baum an wand malen vorlagen
our mutual friend by charles dickenschapter 6 cut adrift the six jolly fellowship porters, alreadymentioned as a tavern of a dropsical appearance, had long settled down into astate of hale infirmity. in its whole constitution it had not astraight floor, and hardly a straight line; but it had outlasted, and clearly would yetoutlast, many a better-trimmed building, many a sprucer public-house. externally, it was a narrow lopsided woodenjumble of corpulent windows heaped one upon another as you might heap as many topplingoranges, with a crazy wooden verandah
impending over the water; indeed the whole house, inclusive of the complaining flag-staff on the roof, impended over the water, but seemed to have got into the conditionof a faint-hearted diver who has paused so long on the brink that he will never go inat all. this description applies to the river-frontage of the six jolly fellowship porters. the back of the establishment, though thechief entrance was there, so contracted that it merely represented in its connexionwith the front, the handle of a flat iron set upright on its broadest end.
this handle stood at the bottom of awilderness of court and alley: which wilderness pressed so hard and close uponthe six jolly fellowship porters as to leave the hostelry not an inch of groundbeyond its door. for this reason, in combination with thefact that the house was all but afloat at high water, when the porters had a familywash the linen subjected to that operation might usually be seen drying on lines stretched across the reception-rooms andbed-chambers. the wood forming the chimney-pieces, beams,partitions, floors and doors, of the six jolly fellowship porters, seemed in its oldage fraught with confused memories of its
youth. in many places it had become gnarled andriven, according to the manner of old trees; knots started out of it; and hereand there it seemed to twist itself into some likeness of boughs. in this state of second childhood, it hadan air of being in its own way garrulous about its early life. not without reason was it often asserted bythe regular frequenters of the porters, that when the light shone full upon thegrain of certain panels, and particularly upon an old corner cupboard of walnut-wood
in the bar, you might trace little foreststhere, and tiny trees like the parent tree, in full umbrageous leaf.the bar of the six jolly fellowship porters was a bar to soften the human breast. the available space in it was not muchlarger than a hackney-coach; but no one could have wished the bar bigger, thatspace was so girt in by corpulent little casks, and by cordial-bottles radiant with fictitious grapes in bunches, and by lemonsin nets, and by biscuits in baskets, and by the polite beer-pulls that made low bowswhen customers were served with beer, and by the cheese in a snug corner, and by the
landlady's own small table in a snuggercorner near the fire, with the cloth everlastingly laid. this haven was divided from the rough worldby a glass partition and a half-door, with a leaden sill upon it for the convenienceof resting your liquor; but, over this half-door the bar's snugness so gushed forth that, albeit customers drank therestanding, in a dark and draughty passage where they were shouldered by othercustomers passing in and out, they always appeared to drink under an enchantingdelusion that they were in the bar itself. for the rest, both the tap and parlour ofthe six jolly fellowship porters gave upon
the river, and had red curtains matchingthe noses of the regular customers, and were provided with comfortable fireside tin utensils, like models of sugar-loaf hats,made in that shape that they might, with their pointed ends, seek out for themselvesglowing nooks in the depths of the red coals, when they mulled your ale, or heated for you those delectable drinks, purl,flip, and dog's nose. the first of these humming compounds was aspeciality of the porters, which, through an inscription on its door-posts, gentlyappealed to your feelings as, 'the early purl house'.
