Story of an African Farm | Olive Schreiner | Action & Adventure Fiction, General Fiction | 5/6

chapter 2 part 8 of the story of an African farm by olive Rana this LibriVox recording is in the public domain read by Sally McConnell in Betty's Bay South Africa in March 2010 the copy good morning M who was in the storeroom measuring the kafirs rations looked up and saw her former lover standing betwixt her and the sunshine for some days after that evening on which he had written her and whistling he had shunned her she might wished to enter into explanations and he Gregory Rose was not the man for that kind of thing if a woman had once thrown him overboard she must take the consequences and stand by them when however she showed no inclination to revert to the past and shunned him more than he shunned her Gregory softened you must let me call you M still and be like a brother to you till I go he said and M thanked him so humbly that he wished she hadn't it wasn't so easy after that to think of himself as an injured man on that morning he stood some time in the doorway switching his width and moving rather riskless Lea from one leg to the other I think I'll just take a walk up to the camp's and see how your birds are getting on now Waldo's gone you've no one to see after things last morning isn't it then he added suddenly I just go run to the house and get a drink of water first and somewhat awkwardly walked off he might have found water in the kitchen but he never glanced towards the buckets in the front room a monkey and two tumblers stood on the center table but he merely looked round peeped into the parlour looked round again and then walked out at the front door and found himself again at the store room without having satisfied his thirst awfully nice this morning he said trying to pose himself in a graceful and indifferent attitude against the door it isn't hot and it isn't cold it's awfully nice yes said in your cousin now said Gregory in an aimless sort of way I suppose she shut up in her room writing letters no SID him gone for a drive I expect last morning for a drive no gone to see the ostriches I suppose no after a little silence a matted I saw her go by the crawls to the copy Gregory crossed and uncrossed his legs well I think I'll just go and have a look about he said and see how things are getting on before I go to the camps goodbye so long M lift for a while the bags she was folding and went to the window the same through which years before burn apart had watched the slashing figure across the yard Gregory walked to the pigsty first and contemplated the pigs for a few seconds then turned round and stood looking fixedly at the wall of the fuel house as though he thought it wanted repairing then he started off suddenly with the evident intention of going to ostrich camps then paused hesitated and finally walked off in the direction of the copy then M went back to the corner and folded more sacks on the other side of the copy Gregory caught sight of a white tail waving among the stones and a succession of short frantic bucks told where Doss was engaged in Harling imploringly to an lizard who had crept between two stones and who had not the slightest intention of reselling himself at that particular moment the dogs mistress set higher up under the shelving rock her face bent over a volume of plays upon her knee as Gregory mounted the stones she started violently and looked up then resumed her book I hope I'm not troubling you said Gregory as he reached her side if I am I will go away I just know you may stay I fear I startled you yes your step was firmer than it generally is I thought it was that of someone else who could it be but me asked Gregory seating himself on a stone at her feet do you suppose you are the only man who would find anything to attract him to this copy oh no said Gregory he was not going to argue that point with her nor any other but no old board was likely to take the trouble of climbing the copy and who else was there she continued the study of her book miss Lindell he said at last I don't know why it is you never talk to me we had a long conversation yesterday she said without looking up yes but you asked me questions about sheep and oxen I don't call that talking you used to talk to Walder now he said in an aggrieved tone of voice I've heard you when I came in and then you just lift off you treated me like that from the first day and you couldn't tell from just looking at me that I couldn't talk about the things you like I'm sure I know as much about such things as Waldo does said Gregory in exceeding bitterness of spirit I do not know what things you refer to if you will enlighten me I'm quite prepared to speak of them she said reading as she spoke oh you never used to ask Waldo like that said Gregory in a more solely aggrieved tone than ever you used just to begin well let me see she said closing her book and folding her hands on it there at the foot of the copy goes a Kepha he has nothing on but a blanket he's a splendid fella six feet high with a magnificent pair of legs in his leather bag he is going to fetch his rations and are supposed to kick his wife with his beautiful Lynx when he gets home he has a right to he bought her for two oxen there is a lean dog going off to him to whom I suppose he never gives more than a burn from which he has sucked the marrow but his dog loves him as his wife does there is something of the master about him in spite of his blackness and wool see how he brandishes his stick and holds up his head oh but aren't you making fun said Gregory looking doubtfully from her to the kafir' herd who rounded the copy yeah I'm very serious he is the most interesting and intelligent thing I can see just now except perhaps dose he is profoundly suggestive will his race melt away in the heat of a collision with a higher other men of the future to see his burns only in museums a Vista one link that spanned between the dog and the white man he wakes thoughts that run far out into the future and back into the past Gregory was not quite sure how to take these remarks being about a Kepha they appeared to be the nature of a joke but being seriously spoken they appeared earnest so he half laughed and half not to be on the safe side how I've often thought so myself it's funny we should both think the same I knew we should if once we talked but there are other things loved now he added I wonder if we would think alike about that I wrote an essay on love once the master said it was the best I ever wrote and I can remember the first sentence still love is something that you feel in your heart that was a trenchant remark can you remember any more no said Gregory regretfully I've forgotten the rest but tell me what you think about love oh look half abstraction half amusement played on her lips I don't know much about love she said and I do not like to talk of things I do not understand but I have heard two opinions some say the devil carried the seed from hill and planted it on earth to plague men and make them sin and some say when all the plants in the Garden of Eden were pulled up by the roots one bush that the angels had planted was left growing and it spread its seed over the whole earth and its name is love I do not know which is right perhaps both there are different species that go under the same name there is a love that begins in the head that goes down to the heart and grows slowly but it lasts till death and asks less than it gives there is another love that blocks out wisdom that is sweet with the sweetness of life and bitter with the bitterness of death lasting for an hour but it is worth having lived a whole life for that hour I cannot tell perhaps the old monks were right when they tried to rout love art perhaps the poets are right when they try to water it it is blood-red flower with the color of sin but there is always the scent of a God about it Gregory would have made a remark but she said without noticing there are as many kinds of loves as there are flowers everlastings that never wither speed Wells that wait for the wind to fan them out of life blood-red mountain lilies that pour their voluptuous sweetness out for one day and lie in the dust at night there is no flower has the charm of all the speed Wells purity the everlasting strength the mountain lilies warmth but who knows whether there is no love that holds all friendship passion worship such a love she said in her sweetest voice will fall on the surface of strong cold selfish life as the Sun falls on a torpid winter world there where the trees are bare and the ground frozen till it rings to the step like iron and the water is solid and the air is sharp as a two-edged knife that cuts the unwary but when the Sun shines on it through its whole dead crust a throbbing yearning wakes the trees feel him and every knot and bud swell aching to open to him the brown seeds who have slipped deep under the ground feel him and he gives them strength till they break through the frozen earth and lift to tiny trembling green hands in love to him and he touches the water till down to its depths it feels him and melts and it flows and the things strange sweet things that were locked up in it sings as it runs for love of him each plant tries to bear at least one fragrant little flower for him and the world that was dead lives and the heart that was