Mrs. Haworth made her way along the streets with weak and lagging steps. She had been a brisk walker in the days of her country life, and even now was fonder of going here and there on foot than of riding in state, as her son would have preferred. But now the way before her seemed long. She knew where she was going.
"There's one of 'em as knows an' will tell me," she said to herself. "She can't have no cruel feeling against him, bein' a lady, an' knowin' him so well. An' if it's true not as I believe it, Jem, my dear, for I don't—she'll break it to me gentle."
"Not as I believe, Jem, my dear, for I don't," she said to herself again and again.
Her mind went back to the first hour of his life, when he lay, a strong-limbed child, on her weak arm, the one comfort given to her out of her wretched marriage. She thought of him again as a lad, growing and thriving in spite of hunger and cold, growing and thriving in spite of cruelty and wrong which broke her health and threw her helpless upon charity. He had been sharper and bolder than other boys, and always steadfast to his determination."He was always good to me," she said. "Child an' man he's never forgot me, or been unmindful. If there'd