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and fro and still rapidly advancing showed that one of the
newcomers carried a lantern.
“My dear,” said my mother suddenly, “take the money and run
on. I am going to faint.”
This was certainly the end for both of us, I thought. How I
cursed the cowardice of the neighbours; how I blamed my poor
mother for her honesty and her greed, for her past foolhardiness
and present weakness! We were just at the little bridge, by good
fortune; and I helped her, tottering as she was, to the edge of the
bank, where, sure enough, she gave a sigh and fell on my shoulder.
I do not know how I found the strength to do it at all, and I am
afraid it was roughly done, but I managed to drag her down the
bank and a little way under the arch. Farther I could not move
her, for the bridge was too low to let me do more than crawl below
it. So there we had to stay--my mother almost entirely exposed
and both of us within earshot of the inn.