dead and self-centred throbs with an upward outward yearning and it has become that which it seemed impossible ever to become there does that satisfy you she asked looking down at Gregory is that how you like me to talk oh yes said Gregory that is what I have already thought we have the same thoughts about everything how strange very said Lindell working with her little toe at a stone in the ground before her Gregory felt he must sustain the conversation the only thing he could think of was to recite a piece of poetry he knew he had learned many about love but the only thing that would come into his mind now was the Battle of her and Lyndon and not a drum was heard neither of which seemed to bear directly on the subject on hand but unexpected relief came to him from dos who too deeply lost in contemplation of his crevice was surprised by the sudden descent of the stone lindell's foot had loosened which really against his little front paw carried away a piece of white skin thus stood on three legs holding up his paws an expression of extreme self commiseration he then proceeded to hop slowly upwards in search of sympathy you have heard that dog said Gregory have I she replied indifferently and reopened the book as though to resume her study of the play he's a nasty snappish little cur said Gregory calculating from her manner that the remark would be endorsed he snapped at my horse's tail yesterday and nearly made it throw me I wonder his master didn't take him instead of leaving him here to be a nuisance to all of us Lindell seemed absorbed in her play but he ventured another amok do you think now miss Lindell that he'll ever have anything in the world that German I mean money enough to support a wife on and all that sort of thing I don't he's what I call a soft he was spreading her skirt art softly with her left hand for the dog to lie down on it I think I should be rather astonished if he ever became a respectable member of society she said I don't expect to see him the possessor of Bancshares the chairman of a divisional council and the father of a large family wearing a black hat and going to church twice on a Sunday he would rather astonish me if he came to such an end yes I don't expect anything of him either said Gregory zealously well I don't know said Linda there are some small rather looked to him for if he were to invent wings or carve a statue that one might look at for half an hour without wanting to look at something else I should not be surprised he may do some little thing of that kind perhaps when he has done fermenting and the sediment has all gone to the bottom Gregory felt that what she said was not wholly intended as blame well I don't know he said sulkily to me he looks like a fool to walk about always and that did and a live sort of way muttering to himself like an old kafir witch doctor he works hard enough but it's always as though he didn't know what he was doing you don't know how he looks to a person who sees him for the first time Linda was softly touching the little sore foot as she read and dust to show he lacked it licked her hand but miss little persisted Gregory what do you really think of him I think said Lindell that he is like a thorn tree which grows up very quietly without anyone's caring for it and one day suddenly breaks out into yellow blossoms and what do you think I am like asked Gregory hopefully Linda looked up from her book like a little tin duck floating on a dish of water that comes after a piece of bread stuck on a needle and the more the needle pricks it the more it comes on oh you are making fun of me now you really are said Gregory feeling Richard you are making fun aren't you no partly it is always diverting to make comparisons yes but you don't compare me to anything nice and you do other people what is M like now there compliment of a song she fills up the gaps in other people's lives and is always number two but I think she is like many accompaniments a great deal better than the song she is to accompany she is not half so good as you are said Gregory with a burst of uncontrollable ardor she is so much better than I that her little finger has more goodness in it than my whole body I hope you may not live to find out the truth of that fact you are like an angel he said the blood rushing to his head and face yes probably angels are of many orders you are the one being that I love said Gregory quivering I thought I loved before but I know now do not be angry with me I know you could never like me but if I might but always be near you to serve you I would be utterly utterly happy I would ask nothing in return if you could only take everything I haven't use it I want nothing but to be of use to you she looked at him for a few minutes how do you know she said slowly that you could not do something to serve me you could serve me by giving me your name he started and turned his burning face to her you are very cruel you are ridiculing me he said no I'm not Gregory what I am saying is plain matter-of-fact business if you are willing to give me your name within three weeks time I am willing to marry you if not well I want nothing more than your name that is a clear proposal is it not he looked up was it contempt loathing pity that moved in the eyes above he could not tell but he stooped over the little foot and kissed it she smiled do you really mean it he whispered yes you wish to serve me and to have nothing in return you shall have what you wish she held out her fingers for dust to lick do you see this dog he licks my hand because I love him and I allow him to where I do not love I do not alight I believe you love me I too could love so that to lie under the foot of the thing I loved would be more than heaven than to lie in the breasts of another come let us go carry the dog she added he will not bite you if I put him in your arms so do not let his foot hang down they decide of the copy at the bottom he was but would you not take my arm the path is very rough she rested her fingers lightly on it I may had changed my mind about marrying you before the time comes it is very likely mock you she said turning round on him I remember your words you will give everything and expect nothing the knowledge that you are serving me is to be your reward and you will have that you will serve me and greatly the reason I have for marrying you and need not inform you of now you will probably discover some of them before long I only want to be of some use to you he said it seemed to Gregory that there were pulses in the soles of his feet and the ground Shimon has on a summer's day they walked round the foot of the copy and crossed the kafir hats an old cafe made note at the door of one grinding Neely's that she should see him walking sir made his heart beat so fast that the hand on his arm felt its pulsation it seemed that she must envy him just then M looked out again at the back window and saw them coming she cried bitterly all the while she salted the skins but that night when Lindell had burned her candle out and half turned round to sleep the door of M's bedroom opened I want to say good luck to you Lindell she said coming to the bedroom and kneeling down I thought you were asleep Lindell replied yes I have been asleep but I had such a vivid dream she said holding the other's hands and that awoke me I have never had so vivid a dream before it seemed I was a little girl again and I came somewhere into a large room on a bed in the corner there was something lying dressed in white and its little eyes were shut and its little face was like wax I thought it was a doll and I ran forward to take it but someone held up her finger and said hush it is a little dead baby and I said oh I missed gun cool Lindell that she made look at it also and they put their faces pursed down to my ear and whispered it is lindell's baby and I said she cannot be grown up yet she's only a little girl where is she and I went to look for you but I couldn't find you and when I came to some people who were dressed in black I asked them where you were and they looked down at their black clothes and shook their heads and said nothing and I could not find you anywhere and then I awoke Lindell she said putting her face down upon the hands she held it made me think about that time when we were little girls and used to play together when I loved you better than anything else in the world it isn't anyone's fault that they love you they can't help it and it isn't your fault you don't make them love you I know it thank you dear then they'll said it is nice to be loved but it would be better to be good then they wished goodnight and em went back to her room long after Lindell lay in the dock thinking thinking and as she turned round wearily to sleep she muttered there are some wiser in there sleeping than in their waking end of chapter 2 part 8 chapter 2 part 9 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 in March 2010 lindell's Stranger a fire is burning in the unused half of the cabin the fuel blazes up and lacks the black rafters and warms the faded red lines on the quilt and fills the little room with the glow of warmth and light made brighter by contrast for outside the night is chill and Misty before the open fireplace sits a stranger his tall slack figure reposing in the broken armchair his keen blue eyes studying the fire from beneath