free ebooks
Harvest by Mrs. Humphry Ward

HARVEST

by

MRS. HUMPHRY WARD

Author of _Robert Elsmere_, _Lady Rose's Daughter_, _Missing_, _Helena_, etc.

1920

I

Two old labourers came out of the lane leading to Great End Farm. Both carried bags slung on sticks over their shoulders. One, the eldest and tallest, was a handsome fellow, with regular features and a delicately humorous mouth. His stoop and his slouching gait, the gray locks also, which straggled from under his broad hat, showed him an old man--probably very near his old-age pension. But he carried still with him a look of youth, and he had been a splendid creature in his time. The other was short of stature and of neck, bent besides by field work. A broadly-built, clumsy man, with something gnome-like about him, and the cheerful look of one whose country nerves had never known the touch of worry or long sickness. The name of the taller man was Peter Halsey, and Joseph Batts was his companion.

It was a fine July evening, with a cold north wind blowing from the plain which lay stretched to their right. Under the unclouded sun, which by its own "sun-time" had only reached half-past four in the afternoon, though the clock in the village church had already struck half-past five, the air was dry and parching, and the fields all round, the road itself, and the dusty hedges showed signs of long drought.

"It du want rain," said Peter Halsey, looking at a crop of oats through an open gate, "it du want rain--_bad_."

"Aye!" said the other, "that it du. Muster Shenstone had better 'a read the prayer for rain lasst Sunday, I'm thinkin', than all them long ones as ee _did_ read."

Halsey was silent a moment, his half-smiling eyes glancing from side to side. At last he said slowly,--

"We du be prayin' a lot about ower sins, and Muster Shenstone is allus preachin' about 'em. But it's the sins o' the _Garmins_ I be thinkin' of. If it hadn't a bin for the sins o' the Garmins my Tom wouldn't ha' lost 'is right hand."

"An' ower Jim wouldn't be goin' into them trenches next November as ever is," put in Batts. "It's the sins o' the Garmins as ha' done _that_, an' nothin' as you or I ha' done, Peter."

Halsey shook his head assentingly.

"Noa--for all that pratin', pacifist chap was sayin' lasst week. I didn't believe a word ee said. 'Yis,' I says, 'if you want this war to stop, I'm o' your mind,' I says, 'but when you tells me as _England_ done it--you'm--'"

The short man burst into a cackling laugh.

"'You'm a liar!' Did you say that, Peter?"


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us