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reverence.

which to conclude, at first ; but she knew at once that foundly, both in thought and in emotion. By the it was very disagreeable.

keenest discipline of life, by the utmost consecration His one trait which seemed intolerable, which so which is its final crown, she must have come into posoften struck from her brain the quick flash of inward session and command of her whole selfhood. With a resentment, was his mental contempt for women. It capacity to suffer and to love unknown to the untested was a deep flaw in his usual good breeding, that he so and unpurified, she is at the mercy of no impulse in often made this contempt apparent — to a woman. herself, in another. It may reach her, but can

The religion of gentle manners, which never forgets never overthrow her, in the high, clear atmosphere the feelings of others, would have held dumb the covert wherein she abides. Such potency and such command or open sneer against woman to a woman,- most of cannot belong to extreme youth. Thus it so often all to a woman who never named manhood save in happeus that young men of the finest mould are said

But the man who intends to be most to love women older than themselves. Men who have generous is nerer aware how many thoughtless words attained the highest distinction as men bave almost he utters, which cut into the heart of the true woman always, at some stage of their youth, entered into such by his side because she is a woman. Man-like, Athel an experience. It by no means follows that this expeDane dealt in generalities. Woman-like, Agnes Darcy rience should prove to be the passion of love, or end applied the concrete. It was impossible for her to in marriage; no less it tinges, if it does not shape, all know in bis utterances of general impatience and con

the future of the man. It is impossible that he should tempt concerning women, how soon he came to make remain what he was before he touched as a quicksilently an exception of herself

. Nor, had she known stone this potent good, whose fine vibration will thrill it, would it have afforded her the slightest comfort. through his being while he exists. She held herself as in no wise above or different from So much by the gentle attrition of long-continued inher kind.

tercourse Agnes became to Athel Dane. Softly as But there came a time when he grew silent on this flowers blossom, her influence expanded in his heart

. theme, which before seemed an ever-present irritation Silent as dew falls, it was shed upon his arid life till it in his mind. If he did not speak in praise of women, bloomed all over with gentle amenities. The growth he was at least silent on their foibles. Agnes noticed was not of a day. Slowly he came to the consciousness the silence, and was grateful for it; from that time be- that she, lowly and lovable as a woman, was also infigan the real companionship of this man and woman nitely more than he once believed any woman could be in the equal muman nature which each alike received to him, a mental and spiritual force in bis thoughts and from God. Agnes never argued on so supremely fool- life. He placed himself under the most rigid self-exish a theme as the equality or inequality of the sexes, / amination concerning the heavenly Mondays toward which, in two halves, make human nature complete. which he discovered himself turning with ever-increasShe simply lived before him, true to the best that God ing interest and desire. What did they contain, after had given her; and because she lived, he came at last all, that he should want it so much, and recur to it so to reverence all womanhood for her sake. Nor did he often, with such a sense of deep satisfaction? Only a differ froin the race of men in this, that he learned to long ride over the hills and through the woods, then a measure all women by the woman that he knew best. child to be taught, a golden girl, a wood-nymph in pure It was a revelation, an inspiration, new and wonderful, health, full of intuitive intelligence, acute sensibility, when for the first time in his life he formed a habit of torrents of temper, swift contritions, and a lovesomeness being with a woman who, while she held in herself an which triumphed over all; only a silent woman sitting undefined personal charm for him, was nearly five apart at her sewing or sketching, a woman still young, years his senior by time, and fifty by actual experi. | as time is counted, but with a look in her eyes that ence; and who was his equal in intellect and in cult- seemed to come from far distant spheres, whose presence ure, if not in positive learning.

was more pervasive in its silence than that of other She might have been all these, and yet never have women set in the aura of smile and speech; a halfbeen the force in his life which she became.