delicately penciled drooping eyelids one white hand plays thoughtfully with a heavy flexin moustache yet once he starts and for an instant the languid fluids raised themselves there is a keen intent look upon the face as he listens for something then he leans back in his chair fills his glass from the silver flask in his bag and resumes his old posture presently the door opens noiselessly it is Lindell followed by das quietly as she enters he hears her and turns I thought you were not coming I waited til all had gone to bed I could not come before she removed the shawl that enveloped her and the stranger rose to offer her his chair but she took her seat on a low pile of sex before the window I hardly see why I should be up Lord after this fashion he said reseating himself and drawing his chair a little nearer to her these are hardly the quarters one expects to find after travelling a hundred miles in answer to an invitation I said come if you wish and I did wish you give me a cold reception I could not take you to the house questions would be asked which I could not answer without prevarication your conscience is growing to have a certain virgin tenderness he said in a low melodious voice I have no conscience I spoke one deliberate lie this evening I said the man who had come look RUF we had best not have him in the house therefore I brought him here it was a deliberate lie and I hate lies I tell him if I must but they hurt me well you do not tell lies to yourself at all events you are candid so far she interrupted him you got my litter yes that's why I came you sent a very foolish reply you must take it back who is this fellow you talk of marrying a young farmer lives here yes he's gone to town to get things for our wedding what kind of fellow is he a fool and you would rather marry him than me yes because you are not one that is uh novel reason for refusing to marry a man he said leaning his elbow on the table and watching her keenly it's a wise one she said shortly if I marry him I shall shake him off my hand when it suits me if I remained with him for twelve months he would never have dared to kiss my hand as far as I wish he should come he comes and no further would you ask me what you might and what you might not do a companion raised the moustache with the caressing movement from his lip and smiled it was not a question that stood in need of any answer why do you wish to enter on the semblance of marriage because there is only one point on which I have a conscience I have told you sir then why not marry me because if once you have me you would hold me fast I shall never be free again she drew a long low breath what have you done with the ring I gave you he asked sometimes I wear it then I take it off and wish to throw it into the fire the next day I put it on again and sometimes I kiss it so you do love me a little if you were not something more to me than any other man in the world do you think she paused I love you when I see you but when you're away from me I hate you then I fear I must be singularly invisible at the present moment he said possibly if you were to look less fixedly into the fire you might perceive me he moved his chair slightly so as to come between her and the firelight she raised her eyes to his face if you do love me he asked her why will you not marry me because if I had been married to you for a year I should have come to my senses and seen that your hands and your voice select the hands and the voice of any other man I cannot quite see that now but it is all madness you call into activity one part of my nature there is a higher part that you know nothing of that you never touch if I married you afterwards it would arise and assert itself and I should hate you always as I do now sometimes I like you when you grow metaphysical and analytical he said leaning his face upon his hand go a little further in your analysis say I love you with the right ventricle of the heart but not the left and with the lift auricle of my heart but not the right and this being the case my affection for you is not over duly elevated intellectual and spiritual nature I like you when you get philosophical she looked quietly at him he was trying to turn her own weapons against her you are acting foolishly Lindell he said suddenly changing his manner and speaking earnestly most foolishly you are acting like a little child and surprised at you it is all very well to have ideals and theories but you know as well as anyone can that they must not be carried into the practical world I love you I do not pretend that it is in any high super human sense I do not say that I should like you as well if you were ugly and deformed or that I should continue to prize you whatever your treatment of me might be or to love you there you were a spirit without anybody at all that is sentimentality for beardless boys everyone not a mere child and you are not a child except in years knows what love between a man and a woman means I love you with that love I should not have believed it possible that I could have brought myself twice to ask of any woman to be my wife more especially one without wealth without position and who yes go on do not grow sorry for me say what you were going to who has put herself into my power and who has lost the right of meeting me on equal terms say what you think at least we too may speak the truth to one another then she added after a pause I believe you do love me as much as you possibly could love anything and I believe that when you ask me to marry you you are performing the most generous Act you have ever performed in the course of your life or ever will but at the same time if I had required your generosity it would not have been shown to me if when I got your literal month ago hinting at your willingness to marry me I had at once written imploring you to come you would have read the letter poor little devil you would have said and torn it up the next week you would have sailed for Europe and sent me a check for a hundred and fifty pounds which I would have thrown into the fire and I would have heard no more of you the stranger smiled but because I declined your proposal and wrote that in three weeks I should be married to another then what you call love woke up your man's love is a child's love for butterflies you followed till you have the thing and break it if you have broken one wing in the thing flies still then you love it more than ever and follow till you break both then you are satisfied when it lies still on the ground you are profoundly wise in the ways of the world you have seen far into life he said he might as well have sneered at the firelight I have seen enough to tell me that you love me because you cannot bear to be resisted and want to master me you like me at first because I treated you and all men with indifference you resolved to have me because I seemed unattainable that is all your love means he felt a strong inclination to stoop down and to kiss the little lips that defied him but he restrained himself he said quietly and you loved me because you are strong you are the first man I ever was afraid of and the dreamy look came into her face because I like to experience I like to try you don't understand that he smiled well since he will not marry me may I inquire what your intentions are the plan you wrote of you asked me to come and hear it and I have come I said come if you wish if you agree to it well if not I marry on Monday well she was still looking beyond him at the fire I cannot marry you she said slowly because I cannot be tired but if you wish you may take me away with you and take care of me then when we do not love any more we can say goodbye I will not go down country she added I will not go to Europe you must take me to the trance fall that is out of the world people we meet there we need not see again in our future lives oh my darling he said bending tenderly and holding his hand after her why will you not give yourself entirely to me one day you would desert me and go to another she shook her head without looking at him no life is too long but I will go with you when tomorrow I have told them that before daylight I go to the next farm I will write from the town and tell them the facts I do not want them to trouble me I want to shake myself free of these old surroundings I want them to lose sight of me you can understand that that is necessary for me he seemed lost in consideration then he said it is better to have you on those conditions than not at all if you will have it let it be so he sat looking at her on her face was the weary look that rested there so often now when she sat alone two months had not passed since they were parted but the time had set its mark on her he looked at her carefully from the bronze smooth head to the little crossed feet on the floor a worn look had grown over the little face and it made its charm for him stronger for pain and time which traced deep lines and write a story on a human face have a strangely different effect on one face and another the face that is only fair even very fair there Mar and flaw but to the face whose beauty is the harmony between that which speaks from within and the form through which it speaks power is added by all that causes the outer man to bear more deeply the impress of the inner the pretty woman fades with the roses on her cheeks