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Author:

Walter De la Mare
(1873 -1956)


Title:

The Creatures


Year:

c.1873 -1956


Genre:

Short Story


Big Idea:

J ourneys


Grade:

9


Country: United Kingdom









































Glencoe Literature Classics CD-ROM

Clencoe Literature Classics CD-lM 1
The Creatures
Walter De la Mare
lt was tle ebbin, li,lt of evenin, tlat recalled me out of mv storv to a
consciousness of mv wlereabouts. l dropped tle squat little red book to
mv knee and ,lanced out of tle narrow and be,rimed oblon, window. We
were skirtin, tle eastern coast of cliffs, to tle verv ed,e of wlicl a
plou,lman, stumblin, alon, belind lis two ,reat lorses, was drivin, tle
last of lis dark furrows. ln a cleft far down between tle rocks a cold and
idle sea was soundlesslv lavin, its fri,id ,arlands of foam. l stared over tle
flat stretcl of waters, tlen turned mv lead, and looked witl a kind of
suddenness into tle face of mv one fellow-traveller.
He lad entered tle carria,e, all but unleeded, vet not alto,etler
unresented, at tle last countrv station. His features were a little obscure in
tle fadin, davli,lt tlat lun, between our four narrow walls, but
apparentlv lis eves lad been fixed on mv face for some little time.
He narrowed lis lids at tlis unexpected confrontation, jerked back lis
lead, and cast a ,lance out of lis mirkv ,lass at tle bit of ,reenisl-bri,lt
moon tlat was stru,,lin, into its full brilliance above tle dun, swellin,
uplands.
lt's a queer experience, railwav-travellin,," le be,an abruptlv, in a
low, almost deprecatin, voice, drawin, lis land across lis eves. ne is
cast into a passin, privacv witl a fellow-stran,er and tlen is ,one." lt was
as if le lad been patientlv awaitin, tle attention of a closen listener.
l nodded, lookin, at lim. T|c: privacv, too," le ejaculated, all
tlat'" Mv eves turned towards tle window a,ain: bare, tlorned, black
Januarv led,e, inlospitable salt coast, flat waste of nortlern water. ur
en,ine-driver promptlv slut off lis steam, and we slid almost noiselesslv
out of si,lt of skv and sea into a cuttin,.
lt's a desolate countrv," l ventured to remark.
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Clencoe Literature Classics CD-lM 2
l, ves, 'desolate''" le ecloed a little wearilv. But wlat alwavs frets
me is tle wav we lave of arro,atin, to ourselves tle offices of jud,e, jurv,
and counsel all in one. lor mv part, l never for,et it-tle futilitv, tle
presumption. lt |ec1s nowlere. We drive in-into all tlis silence, tlis-
tlis 'forsakenness,' tlis dream of a world between ler li,lts of dav and
ni,lt time. Consciousness' . . . Wlat restless monkevs men are'" He
recovered limself, swallowed lis indi,nation witl an obvious ,ulp. As
if," le continued, in more clastened tones-as if tlat otler ,ate were
not for ever ajar, into Cod knows wlat of peace and mvsterv." He stooped
forward, lean, darkened, objur,atorv. Don't we mc|e our world: lsn't :|c:
our blessed, our betraved responsibilitv:"
l nodded, and ensconced mvself, like a do, in straw, in tle basest of
all responses to a rare, even if eccentric, candour-caution.
Well," le continued, a little weariedlv, tlat's tle indictment. Small
wonder if it will need a trumpet to blare us into tlat last 'lamilv lravers.'
1len perlaps a few solitaries-just a few-will creep out of tleir loles
and fastnesses, and draw mercv from tle merciful on tle cities of tle
plain. 1le buried talent will sline none tle worse for tle lon,, lon,
loomin, of its naperv spun from dream and desire.
Years a,o-ten, fifteen, perlaps-l clanced on tle queerest
specimen of tlis order of tle 'talented.' Mucl tle same countrv, too.
1lis"-le swept lis ,lance out towards tle now invisible sea-tlis is a
kind of dwarf replica of it. More naked, smootler, more sudden and
precipitous, more 'forsaken,' moodv. Alone' 1le trees are slorn tlere, as
if witl monstrous slears, bv tle winter ,ales. 1le air's salt. lt is a countrv
of stones and emerald meadows, of ,reen, meanderin,, aimless lanes, of
farms set in tleir cliffs and vallevs like rou,l time-bedimmed jewels, as if
