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    It was not more than nine o’clock. No one had yet gone to bed but the children.

    "Then it is settled. Go home and pack your gripsack. You may be gone three or four days."


    But such virtue is not reached or maintained except by a life’s labour, a life’s single-minded devotion. Its reward is not only the knowledge of mastery and the gratitude of the layman, which may or may not bring content. Its true reward is the dearly prized, because unpurchasable, acknowledgement of one’s fellow-craftsmen.

    Duncan, lying off the Texel with his own flagship, the Venerable, and only one other vessel, heard that the whole Dutch fleet was putting to sea. He told Captain Hotham to anchor alongside of him in the narrowest part of the channel, and fight his vessel till she sank. “I have taken the depth of the water,” added he, “and when the Venerable goes down, my flag will still fly.” And you observe this is no naked Viking in a prehistoric period; but a Scotch member of Parliament, with a smattering of the classics, a telescope, a cocked hat of great size, and flannel underclothing. In the same spirit, Nelson went into Aboukir with six colours flying; so that even if five were shot away, it should not be imagined he had struck. He too must needs wear his four stars outside his Admiral’s frock, to be a butt for sharp-shooters. “In honour I gained them,” he said to objectors, adding with sublime illogicality, “in honour I will die with them.” Captain Douglas of the Royal Oak, when the Dutch fired his vessel in the Thames, sent his men ashore, but was burned along with her himself rather than desert his post without orders. Just then, perhaps the Merry Monarch was chasing a moth round the supper-table with the ladies of his court. When Raleigh sailed into Cadiz, and all the forts and ships opened fire on him at once, he scorned to shoot a gun, and made answer with a flourish of insulting trumpets. I like this bravado better than the wisest dispositions to insure victory; it comes from the heart and goes to it. God has made nobler heroes, but he never made a finer gentleman than Walter Raleigh. And as our Admirals were full of heroic superstitions, and had a strutting and vainglorious style of fight, so they discovered a startling eagerness for battle, and courted war like a mistress. When the news came to Essex before Cadiz that the attack had been decided, he threw his hat into the sea. It is in this way that a schoolboy hears of a half-holiday; but this was a bearded man of great possessions who had just been allowed to risk his life. Benbow could not lie still in his bunk after he had lost his leg; he must be on deck in a basket to direct and animate the fight. I said they loved war like a mistress; yet I think there are not many mistresses we should continue to woo under similar circumstances. Trowbridge went ashore with the Culloden, and was able to take no part in the battle of the Nile. “The merits of that ship and her gallant captain,” wrote Nelson to the Admiralty, “are too well known to benefit by anything I could say. Her misfortune was great in getting aground, while her more fortunate companions were in the full tide of happiness.” This is a notable expression, and depicts the whole great-hearted, big-spoken stock of the English Admirals to a hair. It was to be “in the full tide of happiness” for Nelson to destroy five thousand five hundred and twenty-five of his fellow-creatures, and have his own scalp torn open by a piece of langridge shot. Hear him again at Copenhagen: “A shot through the mainmast knocked the splinters about; and he observed to one of his officers with a smile, ‘It is warm work, and this may be the last to any of us at any moment;’ and then, stopping short at the gangway, added, with emotion, ‘but, mark you — I would not be elsewhere for Thousands.’”

    "King Gama: This seems unnecessarily severe."