hour's conversation with her, perhaps, when the lessons this because she had that insight into his nature, and were over, between Vida's questions, and with Evelyn that sympathy with it, which revealed hiinself to him- bustling about. Yet it was the words uttered then, the self, while at the same time it seemed to draw him to a turn of her head, the tones of her voice, that went back higher good. By what fine gradations and subtle with him through the long ride, and stayed with him till phrasing she drew forth into the light phases of his he came again. own character before undreamed of by himself! It He knew nothing of her past life. Their intercourse seemed to him that he was a stranger to his own soul was not of the sort that impinged upon their own pertill he knew this woman. Yet it was not that she

sonal experiences. Concerning herself he had never often defined in speech the finer possibilities of his asked her a question, and she had never essayed a con

She in herself seemed to embody a quality of fidence. Through the new spiritual vision by which he soul more inspiring than he ever yet had known. By perceived her, he believed in her without doubt or her very being and atmosphere she quickened in him query. “ It is enough for me that she is,” he said, if emotion, aspiration, and strength. The very thought he ever found himself speculating on the possible past of her was transmuted in him into moral insight and which had contributed to such a flowering of mind and power. If he felt a consciousness of peace in her pres. spirit. ence, the like of which he had never attained to in his

When, one late autumn Sabbath, Agnes and Vida existence before; when he neither saw her face nor appeared in the stone church of Dufferin, its rector's heard her voice, he perceived her no less as a new and joy was full.

The whole audience seemed to concenundreamed-of force in his thought and action.

trate into one pair of eyes turned toward the preacher. Thus to move and to mould the inward nature of a As he became conscious of it he thought, “ It is well man, a woman must first have lived broadly, pro- that she cannot come always, or even often; what she

She was

nature.

gave of inspiration I should give back in consciousness of Traitors' Gate translated to another element. That enonly to herself, and forget the others, which would be try and exit hereby was only at rare intervals became apwrong.” To Agnes, the organ anthems, the sweet parent on noting that tufts of grass were allowed to flourish

undisturbed in the chinks of the sill. voices bearing heavenward Te Deum laudamus, the

As the clock from the tower of St. George's Church responses of the people, the devout utterances of the

pointed at three minutes to three, a blue spring wagon, preacher, moved her soul to its depths, to remember picked out with red, and containing boughs and flowers, and to worship. Like human companionship, not till turned from the high-road and halted on this side of the it came to her again, the ministry of the Lord's building. Whilst the chimes were yet stammering out a anointed, the service of his boly temple, did she realize shattered form of “Malbrook,” Joseph Poorgrass rang the how she had missed them or needed them.

bell, and received directions to back his wagon against the By degrees the people of Dufferin became aware of

high door under the gable. The door then opened, and a a change in their rector. He was less oracular, more

plain elm coffin was slowly thrust forth, and laid by two simply manly. He seemed to have cast off his burden

men in fustian along the middle of the vehicle.

One of the two men then stepped up beside it, took of conscious superiority somewhere, and to now take from his pocket a lump of chalk, and wrote upon the cover the band of a parishoner as one fallible human being the name and a few other words in a large scrawling hand. may that of another. He ceased to treat the young (We believe that they do these things more tenderly now, women of the congregation as if they belonged to a

and provide a plate.) He covered the whole with a black proscribed caste upou whom he must turn a sort of

cloth, threadbare, but decent, the tail-board of the wagon angel Gabriel glance, and then his back. At last he

was returned to its place, one of the men banded a certifitreated them as fellow-mortals, if naught beside. He closing it behind them. Their connection with her, short

cate of registry to Poorgrass, and both entered the door, became a hero to every little school-child that he met as it had been, was over forever. by the way, whose hand he took, and whose confidence Joseph then placed the flowers as enjoined, and the everlie won. He was found oftener in the houses of the

greens

around the flowers, till it was difficult to divine what poor, and by the beds of the sick. The cold fastidious- the wagon contained ; he smacked his whip, and the rather ness which had been in him a prevailing and repelling pleasing funeral car crept up the hill, and along the road trait, that had jarred sadly upon his people, gradually

to Weatherbury.