for, it would seem that purl must always betaken early; though whether for any more distinctly stomachic reason than that, asthe early bird catches the worm, so the early purl catches the customer, cannothere be resolved. it only remains to add that in the handleof the flat iron, and opposite the bar, was a very little room like a three-corneredhat, into which no direct ray of sun, moon, or star, ever penetrated, but which was superstitiously regarded as a sanctuaryreplete with comfort and retirement by gaslight, and on the door of which wastherefore painted its alluring name: cosy. miss potterson, sole proprietor and managerof the fellowship porters, reigned supreme
on her throne, the bar, and a man must havedrunk himself mad drunk indeed if he thought he could contest a point with her. being known on her own authority as missabbey potterson, some water-side heads, which (like the water) were none of theclearest, harboured muddled notions that, because of her dignity and firmness, she was named after, or in some sort relatedto, the abbey at westminster. but, abbey was only short for abigail, bywhich name miss potterson had been christened at limehouse church, some sixtyand odd years before. 'now, you mind, you riderhood,' said missabbey potterson, with emphatic forefinger
over the half-door, 'the fellowship don'twant you at all, and would rather by far have your room than your company; but if you were as welcome here as you are not,you shouldn't even then have another drop of drink here this night, after thispresent pint of beer. so make the most of it.' 'but you know, miss potterson,' this wassuggested very meekly though, 'if i behave myself, you can't help serving me, miss.''can't i!' said abbey, with infinite expression. 'no, miss potterson; because, you see, thelaw--'
'i am the law here, my man,' returned missabbey, 'and i'll soon convince you of that, if you doubt it at all.' 'i never said i did doubt it at all, missabbey.' 'so much the better for you.' abbey the supreme threw the customer'shalfpence into the till, and, seating herself in her fireside-chair, resumed thenewspaper she had been reading. she was a tall, upright, well-favouredwoman, though severe of countenance, and had more of the air of a schoolmistressthan mistress of the six jolly fellowship the man on the other side of the half-door,was a waterside-man with a squinting leer,
and he eyed her as if he were one of herpupils in disgrace. 'you're cruel hard upon me, misspotterson.' miss potterson read her newspaper withcontracted brows, and took no notice until he whispered: 'miss potterson!ma'am! might i have half a word with you?' deigning then to turn her eyes sidewaystowards the suppliant, miss potterson beheld him knuckling his low forehead, andducking at her with his head, as if he were asking leave to fling himself head foremost
over the half-door and alight on his feetin the bar. 'well?' said miss potterson, with a manneras short as she herself was long, 'say your half word. bring it out.''miss potterson! ma'am! would you 'sxcuse me taking the liberty ofasking, is it my character that you take objections to?''certainly,' said miss potterson. 'is it that you're afraid of--' 'i am not afraid of you,' interposed misspotterson, 'if you mean that.'
'but i humbly don't mean that, miss abbey.''then what do you mean?' 'you really are so cruel hard upon me! what i was going to make inquiries was nomore than, might you have any apprehensions--leastways beliefs orsuppositions--that the company's property mightn't be altogether to be consideredsafe, if i used the house too regular?' 'what do you want to know for?' 'well, miss abbey, respectfully meaning nooffence to you, it would be some satisfaction to a man's mind, to understandwhy the fellowship porters is not to be free to such as me, and is to be free tosuch as gaffer.'
the face of the hostess darkened with someshadow of perplexity, as she replied: 'gaffer has never been where you havebeen.' 'signifying in quod, miss? perhaps not.but he may have merited it. he may be suspected of far worse than everi was.' 'who suspects him?' 'many, perhaps.one, beyond all doubts. i do.' 'you are not much,' said miss abbeypotterson, knitting her brows again with
disdain.'but i was his pardner. mind you, miss abbey, i was his pardner. as such i know more of the ins and outs ofhim than any person living does. notice this!i am the man that was his pardner, and i am the man that suspects him.' 'then,' suggested miss abbey, though with adeeper shade of perplexity than before, 'you criminate yourself.''no i don't, miss abbey. for how does it stand? it stands this way.when i was his pardner, i couldn't never
give him satisfaction.why couldn't i never give him satisfaction? because my luck was bad; because i couldn'tfind many enough of 'em. how was his luck?always good. notice this! always good!ah! there's a many games, miss abbey, in which there's chance, but there's a manyothers in which there's skill too, mixed along with it.' 'that gaffer has a skill in finding what hefinds, who doubts, man?' asked miss abbey. 'a skill in purwiding what he finds,perhaps,' said riderhood, shaking his evil
head. miss abbey knitted her brow at him, as hedarkly leered at her. 'if you're out upon the river pretty nighevery tide, and if you want to find a man or woman in the river, you'll greatly helpyour luck, miss abbey, by knocking a man or woman on the head aforehand and pitching'em in.' 'gracious lud!' was the involuntaryexclamation of miss potterson. 'mind you!' returned the other, stretchingforward over the half door to throw his words into the bar; for his voice was as ifthe head of his boat's mop were down his throat; 'i say so, miss abbey!
