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Chapter 53: Concurritur--horae Momento (continued)
"Yes--all o' us. We met here a few minutes ago."
"Oh, I hear now--that's Sam Samway: thought I knowed the voice, too. Going in?"
"Presently. But I say, William," Samway whispered, "have ye heard this strange tale?"
"What--that about Sergeant Troy being seen, d'ye mean, souls?" said Smallbury, also lowering his voice.
"Ay: in Casterbridge."
"Yes, I have. Laban Tall named a hint of it to me but now--but I don't think it. Hark, here Laban comes himself, 'a b'lieve." A footstep drew near.
"Yes, 'tis I," said Tall.
"Have ye heard any more about that?"
"No," said Tall, joining the group. "And I'm inclined to think we'd better keep quiet. If so be 'tis not true, 'twill flurry her, and do her much harm to repeat it; and if so be 'tis true, 'twill do no good to forestall her time o' trouble. God send that it mid be a lie, for though Henery Fray and some of 'em do speak against her, she's never been anything but fair to me. She's hot and hasty, but she's a brave girl who'll never tell a lie however much the truth may harm her, and I've no cause to wish her evil."
"She never do tell women's little lies, that's true; and 'tis a thing that can be said of very few. Ay, all the harm she thinks she says to yer face: there's nothing underhand wi' her."
They stood silent then, every man busied with his own thoughts, during which interval sounds of merriment could be heard within. Then the front door again opened, the rays streamed out, the well-known form of Boldwood was seen in the rectangular area of light, the door closed, and Boldwood walked slowly down the path.
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