The afternoon drew on apace, and, looking to the left melted into a glow of sympathy and of unconscious

towards the sea as he walked beside the horse, Poorgrass kioship, as if he had come into consort at last with

saw strange clouds and scrolls of mist rolling over the high human need; with its weakness, folly, and pain, as hills which girt the landscape in that quarter. They came well as with its high aspiration and lofty fulfilment. in yet greater volumes, and indolently crept across the The change in himself was felt not more in his ac

intervening valleys, and around the withered, papery flagg tions than through all his sermons. They ceased to be

of the sloughs and river banks. Then their dark spongy fine disquisitions on a remote heaven and a still more

forms closed in upon the sky. It was a sudden overgrowth remote God. Now it was, “ God with us ;” “God

of atmospheric fungi which had their roots in the neighbor

ing sea ; and by the time that horse, man, and corpse enmade manifest in the flesh ;” “ God is love;” “God tered Yalbury Great Wood, these silent workings of an inis our Father: our closest friend;" " Heaven begins visible hand had reached them, and they were completely here;” “ Religion is not gloom, - it is growth, faith, cnveloped. It was the first arrival of the autumn fogs, and purity, joy, not only in believing, but in doing, being, the first fog of the series.

The living, now.” At last he had food for the people. The

The air was as an eye suddenly struck blind. people came and were fed, because their souls were

wagon and its load rolled no longer on the horizontal dihungry for human as well as heavenly help. The name

vision between clearness and opacity. They were imbed

ded in an elastic body of a monotonous pallor thoughout. of the young rector of Dufferin was never uttered by

There was no perceptible motion in the air, not a visible 60 many lips, in such loving accents, as now. The drop of water fell upon a leaf of the beeches, birches, and aged, the little child, the very poor, spoke the tender- firs composing the wood on either side. The trees stood est words for him.

in an attitude of intentness, as if they waited longingly for At last one day Stella Moon whispered : “ The rec

a wind to come and rock them. A startling quiet overtor is goin' to marry Madame Darcy; he rides to the hung, all surrounding things -- so completely, that the Pinnacle Monday - Jim Dare told me so.

crunching of the wagon-wheels was as a great noise, and every

small rustles, which had never obtained a hearing except by night, were distinctly individualized.

Joseph Poorgrass looked round upon his sad burden as

it loomed faintly through the flowering laurustinus, then at FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD. the unfathomable gloom amid the high trees on each hand,

indistinct, shadowless, and spectre-like in their monochrome JOSEPH AND HIS BURDEN: “BUCK's of gray. He felt anything but cheerful, and wished he had HEAD."

the company even of a child or dog. Stopping the horse,

he listened.' Not a footstep or wheel was audible anywhere A wall bounded the site of Casterbridge Union-house, around, and the dead silence was broken only by a heavy except along a portion of the end. Here a high gable particle falling from a tree through the evergreens and stood prominent, and it was covered like the front with a alighting with a smart rap upon the coffin of poor Fanny. mat of ivy. In this gable was no window, chimney, orna- The fog had by this time saturated the trees, and this ment, or protuberance of any kind. The single feature ap- was the first dropping of water from the overbrimming pertaining to it, beyond the expanse of dark green leaves, leaves. The hollow echo of its fall reminded the wagoner was a small door.

painfully of the grim Leveller. Tben hard by came down The situation of the door was peculiar. The sill was another drop, then two or three. Presently there was a three or four feet above the ground, and for a moment one continual dropping of these heavy drops upon the dead was at a loss for an explanation of this exceptional altitude, leaves, the road, and the travellers. The nearer boughs till ruts immediately beneath suggested that the door was were beaded with the mist to the grayness of aged men, used solely for the passage of articles and persons to and and the rusty red leaves of the beecies were hung with from the level of a vehicle standing on the outside. Upon similar drops, like diamonds on auburn hair. the whole, the door seemed to advertise itself as a species Situated by the roadside in the midst of this wood was

(To'be continued.)

CHAPTER XLII.

the old inn, called “Buck's Head.” It was about a mile “ The parish pays the grave half-crown, but not the bell and a half from Weatherbury, and in the meridian times of shilling, because the bell's a luxury : but 'a can hardly do stage-coach travelling had been the place where many without the grave, poor body. However, I expect our coaches changed and kept their relays of horses. All the mistress will pay all.” old stabling was now pulled down, and little remained be- “ A pretty maid as ever I see! But what's yer hurry, sides the habitable inn itself, which, standing a little way Joseph ? The pore woman's dead, and you can't bring her back from the road, signified its existence to people far up to life, and you may as well sit down comfortable and finish and down the highway by a sign hanging from the horizon- another with'us.” tal bough of an elm on the opposite side of the way.

