Page:Court Royal.djvu/414

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on to tell how that at last she had been able to gather together a little money, and how she had gone to Goole and had waited there, taking odd jobs of work, till she could find a boat which was going with coals to Plymouth, for she could not afford the railway journey; and how at last she had found Mr. Hull loading to go there—and how now, at length, she was back in Plymouth. The story took a long time in telling, for the poor woman was a rambling talker, who lost her thread and went on without it, and then picked it up at the wrong place and generally entangled it; but Joanna was not critical, she made out all she wanted to know, that the mother’s heart had yearned through seven years for the child, as the child’s heart had yearned seven years for the mother.

A rough tap at the door, and Mrs. Thresher’s voice.

Joanna went to the door and unlocked.

‘We can’t remain here all night, you know,’ said the old woman roughly, even rudely. ‘We’ve got our own duties to fulfil—and a mussy it is some folks are found in the world who do their duties. Polly has to go back to the “Coach and Horses,” and I’ve got my swearing old Radical husband to attend to. So we are off.’

‘Very well,’ said Joanna, ‘you can go.’

‘And I hope somebody will be ashamed of herself, and of giving people a lot o’ trouble for nothing, and of her ingratitude to the best of masters, and——' Joanna slammed the door in her face. This did not interrupt or put a stop to Mrs. Thresher’s grumblings. She grumbled as she got into her bonnet, grumbled herself out of the house, and grumbled all the way along the Barbican to her own home, where her grumbling was drowned by the louder, more boisterous political grumbling of Mr. Thresher.

Joanna sat stroking her mother’s hair till Mrs. Thresher was out of the house, and then she began to tell her mother her own story.

She told the story with perfect frankness. She hid nothing from her. She told her about Charles Cheek, and the necklace, and the pink silk dress; she told her about Court Royal, and described to her Lady Grace; she told her of how she had been caught, and was obliged to run away; she told her of the subscription ball, and then she told her how Charles had been there that day, had beaten Lazarus, and was now in the lock-up till Lazarus should appear against him. She told her mother also how that she had been about to be married to Lazarus,