Story of an African Farm | Olive Schreiner | Action & Adventure Fiction, General Fiction | 4/6

chapter 2 part 3 of the story of an African farm by olive Shriner this LibriVox recording is in the public domain read by Sally McConnell in Betty's Bay South Africa in March 2010 Gregory Rose finds his affinity the new man Gregory Rose set at the door of his dwelling his arms folded his legs crossed and a profound melancholy seeming to rest over his soul his house was a little squared Auburn wattle building far out in the Karoo two miles from the homestead it was covered outside with a sombre coating of brown mud two little panes being let into the walls four windows behind it were the Sheep cross and to the right a large dam now principally containing baked mud far off the little copy concealed the homestead and was not itself an object conspicuous enough to relieve the dreary monotony of the landscape before the door sat Gregory rose in his shirtsleeves on a camp stool and ever and anon he sighed deeply there was that in his countenance for which even his depressing circumstances failed to account again and again he looked at the little copy at the milk pail at his side and at the brown pony through a short way off cropped the dry bushes and sighed presently he rose and went into his house it was one tiny room the whitewashed walls profusely covered with prints cut from the Illustrated London News and in which there was a noticeable preponderance of female faces and figures a stretcher filled one end of the hat and a rack for a gun and a little hanging looking-glass diversified the gable opposite while in the centre stood a chair and table all was scrupulously neat and clean for Gregory kept a little duster folded in the corner of his table drawer just as he had seen his mother do and every morning before he went out he said his prayers and made his bed and dust at the table and the legs of the chairs and even the pictures on the wall and the guy on this hot afternoon he took from beneath his pillow a watch bag made by his sister Jemima and took out the watch only half-past four with a suppressed groan he dropped it back and sat down beside the table half-past four presently he roused himself he would write to his sister Jemima he always wrote to her when he was miserable she was his safety valve he forgot her when he was happy but he used her when he was Richard he took out ink and paper there was a family christened motto on the letter for the roses since coming to the colony had discovered that they were of distinguished lineage old rose himself an honest English farmer knew nothing of his noble descent but his wife and daughter knew especially his daughter there were roses in England who kept a park and dated from the conquest so the colonial Rose farm became Rose Menna in remembrance of the ancestral domain and the claim of the roses two noble blood was established in their own minds at least Gregory took up one of the white christened sheets but on deeper reflection he determined to take a pink one as more suitable to the state of his feelings he began copy alone Monday afternoon my dear Jemima then he looked up into the little glass opposite it was a youthful face reflected there with curling brown beard and hair but in the dark blue eyes there was a look of languid longing that touched him he read it his PIN and wrote when I look up into the little glass that hangs opposite me I wonder if that changed and sad face here he sat still and reflected it sounded almost as if he might be conceited or unmanly to be looking at his own face in the glass no that would not do so he looked for another pink sheet and began again copy alone Monday afternoon dear sister it is hardly six months since I left you to come to this spot yet could you now see me I know what you would say I know what mother would say can that be our grig that thing with the strange look in his eyes yes Jemima it is your Greg and the change has been coming to me ever since I came here but it is greatest since yesterday you know what sorrows I have passed through Jemima how and just the I was always treated at school the Masters keeping me back and calling me a blockhead though as they themselves allowed I had the best memory of any boy in the school and could repeat whole books from beginning to end you know how cruelly father always used me calling me a noodle in the milksop just because he couldn't understand my fine nature you know how he has made a farmer of me instead of a minister as I ought to have been you know it all Jemima and how I have borne it all not as a woman who whines for every touch but as a man should in silence but there are things there is a thing which the soul longs to pour forth into a kindred ear dear sister have you ever known what it is to keep wanting and wanting and wanting to kiss someone's mouth and you may not to touch someone's hand and you cannot I am in love Jemima the old Dutch woman from whom I hire this place has a little stepdaughter and her name begins with E she is English I do not know how her father came to marry a boor woman it makes me feel so strange to put down that litter that I can hardly go on writing e I've loved her ever since I came here for weeks I have not been able to eat or drink my very tobacco when I smoke has no taste and I can remain for no more than five minutes in one place and sometimes feel as though I were really going mad every evening I go there to fetch my milk yesterday she gave me some coffee the spoon fell on the ground she picked it up when she gave it to me her finger touched mine Jemima I do not know if I fancied it I shivered hot and she shivered too I thought it is alright she will be mine she loves me just then Jemima in came a fellow a great course filler a German a ridiculous fellow with curls right down to his shoulders it makes one sick to look at him he's only a servant of the Boer woman's and alo Varga an educated thing that's never been to boarding school in his life he had been to the next farm seeking sheep when he came in she said good evening Waldo have some coffee and she kissed him Oh last night I heard of nothing else but have some coffee have some coffee if I went to sleep for a moment I'd dreamed that her finger was pressing mine but when I work with the start I heard her say good evening Waldo have some coffee is this madness I had not eaten a mouthful today this evening I go and propose to her if she refuses me I shall go and kill myself tomorrow there is a dam of water close by the Sheep will have drunk most of it up but there's still enough if I tie a stone to my neck it is a choice between death and madness I can endure no more if this should be the last litter you ever get from me think of me tenderly and forgive me without her life would be a howling wilderness a long Tribulation she is my affinity the one love of my youth of my manhood my sunshine my god-given blossom they never loved who dreamed that they loved once and who Sethe I loved once not angels whose deep eyes looked down through realms of light your disconsolate brother on what is in all probability the lost and distracted night of his life gregory nazianzen rose pierce tell mother to take care of my pearl studs I lift them in the wash stand draw don't let the children get hold of them PPS I shall take this litter with me to the farm if I turned on one corner you may know I have been accepted if not you may know it is all up with your heartbroken brother G in our Gregory having finished this letter read it over with much approval put it in an envelope addressed it and sat contemplating the ink pot somewhat relieved in mind the evening turned our chilly and very windy after the day's heat from afar off as Gregory neared the homestead on the brown pony he could distinguish a little figure in a little red cloak at the door of the car crawl M leaned over the poles that barred the gate and watched the frothing milk run through the black fingers of the herdsmen while the unwilling cars stood with tethered heads by the milking poles she had thrown the red cloak over her own head and held it under her chin with her little hand to keep from her ears the wind that playfully shook it and tossed the little fringe of yellow hair into her eyes it is not too cold for you to be standing here said Gregory coming softly close to her oh no it's so nice I always come to watch the milking that red cold for Shorthorns is bringing up the calf of the white car that died she loves it so just as if it were her own it's so nice to see her lick its little ears just look the clouds are black I think it's going to rain tonight said Gregory yes answered him looking up as well as she could for the little yellow fringe but I'm sure you must be cold said Gregory and put his hand under the cloak and found there a small fist doubled up soft and very warm he held it fast in his hand Oh M I love you better than all the world besides tell me do you love me a little yes I do said em hesitating and tryin softly to free her hand better than everything better than all the world darling he asked bending down so low that the yellow hair was blown into his eyes I don't know said em gravely I do love you very much but I love my cousin who is at school and Waldo very much you see I've known them so long Oh M do not talk to me so coldly Gregory cried seizing little arm that rested on the gate and pressing it till she was half afraid the hurtin had moved away to the other end of the crawl now and the cars busy with their calves took no notice of the little human farce him if you talk so to me I will go mad you must love me love me bitter them all you must give yourself to me I have loved you since that first moment when I saw you walking by the stone wall with the jug in your hands you were made for me created for me I will love you till I die Oh M do not be so cold so cruel to me he held her arm so tightly that her fingers relaxed their hold and the cloak fluttered down onto the ground and the wind played more roughly than ever with the little yellow head I do love you very much she said but I do not know if I want to marry you I love you bigger than Walder but but I can't tell if I love you better than Lindell if you would let me wait for a week I think perhaps I could tell you Gregory picked up the coke and wrapped it round her if you could but love me as I love you he said but no woman can love as a man can I will wait till next Saturday I will not come near you till then goodbye Oh him he said turning again and twining his arm about her and kissing her surprised little mouth if you are not my wife I cannot live I have never loved another woman and I I shall never never you make me afraid said him come let us go and I will fill your pail I want no milk goodbye you will not see me again until Saturday Laidback night when everyone else had gone to bed the yellow haired little woman stood alone in the kitchen she had come to fill the kettle for the next morning's coffee and now stood before the fire the warm reflection looked the grave old womanish little face that was so unusually thoughtful this evening bitter than all the world bitter than everything he loves me bitter than everything she said the words aloud as if they were more easy to believe if she spoke them so she had given out so much love in her little life and had got none of it back with interest now one said I love you bitter than all the world one left her bitter than she loved him how suddenly rich she was she kept clasping and unclasping her hands so are bigger fields who falls asleep on the pavement wet and hungry and who wakes in a palace hall with servants and latts and a feast before him of course the beggars is only a dream and he wakes from it and this was real Gregory had said to her I will love you as long as I live she said the words over and over to herself like a song I will send for him tomorrow and I will tell him how I love him back she said but him needed not to send for him Gregory discovered on reaching home that Jemima slitter was still in his pocket and therefore much as he disliked the appearance of vacillation and weakness he was obliged to be at the farmhouse before sunrise to post it if I see her Gregory said I shall only bow to her she shall see that I am a man one who keeps his word as to Jemima slitter he had turned down one corner of the page and then turned it back leaving a deep crease that would show that he was neither accepted nor rejected but that matters were in an intermediate condition it was more reticle way than putting it in plain words Gregory was barely in time with his letter for Waldo was starting when he reached the homestead and M was on the doorstep