“I don't mind taking just the merest thimblesul of imagTravellers — for the variety tourist had hardly developed ination more with ye, sonnies. But only a few minutes, into a distinct species at this date — sometimes said in because 'tis as 'tis." passing, when they cast their eyes up to the sign-bearing “Of course you'll have another drop. A man's twice tree, that artists were fond of representing the sign-board the man afterwards. You feel so warm and glorious, and hanging thus, but that they themselves had never before you whop and slap at your work without any trouble, and noticed so perfect an instance in actual working order. It everything goes on like sticks a-breaking. Too much was near this tree that the wagon was standing into which liquor is bad, and leads us to that horned man in the smoky Gabriel Oak crept on his first journey to Weatherbury; house; but, after all, many people haven't the gift of enjoybut, owing to the darkness, the sign and the ion had been ing a soak, and since we are highly favored with a power unobserved.

that way, we should make the most o't." The manners of the inn were of the old-established type. “ True," said Mark Clark. "'Tis a talent the Lord has Indeed, in the minds of its frequenters they existed as un- mercifully bestowed upon us, and we ought not to neglect it. alterable formulæ: e. g.

But, what with the parsons and clerks and school-people Rap with the bottom of your pint for more liquor.

and serious tea-parties, the merry old ways of good life For tobacco, shout.

have gone to the dogs — upon my carcass, they have!” In calling for the girl in waiting, say, “Maid !”

“Well, really, I must be onward again now,” said JoDitto for the landlady, “ Old Soul l” etc., etc.

seph.

Now, now, Joseph; nonsense! The poor woman is It was a relief to Joseph's heart when the friendly sign- dead, isn't she, and what's your hurry?" board came in view, and, stopping his horse immediately “Well

, I hope Providence won't be in a way with me for beneath it, he proceeded to fulfil an intention made a long my doinys,” said Joseph, again sitting down.' “I've been time before. His spirits were oozing out of bim quite. He troubled with weak moments lately, 'tis true. I've been turned the horse's head to the green bank, and entered the drinky once this month already, and I did not go to church hostel for a mug of ale.

a-Sunday, and I dropped a curse or two yesterday; so I Going down into the kitchen of the inn, the floor of which don't want to go too far for my safety. Your next world is was a step below the passage, which in its turn was a step below the road outside, what should Joseph see to gladden

your next world, and not to be squandered lightly."

"I believe ye to be a chapel-member, Joseph. That I his eyes but two copper-colored disks, in the form of the do." countenances of Mr. Jan Coggan and Mr. Mark Clark. “Oh, no, no! I don't go so far as that.” These owners of the two most appreciative throats in the neighborhood, on this side of respectability, were now sit- England.'

“For my part,” said Coggan, “ I'm stanch Church of ting face to face over a three-legged circular table, having

" Aye, and faith, so be I,” said Mark Clark. an iron rim to keep cups and pots from being accidentally “I won't say much for myself: I don't wish to,” Coggan elbowed off ; they might have been said to resemble the set- continued, with that tendency to talk on principles which is ting sun and the full moon shining vis-à-vis across the characteristic of the barley-corn. “But I've never changed globe.

a single doctrine : I've stuck like a plaster to the old faith I Why, 'tis neighbor Poorgrass!” said Mark Clark. was born in. Yes, there's this to be said for the Church, " I'm sure your face don't praise your mistress's table, Jo- a man can belong to the Church and bide in his cheerful seph.”

old inn, and never trouble or worry his mind about doc" I've had a very pale companion for the last five miles,” trines at all. But to be a meetinger, you must go to chapel said Joseph, indulging in a shudder toned down by resigna- | in all winds and weathers, and make yerself as frantic as tion. “ And to speak the truth, 'twas beginning to tell a skit. Not but that chapel-members be clever chaps upon me.

