'Quite consumptive,' remarked John, looking up from his newspaper. 'Shall I make arrangements for a daily landau at the livery stables round here?'
'You can if you like,' replied his sister; 'it would do both mother and me good, and I have no doubt you could afford it quite well.'
'Oh, indeed! You're a remarkable young woman, let me tell you. By-the-bye, I suppose your husband is breakfasting on bread and water?'
'I hope not, and I don't think it very likely.'
'Jack, Jack!' interposed Mrs Yule, softly.
Her son resumed his paper, and at the end of the meal rose with an unwonted briskness to make his preparations for departure.
Nor would it be true to represent Edwin Reardon as rising to the new day wholly disconsolate. He too had slept unusually well, and with returning consciousness the sense of a burden removed was more instant than that of his loss and all the dreary circumstances attaching to it. He had no longer to fear the effects upon Amy of such a grievous change as from their homelike flat to the couple of rooms he had taken in Islington; for the moment, this relief helped him to bear the pain of all that had happened and the uneasiness which troubled him when he reflected that his wife was henceforth a charge to her mother.
Of course for the moment only. He had no sooner begun to move about, to prepare his breakfast (amid the relics of last evening's meal), to think of all the detestable work he had to do before to-morrow night, than his heart sank again. His position was well-nigh as dolorous as that of any man who awoke that morning to the brutal realities of life. If only for the shame of it! How must they be speaking of him, Amy's relatives, and her friends? A novelist who couldn't write novels; a husband who couldn't support his wife and child; a literate who made eager application for illiterate work at paltry wages--how interesting it would all sound in humorous gossip! And what hope had he that things would ever be better with him?
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