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      In the soft grey gown that the first of the cold demanded she walked with her arm through Reuben's up the Moor. Her bonnet was the colour of heather, tied with wide ribbons that accentuated the milkiness of her chin. Reuben wore his Sunday clothesdrab shorts and a sprigged waistcoat, and a wide-brimmed hat under which his face looked strangely handsome and dark. Harry shuffled along, clutching his brother's coat-sleeve to guide himself. Mrs. Backfield preferred to stay at home, and Reuben had not tried to make her come.

      He leaned over the table towards her."I'll soon be able to have Richard on, and then there's still Jemmy to follerand George."

      None of the Backfield boys was ever paid a penny of wages. Reuben's idea in employing them was to save money, besides he feared that his young men with full pockets might grow independent. It was essential to his plan that he should keep them absolutely dependent on him, otherwise they might leave home, marry without his consent, or at best fritter away theiror rather histime by running after girls or drinking at pubs. It is true that now and then stalwart Pete made a few shillings in the sparring-booth at the Fair, but Reuben could trust Pete in a way he could not trust the other boys, so he did not offer much objection.

      "I'm sorryfather's not at home," she said in answer to his question.She shook her head, the smile remaining. Her voice was quiet and calm, but there was a feeling of strain in it: there was strain everywhere, now. Everyone looked at the sky, and saw nothing: everyone listened for the sound of engines, and there were no engines to hear. "Catalepsy is a kind of death, Johnny. And you'll have to inflict that much on yourself. You won't do it."

      "Slaves," Dodd said to himself. "With a slave mentality." And then: "Tell me, Cadnan, do they all think like you?"

      "Why not?"

      As for Albert and Richard, they did not even work well, and they grumbled and shirked as much as they dared. They had ambitions, but so utterly at variance with Odiam's as to be worse than none. Albert wanted to be a poet and Richard to be a gentleman.


      Richard bitterly abused his father to Anne, as they met in the midst of the strife of their two families:


      "He died quiet, I hope?"For this I am near the dead and the room shakes.


      Cadnan frowned. "I do not understand," he said.