Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works eBook

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My room is next to hers.  I kept hearing her laugh, a noise too as if she were dragging things about the room.  Then I fell asleep, but woke with a start, and went to the window for a breath of fresh air.  Such a black, breathless night!  Nothing to be seen but the twisted, blacker branches; not the faintest stir of leaves, no sound but muffled grunting from the cowhouse, and now and then a faint sigh.  I had the queerest feeling of unrest and fear, the last thing to expect on such a night.  There is something here that’s disturbing; a sort of suppressed struggle.  I’ve never in my life seen anything so irresponsible as this girl, or so uncompromising as the old man; I keep thinking of the way he wiped that violin.  It’s just as if a spark would set everything in a blaze.  There’s a menace of tragedy—­or—­perhaps it’s only the heat, and too much of Mother Hopgood’s crame....

II

“Tuesday.

......I’ve made a new acquaintance.   I was lying in the orchard, and
presently, not seeing me, he came along—­a man of middle height, with a
singularly good balance, and no lumber—­rather old blue clothes, a
flannel shirt, a dull red necktie, brown shoes, a cap with a leather peak
pushed up on the forehead.   Face long and narrow, bronzed with a kind of
pale burnt-in brownness; a good forehead.   A brown moustache, beard
rather pointed, blackening about the cheeks; his chin not visible, but
from the beard’s growth must be big; mouth I should judge sensuous.   Nose
straight and blunt; eyes grey, with an upward look, not exactly frank,
because defiant; two parallel furrows down each cheek, one from the inner
corner of the eye, one from the nostril; age perhaps thirty-five.   About
the face, attitude, movements, something immensely vital, adaptable,
daring, and unprincipled.

He stood in front of the loggia, biting his fingers, a kind of nineteenth-century buccaneer, and I wondered what he was doing in this galley.  They say you can tell a man of Kent or a Somersetshire man; certainly you can tell a Yorkshire man, and this fellow could only have been a man of Devon, one of the two main types found in this county.  He whistled; and out came Pasiance in a geranium-coloured dress, looking like some tall poppy—­you know the slight droop of a poppy’s head, and the way the wind sways its stem....  She is a human poppy, her fuzzy dark hair is like a poppy’s lustreless black heart, she has a poppy’s tantalising attraction and repulsion, something fatal, or rather fateful.  She came walking up to my new friend, then caught sight of me, and stopped dead.

“That,” she said to me, “is Zachary Pearse.  This,” she said to him, “is our lodger.”  She said it with a wonderful soft malice.  She wanted to scratch me, and she scratched.  Half an hour later I was in the yard, when up came this fellow Pearse.

“Glad to know you,” he said, looking thoughtfully at the pigs.

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Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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