to see him off when he had given the letter and Waldo had gone Gregory bard stiffly and prepared to remount his own pony but somewhat slowly it was still early none of the servants were about M came close up to him and put her little hand softly on his arm as he stood by his horse I do love you best of all she said she was not frightened now however much he kissed her I wish I was beautiful and nice she added looking up into his eyes as he held her against his breast my darling to me you are more beautiful than all the women in the world dearer to me than everything it holds if you were in hell I would go after you to find you there if you were dead there my body moved my soul would be under the ground with you all laugh as I pass it with you in my arms will be perfect to me it will pass past like a ray of sunshine in thought how beautiful and grand his face was as she looked up into it she raised her hand gently and put it on his forehead you are so silent so cold my M he cried have you nothing to say to me a little shadow of wonder filled her eyes I will do everything you tell me she said what else could she say her idea of love was only service then my own precious one promised never to kiss that fellow again I cannot bear that you should love anyone but me you must not I will not have it if every relation I had in the world were to die tomorrow I would be quite happy if I still only had you my darling my love why are you so cold promise me not to love him any more if you asked me to do anything for you I would do it though it cost my life M put her hand very gravely round his neck I will never kiss him she said and I will try not to love anyone else but I do not know if I'll be Abell oh my darling I think of you all night all day I think of nothing else love nothing else he said folding his arms about her him was a little conscious stricken even that morning she had found time to remember that in six months her cousin would come back from school and she had thought to remind Walder of the lozenges for his cough even when she saw Gregory coming I do not know how it is she said humbly nestling to him but I cannot love you so much as you love me perhaps it is because I'm only a woman but I do love you as much as I can now the Keffer maids were coming from the huts he kissed her again eyes and mouth and hands and lift her tain't sunny was well satisfied when told of the betrothed meant she herself contemplated marriage within the year with one or other of her numerous prayers and she suggested that the weddings might take place together em said to work busily to prepare her own household linen and wedding garments Gregory was with her daily almost hourly and the six months which elapsed before lindell's returned past as he felicitous leaf raised it like a summer night when you are dreaming of someone you love late one evening Gregory sat by his little love turning the handle of her machine as she drew her work through it and they talked of the changes they would make when the Boer woman was gone and the farm belonged to them alone there should be a new room here and a crawl there so they chattered on suddenly Gregory dropped the handle and impressed a fervent kiss on the fat hand that guided the linen you are so beautiful M said the lover it comes over me in a flood suddenly how I love you M smiled tain't sunny says when I am her edge no one will look at me and it's true my hands are as short and broad as a duck's foot and my forehead is so low and I haven't any nose I can't be pretty she laughed softly it was so nice to think he should be so blind when my cousin comes tomorrow you will see a beautiful woman Gregory she added presently she is like a little queen her shoulders are so upright and her head looks as though it ought to have a little crown upon it you must come to see her tomorrow as soon as she comes I am sure you will love her of course I shall come to see her since she is your cousin but do you think I could ever think any woman as lovely as I think you he fixed his seething eyes upon her you could not help seeing that she is prettier said M slipping her right hand into his butt you will never be able to lack anyone so much as you like me afterwards when she wished her lover good night she stood upon the doorstep to call a greeting off to him and she waited as she always did till the brown ponies hooves became inaudible behind the copy then she passed through the room where tunts Annie lay snoring and through the little room that was all draped in white waiting for her cousin's return on to her own room she went to the chest of drawers to put away the work she had finished and sat down on the floor before the lowest draw in it were things she was preparing for her marriage piles of white linen and some aprons and quilts and in the little box in the corner a spray of orange blossom which she had brought from a smooth there too was a ring Gregory had given her and a veil his sister had sent and there was a little roll of fine embroidered work which tirana had given her it was too fine and good even for Gregory's wife just right for something very small and soft she would keep it and she touched it gently with her full fingers smiling and then she blushed and hid it far behind the other things she knew so well all that was in that drawer and yet she turned them all over as though she saw them for the first time packed them all out and packed them all in without one fold or crumple and then sat down and looked at them tomorrow evening when Lindell came she would bring her here and show her it all Lindell would so like to see at the little wreath and the ring and the white veil it would be so nice then M fell to seeing pictures Lindo should live with them till she got herself married some day every day when Gregory came home tired from his work he would look about and say where is my wife has no one seen my wife wife some coffee and she would give him some M's little face grew very grave at last and she knelt up and extended her hands over the draw of the linen Oh God she said I am so glad I do not know what I have done that I should be so glad thank you end of chapter 2 part 3 chapter 2 part 4 of the story of an African farm by olive Shriner this LibriVox recording is in the public domain rent by Sally McConnell in Betty's Bay South Africa in March 2010 Lindell she was more like a princess yes far more like a princess than the lady who still hung on the wall in tunt Sunny's bedroom so in thought she leaned back in the little armchair she wore a grey dressing-gown and her long hair was combed out and hung to the ground in sitting before her looked up with mingled respect and admiration Linville was tired after her long journey and had come to her room early her eyes ran over the familiar objects strange to go away for four years and come back and find that the candle standing on the dressing table still cast the shadow of an old crones hid in the corner beyond the clotheshorse strange that even a shadow should last longer than man she looked about among the old familiar objects all was there but the old self was gone what are you noticing asked em nothing and everything I thought the windows were higher if I were you when I get this place I should raise the walls there's not room to breathe here one suffocates Gregory is going to make many alterations said him and drawing nearer to the grey dressing-gown respectfully do you like him Lindell is he not handsome he must have been a fine baby said Linda looking at the white Dimity curtain that hang above the window M was puzzled there are some men said Lindell whom you never can believe were babies at all and others you never see without thinking how very nice they must have looked when they wore socks and pink sashes M remained silent then she said with a little dignity when you know him you will love him as I do when I compare other people with him they seemed so weak and little our hearts are so cold our loves are mixed up with so many other things but he no one is worthy of his love I am NOT he is so great and pure you need not make yourself unhappy on that point your poor returned for his love my dear said Linda a man's love is a fire of olive wood it leaps higher every moment it roars it blazes it shoots arc red flames it threatens to wrap around and devour you you who stand by like an icicle in the glow of its fierce warmth you are self-reproach that your own chilliness and want of reciprocity the next day when you go to warm your little hands a little you find a few ashes it is a long love and cool against a short love and hot men at all events have nothing to complain of you speak sir because you do not know min said M instantly assuming the dignity of superior knowledge so universally affected by a fiance unmarried women in discussing man's nature with their uncontracted sisters you will know them too someday and then you will think differently said em with the condescending magnanimity which superior knowledge can always thought to show to ignorance linville's little lip quivered in a manner indicative of intense amusement she twirled a massive ring upon her forefinger a ring more suitable for the hand of a man and noticeable in design a diamond cross lit into gold with the initials R are below it ah Lindell cried him perhaps you are engaged yourself that is why you smile yes I'm sure you are look at this ring Lindell drew the hand quickly from her I am not in so great a hurry to put my neck beneath any man's foot and I do not so greatly admire the crying of babies she said as she closed her eyes half wearily and leaned back in the chair there are other women glad of such work M felt rebuked and ashamed how could she take Lindell and show her the wet linen and the wreaths and the embroidery she was quiet for a little while and then began to talk about Tron and the old farm servants till she saw her companion was wary then she rose and lift her for the night but after him was gone Lindell set on watching the old crones face in the corner and with a weary look as though the whole world's weight rested on these frail young shoulders the next morning waldo starting off before breakfast to the bag of Millie's slung over his shoulder to feed the ostriches heard a light step behind him wait for me I'm coming with you said Lindell adding as she came up to him if I had not gone to look for you yesterday you would not have come to greet me till now do you not like me any longer Waldo yes but you are changed it was the old clumsy hesitating mode of speech you lack the pinafores bitter she said quickly she wore a dress of a simple cotton fabric but very fashionably made and on her head was a broad white hat to order she seemed superb leotard she saw it her dress has changed a little she said and I also but not to you hang the bag over your other shoulder that I may see your face you say so little that if one does not look at you you are an uncompromising welder changed the bag and they walked on side by side you have improved she said do you know that I have sometimes wished to see you while I was away not often but still sometimes they were at the gate of the first camp now Waldo threw over a bag of Neely's and they walked on over the dewy ground have you learnt much he asked her simply remembering how she had once said when I come back again I shall know everything that a human being can she laughed are you thinking of my old bursts yes I've learned something there hardly what I expected and not quite so much in the first place I've learnt that one of my ancestors must have been a very great fool for they say nothing comes out in a man but one of his forefathers possessed it before him in the second place I've discovered that of all cursed places under the Sun but the hungriest soul can hardly pick up a few grains of knowledge a girls boarding school is the worst they are called finishing schools and the name tells accurately what they are they finish everything but imbecility and weakness and that they cultivate they are nicely adapted machines for experimenting on the question into how little space a human soul can be crushed I have seen some souls so compressed that they would have fitted into a small thimble and found room to move their wide room a woman who has been for many years at one of those places carries the mark of the beast on her till she dies though she may expand a little afterwards when she breathes in the free world were you miserable he asked looking at her with quick anxiety I know I'm never miserable and never happy I wish I were but I should have run away from the place on the fourth day and had myself to the first floor woman whose farm I came to to make