BOOK III. WAITING FOR DEATH.
25. CHAPTER XXV.
"Oh, poor mother, poor father!" said Mary, her eyes filling
with tears, and a little sob rising which she tried to repress.
She looked straight before her and took no notice of Fred,
all the consequences at home becoming present to her. He too
remained silent for some moments, feeling more miserable than ever.
"I wouldn't have hurt you for the world, Mary," he said at last.
"You can never forgive me."
"What does it matter whether I forgive you?" said Mary, passionately.
"Would that make it any better for my mother to lose the money
she has been earning by lessons for four years, that she might
send Alfred to Mr. Hanmer's? Should you think all that pleasant
enough if I forgave you?"
"Say what you like, Mary. I deserve it all."
"I don't want to say anything," said Mary, more quietly, "and my
anger is of no use." She dried her eyes, threw aside her book,
rose and fetched her sewing.
Fred followed her with his eyes, hoping that they would meet hers,
and in that way find access for his imploring penitence. But no!
Mary could easily avoid looking upward.
"I do care about your mother's money going," he said, when she
was seated again and sewing quickly. "I wanted to ask you, Mary--
don't you think that Mr. Featherstone--if you were to tell him--
tell him, I mean, about apprenticing Alfred--would advance the money?"
"My family is not fond of begging, Fred. We would rather work for
our money. Besides, you say that Mr. Featherstone has lately given
you a hundred pounds. He rarely makes presents; he has never made
presents to us. I am sure my father will not ask him for anything;
and even if I chose to beg of him, it would be of no use."
"I am so miserable, Mary--if you knew how miserable I am, you would
be sorry for me."
"There are other things to be more sorry for than that. But selfish
people always think their own discomfort of more importance than
anything else in the world. I see enough of that every day."