Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life (Version 2) | Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell | Soundbook | 4/9

chapter 11 of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell this LibriVox recording is in the public domain mr. Carson's intentions revealed Oh Mary canst thou wreck his piece Wafaa thy sake what gladly die or canst thou break that heart of his was only fought his loving thee burns I can like of the wealth I must confess yet more I prize the man though moneyless I am not of their humour yet that can for title or estate affect a man or of myself one body deign to make with him I loathe for his possessions sake withers Fidelia Barton returned home after his encounter with Esther uneasy and dissatisfied he had said no more than he had been planning to say for years in case she was ever thrown in his way in the character in which he felt certain he should meet her he believed she deserved it all and yet he now wished he had not said it her look as she asked for mercy haunted him through his broken and disordered sleep a form as he last saw her lying prostrate in helplessness would not be punished from his dreams he sat up in bed to try and dispel the vision now too late his conscience smote him for his harshness it would have been all very well he thought to have said what he did if he had added some kind words at last he wondered if his dead wife was conscious of that night's occurrence and he hoped not for with her love Foresta he believed it will in bitter heaven to have seen her so degraded and repulsed or he now recalled her humility her tacit acknowledgment of her lost character and he began to marvel if there was power in the religion he had often heard of to turn her from her ways he felt that no earthly power that he knew of could do it but there glimmered on his darkness the idea that religion might save her still where to find her again in the wilderness of a large town where to meet with an individual of so little value or note to any and evening after evening he pasted those streets in which he had heard her footsteps following him peering under every fantastic discreditable bonnet in the hopes of one small meeting ester and addressing her in a far different manner from what he had done before but he returned night after night disappointed in his search and at last gave it up in despair and tried to recall his angry feelings towards her in order to find relief from his present self reproach he often looked at Mary and wished she were not so like her aunt for the very bodily likeness seemed to suggest the possibility of a similar likeness in their fate and then this idea enraged his irritable mind and he became suspicious and anxious about Mary's conduct now hitherto she had been so remarkably free from all control and almost from all inquiry concerning her actions that she did not Brook this change in her father's behavior very well just when she was yielding more than ever to mr. Carson's desire of frequent meetings it was hard to be so questioned concerning her hours of leaving off work whether she had come straight home etc she could not tell lies oh she could conceal much if she were not questioned so she took refuge in obstinate silence alleging as a reason for it her indignation at being so cross-examined this did not add to the good feeling between father and daughter and yet they dearly loved each other and in the minds of each one principal reason for maintaining such behavior as displease the other was the believing that this conduct would ensure that person's happiness her father now began to wish Mary were married then this terrible superstitious fear suggested by her likeness to Esther would be done away with he felt that he could not resume the reins he had once slackened but with a husband it would be different if Jim Wilson would marry her with his character for steadiness and talent but he was afraid Mary had slighted him he came so seldom now to the house he would ask her Mary what's come over thee and gem Wilson you were great friends at one time Oh folks say he's going to be married to Molly Gibson and of course courting takes up a deal of time and said Mary as indifferently as she could I was played their cards bud Lee then replied her father in a surly tone one time he were desperate fonder they are much mistaken much fonder rather than thou deserves that's as people think said Mary Pearlie but she remembered that the very morning before she had met mr. Carson who had sighed and swore and protested all manner of tender vows that she was the loveliest sweetest best etc and when she had seen him afterwards riding with one of his beautiful sisters had he not evidently pointed her out as in some way or other an object worthy of attention and interest and then lingered behind his sisters horse for a moment to kiss his hand repeatedly so as for gem Wilson she could whistle him down the wind but her father was not in the mood to put up with pertness and he upbraided her with the loss of Jim Wilson till she had to bite her lips till the blood came in order to keep down the angry words that would rise in her heart at last her father left the house and then she might give way to her passionate tears it so happened that Jem after much anxious thought had determined that day to put his fate to the touch to win or lose it all he was in a condition to maintain a wife in comfort it was true his mother and aunt must form part of the household but such is not an uncommon case among the poor and if there were the advantage of previous friendship between the parties it was not he thought an obstacle to matrimony both mother and Auntie believed would welcome marry and oh what a certainty of happiness the idea of that welcome implied he had been absent and obstructed all day long with the thought of the coming event of the evening he almost smiled himself for his care in washing and dressing in preparation for his visit to Mary as if one waistcoat or another could decide his fate in so passionately momentous a thing he believed he only delayed before his little looking-glass for cowardice for absolute fear of a girl he would try not to think so much about the affair and he thought the more poor gem it is not an auspicious moment for thee come in said Mary as someone knocked at the door while she sat sadly at her sewing trying to earn a few pence by working over hours at some morning gem entered looking more awkward in a bash than he had ever done before yet here was Mary all alone just as he had hoped to find her she did not ask him to take a chair but after standing a minute or two he sat down there is your father at sole Mary he said he by way of making an opening but she seemed determined to keep silence and went on stitching away no he's gone to his union I suppose another silence there was no use waiting for Jim the subject would never be led to by any talk he could think of in his anxious fluttered state he'd better begin at once Mary said he and the unusual tone of his voice made her look up for an instant but in that time she understood from his countenance what was coming and her heartbeat so suddenly and violently she could hardly sit still yet one thing she was sure of nothing he could say should make her have him she would show them all who would be glad to have her she was not yet calm after her father's irritating speeches yet her eyes fell veiled before that passionate look fixed upon her dear Mary well how dear you are I cannot rightly tell you in words it's no new story I'm going to speak about you must have seen and known it long but since we were boy and girl I have loved you both father and mother and all and all I've thought on by day and dreamt on by night has been something in which you've had a share at no way of keeping you for long and has gone to try and tie you down and I lived in terror lest someone else should say to himself but now Mary I'm Foreman inth works and dear Mary listen as she in her unbearable agitation stood up and turned away from him he rose to and came nearer trying to take hold of her hand but this she would not allow she was bracing herself up to refuse him for once and for all and now Mary I've a home to offer you and the heart is true as ever man had to love you and cherish you we shall never be rich folk I dare say but if a loving heart and a strong right arm can shield you from sorrow or from want mine she'll do it I cannot speak as I would like my love won't let itself be put in words but oh darling say you believe me and that you'll be mine she could not speak at once her words would not come Mary they say silence gives consent is it so he whispered now or never the effort must be made no it does not with me the voice was calm although she trembled from head to foot I will always be your friend gem but I can never be your wife not my wife said he mournfully Oh Mary think awhile you cannot be my friend if you'll not be my wife at least I can never be content to be only a friend do think awhile if you say no you'll make me old Plus desperate it's no love of yesterday it is made the very groundwork of all that people call good in me I don't know I shall be if you won't of me and Mary think how glad your father would be it may sound vain but it's told me more than once how much he should like to see us to married gem intended this for a powerful argument but in Mary's present mood it's old against him more than anything but it suggested the false and foolish idea that her father in his evident anxiety to promote her marriage with gem had been speaking to him on the subject with some degree of solicitation I tell you Jim it cannot be once for all I will never marry you and is this the end of all my hopes and fears the end of my life and they say for it is the end of all worth living for his agitation rose and carried him into passion Mary Julie maybe of me as a drunkard and maybe as a thief and maybe as a murderer remember when all speaking ill of me you will have no right to blame me for is your cruelty that will have made me what I feel I shall become you won't even say you'll try and like me will you marry said he suddenly changing his tone from threatening despair to fond passionate entreaty as he took her hand and held it forcibly between both of his while he tried to catch a glimpse of her averted face she was silent but he was from deep and violent emotion he could not bear to wait he would not hope to be dashed away again he rather in his bitterness of heart chose the certainty of despair and before she could resolve what to answer he flung away her hand and rushed out of the house gem gem cried she with faint and choking voice it was too late he left Street after Street behind him with his almost Wingard speed as he sought the fields where he might give way unobserved to all the deep despair he felt it was scarcely ten minutes since he had entered the house and found Mary at comparative peace and now she lay half across the dresser her head hidden in her hands and every part of her body shaking with the violence of her sobs she could not have told at first if you had asked her and she could have commanded a voice enough to answer why she was in such agonized grief it was too sudden for her to analyze or think upon it she only felt that by her own doing her life would be hereafter dreary and blank by and by her sorrow exhausted her body by its power and she seemed to have no strength left for crying she sat down and now thoughts crowded on her mind one little hour ago and all was still answered and she had