Sylvia's Lovers

By Elizabeth Gaskell; Andrew Sanders | Go to book overview

His lips quivered as he looked wistfully into Hester's face at these words. No need to tell her who was she. No need to put into words the fact, told plainer than words could have spoken it, that his heart was bound up in Sylvia.

Hester's face, instead of responding to his look, contracted a little, and, for the life of her, she could not have helped saying,--

'Why don't yo' go yourself, Philip?'

'I can't, I can't,' said he, impatiently. 'I'd give the world to go, for I might be able to comfort her; but there's lawyers to see, and iver so much to do, and they've niver a man friend but me to do it all. You'll tell her,' said Philip, insinuatingly, as if a fresh thought had struck him, 'as how I would ha' come. I would fain ha' come for 'em, myself, but I couldn't, because of th' lawyer -- mind yo' say because of th' lawyer. I'd be loath for her to think I was minding any business of my own at this time; and, whatever yo' do, speak hopeful, and, for t' life of yo!, don't speak of th' hanging, it's likely its' a mistake o' Donkin's; and anyhow -- there's t' cart -- anyhow I should perhaps not ha' telled thee, but it's a comfort to make a clean breast to a friend at times. God bless thee, Hester. I don't know what I should ha' done without thee,' said he, as he wrapped her well up in the cart, and placed the bundles of cloaks and things by her side.

Along the street, in the jolting cart, as long as Hester could see the misty light streaming out of the shop door, so long was Philip standing bareheaded in the rain looking after her. But she knew that it was not her own poor self that attracted his lingering gaze. It was the thought of the person she was bound to.


CHAPTER XXVI
A DREARY VIGIL

THROUGH the dark rain, against the cold wind, shaken over the rough stones, went Hester in the little tax-cart. Her

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