fire under her soap but if I had to live as the rest of the drove did can you form an idea order of what it must be to be shut up with cackling old win who are without knowledge of life without love of the beautiful without strength to have your soul cultured by them it is suffocation only to breathe the air they breathe but I made them give me a room I told them I should leave and they knew I came there on my own account so they gave me a bedroom without the companionship of one of those things that were having their brains slowly diluted and squeezed out of them I did not learn music because I had no talent and when the drove made cushions and hideous flowers that the roses laugh at and a footstool in six weeks that a machine would have made better in five minutes I went to my room with the money saved from such work I bought books and newspapers and at night I set up I read and epitomized what I read and I found time to write some plays and find out how hard it is to make your thoughts look anything but imbecile fools when you paint them with ink on paper in the holidays I learnt a great deal more I made acquaintances saw a few places and many people and some different ways of living which is more than any books can show one on the whole I'm not dissatisfied with my four years I had not learned what I expected but I've learned something else what have you been doing nothing that is not possible I shall find out by and by they still stepped on side by side over the dewy bushes then suddenly she turned to him don't you wish you were a woman father no he said readily she laughed I thought not even you are to worldly wise for that I never met a man who did this is a pretty ring she said holding out her little hand that the Morning Sun might make the diamonds sparkle with fifty pounds at least I will give it to the first man who tells me he would like to be a woman there might be one on Robben Island footnote loonatics of the Cape are sent to Robben Island who would win it perhaps but I doubt it even there it is delightful to be a woman but every man thanks the Lord devoutly that he isn't one she drew her hats to one side to keep the Sun out of her eyes as she walked Waldo looked at her so intently that he stumbled over the bushes yes this was his little Lindell who had won the cheque pinafores he saw it now and he walked closer beside her they reached the next camp let us wait at this camp and watch the birds she said as an ostrich hen came bounding towards them with velvety wings outstretched while far away over the bushes the head of the was visible as he sat brooding on the eggs Lindell folded her arms on the gate bar and Waldo through his empty bag on the wall and leant beside her I lack these birds she said they share each other's work and are companions do you take an interest in the position of women Waldo no I thought not no one does unless they're in need of a subject upon which to show their wit and as for you from of old you can see nothing that is not separated from you by a few millions of miles and strewed over with mystery if women were the inhabitants of Jupiter of whom you had happened to hear something you would pour over us and our condition night and day but because we are before your eyes you never look at us you care nothing that this is ragged and ugly she said putting her little finger on his sleeve but you strive mightily to make an imaginary leaf on an old stick beautiful I'm sorry you don't care for the position of women I should have liked us to be friends and it is the only thing about which I think much or feel much if indeed I have any feeling about anything she added flippantly readjusting her dainty little arms when I was a baby I fancy my parents left me out in the frost one night and I got nipped internally fluid-filled sir I have only a few old thoughts he said and I think them over and over again always beginning where I left off I never get any further I'm weary of them like an old hymn that sits on its eggs month after month and they never come up she said quickly I am so pressed in upon by new things that list they should trip one another up have to keep forcing them back my head swings sometimes but this one thought stands never goes if I might be one of those born in the future then perhaps to be born a woman will not be to be born branded Waldo looked at her it was hard to say whether she were in earnest or mocking I know it is foolish wisdom never kicks at the iron walls it can't bring down she said but we are cursed Waldo born cursed from the time our mothers bring us into the world till the shrouds are put on us do not look at me as though I were talking nonsense everything has two sides the outside that is ridiculous and the inside that is solemn I'm not laughing said the boys sedately enough but what curses you he thought she would not reply to him she waited so long it is not what is done to us but what is made of us she said at last that wrongs us no man can be rarely injured but by what modifies himself we all into the world little plastic beings with so much natural force perhaps but for the rest blank and the world tells us what we are to be and shapes us by the end it sits before us to you it says work and to us it says seem to you it says as you approximate to man's highest ideal of God as your arm is strong in your knowledge great and the power to labor is with you so you shall gain all that human heart desires to us it says strength shall not help you nor knowledge nor labor you shall gain what men gain but by other means and so the world makes men and women look at this little chin of man Waldo with a dimple in it it is but a small part of my person but though I had a knowledge of all things under the Sun and the wisdom to use it and the deep loving heart of an angel it would not steered me through life like this little chin I can win money with it I can when love I can win power with it I can win fame what would knowledge help me the less a woman has in her head the latter she is for climbing I once heard an old man say that he never saw intellect help a woman so much as a pretty ankle and it was the truth they begin to shape us to our cursive end she said with her lips drawn in to look as though they smiled when we were tiny things in shoes and socks we sit with our little feet drawn up under us in the window and look out at the boys in their happy play we want to go then a loving hand is laid on us little one you cannot go they say your face will burn and your nice white dress be spoiled we feel it must be for our good it is so lovingly said but we cannot understand and we kneel still with one little cheek wistfully pressed against the pain afterwards we go and thread blue beads and make a string for our neck and we go and stand before the glass we see the complexion we are not to spoil and the white frock and we look into our own great eyes then the curse begins to act on us it finishes its work when we are grown women who no more look out wistfully at a more healthy life we are content 'add we fit our sphere as a Chinese woman's foot fits her shoe exactly as though God had made both and yet he knows nothing of either in some of us the shaping to our end has been quite completed the pots we are not to use have been quite atrophied and have even dropped off but in others and we are not least to be pitied they have been weakened and lift we wear the bandages but our limbs have not grown to them we know that we are compressed and chafed against them but what does it help a little bitterness a little longing when we were young a little futile searching for work a little passionate striving for room for the exercise of our powers and then we go with the drove a woman must March with their regiment in the end she must be trodden down or go with it and if she is wise she goes I see in your great eyes what you were thinking she said glancing at him I always know what the person I am talking to is thinking of how is this woman who makes such a fuss worse off than I I will show you a very little example we stand here at this gate this morning both poor both young both friendless there is not much to choose between us let us turn away just as we are to make our way in life this evening you will come to a farmer's house the farmer albeit you come alone and on foot will give you a pack of tobacco and a cup of coffee in the bed if he has no dam to build and no child to teach tomorrow you can go on your way with a friendly greeting of the hand I if I come to the same place tonight we'll have strange questions asked me strange glances cast on me the boor wife will shake her head and give me food to eat with the kafirs and a rack to sleep with the dogs that would be the first step in our progress a very little one but every step to the end would repeat it we were equals once when we were newborn babes on our nurses knees we will be equals again when they tie up our jaws for the last sleep welder looked in wonder at the little quivering face it was a glimpse into the world of passion and feeling early new to him mark you she said we always have this advantage over you we can at any time step into ease and competence where you must labor patiently for it a little weeping a little wheedling a little self degradation a little careful use of our advantages and then some man will say come be my wife with good looks on youth marriage is easy to attain there are men enough but a woman who has sold herself even for a ring and a new name need hold her skirt aside for no creature in the street they both earn their bread in one way marriage for love is the beautifulest external symbol of the union of souls marriage without it is the uncleanness traffic that defies the world she ran her little finger savagely along the topmost bar shaking off the dozen little dew drops that still hang there they tell us we have men's chivalrous attention she cried when we asked to be doctors lawyers lawmakers anything but ill-paid drudges they say no but you have men's chivalrous attention now think of that and be satisfied what would you do without it the bitter little silvery laugh so seldom heard rang out across the bushes she bit her little teeth together I was coming up in carbon codes the other day at a little wayside hotel we had to change the large coach for a small one we were ten passengers eight men and two women as I sat in the house the gentleman came and whispered to me there is not room for all in the new coach take your seat quickly we hurried out and they gave me the best seat and covered me with rugs because it was drizzling then the last passenger came running up to the coach an old woman with a wonderful bonnet and a black saw pinned with the yellow pin there is no room they said you must wait till next week's coach takes you up but she climbed onto the step and held on at the window with both hands my son-in-law is ill and I must go and see him she said my good woman said one I'm really exceeded sorry that your son-in-law is ill but there's absolutely no room for you here you had better get down said another or the wheel will catch you I got up to give her my place no no they cried we will not allow that I will rather Neil said one and he crouched down at my feet so the woman came in there were nine of us in that Coach and only one showed chivalrous attention and that was a woman – a woman I shall be old and ugly too one day and I shall look for men's chivalrous help but I shall not find it the bees are very attentive to the flowers till their honey is done and then they fly over them I don't know if the flowers feel grateful to the bees there are great fools if they do but some women said Waldo speaking as though the words forced themselves from him at that moment some women have power she lifted her beautiful eyes to his face power did you ever hear of men being asked whether other souls should have power or not it is born in them you made a MUP the fountain of water and make it a stagnant Marsh well you may let it run free and do its work but you cannot say whether it shall be there it is there and it will act if not openly for good then curve utley for evil but it will act if goethe had been stolen away a child and read in a rubber hoard in the depths of the german forest do you think the world would have had fast and efficient e but he would have been goethe still stronger wiser than his fellows at night are on their watch fire he would have chanted wild songs of rape ein and murder till the dark faces about him were moved and trembled his songs would have occurred on from father to son and nerve the heart and arm for evil do you think if Napoleon had been born a woman that he would have been contented