Phase the Fourth: The Consequence
31. CHAPTER XXXI (continued)
"How it do seem! Almost more than I can think of!"
said Izz Huett.
Marian kissed Tess. "Yes," she murmured as she
withdrew her lips.
"Was that because of love for her, or because other
lips have touched there by now?" continued Izz drily to
"I wasn't thinking o' that," said Marian simply.
"I was on'y feeling all the strangeness o't--that she is
to be his wife, and nobody else. I don't say nay to
it, nor either of us, because we did not think of
it--only loved him. Still, nobody else is to marry'n
in the world--no fine lady, nobody in silks and satins;
but she who do live like we."
"Are you sure you don't dislike me for it?" said Tess
in a low voice.
They hung about her in their white nightgowns before
replying, as if they considered their answer might lie
in her look.
"I don't know--I don't know," murmured Retty Priddle.
"I want to hate 'ee; but I cannot!" "That's how I
feel," echoed Izz and Marian. "I can't hate her.
Somehow she hinders me!"
"He ought to marry one of you," murmured Tess.
"You are all better than I."
"We better than you?" said the girls in a low, slow
whisper. "No, no, dear Tess!"
"You are!" she contradicted impetuously. And suddenly
tearing away from their clinging arms she burst into a
hysterical fit of tears, bowing herself on the chest of
drawers and repeating incessantly, "O yes, yes, yes!"
Having once given way she could not stop her weeping.
"He ought to have had one of you!" she cried. "I think
I ought to make him even now! You would be better for
him than--I don't know what I'm saying! O! O!"