winced at these last words but at each irrepressible and involuntary evidence of feeling the hearts of the two men warm towards him Jemm went on speaking one day in the week I think it was on the Wednesday yes it was it was on st. Patrick's Day I met John just coming out of our house as I were going to my dinner mother was out and he'd found no one in he said he'd come to borrow the old gun and that he'd have made bold and taking it but it was not to be seen mother was afraid of it so after father's death for while he were alive she seemed to think he could manage it I had carried it to my own room I went up and fetched it for John who stood outside the door all the time What did he say wanted it for asked mr. Carson hastily I don't think he spoke when I gave him but first he muttered something about the shooting gallery and I never doubted but they were for practice there as I knew he had done years before mr. Carson had strung up his frame to an attitude of upright attention while gem was speaking now the tension relaxed and he sank back in his chair weak and powerless he rose up again however as gem went on anxious to give every particular which could satisfy the bereaved father I never knew for what he wanted the gun till I was taken up I do not know yet why he wanted it no one would have had me get out of this great by implicating an old friend my father's old friend and the father of the girl I loved so I refused to tell mr. Bridgnorth out about it and would not have named it now to anyone but you gems face became very red at the allusion he had made to Mary but his honest fearless eyes had met mr. Carson's penetrating gaze unflinchingly and had carried conviction of his innocence and truthfulness mr. Carson felt certain that he had heard all that jem could tell accordingly he turned to Joley you were in the room the whole time while Barton was speaking to me I think yes sir answered job you'll excuse my asking plain and direct questions the information I am gaining is really a relief to my mind I don't know how but it is will you tell me if you had any idea of Barton's guilt in this matter before non whatever so help me God said Jobe solemnly to tell truth and senior forgiveness gem I'd never quite got shut of the notion Jemmy era done it at times I was as clear of his innocence as I was of my own and whenever I took to reasoning about it I sorry could not have been the man that did it still I never thought of barn and yet by his confession he must have been absent at the time said mr. Carson referring to his slip of paper I and for many a day after I can't rightly say Oh long but still you see ones often blind to many a thing that lies right under one's nose till he's pointed out until I heard what John Barton had to say on night I could not have seen what reason he had for doing it while in the case of Jen anyone who looked at Mary Barton might have seen a cause for jealousy clearing off then you believe that Barton had no knowledge of my son's unfortunate he looked at gem of his attentions to Mary Barton this young man Wilson had heard of them you see the person who told me said clearly she neither had nor would tell Mary's father interposed Jem I don't believe he'd ever heard of it he weren't a man to keep still in such a matter if he had besides said job the reason he gave on his deathbed so to speak was enough especially to those who knew him you mean his feelings regarding the treatment of the workmen by the Masters you think he acted from motives of revenge in consequence of the part my son had taken in putting down the strike well sir replied job it's hard to say John Barton was not a man to take counsel with people nor did he make many words about his doings so I can only judge from his way of thinking and talking in general never having heard him breathe a syllable concerning this matter in particular you see he was subtly put about to make great riches and great poverty squirrel with Christ's gospel job paused in order to try and express what was clear enough in his own mind as to the effect produced on John Barden by the great and mocking contrasts presented by the varieties of human condition before he could find suitable words to explain his meaning miss the Carson spoke you mean he was a Noah night all for equality and community of goods and that kind of absurdity no no John Barton was no fool no need to tell him that we're all men equal tonight some would get the start by rising an hour earlier tomorrow nor yet did he care for goods nor wealth no man less so that she could get daily bread for him and his but what hurt him sore and rankled in him as long as I knew him and sir it rankles in many a poor man's art far more than the want of any creature comforts and puts a sting into starvation itself was that those who wore finer clothes and eat better food and had more money in their pockets kept him at arm's length and cared not whether his art was sorry or glad whether he lived or died whether he was bone for ever Norrell it seemed odd to him a three-book gold should part him and his brother so far asunder for he was a loving man before he grew mad with seeing such as he was slighted as if Christ himself had