    Lov Bensey trudged homeward through the deep white sand of the gully-washed tobacco road with a sack of winter turnips on his back. He had put himself to a lot of trouble to get the turnips; it was a long and tiresome walk all the way to Fuller and back again. The day before, Lov had heard that a man over there was selling winter turnips for fifty cents a bushel, so he had started out with half a dollar that morning to buy some. He had already walked seven and a half miles, and it was a mile and a half yet back to his house at the coal chute. Four or five of the Lester's were standing in the yard looking at Lov when he put his sack down and stopped in front of the house. They had been watching Lov ever since he was first seen an hour before on the sand hill nearly two miles away, and now that he was actually within reach, they were prepared to stop him from carrying the turnips any farther. Lov had his wife to feed and provide for, in addition to himself, and he was careful not to allow any of the Lester's to come too close to the sack of turnips. Usually when he came by the Lester place with turnips or sweet potatoes, or for that matter with any kind of food, he left the road half a mile from the house and made a wide circle through the fields, returning to the road a safe distance beyond. To-day, though, he had to speak to Jeeter about something of great importance, and he had ventured closer to the house than he had ever done before when carrying home turnips, or sweet potatoes. Lov's wife was Jeeter Lester's youngest daughter, Pearl. She was only twelve years old the summer before when he had married her. The Lester's watched Lov closely while he stood in the middle of the road. He had dropped the sack from his shoulder, but he held the neck of it in the rigid grasp of both hands. No one in the yard had changed his position during the past ten minutes. The next move was entirely up to Lov. When Lov came to the house and stopped, he had a good reason for doing so; otherwise he would never have come within hailing distance. He wanted to speak to Jeeter about Pearl Pearl would not talk. She would not say a word, no matter how persuasive Lov tried to be, nor how angry he was; she even hid from Lov when he came home from the coal chute, and when he found her, she slipped away from his grasp and ran off into the broom-sedge out of sight. Sometimes she would even stay in the broom-sedge all night, remaining out there until Lov went to work the next morning. Pearl had never talked, for that matter. Not because she could not but simply because she did not want to. When she was at home, before Lov had married her, she had stayed apart from the other Lester's and rarely opened her mouth from the beginning of one day to the next. Only her mother, Ada, had been able to converse with her, and even then Pearl had never used more than the barest of negatives and affirmatives in reply. But Ada was herself like that. She had begun to talk voluntarily only during the past ten years. Before then, Jeeter had had the same trouble with her that Lov was now having with Pearl. Lov asked Pearl questions, he kicked her, he poured water over her, he threw rocks and sticks at her, and he did everything else he could think of that he thought might make her talk to him. She cried a lot, especially when she was seriously hurt, but Lov did not consider that as conversation. He wanted her to ask him if his back were sore, and when was he going to get his hair cut, and when was it going to rain again. But Pearl would not say anything. He had spoken to Jeeter several times before about his troubles with Pearl, but Jeeter did not know what was the matter with her. Ever since she was a baby she had been like that, he said; and Ada had remained untalkative until the last few years. What Jeeter had not been able to break down in Ada for forty years, hunger had. Hunger loosened her tongue, and she had been complaining ever since. Jeeter did not attempt to recommend the starving of Pearl, because he knew she would go somewhere to beg food, and would get it. "Sometimes I think it's just the old devil in her," Lov had said several times. "To my way of thinking, she ain't got a scratch of religion in her. She's goin' to hell-fire when she dies, sure as day comes." "Now, maybe she ain't pleased with her married life," Jeeter had suggested. "Maybe she ain't satisfied with what you provide her with." "I done everything I can think of to make her satisfied and contented. Every week I go to Fuller on pay-day and buy her a pretty. I get her snuff, but she won't take none; I get her a little piece of calico, but she won't sew it. Looks like she wants something I ain't got and can't get her. I wish I knowed what it was. She's such a pretty little girl--all them long yellow curls hanging down her back sort of gets me all crazy sometimes. I don't know what's going to happen to me. I've got the need of Pearl for a wife as bad as any man ever had." "I expect she's too young yet to appreciate things," Jeeter had said. "She ain't grown up yet like Ellie May and Lizzie Belle and Clara and the other gals. Pearl ain't nothing but a little gal yet. She don't even look like a woman, so far." "If I had knowed she was going to be like she is, maybe I wouldn't have wanted to marry her so bad. I could have married me a woman what wants to be married to me. But I don't want Pearl to go now, though. I sort of got used to her around, and I'd sure miss seeing them long yellow curls hanging down her back. They make a man feel kind of lonesome some way. She sure is a pretty little girl, no matter if she does act like she