Even as they gazed at each other in speechless questioning the silence was broken in upon. Swift, heavy footsteps neared the door, crossed the threshold, and Janner's daughter stood before them. There was no need for questioning. One glance told her all. She made her way to the moonlit corner, pushed both aside with rough strength, and knelt down.
When the two met again the brighter face had sadly changed; its beauty was marred with pain, and the shadow of death lay upon it. Entering Janner's shanty the following morning, Seth found the family sitting around the breakfast-table in ominous silence. The meal stood untouched, and even Bess looked pale and anxious.
"Why does na' tha' talk more?" demanded Janner's daughter, who was a strong, brusque young woman, with a sharp tongue. "I ha' not gotten nowt to say," was the meekly deprecating response.
If he was not at one house he was surely at another, it appeared for some time; but when, after making his round of visits, the doctor did not find him, he became anxious. He might be at Janner's; but he was not there, nor among the miners, who had gradually resumed their work as the epidemic weakened its strength and their spirits lightened.
"Tha's goin' to ha' a sweetheart at last, my lass," was one of Janner's favorite witticisms, but Bess bore it with characteristic coolness. "I'm noan as big a foo' as I look," she would say, "an' I dunnot moind him no more nor if he wus a wench hissen'." Small as was the element of female society at Black Creek, this young woman was scarcely popular.