The Turmoil, a novel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 372 pages of information about The Turmoil, a novel.

Sibyl regarded him with dilating eyes.  She spoke with a slow breathlessness.  “And she drove home from Jim’s funeral—­with you!”

Without warning she burst into laughter, clapped her hand ineffectually over her mouth, and ran back uproariously into the house, hurling the door shut behind her.


Bibbs went home pondering.  He did not understand why Sibyl had laughed.  The laughter itself had been spontaneous and beyond suspicion, but it seemed to him that she had only affected the effort to suppress it and that she wished it to be significant.  Significant of what?  And why had she wished to impress upon him the fact of her overwhelming amusement?  He found no answer, but she had succeeded in disturbing him, and he wished that he had not encountered her.

At home, uncles, aunts, and cousins from out of town were wandering about the house, several mournfully admiring the “Bay of Naples,” and others occupied with the Moor and the plumbing, while they waited for trains.  Edith and her mother had retired to some upper fastness, but Bibbs interviewed Jackson and had the various groups of relatives summoned to the dining-room for food.  One great-uncle, old Gideon Sheridan from Boonville, could not be found, and Bibbs went in search of him.  He ransacked the house, discovering the missing antique at last by accident.  Passing his father’s closed door on tiptoe, Bibbs heard a murmurous sound, and paused to listen.  The sound proved to be a quavering and rickety voice, monotonously bleating: 

“The Lo-ord givuth and the Lo-ord takuth away!  We got to remember that; we got to remember that!  I’m a-gittin’ along, James; I’m a-gittin’ along, and I’ve seen a-many of ’em go—­two daughters and a son the Lord give me, and He has taken all away.  For the Lo-ord givuth and the Lo-ord takuth away!  Remember the words of Bildad the Shuhite, James.  Bildad the Shuhite says, ’He shall have neither son nor nephew among his people, nor any remaining in his dwellings.’  Bildad the Shuhite—­”

Bibbs opened the door softly.  His father was lying upon the bed, in his underclothes, face downward, and Uncle Gideon sat near by, swinging backward and forward in a rocking-chair, stroking his long white beard and gazing at the ceiling as he talked.  Bibbs beckoned him urgently, but Uncle Gideon paid no attention.

“Bildad the Shuhite spake and his says, ’If thy children have sinned against Him and He have cast them away—­’”

There was a muffled explosion beneath the floor, and the windows rattled.  The figure lying face downward on the bed did not move, but Uncle Gideon leaped from his chair.  “My God!” he cried.  “What’s that?”

There came a second explosion, and Uncle Gideon ran out into the hall.  Bibbs went to the head of the great staircase, and, looking down, discovered the source of the disturbance.  Gideon’s grandson, a boy of fourteen, had brought his camera to the funeral and was taking “flash-lights” of the Moor.  Uncle Gideon, reassured by Bibbs’s explanation, would have returned to finish his quotation from Bildad the Shuhite, but Bibbs detained him, and after a little argument persuaded him to descend to the dining-room whither Bibbs followed, after closing the door of his father’s room.

Project Gutenberg
The Turmoil, a novel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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