her fate in her own power and yet how long ago was she determined to say pretty much what she did if the occasion ever offered It was as if two people were arguing the matter that mournful desponding communion between her former self and her present self herself a day an hour ago and herself now for we have every one of us felt how a very few minutes of the months and years called life will sometimes suffice to place all time past and future in an entirely new light will they could see the vanity or the criminality of the bygone and so changed the aspect of the coming time that we look with loathing on the very thing we have most desired a few moments may change our character for life by giving a totally different direction to our aims and energies to return to marry her plan had been as we well know to marry mr. Carson and the occurrence an hour ago was only a preliminary step true but it had unveiled her heart to her it had convinced her she loved gem above all persons or things but gem was a poor mechanic with a mother and aunt to keep a mother to who had shown her pretty clearly she did not desire her for a daughter-in-law while mr. Carson was rich and prosperous and gay and she believed would place her in all circumstances of ease and luxury where want could never come what were these hollow vanities to her now she had discovered the passionate secret of her soul she felt as if she almost hated mr. Carson who had decoyed her with his baubles she now saw how vain how nothing too would be all gaya teas and pumps all joys and pleasures unless she might share them with gem yes with him she harshly rejected so shorter time ago if he were poor she loved him all the better if his mother did think her unworthy of him what was it but the truth as she now owned with bitter penitence she had hitherto been walking in grope light towards a precipice but in the clear revelation of that past hour she saw her danger and onda guey resolutely and forever that was some comfort I mean her clear perception of what she ought not to do of what no luring temptation should ever again induce her to hearken to how she could best undo the wrongs she had done to gem and herself by refusing his love was another anxious question she wearied herself with proposing plans and rejecting them she was roused to a consciousness of time by hearing the neighboring church clock strike twelve her father she knew might be expected home any minute and she was in no mood for a meeting with him so she hastily gathered up her work and went to her own little bedroom leaving him to let himself in she put out her candle that her father might not see its light under the door and sat down on her bed to think but after turning things over in her mind again and again she could only determine at once to put an end to all further communication with mr. Carson in the most decided way she could maidenly modesty and true love is ever modest seemed to oppose every plan she could think of for showing gem how much she repented her decision against him and how dearly she had now discovered that she loved him she came to the unusual wisdom of resolving to do nothing but try and be patient and improve circumstances as they might turn up surely if gem knew of her remaining unmarried he would try his fortune again he would never be content with one rejection she believed she could not in his place she had been very wrong but now she would try and do right and have womanly patience until he saw her changed and repentant mind in her natural actions even if she had to wait for years it was no more than now it was easy to look forward to as a penance for her giddy flirting on the one hand and her cruel mistake concerning her feelings on the other so anticipating a happy ending to the course of her love however distant it might be she fell asleep just as the earliest factory bells were ringing she had sunk down in her clothes and her sleep was unrefreshing she wakened up shivery and chill in body and sorrow stricken in mind though she could not at first rightly tell the cause of her depression she recalled the events of the night before and still resolved to add ear to those determinations she had then formed but patients seemed a far more difficult virtue this morning she hastened downstairs and in her earnest sad desire to do right now suck much pains to secure a comfortable though scanty breakfast for her father and when he dawdle into the room in an evidently irritable temper she bore all with the gentleness of penitence till at last her mild answers turned away Roth she loathed the idea of meeting Sally led bitter at her daily work yet it must be done and she tried to nerve herself for the encounter and to make it at once understood that having determined to give up having anything further to do with mr. Carson she considered the bond of intimacy broken between them but Sally was not the person to let these resolutions be carried into effect too easily she soon became aware of the present state of Mary's feelings but she thought they merely arose from the changeable nurse of girlhood and that the time would come when Mary would thank her for almost forcing her to keep up her meetings and communications with her rich lover so when two days had passed over in rather two marked avoidance of Sally on Mary's part and when the former was made aware by mr. Carson's complaints that Mary was not keeping her appointments with him and that unless he detained her by force he had no chance of obtaining a word as she passed him in the street on her rapid walk home she resolved to compel Mary to what she called her own good she took no notice during the third day of Mary's avoidance as they sat at work she rather seemed to acquiesce in the coolness of their intercourse she put away her sewing early and went home to her mother who she said was more ailing than usual the other girls soon followed her example and Mary casting a rapid glance up and down the street as she stood last on Miss Simmons doorstep darted home words in hopes of avoiding the person whom she was fast learning to dread that night she was safe from any encounter on her Road and she arrived at home which she found as she expected empty but she knew it was a club night which her father would not miss she sat down to recover breath and to steal her heart which panted more from nervousness than from over exertion although she had walked so quickly then she rose and taking off her bonnet her eye caught the form of Sallie led bitter passing the window with a lingering step and looking into the darkness with all her might as if to ascertain if merely were returned in an instant she repast and knocked at the house door but without awaiting an answer she entered well Mary dear knowing well how little dear Mary considered her just then I saw difficult to get any comfortable talk at miss Simmons I thought to just step up and see you at home I understood from what you said your mother was ailing and that you wanted to be with her replied Mary in no welcoming tone I but mother's better now said the unabashed Sally your father's outer suppose looking round as well as she could but merely made no haste to perform the hospitable Offices of striking a match and lighting a candle yes he's out said Mary Shirley and busying herself at last about the candle without ever asking her visitor to sit down so much the better and said Sally but to tell you the truth Mary I have a friend at fender Street as he's anxious to come and see you at home since you've grown so particular as not to like to speak to him in the street you'll be here directly Oh Sally don't let him said Mary speaking at last heartily and running to the door she would have fastened it but Sally held her hands laughing meanwhile at her distress oh please Sally struggling dear Sally don't let him come here the neighbors will so talk and father will go mad if he hears you'll kill me Sally will besides I don't love him I never did oh let me go as footsteps approached and then as they passed the house and seemed to give her a respite she continued do Sally dear Sally go and tell him I don't love him and that I don't want to have anything more to do with him it was very wrong Adair say keeping company with him at all but I'm very sorry if I've led him to think too much of me and I don't want him to think anymore would you tell him this Sally and I'll do anything for you if you will I'll tell you what Aldo said Sally in a more relented mood I'll go back with you to where he's waiting for us or rather I should say where I told him to wait for a quarter of an hour till I seed if your father was at home and if I didn't come back in that time he said he'd come here and break the door open but he'd see you oh let us go let us go said Mary feeling that the interview must be and had better be anywhere than at home where her father might return any minute she snatched up her bonnet and was at the end of the court in an instant but then not knowing whether to turn to the right or to the left she was obliged to wait for Sally who came leisurely up and put her arm through Mary's with a kind of decided hold intended to prevent the possibility of her changing her mind and turning back but this under the circumstances was quite different to Mary's plan she had wondered more than once if she must not have another interview with mr. Carson and had then determined while she expressed her resolution that it should be the final one to tell him how sorry she was if she had thoughtlessly given him false hopes for be remembered she had the innocence or the ignorance to believe his intentions honorable and he feeling that at any price he must have her only that he would obtain her as cheaply as he could had never undeceived her while Sally Ledbetter laughed in her sleeve at them both and wondered how it would all end whether Mary would gain her point of marriage with her sly affectation of believing such to be mr. Carson's intention in courting her not very far from the end of the street into which the court where Mary lived opened they met mr. Carson his heart a good deal slouched over his face as if afraid of being recognized he turned when he saw them coming and led the way without uttering a word although they were close behind to a street of half-finished houses the length of the walk gave Mary time to recoil from the interview which was to follow but even if her own resolved to go through with it failed there was the steady grasp of Sally Ledbetter which she could not evade without an absolute struggle at last he stopped in the shelter and concealment of a wooden fence put up to keep the building rubbish from intruding on the foot pavement inside this fence a minute afterwards the girls were standing by him Mary now returning Sally's detaining grasp with interest but she had determined on the way to make her a witness willing or unwilling to the ensuing conversation but Sally's curiosity led her to be a very passive prisoner in Mary's hold with more freedom than he had ever used before mr. Carson put his arm firmly round Mary's waist in spite of her indignant resistance they may you little witch now I have caught you I shall keep your prisoner tell me now what has made you run away from me so fast these few days tell me you sweet little Coquette Mary see struggling but turn so as to be almost opposite to him while she spoke out calmly and boldly mr. Carson I want to speak to you for once and for all since I met you last Monday evening I have made up my mind to have nothing more to do with you I know I've been wrong