Reuben was revolted—also a little hurt. It seemed to him that Naomi was neglecting the boys he was so proud of. Albert was nearly four years old, a fine sturdy child, worth a dozen puling Fannys, and Robert and Pete were vigorous crawlers and adventurers, who ought to rejoice any mother's heart. Richard was still in an uninteresting stage—but, hem it all! he was a boy. 分分飞艇规律技巧 Chapter 9"It isn't me. I only asked for a little time to think it over, and then you go and cool off.""But—but—can't you do anything for her, surelye?" Besides, while she laughed and babbled like a child, her eyes continually rose towards his with a woman's calculated boldness. They spoke something quite different from her lips—the combination was maddening; and those lips, too, in their rare silences, were so unlike the words they uttered that he scarcely knew whether he wanted most to silence them completely or never let them be silent.Boarzell was almost unrecognisable now. When one climbed the Forstal Hill behind Peasmarsh and looked southward, one no longer saw a great roughness of Moor couching like something wild and untrapped in the midst of the tame fields and domestic cottages. The fields had licked up its sides till all they had left was the brown and golden crest with its central clump of firs. Behind this to the north was the Grandturzel inclosure, but Reuben's land was nibbling round the edge of it, and everyone knew that Grandturzel would not be able to hold out much longer."Give her to me, child—let me look.""Git up!" cried Backfield, colouring with annoyance. "You've said that afore," said Reuben.At this juncture Albert opened his eyes."Why?—I love you, and you love me. Come away wud me—you shan't have a hard life——"Naomi soon came to enjoy her coddling, even though occasionally his solicitude was inclined to be tiresome. As time wore on he would not let her walk up and down[Pg 82] stairs, but carried her up to bed himself, and down again in the morning. She grew fat, white, and languorous. She would lie for hours with her hands folded on her lap, now and then picking up a bit of sewing for a few minutes, then dropping it again. She was proud of her position in comparison with other farmers' wives in the same circumstances. Their men kept them working up to the last week. Towards the middle of February a change took place in Harry. At first it was little more than a faint creep of life, putting a little glow in his cheeks, a little warmth in his blood. Then the wounds which had been healing so slowly began to heal quickly, his appetite returned, and he slept long and sweetly at nights.The member, the colonel of the volunteers, and others present, pointed out to Reuben afterwards that the situation was military, not agricultural; but it was characteristic of him to see all situations from the agricultural point of view. His old ideas of an agricultural combine, which had fallen miserably to pieces in '65, now revived in all their strength. He saw East Sussex as a country of organised corn-growing, Odiam at the head. His rather eclectic newspaper reading had impressed him with the idea that England was on the verge of war with one or two European Powers, notably the French, whose ribald gloatings over British disasters stirred up all the fury of the man who had been born within range of the Napoleonic wars and bred on tales of Boney and his atrocities."The last word on most subjects," said Richard."How can I help it?—they're all gone now save one ... my boys...." 分分飞艇规律技巧 "I'll——" he began desperately. But even Robert had the wit not to finish his sentence.The next year, Richard and Anne Backfield took a house at Playden for week-ends. Anne wanted to be near her relations at the Manor, and Richard, softened by prosperity, had no objection to returning to the scene of his detested youth."It isn't me. I only asked for a little time to think it over, and then you go and cool off."Reuben flushed. "Take it away! take it away!" he screamed."I know who his f?ather is, thank'ee," said Reuben.The boy and girl were still silent. But in the consciousness each had of the other, kindled and spread a strange dear poignancy. They walked side by side through the dusk, now faintly cold. Dew began to tremble and shine on the grass, to pearl the brambles and glimmer on the twigs. He found his daughter in a chair by the window. Her face was puffed and blotched with tears, and her legs would hardly support her when she stood up. She had brought her youngest son with her, a fine sturdy little fellow of fourteen. When Reuben came into the room she gave the boy a glance, and, as at a preconcerted signal, they both fell on their knees.Reuben was indifferent to the popular voice. The Realfs cleared out bag and baggage the following month. No one knew their destination, but it was believed they were to separate. Afterwards it transpired that Realf had been given work on a farm near Lurgashall, while Tilly became housekeeper to a clergyman, taking with her the boy she would rather have seen dead than at Odiam. Nothing was heard of the daughters, and local rumour had it that they went on the streets; but this pleasing idea was shattered a year or two later by young Alce, the publican's son, coming back from a visit to Chichester and saying he had found both the girls in service in a Canon's house, doing well, and one engaged to marry the butler. She burst into tears."Go away," she said, "we can't let you in.""You needn't tell me that." 分分飞艇规律技巧 Then, just because he was afraid, he flung up his arm, and the stone he had been grasping crashed into Ditch's window, sending the splintering glass into the room. He had no thought of doing it, scarcely knew he had done it—it was just because he was horribly frightened.Chapter 14On arriving home he was uncertain as to whether it would be more diplomatic to go straight to bed or let his father on his return from the Cocks find him industriously working at the corn accounts. He decided on the latter, and was soon with many groans and lickings of his pencil crediting and debiting Odiam's wheat.Both boys started, and stared at her in utter blankness. "Nature!" snorted Reuben—"wot's Nature, I'd lik to know?""Wot's that?""Well, don't gape at me. You know you have."