I assure ye I han't seed the color of victuals or enough in their way. They can lift up beautiful prayers drink since breakfast time this morning, and that was no out of their own heads, all about their families and shipmore than a dew-bit afield.”

wrecks in the newspaper.". “ Then drink, Joseph, and don't restrain yourself !” “ They can — they can," said Mark Clark, with corrobsaid Coggan, handing him a hooped mug three quarters orative feeling; “but we Churcbmen, you see, must have full.

it all printed aforehand, or, dang it all, we should no more Joseph drank for a moderately long time, then for a know what to say to a great person like Providence than longer time, saying, as he lowered the mug,

babes unborn." drinking — very pretty drinking, and is more than cheer- “Chapel-folk_be more hand-in-glove with them above ful on my melancholy errand, so to speak it.”

than we,” said Joseph, thoughtfully. " True, drink is a pleasant delight,” said Jan, as one who Yes,” said Coggan. “We know very well that if anyrepeated a truism so familiar to his brain that he hardly body goes to heaven, they will. They've worked hard for noticed its passage over his tongue; and, lifting the cup, it, and they deserve to have it, such as 'tis. I'm no such Coggan tilted his head gradually backwards, with closed a fool as to pretend that we who stick to the Church have eyes, that his expectant soul might not be diverted for one the same chance as they, because we know we have not. instant from its bliss by irrelevant surroundings.

But I hate a feller who'll change his old ancient doctrine Well, I must be on again," said Poorgrass. “ Not but for the sake of getting to heaven. I'd as soon turn king'sthat I should like another nip with ye; but the country evidence for the few pounds you get. Why, neighbors, might lose confidence in me if I was seed here.”

when every one of my taties were frosted, our Parson * Where be ye trading o't to to-day then, Joseph ?” Thirdly were the man who gave me a sack for seed, though

" Back to Weatherbury. I've got poor little Fanny he hardly had one for his own use, and no money to buy Robin in my wagon outside, and I must be at the church- 'em. If it hadn't been for him, I shouldn't hae had a tatie yard gates at a quarter to five with her.”

to put in my garden. D'ye think I'd turn after that? No, • Aye - I've heard of it. And so she's nailed up in l'll stick to my side; and if we be in the wrong, so be it : parish boards after all, and nobody to pay the bell shilling I'll fall with the fallen!" and the grave half-crown.”

“Well said; very well said," observed Joseph. “How

" 'Tis pretty

66

ever, folks, I must be moving now ; upon my life I must. " Show myself a man of spirit? ... Ab, well I let me Parson Thirdly will be waiting at the church gates, and take the name of drunkard bumbly - let me be a man of there's the woman a-biding outside in the wagon.

contrite knees let it be! I know that I always do say “Joseph Poorgrass, don't be so miserable! Parson Please God’afore I do anything, from my getting up to Thirdly won't mind. He's a generous man; he's found my going down of the same, and I am willing to take as mė in tracts for years, and I've consumed a good many in much disgrace as belongs to that holy act. Hah, yes!... the course of a long and rather shady life; but he's never But not a man of spirit ? Have I ever allowed the toe of been the man to complain of the expense. Sit down." pride to be lifted against my person without shouting man

The longer Joseph Poorgrass remained, the less was his fully that I question the right to do so? I inquire that spirit troubled by the duties which devolved upon him this

query boldly 1" afternoon. The minutes glided by uncounted, until the “We can't say that you have, Joseph Poorgrass,” said evening shades began perceptibly to deepen, and the eyes Jan, emphatically. of the three were but sparkling points on the surface of “Never have I allowed such treatment to pass unquesdarkness. Coggan's waich struck six from his pocket in tioned ! Yet the shepherd says in the face of that rich testhe usual still small tones.