bv some an,el of lumanitv, wanderin, between dark and davbreak.
l was voun,er tlan-in bodv: tle voutl of tle mind is for men of an
a,e-vours, mavbe, and mine. Lven tlen, even at tlat, l was sickened of
crowds, of tlat unima,inable London-swarmin, wilderness of mankind
in wlicl a poor lost tlirstv do, from tlerwlere tastes first tle full
meanin, of tlat idle word 'forsaken.' 'lorsaken bv wlom:' is tle question
l ask mvself now. Visitors to mv particular paradise were few tlen-as if,
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Clencoe Literature Classics CD-lM 3
mv dear sir, we are not all of us visitors, visitants, revenants, on eartl,
pantin, for time in wlicl to tell and slare our secrets, rovin, in searcl of
tle marks tlat slall prove our quest not vain, not unprecedented, not a
treaclerv. But let tlat be.
l would start off mornin, after mornin,, bread and cleese in pocket,
from tle bare old louse l lod,ed in, bound for tlat unforeseen nowlere
for wlicl tle leart, tle fantasv acles. Lin,erin, lot noondavs would find
me stretcled in a state lalf-comatose, vet vi,ilant, on tle close-flowered
turf of tle fields or cliffs, on tle sun-baked sands and rocks, soakin, in tle
scene and life around me like some pil,rim clameleon. lt was in lope to
lose mv wav tlat l would set out. How slall a man find lis wav unless le
lose it: Now and tlen l succeeded. 1lat countrv is lar,e, and its land and
sea marks easilv cleat tle stran,er. l was still of an a,e, vou see, wlen mv
'small door' was ajar, and l planted a solid foot to keep it from sluttin,.
But low could l know wlat l was after: ne just slakes tle tree of life,
and tle rare fruits come tumblin, down, to rot for tle most part in tle
lusl ,rasses.
Wlat was most launtin, and provocative in tlat far-awav countrv
was its fleetin, resemblance to tle countrv of dream. You stand, vou sit,
and lie prone on its bud-starred lei,lts, and look down; tle ,reen,
dispersed, treeless landscape spreads beneatl vou, witl its lollows and
mounded slopes, clusterin, farmstead, and scatter of villa,e, all motionless
under tle vast wasl of sun and blue, like tle drop-scene of some
enclanted plavlouse centuries old. So, too, tle visionarv bird-launted
leadlands, veiled faintlv in a mist of unrealitv above tleir broken stones
and tle enormous saucer of tle sea.
You cannot ,uess tlere wlat vou mav not clance upon, or wlom.
Bells clasl, boom and quarrel lollowlv on tle ed,e of darkness in tlose
breakers. Voices waver across tle fainter winds. 1le birds crv in a ton,ue
unknown vet not unfamiliar. 1le skv is tle lawks' and tle stars'. T|ere
one is on tle ed,e of life, of tle unforeseen, wlereas our cities-are not
our desiccated jaded minds ever continuallv pressin, and ed,in, furtler
and furtler awav from freedom, tle vast unknown, tle infinite presence,
pickin, a fool's journev from sensual fact to fact at tle tail of tlat le-ass
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Clencoe Literature Classics CD-lM +
called leason: l su,,est tlat in tlat solitude tle spirit witlin us realises
tlat it treads tle outskirts of a re,ion lon, since called tle lma,ination. l
assert we lave straved, and in our blindness abandoned--"
Mv stran,er paused in lis fren:v, ,lanced out at me from lis obscure
corner as if le lad intended to stun, to astonisl me witl some violent
leresv. We puffed out slowlv, laboriouslv, from a Halt" at wlicl in tle
,atlerin, dark and moonsline we lad for some wlile been at a standstill.
Never was weddin,-,uest more desperatelv at tle mercv of ancient
mariner.
Well, one dav," le went on, liftin, lis voice a little to master tle
resoundin, leart-beats of our steam-en,ine-one late afternoon, in mv
,oal-less wanderin,s, l lad climbed to tle summit of a steep ,rass-,rown
cart-track, windin, up dustilv between dense, untended led,es. Lven
tlen l mi,lt lave missed tle louse to wlicl it led, for, lair-pin faslion,
track lere abruptlv turned back on itself, and onlv a far fainter footpatl
let on over tle lill-crest. l mi,lt, l sav, lave missed tle louse and-and
its inmates, if l lad not leard tle musical sound of wlat seemed like tle