to give small tea parties and talk small scandal he would have risen but the world would not have heard of him as of hares of him now a man great and kingly with all his sins he would have left one of those names that stay in the leaf of every history the names of women who having power but being denied the right to exercise it openly rule in the dark covertly and by stealth through the men whose passions they feed on and by whom they climb power she said suddenly smiting her little hand upon the rail yes we have power and since we are not to expend it in tunneling mountains nor healing diseases nor making laws nor money nor on any extraneous object we expend it on you you are our goods our merchandise our material for operating on we buy you we sell you we make fools of you we act the wily old do with you we keep six of you crawling to our little feet and praying only for a touch of our little hand and they say truly there was never an ache or a pain or a broken heart but a woman was at the bottom of it we are not to study law nor science nor art so we study you there is never a nerve or fiber in your man's nature but we know it we keep six of you dancing in the palm of one little hand she said balancing her outstretched arm gracefully as though tiny beings disported themselves in its palm there we thrown you away and you sink to the Bibble she said folding her arms composedly there was never a man who said one word for woman but he said two for man and three for the whole human race she watched the bird picking up the last yellow grains but Waldo looked only at her when she spoke again it was very measuredly they bring weighty arguments against us when we ask for the perfect freedom of woman she said but when you come to the objections they are lack pumpkin Devils with candles inside hollow and can't bite they say that women do not wish for the sphere and freedom we ask for them and would not use it if the bird does like the cage and does like its sugar and will not leave it why keep the door serve very carefully shut why not open it only a little do they know there is many a bird who will not break its wings against the bars but would fly if the doors were open Sheena's her furrowed and leaned further over the bars then they say if the women have the Liberty you ask for they will be found in positions for which they are not fitted if two men climb one letter did you ever see the weakest anywhere but at the foot the surest sign of fitness is success the weakest never wins but where there is handicapping nature lifts to herself will as beautifully a portion of man's work to his capacities as long a jazz ago she graduated the colors on the bird's breast if we are not fit you give us to no purpose the rat to labor the work will fall out of our hands into those that are wiser she talked more rapidly as she went on as one talks of that over which they have brooded long and which lies near their hearts Waldo watched her intently they say women have one greater noble work lift them and they do that is true they do it execrable it is the work that demands the broadest culture and they have not even the narrowest the lawyer may see no deeper than his law books and the chemists see no further than the windows of his laboratory and they may do their work well but the woman who does woman's work needs a mini saddened multiform culture the heights and dicks of human life must not be beyond the reach of her vision she must have knowledge of men and things in many states a wide catholicity of sympathy the strength that springs from knowledge and the magnanimity which Springs from strength we bear the world and we make it the souls of little children are marvelously delicate and tender things and keep forever the shadow that first falls on them and that is the mothers or at best a woman's there was never a great man who had not a great mother it is hardly an exaggeration the first six years of our life make us all that his added later is veneer and yet some say if a woman can cook a dinner or dress herself well she has culture in love the mightiest and noblest of human work is given to us and we do it LLL send an Abbe to work into an artist's studio and see what you will find there and yet to thank God we have this work she added quickly it is the one window through which we see into the great world of earnest labor the meanest girl who dances and dresses become something higher when her children look up into her face and ask her questions it is the only education we have and which they cannot take from us she smiled slightly they say that we complain of woman's being compelled to look upon marriages of profession but that she is free to enter upon it or leave it as she pleases yes and the cat set afloat in a pond is free to sit in the tub till it dies there it is under no obligation to wet its feet and a drowning man may catch at a straw or not just as he likes it is a glorious Liberty let any man think for five minutes of what old maidenhood means to a woman and then let him be silent is it easy to bear through life a name that in itself signifies defeat to dwell as nine out of ten unmarried women must under the finger of another woman is it easy to look forward to an old age without honor without the reward of useful labor without love I wonder how many men there are who would give up everything that is dear in life for the sake of maintaining a higher ideal purity she laughed a little laugh that was clear without being Pleasant and then when they have no other argument against us they say go on but when you have made women what you wish and her children inherit her culture you will defeat yourself man will gradually become extinct from excessive intellect the passions which replenish the race will die fools she said curling her pretty lip hardened taut suits at the roadside and feeds on a rotten bone he has found there and takes out his bottle of cape smoke and swirls it it and grunts with satisfaction and the cultured child of the 19th century sits in his armchair and sits choice wines with the lip of a connoisseur and tastes delicate dishes with a delicate palate and with a satisfaction of which the Hottentot knows nothing heavy draw and sloping forehead all have gone with increasing intellect but the animal appetites are there still refined discriminative but immeasurably intensified fools before men forgave or worshipped while they were still weak on their hind legs did they not eat and fact for wives when all the later additions to humanity have vanished will luck the foundation on which they are built remain she was silent then for a while and said somewhat dreamily more as though speaking to herself than to him they asked what will you gain even if man does not become extinct you will have brought justice and equality onto the earth and sent love from it when men and women are equals they will love no more your highly cultured women will not be lovable will not love do they see nothing understand nothing it is ten sunny who buries husbands one after another and folds her hands resignedly the Lord gave and the law have to taketh away and blessed be the name of the Lord and she looks for another it is the hard-headed deep thinker who when the wife who has thought and worked for him goes can find no rest and lingers near her till he finds sleep beside her a great soul draws and is drawn with more fierce intensity than any small one by every inch we grow in intellectual height our love strikes down its roots deeper and spreads out its arms wider it is for love's sake yet more than for any other that we look for that new time she had leaned her head against the stones and watched with her sad soft eyes the retreating bird then when that time comes she said slowly when love is no more bought or sold when it is not a means of making bread when each woman's life is filled with earnest independent labour then love will come to her a strange sudden sweetness breaking in upon her earnest work not sought for but found then but not now father waited for her to finish the sentence but she seemed to have forgotten him Lindell he said putting his hand upon her she started if you think that that new time will be so great so good you who speak so easily she interrupted him speak speak she said the difficulty is not to speak the difficulty is to keep silence but why do you not try to bring that time he said with pitiful simplicity when you speak I believe all you say other people would listen to you also how I'm not so sure of that she said with a smile then over the small face came the weary look at at worn last night as it watched the shadow in the corner ah so weary I Waldo I she said I will do nothing good for myself nothing for the world till someone wakes me I am asleep swathe shut up in self till I have been delivered I will deliver no one he looked at her wandering but she was not looking at him to see the good and the beautiful she said and to have no strength to limit is only to be Moses on the mountain of Nebo with the land at your feet and no power to enter it would be bitter not to see it come she said looking up into his face and seeing it son comprehending expression let's go it's giving late Gus is anxious for his breakfast also she added wheeling round and calling to the dog who was endeavoring to unearth a mole an occupation to which he had been zealously addicted from the third month but in which he had never on any single occasion proved successful Waldo shouldered his bag and Lindell walked on before in silence with the dog close to her side perhaps she thought of the narrowness of the limits within which a soul may be can be understood by its nearest of mental kin of how soon it reaches that solitary land of the individual in experience in which no filler footfall is ever heard whatever her thoughts may have been she was soon interrupted water came close to her and standing still produced with awkwardness from his breast-pocket a small carved box I made it for you he said holding it up I like it she said examining and carefully the workmanship was better than that of the grave post the flowers that covered it were delicate and here and there small conical protuberances were lit in among them she turned around critically Waldo bent over it lovingly there is one strange thing about it he said earnestly putting a finger on one little pyramid I made it without these and I felt something was wrong I tried many changes and at last I lit these in and then it was right but why was it they are not beautiful in themselves they relieve the monotony of the smooth leaves I suppose he shook his head as over a weighty matter the sky is monotonous he said when it's blue and yet it is beautiful I have thought of that often but it is not monotony and it is not variety makes beauty what is it the sky and your face and this box the same thing is in the mall only more in the sky and in your face but what is it she smiled so you are at your old work still why why why what is the reason it is enough for me she said if I find out what is beautiful and what is ugly what is real and what is not why it is there and over the final cause of things in general I don't trouble myself there must be one but what is it to me if I halt all eternity I shall never get hold of it and if I did I might be no better off but you Germans are born with an aptitude for burrowing you can't help yourselves you must sniff after reasons just as that dog must after a mole he knows perfectly well he'll never catch it but he's under the imperative necessity of digging for it but he might find it might but he never has and never will life is too short to run off termites we must have certainties she tucked the box under her arm and was about to walk on when Gregory rose with shining Spurs and ostrich feather in his hat and a silver-headed whip careered past he bowed gallantly as he went by they waited till the dust of the horse's hooves had laid itself there Sid Lindell goes a true woman one born for the sphere that some women have to fill without being born for it how happy he would be sowing thrills into his little girl's frocks and how pretty he would look sitting in the parlour with a rough man making love to him don't you think so I shall not stay here when he is master Waldo answered not able to connect any kind of beauty with Gregory Rose I should imagine not the rule a woman is tyranny but the rule of a man woman grinds fine where are you going anywhere what to do see see everything you will be disappointed and were you yes and you will be more so I want some things that men in the world give you do not if you have a few yards of Earth to stand on and a bit of blue over you and