does all the time." Lov had gone back home that time and told Pearl what Jeeter said about her, but she sat in the chair 'and made no sign of answering him. Lov did not know what to do about her after that. But he had realized from that time on that she was still a little girl. During the eight months they had been married she had grown three or four inches in height, and she weighed about fifteen pounds more now than she had at the beginning. She still did not weigh much more than a hundred pounds, though she was gaining in weight and height every day. What Lov wanted to speak to Jeeter about now in particular was the way Pearl had of refusing to sleep with him. They had been married almost a year, and still she slept by herself, as she had done since the first. She slept by herself on a pallet on the floor, refusing even to let Lov kiss her or touch her in any way. Lov had told her that cows were not any good until they had been freshened, and that the reason he married her was because he wanted to kiss her and feel her long yellow curls and sleep with her; but Pearl had not even indicated that she heard him or knew what he was talking about. Next to wanting to kiss her and talk to her, Lov wanted to see her eyes. Yet even this pleasure she denied him; her pale blue eyes were always looking off into another direction when he came and stood in front of her. Lov still stood in the middle of the road looking at Jeeter and the other Lester's in the yard. They were waiting for him to make the first move; friendly or hostile, it mattered little to them so long as there were turnips in the sack. Jeeter was wondering where Lov had got the turnips. It did not occur to him that Lov had bought them with money; Jeeter had long before come to the conclusion that the only possible way a quantity of food could be obtained was by theft. But he had not been able to locate a turnip patch that year anywhere within five or six miles. There had been planted a two-acre field the year before over at the Peabody place, but the Peabody men had kept people out of the field with shotguns then, and this year they had not even planted turnips. "Why don't you come in the yard off the tobacco road, Lov?" Jeeter said. "Ain't no sense standing out there. Come in and rest yourself." Lov made no reply, nor did he move. He was debating within himself the danger of entering the yard, against the safety of staying where he was in the road. For the past few weeks Lov had been thinking about taking some plow-lines and tying Pearl in the bed at night. He had tried everything that he could think of so far, except force, and he was still determined to make her act as he thought a wife should. He had reached the point now where he wanted Jeeter's advice before going ahead with the plan. He believed Jeeter would know whether it was advisable from the practical side, since Jeeter had had to contend with Ada for almost a lifetime. He knew Ada had once acted as Pearl was now doing, but Jeeter had not been treated as he was treated, because Ada had borne him seventeen children, while Pearl had not even, begun to have the first one. If Jeeter said it would be satisfactory to tie Pearl in bed, then he would go ahead and do it. Jeeter knew more about such things than he did. Jeeter had been married to Ada forty years. Lov hoped that Jeeter would offer to go down to the house at the coal chute and help him tie Pearl in the bed. Pearl fought back so fiercely whenever he attempted to catch her that he was afraid he would not be able to accomplish anything without Jeeter's help. The Lester's stood around in the yard and on the front porch waiting to see what Love was going to do next. There had been very little in the house again that day to eat; some salty soup Ada had made by boiling several fatback rinds in a pan of water, and corn bread, was all there was when they had sat down to eat. There had not been enough to go around even then, and the old grandmother had been shoved out of the kitchen when she tried to conic inside. Ellie May stood behind a chinaberry tree, looking around the trunk at Lov. She moved her head from one side of the tree to the other, trying to attract Lov's attention. Ellie May and Dude were the only Lester children left at home. All the others had gone away and married, some of them just leaving in a casual way as though they were only walking down to the coal chute to see the freight trains. When they failed to return within two or three days, it was known that they had left home. Dude was throwing a lopsided baseball at the side of the house, and catching it on the rebound. The ball hit the house like a clap of thunder, rattling the loose weather-boarding until the vibration swayed the house from side to side. He threw the ball continually, the ball bounding with unfailing regularity back across the sandy yard to where he stood. The three-room house sat precariously on stacks of thin lime-rock chips that had been placed under the four corners. The stones had been laid one on top of the other, the beams spiked, and the house nailed together. The ease and simplicity with which it had been built was now evident. The centre of the building sagged between the sills; the front porch had sagged loose from the house, and was now a foot or more lower than it originally was; and the roof sagged in the centre where the supporting rafters had been carelessly put together. Most of the shingles had rotted,, and after every wind-storm pieces of them were scattered in all directions about the yard. When the roof leaked, the Lester's moved from one corner of the room to another, their movements