EIGHTEEN SEVENTY-NINE: it was the year [FE] [MS] [WB] her father lost his money. Harriett was nearly thirty-five. She remembered the day, late in Novem- ber, when they heard him coming home from the office early. Her mother raised her head and said, 'That's your father, Harriett. He must be ill.' She always thought of seventy-nine as one continuous November. Her father and mother were alone in the study for a long time; she remembered Annie going in with the lamp and coming out and whispering that they wanted her. She found them sitting in the lamplight alone, close together, holding each other's [FE] hands; their faces had a strange, exalted look. 'Harriett, my dear, I've lost every shilling I possessed, and here's your mother saying she doesn't mind.' He began to explain in his quiet voice. 'When all the creditors are paid in full there'll be nothing but your mother's two hundred a year. And the insurance money when I'm gone.' 'Oh, Papa, how terrible--' 'Yes, Hatty.' 'I mean the insurance. It's gambling with your life.' 'My dear, if that was all I'd gambled [MS] with--' It seemed that half his capital had gone in what he called 'the higher mathematics of the game.' The creditors [FE] would get the rest. 'We shall be no worse off,' her mother [WB] said, 'than we were when we began. We were very happy then.' 'We. How about Harriett?' 'Harriett isn't going to mind.' 'You're not--going--to--mind.... We shall have to sell this house and live in a smaller one. And I can't take my business up again.' 'My dear, I'm glad and thankful you've done with that dreadful, dangerous game.' 'I'd no business to play it.... But, after holding myself in all those years, there was a sort of fascination.' One of the creditors, Mr Hichens, gave him work in his office. He was now Mr Hichens's clerk. He went to Mr Hichens as he had gone to his own great business, [FE] upright and alert, handsome in his dark gray overcoat with the black velvet collar, faintly amused at himself. You would never have known that anything had happened. Strange that at the same time Mr [MS] [WB] Hancock should have lost money, a great deal of money, more money than Papa. He seemed determined that everybody should know it; you couldn't pass him in the road without knowing. He met you with his swollen, red face hanging; ashamed and miserable, and angry as if it had been your fault. One day Harriett came in to her father and mother with the news.' Did you [WB] know that Mr Hancock's sold his horses ? And he's going to give up the house.' Her mother signed to her to be silent, [FE] frowning and shaking her head and glancing at her father. He got up suddenly and left the room. 'He's worrying himself to death about Mr Hancock,' she said. 'I didn't know he cared for him like that, Mamma.' 'Oh, well, he's known him thirty years, and it's a very dreadful thing he should have to give up his house.' 'It's not worse for him than it is for Papa.' 'It's ever so much worse. He isn't like your father. He can't be happy without his big house and his carriages and horses. He'll feel so small and unimportant.' 'Well, then, it serves him right.' 'Don't say that. It is what he cares [MS] for and he's lost it.' 'He's no business to behave as if it [FE] was Papa's fault,' said Harriett. She had no patience with the odious little man. She thought of her father's face, her [WB] father's body, straight and calm, and his soul so far above that mean trouble of Mr Hancock's, that vulgar shame. Yet inside him he fretted. And, sud- denly, he began to sink. He turned faint after the least exertion and had to leave off going to Mr Hichens. And by the spring of eighteen-eighty he was upstairs in his room, too ill to be moved. That was just after Mr Hichens had bought the house and wanted to come into it. He lay, patient, in the big white bed, smiling his faint, amused smile when he thought of Mr Hichens. It was awful to Harriett that her father should be ill, lying there at their mercy. [FE] She couldn't get over her sense of his parenthood, his authority. When he was obstinate, and insisted on exerting himself, she gave in. She was a bad nurse, because she couldn't set herself against his will. And when she had him under her hands to strip and wash him, she felt that she [MS] was doing something outrageous and im- pious; she set about it with a flaming face and fumbling hands. 'Your mother [WB] does it better,' he said gently. But she could not get her mother's feeling of him as a helpless, dependent thing. Mr Hichens called every week to in- quire. 'Poor man, he wants to know when he can have his house. Why will he always come on my good days? He isn't giving himself a chance.' He still had good days, days when he [FE] could be helped out of bed to sit in his chair. 'This sort of game may go on for ever,' he said. He began to worry seriously about keeping Mr Hichens out of his house.' It isn't decent of me. It isn't decent.' Harriett was ill with the strain of it. [WB] She had to go away for a fortnight with Lizzie Pierce, and Sarah Barmby stayed with her mother. Mrs Barmby had died the year before. When Harriett got back her father was making plans for his removal. 'Why have you all made up your minds [WB] that it'll kill me to remove me. It won't. The men can take everything out but me and my bed and that chair. And when they've got all the things into the other house they can come back for the chair [FE] and me. And I can sit in the chair [MS] while they're bringing the bed. It's quite simple. It only wants a little system.' Then, while they wondered whether they might risk it, he got worse. He lay [WB] propped up, rigid, his arms stretched out by his side, afraid to lift a hand because of the violent movements of his heart. His face had a patient, expectant look, as if he waited for them to do something. They couldn't do anything. There would be no more rallies. He might die any day now, the doctor said. 'He may die any minute. I certainly don't expect him to live through the night.' Harriett followed her mother back into the room. He was sitting up in his [FE] attitude of rigid expectancy; no move- ment but the quivering of his nightshirt above his heart. 'The doctor's been gone a long time, hasn't he?' he said. Harriett was silent. She didn't under- stand. Her mother was looking at her with a serene comprehension and com- passion. 'Poor Hatty,' he said, 'she can't tell [MS] a lie to save my life.' 'Oh--Papa--' He smiled as if he was thinking of something that amused him. 'You should consider other people, my dear. Not just your own selfish feelings. . . . You ought to write and tell Mr Hichens.' Her mother gave a short sobbing laugh. [FE] 'Oh, you darling,' she said. He lay still. Then suddenly he began [WB] pressing hard on the mattress with both hands, bracing himself up in the bed. Her mother leaned closer towards him. He threw himself over slantways, and with his head bent as if it was broken, dropped into her arms. Harriett wondered why he was making that queer grating and coughing noise. Three times. Her mother called softly to her'Harriett.' She began to tremble.