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wi sps of human l i f e. He asked how f ar away t hose t wi nkl er s wer e,
and whet her God was on t he ot her si de of t hem. But ever and anon
hi s chi l di sh pr at t l e r ecur r ed t o what i mpr essed hi s i magi nat i on
even mor e deepl y t han t he wonder s of cr eat i on. I f Tess wer e made
r i ch by mar r yi ng a gent l eman, woul d she have money enough t o buy a
spygl ass so l ar ge t hat i t woul d dr aw t he st ar s as near t o her as
Net t l ecombe- Tout ?

The r enewed subj ect , whi ch seemed t o have i mpr egnat ed t he whol e
f ami l y, f i l l ed Tess wi t h i mpat i ence.

" Never mi nd t hat now! " she excl ai med.

" Di d you say t he st ar s wer e wor l ds, Tess?"

" Yes. "

" Al l l i ke our s?"

" I don' t know; but I t hi nk so. They somet i mes seemt o be l i ke t he
appl es on our st ubbar d- t r ee. Most of t hemspl endi d and sound- - a f ew
bl i ght ed. "

" Whi ch do we l i ve on- - a spl endi d one or a bl i ght ed one?"

" A bl i ght ed one. "

" ' Ti s ver y unl ucky t hat we di dn' t pi t ch on a sound one, when t her e
wer e so many mor e of ' em! "

" Yes. "

" I s i t l i ke t hat REALLY, Tess?" sai d Abr aham, t ur ni ng t o her much
i mpr essed, on r econsi der at i on of t hi s r ar e i nf or mat i on. " How woul d
i t have been i f we had pi t ched on a sound one?"

" Wel l , f at her woul dn' t have coughed and cr eeped about as he does,
and woul dn' t have got t oo t i psy t o go on t hi s j our ney; and mot her
woul dn' t have been al ways washi ng, and never get t i ng f i ni shed. "

" And you woul d have been a r i ch l ady r eady- made, and not have had t o
be made r i ch by mar r yi ng a gent l eman?"

" O Aby, don' t - - don' t t al k of t hat any mor e! "

Lef t t o hi s r ef l ect i ons Abr ahamsoon gr ew dr owsy. Tess was not
ski l f ul i n t he management of a hor se, but she t hought t hat she coul d
t ake upon her sel f t he ent i r e conduct of t he l oad f or t he pr esent and
al l ow Abr ahamt o go t o sl eep i f he wi shed t o do so. She made hi ma
sor t of nest i n f r ont of t he hi ves, i n such a manner t hat he coul d
not f al l , and, t aki ng t he r ei ns i nt o her own hands, j ogged on as
bef or e.

Pr i nce r equi r ed but sl i ght at t ent i on, l acki ng ener gy f or super f l uous
movement s of any sor t . Wi t h no l onger a compani on t o di st r act her ,
Tess f el l mor e deepl y i nt o r ever i e t han ever , her back l eani ng
agai nst t he hi ves. The mut e pr ocessi on past her shoul der s of t r ees
and hedges became at t ached t o f ant ast i c scenes out si de r eal i t y, and
t he occasi onal heave of t he wi nd became t he si gh of some i mmense sad
soul , cont er mi nous wi t h t he uni ver se i n space, and wi t h hi st or y i n
t i me.

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