something that you cannot see to dream about you will have all that you need all that you know how to use but I like to see real men there can be as disagreeable as they please they are more interesting to me than flowers or trees or stars or any other thing under the Sun sometimes she added walking on and shaking the dust daintily from her skirts when I'm not too busy to find a new way of doing my hair that will show my little nick to better advantage or over other work of that kind sometimes it amuses me intensely to trace out the resemblance between one man and another to see how sunny and I you and burn apart since Simon on his pillar and the Emperor dining or flocks tongues are one in the same compound merely mixed in different proportions what is microscopic and one is largely developed in another what is rudimentary and one man is an active organ in another but all things are in all men and one soul is the model of all we shall find nothing new in human nature after we have once carefully dissected and analyzed the one being we ever shall truly know ourself the kafir go through some coffee on my arm in bed this morning I felt displeased but said nothing tain't sunny would have thrown the saucer at her and sworn for an hour but the feeling would have been the same irritated displeasure if a huge animated stomach like Bonaparte were put under a glass by a skillful mental microscopist even he would be found to have an embryonic doubling somewhere indicative of a heart and rudimentary budding x' that might have become conscience and sincerity let me take your arm Waldo I'll follow you of mealy dust no never mind I will brush it off and sometimes what is more amusing still than tracing the likeness between man and woman is to trace the analogy there always is between the progress and development of one individual and of a whole nation or again between a single nation and the entire human race it is pleasant when it dawns on you that the one is just the other written art in large litters and very odd to find all the little follies and virtues and developments and rich regressions written out in the big world's book that you find in your internal self it is the most amusing thing I know of but of course being a woman I have not often time for such amusements professional duties always first you know it takes a great deal of time and thought always to look perfectly exquisite even for a pretty woman is the old buggy still in existence Waldo yes but the harness is broken well I wish you would mend it you must teach me to drive I must learn something while I'm here I got the Hottentot girl to show me how to make societies this morning and tunt sunny is going to teach me to make copies I will come and sit with you this afternoon while you mend the harness thank you no don't thank me for I come for my own pleasure I never find anyone I can talk to women bore me and men I talk so too going to the ball this evening nice little dog that of yours pretty little ears so fond of pointer pups and they find me fascinating charming men are like the earth and we are the moon we turn always one side to them and they think there is no other because they don't see it but there is they had reached the house now tell me when you set to work she said and walked towards the door Waldo stood to look after her and dust stood at his side a look of painful uncertainty depicted on his small countenance and one little foot poised in the air should he stay with his master or go he looked at the figure with the wide straw hat moving towards the house and he looked up at his master then he put down the little paw and went Waldo watched them both in at the door and then walked away alone he was satisfied that at least his dog was with her end of chapter 2 part 4 chapter 2 part 5 of the story of an African farm by Alex Rina this LibriVox recording is in the public domain read by Sally McConnell in Betty's Bay South Africa in March 2010 tilt sunny holds an up sitting and Gregory writes a letter it was just after sunset and Lindell had not yet returned from her first driving listen when the lean colored woman standing at the corner of the house to enjoy the evening breeze saw coming along the road a strange Horseman very narrowly she surveyed him as slowly he approached he was attired in the deepest mourning the black crape round his tall hat totally concealing the black felt and nothing but a dazzling shirtfront relieving the funeral tone of his attire he rode much forward in his saddle with his chin resting on the uppermost of his shirt studs and there was an air of meek subjection to the will of heaven and to what might be in store for him that's bespoke itself even in the way in which he gently urged his steed he was evidently in no hurry to reach his destination for the nearer he approached to it the slacker did his bridle hang the colored woman having duly inspected him dashed into the dwelling here is another one she cried a widower I see it by his hat good Lord said tain't sunny it's the seventh I've had this month but the men know we're sheep and good looks and money in the bank are to be found she added winking knowingly how does he look nineteen weak eyes white hair little round nose said the maid then it is he then it is he said tain't sunny triumphantly little peach fun devout whose wife died last month two forks twelve thousand sheep I've not seen him but my sister-in-law told me about him and I dreamed about him last night yeah Pete's black hat appeared in the doorway and the Boer woman drew herself up in dignified silence extended the tips of her fingers and motioned solemnly to a chair the young man seated himself sticking his feet as far under it as they would go and said mildly I am little Pete van der welt and my father is big Pete burner Walt can't Sonny said sullenly yes aunt said the young man starting up spasmodically can I offset oh yes he seized his hat and disappeared with a rush through the door I told you so I need said tain't Sonny but dear Lord doesn't send dreams for nothing didn't I tell you this morning that I dreamed of a great beast like a sheep with red eyes and I killed it wasn't the white wool his hair and the red eyes his weak eyes and my killing him meant marriage it's a parody quickly the sheep's inside and the rooster cakes we shall sit up tonight too young Pete from the vault that supper was a period of intense torture there was something over owing in that assembly of English people with the incomprehensible speech and moreover it was his first courtship his first wife had courted him and ten months of severe domestic rule had not raised his spirit nor courage he ate little and when he raised a muscle to his lips glanced guiltily round to see if he were not observed he had put three rings on his little finger with the intention of sticking it out stiffly when he raised a coffee cup now the little finger was curled miserably amongst its fellows it was small relief when the meal was over and tanzanian he repaired to the front room once seated there he set his knees close together stood his black hat upon them and wretchedly turned the brim up and down but supper had cheered tan Sonny who found it impossible longer to maintain that decorous silence and whose heart he yearned over the youth I also related to your aunt Selena who died said that Sonny my mother stepbrothers child was married to her father's brother's stupid nephews niece yes aunt said the young man I knew we were related it was her cousin said tan sunny not fairly on the flow you had the cancer cut out of her breast by the other doctor who is not the right doctor I sent for but who did it quite as well yes aunt to the young man I've heard about it often said tan sunny and he was the son of the old doctor that they say died on Christmas Day but I don't know if that's true people do tell such awful lies why should he die on Christmas Day more than any other day yes on why said the young man meekly did you ever have a toothache or stunt sunny no aunt well they say that doctor not the son of the old doctor than that on Christmas Day the honor that didn't come when he was sent for he gave such good stuff for the toothache that if you opened the bottle in the room where anyone was bad they got better directly you could see it was good stuff said Tan Sonny a tasted heart that was our real doctor he used to give a bottle so high said the bog woman raising her hand a foot from the table you could drink at it for a month and it wouldn't get done and the same medicine was good for all sorts of sicknesses croup jesus georges braque see now you have to buy a new kind for each sickness the doctors aren't so good as they used to be no aunt said the young man who was trying to gain courage to stick out his legs and clink his Spurs together he did so at last can't Sonny had noticed the Spurs before but she thought it showed a nice manly spirit and her heart warmed yet more to the youth did you ever have convulsions when you were a baby Austin Sonny yes said the young man strange said tain't Sonny all they had convulsions too wonderful that we should be so much alike aunt said the young man explosively can we sit up to night tunt sunny hung her head and half closed her eyes but finding that her little Wiles were thrown away the young man stared fixedly at his hat she simpered yes and went away to fetch candles in the dining room em worked at her machine and Gregory sat close beside her his great blue eyes turned to the window where Lindell leaned out talking to Walder Sonny took two candles out of the cupboard and held them up triumphantly winking all around the room he's asked for them she said does he want them for his horses rubbed back asked Gregory new to up country life No said can't Sonny indignantly we're going to sit up and she walked off in triumph with the candles nevertheless when all the rest of the house had retired when the long candle was lighted when the coffee kettle was filled when she sat in the window chair with her lover on a chair close beside her and when the vigil of the night was fairly begun she began to find it wearisome the young man looked chilly and said nothing won't you put her feet on my stove said can't Sonny now thank you aunt said the young man in both lapsed into silence at last hunt Sonny afraid of going to sleep attempt a strong cup of coffee for herself and handed another to her lover this visibly revived both how long were you married cousin ten months aunt however was your baby three days when it died it's very hard when we must give our husbands and wives to the Lord said can't Sonny very said the young man but it's the Lord's will yes said can't Sonny inside she was such a good wife aunt I've known her break a turn stick over a maids head for only letting dust come on a milk off done Sonny felt a twinge of jealousy she had never broken a churn stick on the maids head I hope the life made a good end she said ah beautiful aunt she set up a psalm and two hymns and off before she died did she leave any messages Austin Sonny nah said the young man but the night before she died I was long at the foot of her beat I felt her foot kick me Pete she said Annie my heart said I my little baby that died yesterday has been here and it stood over the wagon box she said what did it say I asked it said that if I died you must marry a fat woman or will acid and I went to sleep again presently she woke me the little baby has been here again and it says you must marry a woman over 30 who's had two husbands I didn't go to sleep after that for a long time aunt but when I did she woke me the baby has been here again she said and it said you mustn't marry a woman with a mole I told her I wouldn't and the next day she died that was a villain from the Redeemer said tain't Sonny the young man nodded his head mournfully he thought of a younger sister of his wife who was not fat and who had a mole and of whom his wife had always been jealous and he wished the little baby had liked better staying in heaven than coming and standing over the wagon chest I suppose that's why you came to see me said that Sonny yes aunt and Fawcett are all to get married before shearing Tom it's bad if there's no one to see after things then and the maids waste such a lot of fat we do want to get married next month aunt said the young man in a tone of hopeless resignation may our kiss you aren't wife I said son Sonny and then gave him a resounding kiss come bring a chair a little closer she said and their elbows not touching they sat on through the night the next morning at dawn as M passed through town Sonny's bedroom she found the bore woman pulling off her boots preparatory to climbing into