时间：<2020-07-06 07:12:45 作者：RL短鬼故事sHX 浏览量：9777
"It's early for her to be prowling," said the man of the world. "I reckon she's having just a breath of fresh air before she starts work."
"At Vera Cruz the days are fine—
A hundred yards off a Totease barn-door gaped, and the workmen sprinted for it. In the darkness they were able to reach it without losing more than one of their number, who fell down and had the wit to pretend to be dead. The crowd seethed after them, but the door was shut, and the heavy bolts rattled behind it.Tilly had private affairs of her own which occasionally led her out on Boarzell of an afternoon. She always took her sewing, for she dared not be behindhand with it. Strangely enough, in spite of Jemmy's and Tilly's truancies, the work was somehow got through as usual, for shortcomings would have been found out and punished on the master's return—or worse still, he might have stayed at home. For the first time a certain [Pg 219]freemasonry was established between the brothers and sisters. Hitherto their rebellion had been too secret even for confederacy, but now some of the crushing weight was lifted, and they could combine—all except Peter, who was too much Reuben's man for them to trust him; luckily he was rather stupid. So Peter did not see and no one else took any notice if Caro read and wept over sentimental novels, or Jemmy brought home harbour mud on his shoes, or George, who was delicate and epileptic, slept away an hour under a haystack, or Richard pondered the Iliad, or Tilly ran out on the Moor—even though she went to meet Realf of Grandturzel.Then came an evening in April, when the air smelled of primroses and young leaves. The choir practice was early, and rifts of sunshine sloped up the clerk's kitchen, linking in one golden slant Robert's dark healthy face just under the ceiling, Bessie's shoulders pressed against his arm, the frail old hands of Joe Hearsfield on his flute, and the warm plum-brown of the bass viol close to the floor. To Robert it was all a dream of holiness and harmony. Old Spodgram confined himself almost entirely to two notes, Miss Hubble insisted on her four bars of arrears, young Ditch extemporised an alto of surprising reediness, and Robert bellowed the last lines of the last verse just as the other choristers were loudly taking in breath preparatory to line three—but the whole thing was to him a foretaste of Paradise and the angels singing ever world without end.
But the next moment he cast the coward feeling from him. His experience had given him immeasurable advantage over this babe. Realf who had never felt the sweat pouring like water down his tired body, who had never swooned asleep from sheer exhaustion, or lain awake all night from sheer anxiety, who had not sacrificed wife and children and friends and self to one dear, loved, darling ambition ... bah! what could he do against the man who had done all these things, and was prepared to go on doing them to the end?
"I'm glad he's found something to amuse him, poor son," said Mrs. Backfield, coming in to see if Reuben had waked.Naomi's money had been the greatest possible help. He had roofed the Dutch barn, and retarred the oasts, he had bought a fine new plough horse and a waggon, and he was going to buy another piece of Boarzell—ten or twelve acres this time, of the more fruitful clay-soil by the Glotten brook. Naomi was pleased to see all the new things. The barn looked so spick-and-span with its scarlet tiles, and the oasts shone like polished ebony, she loved to stroke the horse's brown, snuffling nose, and "Oh, what a lovely blue!" she said when she saw the waggon.
"I'm sick of all this, I'm sick of the old man and his beastliness. Miss Bardon is lending me money to go to London University, and perhaps I shall read for the Bar."
He needed every penny and every minute more desperately than ever, for Grandturzel ran Odiam closer and closer in the race. Realf now plainly saw how matters stood. As yet there was no open breach between him and Reuben—when one of them came into the public-house the other always waited a decent interval before clearing out—but if there was no open breach, there was open rivalry. All the neighbourhood knew of it, and many a bet was made.Reuben was growing drunken with it all—he strained Rose to him; she was part of the night. Just as her scents mingled with its scents, so he and she both mingled with the hush of the lightless, sorrowless fields, the blots of trees, the woods that whispered voicelessly.... Above the hedges, stars winked and flashed, dancing in the crystalline air. Right overhead the Sign of Cancer jigged to its image in Castweasel Pool. Reuben looked up, and through a gate he saw Boarzell rearing like a shaggy beast towards him. He suddenly became more aware of Boarzell than of anything in the night, than of the flowers or the water or the stars, or even Rose, drowsing against his shoulder with parted lips. Boarzell filled the night. The breeze became suddenly laden with scents of it—the faint bitterness of its dew-drenched turf where the bracken-crosiers were beginning to uncurl, of its noon-smelling gorse, of its heather-tangle, half budding, half dead, of its fir-needles and its fir-cones, rotting and sprouting. All seemed to blend together into a strong, heady, ammoniacal smell ... the great beast of Boarzell dominated the night, pawed Reuben, roared over him, made him suddenly mad, clutching Rose till she cried out with pain, kissing her till she broke free, and stood before him pale and dishevelled, with anger in her eyes.
"Hop it, lads!" shouted a workman. Their protectors were gone, mixed indescribably with their assailants. They must run, or they would be lynched.Later in the afternoon they went out together. It seemed a pity to stay indoors in the soft swale, and Harry had to look at some poultry at Doozes. Naomi walked with her arm through his, her grey cloak over her shoulders.It was a real battle with defences and sallies. The supporters of the Inclosure miraculously knotted together, and formed a guard for the labourers, who with hammers ready alternately for nail or head, bent to their work. They had no personal concern in the matter, but they resented being meddled with.
"And wot about the rootses?" asked Harry, "wull you be digging those out to-morrer? It'll be an unaccountable tough job.""Don't be so excited, Ben," said Rose; "you've no business to come bursting in here like this."