timony that I am not a man of spirit! Well, let it pass At that moment hasty steps were heard in the entry, and by, and death is a kind friend." the door opened to admit the figure of Gabriel Oak, fol- Gabriel, seeing that neither of the three was in a fit state lowed by the maid of the inn, bearing a candle. He stared to take charge of the wagon for the remainder of the joursternly at the one lengthy and two round faces of the sitters, ney, made no reply, but closing the door again upon them, which confronted him with the expressions of a fiddle and went across to where the vehicle stood, now getting indisa couple of warming-pans. Joseph Poorgrass blinked, and tinct in the fog and gloom of this mildewy time. He shrank several inches into the background.

pulled the horse's head from the large patch of turf it had “ Upon my soul, I'm ashamed of you ; 'tis disgraceful, eaten bare, readjusted the boughs over the coffin, and drove Joseph, disgraceful!” said Gabriel, 'indignantly." Cogo along through the unwholesome night. gan, you call yourself a man, and don't know better than It had gradually become rumored in the village that the this 1

body to be brought and buried that day was all that was Coggan looked up indefinitely at Oak, one or other of his left of the unfortunate Fanny Robin, who had followed the eyes occasionally opening and closing of its own accord, as Eleventh from Casterbridge to Melchester. But, thanks to if it were not a member but a dozy individual with a dis- Boldwood's reticence and Oak's generosity, the lover she tinct personality.

had followed had never been individualized as Troy. Ga“ Don't take on so, shepherd !” said Mark Clark, look- briel hoped that the whole truth of the matter might not be ing reproachfully at the candle, which appeared to possess published till at any rate the girl had been in her grave a special features of interest for his eyes.

few days, when the interposing barriers of earth and time “ Nobody can burt a dead woman,” at length said Cog- and a sense that the events had been somewhat shut into gan, with the precision of a machine. “ All that could be oblivion, would deaden the sting that revelation and inviddone for her is done — she's beyond us : and why should a ious remark would have for Bathsheba just now. man put himself in a tearing hurry for lifeless clay that By the time that Gabriel reached the old manor-house, can neither feel nor see, and don't know what you do with her residence, which lay in his way to the church, it was her at all? If she'd been alive, I would have been the quite dark. A man came from the gate and said through first to help her. If she now wanted victuals and drink, the fog, which hung between them like blown flour, I'd pay for it, money down. But she's dead, and no " Is that Poorgrass with the corpse ?. speed of ours will bring her to life. The woman's past us Gabriel recognized the voice as that of the parson.

time spent upon her is throwed away; why should we “ The corpse is here, sir,” said Gabriel. hurry to do what's not required ? Drink, shepherd, and “I have just been to inquire of Mrs. Troy if she could be friends, for to-morrow we may be like her."

tell me the reason of the delay. I am afraid it is too late “We may,” added Mark Clark, emphatically, at once now for the funeral to be performed with proper decency. drinking, himself, to run no further risk of losing his chance Have you the registrar's certificate ? " by the event alluded to, Jan meanwhile merging his addi- “No,” said Gabriel. “I expect Poorgrass has that ; tional thoughts of to-morrow in a song :

and he's at the • Buck’s Head.' I forgot to ask him for “ To-mor-row, to-mor-row!

it.” And while peace and plen-ty I find at my board,

“ Then that settles the matter. We'll put off the fuWith a heart free from sick.ness and sor-row,

neral till to-morrow morning. The body may be brought With my friends will I share what to-day may af-ford, on to the church, or it may be left here at the farm and And let them spread the ta-ble to mor-row.

fetched by the bearers in the morning. They waited more To-mor-row, to-mor

than an hour, and have now gone home.” “ Do hold thy horning, Jan!” said Oak; and turning Gabriel had his reasons for thinking the latter a most upon Poorgrass, “ As for you, Joseph, who do your wicked objectionable plan, notwithstanding that Fanny had been deeds in such confoundedly holy ways, you are as drunk as an inmate of the farm-house for several years in the lifeyou can stand.”

time of Bathsheba's uncle. Visions of several unhappy “ No, Shepherd Oak, no! Listen to reason, shepherd. contingencies which might arise from this delay flitted beAll that's the matter with me is the affliction called a mul- fore him. But his will was not law, and he went indoors tiplying eye, and that's how it is I look double to you — I to inquire of his mistress what were her wishes on the submean you look double to me.”