bed where is Peter Fonda just God said that Sonny and I am going to marry him this day for weeks I am dead sleepy she added the stupid thing doesn't know how to talk love talk at all and she climbed into the four-poster clothes and all and through the quilt up to her chin on the day preceding Sonny's wedding Gregory Rose sat in the Blazing Sun on the stern war behind his door burn wattle house it was wrong but he was intently watching a small buggy that was being recklessly driven over the bushes in the direction of the farmhouse Gregory never stirred till it had vanished then finding the stands hot he slipped down and walked into the house he kicked the little pail that lay in the doorway and sent it into one corner that did him good then he sat down in the box and began cutting litters out of a piece of newspaper finding that the snipping littered the floor he picked them up and began scribbling on his blocking paper he tried the effect of different initials before his name rose Jiro's he rose l rose l rose llll rose when he had covered the sheet he looked at a discontentedly a little while then suddenly began to write a letter beloved sister it was a long time ago since i lost her it to you but i have had no time this is the first morning i've been at home since I don't know when him always expects me to go down to the farmhouse in the morning but I don't feel as though I could stand the ride today I have much news for you tain't Sonny M's boy stepmother is to be married tomorrow she has gone to town today and the wedding feast is to be at her brother's farm him and I are going to ride over on horseback but her cousin is going to ride in the buggy with that German I don't think I've written to you since she came back from school I don't think you would like her at all Jemima there's something so proud about her she thinks just because she's handsome there's nobody good enough to talk to her and just as if there had been nobody else but her being too during school before they are going to have a grand affair tomorrow all the boys abouts are coming and they are going to dance all night but I don't think I shall dance at all for as Emma's cousin says these boy dancers are low things I'm sure I only danced at the last to please em I don't know why she is so fond of dancing em talked about being married on the same day as cont Sonny but I said it would be nicer for her if she waited til the sharing was over and I took her down to see you I suppose she will have to live with us M's cousin I mean as she has not anything in the world but a poor 50 pounds I don't like her at all Jemima and I don't think you would she's got such queer ways she's always driving about in a gig with that load German and I don't think it's at all the thing for a woman to be going around with a man she's not engaged to do you if it was me now of course Who am a kind of connection it would be different the way she treats me considering that I am soon to be her cousin is not at all nice I took down my album the other day with your likenesses in it and I told her she could look at it and put it down close to her but she just said thank you and never even touched it as much as to say what are your relations to me she gets the wildest horses in that buggy and a horrid slavish little cur belonging to the German sitting in front and then she drives out alone I don't think it's at all proper for a woman to drive out alone I wouldn't allow it if she was my sister the other morning I don't know how it happened I was going in the way from which she was coming and that little beast they called him dust began to bark when he saw me he always does the little rich and the horses began to spring and kick the splash board all to pieces it was a sight to see Jemima she has got the littlest hands I ever saw I could hold them both in one of mine and not know that I'd got anything except that they were so soft but she held those horses in as though they were made of iron when I wanted to help her she said no thank you I can manage them myself I've got a pair of bits that would break their jaws if I used them well and she laughed and drove away it's so unruly till father Mauer hire of the grant will not be out for six months and before that Emily will be married my pair of birds is breeding now but I haven't been done to see them for three days I don't seem to care about anything anymore I don't know what it is I'm not well if I go into town on Saturday let the doctor examine me but perhaps she will go in herself it's a very strange thing Jemima but she never will send her letters to post by me if I ask her she has none and the very next day she goes in and posts them herself you mustn't say anything about a jimana but twice I brought her letters from the post in a gentleman's hand and I'm sure they were both from the same person because I noticed every little mark even the dotting of the eyes of course it's nothing to me but for em sake I can't help feeling an interest in her however much I may dislike her myself and I hope she's up to nothing I pity the man who marries her I wouldn't be him for anything if I had a wife with pride I'd make her give it up shot I don't believe in a man who can't make a woman obey him now him I'm very fond of her as you know but if I tell her to put on a certain dress that dress she puts on and if I tell her to sit on a certain seat on that seat she sits and if I tell her not to speak to a certain individual she does not speak to them if a man lets a woman do what he doesn't like he's a muff give my love to mother and the children the felt hair is looking pretty good in the shiipa bitter since we washed them tell father the dip he recommended is very good M sent her love to you she's making me some woolen shirts but they don't fit me so nicely as those mother made me write soon to your loving brother Gregory PS she drove past just now I was sitting on the crawl wall right before her eyes and she never even bad G n our end of chapter 2 part 5 chapter 2 part 6 of the story of an African farm by olive Shriner this LibriVox recording is in the public domain read by sally McConnell in Betty's Bay South Africa in March 2010 a boil wedding I didn't know you were so fond of riding hard Sid Gregory to his little betrothed they were capturing slowly on the road two or Muller's on the morning of the wedding do you call this riding hard asked him in some astonishment of course I do it's enough to break the horses mix and knock one up for the whole day besides he added testily then twisted his head to look at the buggy that came on behind I thought Waldo was such a mad driver they're taking it easily enough today said Gregory one would think the black stallions were lame I suppose they want to keep out of our dust said him see they stand still as soon as we do perceiving this to be the case Gregory rode on it's all that horse of yours she kicks up such confounded dust I can't stand it myself he said meanwhile the cot came on slowly enough take the reins said Linda and make them walk I want to wrist and watch their hoofs today not to be exhilarated I'm so tired she leaned back in her corner and Waldo drove on slowly in the gray dawn lat along the liberal road they passed the very milk bush behind which so many years before the old German had found the kefir woman but their thoughts were not with him that morning they were thoughts of the young that run out to meet the future and labor in the present at last he touched her arm what is it I feared you'd gone to sleep and might be jolted out he said you said so quietly no do not talk to me I'm not asleep but after a time she said suddenly it must be a terrible thing to bring a human being into the world Waldo looked round she sat drawn into the corner her blue cloud one tacky about her and she still watched the horses feet having no comment to offer on her somewhat unexpected remark he merely touched up his horses I have no conscience none she added but I would not like to bring a soul into this world when it sinned and when it suffered something like a dead hand would fall on me you did it you for your own pleasure you created this thing see your work if it lived to be 80 it would always hang like a millstone round my neck have the right to demand good from me and curse me for its sorrow a parent is only lack to God if his work turns out bad so much the worst for him he dare not wash his hands of it Timon Diaz can never bring the day when you can say to your child so what have I to do with you Waldo said dreamily it is a marvelous thing that one soul should have power to cause another she heard the words as she heard the beating of the horses hooves her thoughts ran on in their own line they say God sends the little babies of all the dastardly revolting lies min till to suit themselves I hate that the most I supposed my father said so when he knew he was dying of consumption and my mother when she knew she had nothing to support me on and they created me to feed like a dog from stranger hands men do not say that God sends the books or the newspaper articles or the machines they make and then sigh and shrug their shoulders and say they can't help it why do they say so about other things liars God sends the little babies she struck her foot fretfully against the splash board the small children say so earnestly they touched the little stranger reverently who has just come from God's far country and they peep about the room to see if not one white feather has dropped from the wing of the angel that brought him on their lips the phrase means much on all others it's a deliberate lie noticeable – she said dropping in an instant from the passionate into a low mocking tone when people are married though they should have 60 children they throw the whole onus on God when they are not we hear nothing about God's having sent them when there has been no legal contract between the parents who sends the little children men the devil perhaps she laughed her little silvery mocking love for her odd that some men should come from hell and some from heaven and he had all looked so much alike when they get here Waldo wondered at her he had not the key to her thoughts and did not see the string on which they were strung she drew her cloud tighter about her it must be very nice to believe in the devil she said I wish I did if it would be of any use I would pray three hours night and morning on my bare knees God literally believe in Satan he's so useful to those people who do they may be as selfish and as sensual as they please and between God's will in the devil's action always have someone to throw their sin on but we've Richard unbelievers we bear our own burdens we must say I myself did it I not God not Satan I myself that is the sting that strikes deep Waldo she said gently with a sudden and complete change of manner I like you so much I love you she rested her cheek softly against his shoulder when I'm with you I never know that I'm a woman and you are a man I only know that we are both things that think other men when I am with them whether I love them or not they are mere bodies to me but you are a spirit I like you look she said quickly sinking back into her corner what a pretty pinkness there is on all the hilltops the Sun will rise in a moment Waldo lifted his eyes to look round over the circle of golden hills and the horses as the first sunbeams touched them shook their heads and chant their bright bits till the brush settings on their harness glittered again it was eight o'clock when there neared the farmhouse a red brick building with crawls to the right and a small orchard to the left already there were signs of unusual life and bustle one caught a wagon and a couple of settles against the war but token the arrival a few early guests whose numbers would soon be largely increased to a Dutch country wedding guests start up in numbers astonishing to one who has nearly written through the plains of sparsely inhabited kuru as the morning advances riders on many shades of steeds appear from all directions and at their saddles to the long rows against the walls shake hands drink coffee and stand about outside in groups to watch the arriving cots and ox wagons as they are unburdened of their heavy Freight of massive hunters and comely daughters followed by swarms of children of all sizes dressed in all manner of print and moleskin who had taken care of by Hottentot kefir and half cast nurses whose many shaded complexions ranging from LAT yellow up to ebony black add variety to the animated scene everywhere is excitement and bustle which gradually increases as the time for the return of the wedding party approaches preparations for the