not been poor at one time I've heard him say he felt kindly towards every man rich or poor because he thought that we're all men alike but latterly he grew a grave ated with the sorrows and suffering that he saw and which he thought the masters might help if they would that's the notion you've all of you got said mr. Carson now how in the world can we help it we cannot regulate the demand for labor no man or setter men can do it depends on events which God alone can control when there is no market for our goods we suffer just as much as you can do not as much I'm sure sir though I'm not given to political economy and all that much I'm wanting in learning I'm aware but I can use my eyes I never see the Masters getting thin and a goat for want of food I hardly ever see them making much change in their way of living though I don't doubt that they've got to do it in bad times what is in thing's for sure they're cut short while for such as me it's in things for life we've to stint for sure sir you lawn it's come to our art pass when a man would give out in the world for work to keep his children from starving and can't get a bit if he's ever saw willing to labor I'm not up to talking as John Barton would have done but that's clear to me at any rate my good man just listen to me two men live in solitude one produces loaves of bread the other coats or what you will now would he not be hard if the bread producer were forced to give bread for the coats whether he wanted them or not in order to furnish employment to the other that is the simple form of the case you've only to multiply the numbers there will come times of great changes in the occupation of thousands when improvements in manufactures and machinery are made it's all nonsense talking it must be so job Lee pondered a few moments it's true it was a sore time for the unbloomed Weaver's when power looms came in them newfangled things make a man's life like a lottery and yet I'll never miss doubt that power looms and railways and all such like inventions are the gifts of God I have lived long enough to to see that it is part of his plan to send suffering to bring out a higher good but surely it's also part of his plan that as much of the burden of the suffering as can be should be lightened by those whom it is his pleasure to make happy and content in their own circumstances of course it would take a deal more thought and wisdom than me or any other man asked to settle out of an oh this should be done but I'm clear about this when God gives a blessing to be enjoyed he gives it with a duty to be done and the duty of the Abbey is to help the suffering to bur their war still facts have proved and our daily proving how much better it is for every man to be independent of help and self-reliant said mr. Carson thoughtfully you can never work facts as you would fixed quantities and say given to facts and the product is source or God has given men feelings and passions which can be worked into the problem because they are forever changing and uncertain God has also made some week not in any one way but in all one is weak in body another in mind another instead enos of purpose a fourth can't tell right from wrong and so on or if he can tell the right you want strength to all bite no to my thinking then that is strong in any of God's gifts is meant to help the weak beyond to the facts I ask your pardon sir I can't rightly explain the meaning that is in me I'm like a tappers won't run but keep letting it out drop by a drop so that you've no notion of the force of what's within job looked and felt very sorrowful at the want of power in his words while the feeling within him was so strong and clear what you say is very true no doubt replied mr. Carson but how would you bring it to bear upon the Masters conduct on my particular case how did he gravely I'm not learning enough to argue thoughts coming to me ed that I'm sure is as true as gospel though maybe they don't follow each other like the QED of a proposition the Masters has it on their own conscience you have it on your sir to answer for to God whether you've done on are doing in all your power to lighten the evils that seemed always to hang on the trades by which you make your fortunes it's no business of mine thank God John Barton took the question in hand and his answer to it was nor then he grew bitter and angry and mad and in his madness he did a great sin and wrought a great war and repented him with tears as a blood and will go through his penance humbly and meekly until the place I'll be bound I never seed such bitter repentance as is that last night there was a silence of many minutes mr. Carson had covered his face and seemed utterly forgetful of their presence and yet they did not like to disturb him by rising to leave the room at last he said without meeting their sympathetic eyes thank you both for coming and for speaking candidly to me I fear Li neither you nor I have convinced each other as to the power or want of power in the Masters to remedy the evils the men complain of Oh loft to vex you sir just no but it was not the one to power I was talking on what we all feel sharpest is the want of inclination to try and help the