twan,lin, of a larp. 1lis tlin-drawn, sweet, tuneless warblin, welled
over tle close ,reen ,rass of tle lei,lt as if out of space. 1rutl cannot sav
wletler it was of tlat air or of mv own fantasv. Nor did l ever discover
wlat instrument, wletler of man or Ariel, lad released a strain so pure
and vet so bodiless.
l pusled on and found mvself in command of ,orse-strewn lei,lt, a
stretcl of countrv tlat lav a few lundred paces across tle steep and
sudden vallev in between. ln a V-slaped entrv to tle left, and sunwards,
lav an a:ure and la:v ton,ue of tle sea. And as mv eve slid softlv tlence
and upwards and alon, tle slarp, ,reen lori:on line a,ainst tle ,lass-
clear turquoise of space, it cau,lt tle flintv ,litter of a square climnev. l
pusled on, and presentlv found mvself at tle ,ate of a farmvard.
1lere was but one straw-mow upon its staddles. A few fowls were
sunnin, tlemselves in tleir dust-batls. Wlite and pied doves preened
and cooed on tle roof of an outbuildin, as ,olden witl its liclens as if tle
western sun lad scattered its dust for centuries upon tle lar,e slate slabs.
Just tlat life and tle wlisperin, of tle wind, notlin, more. Yet even at
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one swift ,limpse l seemed to lave trespassed upon a peace tlat lad
endured for a,es; to lave crossed tle viewless border tlat divides time
from eternitv. l leaned, restin,, over tle ,ate, and could lave remained
tlere for lours, lapsin, ever more profoundlv into tle blessed quietude
tlat lad stolen over mv tlou,lts.
A bent-up woman appeared at tle dark entrv of a stone sled opposite
to me, and, sladin, ler eves, paused in prolon,ed scrutinv of tle stran,er.
At tlat l entered tle ,ate and, explainin, tlat l lad lost mv wav and was
tired and tlirstv, asked for some milk. Sle made no replv, but after
peerin, up at me, witl sometlin, between suspicion and apprelension on
ler weatler-beaten old face, led me towards tle louse wlicl lav to tle
left on tle slope of tle vallev, lidden from me till tlen bv plumv busles
of tamarisk.
lt was a low ,rave louse, ,rev-climneved, its stone walls traversed bv
a deep sladow cast bv tle declinin, sun, its dark windows rounded and
uncurtained, its door wide open to tle porcl. Sle entered tle louse, and
l paused upon tle tlreslold. A deep unmovin, quiet lav witlin, like tlat
of water in a cave renewed bv tle tide. Above a table lun, a wreatl of
wild flowers. 1o tle ri,lt was a leavv oak settle upon tle fla,s. A beam
of sunli,lt pierced tle air of tle staircase from an upper window.
lresentlv a dark lon,-faced ,aunt man appeared from witlin,
contemplatin, me, as le advanced, out of eves tlat seemed not so mucl
to fix tle intruder as to encircle lis ima,e, as tle sea contains tle distant
speck of a slip on its wide blue bosom of water. 1lev mi,lt lave been
tle eves of tle blind; tle windows of a louse in dream to wlicl tle
inmate must make sometlin, of a pil,rima,e to look out upon actualitv.
1len le smiled, and tle lon,, dark features, melanclolv vet serene, took
li,lt upon tlem, as mi,lt a bluff of rock beneatl a tlin passin, wasl of
sunsline. Witl a ,esture le welcomed me into tle lar,e dark-fla,,ed
kitclen, cool as a cellar, airv as a belfrv, its sweet air traversed bv a lon,
oblon, of li,lt out of tle west.
1le wide slelves of tle painted dresser were laden witl crockerv. A
wreatl of fresllv-,atlered flowers lun, over tle climnev-piece. As we
entered, a twitterin, cloud of small birds, robins, led,e-sparrows,
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claffincles fluttered up a few incles from floor and sill and window-seat,
and once more, witl tinv starrv-dark eves observin, me, soundlesslv
ali,lted.
l could lear tle infinitesimal :.c-:cc of tleir tinv claws upon tle slate.
Mv ,a:e drifted out of tle window into tle ,arden bevond, a cavern of
clearer crvstal and colour tlan tlat wlicl astounded tle eves of voun,
Aladdin. Apart from tle twisted ,arland of wild flowers, tle slinin,
metal of ran,e and copper candlestick, and tle bri,lt-scoured crockerv,
tlere was no adornment in tle room except a rou,l frame, lan,in, from
