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Greatorex did not think of God as likely to take his getting drunk very seriously, any more than he had seemed to take Maggie and Essy seriously. For Greatorex measured God's reprobation by his own repentance. His real offense against God was his offense against Alice Cartaret. He had got drunk in order to forget it. But that resource would henceforth be denied him.

But Essy in her kitchen made no effort to stand up to the Grande Polonaise. When it began she sat down and laid her arms on the kitchen table, and her head, muffled in her apron, on her arms, and cried. She couldn't have told you what the Polonaise was like or what it did to her; all that she could have said was that it went through and through her.

Their faces were turned toward the closed door of the study. They were listening to the sounds that went on behind it. The burden of Essy hung heavy over them. The study door opened and shut. Then the kitchen door. "Poor Essy," said Gwenda. "Poor Essy," said Alice. She was sorry for Essy now. She could afford to be sorry for her.

He would call for a glass and press into it the red juice of the meat. "Don't peak and pine, girl. Drink that. It'll put some blood into you." And Alice would refuse to drink it. Next she refused to drink her milk at eleven. She carried it out to Essy in the scullery. "I wish you'd drink my milk for me, Essy. It makes me sick," she said. "I don't want your milk," said Essy.

And the innocence of her face being gone, she went lowly and humbly, paying for Essy, Essy's debt of shame. That was her view. "Sall I set the tae here, Miss Gwanda," she enquired. "Sence doctor isn't coomin'?" "How do you know he isn't coming?" Alice asked. Mrs. Gale's face was solemn and oppressed. She turned to Gwenda, ignoring Alice. "'Aven't yo 'eerd, Miss Gwanda?"

He nursed a book on his knees, but he made no pretence of reading it. He had taken off his glasses and sat with his hands folded, in an attitude of utter resignation to his own will. In the kitchen Essy Gale sat by the dying fire and waited for the stroke of ten. And as she waited she stitched at the torn breeches of her little son. Essy had come back to the house where she had been turned away.

"I have nothing to say to you, Essy. You know why I sent for you." "Naw, sir." She thought it was a question. He underlined it. "You know why." "Naw. I doan' knaw, sir." "Then, if you don't know, you must find out. You will go down to the surgery this afternoon and see Dr. Rowcliffe, and he will report on your case." She started and the red blood rose in her face.

The door into the back yard was shut, the door that Essy used to keep open when she listened for a footstep and a whisper. That door had betrayed her many a time when the wind slammed it to. Essy's heart was quiet as the heart of her sleeping child. She had forgotten how madly it had leaped to her lover's footsteps, how it had staggered at the slamming of the door.

Holding up her apron with one hand, she clutched the arm of her master's chair with the other and dragged herself to her feet. "I'll mop it oop," she repeated, shamefast. "I told you to go," said the Vicar. "I'll fetch yo anoother glass?" she whispered. Her voice was hoarse with the spasm in her throat. "No," said the Vicar. Essy slunk back into her kitchen with terror in her heart.

Essy was on her knees beside him, picking up the bits of glass and gathering them in her apron. She was murmuring, "I'll mop it oop. I'll mop it oop." "That'll do," he said roughly. "That'll do, I tell you. You can go." Essy tried to go. But it was as if her knees had weights on them that fixed her to the floor.

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