and the girl hood that lasts an hour the beautiful woman finds her fullness of bloom only when a past has written itself on her and her power is then most irresistible when it seems going from under there half closed lids the keen eyes look down at her her shoulders were bent for a moment the little figure had forgotten its queenly bearing and drooped wearily the wide dark eyes watched the fire very softly it certainly was not in her power to resist him nor any strength in her that made his own at that moment grow soft as he looked at her he touched the little hand that rested on her knee poor little thing he said you are only a child she did not draw her hand away from his and looked up at him you are very tired yes she looked into his eyes as a little child Knight whom a long day's play had saddened he lifted her gently up and set her on his knee poor little thing he said she turned her face to his shoulder and buried it against his neck he warned his strong arm about her and held her close to him when she had sat for a long while he drew with his hand the face down and held it against his arm he kissed it and then put it back in its own resting place don't you want to talk to me No have you forgotten the night in the Avenue he could feel that she shook her head do you want to be quiet now yes they set quite still accepting that only sometimes he raised her fingers softly to his mouth dass who had been asleep in the corner waking suddenly planted himself before them his wiry legs moving nervously his yellow eyes filled with anxiety he was not at all sure that she was not being retained in her prison position against her will and was not a little relieved when she sat up and held out her hand for the shawl I must go she said the stranger wrapped the shawl very carefully about her keep it close around your face Lindell it's very damp outside shall I walk with you to the house no lie down and rest I will come and wake you at three o'clock she lifted her face that he might kiss it and when he had kissed it once she still held it that he might kiss it again then he let her out he had seated himself at the fireplace when she reopened the door have you forgotten anything no she gave one long lingering look at the old room when she was gone and the door shut the stranger filled his glass and sat at the table sipping it thoughtfully the night outside was misty and damp the faint moonlight trying to force its way through the thick air made darkly visible the outlines of the buildings the stones and walls were moist and nan-in and drop slowly collecting fell from the eaves to the ground dose not lacking the change from the cabins warmth ran quickly to the kitchen doorstep but his mistress walked slowly past him and took her way up the winding footpath that ran beside the stone wall of the camps when she came to the end of the last camp she threaded her way among the stones and bushes till she reached the Germans grave why she had come there she hardly knew she stood looking down suddenly she bent and put one hand on the face of a wet stone I shall never come to you again she said then she knelt on the ground and leaned her face upon the stones gerald good old man I am so tired she said for we will come to the dead to tell secrets we would never have told to the living I am so tired there is light there is warmth she wailed why am I alone so hard so cold I am so weary of myself it is eating my soul to the core self self self I cannot bear this life I cannot breathe I cannot live well nothing free me from myself she pressed her cheek against the wooden post I want to love I want something great and pure to lift me to itself dear old man I cannot bear it anymore I am so cold so hard so hard well no one helped me the walther gathered slowly on her shawl and fell onto the wet stones but she lay there crying bitterly for so the living soul will cry to the dead and the creature to its God and of all as crying there comes nothing the lifting up of the hands brings no salvation redemption is from within and neither from God nor man it is wrought out by the soul itself with suffering and through time dose on the kitchen door snip shivered and wondered where his mistress stayed so long and once sitting sadly there in the damp he had dropped asleep and dreamed that old Otto gave him a piece of bread and patted him on the head and when he woke his teeth chattered and he moved to another stone to see if it was drier at last he heard his mistress's tip and they went into the house together she lit a candle and walked to the bore woman's bedroom on a nail under the lady in pink hung the key of the Wardrobe she took it down and opened the great press from a little drawer she took fifty pounds or she had in the world relocked the door and turned to hang up the key then she paused hesitated the marks of tears were still on her face but she smiled fifty pounds for a lover a noble reward she said and opened the Wardrobe and returned the notes to the drawer where em might find them once in her own room she arranged the few articles she intended to take tomorrow burnt her old letters and then went back to the front room to look at the time they were two hours yet before she must call him she sat down at the dressing table to wait and leaned her elbows on it and buried her face in her hands the glass reflected the little brown head with its even parting and the tiny hands on which had rested one day I will love something utterly and then I will be bitter she said once presently she looked up the large dog eyes from the glass looked back at her and she looked deep into them we are all alone you and I she whispered no one helps us no one understands us but we will help ourselves the eyes look back at her there was a world of assurance and they're still depths so they had looked at her ever since she could remember when it was but a small child's face above a blue pinafore we shall never be quite alone you and I she said we shall always be together as we were when we were little the beautiful eyes looked into the depths of her soul we are not afraid we will help ourselves she said she stretched out her hand and pressed it over them on the glass deer eyes we will never be quite alone until they part us to win end of chapter 2 part 9 chapter 2 part 10 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 has an idea Gregory Rose was in the loft putting it neat outside the rain poured a six-month drought had broken and the thirsty plain was drenched with water what it could not swallow ran orphan mad reveal its to the Great's loot that now firmed like an angry river across the flat even the little furrow between the farmhouse and the cross was now a main stream knee-deep which almost wore away the careful women who crossed it it had rained for 24 hours and still the rain poured on the fowls had collected a melancholy crowd in and about the wagon house and the solitary Gander who alone had survived the six months want of water walked hither and thither printing his webbed foot marks on the mud to have them washed out the next instant by the pelting rain which at 11 o'clock still beat on the walls and roof with unabated ardor Gregory as he worked on the loft took no notice of it beyond stuffing a second to the broken pane to keep it out and in spite of the Pelton petter his clear voice might be heard through the open trap door from the dining room where she sat at work singing the blue water and take me away and take me away and take me away to the blue water that quaint childish song of the people that has a world of sweetness and sad vague yearning when sung over and over dreamily by a woman's voice as she sits alone at her work but Gregory heard neither that nor yet the loud laughter of the cafe maids that every now and again broke through from the kitchen where they joked and worked of late Gregory had grown strangely impervious to the sounds and sacks about him his lease had run out but M had said do not renew it I need one to help me just stay on and she had added live with me you can look off to my ostriches better so and Gregory did not thank her what difference did it make to him paying rent or not living there or not it was all one but yet he came in wished that he would still sometimes talk of the strength and master right of man but Gregory was as one smitten on the cheekbone she might do what she pleased he would find no fault had no word to say he had forgotten that it is man's right to rule on that rainy morning he had lighted his pipe at the kitchen fire and when breakfast was over stood in the front door watching the water rushed on the road till the pipe died out in his mouth M so she must do something for him and found him a large calico duster he had sometimes talked of putting the loft neat and today she could find nothing else for him to do so she had the ladder put to the trek duel that he need not go out in the wit and Gregory with the broom and dust amounted to the loft once at work he worked hard he dusted down the very rafters and cleaned the broken candle molds and bent folks that had stuck in the thatch for twenty years he placed the black bottles neatly in rows on an old box in the corner and piled the skins on one another and sorted the rubbish in all the boxes and at eleven o'clock his work was almost done he seated himself on the packing cases which had