Silver grasped the handles of the barrow.
“Is it all right?” asked Boy.
“I guess,” replied the young man, and trundled his load away down the hill.
The girl walked beside the barrow, one hand steadying the foal, who reared an uncanny head.
They passed through the yard, jolted noisily over the cobbles, and turned into a great cool loose-box, deep in moss-litter.
“I’ll go and get the bottle,” said the girl. “George, just run and bring a couple of armfuls of litter-grass off the stack and pile it in that corner.”
When she returned with the bottle, the barrow was empty, and the foal lay quiet on a heap of brown grass in the corner.
It whinnied and essayed to stand.
“It’s coming, honey,” said Boy in her deep, comforting voice.
The foal sucked greedily and with quivering tail.
From outside in the yard came the pleasant clatter of horses’ feet on the cobbles.
The string was returning.
In another moment Old Mat was standing in the door of the loose-box, grunting to himself, as he watched the little group within.
Boy, in her long riding-coat, stood in the dim loose-box, her fair hair shining, tilting the bottle, while the foal, with lifted head and ecstatic tail, sucked.
Silver, still in his shirt-sleeves, watched with folded arms.
“Colt foal I see,” grunted the old man. “That’s a little bit o’ better. Four-Pound-the-Second, I suppose you’ll call him.”
The Berserker Colt
On the morning that Make-Way-There had done his gallop Old Mat had noted that a change was coming over Boy.
She was ceasing to be a child, and was becoming a woman.
He mentioned it to Ma.
“Time she did,” said the mother quietly. “She’ll be seventeen in March.”
The girl herself was aware of strange happenings within her. More, she knew that the tall young man was responsible for them.
A great new life, full of shadows and delicious dangers, was surging up in her heart, sweeping across the sands of her childhood, obliterating tide-marks, swinging her off her feet, and carrying her forward under bare stars toward the Unknown.
She fought against the invasion of this Sea, struggling to find footing on the familiar bottom.
That Sea and Mr. Silver were intimately connected. Sometimes, indeed, the girl could not distinguish one from the other. Was it the Sea which bore Mr. Silver in upon her resisting mind?—or was it Mr. Silver who trailed the Sea after him like a cloud?
Her helplessness angered and humiliated her. She fought fiercely and in vain. That strong will of hers, which had never yet met its match, was impotent now. This Thing, this Sea, this Man, crept in upon her like a mist, invading her very sanctuaries.