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She had taken her daughter's place for the time being. She was a just woman and she bore no grudge against the Vicar on Essy's account. He had done no more than he was obliged to do. Essy had given trouble enough in the Vicarage, and she had received a month's wages that she hadn't worked for. Mrs. Gale was working double to make up for it.

Mary began to talk of the weather and of Essy and of Essy's baby, as if her eyes had never seen anything at all. Then, just as they parted, she said, "When are you coming to see us again?" as if he had been to see them only the other day. He said he would come as soon as he was asked. And Mary reflected, as one arranging a multitude of engagements.

"Look here, Papa, while you're trying how you can make this awful thing more awful for her, what do you think poor Essy's bothering about? She's not bothering about her sin, nor about her baby. She's bothering about how she's landed us." The Vicar closed his eyes. His patience was exhausted. So was his wisdom. "I am not arguing with you, Gwenda." "You can't.

I've soomthing to saay to yo', Essy." "There's nat mooch good yo're saayin' anything, Jim. I knaw all yo' 'ave t' saay." "Yo'll 'ave t' 'ear it, Essy, whether yo' knaw it or not. They're tallin' mae I ought to marry yo'." Essy's eyes flashed. "Who's tallin' yo'?" "T' Vicar, for woon." "T' Vicar!

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.

And the impression her brooding made on Rowcliffe was that Mary knew something about Gwenda she did not want to tell. "I don't think," said Mary gravely, "that Gwenda ever will come back again. At least not if she can help it. I thought you knew that." "I suppose I must have known." He left it there. Mary took up her knitting. She was making a little vest for Essy's baby.

And then it struck her that she had better go down at once and see Essy's baby. It was only five and twenty past four. The Vicar was right. Rowcliffe did not want to be seen or heard of at the Vicarage. He did not want to see or hear of the Vicarage or of Gwenda Cartaret again.

"Why should I be sorry for her? She's all right." She had sorrow enough, but none to waste on Essy. Essy's way was easy. Essy had only to slink out to the back door and she could have her will. She didn't have to get pneumonia. John Greatorex did not die that night. He had no mind to die: he was a man of stubborn pugnacity and he fought his pneumonia.

Mary Cartaret sat in the door of the cottage by the beck. And in her lap she held Essy's baby. Essy had run in to the last cottage in the row to look after her great aunt, the Widow Gale, who had fallen out of bed in the night. The Widow Gale, in her solitude, had formed the habit of falling out of bed.

At that Essy's face began to shake piteously. Standing by the door, she cried quietly, with soft sobs, neither hiding her face nor drying her tears as they came. "You had better tell me," said the Vicar. "I s'all nat tall yo'," said Essy, with passionate determination, between the sobs. "You must." "I s'all nat I s'all nat." "Hiding it won't help you," said the Vicar. Essy raised her head.

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