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      And he had a bad wife, as many knew well."

      "Noand mark you, nor am I. It 'ud have been worse for me if I'd stayed. I'm miserable in a different way from what I was theresomehow the life's easier. I'm not happy, but I'm jolly. I'm not good, but I'm pleasant-like. It's all a change for the better. See?"

      Reuben brought Naomi and Harry into the middle of the Fair. Many people stared at them. It was Harry's first public appearance since his illness, and one or two comments louder than the general hum came to Naomi's ears and made them pink.

      "All except the Fair-pl?aceand I mean to have that in a year or two, surelye."


      Reuben had not hitherto had much truck with politics. He had played the part of a convinced and conscientious Tory, both at home and in the public-house; and every evening his daughter Tilly had read him the paper, as Naomi had used to do. But he had never done more at an election than record his vote, he had never openly identified himself with the political[Pg 174] life of the district. Now it struck him that if he took a prominent part in this election it would do much to show his indifference to the recent catastrophe, besides giving him a certain standing as a politician, and thus bestowing glory and dignity on Odiam.A strange sensation thrilled through the heart of the excited monkan impulse to shed blood! The weapon of the prostrate Byles was snatched from the earthit waved fiercely round his head; nature and religion warred, for an instant, in his bosom, but the latter triumphed: the weapon was flung to a distance; and Father John, crossing himself, disappeared among the tombs.


      "I know who his f?ather is, thank'ee," said Reuben.


      Reuben sprang to his feet. He was still only half awake, and he rubbed his eyes as he stared at the figure framed in the doorway. Then suddenly he pulled himself together.