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wooed and won, what she her sel f was capabl e of i n t hat ki nd. The
st r uggl es and wr angl es of t he l ads f or her hand i n a j i g wer e an
amusement t o her - - no mor e; and when t hey became f i er ce she r ebuked
t hem.

She mi ght have st ayed even l at er , but t he i nci dent of her f at her ' s
odd appear ance and manner r et ur ned upon t he gi r l ' s mi nd t o make her
anxi ous, and wonder i ng what had become of hi mshe dr opped away f r om
t he dancer s and bent her st eps t owar ds t he end of t he vi l l age at
whi ch t he par ent al cot t age l ay.

Whi l e yet many scor e yar ds of f , ot her r hyt hmi c sounds t han t hose she
had qui t t ed became audi bl e t o her ; sounds t hat she knew wel l - - so
wel l . They wer e a r egul ar ser i es of t humpi ngs f r omt he i nt er i or of
t he house, occasi oned by t he vi ol ent r ocki ng of a cr adl e upon a st one
f l oor , t o whi ch movement a f emi ni ne voi ce kept t i me by si ngi ng, i n a
vi gor ous gal l opade, t he f avour i t e di t t y of " The Spot t ed Cow" - -


I saw her l i e do' - own i n yon' - der gr een gr o' - ove;
Come, l ove! ' and I ' l l t el l ' you wher e! '


The cr adl e- r ocki ng and t he song woul d cease si mul t aneousl y f or a
moment , and an excl amat i on at hi ghest vocal pi t ch woul d t ake t he
pl ace of t he mel ody.

" God bl ess t hy di ment eyes! And t hy waxen cheeks! And t hy cher r y
mout h! And t hy Cubi t ' s t hi ghs! And ever y bi t o' t hy bl essed body! "

Af t er t hi s i nvocat i on t he r ocki ng and t he si ngi ng woul d r ecommence,
and t he " Spot t ed Cow" pr oceed as bef or e. So mat t er s st ood when Tess
opened t he door and paused upon t he mat wi t hi n i t , sur veyi ng t he
scene.

The i nt er i or , i n spi t e of t he mel ody, st r uck upon t he gi r l ' s senses
wi t h an unspeakabl e dr ear i ness. Fr omt he hol i day gai et i es of t he
f i el d- - t he whi t e gowns, t he nosegays, t he wi l l ow- wands, t he whi r l i ng
movement s on t he gr een, t he f l ash of gent l e sent i ment t owar ds t he
st r anger - - t o t he yel l ow mel anchol y of t hi s one- candl ed spect acl e,
what a st ep! Besi des t he j ar of cont r ast t her e came t o her a chi l l
sel f - r epr oach t hat she had not r et ur ned sooner , t o hel p her mot her
i n t hese domest i ci t i es, i nst ead of i ndul gi ng her sel f out - of - door s.

Ther e st ood her mot her ami d t he gr oup of chi l dr en, as Tess had l ef t
her , hangi ng over t he Monday washi ng- t ub, whi ch had now, as al ways,
l i nger ed on t o t he end of t he week. Out of t hat t ub had come t he day
bef or e- - Tess f el t i t wi t h a dr eadf ul st i ng of r emor se- - t he ver y whi t e
f r ock upon her back whi ch she had so car el essl y gr eened about t he
ski r t on t he dampi ng gr ass- - whi ch had been wr ung up and i r oned by her
mot her ' s own hands.

As usual , Mr s Dur beyf i el d was bal anced on one f oot besi de t he t ub,
t he ot her bei ng engaged i n t he af or esai d busi ness of r ocki ng her
youngest chi l d. The cr adl e- r ocker s had done har d dut y f or so many
year s, under t he wei ght of so many chi l dr en, on t hat f l agst one f l oor ,
t hat t hey wer e wor n near l y f l at , i n consequence of whi ch a huge j er k
accompani ed each swi ng of t he cot , f l i ngi ng t he baby f r omsi de t o
si de l i ke a weaver ' s shut t l e, as Mr s Dur beyf i el d, exci t ed by her
song, t r od t he r ocker wi t h al l t he spr i ng t hat was l ef t i n her af t er
a l ong day' s seet hi ng i n t he suds.