Life at the farm goes on as usual. We have morning and evening prayers. John Ford reads them fiercely, as though he were on the eve of a revolt against his God. Morning and evening he visits her, comes out wheezing heavily, and goes to his own room; I believe, to pray. Since this morning I haven’t dared meet him. He is a strong old man—but this will break him up....
“Kingswear, Saturday, 13th August.
It’s over—I leave here to-morrow, and go abroad.
A quiet afternoon—not a breath up in the churchyard! I was there quite half an hour before they came. Some red cows had strayed into the adjoining orchard, and were rubbing their heads against the railing. While I stood there an old woman came and drove them away; afterwards, she stooped and picked up the apples that had fallen before their time.
“The apples are ripe and ready to fall, Oh! heigh-ho! and ready to fall; There came an old woman and gathered them all, Oh! heigh-ho! and gathered them all.”
......They brought Pasiance very simply--no hideous funeral trappings, thank God—the farm hands carried her, and there was no one there but John Ford, the Hopgoods, myself, and that young doctor. They read the service over her grave. I can hear John Ford’s “Amen!” now. When it was over he walked away bareheaded in the sun, without a word. I went up there again this evening, and wandered amongst the tombstones. “Richard Voisey,” “John, the son of Richard and Constance Voisey,” “Margery Voisey,” so many generations of them in that corner; then “Richard Voisey and Agnes his wife,” and next to it that new mound on which a sparrow was strutting and the shadows of the apple-trees already hovering.
I will tell you the little left to tell....
On Wednesday afternoon she asked for me again.
“It’s only till seven,” she whispered. “He’s certain to come then. But if I—were to die first—then tell him—I’m sorry for him. They keep saying: ‘Don’t talk—don’t talk!’ Isn’t it stupid? As if I should have any other chance! There’ll be no more talking after to-night! Make everybody come, please—I want to see them all. When you’re dying you’re freer than any other time—nobody wants you to do things, nobody cares what you say.... He promised me I should do what I liked if I married him—I never believed that really—but now I can do what I like; and say all the things I want to.” She lay back silent; she could not after all speak the inmost thoughts that are in each of us, so sacred that they melt away at the approach of words.
I shall remember her like that—with the gleam of a smile in her half-closed eyes, her red lips parted—such a quaint look of mockery, pleasure, regret, on her little round, upturned face; the room white, and fresh with flowers, the breeze guttering the apple-leaves against the window. In the night they had unhooked the violin and taken it away; she had not missed it.... When Dan came, I gave up my place to him. He took her hand gently in his great paw, without speaking.