She had suspected from the first that Wyant knew of her having shortened the term of Bessy Amherst's sufferings returning to the room when he did, it was almost impossible that he should not have guessed what had happened; and his silence had made her believe that he understood her motive and approved it.
"Hallo, John," he said, in his aggressive voice, which rose abruptly at sight of Amherst's companions; and at the same moment the frowsy maid-of-all-work, crimson from stooping over the kitchen stove, thrust her head out to call after him: "See here, Mr. Duplain, don't you leave your cravat laying round in my dough."
It seemed to her now that if their boy had lived she might have kept Amherst's love and have played a more important part in his life; and brooding on the tragedy of the child's sickly existence she resented the contrast of Cicely's brightness and vigour.
With a creature of Bessy's emotional uncertainties the result of contending influences was really incalculable it might still be that, at this juncture, Amherst's return would bring about a reaction of better feelings.... Justine sat and mused on these things after leaving her friend exhausted upon a tearful pillow.
How mixed our passions are, and how elastic must be the word that would cover any one of them! Amherst's, at that moment, were all stained with the deep wound to his self-love. The discolouration he carried in his eye made the mill-village seem more than commonly cheerless and ugly as he walked over to the office after breakfast.
The creation of these model lodging-houses had always been a favourite scheme of Amherst's, and the Dillons, incapacitated for factory work, had shown themselves admirably adapted to their new duties. In Mrs. Dillon's small hot sitting-room, among the starched sofa-tidies and pink shells that testified to the family prosperity, Justine shone with enjoyment and sympathy.
All we can do their friends, I mean is to get them together again before the breach is too wide." Justine pondered. She was perhaps more ignorant of the situation than Mrs. Ansell imagined, for since her talk with Bessy the latter had not again alluded to Amherst's absence, and Justine could merely conjecture that he had carried out his plan of taking the management of the mill he had spoken of.
Amherst had no long time to consider the best means of putting this threat into effect. He knew it was not only idle to appeal to Truscomb, but essential to keep the facts from him till the deed was done; yet how obtain the authority to act without him? The seemingly insuperable difficulties of the situation whetted Amherst's craving for a struggle. He thought first of writing to Mrs.
Amherst's delighted eyes as an embodiment of tactfulness and grace looking sympathetically about the little room, which, with its books, its casts, its photographs of memorable pictures, seemed, after all, a not incongruous setting to her charms; so that when she rose to go, saying, as her hand met Amherst's, "Tonight, then, you must tell me all about those poor Dillons," he had the sense of having penetrated so far into her intimacy that a new Westmore must inevitably result from their next meeting.
It was a blue cap or bonnet, such as the Highlanders wore, and a waistcoat and short jacket of black frieze lapelled with blue. There were no arms to the waistcoat or jacket, only armholes, and on the shoulders were little wings, such as the drummers and grenadiers wore. Hector called us Amherst's angels. The buttons were of white metal.