"You've said that afore," said Reuben."He's bin reading some poetry of yours, Bertie," continued his sister, "and he's justabout dreadful, all his cl?athes tore about, and a nasty mess of blood and yaller stuff on his face."
For the next few months Odiam was in a transitional state. It was gradually being divested of its old comfortable ways, and clad in new garments of endeavour. Gradually the life grew harder, and gradually the tense thought, the knife-edged ambition at the back of all the changes, came forward and asserted themselves openly.
"You wur frightened, so I saw you wurn't ready, and I tried to m?ake you feel as naun had happened."
"And your damned son!" furiously cried Ditch of Totease.Then there was an angry scene, stormings and tears, regrets, taunts, and abuse鈥攁nd another reconciliation."Yes, grain that's fertilised with the rotting remains of all that ought to have made your life good and sweet."
"I bet you anything," he said before he fell asleep, "that now I'm here the old boy won't be able to turn me out, however much he wants to."
Directly he had said the words, he looked over at Rose to see how she would receive them. Her eyelashes lay black and curly against her cheek, then they lifted slowly, and her eyes looked out from under the half-raised lids with a kind of demure roguishness. At the same time her lower lip seemed to quiver and plump out, while the corners of her mouth rose and curled. He suddenly felt a desire to plant a kiss fairly on that wet red mouth, which from away across the room seemed to pout towards him.She was not exaltedly happy or wildly expectant. Her anticipations were mostly material, buyings and stitchings. She looked forward to her position as mistress of Odiam, and stocked her linen cupboard. As for Reuben, her attitude towards him had changed at once with surrender. If he no longer terrified, also he no longer thrilled. She had grown fond of him, peacefully and domestically so, in a way she could never have been fond of Harry. She loved to feel his strong arm round her, his shoulder under her head, she loved to nestle close up to him and feel his warmth. His kisses were very different from Harry's, more lingering, more passionate, but, paradoxically, they thrilled her less. There had always been a touch of the wild and elfin in Harry's love-making which suggested an adventure in fairyland, whereas Reuben's suggested nothing but earth, and the earth is not exciting to those who have been in faery.The worst of that toll-gate was that the Conservatives could never explain it away. They printed posters, they printed handbills, they attempted verse, they made speeches, they protested their disinterestedness, they even tried to represent the abomination as a philanthropic concern, but all their efforts failed. They quickly began to lose ground. It was the Conservative instead of the Liberal meetings that were broken up in disorder. Colonel MacDonald was howled down, and Reuben came home every evening his clothes spattered with rotten eggs.
His victory was complete. He had done all that he had set out to do. He had done what everyone had told him he could never do. He had made the wilderness to blossom as the rose, he had set his foot upon Leviathan's neck, and made him his servant for ever.It was some months since Sir John Bardon, Squire of the Manor of Flightshot, had taken advantage of the Inclosure Act and man?uvred a bill for the inclosure of Boarzell. Since then there had been visits of commissioners, roamings of surveyors, deliveries of schedules, strange talk of turbary and estovers, fire-bote and house-bote. The neighbourhood was troubled, perplexed. Then perplexity condensed into indignation when all that Inclosure stood for became known鈥攏o more pasturage for the cow or goat which meant all the difference between wheaten and oaten bread, no more wood-gleanings for fire or wind-beaten roof, no more of the tussocky grass for fodder, or of gorse to toughen palings against escaping fowls.
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However, someone had to look after the invalid, and Pete might as well do it as anybody else鈥攁s long as he realised that his sick-nursing was a recreation, and not a substitute for his duties on the farm.
This would have been bad enough in any year, but in times when he bore the burden of his yet profitless milk-round it was only a little short of catastrophe. Making every allowance for a first year, that milk-round had[Pg 265] disappointed him. He found private custom hard to win, and even the ceasing of French dairy supplies, owing to the Franco-Prussian war, did not bring him the relief he had hoped. One or two small farms on the borders of Rye catered in dairy stuff for its inhabitants, and he found them hard to outbid or outwit. Also, owing to the scarcity of grass feed, it was a bad milk year, and poor supplies were put down by consumers to the new milkman, and in more than one case custom was withdrawn."Never."详情
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