ject. He found her in an unusual mood : her eyes as she “A

multiplying eye is a very distressing thing,” said looked up to him were suspicious and perplexed as with Mark Clark.

some antecedent thought. Troy had not yet returned. " It always comes on when I have been in a public- At first Bathsheba assented with a mien of indifference to house a little time,” said Joseph Poorgrass, meekly

.. Yes, his proposition that they should go on to the church at I see two of every sort, as if I were some holy man living once with their burden ; but immediately afterwards, folin the times of King Noah and entering into the ark. lowing Gabriel to the gate, she swerved to the extreme of

Y-y-y-yes,” he added, becoming much affected by the solicitousness on Fanny's account, and desired that the picture of himself as a person thrown away, and shedding girl might be brought into the house. Oak argued upon tears, “ I feel too good for England: I ought to have lived the convenience of leaving her in the wagon, just as she in Genesis by rights, like the other men of sacrifice, and lay now, with her flowers and green leaves about her, then I shouldn't have b-b-been called a d-d-drunkard in merely wheeling the vehicle into the coach-house till the such a way !"

morning, but to no purpose. “It is unkind and unch :is“ I wish you'd show yourself a man of spirit, and not sit tian,” she said, “ to leave the poor thing in a coach-ko se whining there!

all night.”

“Very well, then," said the parson. “And I will ar- described as a determined rebellion against her prejudices, range that the funeral shall take place early to-morrow. a revulsion from a lower instinct of uncharitableness, which Perhaps Mrs. Troy is right in feeling that we cannot treat would have withheld all sympathy from the dead woman, a dead fellow-creature too thoughtfully. We must remem- because in life she had preceded Batlısheba in the attenber that though she may have erred grievously in leaving tions of a man whom Bathsheba had by no means ceased her home, she is still our sister ; and it is to be believed from loving, though her love was sick to death just now with that God's uncovenanted mercies are extended towards the gravity of a further misgiving. her, and that she is a member of the flock of Christ.”

In five or ten minutes there was another tap at the door. The parson's words spread into the heavy air with a sad Liddy reappeared, and coming in a little way stood hesitatyet unperturbed cadence, and Gabriel shed an honest tear. ing, until at length she said, “ Maryann has just heard Bathsheba seemed unmoved. Mr. Thirdly then left them, something very strange, but I know it isn't true. . And we and Gabriel lighted a lantern. Fetching three other men shall be sure to know the rights of it in a day or two." to assist him, they bore the unconscious truant indoors, “ What is it?" placing the coffin on two benches in the middle of a little “Oh, nothing connected with you or us, ma'am! It is sitting-room next the hall, as Bathsheba directed.

about Fanny. That same thing you have heard." Every one except Gabriel Oak then left the room. He " I have heard nothing." still indecisively lingered beside the body. He was deeply “I mean that a wicked story is got to Weatherbury troubled at the wretchedly ironical aspect that circumstances within this last hour — that" - Liddy came close to her were putting on with regard to Troy's wife, and at his own mistress and whispered the remainder of the sentence powerlessness to counteract them. In spite of his careful slowly into her ear, inclining her head as she spoke in the manæuvring all this day, the very worst event that could in direction of the room where Fanny lay. any way have happened in connection with the burial had Bathsheba trembled from head to foot. happened now. Oak imagined a terrible discovery result- “I don't believe it !” she said, excitedly. " And it is ing from this afternoon's work that might cast over Bath- not written on the colin-cover.” sheba's life a shade which the interposition of many lapsing “ Nor I, ma'am. And a good many others don't; for we years might but indifferently lighten, and which nothing at should surely have been told more about it if it had been all might altogether remove.

true - don't you think so, ma'am ? " Suddenly, as in a last attempt to save Bathsheba from, “ We might, or we might not.” at any rate, immediate anguish, he looked again, as he had Bathsheba turned and looked into the fire, that Liddy looked before, at the chalk writing upon the coffin-lid. might not see her face. Finding that her mistress was goThe scrawl was this simple one, Fanny Robin and child." | ing to say no more, Liddy glided out, closed the door softly, Gabriel took his handkerchief and carefully rubbed out the and went to bed. two latter words. He then left the room, and went out Bathsheba's face, as she continued looking into the fire quietly by the front door.

