Page:The Yellow Book - 01.djvu/247

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227
By Hubert Crackanthorpe

She shook her head. "It's gone," she muttered. "Now—tell me."

"Tell yer?—tell yer what! Why—why—there ain't jest nothin' to tell yer."

"What were they saying? Quick."

"I didn't 'ear nothin'. They was talking about some ballet- woman."

The girl began to cry, feebly, helplessly, like a child in pain.

"You might tell me, Liz. You might tell me. I've been a good sort to you."

"That yer 'ave. I knows yer 'ave, dearie. There, there, don't yer take on like that. Yer'll only make yerself bad again."

"Tell me—tell me," she wailed. "I've been a good sort to you, Liz."

"Well, they wasn't talkin' of no ballet-woman—that's straight," the woman blurted out savagely.

"What did he say?—tell me," Her voice was weaker now.

"I can't tell yer—don't yer ask me—for God's sake, don't yer ask me."

With a low crooning the girl cried again.

"Oh! for God's sake, don't yer take on like that—it's awful—I can't stand it. There, dearie, stop that cryin' an' I'll tell yer—I will indeed. It was jest this way—I slips my shoes off, an' I goes down as careful—jest as careful as a cat—an' when I gets to the door I crouches myself down, listenin' as 'ard as ever I could. The first things as I 'ears was Mr. Dick speakin' thick-like—like as if 'ee'd bin drinkin'—an t'other chap 'ee says somethin about lungs, using some long word—I missed that—there was a van or somethin' rackettin' on the road. Then 'ee says

'gallopin', gallopin',' jest like as 'ee was talkin' of a 'orse. An' Mr. Dick, 'ee says, 'ain't there no chance—no'ow?' and 'ee give a

sort