in leading you to think I liked you but I believe I didn't rightly know my own mind and I humbly beg your pardon sir if I've led you to think too much of me for an instance he was surprised the next vanity came to his aid and convinced him that she could only be joking he young agreeable rich handsome no she was only showing a little womanly fondness for coquetting you're a darling little rascal to go on in this way humbly begging my pardon if you've made me think too much of you as if you didn't know I think of you from morning tonight but you want to be told it again and again do you no indeed sir I don't I would far knee for that you should say you will never think of me again then that you should speak of me in this way for indeed sir I never was more in earnest than I am when I say tonight is the last night I will ever speak to you last night you sweet little equivocator but not last day Mary I've caught you have I as she puzzled by his perseverance in thinking her joking hesitated in what form she could now put her meaning I mean sir she said sharply that I will never speak to you again at any time after tonight and what's made this change Mary said he seriously enough now have I done anything to offend you I did he earnestly no sir she answered gently but firmly I cannot tell you exactly why I've changed my mind but I shall not alter it again and as I said before I beg your pardon if I've done wrong by you and now sir if you please goodnight but I do not please you shall not go what have I done Mary tell me you must not go without telling me how I have vexed you what would you have me do nothing sir but in an agitated tone oh let me go you cannot change my mind it's quite made up Oh sir why do you owe me so tight if you will know why I won't have anything more to do with you it is that I cannot love you I have tried and I really cannot this naive and candid a vowel served her but little he can not understand how it could be true some reason lurked behind he was passionately in love what should he do to tempt her a thought struck him listen Mary nay I cannot let you go till you heard me I do love you dearly and I won't believe but what you love me are very little just a very little well if you don't like to own it never mind I only want now to tell you how much I love you by what I am ready to give up for you you know or perhaps you are not fully aware how little my father and mother would like me to marry you so angry would they be and so much ridicule should I have to brave that of course I have never thought of it till now I thought we could be happy enough without marriage deep sank those words into Mary's heart but now if you like I'll get a license tomorrow morning nay tonight and I'll marry you in defiance of all the world rather than give you up in a year or two my father will forgive me and meanwhile you shall have every luxury money can purchase and every charm that can devise to make your life happy after all my mother was but a factory girl this was said half to himself as if to reconcile himself to this bold step now Mary you see how willing I am to to sacrifice a good deal for you I even offer you marriage to satisfy your little ambitious heart so now what you say you can love me a little little bit he pulled her towards him to his surprise she still resisted yes though all she had picked you to herself for so many months in being the wife of mr. Carson was now within her grasp she resisted his speech had given her but one feeling that of exceeding great relief for she had dreaded now she knew what true love was to think of the attachment she might have created the deep feeling her flirting conduct might have called out she had loaded herself with reproaches for the misery she might have caused it was a relief to gather that the attachment was of that low despicable kind which can plan to seduce the object of its affection that the feeling she had caused was shallow enough for it only pretended to embrace self at the expense of the misery the ruin of one falsely termed beloved she need not be penitent to such a plotter that was the relief I am obliged to you sir for telling me what you have you may think I am a fool but I did think you meant to marry me all along and yet thinking so I felt I could not love you still I felt sorry I had gone so far in keeping company with you now sir I tell you if I had loved you before I don't think I should have loved you now you have told me you meant to ruin me but that's the plain English of not meaning to marry me till just this minute I said I was sorry and humbly begged your pardon that was before I knew what you were now i scorn you sir for plotting to ruin a poor girl good night and with a wrench for which she had reserved all her strength she was off like a bolt they heard her flying footsteps echo down the quiet street the next sound was Sally's laughs which grated on mr. Carson's ears and keenly irritated him and what do you find so amusing Sulli us he Oh sir I beg your pardon I humbly beg your pardon as Mary says but I cut her laughing to think how she's outwitted us she was going to have said outwitted you but changed the pronoun why Sully had you any idea she was going to fly out in this style no hadn't to be sure the tikka did think of marrying her why if I may be so bold to ask did you go and tell you had no thought of doing otherwise by her that was what put her up at last why I had repeatedly before led her to infer that marriage was not my object I never dreamed she could have been so foolish as to have mistaken me little provoking romance at though she be so I naturally wished her to know what a sacrifice of prejudice of of myself in short I was willing to make for her sake if I don't think she was aware of it after all I believe I might have any lady in Manchester if I liked and yet I was willing and ready to marry a poor dressmaker don't you understand me now and don't you see what a sacrifice I was making to humour her and all to no avail Sally was silent so he went on my father would have forgiven any temporary connection far sooner than my money in one so far beneath me in rank I thought you said so your mother was a factory girl reminded Sally rather maliciously yes yes but then my father was in much such a station at any rate there was not the disparity there is between Mary and me another pause then you mean to give her up sir she made no bones of saying she gave you up no I do not mean to give her up whatever you and she may please to think I'm more in love with her than ever even for this charming capricious ebullition of hers she'll come round you may depend upon it women always do they always have second thoughts and find out that they are best in casting off the lover mind I don't say I shall offer her the same terms again with a few more words of no importance the Allies parted end of chapter 11 read by Tony Foster you chapter 12 of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell this LibriVox recording is in the public domain old Alice's been I loved him not and yet now he is gone I feel I am alone I checked him while he spoke yet could he speak alas I would not check for reasons not to love him once I sought and we read all my thought WS London and now Mary hard as she thought dismissed both her lovers but they looked on their dismissals with very different eyes he who had loved her with all his heart and with all his soul considered his rejection final he did not comfort himself with the idea which would have proved so well-founded in his case that women have second thoughts about casting off their lovers he had too much respect for his own heartiness of love to believe himself unworthy of Mary that mock humble conceit did not enter his head he thought he did not hit Mary's fancy and though that may sound a trivial everyday expression yet the reality of it cut him to the heart wild visions of enlistment of drinking himself into forgetfulness of becoming desperate in some way or another entered his mind but then the thought of his mother stood like an angel with a drawn sword in the way to sin for you know he was the only son of his mother and she was a widow dependent on him for daily bread so he could not squander away health and time which were to him money wherewith to support her failing years he went to his work accordingly to all outward semblance just as usual but with a heavy heavy heart within mr. Carson as we have seen persevered in considering Mary's rejection of him as merely a charming Caprice if she were at work Sally Ledbetter was sure to slip a passionately loving note into her hand and then so skillfully move away from her side that Mary could not all at once return it without making some sensation among the work women she was even forced to take several home with her but after reading one she determined on her plan she made no great resistance to receiving them from Sally but kept them unopened and occasionally return them in a blank half sheet of paper but far worse than this was the being so constantly waylaid as she went home by her persevering lover who had been so long acquainted with all her habits that she found it difficult to evade him late or early she was never certain of being free from him go this way or that he might come up some cross street when she had just congratulated herself on evading him for that day he could not have taken assure a mode of making himself odious to her and all this time Jim Wilson never came not to see her that she did not expect but to see her father too she did not know what but she had hoped he would have come on some excuse just to see if she hadn't changed her mind he never came and she grew weary and impatient and her spirit sank the persecution of the one lover and the neglect of the other oppressed her sorely she could not now sit quietly through the evening at her work or if she kept by a strong effort from pacing up and down the room she felt as if she must sing to keep off thought while she sold and her songs were the maddest merriest she could think of Barbara Allen and such sorrowful ditties did well enough for happy times but now she required all the aid that could be derived from external excitement to keep down the impulse of grief and her father too he was a great anxiety to her he looked so changed and so ill yet he would not acknowledge to any ailment she knew that be it as late as it would she never left off work until if the poor servants paid her regularly for the odd jobs of mending she did for them she had earned a few pence enough for one good meal for father on the next day but very frequently all she could do in the morning after her late sitting up at night was to run with the work home and receive the money from the person for whom it was done she could not stay often to make purchases of food but gave up the money at once to her father's eager clutch sometimes prompted by savage hunger it is true but more frequently by a craving for opium on the whole he was not so hungry as his daughter for it was a long fast from the one o'clock dinner hour at miss Simmons to the close of Mary's vigil which was often extended to midnight she was young and had not yet learned to bear klemming one evening as she sang a merry song over her work stopping occasionally to sigh the blind Margaret came groping in it had been one of Mary's additional sorrows that her friend had been absent from home accompanying the lecturer on music in his round among the manufacturing towns of Yorkshire and Lancashire her grandfather too had seen this a good time for going his