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    Software name: appdown
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      In accordance with the laws of the Confederation, no weapons shall be used which destroy planetary mass.Thursday broke clear and windylittle curls of cloud flew high against spreads of watery blue, and the wind raced over Boarzell, smelling of wet furrows. As usual[Pg 163] everyone at Odiam was going to the Faireven Mrs. Backfield, for Reuben said that he would not let the girls go without her. Caro and Tilly were now fifteen and sixteen, and their father began to have fears lest they should marry and leave him. Tilly especially, with her creamy complexion like Naomi's, and her little tip-tilted nose, freckled over the bridge, gave him anxious times. He sternly discouraged any of the neighbouring farmers' sons who seemed inclined to call; he was not going to lose his daughters just when Mrs. Backfield's poor health made them indispensable. It could not be long before his mother diedalready her bouts of rheumatism were so severe that she was practically crippled each winterand when she died Tilly and Caro must take her place.


      As the stones begun to come down more fitfully, and at longer intervals. Shorty shouted to those on top:

      "You will not tell me how to run my own division." The words were spaced, like steel rivets, evenly into the air. Dr. Haenlingen looked around the meeting-room, her face not even defiant but simply assured."Yes?" Norma waited, a study in polite attention. The trace fell slowly in her hand to the pad on her knees and rested there.

      He wanted to smash Tilly even more than he wanted to smash Realf. He had seen her twice since her marriagemeeting her once in Rye, and once on Boarzelland each sight had worked him into a greater rage. Her little figure had strengthened and filled out, her demure self-confidence had increased, her prettiness was even more adorable now that the rose had deepened on her cheeks and her gowns strained over her breast; she was enough to fill any man with wrath at the joke of[Pg 237] things. Tilly ought to be receiving the wages of her treachery in weariness and anxiety, fading colour and withering fleshand here she was all fat and rosy and happy, well-fed and well-beloved. He hated her and called her a harlotbecause she had betrayed Odiam for hire and trafficked in its shame.Reuben struck his fist on the table, and she dropped the paper with a little cry.

      "And I have mine." It was settled.

      To-day business was bad. Here and there a ploughboy pulled up his slop and fumbled for pennies in his corduroys, but for the most part the stalls were deserted, even in certain cases by their holders. This was not because the Fair was empty. On the contrary, it was much more crowded than usual; but the crowd clotted into groups, all discussing the same thingthe Inclosure.


      "No, Reuben, I could never do anything but fight your schemes. I think you are wasting and spoiling your life, and there's no use expecting me to stand by you.""Too bright to sit around and do nothing!"


      Naomi submitted languidly. Her days passed in a comfortable heaviness, and though she occasionally felt bored, on the whole she enjoyed being fussed over and waited on. During those months her relations with Reuben's mother became subtly changed. Before her marriage there had been a certain friendship and equality between them, but now the elder woman took more the place of a servant. It was not because she waited on Naomi, fetched and carriedReuben did that, and was her master still. It was rather something in her whole attitude. She had ceased to confide in Naomi, ceased perhaps to care for her very much, and this gave a certain menial touch to her services. It would be hard[Pg 83] to say what had separated the two womenperhaps it was because one toiled all day while the other lay idle, perhaps it was a twinge of maternal jealousy on Mrs. Backfield's part, for Reuben was beginning to notice her less and less. After a time Naomi realised this estrangement, and though at first she did not care, later on it came to distress her. Somehow she did not like the idea of being without a woman associatein spite of her love for Reuben, now more passive and more languid, like every other emotion, she craved instinctively for someone of her own sex in whom she could confide and on whom she could rely.After the members were duly seated according to rank, with Maj. Truax at the head of the table, Lieut. Bowersox read the order for holding the court, and called the names of the members. He then said:


      MRS. G.: Of course I'm right.Chapter 12