"The people of Rye now they all seem to sayShe had been a fool to come, and she moved a step or two towards the door. Then suddenly she remembered the anguish which had driven her to Odiam. She had been frantic with grief for her husband and children; only the thought of their need had made it possible for her to override her inbred fear and dislike of Reuben and beg him to help them. She had come, and since she had come it must not be in vain; the worst was over now that she was actually here, that she had actually pleaded. She would face it out."He died quiet, I hope?"For once that Realf managed to land a blow, Reuben landed a couple, and with twice as much weight behind them. The younger man soon began to look green and sick, he staggered about, and flipped, while the sweat poured off his forehead into his eyes. Reuben breathed stertorously and could scarcely see out of his left eye, but was otherwise game. Pete felt prouder of him than ever. 秒速快3推荐 "Good!—when I've two hundred acres sown with grain!"He went up to Albert's room. He had furiously given Ditch the lie in the Courthouse, but he had never trusted his son, and the accusation had poured over him a flood of shame which could be quelled only by its proof or its refutation. If Albert's guilt were proved—which Reuben, now bathing in this luminous shame, saw was quite probable—then he knew what to do to clean the smirch off Odiam; if, on the other hand, his innocence were established, then he would punish those swine who threw mud at him and his farm.The request was not so much the outcome of passion as might have been imagined from the form it took. It was true that he was deeply enamoured of her, but it was also true that for three months he had endured the intoxication of her presence without definitely, or even indefinitely, claiming her for his own. He had held himself back till he had thoroughly weighed and pondered her in relation to his schemes—he was not going to renounce Alice for a wife who would be herself a drawback in another way."And you w?an't, nuther," said Pete, soothing him."Stop that," shouted Reuben—"he ?un't to stay here."Albert saw the heap of scribbled paper on the table, and blenched. When the match was over they went for a stroll on the parade. There was not much daylight left, but the evening was warm, and the parade was crowded with saunterers. The young men were glad to think that there was no homeward train to be caught, or account of the day's doings to be given to their father. He always asked minutely how they spent their time, and it annoyed them a little.So they parted."Is the fight over?" Dr. Espinette refused to say whether this state was permanent or merely temporary. Neither could he be sure whether it was due to his injuries or to the shock[Pg 50] of finding himself blind. Reuben felt practically convinced that his brother was sane during the few moments he had spoken to him alone, but the doctor seemed doubtful.Chapter 14Meantime, so fast bound in the iron of his misery that he scarcely felt the prick of tongues, Reuben lived through the final stages of his nightmare—those final stages of shock and upheaval when the fiery torment of the dream dies down into the ashes of waking. He wandered over his land in his lime-caked boots, scarcely talking to those at work on it, directing with mere mechanical activity the labour which now seemed to him nothing but the writhings of a crushed beetle. Everyone felt a little afraid of him, everyone avoided him as much as possible—he was alone."How d'you mean?" "Git up!" cried Backfield, colouring with annoyance.The remnants of his family were in a front pew—Pete with an elaborately curled forelock, Jemmy casting the scent of cheap hair oil into the prevalent miasma of camphor and moth-killer, and between the two boys, Caro in an unbecoming hat which she wore at a wrong angle, while her dark restless eyes devoured Rose's creamy smartness, from her satin shoes to the wave of curling-irons in her hair. Harry had been left at home—he was in an impossible mood, tormented by some dark current of memory, wandering from room to room[Pg 258] as he muttered—"Another wedding—another wedding—we're always having weddings in this house.""No-o-o."Reuben fetched the candle to the bedside. 秒速快3推荐 "Bessie.""That's what strikes me as so pathetic.""Quite so—and that's what makes me pity you," and suddenly her eyes kindled, blazed, as with her spirit itself for fuel—"I pity you, I pity you—poor, poor man!"His first sensation on returning to consciousness was of being jolted. It was, like most half-realised experiences, on the boundary line between sensation and emotion, an affair almost of the heart. Then gradually it became more physical, the heart-pain separated itself from the body-pain. His body was being jolted, his heart was just sick with the dregs of hate. "I wish you'd talk plain. If you never want anything, then you ?un't pr?aperly alive. So you ?un't happy—because you're dead."Meantime affairs at Grandturzel were going from bad to worse. Reuben did not speak much about Grandturzel, but he watched it all the same, and as time wore on a look of quiet satisfaction would overspread his face when it was mentioned at the Cocks. He watched the tiles drip gradually off its barn roofs, he watched the thatch of its haggards peel and moult, he watched the oasts lose their black coats of tar, while the wind battered off their caps, and the skeleton poles stuck up forlornly from their turrets. Holes wore in the neat house-front, windows were broken and not mended, torn curtains waved signals of distress. It was only a question of waiting."It's only because he has no imagination. He's a thick-skinned brute, and I hate the idea of a man like that becoming powerful. Why don't you give the land back to the parish? Acknowledge that grandpapa's[Pg 125] inclosure has failed, and let the people have their common again.""There—I knew as there wur reason in you, Pete. You w?an't go and leave your f?ather lik the rest, all fur a hemmed Methody.""Aren't five boys enough for you?" The Squire had called it blackmail and made a terrible fuss about it, but from the first the issues had been in Reuben's hands. A public scandal, the appearance of Flightshot's heir before the county magistrates on the charge of shooting a cow in a drunken frolic, was simply not to be contemplated; the only son of the Manor must not be sacrificed to make a rustic holiday. After all, ever since the Inclosure the Fair had been merely a matter of toleration; and as Backfield pointed out, it could easily go elsewhere—to the big Tillingham[Pg 455] meadow outside Rye, for instance, where the wild beast shows pitched when they came. All things considered, resistance was not worth while, and Flightshot made its last capitulation to Odiam. "Reckon he is—he saw how we envied Richard."Robert bit off the end of his pencil, which his father,[Pg 160] who was looking the other way, luckily did not see. The boy crouched over the fire, trying to hide his trembling, and longing yet not daring to ask a hundred questions. He was glad and at the same time sorry when Reuben having explained to him the right and the wrong way of sowing beans, and enlarged on the wickedness of Radicals in general and Gladstone in particular, returned to Bardon's loss.The figure did not move. Reuben took a step towards it, and then it tottered forward, and to his horror fell against him, almost bearing him to the floor."There's no one gone from here as has ever come back." 秒速快3推荐 BOOK VI STRUGGLING UP Chapter 1"Well?"She cared nothing for Odiam; it was no thought of disloyalty to it and her father, of breaking from her service, which made her mark time in dreams. As the weeks went by she felt more and more the hatefulness of the yoke. She now had a standard of comparison by which to judge Reuben and Odiam. She saw herself and her brothers and her sister more and more as victims. Other farmers' children were not slaves. Other farms did not hang like sucking incubuses on boys' and girls' backs, draining all the youth and joy and sport out of them.One day when he was walking through the village he heard a woman say as he passed—"There he goes! I pity un, poor old man!" The insult went into him like a knife. He turned round and gave the woman his fiercest scowl. Old indeed! Had one ever heard of such a thing! old!—and he could guide the plough and dig furrows in the marl, and stack, and reap with any of 'em. Old!—why, he was only— "I've seen you before—in church, I think. Are you your father's shepherd?""Cudn't spare a hand.""I'll soon be able to have Richard on, and then there's still Jemmy to foller—and George."Reuben swore at him.