that evening, might have excited solicitousness on her ac

count even among those who loved her least. The sadness CHAPTER XLIII. FANNY'S REVENGE.

of Fanny Robin's fate did not make Bathsheba's glorious,

although she was the Esther to this poor Vasliti, and their "Do you want me any longer, ma'am ? ” inquired Liddy, fates might be supposed to stand in some respects as conat a later hour the same evening, standing by the door with trasts to each other. When Liddy came into the room a a chamber candlestick in her hand, and addressing Bath- second time, the beautiful eyes which met hers had worn a sheba, who sat cheerless and alone in the large parlor be- listless, weary look. When she went out after telling the side the first fire of the season.

story, they had expressed wretchedness in full activity. “No more to-night, Liddy."

This also 'sank to apathy after a time. But her thoughts, “ I'll sit up for master if you like, ma'am. I am not at sluggish and confused at first, acquired more life as the minall afraid of Fanny, if I may sit in my own room and have utes passed, and the dull misgiving in her brow and eyes a candle. She was such a childlike nesh young thing that suddenly gave way to the stillness of concentration. her spirit couldn't appear to anybody if it tried, I'm quite Bathsheba had grounds for conjecturing a connection be

tween her own history and the dimly suspected tragedy of “Oh, no, no! You go to bed. I'll sit up for him my- Fanny's end, which Oak and Boldwood never for a moment self till twelve o'clock, and if he has not arrived by that credited her with possessing. The meeting with the lonely time I shall give him up and go to bed too."

woman on the previous Saturday night had been unwit" It is half-past ten now.”

nessed and unspoken of. Oak may have had the best of “Oh! is it?"

intentions in withholding for as many days as possible the “Why don't you sit up-stairs, ma'am ?."

details of what had happened; but had he known that “Why don't I ?” said Bathsheba, desultorily. “It isn't Bathsheba's perceptions had already been exercised in the worth while — there's a fire here. Liddy,” she suddenly matter, he would have done nothing to lengthen the min. exclaimed in an impulsive and excited whisper, “ have you utes of suspense she was now undergoing, when the cerheard anything strange said of Fanny?"The words had tainty which must terminate it would be the worst fact susno sooner escaped her than an expression of unutterable re- pected after all. gret crossed her face, and she burst into tears.

She suddenly felt a longing desire to speak to some one “No not a word !” said Liddy, looking at the weep- stronger than herself, and so get strength to sustain her ing woman with astonishment. " What is it makes you surmised position with dignity and her carking doubts with cry so, ma’am; has anything hurt you ?” She came to stoicism. Where could she find such a friend ? Nowhere Bathsheba's side with a face full of sympathy.

in the house. She was by far the coolest of the women un“No, Liddy – I don't want you any more. I can hardly der her roof. Patience and suspension of judgment for a say why I have taken so to crying lately: I never used to few hours were what she wanted to learn, and there was cry: Good night."

nobody to teach her. Might she but go to Gabriel Oak! Liddy then left the parlor and closed the door.

but that could not be. What a way Oak had, she thought, Bathsheba was lonely and miserable now; not lonelier of enduring things. Boldwood, who seemed so much actually than she had been before her marriage; but her deeper and higher and stronger in feeling than Gabriel, had loneliness then was to that of the present time as the soli- not yet learnt, any more than she herself, the simple lesson tude of a mountain is to the solitude of a cave. And within which Oak showed a mastery of by every turn and look he the last day or two had come these disquieting thoughts gave -- that among the multitude of interests by which he about her husband's past. Her wayward sentiment that was surrounded, those which affected his personal well-beevening concerning Fanny's temporary resting place had ) ing were not the most absorbing and important in his eyes. been the result of a strange complication of impulses in Oak meditatively looked upon the horizon of circumstances Bathsheba's bosom. Perhaps it would be more accurately without any special regard to his own stand-point in the

sure.

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