once held Waldo's books and proceeded to examine the contents of another which he had not yet looked at it was carelessly nailed down he loosened one plank and began to lift out various articles of female attire old-fashioned caps aprons dresses with long pointed bodies such as he remembered to have seen his mother wear when he was a little child he shook them out carefully to see there were no moths and then sat down to fill them up again one by one they had belonged to EMSA and the box as packed at her death had stood untouched and forgotten these long years she must have been at all that mother of M's four when he stood up to shake out address the Nick was on the level with his and the skirt touched the ground Gregory laid a nightcap out on his knee and began rolling up the strings but presently his fingers moved slower and slower then his chin rested on his breast and finally the imploring blue eyes were fixed on the frill abstractedly when Em's voice called to him from the foot of the ladder he started and threw the nightcap behind him she was only come to tell him that his cup of soup was ready and when he could hear that she was gone he picked up the nightcap again and a great bronze sun cup 'i just such a cuppie and such a dress as one of those he remembered to have seen the Sister of Mercy where Gregory's mind was very full of thought he took down a fragment of an old looking glass from behind a beam and put the cup he on his beard looked somewhat grotesque under it he put up his hand to hide it that was bitter the blue eyes looked out with the mild gentleness that became eyes looking out from under a puppy next he took the brown dress and looked round furtively slipped it over his head he had just got his arms in the sleeves and was trying to hook up the back when an increase in the patter of the rain at the window made him drag it off hastily when he perceived there was no one coming he tumbled the things back into the box and covering it carefully went down the letter M was still at her work trying to adjust a new needle in the machine Gregory drank his soup and then set before her an awful and mysterious look in his eyes I am going to town tomorrow he said I'm almost afraid you won't be able to go said M who was intent on her needle I don't think it's going to leave off today I am going said Gregory M looked up but the salutes are as full as Rivers you cannot go we can wait for the post she said I'm not going for the post said Gregory impressively M looked for an explanation none came when will you be back I am NOT coming back are you going to your friends Gregory waited then caught her by the wrist look here M he said between his teeth I can't stand it anymore I'm going to her since that day when he had come home and fondle and all gone he had never talked of her but M knew who it was who needed to be spoken off by no name she said when he had released her hand but you do not know where she is yes I do she was in bloom from 10:00 when I heard lost I will go there and I will find out where she went then and then and then I will have her him turned the wheel quickly and the ill adjusted needles sprang into 20 fragments Gregory she said she does not want us she told us so clearly and the letter she wrote a flush rose on her face as she spoke it will only be pain to you Gregory who she likes to have you near her there was an answer he might have made but it was his secret and he did not choose to share it he said only I am going will you be gone long Gregory I do not know perhaps I shall never come back do what you please with my things I cannot stay here he rose from his seat people say forget forget he cried pacing the room they are mad they are fools do they say so to men who are dying of thirst forget forget why is it only to us they say sir it is a lie to say that time makes it easy it is afterwards afterwards that it eats in at your heart all these months he cried bitterly I have lived here quietly day after day as if I cared for what I ate and what I drank and what I did I care for nothing I cannot bear it I will not forget forget ejaculated Gregory you can forget all the world but you cannot forget yourself when one thing is more to you than yourself how are you to forget it I read he said yes and then I came to her word she used and it is all back with me again I go to count my sheep and I see her face before me and I stand and let the Sheep run by and look at you and in your smile as something at the corner of your lips I see her how can I forget her when wherever I turn she is there and not there I cannot I will not live where I do not see her I know what you think he said turning to him you think I'm mad you think I'm going to see whether she will not like me I am not so foolish I should have known at first she never could suffer me who am i what am i that she should look at me it was right that she left me right that she should not look at me if anyone says it is not it is a lie I am NOT going to speak to her he added only to see her only to stand sometimes in a place where she has stood before end of chapter 2 part 10 chapter 2 part 11 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 April 2010 an unfinished letter Gregory rose had been gone seven months M sat alone on a white sheepskin before the fire the August night wind wereld and shrill howled round the chimneys and through the crannies and in walls and doors and uttered a long low cry as it forced its way among the cliffs or the stones on the copy it was a wild night the prickly pear tree stiffened upright as it held its arms felt the winds might and knocked its flat leaves heavily together to a great branches broke off the kafirs as they slipped on their straw hats whispered to one another that before morning there would not be an armful of fetch lift on the roofs and the beam the wagon house creaked and groaned as if it were heavy work to resist the importuning the wind him had not gone to bed who could sleep on a night like this so in the dining room she had lighted a fire and set on the ground before it turning the roaster cakes that lay on the coals to bake it would save work in the morning and she blew out the light because the wind through the window chinks made it flicker and run and she sat singing to herself as she watched the cakes they layered one end of the wide half on a bed of coals and at the other end a fire burnt up steadily casting its amber glow over M's light hair and black dress with the ruffle of crape about the neck and over the white curls of the sheepskin on which she sat louder and more fiercely yet hauled the storm but M sang on and heard nothing but the words of her song and heard them only faintly as something restful it was an old childish song she had often heard her mother sing long ago where the reeds danced by the river where the will knows song is said on the face of the morning water is reflected a white flowers head she folded her hands and sang the next verse dreamily where the reeds shake by the river where the mornings Sheen is shared on the face of the sleeping water two leaves of a white flower floated did did she occurred the refrain softly till it died away and then repeated it It was as if unknown to herself it harmonized with the pictures and thoughts that sat with her there alone in the firelight she turned the cakes over while the wind hurled down a row of bricks from the gable and made the walls tremble presently she paused and listened there was a son as of something knocking at the back door way but the wind had raised its level higher and she went on with her work at last the sound was repeated then she rose lit the candle at the fire and went to sea only to satisfy herself she said that nothing could be out on such a night she opened the door a little way and held the light behind her to defend it from the wind the figure of a tall man stood there and before she could speak he had pushed his way in and was forcing the door to close behind him Waldo she cried in astonishment he had been gone more than a year and a half you did not expect to see me he answered as he turned towards her I should have slipped in the artists and not troubled you tonight but through the shutter I saw glimmerings of a light come into the fire she said it's a terrific night for any creature to be out shall we not go and fetch your things in first she added I have nothing but this he said motioning to the little bundle in his hand your horse is dead he sat down on the bench before the fire the cakes are almost ready she said I'll get you something to eat where have you been wandering all this while up and down up and down he answered wearily and now the women has seized me to come back here M he said putting his hand on her arm as she passed him have you heard from Linda lately yes said M turning quickly from him where is she I had one letter from her but that is almost a year ago not just when she left where is she in the trance fall I will go and get you some supper we can talk afterwards can you give me her exact address I want to write to her but M had gone into the next room when food was on the table shouldn't have gone before the fire turning the cakes babbling riskless Lea eagerly NAR of this now of that she was glad to see him tent sunny was coming soon to show her her new baby he must stay on the farm now and help her and