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      Reuben felt dazed and sick, the solemn faces of the[Pg 274] mourners seemed to leer at him, he was seized by a contemptuous hatred of his kind. There was some confused buzzing talk, but he did not join in it. He shook hands deliriously with the lawyer, muttered something about having to get back, and elbowed his way out of the room. Pete had driven over to fetch him in his gig, as befitted the dignity of a yeoman farmer and nephew-by-marriage of the deceased, but Reuben angrily bade him go home alone. He could not sit still, he must walk, stride off his fury, the frenzy of rage and disgust and disappointment that consumed him.

      Chapter 11

      The reasons were obvious; Harry was essentially of a loving and dependent nature, whereas Reuben seemed equally indifferent to caresses or commands. He was not a bad son, but he never appeared to want affection, and was always immersed in dark affairs of his own. Besides, Harry was a beautiful boy. Though only a year[Pg 19] younger than Reuben, in the midst of the awkward age, his growing limbs quite lacked the coltishness of his brother's. He was like Reuben, but with all the little variations that make the difference between good and ordinary looks. Just as he had Reuben's promising body without that transitory uncouthness so natural to his years, so he had Reuben's face, more softly chiselled, more expressive and full of fire. His brows were lighter, his eyes larger, his hair less shiny and tough, growing in a soft sweep from his forehead, with the faintest hint of a curl at his ears. Neighbours spoke of him as "beautiful Harry." Reuben pondered him occasionallyhe would have liked to know his brother better, liked to love him, but somehow could never quite manage it. In spite of his clinging nature, there was something about Harry that was unhuman, almost elfin. The father and mother did not seem to notice this, but Reuben felt it, scarcely knowing how or why.

      Of the enemy Tilly was the most effectiveReuben did not quite know how to deal with her. His inability to despise her told heavily against him. Richard, on the other hand, he despised from the depths of his heart. The boy was insufferable, for he still had his old knack of saving his skin. It was nearly always impossible to pick any definite faults in his workit was wonderful how he managed to combine unwillingness with efficiency. He also had an irritating habit of speaking correct English, and of alluding to facts and events of which Reuben had never heard in such a manner as to make it impossible for him not to show his ignorance.


      Then gradually out of the horror beauty began to grow. The sound passed into an air, faltering at first, then flowing"Dearest Ellen," on Harry's violin.


      "Yes," said Pete, "and wud her hair all tumbling."