and mind you!i'll follow him up, miss abbey! and mind you!i'll bring him to hook at last, if it's twenty year hence, i will! who's he, to be favoured along of hisdaughter? ain't i got a daughter of my own!' with that flourish, and seeming to havetalked himself rather more drunk and much more ferocious than he had begun by being,mr riderhood took up his pint pot and swaggered off to the taproom. gaffer was not there, but a pretty strongmuster of miss abbey's pupils were, who
exhibited, when occasion required, thegreatest docility. on the clock's striking ten, and missabbey's appearing at the door, and addressing a certain person in a fadedscarlet jacket, with 'george jones, your time's up! i told your wife you should be punctual,'jones submissively rose, gave the company good-night, and retired. at half-past ten, on miss abbey's lookingin again, and saying, 'william williams, bob glamour, and jonathan, you are alldue,' williams, bob, and jonathan with similar meekness took their leave andevaporated.
greater wonder than these, when a bottle-nosed person in a glazed hat had after some considerable hesitation ordered anotherglass of gin and water of the attendant potboy, and when miss abbey, instead of sending it, appeared in person, saying,'captain joey, you have had as much as will do you good,' not only did the captainfeebly rub his knees and contemplate the fire without offering a word of protest, but the rest of the company murmured, 'ay,ay, captain! miss abbey's right; you be guided by missabbey, captain.' nor, was miss abbey's vigilance in anywiseabated by this submission, but rather
sharpened; for, looking round on thedeferential faces of her school, and descrying two other young persons in need of admonition, she thus bestowed it: 'tomtootle, it's time for a young fellow who's going to be married next month, to be athome and asleep. and you needn't nudge him, mr jack mullins,for i know your work begins early tomorrow, and i say the same to you.so come! good-night, like good lads!' upon which, the blushing tootle looked tomullins, and the blushing mullins looked to tootle, on the question who should risefirst, and finally both rose together and
went out on the broad grin, followed by miss abbey; in whose presence the companydid not take the liberty of grinning likewise. in such an establishment, the white-apronedpot-boy with his shirt-sleeves arranged in a tight roll on each bare shoulder, was amere hint of the possibility of physical force, thrown out as a matter of state andform. exactly at the closing hour, all the guestswho were left, filed out in the best order: miss abbey standing at the half door of thebar, to hold a ceremony of review and dismissal.
all wished miss abbey good-night and missabbey wished good-night to all, except riderhood. the sapient pot-boy, looking on officially,then had the conviction borne in upon his soul, that the man was evermore outcast andexcommunicate from the six jolly fellowship 'you bob gliddery,' said miss abbey to thispot-boy, 'run round to hexam's and tell his daughter lizzie that i want to speak toher.' with exemplary swiftness bob glidderydeparted, and returned. lizzie, following him, arrived as one ofthe two female domestics of the fellowship porters arranged on the snug little tableby the bar fire, miss potterson's supper of
hot sausages and mashed potatoes. 'come in and sit ye down, girl,' said missabbey. 'can you eat a bit?''no thank you, miss. i have had my supper.' 'i have had mine too, i think,' said missabbey, pushing away the untasted dish, 'and more than enough of it.i am put out, lizzie.' 'i am very sorry for it, miss.' 'then why, in the name of goodness,' quothmiss abbey, sharply, 'do you do it?' 'i do it, miss!''there, there.
don't look astonished. i ought to have begun with a word ofexplanation, but it's my way to make short cuts at things.i always was a pepperer. you bob gliddery there, put the chain uponthe door and get ye down to your supper.' with an alacrity that seemed no lessreferable to the pepperer fact than to the supper fact, bob obeyed, and his boots wereheard descending towards the bed of the river. 'lizzie hexam, lizzie hexam,' then beganmiss potterson, 'how often have i held out to you the opportunity of getting clear ofyour father, and doing well?'