a nail in tle wall, and enclosin, wlat appeared to be a faint patterned
fra,ment of blue silk or fine linen. 1le clairs and table were old and
leavv. A low li,lt warblin,, an occasional s|.rr of win,, a la:e-like drone
of bee and flv-tlese were tle onlv sounds tlat ed,ed a quiet intensified
in its profunditv bv tle remote stirrin,s of tle sea.
1le louse was stilled as bv a clarm, vet tlou,lt witlin me asked no
questions; speculation was asleep in its kennel. l sat down to tle milk and
bread, tle lonev and fruit wlicl tle old woman laid out upon tle table,
and ler master seated limself opposite to me, now in a low sibilant
wlisper-a ton,ue wlicl tlev seemed to understand-addressin, limself
to tle birds, and now, as if witl an effort, raisin, tlose stran,e ,rev-,reen
eves of lis to bestow a quiet remark upon me. He asked, ratler in courtesv
tlan witl anv active interest, a few questions, referrin, to tle world, its
business and transports-ur beautiful world-as an astronomer in tle
small lours mi,lt murmur a few words to tle clance-sent ,uest of lis
solitude concernin, tle secrets of Lranus or Saturn. 1lere is anotler, an
inexplorable side to tle moon. Yet le said enou,l for me to ,atler tlat
le, too, was of tlat small tribe of tle aloof and wild to wlicl our cracked
old word 'forsaken' mi,lt be applied, lermits, clav-matted fakirs, and
sucl-like, tle snowv birds tlat plav and crv amid mid-oceanic sur,es, tle
livin, of an oasis of tle wilderness, wlicl slare a realitv onlv distantlv
dreamed of bv tle time-driven tlou,lt-corroded con,re,ations of man.
Yet so narrow and la:ardous l somelow realised was tle brink of
fellow-bein, (slall l call it:) wlicl we slared, le and l, tlat a,ain and
a,ain fantasv witlin me seemed to lover over tlat precipice Ni,lt knows
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as fear. lt was le, it seemed, witl tlat still embracive contemplation of
lis, witl tlat far-awav vet reassurin, smile, tlat kept mv poise, mv
balance. 'No,' some voice witlin lim seemed to utter, 'vou are safe; tle
bounds are fixed; tlou,l lallucination claunt its decov, vou slall not
irretrievablv pass over. Lat and drink, and presentlv return to life." ' And
l listened, and, like tlat of a drowsv clild in its cradle, mv consciousness
sank deeper and deeper, stilled, pacified, into tle dream amid wlicl, as it
seemed, tlis soundless louse of stone now reared its walls.
l lad all but finisled mv meal wlen l leard footsteps approaclin, on
tle fla,s witlout. 1le murmur of otler voices, distin,uislablv slrill vet
,uttural, even at a distance, and in spite of tle dense stones and beams of
tle louse wlicl lad blunted tleir timbre, lad alreadv reacled me. Now
tle feet lalted. l turned mv lead-cautiouslv, even perlaps
apprelensivelv-and confronted two fi,ures in tle doorwav.
l cannot now ,uess tle a,e of mv entertainer. 1lese clildren-for
clildren tlev were in face and ,esture and effect, tlou,l as to form and
stature apparentlv in tleir last teens-tlese clildren were far more
problematical. l sav 'form and statue,' vet obviouslv tlev were dwarfisl.
1leir leads were sunken between tleir sloulders, tleir lair tlick, tleir
eves disconcertin,lv deep-set. 1lev were un,ainlv, tleir features
peculiarlv irre,ular, as if two races from tle ends of tle eartl lad in tlem
intermin,led tleir blood and stran,eness; as if, ratler, animal and an,el
lad connived in tleir creation.
But if some inward li,lt lav on tle still eves, on tle ,aunt, sorrowful,
quixotic countenance tlat now was fullv and intenselv bent on mine,
emplaticallv tlat li,lt was tleirs also. He spoke to tlem; tlev
answered-in Ln,lisl, mv own lan,ua,e, witlout a doubt: but an Ln,lisl
slurred, broken, and unintelli,ible to me, vet clear as bell, launtin,,
penetratin,, pinin, as voice of nix or siren. Mv ears drank in tle sound as
an Arab parcled witl desert sand falls on lis dried bellv and ,ulps in
moutlfuls of crvstal water. 1le birds lopped nearer, as if beneatl tle rod
of an enclanter. A sweet continuous clamour arose from tleir small
tlroats. 1le exquisite colours of plume and bosom burned, ,reened,
