Rose's child was born towards the end of October. Once more Reuben had a son, and as he looked down on the little red hairless thing all his hopes and dreams were built anew. He had always lived too near the earth to let experience thump him into cynicism. He raised as glorious dreams over this baby as he had raised over the others, and seen crumble into ashes. Indeed, the fact that his earlier hopes had failed made him warm himself more gratefully at this rekindling. He saw himself at last raised out of the pit of difficulty—he would not lose this boy as he had lost the others, he would perhaps be softer and more indulgent, he would at all events be wiser, and the child should indeed be a son to him and to Odiam. "Unto Us—Reuben and Odiam—a child is born; unto Us a son is given."As a matter of fact he did understand, but he was resolute.So they parted.To God, Three in One,"He died quiet, I hope?" 高倍率pc28 "You're justabout cruel," he said furiously.He gave her his arm, said good-bye to Alice in the doorway, and went through the little garden where flowers crowded out vegetables in a very unbusiness-like way, into the lane which wound past Cheat Land and round the hanger of Boarzell, to the farms of the Brede Valley. "He ?un't busted yet," said Coalbran.She lifted her eyes to the shape between her and the sky, and as unconsciously he had flushed so unconsciously she shuddered."That's why I want to hear wot it's about. You read it."But Realf of Grandturzel shook his head. His humiliation was more than he could bear. Without another look at Pete or Tilly, or at Reuben holding the raw chop to his eye, he turned and walked out of the room with bent head and dragging footsteps."You can go to the Cocks—I w?an't have you in my house." He went up to Albert's room. He had furiously given Ditch the lie in the Courthouse, but he had never trusted his son, and the accusation had poured over him a flood of shame which could be quelled only by its proof or its refutation. If Albert's guilt were proved—which Reuben, now bathing in this luminous shame, saw was quite probable—then he knew what to do to clean the smirch off Odiam; if, on the other hand, his innocence were established, then he would punish those swine who threw mud at him and his farm. Meantime it was soothing to contemplate the result of his efforts. After all, his own striving had done more for him than any slackness or grass-fed contentment on the part of Grandturzel. His greatest achievement was the paying off of his mortgage, which he managed in the spring of '79. Now he could once more begin saving money to buy another piece of Boarzell. There was something both novel and exhilarating about this return to old ways. It was over ten years since he had bought any land, but now were renewed all the ticklish delights of calculation, all the plannings and layings-out, all the contrivances and scrapings and wrestlings."No, nothing particular. But f?ather's going to buy the Grandturzel inclosure."While o'er our hard-earned pence they gloat?Robert turned round and faced Bardon, whose eyes rested approvingly on the gleaming froth of Bessie's hair.Chapter 25 高倍率pc28 "O why, because sickness hath wasted my body,"Have you many books?""Please, m?aster, there's trouble on the farm."The next year, Richard and Anne Backfield took a house at Playden for week-ends. Anne wanted to be near her relations at the Manor, and Richard, softened by prosperity, had no objection to returning to the scene of his detested youth. "Bob dudn't seem to know. She allus wur a delicate-looking woman.""It would be a shame to spoil all the wild places, though," said a vague-looking girl in an embroidered frock, with her hair in a lump at her neck.Caro's suety hands fell to her sides."My child's dying. Get up, you brute. Fetch the doctor. My child's dying!""I dunno. Somewheres between here and Canada. May she rot there lik a sheep on its back, and her man too. Now say 'poor Rose.'" When he woke, the nightmare had passed. Instead, he saw things as he had seen them yesterday. He could marry Bessie—and he must do so quickly, seize his chance for fear it should slip from him again. This time he must not muddle things. Above all he must avoid coming into conflict with his father—he was more afraid of Reuben than of all the police in Sussex.He repeated the word almost stupidly."Oh, and her liddle dentical ways!"He also missed her in the house—her soft pale face and gentle ways. He forgot the sallowness and the peevishness of later years, and pictured her always with creamy roseal skin and timid voice. He was the only one who missed her. Mrs. Backfield's softer feelings seemed to have been atrophied by hard work—she grew daily more and more like a machine; the children were too young to care much, and Harry was incapable of regret. However, the strange thing about Harry was that he did indeed seem to miss someone, but not Naomi. For the first time since little Fanny's death he began to ask for her, and search for her about the house—"Where's the pretty baby?—oh, save the pretty baby!" he would wail—"she's gone, she's gone—the pretty baby's gone." He sometimes asked himself why he was still jealous. Rose no longer gave him provocation, she was much quieter than she had used to be, and seemed busy with her children and straitened house-keeping. It was once more a case of instinct, of a certain vague sensing of her[Pg 301] aloofness. Often he did not trouble about it, but sometimes it seared through him like a hot bar.Chapter 14 高倍率pc28 As the autumn wore on Fanny became more and more ailing and Naomi more and more preoccupied. There were doctor's visits to be paid for, and on one or two occasions Naomi had sent for him unnecessarily. It maddened Reuben to think that he was not master of his own household, but though he could always enforce obedience in person, he was compelled continually to be out of doors, even sometimes away from the farm, and he could not control what went on in his absence.Farewell to Jane and Caroline!""At last when your pride shall have brought you to sorrow,"Reckon I could!" he cried fierily. "Reckon I can snatch a brand from the burning, reckon I can find the lost piece of silver; reckon I can save the wandering sheep, and wash it in the blood of the Lamb." "And he expects us to care for nothing but his vulgar ambitions. Oh Lord! I wish I was out of it!"Rose was definitely frightened, and broke free with some violence.One day Reuben was so tired that he fell asleep over his supper. His mother cleared the table round him, glancing at him with fond, submissive eyes. Each day she had come to love him more, with an obedient love, almost instinctive and elemental, which she had never felt for the gentle husband or considerate son. This evening she laid her shawl over his shoulders, and went to her washing-up."He's a stouter man than his brother."