But his thoughts were otherwhere, for he began a long, technical exposition on the art of making bricks and tiles. His talk became art-and-crafty. I was carried back to my childhood days, my kindergarten days. I heard the name of William Morris and I sighed most profoundly.
Captain Coventry had just returned from India, and the glamour of the East was still upon him--the East that is so very different to look back upon when a man's whole service need not be spent in exile. Just now he was on short leave, and his regiment--an English line regiment--would be returning home in two years' time. India, to him, was yet a pleasant quarter of the globe that meant sport (his passion) well within his means, cheaper comfort, cheaper living, amusements that were welcome to his outdoor tastes, not to speak of soldiering experiences of the finest next to active service. He was on a visit to his widowed mother
Then on the morrow, Cairbré made complaint that his beautiful dagger was destroyed, and he demanded a just recompense.
"Now Tubal he useter hoe in de g'yardin an' keep things goin', but de onlies' way he could git money wuz by fiddlin'. Marse Page he do widout all he could, but he wuz er gent'mun, an' he couldn' do widout much, an' Miss Letty she sent him all she make. An' den one night he wuz tooken sick an' had a stroke of paradise. He couldn' move, an' he couldn' hardly talk, but he call Tubal ter de baidside, an' he say, 'Remember, boy, not a word of this to your Miss Letty.' You see, Marse Page didn' have no right arm, an' he couldn' wrote wid he lef', an' Tubal had 'rections fum Miss Letty dat ev'y week he wuz ter git somebody ter write ter her an' tell her 'bout Marse Page, an' she keep on sen'in' him her money, but dat wouldn' been 'nough arter Marse Page got he stroke of paradise, ef it hadn' been fer Tubal's fiddlin'. Now, in dem times, dey wuz Yankees 'bout. Dey wuz two or three cump'nies dat camp out at de river landin', an' Tubal useter go over ter de camp an' play fer 'em, an' come back wid er greenback in he pocket. Marse Page by dat time didn' know nuttin' hardly. He jes' lay d'yar an' suffer an' groan. Out at de camp dey wuz a orficer—a cap'n—dat wuz mighty
The pale-green murk of the Wet Gut and the desert brightness of the Hot Gut were the gates of home, and welcome.
he was doing now: idling, taking much violent exercise, eating more than was good for him, laughing at the same kind of nonsense, and worshipping, with the same kind of dull routine-worship, the same kind of woman, whether dressed in a crinoline, a farthingale, a peplum or the skins of beasts—it didn’t much matter under what sumptuary dispensation one placed her. Only in that other age there might have been outlets for other faculties, now dormant, perhaps even atrophied, but which must—yes, really must—have had something to do with the building of that big friendly forehead, the monumental nose, and the rich dimple which now and then furrowed his cheek with light. Did the dimple even mean no more than Leila Gracy?
Hartford saw the Terrible Third off to their quarters, then got together with Piacentelli to go up to Officers' Country. It was good to un-clam helmets and breathe the inside air, smelling faintly green from having swept across the gardens on Level Eight. Hartford shucked off his blue suit and draped it over a refreshing unit. The device buzzed into action, washing, drying and recharging the safety-suit with fresh filters and reserve air and water. The moment the refresher had grunted an okay to his safety-suit, Hartford carried it, clean and sweet as the day it had left the Goodyear plant on Titan, to hang it up in his locker, ready for his next foray onto bug-dirt.
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