Waldo himself was well content to eat his meal in silence asking no more questions Gregory is coming next week she said he will have been gone just a hundred and three days tomorrow I had a letter from him yesterday where is he bean but his companion stooped to lift a cake from the fire how the wind blows one can hardly hear one's own voice she said take this warm cake no one's cakes are like mine why you have eaten nothing I am a little weary he said the wind was mad tonight he folded his arms and rested his head against the fireplace whilst she removed the dishes from the table on the mantelpiece stood an inkpot him some sheets of paper presently he took them down and turned up the corner of the tablecloth I will write a few lines he said till you are ready to sit down and talk mmm as she shook out the tablecloth watched him bending intently over his paper he had changed much his face had grown thinner his cheeks were almost hollow there they were covered by a dark growth of beard she sat down on the skin beside him and felt a little bundle on the bench it was painfully small and soft perhaps it held a shirt and a book but nothing more the old black hat had a piece of unhinge muslin twisted round it and on his elbow was a large patch so fixed on with yellow thread that her heart ached only his hair was not changed and hang in silky beautiful waves almost to his shoulders tomorrow she would take the ragged edge off his collar and put a new band round his head but she wondered how it was that he set to write so intently after his long weary walk he was not tired now his pen hurried quickly and restlessly over the page and his eye was bright presently M raised her hand to her breast where lay the litter yesterday had brought her soon she had forgotten him as entirely as he had forgotten her each was in his own world with his own he was writing to Linda he would tell her all he had seen all he had done though it were nothing worth relating he seemed to have come back to her and to be talking to her now sat there in the old US and then I got to the next town and my horse was tired so I could go no further and looked for work a shopkeeper agreed to hire me as a Salesman he made me sign a promise to remain six months and he gave me a little empty room at the stall to sleep in I still had three pounds of my own and when you have just come from the country three pound seems a great deal when I had been in the shop three days I wanted to go away again a clock in a shop has the lowest work to do of all people it is much better to break stones you have the blue sky above you and only the stones to bend to I asked my master to let me go and I offered to give him my two pounds and the bag of Milly's I had bought with the other pant but he would not I found out afterwards he was only giving me half as much as he gave to the others that was why I had fear when I looked at the other clocks that I would at last become like them all day they were buying and smirking to the women who came in smiling when all they wanted was to get their money from them they used to run and fetch the dresses and ribbons to show them and they seemed to me like worms with oil on there was one respectable thing in that store it was the kefir Stallman his work was to load and unload and he never needed to smile except when he lacked and he never told lies the other clocks gave me the name of old Salvation but there was one person I liked very much he was clock in another store he often went past the door he seemed to me not like the others his face was bright and fresh like a little child's when he came to the shop I felt I lacked him one day I saw a book in his pocket and that made me feel near him I asked him if he was fond of reading and he said yes when there was nothing else to do the next day he came to me and asked me if I did not feel lonely he never saw me going out with the other fellows he would come and see me that evening he said I was glad and bought some meat and flour because the gray mare and I always ate Millie's it's the cheapest thing when you boil it hard you can't eat much of it I made some cake and I folded my greatcoat on the box to make it soft for him and at last he came you've got a rummy place here he said you see there was nothing in it but packing cases her furniture note was rather empty while I was putting the food on the box he looked at my books he read their names out loud Elementary physiology first principles golly he said I've got a lot of dry stuff like that at home I got for Sunday school prizes but I only keep them to light my pack with now they come in handy for that then he asked me if had ever read a book called the black eyed Creole that is the style for me he said there where the fellow takes the nigger girl by the arm and the other fellow cuts off that's what I like but what he said after that I don't remember only that it made me feel as if I were having a bad dream and I wanted to be far away when he had finished eating he did not stay long he had to go and see some girls home from a prayer meeting and he asked how it was he never saw me walking out with any on Sunday afternoons he said he had lots of sweethearts and he was going to see one the next Wednesday on a farm and he asked me to lend my mare I told him she was very old but he said that didn't matter he would come the next day to fetch her after he was gone my little room got back to its old look I loved it so I was so glad to get into it at night and it seemed to be reproaching me for bringing him there the next day he took the gray mare on Thursday he did not bring her back in on Friday I found the saddle and bridle standing at my door in the afternoon he looked into the shop and called out hope you got your saddle father your bag of burns kicked out six miles from this I'll send you a couple of shillings tomorrow there the old hide wasn't worth it good morning but I sprang over the counter and got him by his throat my father was so gentle with her he never would ride her uphill and now this fellow had murdered her I asked him where he had killed her and I shook him till he slipped out of my hand he stood in the door grinning it didn't take much to kill that bag of who's master sleeps in a packing case and waits till his company's finished to eat on the plate shouldn't wonder if you fit her on sugar bags he said and if you think I've jumped her you'd better go and look yourself you'll find her along the road by the Articles that are eating her I caught him by his collar and I lifted him from the ground and I threw him out onto the street halfway across it I heard the bookkeeper say to the clock that there was always the devil in those mum fillers but they never called me salvation after that I am writing to you of very small things but there is nothing to tell it's all been small and you will like it whenever anything has happened I've always thought I would tell it to you the back thought in my mind is always you after that only one old man came to visit me I had seen him in the streets often he always wore very dirty black clothes and a hat with crape rounded and he had one eye so I noticed him one day he came to my room with a subscription list for a minister's salary when I said I had nothing to give he looked at me with his one eye young man he said how is it I never see you in the house of the Lord I thought he was trying to do good so I felt sorry for him and I told him I never went to Chapel young man he said it grieves me to hear such godless words from the lips of one so young so far gone in the paths of destruction young man if you forget God God will forget you there is a seat on the right hand side as you go at the bottom door that you make it if you are given over to the enjoyment and frivolities of this world what will become of your never dying soul he would not go till I gave him half a crown for the minister's salary afterwards I heard he was the man who collected the pure rents and got a percentage I didn't get to know anyone else when my time in that shop was done I hired myself to drive one of a transport riders wagons that first morning when I sat in the front and called to my oxen and saw nothing about me but the hills with the blue coming down to them and the Carew bushes I was drunk I laughed my heart was beating till it hurt me I shut my eyes tight but when I opened them I might see there were no shelves about me there must be a beauty in buying and selling if there's beauty and everything but it is very ugly to me my life as a transport rider would have been the best life in the world if I had only one wagon to drive my master told me he would drive one eye the other and he would hire another person to drive the third but the first day I drove to to help him and after that he let me drive all three whenever he came to an Hotel he stopped behind to get a drink and when he rode up to the wagons he could never stand the Hottentot and I used to lift him up we always traveled at night and used to us been for five or six hours in the heat of the day to rest I planned that I would lie under the wagon and read for an hour or two every day before I went to sleep and I did for the first two or three but after that I only wanted to sleep like the wrist and I packed my books away when you have three wagons to look after all night you are sometimes so tired you can