Phase the Fourth: The Consequence
32. CHAPTER XXXII (continued)
"It seems like tens of thousands of them," said Tess;
"holding public-meetings in their market-places,
arguing, preaching, quarrelling, sobbing, groaning,
praying, and cursing."
Clare was not particularly heeding.
"Did Crick speak to you today, dear, about his not
wanting much assistance during the winter months?"
"The cows are going dry rapidly."
"Yes. Six of seven went to the straw-barton yesterday,
and three the day before, making nearly twenty in the
straw already. Ah--is it that the farmer don't want my
help for the calving? O, I am not wanted here any
more! And I have tried so hard to---"
"Crick didn't exactly say that he would no longer
require you. But, knowing what our relations were, he
said in the most good-natured and respectful manner
possible that he supposed on my leaving at Christmas I
should take you with me, and on my asking what he would
do without you he merely observed that, as a matter of
fact, it was a time of year when he could do with a
very little female help. I am afraid I was sinner
enough to feel rather glad that he was in this way
forcing your hand."
"I don't think you ought to have felt glad, Angel.
Because 'tis always mournful not to be wanted, even if
at the same time 'tis convenient."
"Well, it is convenient--you have admitted that."
He put his finger upon her cheek. "Ah!" he said.
"I feel the red rising up at her having been caught!
But why should I trifle so! We will not trifle--life
is too serious."
"It is. Perhaps I saw that before you did."