feast are actively advancing in the kitchen Coffee is liberally handed on and amid a profound sensation and the firing of guns the horse wegen draws up and the wedding party alight bride and bridegroom with their attendants marched solemnly to the marriage chamber where bed and box are decked out in white with ends of ribbon and artificial flowers and we're on a row of chairs the potty solemnly seeked themselves after a time bridesmaid and best man rise and conduct in ceremony each individual guests to wish success and to kiss bride and bridegroom then the feast is set on the table and it's almost sunset before the dishes are cleared away and the pleasure of the day begins everything is removed from the great front room and the mud floor well rubbed with Bullock's blood glistens like polished mahogany the female portion of the assembly flock into the side rooms to attire themselves for the evening and reissue CAD in white muslin and gay with black ribbons and brass jewelry the dancing begins as the first Tello candles are stuck up about the walls the music coming from a couple of Fiddler's in a corner of the room bride and groom opened the ball and the floor is soon covered with whirling couples and everyone's spirits rise the bridal pair mingle freely and the throng and here and there a musical man sings vigorously as he drags his partner through the blue water or John Sperry wig boys shush and applaud and the enjoyment and confusion are intense till eleven o'clock comes by this time the children who swarm in the side rooms are not to be kept quiet any longer even by hunters of bread and cake there is a general howl and wail that rises yet higher than the scraping of fiddles and mothers rushed from their partners to knock small heads together and cuff little nursemaids and forced the Wailers down into unoccupied corners of beds under tables and behind boxes in half an hour every variety of childish snow is heard on all sides and it has become perilous to raise or sit down afoot in any of the sad rooms lists a small head or hand should be crushed now to the busy feet have broken the solid coating of the floor and a cloud of fine dust arises that makes a yellow halo around the candles and sits asthmatic people coughing and grows denser till to recognize anyone on the opposite side of the room becomes impossible and a partner's face is seen through a yellow mist at 12 o'clock the bride is led to the marriage chamber and undressed the lacz are blown out and the bridegroom is brought to the door by the best man who gives him the key then the door is shut and locked and the Liberals rise higher than ever there is no thought of sleep till morning and no unoccupied spot where sleep may be found it was at this stage of the proceedings of the night of tun Sonny's winning that lindell's set near the doorway in one of the side rooms to watch the dancers as they appeared and disappeared on the yellow cloud of dust Gregory set moodily in a corner of the large dancing room his little betroth that's touched his arm I wish you would go an Auslan daughter dance with you she said she must be so tired she has sat still a whole evening I've asked her three times replied her lover shortly I'm not going to be heard dog and creep to her feet just to give her the pleasure of kicking me not for um nor for anybody else oh I didn't know you Gregg said his little betrothed humbly and she went away to pour out coffee liver the list sometime after Gregory found that he had shifted so far around the rumors to be close to the door where Lindell set after standing for some time he inquired whether he might not bring her a cup of coffee she declined but still he stood on why should he not stand there as well as anywhere else and then he stepped into the bedroom may I not bring you a stove miss Linda to put your feet on thank you he sought for one and put it under her feet there is a draught from that broken window shall I stuff something in the pane no we won't there Gregory looked round but nothing else suggesting itself he sat down on a box on the opposite side of the door Lindell set before him her chin resting in her hand her eyes steel-gray by day but black by night looked through the doorway into the next room after a time he thought she had entirely forgotten his proximity and he dared to inspect the little hands and neck as he never dared when he was in momentary dread of the eyes being turned upon him she was dressed in black which seemed to take her yet further from the white-clad new gourd women about her and the little hands were white and the diamond ring glittered where had she got that ring he bent forward a little and tried to decipher the letters but the candlelight was too faint when he looked up her eyes were fixed on him she was looking at him not Gregory felt as she had ever looked at him before not as though he were a stump or a stone that chance had thrown in her way tonight whether it were critically or kindly or unkindly he could not tell but she looked at him at the man Gregory rose with attention a vague elation filled him he clenched his fists tight to think of some good idea he might expressed her but of all those profound things he had pictured himself as saying to her when he sat alone in the door burn wattle house not one came he said at last these bored dancers are very low things and then as soon as had gone from him he thought it was not a clever remark and wished it back before Linda replied and looked in at the door oh come she said they're going to have the cushion dance I do not want to kiss any of these fellows take me quickly she slipped her hand into Gregory's arm it is so dusty in do you care to dance anymore he asked without rising oh I did not mind the dust and the dancing wrists me but he did not move I feel tired I do not think I shall dance again he said M withdrew her hand and a young farmer came to the door and bore her off I have often imagined remarked Gregory but Lindell had risen I am tired she said I wonder where Waldo is he must take me home these people will not leave off till morning a Spurs it's 3:00 already she made her way past the Fiddler's and a bench full of tired dancers and passed out at the front door on the stoop a group of men and boys were smoking peeping in at the windows and cracking coarse jokes Waldo was certainly not among them and she made her way to the carts and waggons drawn up at some distance from the homestead Waldo she said peering into a large cart is that you I'm so dazed with the Telo candles I can see nothing he had made himself a place between the two seats she climbed up and set on the sloping floor in front I thought I should find you here she said drawing her skirt up about her shoulders he must take me home presently but not now she leaned her head on the seat near to his and they listened in silence to the fitful training of the fiddles as the night wind bore it from the farmhouse and to the ceaseless thud of the dancers and the peals of gross laughter she stretched out her little hand to feel for his it is so nice to lie here and hear that noise she said I like to feel that strange life beating up against me I like to realize forms of life utterly unlike mine she drew a long breath when my own life feels small and I'm a priest with it I like to crush together and see it in a picture in an instant a multitude of disconnected unlike phases of human life a medieval monk with his string of pearls pacing the quiet orchard and looking up from the grass at his feet to the heavy fruit trees little Malay boys playing naked on a shining sea Beach a Hindoo philosopher learn under his Bunyan tree thinking thinking thinking so that in the thought of God he may lose himself the troop of beckon aliens dressed in white with crowns of vine leaves dancing along the Roman streets a martyr on the night of his death looking through the narrow window to the sky and feeling that already he has the wings that shall bear him up she moved to hand dreamily over her face an epicurean thus coursing at a Roman Baths to a lot of his disciples on the nature of happiness a careful witch doctor seeking for herbes by moonlight while from the huts on the hillside come the sound of dogs barking and the voices of women and children a mother giving bridden look to her children in little wooden basins and singing the evening song I like to see it all I feel it run through me that life belongs to me it makes my little life larger it breaks down the narrow walls that shut me in she sighed and drew a long breath have you made any plan she asked him presently yes he said the words coming in jets with pauses between I will take the gray mare I will travel first I'll see the world then I will find work what work I do not know she made a little impatient movement that is no plan travel see the world find work if you go into the world aimless without a definite object dreaming dreaming you will be definitely defeated bamboozled knocked the swearnet in the end you will stand with your beautiful life all spent and nothing to show they talk of genius it is nothing but this that a man knows what he can do best and does it and nothing else Waldo she admitting her little fingers closer among his I wish I could help you I wish I could make you see that you must decide what you will be and do it does not matter what you choose be a farmer businessman artist what you will but know your aim and live for that one thing we have only one life the secret of success is concentration where ever there has been a great life or a great work that has gone before taste everything a little look at everything a little but live for one thing anything is possible to a man who knows his end and moves straight for it and for it alone I will show you what I mean she said concisely words are guess till you condense them into pictures suppose a woman young friendless as I am the weakest thing on God's earth but she must make her way through life what she would be she cannot be because she's a woman so she looks carefully at herself and the world about her to see where her path must be made there is no one to help her she must help herself she looks these things she has a sweet voice rich in subtle intonation 'he's a fair very fair face with a power of concentrating in itself and giving expression to feelings that otherwise must have been dissipated in words a rare power of entering into other lives unlike her own and intuitively reading them aright these qualities she has how shall she use them a poet a writer needs only the mental what use has he for a beautiful body that registers clearly mental emotions and the painter wants an eye for form and Colour and the musician an ear for Timon tune and the mere Drudge has no need for mental gifts but there is one art in which all she has would be used for which they are all necessary the delicate expressive body the rich voice the power of mental transposition the actor who absorbs and then reflects from himself other human lives needs them all but needs not much more this is her end but hard to reach it before her are endless difficulties seas must be crossed poverty must be endured loneliness want she must be content to wait long before she can even get her feet upon the path if she has made blunders in the past if she has waited herself with a burden which she must bear to the end she must but bear the burden bravely and labor on there is no use in wailing in repentance here the next world is the place for that this life is too short by our errors we see deeper into life they help us she waited for a while if she does all this if she waits patiently if she is never cast down never despairs never forgets her end moves straight towards it bending men and things most unlikely to her purpose she must succeed at last men and things are plastic they part to the right and lift when one comes along them moving in a straight line to one end I know it by my own little experience she said long years ago I resolved to be sent to school it seemed a thing utterly out of my power but I waited I watched I collected clothes I wrote took my place at the school when all was ready I bore with my full force on the bore woman and she sent me at last it was a small thing but life is made up of small things as a body is built up of cells what has been done in small things can be done in large shall be she said softly Waldo listened to him the words were no confession no glimpse into the strong proud restless heart of the woman they were general words with a general application he looked up into the sparkling sky with dull eyes yes he said but when we lie and think and think we see that there is nothing worth doing the universe is so