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His thumb, jerked over his shoulder towards the door of the inner room, filled his sentence up.

"They may hang you."
"They han t' reet on't."
"You must be mad."
""Tis varry like."

"They came to rob you. I'm exceeding sorry you shot him instead of another, but I think you was justified in shooting."

"Ay? An' wouldsta tell 'em so if they nabbed me for't?"

"Nay, I must be moving off; I have stayed here too long already."

"Thou'rt noan a-gooin' to lave me alone wi' him i't' 'ouse? I couldna dree1 it. Justifeed or unjustifeed I did it, an' I durstna stop alone wee'm. Thou mun stay an' help me bury 'im." Reluctant to consent, unable to refuse, Roland did not know what to say, but his host seemed to feel relief at having enmeshed another life in the hazards of his own.

"Any'ow," he said, "I'll finish my breakfast."

He did so, and to his former indifferent meal added a second hearty one. At the end of which he said:

"Thou seemst a honest dacent-like English lad. How didsta coom to tak 1 Endure.

up wi' such a party o' wasters?" "I mayn't tell you."

"Wheer dosta coom from?" "It matters not."

"What's thy name?"

"I can't say."

Job Owlett looked at him with a certain dull admiration.

"Thou'rt oad for sich a yoongster; thou'st a wunnerful gift o' not sayin'. By my saul, I wish I could larn it on thee. Thou thinks there's no call for me to goo an' split on mysel?"

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Tis a lang way; 'tis a lang lang way if thou'st a wife nigh her time, a lone woman, wi' nobody to send for t' midwife when she's taen wi' her pains. That's how 'tis Mary's out i't' co'd and I'm here. If they'd nobbut a letten us hae that little house at Penistone, we should be both by t' same fireside, us an' a pratty little barn."

"Why couldn't you live at Penistone?"

"For becos we belang to Midhope parish reetfully, an' t' overseer at Penistone was afeard on's gettin' a settlement theer. They're varry careful folk hereabouts; so careful it's hard wark for a poor mon to live. But now I mun flit, with license or without. I hae a nont an' nuncle at Wakefield, I'll goo to them. But fust I'll see t' poor mon buried i't' churchyard side by side wi' her."

"There'd be questions asked which you'd find it hard to answer."

"Nay, that's ne'er bin a hardship wi'

me; but I sometimes ha' questions axed 'at I find it mighty hard not to answer."

"That's worse still."

"I want Mary here to tell me what to do. I shall miss her. My God! I shall miss her sore afore I ha' done." Roland hastened to give a turn to his thoughts.

"We must dig a grave ourselves and bury him on the moor."

"Dosta think he'd rest out o' t' blessed ground? It's an awful thing when a dead mon can nother be quiet hissel nor let other folk be quiet."

"Maybe he'd rest better there; I think 'twould be liker his own savage country."

"Ah? I reckon them wild men han different naturs to ourn. But we'll humor t' poor chap; he shall hae his awn way; then happens he'll forgie me that little hole i't' small on's back. But thou mun be chief mourner. bin chief mourner once a'ready this week, an' that once is enoo."

I ha'

Now Sam's Prudence, who lived in the little cabin near by in the hollow, was a slow-motioned draggle-tail with noticing eyes set in a sallow and otherwise inexpressive face, and she had much questioning with herself that morning why Job did not return to his work at Penistone. Three days off for the funeral and its preparations and two more given to beer and sorrow seemed to her exact calculations enough. And now though she or one of the children was always out on the watch, yet another morning had dawned and he had not been seen to cross the river by the stepping-stones and traverse the narrow valley towards Langsett. The routine of the tiny house was nothing to a woman of her mental activity; the brown-ware mug that Martha, the young besom, had broken overnight had been fully treated from every point of view but Martha's. As the circumjacent air is

sucked into the jaws of a vacuum, so her thoughts, were irresistibly drawn by the attraction of her ignorance. Three or four inches of snow had fallen during the night, but that did not daunt her. She left a flasketful of half-washed clothes for Phoebe to finish off as best she could, bade Alice see to it that the kettle of broth did not boil over, set Martha to keep Mary and John from the fire, gave Billy a parting smack by way of arrearage for the past, satisfaction for the present and promise for the future, then took her way to Job's cottage with an indirectness in strange contrast with the straightforwardness of her intellectual method. The bit of knitting she had in her hands had been her excuse all winter for not minding her own business. The snow was not deep enough to cover the heather except at the drifts, which lined and dappled and flecked the general grayishness with pure white. The waft of the sullen air was from the north. The lowering clouds that covered the sky had a sulky withholding look, though now and then they dropped a flake or two of snow.

