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      How dreadful! Already she saw an insect crawling over the bedprobably there were lots of others about the room; and these flowers, all parched, dead, and evil-smelling, gave a sinister touch to her wedding day. A lump rose in her throat, the back of her eyes was seared by something hot and sudden.... Oh, Harry ... Harry....

      Immediately behind the cart walked Reuben with his mother on his arm. Her face was hidden in a clumsy black veil, which the Rye mantua-maker had assured her was the London fashion, and she was obviously ill at ease in the huge black shawl and voluminous skirts which the same fashion, according to the Rye mantua-maker, had decreed. Her hand pulled at Reuben's sleeve and stroked it as if for comfort. It was a smallish hand, and wonderfully soft for a farmer's wifebut then Mary Backfield had not lived like an ordinary farmer's wife. Under the thick veil, her face still had a certain soft colour and youthfulness, though she was nearly forty, and most women of her position were wrinkled and had lost their teeth by thirty-five. Also the curves of her figure were still delicate. She had been cherished by her husband, had done only light household work for him and borne him only two children. She carried the tokens of her happiness in smooth surfaces and soft lines.

      "You little brat," said Shorty, "git all them fool notions out o' your head. This 's the best home you'll ever see, and you stay here just as long as the Lord'll let you. You're playin' in high luck to be here. Don't you ever leave, on no account."


      "Well, there's orders and orders," said Shorty, philosophically. "Most of 'em you obey to the last curl on the letter R, and do it with a jump. Some of 'em you obey only when you have to, and take your chances at improving the State o' Tennessee by buildin' roads and diggin' up stumps in the parade ground if you're ketched not mindin'. Of them kind is the orders agin gamblin'."


      One thing he noticed, and that was that the housework was always done for him by his mother as if there were no sickness to fill her time. Always when he came home of an evening, his supper was waiting for him, hot and savoury. He breakfasted whenever he had a mind, and there were slices of cold pie or dabs of bread and meat for him to take out and eat as he workedhe had no time to come home to dinner now. Really his mother was tumbling to things wonderfully wellshe looked a little tired sometimes, it is true, and the lines of her face were growing thinner, but she was saving him seven shillings a month and the girl's food; and all that money and food was feeding the hungry earth.


      Shorty took little Pete by the hand to assist him in keeping up with the rapid pace Si and he set up to get back to their own camp, and participate in its demonstrations.Norma almost reached forward to shake some sense into the old woman. But she was Dr. Haenlingen, after all