large and man is so small she shook her head quickly but we must not think so far it is madness it is a disease we know that no man's work is great and stands forever Moses is day and the profits and the books that our grandmother's fit on the mold is eating your poet and painter and actor before the shots that applaud them have dyed their names grow strange they are milestones that the world has passed men have sipped their mark on mankind forever as they thought but time has washed it out as it has washed out mountains and continents she raised herself on her elbow and what if we could help mankind and leave the traces of our work upon it to the end mankind is only an ephemeral blossom on the tree of time there were others before it opened there will be others after it has fallen where was man in the time of the dicking Odent and when hoary monsters wallowed in the mud will he be found in the ends that are to come we are sparks we are shadows we are pollen which the next wind will carry away we are dying already it is all a dream I know that thought when the fever of living is on us when the desire to become to know to do is driving us mad we can use it as an anodyne to still the fever and cool are beating pulses but it is a poison not a food if we live on it it will turn our blood to ice we might as well be dead we must not Walter I want your life to be beautiful to end in something you are nobler and stronger than I she said and as much bitter as one of God's great angels is better than a sinning man your life must go for something yes we will work he said she moved closer to him and lay still his black curls touching her smooth little head dose who had lain at his master's side climbed over the bench and curled himself up in her lap she drew her skirt up over him and the three set motionless for a long time border she said suddenly they're laughing at us who he asked starting up they the stars she said softly do you not see there is a little white bouquet finger pointing down at us from each one of them we are talking of tomorrow and tomorrow and our hearts are so strong we are not thinking of something that can touch us softly in the dark and make us still forever they are laughing at us Waldo both set looking upwards do you ever pray he asked her in a low voice no I never do but I match when I look up there I will tell you he added in a still lower voice where I could pray if there were a wall of rock on the edge of a world and one rock stretched out far far into space and I stood alone upon it and learn with stars above me and stars below me I would not say anything but the feeling would be prayer there was an end to their conversation after that and das fell asleep on her knee at last the night wind grew very chilly ha she said shivering and drawing the skirt about her shoulders I'm cold spanning the horses and call me when you're ready she slipped down and walked towards the house dust if Lea following her not pleased at being roused at the door she met Gregory I've been looking for you everywhere may I not drive you home he said Waldo drives me she replied passing on and it appeared to Gregory that she looked at him in the old way without seeing him but before she had reached the door an idea had occurred to her for she turned if you wish to drive me you may gregory went to look for him whom he found pouring out coffee in the back room he put his hand quickly on her shoulder you must ride with Waldo I'm going to drive your cousin him but I can't come just now Greg I promised aunt Annie Miller to look after the things while she went to rest a little well you can come presently can't you I didn't say you were to come now I'm sick of this thing said Gregory turning sharply on his heel why must I sit up the whole night because your stepmother chooses to get married it's all right Greg I only meant but he did not hear her and a man had come up to have his cup filled an hour after Waldo came in to look for her and found her still busy at the table the horses are ready he said but if you would like to have one dance no I will wait she shook her head wearily no I'm quite ready to go I want to go and soon they were on the sandy road the buggy had travelled an hour before their horses with heads close together nodding sleepily as they walked in the Starlight you might have counted the rise and fall of their feet in the sand and Waldo in his saddle nodded graslie also only M was awake and watched the starlit road with wide-open eyes at last she spoke I wonder if all people feel so old so very old when they get to be seventeen not older than before said Waldo sleepily pulling at his bridle presently she said again I wish I could have been a little child always you are good then you are never selfish you like everyone to have everything but when you're grown up there are some things you like to have all to yourself and don't like anyone else to have any of them yes said Waldo sleepily and she did not speak again when they reached the farmhouse all was dark for Lindell had retired as soon as they got home Waldo lifted him from her saddle and for a moment she leaned her head on his shoulder and clung to him you are very tired he said as he walked with her to the door let me go in and light a candle for you no thank you it's all right she said good night Waldo dear but when she went in she said long alone in the dark end of chapter 2 part 6 chapter 2 part 7 of the story of an African farm by olive Shriner this LibriVox recording is in the public domain read by Sally McConnell in Betty's Bay South Africa in March 2010 Waldo goes up to taste life and M stays at home and tastes it at nine o'clock in the evening packing his bundles for the next morning start Waldo looked up and was surprised to see Emma's yellow head peeping in at his door it was many a month since she had been there she said she had made him sandwiches for his journey and she stayed awhile to help him put his goods into the saddlebags you can leave the old bags lying about she said I will lock the room and keep it waiting for you to come back some day to come back some day would the bird ever return to its cage but he thanked her when she went away he stood on the doorstep holding the candle till she had almost reached the house but M was that evening in no hurry to enter and instead of going in at the back door walked with lagging footsteps round the low brick wall the grand before the house opposite the open window of the parlor she stopped the little room kept carefully closed in tunt Sunny's time was well lighted by a paraffin lamp books and work placed Droon about it and it wore a bright habitable aspect beside the lamp at the table in the corner set Lindell the open letters and papers of the days post lying scattered before her while she perused the columns of a newspaper at the center table with his arms folded on an open paper which there was not light enough to read said Gregory he was looking at her the light from the open window fell on a metal face under its white cap he as she looked in but no one glanced that way go and fetch me a glass of water Lindell said at last Gregory went out to find it when he put it down at her side she merely moved her head in recognition and he went back to his seat and his old occupation then and moved slowly away from the window and through it came in spotted hard winged insects to play around the lamp till one by one they stuck to its glass and fill at the foot did ten o'clock struck then Lindell rose gathered up her papers and litters and wished Gregory goodnight sometime after M entered she had been sitting all the while on the loft letter and had drawn her cup II done very much over her face Gregory was piecing together the bits of an envelope when she came in I thought you were never coming he said turning round quickly and throwing the fragments onto the floor you know I've been shearing all day and it's ten o'clock already I'm sorry I did not think you would be going so soon she said in a low voice I can't hear what you say what makes you mumble so well goodnight him he stooped down hastily to kiss her I want to talk to you Gregory well make haste he said pitously I'm awfully tired I've been sitting here all evening why couldn't you come and talk before I will not keep you long she answered very steadily now I think Gregory it would be better if you and I were never to be married good heavens M what do you mean I thought you were so fond of me you always professed to be what on earth have you taken into your head now I think it would be bitter she said folding her hands over each other very much as though she were praying better M what do you mean even a woman can't take a free call about nothing you must have some reason for it and I'm sure I've done nothing to offend you I wrote only today to my sister to tell her to come up next month to our wedding and I've been as a fiction it and happy as possible come what's the matter he put his arm around her shoulder very loosely I think it would be bitter she answered slowly oh well he said drawing himself up if you won't enter into Expo Nations you went and I'm not the man to beg in prayer not to any woman and you know that if you don't want to marry me I can't oblige you too of course she stood quite still before him you women never do know your own minds for two days together and of course you know the state of your own feelings best but it's very strange have you really made up your mind him yes well I'm very sorry I'm sure I've not been in anything to blame a man can't always be building and cooing but as you say if your feeling for me has changed it's much better you shouldn't marry me there's nothing so foolish as to marry someone you don't love and I only wish for your happiness I'm sure I daresay you'll find someone to make you much happier than I could the first person we love is seldom the right one you are very young it's quite natural you should change she said nothing things often seem hard at the time but Providence makes them turn out for the best in the end said Gregory you'll let me kiss you in just for old friendships sake he stooped on you must look upon me as a dear brother as a cousin at least as long as I'm on the farm I shall always be glad to help you in soon after the Brown Kearney was cantering along the footpath to the door burned wattle Hoss and his master as he rode whistled Johnsbury Wiggin The Thorn Kluth Scottish the son had not yet touched the outstretched arms of the prickly pear upon the copy and the early and hens still strutted about stiffly after the gnats roost when waldo stood before the wagon house saddling the gray mare every now and then he glanced up at the old familiar objects they had a new aspect that morning even macaques seen in the light of parting had a peculiar interest and he listened with conscious attention while one crowed Kerr and loud as it stood on the pigsty war he wished good morning softly to the careful woman who was coming up from the huts to light the fire he was leaving them all to that old life and from his height he looked down on them pityingly so they would keep on crowing and coming to light fires went for him that old colorless existence was but a dream he went into the house to say goodbye to em and then he walked to the door of Linda's room to wake her but she was up and standing in the doorway so you're ready she said walden looked at her with sudden heaviness the exhilaration died out of his heart her grey dressing-gown hung close about her and below its edge the little bear feet were resting on the threshold I wonder when we shall meet again Waldo what you will be and what I will you write to me he asked her yes and if I should not you can still remember wherever you are that you are not to learn I have left dust for you he said will you not miss him no I want you to have him he loves you better than he loves me thank you they stood quiet goodbye she said putting her little hand in his and he turned away but when he reached the door she called to him come back I want to kiss you she drew his face down to hers and held it with both hands and kissed it on the forehead and mouth goodbye dear when he looked back the little figure with its beautiful eyes was standing in the doorway still end of chapter 2 part 7

Michael Martin

1 Response

  1. Story of an African Farm | Olive Schreiner | Action & Adventure Fiction, General Fiction | 4/6

    16: [00:00:00] – 16 – Chapter 2, Part 3

    17: [00:23:07] – 17 – Chapter 2, Part 4

    18: [01:04:46] – 18 – Chapter 2, Part 5

    19: [01:22:41] – 19 – Chapter 2, Part 6

    20: [01:51:14] – 20 – Chapter 2, Part 7

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