finally outlasting the duration of the rain. The house had never been painted. Jeeter was trying to patch a rotten inner-tube. He had said that if he could ever get all the tires on the old automobile standing up at the same time again, he would haul a load of wood to Augusta and sell it. Woodcutters were being paid two dollars a load for seasoned pine delivered in the city; but the blackjack that Jeeter tried to make people buy for fuel never brought him more than fifty or seventy-five cents. Usually, when he did succeed in getting a load of it to Augusta, he was not, able to give it away; nobody, it seemed, was foolish enough to buy wood that was tougher than iron water-pipes. People argued with Jeeter about his mule-like determination to sell blackjack for fuel, and they tried to convince him that as firewood it was practically worthless; but Jeeter said he wanted to clear the land of the scrub oak because he was getting ready to farm it again. Lov had by that time moved a few steps nearer the yard and had sat down in the tobacco road with his feet in the drain ditch. He kept one hand gripped tightly around the mouth of the sack where it had been tied together with a piece of twine. Ellie May continued to peer from behind the chinaberry tree, trying to attract Lov's attention. Each time he glanced in that direction, she jerked her head back so he could not see her. "What you got in that there croker sack, Lov?" Jeeter shouted across the yard. "I been seeing you come a far piece off with that there croker sack on your back. I sure would like to know what you got on the inside of it. I heard it said that some people has got turnips this year." Lov tightened his grip on the mouth of the sack, looking from Jeeter to the next Lester in turn. He saw Ellie May peering at him from behind the chinaberry tree. "Did you have a hard time getting what you got there in the sack, Lov?" Jeeter said. "You look like you is all out of breath." "I want to say something to you, Jeeter," he said. "It's about Pearl." "What's that gal done now, Lov? Is she treating you mean some more?" "It's just like she's always done, only I'm getting pretty durn tired of it by this time. I don't like the way she acts. I never did take to the way she does, but it's getting worse and worse all the time. All the niggers make fun of me because of the way she treats me." "Pearl is just like her Ma," Jeeter said. "Her Ma used to do the queerest things in her time." "Every time I want to have her round me, she runs off and won't come back when I call her. Now, what I say is, what in hell is the sense in me marrying a wife if I don't get none of the benefits. God didn't intend for it to be that way. He don't want a man to be treated like that. It's all right for a woman to sort of tease a man into doing what she wants done, but Pearl don't seem to be aiming after that. She ain't teasing me, to her way of thinking, but it sure does act that way on me. Right now I feel like I want a woman who ain't so--" "What you got in that there croker sack, Lov?" Jeeter said. "I been seeing you for the past hour or longer, ever since you came over the top of that far hill yonder." "Turnips, by God," Lov said, looking at the Lester women. "Where'd you get turnips, Lov?" "Wouldn't you like to know!" "I was thinking maybe we might fix up some sort of a trade, Lov--.me and you. Now, I could go down to your house and sort of tell Pearl she's got to sleep in the bed with you. That's what you was aiming to speak to me about, wasn't it? You want her to sleep in the bed, don't you?" "She ain't never slept in the bed. It's that durn pallet on the floor that she sleeps on every night. Reckon you could make her stop doing that, Jeeter?" "I'd be pleased something powerful to make her do what she ain't doing. That is, if me and you could make a trade with them turnips, Lov." "That's what I came by here for--to speak to you about Pearl. But I ain't going to let you have none of these turnips, though. I had to pay fifty cents for this many in a sack, and I had to walk all the way to the other side of Fuller and back to fetch them. You're Pearl's daddy, and you ought to make her behave for nothing. She don't pay no attention to nothing I tell her to do." "By God and by Jesus, Lov, all the damn-blasted turnips I raised this year is wormy. And I ain't had a good turnip since a year ago this spring. All my turnips has got them damn-blasted green-gutted worms in them, Lov. What God made turnip-worms for, I can't make out. It appears to me like He just naturally has got it in good and heavy for a poor man. I worked all the fall last year digging up a patch of ground to grow turnips in, and then when they're getting about big enough to pull and eat, along comes these damn-blasted green-gutted turnip worms and bore clear to the middle of them. God is got it in good and heavy for the poor. But I ain't complaining, Lov. I say, 'The good Lord knows best about turnips.' Some of these days He'll bust loose with a heap of bounty and all us poor folks will have all we want to eat and plenty to clothe us with. It can't always keep getting worse and worse every year like it has got since the big war. God, He'll put a stop to it some of these days and make the rich give back all they've took from us poor folks. God is going to treat us right. He ain't going to let it keep on like it is now. But we got to stop cussing Him when we ain't got nothing to eat. He'll send a man to hell and the devil for persisting in doing that." Lov dragged the sack of turnips across the drain ditch and sat down again. Jeeter laid aside the rotten inner-tube and waited.

