'I daresay I smoke too much. I'm not the man I was. I can feel it plain enough. Put my pipe down and blow out the candle. I didn't ask you how Sarah was.'
'Very bad. She was half dazed and didn't tell me much.'
She didn't tell you where she had pledged the plate?'
'No, I will ask her about that to-morrow morning,' and leaning forward she blew out the candle. The wick smouldered red for a moment, and they fell asleep happy in each other's love, seeming to find new bonds of union in pity for their friend's misfortune.
'SARAH, you must make an effort and try to dress yourself.'
'Oh, I do feel that bad, I wish I was dead!'
'You mustn't give way like that; let me help you put on your stockings.'
Sarah looked at Esther. 'You're very good to me, but I can manage.' When she had drawn on her stockings her strength was exhausted, and she fell back on the pillow.
'Here're your petticoats. Tie them round you; and I'll lend you a dressing-gown and a pair of slippers.'
William, who was having breakfast in the parlour, asked Sarah what she'd have. 'There's a nice bit of fried fish,' he said. 'Not feeling up to it?'
'Oh, no! I couldn't touch anything.' She let herself drop on the sofa.
'A cup of tea'll do you good,' said Esther. 'You must have a cup of tea, and a bit of toast just to nibble. William, pour her out a cup of tea.'
When she had drunk the tea she said she felt a little better.
'Now,' said William, 'let's 'ear all about it. Esther has told you, no doubt, that we intend to do all we can to help you.'