Sylvia's Lovers

By Elizabeth Gaskell; Andrew Sanders | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXVI
MYSTERIOUS TIDINGS

THAT very evening Kester came, humbly knocking at the kitchen-door. Phœbe opened it. He asked to see Sylvia.

'A know not if she'll see thee,' said Phœbe. 'There's no makin' her out; sometimes she's for one thing, sometimes she's for another.'

'She bid me come and see her,' said Kester. 'Only this mornin', at missus' buryin', she telled me to come.'

So Phœbe went off to inform Sylvia that Kester was there; and returned with the desire that he would walk into the parlour. An instant after he was gone, Phœbe heard him return, and carefully shut the two doors of communication between the kitchen and sitting-room.

Sylvia was in the latter when Kester came in, holding her baby close to her; indeed, she seldom let it go now-a-days to any one else, making Nancy's place quite a sinecure, much to Phœbe's indignation.

Sylvia's face was shrunk, and white, and thin; her lovely eyes alone retained the youthful, almost childlike, expression. She went up to Kester, and shook his horny hand, she herself trembling all over.

'Don't talk to me of her,' she said hastily. 'I cannot stand it. It's a blessing for her to be gone, but, oh-----'

She began to cry, and then cheered herself up, and swallowed down her sobs.

'Kester,' she went on, hastily, ' Charley Kinraid isn't dead; dost ta know? He's alive, and he were here o' Tuesday -- no, Monday, was it? I cannot tell -- but he were here!'

'A knowed as he weren't dead. Every one is a-speaking on it. But a didn't know as thee'd ha' seen him. A took comfort i' thinkin as thou'd ha' been wi' thy mother a' t' time as he were i' t' place.'

'Then he's gone?' said Sylvia.

'Gone; ay, days past. As far as a know, he but stopped

-401-

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