    Chapter Twelve

    The outburst of laughter from her companions annoyed but did not surprise Teresa. She was accustomed to their behaving in an incomprehensible fashion on many occasions, and seldom troubled to understand.

    The youngster was in his long white nightgown, that kept tripping him up as Madame Ratignolle led him along by the hand. With the other chubby fist he rubbed his eyes, which were heavy with sleep and ill humor. Edna took him in her arms, and seating herself in the rocker, began to coddle and caress him, calling him all manner of tender names, soothing him to sleep.

    For that we and they are in nature inherently and uniformly diverse from each other in our respective constitutions and generations, and have been so time immemorial. So that the negroes are of a different species of rational beings from us, and consequently must have had their distinct lineal original; was it not so, there could be no such thing as a mongrel or a mulatto, who is occasioned by a copulation between the males and the females of the respective diverse species, the issue partaking of both natures.

    “It is very true, sir,”— and, as I confessed it, poor Mary began to wipe her eyes, and Gus’s ears (I could not see his face) looked like two red-hot muffins —“it’s quite true, sir; and, as matters have turned out, I am heartily sorry for what I did. But at the time I thought I could serve my aunt as well as myself; and you must remember, then, how high our shares were.”

    By this time Mildred was feeling the effects of her fall, and Simpson was only too glad to offer to be her escort home; an opportunity which he took advantage of to propose in due form, the effect of his solicitations being somewhat marred by the aversion his horse displayed to walking.

    Sex Sure, some of us have had it and some of us haven't, but the truth is, we're all thinking about it and we're definitely all talking about it. There's the who-do-you-think-has-already-done-it-in-our-grade-and-with-whom breakdown, which always involves one girl getting accused of doing it with a teacher in sixth grade. A total lie by the way, because I happen to have been that girl. Then there's the who-would-you-do-it-with-if-you-could-do-it-with-anyone quiz, which usually involves a celebrity like Jake Gyllenhaal. Then there's the penis debate, which usually morphs into a shrieking, giggling fit, because face it, penises are ugly and weird. Then there's the my-ideal-first-time fantasy, which also usually involves celebrities. For some reason, my ideal-first-time fantasy was always with Jake, on top of a washing machine, at sunrise (our laundry room happens to have a great view of the sunrise over the East River). But then I realized how completely uncomfortable that would be?and how awkward if the maid needed to do the laundry! Needless to say, we can'tstop talking about sex. And now that I've spilled my guts, I herewith give you permission to spill yours. Don't be shy. After all, it's totally anonymous. Unless you don't want it to be. Your e-mail Q:Hey G, So last night I was at that party and I'm pretty sure I saw you. There was this weird family that I've never seen before. The dad was wearing sneakers and like, a wraparound skirt. Do you shave your head? ?xstream A:Dear xstream, Your sleuthing abilities are admirable but way inaccurate. Even if I did shave my head, might I not wear a wig or a funky hat every once in a while, especially for a fancy-dress occasion like last night's party? And as I recall, the only girl in the room with a shaved head last night was also wearing her school uniform, which I must loudly insist I would never,ever do. ?GG Q:dear gossipgurl, so did you see S and N practically, like, doing it in the corner of the room at the Frick last night? they r so far in denial it's crazy. like why don't they just admit they want to be together? they would make a great couple, right? ?spec.tater A:Dear spec.tater, Methinks you err on the side of exaggeration. S and N are friends. Are friends not allowed to touch each other? Although it's hard not to believe they don't enjoy it a little more than they should ? ?GG Sightings SandB streaking?literally?out of theVirtue vs. Vice benefit last night before dessert was even served. Personally I thinkB planned the whole thing and wired their dresses so she could escape being in the same room withN when he was looking so dashing.V skipping out of the party with that boy with the unusual nose to share intimate cappuccinos at theThree Guys Coffee Shop a few blocks away. True love? Was she just trying to get rid of her parents? Or both? And J's new blond boyfriend,L ?yes, we are quite sure it was him?arriving late to theFrick, all dolled up in a gorgeous tux, withMadame T, the renowned arts benefactress, on his arm. He was also seen on the Upper West Side last night, so perhaps it was just another cute blond boy. There seems to be a bounty of them in these parts. Have a kick-ass vacation, and try not to break anything or lose anything I wouldn't break or lose! Wink, wink. You know you love me. gossip girl


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