Page:Gaskell - North and South, vol. I, 1855.djvu/131

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CHAPTER X.

WROUGHT IRON AND GOLD.

"We are the trees whom shaking fastens more." George Herbert.

Mr. Thornton left tlie house without coming into the dining-room again. He was rather late, and walked rapidly out to Crampton. He was anxious not to slight his new friend by any dis- res])ectful mipmictuality. The chm^h-clock struck half-past seven as he stood at the door awaiting Dixon's slow movements ; always doubly tardy when she had to degrade herself by answering the door- bell. He was ushered into the little drawmg-room, and kindl}^ greeted by Mr. Hale, who led liim up to his wife, whose pale face, and shawl-draped figure made a silent excuse for the cold languor of her greeting. Margaret was lighting the lamp when he entered, for the darkness was coming on. The lamp threw a pretty Hght into the centre of the dusky room, from which, with country habits, they did not exclude the night- skies, and the outer dark- ness of air. Somehow, that room contrasted itself with the one he had lately left ; handsome, pon- derous, with no sign of feminine habitation, except in the one spot where his mother sate, and no