Her not aimless wanderings brought her at last to a shallow dip of the ground in a line with the cottage, where she could squat unseen among the heather and keep a close watch upon Job's house-door. There was no reason why she should not have gone straight to the door, lifted the sneck and looked in. That in the end the coldness of her feet would make it her only course was present to her all along, with the probability that she would only see himself drunk along the floor and the leathern jug empty on the table. Meanwhile she preferred to dally, to twitch her shawl, to knit a stitch or two of her stocking and to enjoy the multiform pleasure of surmise; although her utmost imagination was that he had gone for a soldier in Gen

eral Wade's army. She had crouched thus maybe for half an hour when Job came out quite sober, with a spade and pickaxe over his shoulder. He looked

about him on every hand and then went up the moor. As soon as he had gone far enough to be hidden by the swell and fall of the ground, she rose and dawdled after him. Her fancy was as active as her body was indolent, and the spade had set it running upon hidden treasure. It was certain that since his wife's death Job had changed a guinea at the Langsett alehouse, and had made a display of unusual wealth both in treating and selfindulgence. Slowly as she went she came upon him sooner than she expected, just beyond the first ridge. He was bent over his spade. Her quick instinct was to draw back, but as her body was sluggishly obeying it he looked up and saw her. She sauntered down the slope, trailing her shawl, her eyes apparently more occupied with her knitting-needles than him. Job threw his spade down by his pickaxe and advanced his broad person between her and them.

"Is't thou, Job?" she said. "I'm lookin' for our Billy, that drotted young rascal. Hasta seed 'im? I want 'im to gang to Langsett; I ha' quite runned out o' salt, an' Sam winna touch a drop nother o' broth nor gruel bawt there's a dollop o' saisonin' in't."


"I hanna seed 'im," said Job. His cheeks were ashy gray, his eyes bloodshot.

"Then I'll turn again. I ha' traipsed an' trailed t' country while I'm deädbeat. But I'll pay him when I light on him, by my saul I will."

But instead of withdrawing directly she went aside, so that the spade and pick came into view and also a plot of ground, some seven feet by two, from which he had shovelled the snow away and dug out the frozen turf.

↑ Without.

"What arta agate on now?" she said. Job did not answer. The unwholesome gray of his cheeks was blanched to an almost white. The likeness of that bared space to the plan of a grave could not escape her. Instantly she had made his folly the gift of a foolish


"Lo thee! thou wants a bonny bit o' turf, I reckon, for to hap t' grave up. But will't grow, think ye? An' I should a tho't thou could a fun some handier nor this. But mebbe thou tho't she'd titter hae it from whoam like. Dead folk hae their fancies, I knaw; whilk is nobbut nat'ral. Thou'lt ha' to borrer t' cart again. He didn't charge thee oat for't afore, did 'e?"

Job shook his head; it was all he could.

"No, of coorse not. He'll wrap an' wring wheer there's summat to be gotten, but yo canna squeeze oat out o' noat. Well, I mun goo my ways. Thou hasna heerd no more o' them wild men 'at com to thee at neet an' set upon thee an' robbed thee?" Job shook his head. "They ha' been heerd on, noan so far away nother." Job himself was all of a shake. "It com from t' pock-arr'd packman 'at deals i' stay-laces an' run hollands. He lay at Nix's ower neet, an' t' Sheffielder heerd 'im say, an' he tellęd Widder Webster; an' t' widder-she's gotten two strings to her bow if no moreshe telled Dick Tailyor, an' Dick telled our Sam. Well, they ha' been seed at Langdendale, an' they ha' been seed on Woolley Moor, an' they ha' been seed-t' selfsame day, mind yer-by Huddersfield. Judge for thysel if they could do't by fair means. They say 'at when they catch 'em they can ather hang 'em for wild men or burn 'em for wise uns. That's all the choice they'll be allowed. Couldsta own ony of 'em again?"

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Job made a sound betwixt grunt and groan which she could take for yes.

"For thou'lt ha' to be chief witness again 'em after they're catched. There wor a great big red-haired un, thou said?"

"Yoi." 5

"Well, I hope thou'll hae t' pleasure o' seein' 'im hanged. Now I mun goo an' rout out that young raunge-about. I'll bang his banes for 'im. We're in for more coarse weather, I doubt."

It was at such times that Sam's Prudence felt the lack of human intercourse in that wilderness. The nearest person with fully equipped mouth and ears lived at Langsett, a roadless three-quarters of a mile away, with a river between swollen since yesterday above the stepping-stones; so that on this as on many another occasion she was reduced to making a confidant of ten-year-old Phoebe, or even of her husband, the one merely receptive, the other hardly that. When she said, flinging it down on the dinner-table in the hope of making a sensation, "The near next yo'll hear ull be 'at Job Owlett has gone clane crazy about his Mary," all Phoebe could say was, "How funny it mun feel!" and all Sam did say was, "Ah? Ony more broth i' t' kettle?"

