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leave her, and though he could think of no
similar place in which his condemnation
would not pursue him, perhaps it was almost
a relief to be forced away from the
endurance of the last four days, even to unknown
difficulties and distresses.

So he said, with truth, "I'm more leetsome
Rachael, under 't, than I couldn ha believed."
It was not her part to make his burden
heavier. She answered with her comforting
smile, and the three walked on together.

Age, especially when it strives to be self-
reliant and cheerful, finds much consideration
among the poor. The old woman was so
decent and contented, and made so light of
her infirmities, though they had increased
upon her since her former interview with
Stephen, that they both took an interest in
her. She was too sprightly to allow of their
walking at a slow pace on her account, but she
was very grateful to be talked to, and very
willing to talk to any extent: so, when they
came to their part of the town, she was
more brisk and vivacious than ever.

"Coom to my poor place, missus," said
Stephen, "and tak a coop o' tea. Rachael
will coom then, and arterwards I'll see thee
safe t' thy Travellers' lodgin. 'T may be long,
Rachael, ere ever I ha th' chance o' thy
coompany agen."

They complied, and the three went on to
the house where he lodged. When they
turned into the narrow street, Stephen glanced
at his window with a dread that always
haunted his desolate home; but it was open,
as he had left it, and no one was there. The
evil spirit of his life had flitted away again,
months ago, and he had heard no more of her
since. The only evidences of her last return
now, were the scantier moveables in his room,
and the grayer hair upon his head.

He lighted a candle, set out his little tea-
board, got hot water from below, and brought
in small portions of tea and sugar, a loaf, and
some butter, from the nearest shop. The bread
was new and crusty, the butter fresh, and
the sugar lump, of coursein fulfilment of
the standard testimony of the Coketown
magnates, that these people lived like princes,
sir. Rachael made the tea (so large a party
necessitated the borrowing of a cup), and
the visitor enjoyed it mightily. It was the
first glimpse of sociality the host had had
for many days. He too, with the world a
wide heath before him, enjoyed the meal
again in corroboration of the magnates, as
exemplifying the utter want of calculation on
the part of these people, sir.

"I ha never thowt yet, missus," said
Stephen, "o' askin thy name."

The old lady announced herself as "Mrs.

"A widder, I think?" said Stephen.

"Oh, many long years!" Mrs. Pegler's
husband (one of the best on record) was
already dead, by Mrs. Pegler's calculation,
when Stephen was born.

"'Twere a bad job too, to lose so good a
one," said Stephen. "Onny children?"

Mrs. Pegler's cup, rattling against her
saucer as she held it, denoted some nervousness
on her part. "No," she said. "Not now,
not now."

"Dead, Stephen," Rachael softly hinted.

"I'm sooary I ha spok'n on't," said
Stephen. "I ought t' ha hadn in my mind
as I might touch a sore place. II blame

While he excused himself, the old lady's
cup rattled more and more. "I had a son,"
she said, curiously distressed, and not by any
of the usual appearances of sorrow; "and he
did well, wonderfully well. But he is not to
be spoken of if you please. He is——"
Putting down her cup, she moved her hands
as if she would have added, by her action,
"dead!" Then, she said, aloud, "I have lost

Stephen had not yet got the better of his
having given the old lady pain, when his
landlady came stumbling up the narrow
stairs, and calling him to the door,
whispered in his ear. Mrs. Pegler was by
no means deaf, for she caught a word as it
was uttered.

"Bounderby!" she cried, in a suppressed
voice, starting up from the table. "Oh hide
me! Don't let me be seen for the world.
Don't let him come up till I have got away.
Pray, pray!" She trembled, and was excessively
agitated; getting behind Rachael.
when Rachael tried to reassure her; and not
seeming to know what she was about.

"But hearken, missus, hearken;" said
Stephen, astonished, " 'Tisnt Mr. Bounderby;
'tis his wife. Yor not fearfo' o' her. Yo was
hey-go-mad about her, but an hour sin."

"But are you sure it's the lady and not
the gentleman?" she asked, still trembling.

"Certain sure!"

"Well then, pray don't speak to me, nor
yet take any notice of me," said the old
woman. "Let me be quite to myself in this

Stephen nodded; looking to Rachael for an
explanation, which she was quite unable to
give him; took the candle, went down stairs,
and in a few moments returned, lighting
Louisa into the room. She was followed by
the whelp.

Rachael had risen, and stood apart with
her shawl and bonnet in her hand, when
Stephen, himself profoundly astonished by
this visit, put the candle on the table. Then
he too stood, with his doubled hand upon
the table near it, waiting to be addressed.

For the first time in her life, Louisa had
come into one of the dwellings of the
Coketown Hands; for the first time in her life,
she was face to face with anything
like individuality in connexion with them.
She knew of their existence by hundreds
and by thousands. She knew what results in
work a given number of them would produce,

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