hardly stand at first when I walked along driving my wagons in the night it was glorious the stars had never looked so beautiful to me and on the dark nights when we rode through the bush they were Willard there was dancing on each side of the road I found out that even the damp and dark are beautiful but I soon changed and saw nothing but the road and my oxen I only wished for a smooth piece of road so that I might sit at the front and doze at the places where we art spend there was sometimes array of plants and flowers the four students hanging from the bush trees and nuts and insects such as we never see here but after a little while I never looked at them I was too tired I ate as much as I could and then lay down on my face under the wagon till the boy came to wake me to in span and then we drove on again at night so it went so it went I think sometimes when we walked by my oxen I called to them in my sleep for I know I thought of nothing I was like an animal my body was strong and well to work but my brain was dead if you have not felt at Lindell you cannot understand it you may work and work and work till you are only a body not a soul now when I see when a evil-looking men that come from europe navies with the beast lack sunken face different from any cather's i know what brought that look into their eyes and if i only have one inch of tobacco i give them half it is work grinding mechanical work that they all their ancestors have done that has made them into beasts you may work a man's body so that his soul dies work is good i have worked to build farm from the sun's rising till it's sitting but I've had time to think and time to feel you may work a man so that all but the animal in him is gone and that grows stronger with physical labor you may work a man till he is a devil I know it because I've filtered you will never understand the change that came over me no one but I will ever know how great it was but I was never miserable when I could keep my auxins from sticking fast and when I could find a place to lie down in I had all I wanted after I had driven eight months a rainy season came for eighteen hours out of the twenty-four we worked in the wit the mud went up to the axles sometimes and we had to dig the wheels up and we never went far in a day my master swore at me more than ever but when we had done he always offered me his brandy flask when I first came he had offered at me and I had always refused but now I drank as my oxen did when I gave them water without thinking at last I bought brandy for myself whenever we passed the hotel one Sunday we ought spend on the banks of a swollen river to wait for its going down it was drizzling still so I lay under the wagon on the mud there was no dry place anywhere and all the dung was whit said there was no far to cook food my little flask was filled with brandy and I drank some and went to sleep when I woke it was drizzling still so I drank some more I was stiff and cold and my master who lay by me offered me his flask because mine was empty I drank some and then I thought I would go and see if the river was going down I remember that I walked to the road and it seemed to be going away from me when I woke up I was lying by a little bush on the bank the river it was afternoon all the clouds had gone in the sky was deep blue the Bushman boy was grilling ribs at the fire he looked at me and grinned from ear to ear master was a little nice he said and laid down in the road something might ride over master so I carried him there he grinned at me again it was as though he said you and I are comrades I have lain in the road to I know all about it when I turned my head from him I saw the earth sir pure after the rain so green so fresh so blue and I was a drunken carrier whom his leader had picked up in the mud and laid at the roadside to sleep out his drink I remembered my old life and I remembered you I saw how one day you would read in the papers a German carrier named Waldo Farber was killed through falling from his wagon being instantly crushed under the wheel deceased was supposed to have been drunk at the time of the accident there are those notices in the paper every month I set up and I took the brandy flask out of my pocket and I flung it as far as I could into the dark water the Hottentot boy ran to see if he could catch it with it sank to the bottom I never drank again but Lindell sin looks much more terrible to those who look at it than to those who do it a convict or a man who drinks seems something so far off and horrible when we see him but to himself he seems quite near to us and like us we wonder what kind of a creature he is but he is just we ourselves we are only the wood the knife that carves on us is the circumstance I do not know why I kept on working so hard for left master I think it was as the oxen come every day and stand by the Yerkes they do not know why perhaps I would have been with him still but one day we started with loads for the diamond fields the oxen were very thin now and they had been standing about in the yoke all day without food while the wagons were being loaded not far from the town was a hill when we to the foot the first wagons stuck fast I tried for a while to urge the oxen but I soon saw that one span could never pull it up I went to the other wagon to loosen that span to join them on in front but the transport rider who was lying at the back of the wagon jumped out they shall bring it up the hill and if half of them die for it they shall do it alone he said he was not drunk but in a bad temper for he had been drunk the night before he swore at me and told me to take the whip and help him be tried for a little time then I told him it was no use they could never do it he swore louder and called to the leaders to come on with their whips and together they lashed there was one ox a black ox so thin that the ridge of his backbone almost cut through his flesh it is you devil is it that will not pull the transport rider said I will show you something he looked like a devil he told the boys to leave all flogging and he held the Ox by the horn and took up a round stone and knocked its nose with it till the blood came when he had done they called to the oxen and took up their whips again and the oxen strained with their backs bent but the wagon did not move an inch so you won't won't you he said I'll help you he took out his clasp-knife and ran it into the leg of the trembling ox three times up to the hilt then he put the knife in his pocket and they took their whips the auxins flanks quivered and they firmed at the mouth straining they moved the wagon a few feet forward then stood with bent backs to keep it from sliding back from the black oxes nostrils Firmin blood was streaming onto the ground it turned its head in its anguish and looked at me with its great starting eyes it was praying for help in its agony and weakness and they took their whips again the creature Billard out loud if there is a God it was calling to its maker for help then a stream of clear blood burst from both nostrils it fell onto the ground and the wagon slipped back the man walked you're going to lie down devil are you will see that you don't take it too easy the thing was just dying he opened his clasp-knife and stooped down over it I do not know what I did then but afterwards I know I had him on the stones and I was kneeling on him the boys dragged me off I wish they had not I left him standing in the sand in the road shaking himself and I walked back to town I took nothing from that a curse of Dragon so I had only two shillings but it did not matter the next day I got work at a wholesale store my work was to pack and unpack goods and to carry boxes and I had only to work from 6:00 in the morning till 6:00 in the evening so I had plenty of time I hired a little room and subscribed to a library so I had everything I needed and in the week of Christmas holidays I went to see the scene I walked all natural indle to escape the heat and a little after sunrise I got to the top of a high hill before me was a long low blue monotonous mountain I walked looking at it but I was thinking of the sea I wanted to see at last I wondered what that curious blue thing might be then it struck me it was the sea I would have turned back again only I was too tired I wonder if all the things we long to see the churches the pictures the men in Europe will disappoint us so you see I had dreamed of it so long when I was a little boy Manning sheep behind the copy I used to see the wave stretching out as far as the eye could reach in the sunlight my sea is the ideal always more beautiful than the real I got to the beach that afternoon and I saw the water run up and down on the sand and I saw the white foam breakers they were pretty but I thought I would go back the next day it was not my sea but I began to like it when I sat by it that night in the moonlight and the next day I liked it bitter and before I left I loved it it was not like the sky and stars the talk of what has no beginning and no end but it is so human of all the things I've ever seen only the sea is like a human being the sky is not nor the earth but the sea is always moving always something deep in itself is stirring it it never wrists it's always wanting wanting wanting it hurries on and then it creeps back slowly without having reached moaning