'You mean,' asked Mrs Yule, 'that he really thinks it possible for all of you to be supported on those wages?'
The last word was chosen to express the utmost scorn.
'He talked of earning fifty pounds a year by writing.'
'Even then it could only make about a hundred a year. My dear child, it's one of two things: either he is out of his mind, or he has purposely cast you off.'
Amy laughed, thinking of her husband in the light of the latter alternative.
'There's no need to seek so far for explanations,' she said. 'He has failed, that's all; just like a man might fail in any other business. He can't write like he used to. It may be all the result of ill-health; I don't know. His last book, you see, is positively refused. He has made up his mind that there's nothing but poverty before him, and he can't understand why I should object to live like the wife of a working-man.'
'Well, I only know that he has placed you in an exceedingly difficult position. If he had gone away to Worthing for the summer we might have made it seem natural; people are always ready to allow literary men to do rather odd things--up to a certain point. We should have behaved as if there were nothing that called for explanation. But what are we to do now?'
Like her multitudinous kind, Mrs Yule lived only in the opinions of other people. What others would say was her ceaseless preoccupation. She had never conceived of life as something proper to the individual; independence in the directing of one's course seemed to her only possible in the case of very eccentric persons, or of such as were altogether out of society. Amy had advanced, intellectually, far beyond this standpoint, but lack of courage disabled her from acting upon her convictions.
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