"Why, Miss, she is a very experienced woman, and she says--Oh, dear! oh, dear! And such a dark cold night for you to be out!"
"Nurse? Nurse? What did she say?"
"Oh, I haven't the heart to tell you: if you would but come back home with me! She says as much as that poor master's troubles will be over long before we can get to him." And with this Sarah burst out sobbing.
"Come quicker," cried Julia despairingly. But after a while she said, "Tell me; only don't stop me."
"Miss, she says she nursed Mr. Campbell, the young curate that died last harvest-time but one, you know; and he lay just like master, and she expecting a change every hour: and oh, Miss, she met him coming down-stairs in his nightgown: and he said, 'Nurse, I am all right now,' says he, and died momently in her arms at the stair-foot. And she nursed an old farmer that lay as weak as master, and just when they looked for him to go, lo! and behold him dressed and out digging potatoes, and fell down dead before they could get hands on him mostly: and nurse have a friend, that have seen more than she have, which she is older than nurse, and says a body's life is all one as a rushlight, flares up strong momently just before it goes out altogether. Dear heart! where ever are we going to in the middle of the night?"
"Oh, don't go there, Miss, whatever! I can't abide the sight of the water when a body's in trouble." Here a drunken man confronted them, and asked then if they wanted a beau; and on their slipping past him in silence, followed them, and offered repeatedly to treat them. Julia moaned and hurried faster. "Oh, Miss," said Sarah, "what could you expect, coming out at this time of night? I'm sure the breath is all out of me, you do tear along so."
"Tear? we are crawling. Ah! Sarah, you are not his daughter. There, follow me! I cannot go so slow." And she set off to run.
Presently she passed a group of women standing talking at a corner of the street, and windows were open with nightcapped heads framed in them.