'very often, miss.' 'very often?yes! and i might as well have spoken to the ironfunnel of the strongest sea-going steamer that passes the fellowship porters.' 'no, miss,' lizzie pleaded; 'because thatwould not be thankful, and i am.' 'i vow and declare i am half ashamed ofmyself for taking such an interest in you,' said miss abbey, pettishly, 'for i don'tbelieve i should do it if you were not good-looking. why ain't you ugly?'lizzie merely answered this difficult
question with an apologetic glance.'however, you ain't,' resumed miss potterson, 'so it's no use going into that. i must take you as i find you.which indeed is what i've done. and you mean to say you are stillobstinate?' 'not obstinate, miss, i hope.' 'firm (i suppose you call it) then?''yes, miss. fixed like.' 'never was an obstinate person yet, whowould own to the word!' remarked miss potterson, rubbing her vexed nose; 'i'msure i would, if i was obstinate; but i am
a pepperer, which is different. lizzie hexam, lizzie hexam, think again.do you know the worst of your father?' 'do i know the worst of father!' sherepeated, opening her eyes. 'do you know the suspicions to which yourfather makes himself liable? do you know the suspicions that areactually about, against him?' the consciousness of what he habituallydid, oppressed the girl heavily, and she slowly cast down her eyes.'say, lizzie. do you know?' urged miss abbey. 'please to tell me what the suspicions are,miss,' she asked after a silence, with her
eyes upon the ground.'it's not an easy thing to tell a daughter, but it must be told. it is thought by some, then, that yourfather helps to their death a few of those that he finds dead.' the relief of hearing what she felt surewas a false suspicion, in place of the expected real and true one, so lightenedlizzie's breast for the moment, that miss abbey was amazed at her demeanour. she raised her eyes quickly, shook herhead, and, in a kind of triumph, almost laughed.'they little know father who talk like
that!' ('she takes it,' thought miss abbey, 'veryquietly. she takes it with extraordinaryquietness!') 'and perhaps,' said lizzie, as arecollection flashed upon her, 'it is some one who has a grudge against father; someone who has threatened father! is it riderhood, miss?' 'well; yes it is.''yes! he was father's partner, and father broke with him, and now he revengeshimself. father broke with him when i was by, and hewas very angry at it.
and besides, miss abbey!--will you never,without strong reason, let pass your lips what i am going to say?' she bent forward to say it in a whisper.'i promise,' said miss abbey. 'it was on the night when the harmon murderwas found out, through father, just above bridge. and just below bridge, as we were scullinghome, riderhood crept out of the dark in his boat. and many and many times afterwards, whensuch great pains were taken to come to the bottom of the crime, and it never could become near, i thought in my own thoughts,
could riderhood himself have done the murder, and did he purposely let fatherfind the body? it seemed a'most wicked and cruel to somuch as think such a thing; but now that he tries to throw it upon father, i go back toit as if it was a truth. can it be a truth? that was put into my mind by the dead?'she asked this question, rather of the fire than of the hostess of the fellowshipporters, and looked round the little bar with troubled eyes. but, miss potterson, as a readyschoolmistress accustomed to bring her
pupils to book, set the matter in a lightthat was essentially of this world. 'you poor deluded girl,' she said, 'don'tyou see that you can't open your mind to particular suspicions of one of the two,without opening your mind to general suspicions of the other? they had worked together.their goings-on had been going on for some time. even granting that it was as you have hadin your thoughts, what the two had done together would come familiar to the mind ofone.' 'you don't know father, miss, when you talklike that.
indeed, indeed, you don't know father.''lizzie, lizzie,' said miss potterson. 'leave him. you needn't break with him altogether, butleave him. do well away from him; not because of whati have told you to-night--we'll pass no judgment upon that, and we'll hope it maynot be--but because of what i have urged on you before. no matter whether it's owing to your goodlooks or not, i like you and i want to serve you.lizzie, come under my direction. don't fling yourself away, my girl, but bepersuaded into being respectable and
happy.' in the sound good feeling and good sense ofher entreaty, miss abbey had softened into a soothing tone, and had even drawn her armround the girl's waist. but, she only replied, 'thank you, thankyou! i can't.i won't. i must not think of it. the harder father is borne upon, the morehe needs me to lean on.' and then miss abbey, who, like all hardpeople when they do soften, felt that there was considerable compensation owing to her,underwent reaction and became frigid.
'i have done what i can,' she said, 'andyou must go your way. you make your bed, and you must lie on it.but tell your father one thing: he must not come here any more. 'oh, miss, will you forbid him the housewhere i know he's safe?' 'the fellowships,' returned miss abbey,'has itself to look to, as well as others. it has been hard work to establish orderhere, and make the fellowships what it is, and it is daily and nightly hard work tokeep it so. the fellowships must not have a taint uponit that may give it a bad name. i forbid the house to riderhood, and iforbid the house to gaffer.