expeditions in search of specimens so that the house had been shut up for several weeks Oh Margaret Margaret how glad I am to see you take care there now you're all right that's father's chair sit down she kissed her over and over again it seems like the beginning of brighter times to see you again Margaret bless you and how well you look doctors always send ailing folk for change of air you know I've had plenty of that same lately you've been quite a traveller for sure tell us all about it do Margaret where have you been to first place Hale us that would take a long time to tell half all or the world a sometimes thing balton and buri and odom and Halifax and all but Marie guess who I saw there maybe you know though so it's not Ferguson no I do not tell me Margaret for I cannot abide waiting and getting well one night as I were going from her lodgings with the Alpana ladders belong to the landlady to find the room where our to sing I heard a cough before me walking along things I that's Jim Wilson's cough or am much mistaken next time came a sneeze and a coffin then I was certain first I hesitated whether I should speak thinking if it were a stranger he might think me forward but I knew blind folks must not be nash about using the tongs so says i Jim Wilson is that you and sure enough it was and nobody else did you know we were in alle facts Mary no she answered faintly and sadly for Halifax was all the same to her heart as the Antipodes equally and accessible by humble penitent looks and maidenly tokens of love well is there however he's putting up an engine for some folks there for his master he's doing well for his getting four or five men under him with two or three meetings and he told me all about his invention for doing away with the crank or summat his masters bought it from him attained out a patent and gems a gentleman for life we the money is master guide him but you'll have heard all this Mary know she had not well I thought it all up in the for he left Manchester and then in course you to known but maybe we're all settled after he got to Halifax however he's gotten two or three under pounds for his invention what's what were you Mary you're a subtly outer source you've never been quarreling with gem surely now Mary cried out right she was weak in body and unhappy in mind and the time was come when she might have the relief of telling her grief she could not bring herself to confess how much of her sorrow was caused by her having being vain and foolish she hoped that need never be known and she could not bear to think of it Oh Margaret do you know Jem came here one night when I were put out and cross oh dear dear I could bite my tongue out when I think on it and he told me how he loved me and I thought I did not love him and I told him I didn't and Margaret it believed me and went away so sad and so angry and now I'd do anything would indeed her sobs choked the end of her sentence Margaret looked at her with sorrow but with hope for she had no doubt in her own mind that it was only a temporary estrangement tell me Margaret said Mary taking her apron down from the her eyes and looking at Margaret with the eager anxiety what can I do to bring him back to me should I write to him no replied her friend that would not do men are so queer they'd like to have all the courting to themselves but I did not mean to write him a courting letter said Mary somewhat indignantly if you wrote at all it would be give him a hint you takin the Rue and would be very glad to have him now I believe no he'd rather find that out himself but he won't try said Mary sighing how can you find it out when he's at Halifax if his a will is away depend upon it and you would not have him if he's not a will to you Mary no dear changing her tone from the somewhat hard way in which sensible people too often speak to the soft accents of tenderness which come with such peculiar grace from them you must wait and be patient you may depend upon it all will end well and better than if you meddled in it now but it's so hard to be patient pleaded Mary idea being patient is the artist were we any honor stuff to do through life I take it waiting is far more difficult than doing I've known that about my sight and many are one has known it in watching the sick but it's one of God's lessons we all must learn one way or another after a pause have you been to see his mother of late no not for some weeks when last when she was so fro bit with me I really thought she wished that keep away well if I were you I'd go Jim will hear on it and it'll do you far more good in his mind than writing a letter which after all you would find a tough piece of work when you came to settle – it would be hard to say neither too much nor too little but I must be going grandfather is at home and it's our first night together and he must not be sitting wanting me any longer she rose up from her seat but still delayed going Mary absolute else I want to say to you and I don't rightly know how to begin you see grandfather and I know what bad times is and we know your father is out of work and I'm getting more money than I can well managed and dear would you just take this bit of gold and pay me back in good times the tears stood in Margaret's eyes as she spoke dear Margaret we're not so bad pressed as that the thought of her father and his ill looks and his one meal a day rushed upon Mary and yet dear if it would not put you out of your way I would work hard to make it up to you but would not your grandfather be vexed naughty wench it were more is thought than mine and we have gotten ever so many more at all so don't worry your cell about paying it's hard to be blind to be sure else money comes in so easily no to what it used to do and it's downright pleasure to earn it but I do so like singing I wish I could sing said Mary looking at the sovereign some as one kind of gifts and some another then it's the time when I could see that I long for your beauty Mary we're like childer ever wanting what we had not got but now I must say just one more word remember if you're saw pressed for money we shall take it very unkind if you donít let us know goodbye to you in spite of her blindness she hurried away anxious to rejoin her grandfather and desire is also to escape from Mary's expressions of gratitude her visit had done Mary good in many ways it had strengthened her patience and her hope it had given her confidence in Margaret's sympathy and last and really least in comforting power of so little value our silver and gold in comparison to love that gift in everyone's power to bestow came the consciousness of the money value of the sovereign she held in her hand the many things it might purchase first of all came the thought of a comfortable supper for her father that very night and acting instantly upon the idea she set off in hopes that all the provision shops might not yet be closed although it was so late that night the cottage shown with unusual light and fire gleam and the father and daughter sat down to a meal they thought almost extravagant it was so long since they had had enough to eat food gives heart say the Lancashire people and the next day Mary made time to go and call on mrs. Wilson according to Margaret's advice she found her quite alone and more gracious than she had been the last time Mary had visited her Alice was gone out she said she would just step to the post-office all for no earthly use for it were to ask if they hadn't to let a line there for her from a foster son will Wilson the sailor that what made her think they were let us Mary why you see a neighbor as has been in Liverpool tell those will would come in now he said last time he were in Liverpool he'd have come to a scene Alice but his ship had but a week holiday and hard work for the men in that time too so Alice makes sure he'll come this and has had her hand behind her ear at every noise in the street thinking it were him and today she would neither to have nor to hold but off she would go to the post and see if hadn't a censor Alliance at all those near you I tried to get her to give up going for let alone a deafness she's getting so dark she cannot see five yards of aura but no she would go poor old body I did not know her sight had failed her she used to have good eyes enough when she lived near us I but it's gone lately a good deal but you never asked after Jim anxious to get in a word on the subject nearest her heart no replied Mary blushing scarlet how is he I cannot justly say how he is seeing his Italia acts but he were very well when he wrote last Tuesday and you heard of his good look rather to her disappointment Mary own she had heard of the some his master had paid him for his invention well and did not Margaret tell you what he done we it it's just like him though near to say a word about it why when it were paid what does he do but get his master to help him to buy an income for me and Alice he had a name put down for her life but poor things shall not belong to the for I am thinking she sadly failed of late and so Mary you see we're two ladies of property it's a matter of twenty pound a year they tell me I wish the twins had lived blessum said she dropping a few tears it should have had the best of schooling and the belly falls of food I suppose they're better off in heaven only I should so like to see him Mary's heart filled with love at this new proof of gems goodness but she could not talk about him she took Jane Wilson's hand and pressed it with affection and then turned the subject to will her sailor nephew Jane was a little bit sorry but her prosperity had made her gentler and she did not resent what she felt as Mary's indifference Jemm and his merits he's been in Africa in that neighborhood I believe he's a fine chap but he's not gotten gems hair his has too much of the red in it he sent Alice but maybe she told you a matter of five-pound when he were over before but that were known to an income you know it's not everyone that can get a hundred or two at a time said Mary no no that's true enough there's not many or one like gem that's Alice's step said she hastening to open the door to her sister-in-law Alice looked weary and sad and dusty the weariness and the dust would not have been noticed either by her or the others if it had not been for the sadness no letters said mrs. Wilson no none I must just wait another day to hear from my lad it's very dree were waiting said Alice Margaret's words came into Mary's mind everyone has their time and kind of waiting if Apple knew he was safe and not drowned spoke Alice if I bought new we were drowned I would ask grace to say thy will be done it's the waiting it's hard work to be patient to all of us said Mary I know I find it so but I did not know one so good as you did Alice I shall not think so badly of myself for being a bit impatient now I've heard you say you find it difficult the idea of reproach to Alice was the last in Mary's mind and Alice knew it was nevertheless she said then my dear I ask your pardon in God's pardon – if I've weakened your faith by showing you our feeble mine was half our life spent him waiting and it ill becomes one like me we saw many mercies to grumble I'll try and put a bridle or mat on Ameth or stew she spoke in a humble and gentle voice like one asking for forgiveness Kamali's interposed mrs. Wilson don't fret yourself for error trifle wrong said here are there see I put the kettle on and you America edition T in no time so she bottled about and brought out a comfortable-looking substantial loaf and set Mary to cook