evils which come like blacks at times over the manufacturing places while we see the masters can stop work and not suffer if we saw the Masters try for our sakes to find a remedy even if they were long about it even if they could find Noel but the end of it all could only say poor fellows are our artists Sophia we've done all we could and can't find a cure Weber up like men through bad times no one knows till they've tried what power of bearing lies in them if once they believe that men occurring for the sorrows and will help if the come if fellow-creatures can give notebook tears and brave words wit echo trial straight from God and we know enough of his love to put ourselves blind into his hands you say our talk has done no good I say it as I see the view you take of things from the place where you stand I can remember that when the time comes for judging you shall think any longer does he act right on my views of a thing but does he act right on his own it is done me good in that way I'm an old man and may never see you again but our prayer for you and think on you and your trials both of you great wealth and have your sons cruel death many and many a day to come and I'll ask God to bless both to you you know and forevermore amen farewell gem had maintained a manly and dignified reserve ever since he had made his open statements of all he knew now both the men rose and bowed low looking at mr. Carson with the deep human interest they could not fail to take in one who had endured and forgiven a deep jury and who struggled hard as it was evident he did to bear up like a man under his affliction he bowed low and returned to them then he suddenly came forward and shook them by the hand and thus without a word more they parted there are stages in the contemplation and endurance of great sorrow which endow men with the same earnestness and clearness of thought that in some of old took the form of prophesy to those who have large capability of loving and suffering United with great power of therm endurance there comes a time in their wall when they are lifted out of the contemplation of their individual case into a searching inquiry into the nature of their calamity and the remedy if remedy there be which may prevent its recurrence to others as well as to themselves hence the beautiful noble efforts which are from time to time brought to light as being continuously made by those who have once hung on the cross of agony in order that others may not suffer as they have done one of the grandest ends which sorrow can accomplish the sufferer wrestling with God's messenger until the blessing is left behind not for one alone but for generations it took time before the stern nature of mr. Carson was compelled to the recognition of this secret of comfort and that same sternness prevented his reaping any benefit in public estimation from the actions he performed for the character is more easily changed than the habits and manners originally formed by that character and to his dying day mr. Carson was considered hard and cold by those who only casually saw him or superficially knew him but those who were admitted into his confidence were aware that the wish which lay nearest to his heart was that non might suffer from the cause from which he had suffered that a perfect understanding and complete confidence and love might exist between masters and men that the truth might be recognized that the interests of one were the interests of all and as such required the consideration and deliberation of all that hence it was most desirable to have educated workers capable of judging not mere machines of ignorant men and to have them bound to their employers by the ties of respect and affection not by mere money bargains alone in short to acknowledge the Spirit of Christ as the regulating law between both parties many of the improvements now in practice in the system of employment in Manchester Oh their origin to short earnest sentences spoken by mr. Carson many and many yet to be carried into execution take their birth from that Stern thoughtful mind which submitted to be taught by suffering end of chapter 37 read by Tony Foster chapter 38 of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell this LibriVox recording is in the public domain conclusion touches gently gentle time we've not proud nor soaring wings our ambition our content lies in simple things humble voyages are we or lives dim unsounded see touches gently gentle time barri Cornwall not many days after John Barton's funeral was over all was arranged respecting gems appointment at Toronto and the time was fixed for his sailing it was to take place almost immediately yet much remain to be done many domestic preparations were to be made and one great obstacle anticipated by both Jim and Mary to be removed this was the opposition they expected from mrs. Wilson to whom the plan had never yet been named they were most anxious that their home should continue ever to be hers yet they feared that her dislike to a new country might be an insuperable objects into this at last gem took advantage of an evening of unusual placidity as he sat alone with his mother just before going to bed to broach the