i forbid both, equally. i find from riderhood and you together,that there are suspicions against both men, and i'm not going to take upon myself todecide betwixt them. they are both tarred with a dirty brush,and i can't have the fellowships tarred with the same brush.that's all i know.' 'good-night, miss!' said lizzie hexam,sorrowfully. 'hah!--good-night!' returned miss abbeywith a shake of her head. 'believe me, miss abbey, i am trulygrateful all the same.' 'i can believe a good deal,' returned thestately abbey, 'so i'll try to believe that
too, lizzie.' no supper did miss potterson take thatnight, and only half her usual tumbler of hot port negus. and the female domestics--two robustsisters, with staring black eyes, shining flat red faces, blunt noses, and strongblack curls, like dolls--interchanged the sentiment that missis had had her haircombed the wrong way by somebody. and the pot-boy afterwards remarked, thathe hadn't been 'so rattled to bed', since his late mother had systematicallyaccelerated his retirement to rest with a poker.
the chaining of the door behind her, as shewent forth, disenchanted lizzie hexam of that first relief she had felt. the night was black and shrill, the river-side wilderness was melancholy, and there was a sound of casting-out, in the rattlingof the iron-links, and the grating of the bolts and staples under miss abbey's hand. as she came beneath the lowering sky, asense of being involved in a murky shade of murder dropped upon her; and, as the tidalswell of the river broke at her feet without her seeing how it gathered, so, her thoughts startled her by rushing out of anunseen void and striking at her heart.
of her father's being groundlesslysuspected, she felt sure. sure. sure.and yet, repeat the word inwardly as often as she would, the attempt to reason out andprove that she was sure, always came after it and failed. riderhood had done the deed, and entrappedher father. riderhood had not done the deed, but hadresolved in his malice to turn against her father, the appearances that were ready tohis hand to distort. equally and swiftly upon either putting ofthe case, followed the frightful
possibility that her father, beinginnocent, yet might come to be believed guilty. she had heard of people suffering death forbloodshed of which they were afterwards proved pure, and those ill-fated personswere not, first, in that dangerous wrong in which her father stood. then at the best, the beginning of hisbeing set apart, whispered against, and avoided, was a certain fact.it dated from that very night. and as the great black river with itsdreary shores was soon lost to her view in the gloom, so, she stood on the river'sbrink unable to see into the vast blank
misery of a life suspected, and fallen away from by good and bad, but knowing that itlay there dim before her, stretching away to the great ocean, death.one thing only, was clear to the girl's mind. accustomed from her very babyhood promptlyto do the thing that could be done--whether to keep out weather, to ward off cold, topostpone hunger, or what not--she started out of her meditation, and ran home. the room was quiet, and the lamp burnt onthe table. in the bunk in the corner, her brother layasleep.
she bent over him softly, kissed him, andcame to the table. 'by the time of miss abbey's closing, andby the run of the tide, it must be one. tide's running up. father at chiswick, wouldn't think ofcoming down, till after the turn, and that's at half after four.i'll call charley at six. i shall hear the church-clocks strike, as isit here.' very quietly, she placed a chair before thescanty fire, and sat down in it, drawing her shawl about her. 'charley's hollow down by the flare is notthere now.
poor charley!' the clock struck two, and the clock struckthree, and the clock struck four, and she remained there, with a woman's patience andher own purpose. when the morning was well on between fourand five, she slipped off her shoes (that her going about, might not wake charley),trimmed the fire sparingly, put water on to boil, and set the table for breakfast. then she went up the ladder, lamp in hand,and came down again, and glided about and about, making a little bundle. lastly, from her pocket, and from thechimney-piece, and from an inverted basin
on the highest shelf she brought halfpence,a few sixpences, fewer shillings, and fell to laboriously and noiselessly countingthem, and setting aside one little heap. she was still so engaged, when she wasstartled by: 'hal-loa!' from her brother, sitting up in bed.'you made me jump, charley.' 'jump! didn't you make me jump, when i opened myeyes a moment ago, and saw you sitting there, like the ghost of a girl miser, inthe dead of the night.' 'it's not the dead of the night, charley.