She had to find all the comment herself and nearly all the surprise, could only imagine the lively bandying of ejaculation, question and answer which would have passed between herself and Widow Webster, the half-conscious fabrication of interesting detail, the confusion of cause and effect, the sympathetic heightening of the delicious emotions of wonder, fear, pity and contempt. All the more she needed the stimulus of further espial upon Job. Soon after dinner she again sauntered over the moor, her knitting in her hands, at the proper slack pace of a slattern. Making a half-mile circuit

5 Yes.

so as to keep out of sight from Job's cottage, she reached the place where she had found him turf-cutting.

He was not there. His digging was left just as she had seen it in the morning, the last spadeful of turf severed but not removed. She came up from the hollow and walked at her usual leisurely pace towards the house. When she had gone about half the distance she saw Job about a quarter of a mile off to the north-west, walking homewards. She quickened her steps so that she reached the cottage a little before him. She tried the door; it was locked. She looked in at the casement of the house-place but could see nothing. That of the chamber was still draped. She lolled against the doorpost and waited for Job, knitting. in no hurry. When he came up she said in her drawling way:

"Hasta took to makkin' t' door, Job, sin t' Highlan' men com?"

"Hae I made it?" He tried the door with a clumsy affectation of surprise. Roland had quietly withdrawn the bolt; the door yielded to his hand. "See thee! Happen t' door stuck a bit wi' t' damp."

"That's just what it were," said Prudence; and Job was much relieved by her being so easily put off. She left the house door and began talking of the chamber window. "Why hasta gotten t' hingings up yit? I'd hae 'em down; they mak t'ouse look so dead like." Job did not answer; stood on the threshold and did not offer to go in. "I want thee to lend me a tiny wee bit o' salt while to-morrer. That young hound hasna com in yit."

Job entered hastily, fetched the salt bowl from the cupboard and put it into her hands; but not before she had got a footing in the room.

"Here, tak it, bowl an' all." Her eyes were quick with curiosity, so different from the slow taking of her hands. "I'm a-gooin' to flit."

"Thou'rt not a-gooin' to list, Job, arta, just for becos thou'st lost thy feer?"

"If I did?"

"Mon, thou'd fall into t'clukes" o' them griesly Highlan' men. They say 'at they ates all t' childer 'at cooms i' their gate. The varry tho't on' 'em maks me all of a dither like there were one of 'em round t' corner. Dosta think there is?"

"Not there!" answered Job, pale and trembling.

"Thou dost. Thou'rt as much afeared on 'em as me."

"What talk, wench!" "Lo thee!"

"What is't?"

"I tho't I heerd summat. Run an' see. Out o' doors. There's a good


Job went, but only just through the door.

"Theres' noat."

"Nay, but goo a bit furder an' mak sure."

He went a step or two further, but so that he could still see into the house.

"Noat at all, I upho'd thee."

"Well, well, thou'st bin a married mon thysel for a twelmonth, thou doesn't need larnin' what fools women is. Well, I mun goo, afore t' childer pulls t'ouse down ower their yeds. No langer agone nor yisterday Phoebe, the young besom, broke my brown mug all to flitters."

She went out; she seemed to be really going, but suddenly put her hand to the wall as if for support.

"I do feel funny, some," she said and dropped the bowl; but so as to spill no salt.

"Wae'st heart! what ails thee, wench?"

""Tis nobbut the tho't o' them parlous men. Fetch me summat to sit on, quick! My knees'll gi' way unner me." 6 Clutches.

Job fetched a cricket out and thrust it under her just as she was dropping to the ground.

"Look at my honds, how they shak'! An' I feel cokered' like, as if I couldna breathe."

Certainly her hands shook; and her face was always ready-colored for a qualm.

"Fetch me a sup o' watter, fresh from t' brook, to weet my brow. I feel like to swound. I'm co'd like all ower. Quick! But dunnot be lang; I'm afeared to be left."

Job had an underconsciousness that he was being tricked, but he lacked the decision which would have made it active, lacked suppleness to escape from a position contrived for him. He took a bowl and ran to a little gush of water that burst out of the hillside twenty yards from the door. Prudence flew for the inner room. Roland came out of hiding there, but too late to stop her. She entered, and before her astonished eyes was displayed on the bed one of those huge hairy savages whom she had been playing off upon Job. In that dim light he seemed in a horrible way to be alive. His eyes stared at her with a dead likeness to life, his mouth seemed to gape for her, yet there was also the stark terror of death about him. She cried out, turned, rushed past Roland, not heeding him, and fled homeward in no simulated fear. Job returning saw her run, and fell over the salt-bowl in his haste to enter the house. The door to the chamber was wide open.

"She has looked in," said Roland.

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