subject and to his surprise she acceded willingly to his proposition of her accompanying himself and his wife to be sure America is a long way to flit to beyond London a good bit I reckon and quite in foreign parts but I've never had no opinion of England ever since they could be such fools as to take up a quiet chat like thee and clap they in prison where you go I'll go perhaps in them Indian countries they'll know a well-behaved lad when they see him near speak a word more lad I'll go their paths became daily more smooth and easy the present was clear and practicable the future was hopeful they had leisure of mind enough to turn to the past gem said Mary to him one evening as they sat in the Twilight talking together in low happy voices till margaret should come to keep Mary company through the night gem you've never yet told me how you came to know about my naughty ways with poor mr. Carson she blushed for shame at the remembrance of her folly and hid her head on his shoulder while he made answer darling I'm almost lost to tell you your Aunt Esther told me I remember how did she know I was so put about that night I did not think of asking her where did you see her I forgotten where she lives Mary said all this in so open and innocent a manner that felt sure she knew not the truth respecting Esther and he half hesitated to tell her at length he replied where did you see Esther lately when tell me love for you've never named it before and I can't make it out oh it was that horrible night which is like a dream and she told him of Esther's midnight visit concluding with we must go and see her before we leave though I don't rightly know where to find her dearest Mary what gem exclaimed she alarmed by his hesitation your poor aunt Esther has no home she's one of them miserable creatures that walk the streets and he in his turn told her of his encounter with Esther with so many details that Mary was forced to be convinced although her heart rebelled against the belief jem lad said she vehemently we must find her out we must hunt her up she rose as if she was going on the surge there and then what could we do darling asked he fondly restraining her do why what could we not do if we could but find her she's none so happy in her ways thinking but what she turned from them if anyone would lend her a helping hand don't hold me gem this is just the time for such as her to be out and who knows but what I might find her close at hand stay Mary for a minute I'll go out now and search for her if you wish though it's but a wild chase you must not go it would be better to ask the police tomorrow but if I should find her how can I make a come with me once before she refused and said she could not break off her drinking ways come what might you never will persuade her if you fear and doubt said Mary in tears hope yourself and trust to the good that must be in her speak to that she has it in her yet I'll bring her home and we will love her so we'll make her good yes said gem catching Mary's sanguine spirit she shall go to America with us and we'll help her to get rid of her sins I'll go now my precious darling and if I can't find her it's but trying the police tomorrow take care of your own sweet self Mary said he fondly kissing her before he went out it was not to be gem wandered far and wide that night but never met Esther the next day he applied to the police and at last they recognized under his description of her a woman known to them under the name of the butterfly from the gaiety of her dress a year or two ago by their help he traced out one of her haunts a low lodging house behind Peter Street he and his companion a kind-hearted policeman were admitted suspiciously enough by the landlady who ushered them into a large Garret where twenty or thirty people of all ages and both sexes lay and dozed away the day choosing the evening and night for their trades of beggary feeding or prostitution I know the butterfly Wazir said she looking round she came in the night before last and said she had not a penny to get a place for shelter and that if she was far away in the country she could steal aside and die in a cops or a cloth like the wild animals but here the police would let no one alone in the streets and she wanted a spot to die in in peace it's a queer sort of peace we have here but that night the room was uncommon empty and I'm not a hard-headed woman I wish I were I could have made a good thing out of it afore this if I were ardour so I sent her up but she's not here now I think was she very badass Jem I know put skin and bone with a kofta terror into they made some inquiries and found that in the restlessness of approaching death she had long to be once more in the open air and had gone forth where no one seemed to be able to tell leaving many messages for her and directions that he was to be sent for if either the policeman or the landlady obtained any clue to her whereabouts Jem bent his steps towards Mary's house for he had not seen her all that long day of search he told her of his proceedings and want of success and both were saddened at the recital and sat silent for some time after a while they began talking over their plans in a day or