it's nigh six in the morning.''is it though? but what are you up to, liz?''still telling your fortune, charley.' 'it seems to be a precious small one, ifthat's it,' said the boy. 'what are you putting that little pile ofmoney by itself for?' 'for you, charley.' 'what do you mean?''get out of bed, charley, and get washed and dressed, and then i'll tell you.'her composed manner, and her low distinct voice, always had an influence over him. his head was soon in a basin of water, andout of it again, and staring at her through
a storm of towelling. 'i never,' towelling at himself as if hewere his bitterest enemy, 'saw such a girl as you are.what is the move, liz?' 'are you almost ready for breakfast,charley?' 'you can pour it out.hal-loa! i say? and a bundle?''and a bundle, charley.' 'you don't mean it's for me, too?''yes, charley; i do; indeed.' more serious of face, and more slow ofaction, than he had been, the boy completed
his dressing, and came and sat down at thelittle breakfast-table, with his eyes amazedly directed to her face. 'you see, charley dear, i have made up mymind that this is the right time for your going away from us. over and above all the blessed change ofby-and-bye, you'll be much happier, and do much better, even so soon as next month.even so soon as next week.' 'how do you know i shall?' 'i don't quite know how, charley, but ido.' in spite of her unchanged manner ofspeaking, and her unchanged appearance of
composure, she scarcely trusted herself tolook at him, but kept her eyes employed on the cutting and buttering of his bread, and on the mixing of his tea, and other suchlittle preparations. 'you must leave father to me, charley--iwill do what i can with him--but you must go.' 'you don't stand upon ceremony, i think,'grumbled the boy, throwing his bread and butter about, in an ill-humour.she made him no answer. 'i tell you what,' said the boy, then,bursting out into an angry whimpering, 'you're a selfish jade, and you thinkthere's not enough for three of us, and you
want to get rid of me.' 'if you believe so, charley,--yes, then ibelieve too, that i am a selfish jade, and that i think there's not enough for threeof us, and that i want to get rid of you.' it was only when the boy rushed at her, andthrew his arms round her neck, that she lost her self-restraint.but she lost it then, and wept over him. 'don't cry, don't cry! i am satisfied to go, liz; i am satisfiedto go. i know you send me away for my good.''o, charley, charley, heaven above us knows i do!'
'yes yes.don't mind what i said. don't remember it.kiss me.' after a silence, she loosed him, to dry hereyes and regain her strong quiet influence. 'now listen, charley dear. we both know it must be done, and i aloneknow there is good reason for its being done at once. go straight to the school, and say that youand i agreed upon it--that we can't overcome father's opposition--that fatherwill never trouble them, but will never take you back.
you are a credit to the school, and youwill be a greater credit to it yet, and they will help you to get a living. show what clothes you have brought, andwhat money, and say that i will send some more money. if i can get some in no other way, i willask a little help of those two gentlemen who came here that night.''i say!' cried her brother, quickly. 'don't you have it of that chap that tookhold of me by the chin! don't you have it of that wrayburn one!' perhaps a slight additional tinge of redflushed up into her face and brow, as with
a nod she laid a hand upon his lips to keephim silently attentive. 'and above all things mind this, charley! be sure you always speak well of father.be sure you always give father his full due. you can't deny that because father has nolearning himself he is set against it in you; but favour nothing else against him,and be sure you say--as you know--that your sister is devoted to him. and if you should ever happen to hearanything said against father that is new to you, it will not be true.remember, charley!
it will not be true.' the boy looked at her with some doubt andsurprise, but she went on again without heeding it.'above all things remember! it will not be true. i have nothing more to say, charley dear,except, be good, and get learning, and only think of some things in the old life here,as if you had dreamed them in a dream last night. good-bye, my darling!'though so young, she infused in these parting words a love that was far more likea mother's than a sister's, and before
which the boy was quite bowed down. after holding her to his breast with apassionate cry, he took up his bundle and darted out at the door, with an arm acrosshis eyes. the white face of the winter day camesluggishly on, veiled in a frosty mist; and the shadowy ships in the river slowlychanged to black substances; and the sun, blood-red on the eastern marshes behind dark masts and yards, seemed filled withthe ruins of a forest it had set on fire. lizzie, looking for her father, saw himcoming, and stood upon the causeway that he might see her.