bread and butter but she rattled out the teacups always a cheerful sound just as they were sitting down there was a knock heard at the door and without waiting for it to be opened from the inside someone lifted the latch and in a man's voice asked if one George Wilson lived there mrs. Wilson was entering on a long and sorrowful explanation of his having once lived there but of his having dropped down dead when Alice with the instinct of love for in all usual and common instances sight and hearing failed to convey impressions to her until long after other people had received them arose and tottered to the door Matt Ben my own dear Ben she exclaimed falling on will Wilson's neck you may fancy the hospitable and welcoming commotion that ensued how mrs. Wilson laughed and talked and cried altogether if such a thing can be done and how Mary gazed with wondering pleasure at her old playmate now a dashing bronze looking ringlets it's sailor frank and hearty and affectionate but it was something different from common to see Alice's joy at once more having her foster child with her she did not speak but she really could not but the tears came coursing down her old withered cheeks and dimmed to the horn spectacles she had put on in order to pry lovingly into his face so what with her failing sight and her tear blinded eyes she gave up the attempt of learning his face by heart through the medium of that sense and tried another she passed her sodden shriveled hands all trembling with eagerness over his manly face bent meekly down in order that she might more easily make her strange inspection at last her soul was satisfied after tea Mary feeling sure that there was much to be said on both sides at which it would be better no one should be present not even an intimate friend like herself got up to go away this seemed to arouse Alice from her dreamy consciousness of exceeding happiness and she hastily followed Mary to the door they're standing outside with the light in her hand she took hold of Mary's arm and spoke nearly the first word she had uttered since her nephew's return my dear I shall never forgive myself if my wicked words tonight sir and his stumbling block in your path see how the Lord has put coals of fire on my head Oh Mary don't let by being an unbelieving Thomas weaken your faith wait patiently on the Lord whatever your trouble may be end of chapter 12 read by Tony Foster chapter 13 of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell this LibriVox recording is in the public domain at Traveller's Tales the mermaid sat upon the rocks all day long admiring her beauty and combing her locks and singing a mermaid song and here the mermaids song you may as sure as sure can be if you will but follow the Sun all day and souse with him into the sea WS lambda it was perhaps four or five days after the events mentioned in the last chapter that one evening as Mary stood lost in reverie at the window she saw will Wilson enter the court and come quickly up to her door she was glad to see him for he had always been a friend of hers perhaps too much like her in character ever to become anything nearer or dearer she opened the door in readiness to receive his Frank greeting which she as frankly returned come Mary on with the bonnet and shawl or whatever rigging you women require before leaving the house I'm sent to fetch it and I can't lose time when I'm under orders where am I to go asked Mary as her heart leaped up at the thought of who might be waiting for her not very far replied him only to old Jolie's around the corner ear and would have become and see these new friends of hers and then we meant to a comin here to see you and your father but the old gentleman seems inclined to make a night of it and of you all there where's your father I want to see him he must come too he's out but I'll leave word next door for him to follow me that's to say if he comes home before long she added hesitatingly it's anyone else at jobs no man Jane would not come for some Maggert or other and as for gem I don't know what you've all been doing to him but he's as down arted a chap as I'd wish to see he's had his sorrow sure enough poor lad but it's time for him to be shaking off his doll looks and not go moping like a girl and he's come for a Halifax is he asked Mary yes his body's come but I think he's left he's out behind him his tongue I'm sure he has as we used to say to tilde when they would not be attached arouse him up a bit and I think he likes having me with him but still he's as gloomy and as dull as can be so was only yesterday it took me to the works and you know thought was to Quakers as the spirit hadn't moved all the way down we were sold mum it's a place to craze a man certainly such a noisy black hole there were one or two things worth looking at the bellows for instance or the gale they call the bellows I could have stood near it a whole day and if I had a berth in that place I should like to be bellows man if there is such a one but Jim weren't diverted even with that he stood as grave as a judge while it blew me at out me and he's lost all relish berries food – which frets my aunt sadly come Mary aren't you ready she had not been able to gather if she were to see Jem and Joe Blees but when the door was opened she at once saw and felt he was not there the evening then would be a blank at least so she thought for the first five minutes but she soon forgot her disappointment in the cheerful meeting of old friends all except herself with some cause for rejoicing at that very time Margaret who could not be idle was knitting away with her face looking full into the room away from her work Alice sat Meakin patient with her dimmed eyes and gentle look trying to see and to hear but never complaining indeed in her inner self she was blessing God for her happiness for the joy of having her nephew her child near her was far more present to her mind than her deprivation zuv sight and hearing job was in the full glory of host and hostess too for by a tacit agreement he had roused himself from his habitual abstraction and had assumed many of Margaret's little household duties while he moved about he was deep in conversation with the young sailor trying to extract from him any circumstances connected with the natural history of the different countries he had visited oh if you fund the grubs and flies and beetles there's no place for him like Sierra Leone I wish you had some of ours we had rather too much of a good thing we drank them with our drink and could to keep from eating them with our food I never thought any folk could care for such fat green beasts as those and I would have brought you them by the thousand a plate full of peace suit would have been fooling off here I dare say it were often too full for us I would have given a good deal for someone who said job well I knew folk at home like some of the queer things one meets with a broad but I never thought they'd care for them nasty slimy things and when I was on the lookout for a mermaid for that I knew were a curiosity you might have looked long enough said job in an undertone of contempt which however the quick ears of the Sailor Court not so long master in some latitudes as you think it stands to reason see hereabouts is too cold for mermaids for women to hear don't go half naked on accounts at climate but I've been in lands where Muslim were too hot to wear on land and where the sea were more than milk warm and the wine never the good look to see a mermaid in that latitude I know them that as do tell us about it cried Mary pooh-pooh said job the naturalist both speeches determined will to go on with his story what could a fellow who had never been many miles from home know about the wonders of the deep that he should put him down in that way well it would Jack Harris our third mate last voyage as many and many a time tells us all about it you see he would be calm dog Chatham Island us in the gray Pacific and a warm enough latitude for mermaids and sharks and suchlike perils so some of the men took the longbow and pulled for the island to see what it were like and when they got near they heard a puffing like a creature come up to take breath you've never heard a diver no well you've heard folks in fast MA and it were for all the world like that so they looked around and what should they see or a mermaid sitting on a rock and sunning herself the water is always warmer when it's rough you know so I suppose in the calm she felt it rather chilly and had come up to warm myself what she liked asked Mary breathlessly job took his pipe off the chimney-piece and began to smoke with very audible puffs as if the story were not worth listening to Oh Jack used to say she was for all the world as beautiful as any of the wax ladies in the barbershops only marry there were one little difference her air was bright grass green I should not think that was pretty said Mary hesitatingly as if not liking to doubt the perfection of anything belonging to such an acknowledged beauty Oh but it is when you're used to it I always think when first we get SCYTL and there's no color so lovely as grass green however she had green air sure enough and were proud of it too but she were commonly out full length when first they saw her they all thought she would a fair prize and maybe as good as a whale in ready money there were whale fishes you know for some folk think a deal of mermaids whatever other folk do this was a hit ad job who retaliated in a series of sonorous spitting zand puffs so as I was saying they pulled to order thinking to capture she were all the while combing a beautiful air and beckoning to them while with the other hand she held a looking-glass how many ends at she asked job two to be sure just like any other woman and said will indignantly oh I thought you said she beckoned with one hand and combed her with another an elder looking-glass with a third said job with provoking quietness no I didn't at least if I did I meant she did one thing after another as anyone but here he mumbled a word or two could understand well Mary turning very decidedly towards her when she saw them coming near whether it were she grew frightened at their fowling-pieces as they had on board for a bitter shoot in on the island or whether it was she were just a fickle Jade as did not rightly know her own mind which seeing one-half of her was woman a think myself was most probable but when they were only about two oars length from the rock where she sat down she plopped into the water leaving nothing behind her end of a fishtail sticking up for a minute and then that disappeared too and did they never see her again asked Mary never so plain the man who had the second watch one night because Eddie Soros swimming round the ship and holding up a glass for him to looking and then he saw the little cottage near a bar in Wales where his wife lived as plain as every surah in life and his wife standing outside shading her eyes as if she were looking for him but Jack Aris gave him no credit for he said he were always a bit of a romancer and beside that word homesick down arted chap I wish they had caught her said Mary musing they got one thing as belong to her replied will and that I've often seen with my own eyes and I reckon it's a sure proof of the truth of their story for them that once proof what was it asked Margaret almost anxious her grandfather should be convinced why in an or a she left her comb on the rock and one of the men spied it so they thought that were better than nothing and they rode there and took it and Jakari said