PAUL LAUNCHES INTO LIFE
MOREL was rather a heedless man, careless of danger. So he had endless accidents. Now, when Mrs Morel heard the rattle of an empty coal-cart cease at her entry-end, she ran into the parlour to look, expecting almost to see her husband seated in the waggon, his face grey under his dirt, his body limp and sick with some hurt or other. If it were he, she would run out to help.
About a year after William went to London, and just after Paul had left school, before he got work, Mrs Morel was upstairs and her son was painting in the kitchen--he was very clever with his brush--when there came a knock at the door. Crossly he put down his brush to go. At the same moment his mother opened a window upstairs and looked down.
A pit-lad in his dirt stood on the threshold.
'Is this Walter Morel's?' he asked.
'Yes,' said Mrs Morel. 'What is it?'
But she had guessed already.
'Your mester's got hurt,' he said.
'Eh, dear me!' she exclaimed. 'It's a wonder if he hadn't, lad. And what's he done this time?'
'I don't know for sure, but it's 'is leg somewhere. They ta'ein' 'im ter th' 'ospital.'
'Good gracious me!' she exclaimed. 'Eh, dear, what a one he is! There's not five minutes of peace, I'll be hanged if there is! His thumb's nearly better, and now--Did you see him?'
'I seed him at th' bottom. An' I seed 'em bring 'im up in a tub, an' 'e wor in a dead faint. But he shouted like anythink when Doctor Fraser examined him i' th' lamp cabin--an' cossed an' swore, an' said as 'e wor goin' to be ta'en whoam--'e worn't goin' ter th' 'ospital.'
The boy faltered to an end.