BOOK THE FIRST - SOWING
12. Chapter Xii - the Old Woman (continued)
'And how did he look, sir? Was he portly, bold, outspoken, and
hearty?' As she straightened her own figure, and held up her head
in adapting her action to her words, the idea crossed Stephen that
he had seen this old woman before, and had not quite liked her.
'O yes,' he returned, observing her more attentively, 'he were all
'And healthy,' said the old woman, 'as the fresh wind?'
'Yes,' returned Stephen. 'He were ett'n and drinking - as large
and as loud as a Hummobee.'
'Thank you!' said the old woman, with infinite content. 'Thank
He certainly never had seen this old woman before. Yet there was a
vague remembrance in his mind, as if he had more than once dreamed
of some old woman like her.
She walked along at his side, and, gently accommodating himself to
her humour, he said Coketown was a busy place, was it not? To
which she answered 'Eigh sure! Dreadful busy!' Then he said, she
came from the country, he saw? To which she answered in the
'By Parliamentary, this morning. I came forty mile by
Parliamentary this morning, and I'm going back the same forty mile
this afternoon. I walked nine mile to the station this morning,
and if I find nobody on the road to give me a lift, I shall walk
the nine mile back to-night. That's pretty well, sir, at my age!'
said the chatty old woman, her eye brightening with exultation.
''Deed 'tis. Don't do't too often, missus.'
'No, no. Once a year,' she answered, shaking her head. 'I spend
my savings so, once every year. I come regular, to tramp about the
streets, and see the gentlemen.'
'Only to see 'em?' returned Stephen.