As they walked home Esther told Fred the story of her betrayal and he was interested in the story, and sorry for her.
'I love you, Esther, and it is easy to forgive those we love.'
'You're very good; I never thought to find a man so good.' She looked up in his face; her hand was on the gate, and in that moment she felt that she almost loved him.
AN elderly person who looked after a bachelor's establishment two doors up, Mrs. Humphries, who often ran in about tea-time, soon began to speak of Fred as a very nice young man who would be likely to make a woman happy. But Esther moved about the kitchen in her taciturn way, hardly answering. Suddenly she told Mrs. Humphries that she had been to Dulwich with him, and that it was wonderful how he and Jackie had taken to one another.
'You don't say so! Well, it is nice to find them religious folks less 'ard-'earted than they gets the name of.'
Mrs. Humphries was of the opinion that henceforth Esther should give herself out as Jackie's aunt. 'None believe them stories, but they make you seem more respectable like, and I am sure Mr. Parsons will think so too.' Esther did not answer, but she thought of what Mrs. Humphries had said, and that it might be better if Jackie were to leave off calling her mummie. Auntie! But no, she could not bear it. Fred must take her as she was or not at all. Why shouldn't he? They seemed to understand each other, and he was earning good money, thirty shillings a week; she was now going on for eight-and-twenty, and if she was ever going to be married it was time to think about it.
'I don't know how that dear soul will get on without me,' she said one October morning as they jogged out of London