类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-08-07 00:00:43


"Yes," said Pete, "and wud her hair all tumbling."He took off his coat again, growling, and for the first time Reuben felt shame. It was such a different matter, this, from being beaten by somebody who was angry with one and with whom one was angry. He saw now that a beating was one of the many things which are all right as long as they are hot, but damnable when they are cold. He hunched his shoulders, and felt his ears burn, and just the slightest stickiness on his forehead.

He liked her room, for she had a dozen things he could finger and play with鈥攍ittle vases with flowers modelled over them, woolly mats, a velvet pincushion, and other survivals of her married life, all very dusty and faded now. Soon she began to find a strange comfort in having him there; the uneasiness and vague repulsion with which he had filled her, died down, and she began to see in him something of the old Harry whom she had loved so much better than Reuben in days gone by.

"That's a strange thing to see in a shepherd's hand.""Now none o' that, missus," said Reuben roughly鈥"you put the child back in her cradle, and go and lie down yourself. I d?an't want to have to fetch doctor in to you."

"Aren't five boys enough for you?"There was no longer any fiddler at the Fair. Harry Backfield's successor had been a hurdy-gurdy which played dance music louder and more untiringly than any human arm could do. Dancing was still a vital part of the festivities, but it was more decorous than in the days when Reuben and Naomi had danced together to the tune of "Seth's House," or Robert and Bessie to "My Decided Decision." Only in the evening it became rowdy, when the sun had set and the mists had walled in the Show with nacreous battlements.... A shudder passed through Reuben, a long shudder of his flesh, for in at the open window had drifted the scent of the gorse on Boarzell. It came on no wind, the night was windless as before. It just seemed to creep to him over the fields, to hang on the air like a reproach. It was the scent of peaches and apricots, of sunshine caught and distilled. He leaned forward out of the window, and thought he could see the glimmer of the gorse-clumps under the stars.

She had slid back to his knee, and the weight and warmth of her comforted him a little. He lifted his head quickly at her words.Who round us hath shed

"It sarves un right," said Ginner.

"O why when we loved like the swallows in April,He always came away from these wrangles with a feeling as if he had been standing on his head. He was not used to mental scoutings and reconnoitrings. Also, he felt sometimes that Alice was laughing at him, which irritated him, not so much because she mocked as because he could never be really sure whether she mocked or not. Her laughter seemed to come from the remotest, most exalted part of her. The gulfs between their points of view never gaped so wide as when she laughed.That spring and summer Reuben worked with a light heart. His fatherhood made him proud and expansive. He would boast about the baby to Beatup, tell him how many ounces it had gained in the week, enlarge on its[Pg 85] strength and energy, with intimate details concerning its digestion鈥攁ll of which were received open-mouthed by Beatup who knew pretty well as much about babies as he did about ?cumenical councils.

Should you leave me too, O my faithless ladie?Sometimes he would be more interested, and, in a fit of reaction from his proud loneliness, turn to her as of old for comfort. But those were the bitterest hours of all, for in them he would glimpse a difference, an aloofness. She had been much quieter since the birth of the second boy, she had not recovered her health so rapidly, and her eyes were big in the midst of bistred rings. She had given up flirting with Handshut, or with the young men from Rye, but she did not turn from them to her husband. Though he could see she was sorry for him, he felt鈥攙aguely, uncertainly, yet tormentingly鈥攖hat she was not all his, as she had been in brighter months. Sometimes he did not much care鈥攕ometimes a dreadful passion would consume him, and once he caught her to his breast and bruised her in his arms, crying鈥"I w?an't lose you鈥擨 w?an't lose you too."

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The saddler at Rye had not heard of the theft when young Backfield handed over the note in payment of the harness bill. He had at the time remarked to his wife[Pg 170] that old Ben seemed pretty flush with his money, but had thought no more of it till the matter was cried by the Town Crier that evening, after Robert and Pete had gone home. Then out of mere curiosity he had looked at the number on his note, and found it was the same as the Crier had announced. Early the next day he went to the Police Station, and as young Bardon now remembered lending his coat to Robert Backfield it was fairly easy to guess how the theft had been committed.




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