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      "It's a bad business," he said at last; "that wound in the head's the worst of it. The burns aren't very serious in themselves. You must keep him quiet, and I'll call again to-morrow morning."

      But the rain was nearer that Si thought. It came, as the Spring rains come in the North Georgia mountainsas if Niagara had been shifted into the clouds overhead. The boys were literally washed off the road, and clung to saplings to avoid being carried away into the brush.Chapter 21

      Rose had begun to question her attitude towards her husband. She had hitherto never doubted for a moment that she loved himof course she loved him! But now she asked herself"If I love him, how is it that our most tender moments have never meant so much to me as that second kiss of Handshut's?" None of Reuben's kisses stood out in her memory as that kiss,[Pg 287] he had never made the thrill of life go through her, he had never filled her heart to bursting with joy so infinite that it was sorrow, and sorrow so exquisite that it was joy. She would observe Reuben, and she would see himold. He was fifty-four, and his hair was grey; there were crow's-feet at the corners of his eyes, and straight lines between his brows, where he had furrowed them as the pitiless sun beat down upon his face. There were other lines too, seamed and scored by hard struggles. He was strong as an ox, but she told herself he was beginning to move a bit stiffly. He had exposed himself so ruthlessly to the wet and cold that his joints had become rheumatic. It was nothing very much, but he liked to have her rub them occasionally, and up till then she had liked it too. Now she suddenly saw something dreary and preposterous in ithere she was married to a man thirty years older than herself, his chattel, his slave. She did not really love himhow could she, with all those years between them? She was fond of him, that was alland he was getting older, and horribly cantankerous; and she was youngoh, God! she had never known till then how young.

      "Parties," Albin said. "Girls. Drinks. What else is there?"

      "Yes, that's itinstead of spending twenty minnut at your breakfast, you spend forty. You idle away my time wud your hemmed tricks, and I w?an't have it, I tell you, I w?an't have it. Lord! when I wur your age, I wur running the whole of this farm aloneevery str?ak of work, I did it. I didn't go wasting time over my meals, and writing rubbidge fur low-down Gladstone p?apers. Now d?an't you go sassing me back, you young good-fur-nothing, or I'll flay you, surelye!"



      A master stood in the lighted entrance, holding to the sides with both hands.Chapter 11