and think sadly over him, or how perhaps she might even
"Mr. Bayne," said she, "I am come to ask you a question or two."
"Be seated, madam," said Bayne, reverently. "I expected a visit from you or from your agent, and the accounts are all ready for your inspection. I keep them as clear as possible."
"I do not come here about accounts. My son has perfect confidence in you, and so have I."
"Thank you, madam; thank you kindly. He did indeed honor me with his confidence, and with his friendship. I am sure he was more like a brother to me than an employer. Ah, madam! I shall never, never, see his fellow again." And honest Bayne turned away with his hand to his eyes.
This seemed to Mrs. Little to be more than the occasion required, and did not tend to lessen her misgivings. However, she said gravely, "Mr. Bayne, I suppose you have heard there is to be a wedding in the town to-day--Miss Carden?"
"That is sudden! No, madam, I didn't know it. I can hardly believe it."
"It is so. She marries a Mr. Coventry. Now I think you were in my son's confidence; can you tell me whether there was any quarrel between him and Miss Carden before he left us?"
"Well, madam, I didn't see so much of him lately, he was always at the other works. Would to heaven he had never seen them! But I don't believe he ever gave that lady an unkind word. He was not that sort. He was ready of his hand against a man, but a very lamb with women he was. And so she is going to marry? Well, well; the world, it must go round. She loved him dearly, too. She was down at Bolt and Little's works day after day searching for him. She spent money like water, poor thing! I have seen her with her white face and great eyes watching the men drag the river for him; and, when that horrible thing was found at last, they say she was on the bridge and swooned dead away, and lay at death's door. But you will know all this, madam; and it is sad for me to speak of, let alone you that are his mother."