Page:Triangles of life, and other stories.djvu/195

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woman in her time; and so, in two minutes, the door was shut, and the girl who had gone wrong was sobbing on the flat breast of the woman who had never got the chance.

They often sewed together, mostly in silence, and had a cup of tea together—sometimes at Mrs. Brent's hut and sometimes at Mrs. Foster's. I don't know whether Mrs. Brent told Mrs. Foster all about it, but most probably she did once, and was done with it. When they sat and worked together in silence the chances are that the younger woman brooded over the old wrong, and her relatives who were scattered, and from whom she had never heard "since it happened." It would, I think, be impossible to puzzle out what women like Mrs. Foster think about over their work. She was past hoping or fretting, and past complaining. There was nothing in the future, and there could have been very little brightness in the past. Yet she knitted her forehead, and seemed to be thinking deeply at times; but perhaps she was only considering the advisability of buying another yard or two of that stuff she got at the store in town.

The Quiet Man lived in the hut near the road, with his little boy of five or six. The Quiet Man's name was Tom Moore, and he had been a popular man on the goldfields. He married a girl at Gulgong about seven years before, and she died before they had their first serious quarrel. She died in child-birth. Mrs. Foster was a neighbour then; she nursed Mrs. Moore, took charge of the child, cooked Tom's meals, and saw that he ate them. He had been a quiet man ever since.