melted in tle level sun-rav, in tle darker air bevond.
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A kind of mournful ,aietv, a lamentable felicitv, sucl as rin,s in tle
cadences of an old folk-son,, welled into mv leart. l was come back to tle
borders of Lden, bowed and outwearied, ,a:in, from out of dream into
dream, lomesick, 'forsaken.'
Well, vears lave ,one bv," muttered mv fellow-traveller
deprecatin,lv, but l lave not for,otten tlat Lden's primeval trees and
slade.
1lev led me out, tlese bi:arre companions, a le and a sle, if l mav
put it as crudelv as mv apprelension of tlem put it to me tlen. 1lrou,l a
broad door tlev conducted me-if one wlo leads mav be said to be
conducted-into tleir ,arden. Carden' A full mile lon,, between
undiscerned walls, it sloped and narrowed towards a sea at wlose dark
unfoamed blue, even at tlis distance, mv eves da::led. Yet low can one
call tlat a ,arden wlicl reveals no ,lost of a si,n of luman arran,ement,
of luman slaverv, of spade or loe:
Creat boulders slouldered up, tessellated, embossed, powdered witl a
tlousand various mosses and liclens, between a flowerin, ,reenerv of
weeds. Wind-stunted, clear-emerald, liclen-tufted trees smootled and
crisped tle inflowin, airs of tle ocean witl tleir leaves and spines,
sibilatin, a tlin scarce-audible music. Scantv, rank, and uncultivated
fruits lun, close tleir vivid-coloured cleeks to tle ,narled brancles. lt
was tle larboura,e of birds, tle small embowerin, parlour of tleir louse
of life, under an evenin, skv, pure and lustrous as a waterdrop. lt cried
'Hospital' to tle wanderers of tle universe.
As l look back in ever-tlinnin, nebulous remembrance on mv two
companions, lear tleir voices ,utturallv sweet and slrill, catcl a,ain
tleir bein,, so to speak, l realise tlat tlere was a kind of rientalism in
tleir effect. 1leir instant courtesv was not Western, tle smiles tlat
,reeted me, wlenever l turned mv lead to look back at tlem, were
infinitelv friendlv, vet infinitelv remote. So un,ainlv, so far from our
notions of beautv and svmmetrv were tleir bodies and faces, tlose leads
tlrust leavilv between tleir sloulders, tleir disproportioned vet ,raceful
arms and lands, tlat tle clildren in some of our Ln,lisl villa,es mi,lt be
moved to stone tlem, wlile tleir elders looked on and lau,led.
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Dusk was drawin, near; soon ni,lt would come. 1le colours of tle
sunset, suckin, its extremest dve from everv leaf and blade and petal,
toucled mv consciousness even tlen witl a va,ue fleetin, alarm.
l remember l asked tlese stran,e and lappv bein,s, repeatin, mv
question twice or tlrice, as we neared tle surfv entrv of tle vallev upon
wlose sands a tinv stream emptied its fresl waters-l asked tlem if it was
tlev wlo lad planted tlis multitude of flowers, manv of a kind utterlv
unknown to me and alien to a countrv inexlaustiblv ricl. 'We wait; we
wait'' l tlink tlev cried. And it was as if tleir crv woke eclo from tle
,reen-walled vallevs of tle mind into wlicl l lad straved. Slall l confess
tlat tears came into mv eves as l ,a:ed lun,rilv around me on tle larvest
of tleir patience:
Never was actualitv so close to dream. lt was not onlv an unknown
countrv, slipped in between tlese placid lills, on wlicl l lad clanced in
mv ramblin,s. l lad entered for a few brief moments a stran,e re,ion of
consciousness. l was treadin,, tlus accompanied, amid a world of
welcomin, and fearless life-ol, friendlv to me'-tle patls of man's
ima,ination, tle kin,dom from wlicl tlou,lt and curiositv, vexed
scrutinv and lust-a lust it mav be for notlin, more impious tlan tle
actual-lad prelistoricallv proved tle insensate means of lis
banislment. 'lealitv,' 'Consciousness': lad le for 'tle time bein,'
unwittin,lv, unlappilv missed lis wav: Would le be led back at len,tl to
tlat ,arden wlerein cockatrice and basilisk bask, larmlesslv, at peace:
l speculate now. ln tlat queer, ves, and possible sinister, companv,
sinister onlv because it was alien to me, l did not speculate. ln tleir
,arden, tle familiar was become tle stran,e-'tle stran,e' tlat lurks in
