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      Holgrave, as his offer to continue a prisoner was not accepted, left Sudley among the bondmen, and walked slowly towards his old abode. Margaret had returned, and been suffered to take possession of the dwelling that had remained unoccupied during their absencewhich had stood just as she left it on the night of her departure; and Holgrave, with all the bitterness and gloom of the past, and with considerably more of physical weakness than he had ever experienced, threw himself again in his mother's chair in the chimney-corner, and silently partook of the refreshment that the rejoicing Margaret set before him.



      In this way he managed to do a few little things to brighten Bessie's grey lifeand his own too, though he did not know it was grey. Every week he put aside a shilling or two towards the lump sum which was at last to make their marriage possible. It was Reuben's fight for Boarzell on an insignificant scalethough Robert, who had not so much iron in him as his father, could not resist spending money from time to time on unnecessary trifles that would give Bessie happiness. For one thing he discovered that she had never been to the Fair. She had never known the delights of riding on the merry-go-round, throwing balls at Aunt Sally, watching the shooting or the panorama. Robert resolved to take her that autumn, and bought her a pair of white cotton gloves in preparation for the day.

      Sometimes she would be overwhelmed by self-pity, and would weep bitterly over whatever task she was doing at the time, so that her tears were quite a usual sauce to pies and puddings if only Reuben had known it.

      ... Reports that the profits of the major business of this world, since the introduction of automated machinery and experts for the repair and upkeep thereof, have decreased to the vanishing point should not be taken as serious: this is assumed to be merely a temporary hardship due to the transfer workload from the natives to the automated structure.... Since the only alternative is the placement of the workload on enslaved natives of this world, the temporary rise in taxes due to the loss on essential product profit should be taken as a needed and welcome sacrifice in the name of liberty by the peoples of the Confederation....


      "I don't often come here," she said"this is a bit too classy for me. I go mostly to the coffee stalls down by the harbour. You mustn't think as I'm coining money at this, you know. I work mostly among the[Pg 403] fishermen, and they're a seedy lot. I started up town, but I'm not so young as I was, and sometimes even at the harbour I find it unaccountable hard to git off."She had seen very little of him or of Rose since their[Pg 322] marriage. Rose and she had never been friends, and Reuben she knew was shy of her. He had been angry with her too, because she had not carried her aching heart on her sleeve. Outwardly she had worn no badge of sorrowshe was just as quick, just as combative, just as vivaciously intellectual as she had always been. Though she knew that she had lost him through these very characteristics, with which she had also attracted him, she made no effort to force herself into a different mould. She refused to regret anything, to be ashamed of anything, to change anything. If he came back he should find the same woman as he had left.

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      The monk was then conducted to the outer door of the prison. It would be in vain to paint the frantic joy of those without. Deafening shouts of "The prophet is free!" passed from mouth to mouth, and then came the rush to obtain a prayer or benediction.

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      "Were you reared on this barony, Margaret?" resumed the baron.Wonder was succeeded by wrathhow dare he be calm in the face of such terrible things? She tried to pull her hand out of his arm, but he held his elbow close to his side, and the little hand lay there like an imprisoned mouse.


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