it onboard the John cropper and I saw him comb his hair with it every Sunday morning what was it like cast very eagerly her imagination running on coral combs studded with pearls why if he took not such a strange yarn belonging to it you'd never noticed it from any other small tooth comb I should rather think not sneered Joe bleah the Sailor bit his lips to keep down his anger against an old man Margaret felt very uneasy knowing her grandfather so well and not daring to guess what caustic remark might come next to irritate the young sailor guest mary however was too much interested by the wonders of the deep to perceive the incredulity with which job Lee received Wilson's accounts of the mermaid and when he left off half offended and very much inclined not to open his lips again through the evening she eagerly said oh do tell us something more of what you hear and see on board ship do will what's the use Mary fort won't believe one there are things I saw with my own eyes that some people would patient sure as if I were a baby to be put down by cross noises but I'll tell you Mary with an emphasis on you some more of the wonders of the sea signore not too wise to believe me I have seen a fish fly this did stagger Mary she had of mermaids are signs of ins and as see wonders but never a flying fish not so job he put down his pipe and nodding his head as a token of approbation he said I our young man know you speak in truth well now you'll swallow that old gentleman you'll credit me when I say I've seen a critter our fish off bird and you won't credit me when I say there be such beasts as mermaids our fish off women to me ones just as strangest souther you never saw the moon made yourself into bows Margaret gently but love me love my dog was will Wilson's motto only his version was believe me believe Jack Harris and the remark was not so soothing to him as it was intended to have been it's the exo Cetus one of the malla copped sorry gee I abdominal is said job much interested ah there you go you're one of them folks has never Knowles beasts unless they called out of their names but some in Sunday close and you know him but in their work a day English she never known out about him I've met with many of your kidney and if I'd have known it at a christened poor Jack's mermaid with some grand gibberish of a name mermaid ACCA's Jack Harry census that's just like their newfangled words to believe there's such a thing as the mermaid ekeus master asked will enjoying his own joke and commonly as most people do no I tell me about that well said will please that's having excited the old gentleman's faith and credit at last it were on this last voyage about a day's sail from Madeira that one of our men not Jack Harris I hope murmured job called me continued will not noticing the interruption to see what do you call it flying fish I say it is it were 20 feet out of water and it flew near on to 100 yards but I say old gentleman I had gotten one dried and if you'll take it why I'll give you only he added in a lower tone I wish you'd just give me credit for the mermaid ickis I really believe if the assuming faith in the story of the mermaid had been made the condition of receiving the flying fish Joely sincere man as he was would have pretended belief he was so much delighted at the idea of possessing this specimen he won the sailors heart by getting up to shake both his hands in his vehement gratitude puzzling poor old Alice who yet smiled through her wonder for she understood the action to indicate some kindly feeling towards her nephew Jobe wanted to prove his gratitude and was puzzled how to do it he feared the young man would not appreciate any of his duplicates RNA teased or even the great American my Gail one who his most precious treasures or else he would gladly have bestowed any duplicates on the donor of a real dried EXO Cetus what could he do for him could ask Margaret to sing or the folks beside her old doting grandfather thought a deal of her songs so Margaret began some of her noble old-fashioned songs she knew no modern music for which her auditors might have been thankful but she poured her rich voice out in some of the old cans Annette's she had lately learned while accompanying the musical lecturer on his tour Mary was amused to see how the young sailor sat entranced mouths eyes all open in order to catch every breath of sound his very lids refused to wink as if afraid in that brief proverbial interval to lose a particle of the rich music that floated through the room for the first time the idea crossed Mary's mind that it was possible the plain little sensible Margaret so prim and demure might have power over the heart of the handsome dashing spirited will Wilson job to was rapidly changing his opinion of his new guests the flying fish went a great way and his undisguised admiration for Margaret's singing carried him still further it was amusing enough to see these two within the hour so barely civil to each other endeavouring now to be ultra agreeable will as soon as he had taken breath a long deep gasp of admiration after Margaret's song sidled up to job and asked him in a sort of doubting tone you wouldn't like a live Manx cat would you master or what exclaimed job I don't know it's best name said will humbly but we just call a Manx cats there cats without tails now job in all his natural history had never heard of such animals so we'll continued because I'm going a form joining the ship to see mother's friends in the island and would gladly bring you on if so be you'd like to have it they look as queer and outer nature as flying fish or he gulped the words down that should have followed especially when you see him walking a rooftop right again the sky when a cat as is a proper cat is sure to stick a tail stiff out behind like a slack rope dance on a balancing but these cats having no tail cannot stick it out which captivates some people uncommonly if you'll allow me I'll bring one for miss there jerking his head at Margaret Jobe assented with grateful curiosity wishing much to see the tailless phenomenon when are you going to sail asked Mary I cannot justly say I shipped bound for America next voyage they tell me a mess mate will let me know when a sailing day is fixed but I've got to go to Thaler man first I promised uncle last time I will in England to go this next time I may have to watch the Blue Peter any day so make much of me well you have me Mary Joe asked him if he had ever been in America having say North and South both this time were bound to North Yankee land as we call it where Uncle Sam lives uncle who said Mary oh it's a way sailors above speaking I only mean I'm going to Boston us that's Uncle Sam Mary did not understand so she left him and went to sit by Alice who could not hear conversation unless expressly address to her she had sat patiently silent the greater part of the night and now greeted Mary with a quiet smile where's your father asked she I guess he's at his Union he's there most evenings Alice shook her head but whether it were that she did not hear or that she did not quite approve of she had heard Mary could not make out she sat silently watching Alice and regretting over her dimmed and veiled eyes formally so bright and speaking as if Alice understood by some other sense what was passing in Mary's mind she's turned suddenly round and answered Mary's thoughts you're mourning for me my dear and there's no need Mary I'm as happy as a child I sometimes think I am a child whom the Lord is or shibai into my long sleep for whenever a nurse go my mrs. alway tell me to speak very soft and low and to darken the room that her little one might go to sleep and now all noises are her stand still to me and the bonny earth seems dim and dark and I know it's my father lulling me away to my long sleep I'm very well content and you mustn't fret for me about well-nigh every blessing in life I could desire Mary thought of Alice's long cherished fond wish to revisit the home of her childhood so often and often deferred and now probably never to take place or if it did how changed from the fond anticipation of what it was to have been it would be a mockery to the blind and deaf Alice the evening came quickly to an end there was the humble cheerful meal and then the bustling merry farewell and Mary was once more in the quietness and solitude of her own dingy dreary looking home her father still out the fire extinguished and her evenings tasks of work lying all and done upon the dresser but it had been a pleasant little interlude to think upon it had distracted her attention for a few hours from the pressure of many uneasy thoughts of the dark heavy oppressive times when sorrow and want seemed to surround her on every side of her father his changed and altered looks telling so plainly of broken health and an embittered heart of the moral and the moral beyond that to be spent in that clothes monotonous workroom with Sally led bitters odious whispers hissing in her ear and of the hunted look so full of dread from miss Simmons doorstep up and down the street lest her persecuting lover should be near but he lay in wait for her with wonderful perseverance and of late had made himself almost hateful by the unmanly force which he had used to detain her to listen to him and the difference with which he exposed her to the remarks of the passers-by anyone of whom might circulate reports which he would be terrible for her father to hear and worse than death should they reach Jem Wilson and all this she had drawn upon herself by her giddy flirting or how she loathed the recollection of the hot summer evening when worn out by stitching and sewing she had loitered homewards with weary Langer and first listen to the voice of the tempter a gem Wilson Oh Jem Jem why did you not come to receive some of the modest looks and words of love which Mary longed to give you to try and make up for the hasty rejection which you as hastily took to be final they'll both mourned over it with many tears but day after day passed away and patience seemed of no avail and Mary's cry was ever the old moan of the moated Grange when come see not she said I am a weary a weary I would that I were dead end of chapter 13 read by Tony Foster chapter 14 of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell this LibriVox recording is in the public domain Jem's interview with poor esther know the temptation ere you judge the crime look on this tree it was green and fair and graceful yet now save these few shoots how dry and rotten how canst not tell the cause not long ago a neighbor oak with which its roots were twined in falling wrenched them with such cruel force that though we covered them again with care its Beauty withered and it pined away so could we look into the human breast how oft the fatal blight that meets our view should we trace down to the torn bleeding fibres of a too trusting heart where it was shame for pitying tears to give contempt or blame street walks the month was over the honeymoon to the newly married the exquisite convalescence to the living mother of a living child the first dark days of nothingness to the widow and the child bereaved the term of penance of hard labor and solitary confinement to the shrinking shivering hopeless prisoner sick and in prison and ye visited me shall you or I receive such blessing I know one who will an overseer of a foundry an aged man with hoary hair has spent his Sabbath's for many years in visiting the prisoners and the afflicted in Manchester New Bailey not merely advising and comforting but