A Changed Man; and other tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 338 pages of information about A Changed Man; and other tales.
I was most in the wrong—­as I don’t mind owning here by his graveside—­he went away from me, declaring he would buy his discharge and emigrate to New Zealand, and never come back to me any more.  The next thing I heard was that he had died suddenly at Mellstock at some low carouse; and as he had left me in such anger to live no more with me, I wouldn’t come down to his funeral, or do anything in relation to him.  ’Twas temper, I know, but that was the fact.  Even if we had parted friends it would have been a serious expense to travel three hundred miles to get there, for one who wasn’t left so very well off . . .  I am sorry I pulled up your ivy-roots; but that common sort of ivy is considered a weed in my part of the country.’

December 1899.

A TRYST AT AN ANCIENT EARTH WORK

At one’s every step forward it rises higher against the south sky, with an obtrusive personality that compels the senses to regard it and consider.  The eyes may bend in another direction, but never without the consciousness of its heavy, high-shouldered presence at its point of vantage.  Across the intervening levels the gale races in a straight line from the fort, as if breathed out of it hitherward.  With the shifting of the clouds the faces of the steeps vary in colour and in shade, broad lights appearing where mist and vagueness had prevailed, dissolving in their turn into melancholy gray, which spreads over and eclipses the luminous bluffs.  In this so-thought immutable spectacle all is change.

Out of the invisible marine region on the other side birds soar suddenly into the air, and hang over the summits of the heights with the indifference of long familiarity.  Their forms are white against the tawny concave of cloud, and the curves they exhibit in their floating signify that they are sea-gulls which have journeyed inland from expected stress of weather.  As the birds rise behind the fort, so do the clouds rise behind the birds, almost as it seems, stroking with their bagging bosoms the uppermost flyers.

The profile of the whole stupendous ruin, as seen at a distance of a mile eastward, is cleanly cut as that of a marble inlay.  It is varied with protuberances, which from hereabouts have the animal aspect of warts, wens, knuckles, and hips.  It may indeed be likened to an enormous many-limbed organism of an antediluvian time—­partaking of the cephalopod in shape—­lying lifeless, and covered with a thin green cloth, which hides its substance, while revealing its contour.  This dull green mantle of herbage stretches down towards the levels, where the ploughs have essayed for centuries to creep up near and yet nearer to the base of the castle, but have always stopped short before reaching it.  The furrows of these environing attempts show themselves distinctly, bending to the incline as they trench upon it; mounting in steeper curves, till the steepness baffles them, and their parallel threads show like the striae of waves pausing on the curl.  The peculiar place of which these are some of the features is ‘Mai-Dun,’ ‘The Castle of the Great Hill,’ said to be the Dunium of Ptolemy, the capital of the Durotriges, which eventually came into Roman occupation, and was finally deserted on their withdrawal from the island.

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A Changed Man; and other tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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