2017年06月07日

As she did so her eye caught

The larder was full, but she fished again—up stream this time, for evening might bring another mouth to feed. The morning dragged wearily enough and she came back to her fire early, with but four fish to her credit account. She hung the creel in its accustomed place and resumed her seat by the fire, her look moving restlessly from one object to another. At last it fell upon his coat which she had left on the couch in the shelter. She got up, brought it forth into the light and brushed it carefully. Several objects fell from its pockets—a tobacco pouch nearly empty, a disreputable and badly charred briarwood pipe and some papers. She picked up the objects one by one and put them back. the superscription of a letter. She drew it forth quickly and examined it again as though she had not been certain that she had read it correctly; then the other envelope, scanning them both eagerly. They were inscribed with the same name and address—all written with the same feminine scrawl, and the paper smelt of heliotrope. She held them in her fingers a moment, her lips compressed, her brow thoughtful and then abruptly thrust them into the pocket again and put the coat into the shelter dermes.

“Oh! You’re so tired,” she cried. “Sit down by the fire at once, while I cook your supper.” And, as he made no move to obey her, she seized him by the arms and led him into the shelter of the hut and pushed him gently down upon the couch. “You’re not to bother about anything,” she went on in a businesslike way. “I’ll have you something hot in a jiffy. I’m so—so sorry for you housekeeping jobs.”

He sat in the bunk, with a drooping head, his long legs stretched toward the blaze.

He looked down at her, a new expression in his eyes; yesterday she had been a petulant, and self-willed child, creating a false position where none need have existed, diffident and pretentious by turns, self-conscious and over-natural. To-night she was all woman. Under his tired lids he could see that—tender, compassionate, gentle, but strong—always strong. There were lines in her face, too, that he had not seen before. She had been crying. One of her hands, too, was bound with a handkerchief Stock market analysis.

“You’ve hurt yourself again?” he asked.

“No—only a scratch. My knife—I—I was cutting”—hesitating—“cutting sticks for the fish.”


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