putting means into their power of regaining the virtue and the peace they had lost becoming himself their guarantee in obtaining employment and never deserting those who have once asked help from him Esther's term of imprisonment was ended she received a good character in the governor's books she had picked her daily quantity of Oakham had never deserved the extra punishment of the treadmill and had been civil and decorous in her language and once more she was out of prison the door closed behind her with upon Duras clang an inner desolation she felt as if shut out of home from the only shelter she could meet with houseless and penniless as she was on that dreary day but it was but for an instant that she stood there doubting one thought had haunted her both by night and by day with monomaniacal incessant sea and that thought was how to save Mary her dead sisters only child her own little pet in the days of her innocence from following in the same downward path to vice to whom could she speak and ask for aid she shrank from the idea of addressing John Barton again her heart sank within her at the remembrance of his fierce repulsing action and far fiercer words it seemed worse than death to reveal her condition to Mary else she sometimes thought that this course would be the most terrible the most efficient warning she must speak to that she was soul compelled but to whom she dreaded addressing any half of former female acquaintance even supposing they had sense or spirit or interest enough to undertake her mission to whom shall the outcast prostitute tell her tale who will give her help in her day of need hers is the leper sin and all stand aloof dreading to be counted unclean in her wild night wanderings she had noted the haunts and habits of many a one who little thought of a watcher in the poor forsaken woman you may easily imagine that a double interest was attached by her to the ways and companionships of those with whom she had been acquainted in the days which when present she had considered hardly worked and monotonous but which now in retrospect seemed so happy and unclouded accordingly she had as we have seen known where to meet with John Barton on that unfortunate night which had only produced irritation in him and a months imprisonment to her she had also observed that he was still intimate with the Wilsons she had seen him walking and talking with both father and son her old friends too and she had shared unrig our did unvalued tears when someone had casually told her of George Wilson's sudden death it now flashed across her mind that to the Sun to Mary's playfellow her elder brother in the days of childhood her tale might be told and listened to with interest and some mode of action suggested by him by which Mary might be guarded and saved all these thoughts had passed through her mind while yet she was in prison so when she was turned out her purpose was clear and she did not feel her desolation of freedom as she would otherwise have done that night she stationed herself early near the foundry where she knew Jim worked he stayed later than usual being detained by some arrangements for the morrow she grew tired and impatient many workmen had come out of the door in the long-dead brick wall and eagerly had she peered into their faces death to all insults or curse he must have gone home early one more turn in the street and she would go during that turn he came out and in the quiet of that street of workshops and warehouses she directly heard his steps now her heart failed her for an instant but still she was not daunted from her purpose painful as its fulfillment was sure to be she laid her hand on his arm as she expected after a momentary glance at the person who thus endeavored to detain him he made an effort to shake it off and pass on but trembling as she was she had provided against this by a firm and unusual grasp he must listen to me Jim Wilson she said with almost an accent of command go away mrs. I've now to do Lea EVO in harkening or talking you must listen she said again authoritative Lee the Mary Barton's sake the spell of her name was as potent as that of the Mariners glittering eye he listened like a three-year child I know you care in a forager wish to save her from harm he interrupted his earnest gaze into her face with the exclamation who can you be – no Mary Barton ought to know that she's out to me there was a little strife in Esther's mind for an instant between the shame of acknowledging herself and the additional weight to her revelation which such acknowledgement would give then she spoke do you remember Esther the sister of John Barton's wife the answer Mary and the Valentine I sent you last February 10 years yes of mind oh well but you're not Esther ayah he looked again into her face and seeing that indeed it was his boyhood friend he took her hand and shook it with a cordiality that forgot the present in the past why Esther when in you been this many a year when are you being wondering that we none of us could find you out the question was asked thoughtlessly but answered with fierce earnestness whenever beam what have I been doing why do you torment me with questions like these can you not guess but the story of my life is wanted to give force to my speech afterwards I will tell it to you nay don't change your fickle mind now and say you don't want to hear it you must hear it and I must tell it and then see after Mary and take care she does not become like me as she is loving now so did I love once one above me far she remarked not in her own absorption the change in Jemez breathing the sudden clutch at the wall which told the fearfully vivid interest he took in what she said he was so handsome so kind well the regiment was ordered to Chester did I tell you as an officer and he could not bear to part from me nor I from him so he took me with him I never thought poor Mary would have taken it so to heart I always meant to send for her to pay me a visit when I was married for Marku he promised me marriage they all do then came three years of happiness suppose I ought not to have been happy but I was I had a little girl too oh the sweetest darling that ever was seen but I must not think of her putting her hand wildly up to her forehead or I shall go mad I shall don't tell me any more about yourself Jemm soothingly what you tired already are you but I'll tell you as you've asked for it you shall hear it I won't recall the agony of the past for nothing I will have the relief of telling it oh how happy I was sinking her voice into a plaintive childlike manner it came like a shot on me when one day he came to me and told me he was ordered to island and must leave me behind at Bristol we then were gem muttered some words she caught their meaning and in a pleading voice continued oh don't abuse him don't speak a word against him you don't know how I love him yet yet when I am sunk so low you don't guess how kind he was he gave me 50 pound before we parted and I knew he could ill spare it don't Jem please as his muttered indignation rose again for her sake he ceased I might have done better with the money I see now but I did not know the value of money formerly I had earned it easily enough at the factory and as I had no more sensible once I spent it on dress and on eating while I lived with him I added for asking and fifty pounds would I thought go a long way so I went back to Chester where I'd been so happy and set up a small wear shop and hired a room near we should have done well but alas alas my little girl fell ill and I could not mind my shop and her too and things grew worse and worse I sold my goods anyhow to get money to buy her food and medicine I wrote over and over again to her father for help but he must have changed his quarters but I never got an answer the landlord seized the few bobbins and tapes I had left for shop rent and the person to whom the mean little room to which we had been forced to remove belonged threatened to turn us out unless his rent was paid it had run on many weeks and it was winter cold bleak winter and my child was so ill so ill and I was starving and I could not bear to see her suffer forgot how much better it would be for us to die together Oh moans and moans which money would give me the means of relief so I went out into the street one January night do you think God will punish me for that she asked with wild vehemence almost amounting to insanity and shaking Jemez arm in order to force an answer from him but before he could shape his heart's sympathy into words her voice had lost its wildness and she spoke with the quiet of despair but it's no matter I've done that since which separates us as far as sunder as heaven and L can be her voice rose again to the sharp pitch of agony my darling my darling even after death I may not see thee my own sweet one she was so good like a little angel what is that text I don't remember that text mother used to teach me when I sat on her knee long ago it begins blessed are the pure blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God I that's it would break mother's heart if she knew what I am now it did break Mary's heart you see and now I recollect it was about her child I wanted so to see you gem you know Mary Barton don't you said she trying to collect her thoughts yes Jem knew her how well his beating heart could testify well as something to do for her I forget what wait a minute she's so like my little girl said she raising her eyes glistening with on shed tears in search of the sympathy of gems countenance he deeply pitied her but oh how he longed to recall her mind to the subject of Mary and the lover above her in rank and the service to be done for her sake but he controlled himself to silence after a while she spoke again and in a calm voice when it came to Manchester for I could not stay in Chester after her death I found you all out very soon and yet I never thought my poor sister was dead I suppose I would not think so I used to watch about the court where John lived for many and many a night and gather all I could about them from the neighbors talk but I never asked a question I put this and that together and followed one and listened to the other many's the time I've watched the policeman off his beat and peeped through the chink of the window shutter to see the old room and sometimes Mary or a father sitting up late for some reason or another I found out Mary went to learn dressmaking and I began to be frightened for her but it's a bad life for a girl to be out late at night in the streets and after many an hour of weary work they're ready to follow after any novelty that makes a little change but I made up my mind that bad as I was I could watch over Mary and perhaps keep her from harm so I used to wait for her at nights and follow her home often when she little knew anyone was nearer there was one of her companions I never could abide and I'm sure that girl is at the bottom of some mischief by and by Mary's walks home words were not alone she was joined soon after she came out by a man a gentleman I began to fear for her for I saw she was light-hearted and pleased with his attentions and I thought worse of him for having such long talks with that bold girl I told you off but I was laid up for a long time with spitting of blood and could do nothing I'm sure it made me worse thinking about what might be happening to Mary and when I came out or was going on as before only she seemed fonder of him than ever and old Jem her father won't listen to me and it's you must save Mary you're like a brother to