tle inmost leart, unburdens its ricles in trance, flin,s its li,lt and ,ildin,
upon love, ,ives leavenlv savour to tle intemperate bowl of passion, and
is tle secret of our incommunicable pitv. Wlat is vet queerer, tlese
bein,s were evidentlv ,lad of mv companv. 1lev stumped after me (as
mi,lt vellow men after some ccidental quadruped never before seen) in
merrv collusion of nods and wreatled smiles at tlis perlaps
unprecedented intrusion.
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l stood for a moment lookin, out over tle placid surface of tle sea. A
slip in sail lun, plantom-like on tle lori:on. l pined to call mv
discoverv to its seamen. 1le tide ,usled, broke, spent itself on tle bare
boulders, l was suddenlv cold and alone, and ,ladlv turned back into tle
,arden, mv companions instinctivelv separatin, to let me pass between
tlem. l breatled in tle rare, almost exotic leat, tle tenuous, loneved,
almond-laden air of its flowers and birds-,ull, sleldrake, plover, wa,tail,
fincl, robin, wlicl as l lalf-an,rilv, lalf-sadlv realised fluttered up in
momentarv dismav onlv at m, presence-tle embodied spectre of tleir
enemv, man. Man: 1len wlo were tlese: . . .
l lost a,ain a wav lost earlv tlat mornin,, as l trud,ed inland at
ni,lt. 1le dark came, warm and starrv. l was tired, dejected, exlausted
bevond words. 1lat ni,lt l slept in a barn and was awakened soon after
davbreak bv tle crowin, of cocks. l went out, da:ed and blinkin, into tle
sunli,lt, batled face and lands in a brook near bv, and came to a villa,e
before a soul was stirrin,. So l sat under a tlrift-cuslioned, tlorn-
crowned wall in a meadow, and once more drowsed off and fell asleep.
Wlen a,ain l awoke, it was ten o'clock. 1le clurcl clock in its tower
knelled out tle strokes, and l went into an inn for food.
A corpulent, blond woman, kindlv and lospitable, witl a face
comfortablv resemblin, ler own sow's, tlat vuffed and nosed in at tle
open door as l sat on mv stool, served me witl wlat l called for. l
described-not witlout some vanislin, slame, as if it were a treaclerv-
mv farm, its wlereabouts.
Her small blue eves 'pi,,ed' at me witl a fleetin, expression wlicl l
failed to translate. 1le name of tle farm, it appeared, was 1revarras. 'And
did vou see anv of tle Creatures:' sle asked me in a voice not entirelv ler
own. '1le Creatures'' l sat back for an instant and stared at ler; tlen
realised tlat Creature was tle name of mv lost, and Maria and Clristus
(tlou,l lere ler dialect mav lave deceived me) tle names of mv two
,ardeners. Sle spun an absurd storv, so far as l could tack it to,etler and
make it colerent. Superstitious stuff about tlis man wlo lad wandered in
upon tle slocked and curious inlabitants of tle district and made lis
The Creatures,
Clencoe Literature Classics CD-lM 11
lome at 1revarras-a stran,er and pil,rim, a 'forei,ner,' it seemed, of few
words, dubious manners, and botl uninformative.
1len tlere was sometlin, (sle placed ler two fat lands, one of
tlem weddin,-rin,ed, on tle :inc of tle bar-counter, and peered over at
me, as if l were a delectable 'wasl'), tlen tlere was sometlin, about a
woman 'from tle sea.' ln a 'blue ,own,' and eitler dumb, inarticulate, or
mistress of onlv a forei,n ton,ue. Sle must lave lived in sin, moreover,
tlose pi,'s eves seemed to vearn, since tle clildren were 'simple,'
'naturals'-as Cod intends in sucl matters. lt was useless. ne's stomacl
mav sometimes reject tle cold sanative aerated water of 'tle next
mornin,,' and mv ridiculous intoxication lad left me drv but not vet quite
sober.
Anvlow, tlis sle told me, tlat mv blue woman, as fair as flax, lad
died and was buried in tle nei,lbourin, clurclvard (tle nearest to,
tlou,l miles distant from, 1revarras). Sle repeatedlv assured me, as if l
mi,lt otlerwise doubt so soplisticated a fact, tlat l slould find ler ,rave
tlere, ler 'stone.'
So indeed l did-far awav from tle elect, and in a slade-ridden
nortl-west corner of tle sleepv, cropless acre: a slab, scarcelv rounded, of
,ranite, witl but a name bitten out of tle dark rou,l surface, 'em.nc
Crec:ure.' "

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