"But I thought you said he did marry her?"
"I heard he was going to — that's all, going to make another attempt, after putting it off once or twice... As far as they themselves are concerned they are the only two in the show. I should be ashamed of making myself so silly if I were he!"
"I don't see as how there's anything remarkable in their behaviour. I should never have noticed their being in love, if you hadn't said so."
"You never see anything," she rejoined. Nevertheless Cartlett's view of the lovers' or married pair's conduct was undoubtedly that of the general crowd, whose attention seemed to be in no way attracted by what Arabella's sharpened vision discerned.
"He's charmed by her as if she were some fairy!" continued Arabella. "See how he looks round at her, and lets his eyes rest on her. I am inclined to think that she don't care for him quite so much as he does for her. She's not a particular warm-hearted creature to my thinking, though she cares for him pretty middling much — as much as she's able to; and he could make her heart ache a bit if he liked to try — which he's too simple to do. There — now they are going across to the cart-horse sheds. Come along."
"I don't want to see the cart-horses. It is no business of ours to follow these two. If we have come to see the show let us see it in our own way, as they do in theirs."
"Well — suppose we agree to meet somewhere in an hour's time — say at that refreshment tent over there, and go about independent? Then you can look at what you choose to, and so can I."
Cartlett was not loath to agree to this, and they parted — he proceeding to the shed where malting processes were being exhibited, and Arabella in the direction taken by Jude and Sue. Before, however, she had regained their wake a laughing face met her own, and she was confronted by Anny, the friend of her girlhood.
Anny had burst out in hearty laughter at the mere fact of the chance encounter. "I am still living down there," she said, as soon as she was composed. "I am soon going to be married, but my intended couldn't come up here to-day. But there's lots of us come by excursion, though I've lost the rest of 'em for the present."
"Have you met Jude and his young woman, or wife, or whatever she is? I saw 'em by now."
"No. Not a glimpse of un for years!"
"Well, they are close by here somewhere. Yes — there they are — by that grey horse!"
"Oh, that's his present young woman — wife did you say? Has he married again?"
"I don't know."
"She's pretty, isn't she!"
"Yes — nothing to complain of; or jump at. Not much to depend on, though; a slim, fidgety little thing like that."
"He's a nice-looking chap, too! You ought to ha' stuck to un, Arabella."
"I don't know but I ought," murmured she.
Anny laughed. "That's you, Arabella! Always wanting another man than your own."
"Well, and what woman don't I should like to know? As for that body with him — she don't know what love is — at least what I call love! I can see in her face she don't."
"And perhaps, Abby dear, you don't know what she calls love."
"I'm sure I don't wish to! ... Ah — they are making for the art department. I should like to see some pictures myself. Suppose we go that way? — Why, if all Wessex isn't here, I verily believe! There's Dr. Vilbert. Haven't seen him for years, and he's not looking a day older than when I used to know him. How do you do, Physician? I was just saying that you don't look a day older than when you knew me as a girl."
"Simply the result of taking my own pills regular, ma'am. Only two and threepence a box — warranted efficacious by the Government stamp. Now let me advise you to purchase the same immunity from the ravages of time by following my example? Only two-and-three."
The physician had produced a box from his waistcoat pocket, and Arabella was induced to make the purchase.
"At the same time," continued he, when the pills were paid for, "you have the advantage of me, Mrs. — Surely not Mrs. Fawley, once Miss Donn, of the vicinity of Marygreen?"
"Yes. But Mrs. Cartlett now."
"Ah — you lost him, then? Promising young fellow! A pupil of mine, you know. I taught him the dead languages. And believe me, he soon knew nearly as much as I."
"I lost him; but not as you think," said Arabella dryly. "The lawyers untied us. There he is, look, alive and lusty; along with that young woman, entering the art exhibition."
"Ah — dear me! Fond of her, apparently."
"They SAY they are cousins."
"Cousinship is a great convenience to their feelings, I should say?"
"Yes. So her husband thought, no doubt, when he divorced her... Shall we look at the pictures, too?"
The trio followed across the green and entered. Jude and Sue, with the child, unaware of the interest they were exciting, had gone up to a model at one end of the building, which they regarded with considerable attention for a long while before they went on. Arabella and her friends came to it in due course, and the inscription it bore was: "Model of Cardinal College, Christminster; by J. Fawley and S. F. M. Bridehead."
"Admiring their own work," said Arabella. "How like Jude — always thinking of colleges and Christminster, instead of attending to his business!"
They glanced cursorily at the pictures, and proceeded to the band-stand. When they had stood a little while listening to the music of the military performers, Jude, Sue, and the child came up on the other side. Arabella did not care if they should recognize her; but they were too deeply absorbed in their own lives, as translated into emotion by the military band, to perceive her under her beaded veil. She walked round the outside of the listening throng, passing behind the lovers, whose movements had an unexpected fascination for her to-day. Scrutinizing them narrowly from the rear she noticed that Jude's hand sought Sue's as they stood, the two standing close together so as to conceal, as they supposed, this tacit expression of their mutual responsiveness.
"Silly fools — like two children!" Arabella whispered to herself morosely, as she rejoined her companions, with whom she preserved a preoccupied silence.
Anny meanwhile had jokingly remarked to Vilbert on Arabella's hankering interest in her first husband.
"Now," said the physician to Arabella, apart; "do you want anything such as this, Mrs. Cartlett? It is not compounded out of my regular pharmacopoeia, but I am sometimes asked for such a thing." He produced a small phial of clear liquid. "A love-philtre, such as was used by the ancients with great effect. I found it out by study of their writings, and have never known it to fail."
"What is it made of?" asked Arabella curiously.
"Well — a distillation of the juices of doves' hearts — otherwise pigeons' — is one of the ingredients. It took nearly a hundred hearts to produce that small bottle full."
"How do you get pigeons enough?"
"To tell a secret, I get a piece of rock-salt, of which pigeons are inordinately fond, and place it in a dovecot on my roof. In a few hours the birds come to it from all points of the compass — east, west, north, and south — and thus I secure as many as I require. You use the liquid by contriving that the desired man shall take about ten drops of it in his drink. But remember, all this is told you because I gather from your questions that you mean to be a purchaser. You must keep faith with me?"
"Very well — I don't mind a bottle — to give some friend or other to try it on her young man." She produced five shillings, the price asked, and slipped the phial in her capacious bosom. Saying presently that she was due at an appointment with her husband she sauntered away towards the refreshment bar, Jude, his companion, and the child having gone on to the horticultural tent, where Arabella caught a glimpse of them standing before a group of roses in bloom.