two Mary was to give up house and go and live for a week or so with the job Lee until the time of her marriage which would take place immediately before sailing they talked themselves back into silence and delicious reverie Mary sat by gem his arm around her waist her head on his shoulder and thought over the scenes which had passed in that home she was so soon to leave forever suddenly she felt gems stars and started to without knowing why she tried to see his countenance but the shades of evening had deepened so much she could read no expression there it was turned to the window she looked and saw a white face pressed against the panes on the outside gazing intently into the dusky chamber while they watched as if fascinated by the appearance and unable to think or stir a film came over the bright feverish glittering eyes outside and the form sank down to the ground without a struggle of instinctive resistance it is Esther exclaimed they both at once they rushed outside and fallen into what appeared simply a heap of white or light colored clothes fainting or dead lay the poor crushed butterfly the once innocent Esther she had come as a wounded deer drags its heavy limbs once more to the green coolness of the lair in which it was born there to die to see the place familiar to her innocence yet once again before her death whether she was indeed alive or dead they knew not now job came in with Margaret for it was bedtime he said Esther's pulse beat a little yet they carried her upstairs and laid her on mary's bed not daring to undress her lest any motion should frighten the trembling life away but it was all in vain towards midnight she opened wide her eyes and looked around on the once familiar room job Lee knelt by the bed praying aloud and further for her but he stopped as he saw her roused look she sat up in bed with a sudden convulsive motion has he been a dream then as she wildly then with a habit which came like instinct even in that awful dying hour her hands sought for a locket which hung concealed in her bosom and finding that she knew all was true which had befallen her since last she lay an innocent girl on that bed she fell back and spoke word Nevermore she held the locket containing her child's hair still in her hand and once or twice she kissed it with a long soft kiss she cried feebly and subtly as long as she had any strength to cry and then she died they laid her in one grave with John bond and there they lie without name or initial or date only this verse is inscribed upon the stone which covers the remains of these two Wanderers Psalm 103 verse 9 for he will not always chide neither will he keep his anger forever I see a long low wooden house with room enough and to spare the old primeval trees are felled and gone for many a mile around one alone remains to overshadow the gable end of the cottage there is a garden around the dwelling and far beyond that stretches an orchard the glory of an Indian summer is over all making the heart leap at the sight of its gorgeous beauty at the door of the house looking towards the town stands Mary watching for the return of her husband from his daily work and while she watches she listens smiling clap hands daddy comes with his pocketful of plums and a cake for Johnny then comes a crow of delight from Johnny and his grandmother carries him to the door and glories in seeing him resist his mother's blandishments to cling to her English letters its was that made me so late Oh gem gem don't hold them so tight what did they say why some good news come give a guess what it is Oh tell me I cannot guess said Mary then you give it up dear what do you say mother Jane Wilson thought a moment Willa Margaret her marriage as she not exactly but very near the old woman has twice the spirit of the young one come Mary give a guess he covered his little boy's eyes with his hands for an instant significantly till the baby pushed them down saying in his imperfect way tart see there now Johnny can see do you guess Mary they've done something to Margaret to give her back a sight exclaimed she they have she's been couched and can see as well as ever she and will her to be married on the 25th of this month and he's bringing her out here next voyage and job Lee talks of coming too not to see you Mary now you mother nor you my little hero kissing him but to try and pick up a few specimens of Canadian insects will says all the compliment is to the earwigs you see mother dear job Lee said Mary softly and seriously end of chapter 38 end of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell read by Tony Foster

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

  1. Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life (Version 2) | Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell | Sound Book | 9/9
    34: [00:00:00] – CHAPTER XXXIV – THE RETURN HOME
    35: [00:31:37] – CHAPTER XXXV – ''FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES.''
    36: [01:01:58] – CHAPTER XXXVI – JEM'S INTERVIEW WITH MR. DUNCOMBE
    37: [01:18:51] – CHAPTER XXXVII – DETAILS CONNECTED WITH THE MURDER
    38: [01:41:43] – CHAPTER XXXVIII – CONCLUSION

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