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      They went onthat is to say Rose leaned back in her chair and directed Caro as she took the things out of the trunks. The girl was fairly bewildered by what she sawthe laced chemises, the flounced petticoats, the dainty nightgowns with transparent necks. "But you'll show through," she said in tones of horror as she displayed one of these, and could not understand why Rose rolled in her chair with laughter.

      "They d?an't care, nutherit's only me."

      "How dare you speak to me like this?""Christian men," returned the dusty-foot, good-humouredly, "would be suffocated in this poisonous air you breathe, and would die, like the heathen, without benefit of clergy."

      He stood staring at the grass with its dribbles of[Pg 39] lavant and spines of rushes. The wind brought the sound of someone singing. At first he scarcely noticed, then gradually the song worked in with his daydream, and ended by rousing him out of it. He strolled across his domain, and marked half a dozen sturdy willows which must come out somehow roots and all. He climbed into the bracken zone, and from thence saw Harry sitting by a gorse thicket some hundred yards off with Naomi Gasson.

      He staggered blindly along the road. His head swam with rage, and also, it must be confessed, with something elsefor he was not used to drinking whisky, which some obscure local tradition considered the only decent beverage at funerals. His face was flushed, and every now and then something would be whirled round by the wind and whip his cheeks and blind him momentarily in a black cloud. At first he was too confused to grapple with it, but when two long black arms suddenly wound themselves about his neck, nearly choking him, he remembered his hat with the crape weepers, and his rage from red-hot became white-hot and cinerating. He tore off the hat with its long black tails, and flung it into the ditch with a volley of those emasculate oaths which are all the swearing of a Sussex man.Reuben received the blow in silenceit stunned him. He did not go over to Cheat Landsomething, he scarcely knew what, kept him away. In the long yellow twilights he wandered on Boarzell. The rain-smelling March wind scudded over the grass, over the wet furrows of his cornfields, over the humming tops of the firs that, with the gorse splashed round their trunks, marked the crest of the Moor and of his ambition. Would they ever be his, those firs? Would he ever tear up that gorse and fling it on the bonfire, as he had torn up the gorse on the lower slopes and burned it with roars and cracklings and smoke that streamed over the Moor to Totease? Perhaps Realf would have the firs and the gorse, and pile that gorgeous bonfire. Tilly would put him up to her father's gameReuben's imagination again failed to conceive the man who did not want Boarzellshe would betray Odiam's ambitions, and babble its most vital secrets. Tilly, Reuben told Boarzell, was a bitch.

      When he had retired, the chasm was hastily filled up; and then Black Jack, the galleyman, and two other jurors, took each a corner of the cloak, and, preceded by the monk, reciting in a low voice the prayers for the dead, and followed by Holgrave and the remaining jurors, leading the horses, proceeded at a quick pace to the church-yard of Hailes Abbey.


      In the soft grey gown that the first of the cold demanded she walked with her arm through Reuben's up the Moor. Her bonnet was the colour of heather, tied with wide ribbons that accentuated the milkiness of her chin. Reuben wore his Sunday clothesdrab shorts and a sprigged waistcoat, and a wide-brimmed hat under which his face looked strangely handsome and dark. Harry shuffled along, clutching his brother's coat-sleeve to guide himself. Mrs. Backfield preferred to stay at home, and Reuben had not tried to make her come.


      "How could I? I didn't know how uncle was going to leave his money."


      The struggle was terrible; it wore him out. He fought it desperatelyto neither side would he surrender an inch. Sometimes with Rose's arms about him, her soft cheek against his and her perfidy forgotten, he would be on the brink of giving her the pretty costly thing, whatever it was, that she wanted at the expense of Odiam. At others, out in his fields, or on the slope of Boarzellhalf wild, half tamedwith all those unconquered regions swelling above him, he would feel that he could almost gladly lose Rose altogether, if to keep her meant the sacrifice of one jot of his ambition, one tittle of his hope. Then he would go home, and find her ogling Handshut through the window, or giving tea in her most seductive manner to some young idiot with clean handsand round would go the wheel againround and round....