it is always asking a question and it never gets an answer I can hear it in the day and in the night the white foam breakers are saying that which I think I walk alone with them when there is no one to see me and I sing with them I lie down on the sand and watch them with my eyes off shut the sky is bitter but it is so high above our heads I love the sea sometimes we must look down – after five days I went back to grandstand I had glorious books and in the night I could sit in my little room and read them but I was lonely books are not the same things when you're living among people I cannot tell why but they are dead on the farm they would have been living beings to me but here where there are so many people about me I wanted someone to belong to me I was lonely I wanted something that was flesh and blood once on this farm there came a stranger I did not ask his name but he sat among the kuru and talked with me now wherever I have traveled I have looked for him in hotels in streets in passenger wagons as they rushed in through the open windows of houses I have looked for him but I have not found him never heard a voice like his one day I went to the Botanic Gardens it was a half-holiday and the band was to play I stood in the long raised Avenue and looked down there were many flowers and ladies and children were walking about beautifully dressed at last the music began I had not heard such music before at first it was slow and even like the everyday life when we walked through it without thought or feeling then it grew faster then it paused hesitated then it was quite still for an instant and then it burst out Lindell they made heaven right when they made it all music it takes you up and carries you away away till you have the things you longed for you are up close to them you have got out into a large free open place I could not see anything while it was playing I stood with my head against my tree but when it was done I saw that there were ladies sitting close to me on the wooden bench and the stranger who had talked to me that day in the Karoo was sitting between them the ladies were very pretty and their dresses beautiful I do not think there had been listening to the music for they were talking and laughing very softly I heard all they said and could even smell the rose on the wrist of one I was afraid he would see me so I went to the other side of the tree and soon they got up and began to pace up and down in the Avenue all the time the music played they chattered and he carried on his arm the scuff of the prettiest lady I did not hear the music I tried to catch the sound of his voice each time he went by when I was listening to the music I did not know I was badly dressed now I felt so ashamed of myself and never knew before what a low horrible thing I was dressed in tan cord that day on the farm when we sat on the ground under the thorn trees I thought he quite belonged to me now I saw he was not mine but he was still as beautiful his brown eyes are more beautiful than anyone's eyes except yours at last they turned to go and I walked off to them when they got out of the gate he helped the ladies into the Faton and stood for a moment with his foot on the step talking to them he had a little cane in his hand and an Italian Greyhound ran after him just when they drove away one of the ladies dropped her wit pick it up fill oh she said and when I brought it her she threw sixpence on the ground I might have gone back to the Garden Inn but I did not want music I wanted clothes to be fashionable and fine I felt that my hands were coarse and that I was vulgar and never tried to see him again I stayed in my situation for months after that but I was not happy I had no wrist the people about me pressed on me made me dissatisfied I could not forget them even when I did not see them they pressed on me and made me miserable I did not love books I wanted people when I walked her mandir the shady trees in the street I could not be happy for when I passed the houses I heard music and saw faces between the curtains I did not want any of them but I wanted someone for mine for me I could not help it I wanted a finer life one day something made me happy a nurse came to the store with a little girl belonging to one of our clocks while the maid went into the office to give a message to its father the little girl stood looking up at me presently she came close to me and peeped up into my face nice curls pretty curls she said I'm lack curls she felt my hair all over with her little hands when I put out my arm she let me take her and sit her on my knee she kissed me with her soft mouth we were happy till the nurse girl came and shook her and asked her if she was not ashamed to sit on the knee of that strange man but I do not think my little one minded she laughed at me as she went out if the world was all children I could like it but men and women draw me so strangely and then pressed me away till I'm in agony I was not meant to live among people perhaps someday when I'm grown older I will be able to go and live among them and look at them as I look at the rocks and bushes without letting them disturb me and take my self from me but not now so I grew miserable a kind of fever seemed to eat me I could not rest or read or think so I came back here I knew you were not here but it seemed as though I should be nearer you it is you I want you that the other people suggest to me but cannot give he had filled all the sheets he had taken and now lifted down the last from the mantelpiece M had dropped asleep and lay slumbering peacefully on the skin before the fire out of doors the storm still raged but in a fitful manner as though growing half weary of itself he bent over his papers again with eager flushed cheek and wrote on it is been a delightful journey this journey home I have walked on foot the evening before last when it was just sunset I was a little foot sore and thirsty and went out of the road to look for water I went down into a deep little Kloof some trees ran along the bottom and I thought I should find water there the Sun had quite set when I got to the bottom of it it was very still not a leaf was stirring anywhere in the bed of the mountain torrent I thought I might find water I came to the bank and I lived down into the dry bed the floor on which I stood was a fine white sand and the banks rose on every side like the walls of a room above there was a precipice of rocks and a tiny stream of water used from them and fell slowly onto the flat stone below each drop you could hear fall like a little silver bell there was one among the trees on the bank that stood out against the white sky all the other trees were silent but this one shook and trembled against the sky everything else was still but those leaves were quivering quivering I stood on the sand I could not go away when it was quite dark and the stars had come out I crept out does it seem strange to you that it should have made me so happy it is because I cannot tell you how near I felt two things that we cannot see but we always feel tonight has been a wild stormy night I've been walking across the plain for hours in the dark I have walked like the wind because I have seemed forcing my way through to you I knew you were not here but I would hear of you when I used to sit on the transport wagon half sleeping I used to start awake because your hands were on me in my lodgings many nights I have blown the light out and sat in the dock that I might see your face start out more distinctly sometimes it was the little girl's face who used to come to me behind the copy when I minded sheep and sit by me in her blue pinafore sometimes it was older I love you both I'm very helpless I shall never do anything but you will work and I will take your work for mine sometimes such a sudden gladness seizes me when I remember the somewhere in the world you are living and working you are my very own nothing else is my own so when I have finished I'm going to look at your room door he wrote and the wind which had spent its fury moaned round and round the house most like a tired child weary with crying him woke up and sat before the fire rubbing her eyes and listening as its abdi but The Gables and wandered aware of the long stone walls how quieted his grow enough he said and sighed herself partly from weariness and partly from sympathy with the tired wind he did not answer her he was lost in his letter she rose slowly after a time and wrists and her hand on his shoulder you have many letters to write she said no he answered it is only one to Lindell she turned away and stood long before the fire looking into it if you have a deadly fruit to give it will not grow sweeter by keeping Waldo dear she said putting her hands on his leave off writing he threw back the dark hair from his forehead and looked at her it is no use writing anymore she said why not he asked she put her hand over the papers he had written Waldo she said Lindell is dead end of chapter 2 part 11

Michael Martin

1 Response

  1. Story of an African Farm | Olive Schreiner | Action & Adventure Fiction, General Fiction | 5/6

    21: [00:00:00] – 21 – Chapter 2, Part 8

    22: [00:21:17] – 22 – Chapter 2, Part 9

    23: [00:41:00] – 23 – Chapter 2, Part 10

    24: [00:51:02] – 24 – Chapter 2, Part 11

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