“Don’t kiss me,” she said.
“You deserve it,” he replied.
Her hands rested light as birds upon his shoulders; her eyes were steady in his, and very close.
“D’you love me?” she asked, her voice so calm, so pure, somehow so like a singing star.
“Then I’ll whisper you,” she said.
Her beautiful little arms, wreathing about his neck, drew his ear to her lips.
He chuckled deeply.
“Good,” he said, and added—“Is that all?”
She released him and withdrew.
“For the present,” she said.
They entered the yard. The light of the great stable-lantern brought them back from the land of dreams.
They cleared their throats and trod the cobbles aggressively.
She went toward the ladder. He turned off for the house.
“What time d’you take the hill?” he called.
“Shall you be there?”
She spoke from the door of the loft, at the top of the ladder.
“Might,” he said, and was gone.
The Spider’s Web
It was Monkey Brand’s cause of complaint against the young man that he was too simple; but if his suspicions were difficult to rouse, once roused they were not easily appeased.
He was up and away next morning before even Boy and Albert were about.
Dressed in a sweater and gray flannel trousers, he swung up the hill. As he reached the summit he looked back and saw the brown horse and his attendant beginning the ascent.
Swiftly he walked along the gallop, his eyes everywhere, suspecting he knew not what. The gorse grew close and dark on either side the naked course. He watched it closely as he went, and the occasional shrill spurt of a bird betrayed movement in the covert—it might be of a weasel, a fox, or a man.
The morning was chill and misty, the turf sodden and shining. At one spot the gorse marched in close-ranked upon the green until only a passage of some thirty yards was left. As he walked down the narrow way something flashed at his feet, and caught him smartly across the shin. He tripped and fell.
A wire was stretched across the gallop some four inches above the ground. It was taut and stout, and shone like a gossamer in the mist. He rose and followed it. It ran right athwart the course and lost itself in the gorse on either side. Silver searched and found the wire was bound about two wooden pegs that had been hammered into the earth.
The pegs were so fast that his fall against the wire had not shifted them.
He looked back along the way he had come.
The horse had not yet made his appearance on the brow.
Bending over a peg, and bowing his back, the young man heaved, twisted, and lurched. It took him all his time to uproot it, but he did so at last.