he had nothing with him but his boat, andcame on apace. a knot of those amphibious human-creatureswho appear to have some mysterious power of extracting a subsistence out of tidal waterby looking at it, were gathered together about the causeway. as her father's boat grounded, they becamecontemplative of the mud, and dispersed themselves.she saw that the mute avoidance had begun. gaffer saw it, too, in so far as that hewas moved when he set foot on shore, to stare around him. but, he promptly set to work to haul up hisboat, and make her fast, and take the
sculls and rudder and rope out of her.carrying these with lizzie's aid, he passed up to his dwelling. 'sit close to the fire, father, dear, whilei cook your breakfast. it's all ready for cooking, and only beenwaiting for you. you must be frozen.' 'well, lizzie, i ain't of a glow; that'scertain. and my hands seem nailed through to thesculls. see how dead they are!' something suggestive in their colour, andperhaps in her face, struck him as he held
them up; he turned his shoulder and heldthem down to the fire. 'you were not out in the perishing night, ihope, father?' 'no, my dear.lay aboard a barge, by a blazing coal- fire.--where's that boy?' 'there's a drop of brandy for your tea,father, if you'll put it in while i turn this bit of meat. if the river was to get frozen, there wouldbe a deal of distress; wouldn't there, father?' 'ah! there's always enough of that,' saidgaffer, dropping the liquor into his cup
from a squat black bottle, and dropping itslowly that it might seem more; 'distress is for ever a going about, like sut in theair--ain't that boy up yet?' 'the meat's ready now, father.eat it while it's hot and comfortable. after you have finished, we'll turn roundto the fire and talk.' but, he perceived that he was evaded, and,having thrown a hasty angry glance towards the bunk, plucked at a corner of her apronand asked: 'what's gone with that boy?' 'father, if you'll begin your breakfast,i'll sit by and tell you.' he looked at her, stirred his tea and tooktwo or three gulps, then cut at his piece
of hot steak with his case-knife, and said,eating: 'now then. what's gone with that boy?''don't be angry, dear. it seems, father, that he has quite a giftof learning.' 'unnat'ral young beggar!' said the parent,shaking his knife in the air. 'and that having this gift, and not beingequally good at other things, he has made shift to get some schooling.' 'unnat'ral young beggar!' said the parentagain, with his former action. '--and that knowing you have nothing tospare, father, and not wishing to be a
burden on you, he gradually made up hismind to go seek his fortune out of learning. he went away this morning, father, and hecried very much at going, and he hoped you would forgive him.' 'let him never come a nigh me to ask me myforgiveness,' said the father, again emphasizing his words with the knife.'let him never come within sight of my eyes, nor yet within reach of my arm. his own father ain't good enough for him.he's disowned his own father. his own father therefore, disowns him forever and ever, as a unnat'ral young
beggar.' he had pushed away his plate. with the natural need of a strong rough manin anger, to do something forcible, he now clutched his knife overhand, and struckdownward with it at the end of every succeeding sentence. as he would have struck with his ownclenched fist if there had chanced to be nothing in it.'he's welcome to go. he's more welcome to go than to stay. but let him never come back.let him never put his head inside that
door. and let you never speak a word more in hisfavour, or you'll disown your own father, likewise, and what your father says of himhe'll have to come to say of you. now i see why them men yonder held alooffrom me. they says to one another, "here comes theman as ain't good enough for his own son!" lizzie--!' but, she stopped him with a cry.looking at her he saw her, with a face quite strange to him, shrinking backagainst the wall, with her hands before her eyes.
'father, don't!i can't bear to see you striking with it. put it down!'he looked at the knife; but in his astonishment still held it. 'father, it's too horrible.o put it down, put it down!' confounded by her appearance andexclamation, he tossed it away, and stood up with his open hands held out before him. 'what's come to you, liz?can you think i would strike at you with a knife?''no, father, no; you would never hurt me.' 'what should i hurt?'
'nothing, dear father.on my knees, i am certain, in my heart and soul i am certain, nothing! but it was too dreadful to bear; for itlooked--' her hands covering her face again, 'o it looked--''what did it look like?' the recollection of his murderous figure,combining with her trial of last night, and her trial of the morning, caused her todrop at his feet, without having answered. he had never seen her so before. he raised her with the utmost tenderness,calling her the best of daughters, and 'my poor pretty creetur', and laid her headupon his knee, and tried to restore her.
but failing, he laid her head gently downagain, got a pillow and placed it under her dark hair, and sought on the table for aspoonful of brandy. there being none left, he hurriedly caughtup the empty bottle, and ran out at the door.he returned as hurriedly as he had gone, with the bottle still empty. he kneeled down by her, took her head onhis arm, and moistened her lips with a little water into which he dipped hisfingers: saying, fiercely, as he looked around, now over this shoulder, now overthat: 'have we got a pest in the house?is there summ'at deadly sticking to my
clothes? what's let loose upon us?who loosed it?'