her and maybe could give her advice and watch over her and at any rate John will hearken to you on his Stern and so cruel she began to cry a little at the remembrance of his harsh words but gem cutter Shaw by his horse stern inquiry who is this spark that Mary loves tell me his name it's young Carson old Carson's son that your father work for there was a pause she broke the silence Oh Jem I charge you with the care of her I suppose it would be murder to kill her but it would be better for her to die and to live to lead such a life as I do do you hear me Jem yes I hear you it would be better better we were all dead this was said as if thinking aloud but he immediately changed his tone and continued Esther you may trust am i doing all I can for Mary that I have determined on and now listen to me you load the life you lead else you wouldn't speak of it as you do come home with me come to my mother she and my aunt Alice lived together I will see that they give you a welcome and tomorrow I will see if some honest way of living cannot be found for you come home with me she was silent for a minute and he hoped he had gained his point then she said god bless you Jim for the words you've just spoken some years ago you might have saved me as I hope and trust you will yet save Mary but it's too late now too late she added with accents of deep despair still he did not relaxed his hold come home he said I tell you I cannot I could not lead a virtuous life if I would I should only disgrace you if you will know all said she as he still seemed inclined to urge her I must have drink such as live like me could not bear life if they did not drink it's the only thing to keep us from suicide if we did not drink we could not stand the memory of what we've been and the thought of what we are for a day if I go without food and without shelter I must have my drum oh you don't know the awful nights I've had in prison for want of it said she shuddering and glaring round with terrified eyes as if dreading to see some spiritual creature with dim form near her it is so frightful to see them whispering in tones of wildness although so low spoken there they go round and round my bed the whole night through my mother carrying little Annie I wonder how they got together and Mary and all looking at me with their sad stony eyes Oh Jim it is so terrible they don't turn him back either but pass behind the head of the bed and I feel their eyes on me everywhere the creep under the clothes I still see them and what is worse hissing out her words with fright they see me don't speak to me of leading a better life I must have drink I cannot pass tonight without a drum I dare not gem was silent from deep sympathy Oh could he then do nothing for she spoke again but in a less excited tone although it was thrillingly earnest you were grieved for me I know it better than if you told me in words but you can do nothing for me I am past hope you can yet save Mary you must she is innocent except for the great error of loving one above her in station gem you will save her with heart and soul though in a few words gem promise that if aught earthly could keep her from falling he would do it then she blessed him and bade him goodnight stay a minute said he as she was on the point of departure I may want to speak to you again I'm on know where to find you where do you live she laughed strangely and you will think once sunk so low as I am another home decent good people have homes we have non no if you want me come at night and look at the corners of the streets about here the colder the bleaker the more stormy the night the more certain you'll be to find me for then she added with a plaintive fall in her voice it is so cold sleeping in entries and on doorsteps and I want to drum more than ever again she rapidly turned off and gem also went on his way but before he reached the end of the street even in the midst of the jealous anguish that filled his heart his conscience smote him he had not done enough to save her one more effort and she might have come nay 20 f er –tz– would have been well rewarded by her yielding he turned back but she was gone in the tumult of his other feelings his self-reproach was deadened for the time but many and many a day afterwards he bitterly regretted his omission of duty his weariness of well doing now the great thing was to reach home and solitude meri loved another Oh how should he bear it he had thought a rejection of him a hard trial but that was nothing now he only remembered it to be thankful he had not yielded to the temptation of trying his fate again not in actual words but in a meeting where her mana should tell far more than words that her sweeter smiles her dainty movements her pretty household ways were all to be reserved to gladden another's eyes and heart and he must live on that seemed the strangest the long life and he knew men did live long even with deep biting sorrow corroding at their hearts must be spent without Mary nay with the consciousness she was another's that hell of thought he would reserve for the quiet of his own room the dead stillness of night he was on the threshold of home now he entered there were the usual faces the usual sights below with them and then he cursed himself because he loathed them his mother's love had taken a cross turn because he had kept the tempting supper she had prepared for him waiting until it was nearly spoiled Alice her dulled senses deadening day-by-day sat mutely near the fire her happiness bounded by the circle of the consciousness of the presence of her foster child knowing that his voice repeated what was passing to her death and ear that his arm removed each little obstacle to her tottering steps and will out of the very kindness of his heart talked more and more merrily than ever he saw Jim was downcast and fancied his rattling might cheer him at any rate it drowned his aunt's muttered grumblings and in some measure concealed the blank of the evening at last bedtime came and will withdrew to his neighbouring lodging and Jane and Alice Wilson had raked the fire and fastened doors and shutters and pattered upstairs with their tottering footsteps and shrill voices gem too went to the closet turned his bedroom there was no bolt to the door but by one strong effort his right arm a heavy chest was moved against it and he could sit down on the side of his bed and think Mary loved another the idea would rise up a most in his mind and had to be combatted in all its forms of pain it was perhaps no great wonder that she should prefer one so much above gem in the external things of life but the gentleman why did he with his range of choice among the ladies of the land why did he stooped down to carry off the poor man's darling with all the glories of the garden at his hand why did he prefer to call the wild rose gems own fragrant Wild Rose his own oh never now his own gone forevermore then approached the guilty longing for blood the frenzy of jealousy someone should die he would rather Mary were dead cold in her grave than that she were another's a vision of her pale sweet face with her bright hair all be doubled with gore seemed to float constantly before his aching eyes but hers were ever open and contained in their soft deathly look such mute reproach what had she done to deserve such cruel treatment from him she had been wooed by one whom gem knew to be handsome gay and bright and she had given him her love that was all it was the war who should die yes die knowing the cause of his death gem pictured him and gloated on the picture lying smitten yet conscious and listening to the abrading accusation of his murderer how he left his own rank and heir to love a maiden of low degree and all stinging agony of all how she in return had loved him then the other nature spoke up and made him remember the anguish he should so prepare for Mary first he refused to listen to that better voice or listened only to pervert he would glory in her wailing grief he would take pleasure in her desolation of heart no he could not said the still small voice it would be worse far worse to have caused such woe than it was now to bear his present heavy burden but it was too heavy too grievous to be borne and live he would slay himself and the lovers should live on and the Sun shine bright and he with his burning woeful heart would be at rest rest that is reserved for the people of God had he not promised with such earnest purpose of soul as makes words more solemn than oaths to save Mary from becoming such as Esther should he shrink from the duties of life into the cowardliness of death who would then guard Mary with her love and her innocence would it not be a goodly thing to serve her although she loved him not to be her preserving angel through the perils of life and she unconscious all the while he braced up his soul and said to himself that with God's help he would be that earthly keeper and now the mists and the storm seemed clearing away from his path though it still was full of stinging thorns having done the duty nearest to him of reducing the tumult of his own heart to something like order ii became more plain before him poor Esther's experience had led her perhaps too hastily to the conclusion that mr. Carson's intentions were evil towards Mary at least she had given no just ground for the fears she entertained that such was the case it was possible nay to gems are very probable that he might only be too happy to marry her she was a lady by right of nature gem thought in movement Grace and spirit what was birth to a manchester manufacturer many of whom glory and justly too in being the architects of their own fortunes and as far as wealth was concerned judging another by himself gem could only imagine it a great privilege to lay it at the feet of the loved one Harry Carson's mother had been a factory girl so after all what was the great reason for doubting his intentions towards Mary there might probably be some little awkwardness about the affair at first Mary's father having such strong prejudices on the one hand and something of the same kind being likely to exist on the part of mr. Carson's family but Jim knew he had power over John Barton's mind and it would be something to exert that power in promoting Mary's happiness and to relinquish all thought of self in so doing oh why had Esther chosen him for this office it was beyond his strength to act rightly why had she singled him out the answer came when he was calm enough to listen for it because Mary had no other friend capable of the Duty required of him the duty of a brother as Esther imagined him to be in feeling from his long friendship he would be unto her as a brother as such he ought to ascertain Harry Carson's intentions towards her in winning her affections he would ask him straightforwardly as became man speaking to man not concealing if need worthy interest he felt in Mary then with the resolve to do his duty to the best of his power peace came into his soul it left the windy storm and tempest behind two hours before day Don he fell asleep end of chapter 40 read by Tony Foster

1 thought on “Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life (Version 2) | Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell | Soundbook | 4/9

  1. Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life (Version 2) | Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell | Soundbook | 4/9
    12: [00:32:46] – CHAPTER XII – OLD ALICE'S BAIRN
    13: [00:53:32] – CHAPTER XIII – A TRAVELLER'S TALES

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