still have a chance of success, whereas if they had anything
"Never mind," said Jael, resolutely. "We have gone too far to stop. My conduct! What conduct, if you please?"
"They all say that, when you found he was no more, you attempted self-destruction."
"Ah," cried Jael, like a wounded hare; "they must tell you that!" and she buried her face in her hands.
Now this was a young woman endowed by nature with great composure, and a certain sobriety and weight; so, when she gave way like that, it produced a great effect on those who knew her.
Grace sighed, and was distressed. But there was no help for it now. She awaited Jael's reply, and Jael could not speak for some time. She conquered her agitation, however, at last, and said, in a low voice, "Suppose you had a sister, whom you loved dearly--and then you had a quarrel with her, and neither of you much to blame, the fault lay with a third person; and suppose you came home suddenly and found that sister had left England in trouble, and gone to the other end of the world--would not that cut you to the heart?"
"Indeed it would. How correctly you speak. Now who has been teaching you?"
"You HAVE a father. Suppose you left him for a month, and then came back and found him dead and buried--think of that--buried!"
"And all this to fall on a poor creature just off a sick-bed, and scarcely right in her head. When I found poor Mr. Henry was dead, and you at death's door, I crawled home for comfort, and there I found desolation: my sister gone across the sea, my father in the churchyard. I wandered about all night, with my heavy heart and distraught brain, and at last they found me in the river. They may say I threw myself in, but it is my belief I swooned away and fell in. I wouldn't swear, though, for I remember nothing of it. What does it prove against me?"