بخش 09

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بخش 09

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Vardaman goes back down the road to where we crossed the branch and returns with sand. He pours it slowly into the thick coiling in the can. I go to the Wagon again.

“Does that look all right?”

“Yes,” Cash says. “I could have lasted. It dont bother me none.”

We loosen the splints and pour the cement over his leg, slow.

“Watch out for it,” Cash says. “Dont get none on it if you can help.”

“Yes,” I say. Dewey Dell tears a piece of paper from the package and wipes the cement from the top of it as it drips from Cash’s leg.

“How does that feel?”

It feels fine,” he says. “It’s cold. It feels fine”

“If it’ll just help you,” pa says. “I asks your forgiveness. I never foreseen it no more than you.”

“It feels fine,” Cash says.

If you could just ravel out into time. That would be nice. It would be nice if you could just ravel out into time.

We replace the splints, the cords, drawing them tight, the cement in thick pale green slow surges among the cords, Cash watching us quietly with that profound questioning look.

“That’ll steady it,” I say.

“Ay,” Cash says. “I’m obliged.”

Then we all turn on the wagon and watch him. He is coming up the road behind us, wooden-backed, wooden-faced, moving only from his hips down. He

comes tip without a word, with his pale rigid eyes in his high sullen face, and gets into the wagon.

“Here’s a hill,” pa says. “I reckon you’ll have to get out and walk.”

Vardaman

Darl and Jewel and Dewey Dell and I are walking tip the hill, behind the wagon. Jewel came back. He came up the road and got into the wagon. He was walking. Jewel hasn’t got a horse anymore. Jewel is my brother. ‘Cash is my brother. Cash has a broken leg. We fixed Cash’s leg so it doesn’t hurt. Cash is my brother. Jewel is my brother too, but he hasn’t got a broken leg.

Now there are five of them, tall in little tall black circles.

“Where do they stay at night, Darl?” I say. “When we stop at night in the barn, where do they stay?”

The hill goes off into the sky. Then the sun comes up from behind the hill and the mules and the wagon and pa walk on the sun. You cannot watch them, walking slow on the sun. In Jefferson it is red on the track behind the glass. The track goes shining round and round. Dewey Dell says so.

Tonight I am going to see where they stay while we are in the barn.

Darl

Jewel,” I say, “whose son are you?”

The breeze was setting up from the barn, so we put her under the apple tree, where the moonlight can dapple the apple tree upon the long slumbering flanks within which now and then she talks in little trickling bursts of secret and murmurous bubbling. I took Vardaman to listen. When we came up the cat leaped down from it and flicked away with silver claw and silver eye into the shadow.

“Your mother was a horse, but who was your father, Jewel?”

“You goddamn lying son of a bitch.”

“Dont call me that,” I say.

“You goddamn lying son of a bitch.”

“Dont you call me that, Jewel.” In the tall moonlight his eyes look like spots of white paper pasted on a high small football.

After supper Cash began to sweat a little. “It’s getting a little hot,” he said. “It was the sun shining on it all day, I reckon.”

“You want some water poured on it?” we say. “Maybe that will ease it some.”

Td be obliged,” Cash said. “It was the sun shining on it, I reckon. I ought to thought and kept it covered.”

“We ought to thought,” we said. “You couldn’t have suspicioned.”

“I never noticed it getting hot,” Cash said. ‘1 ought to minded it.”

So we poured the water over it. His leg and foot below the cement looked like they had been boiled. “Does that feel better?” we said.

Im obliged,” Cash said. “It feels fine.”

Dewey Dell wipes his face with the hem o£ her dress.

“See if you can get some sleep,” we say.

“Sho,” Cash says. “I’m right obliged. It feels fine now.”

Jewel, I say, Who was your father, Jewel?

Goddamn you. Goddamn you.

Vardaman

She was under the apple tree and Darl and I go across the moon and the cat jumps down and runs and we can hear her inside the wood.

“Hear?” Darl says. “Put your ear close.”

I put my ear close and I can hear her. Only I cant tell what she is saying.

“What is she saying, Darl?” I say. “Who is she talking to?”

“She’s talking to God,” Darl says. “She is calling on Him to help her.”

“What does she want Him to do?” I say.

“She wants Him to hide her away from the sight of man,” Darl says.

“Why does she want to hide her away from the right of man, Darl?”

“So she can lay down her life,” Darl says.

“Why does she want to lay down her life, Darl?”

“Listen,” Darl says. We hear her. We hear her turn over on her side. “Listen,” Darl says.

“She’s turned over,” I say. “She’s looking at me through the Wood.”

“Yes,” Darl says.

“How can she see through the wood, Darl?”

“Come,” Darl says. “We must let her be quiet. Come.”

“She cant see out there, because the holes are in the top,” I say. “How can she see, Darl?”

“Let’s go see about Cash,” Darl says.

And I saw something Dewey Dell told me not to tell nobody

Cash is sick in his leg. We fixed his leg this afternoon, but he is sick in it again, lying on the bed. We pour water on his leg and then he feels fine.

“I feel fine,” Cash says. I’m obliged to you.” ‘ Try to get some sleep,” we say. “I feel fine,” Cash says. “I’m obliged to you.” And I saw something Dewey Dell told me not to tell nobody. It is not about pa and it is not about Cash and it is not about Jewel and it is not about Dewey Dell and it is not about me

Dewey Dell and I are going to sleep on the pallet It is on the back porch, where we can see the barn,

and the moon shines on half of the pallet and we will lie half in the white and half in the black, with the

moonlight on our legs. And then I am going to see

where they stay at night while we are in the barn. We are not in the barn tonight but I can see the barn and so I am going to find where they stay at night.

We lie on the pallet, with our legs in the moon.

“Look,” I say, “my legs look black. Your legs look black, too.”

“Go to sleep,” Dewey Dell says.

Jefferson is a far piece.

“Dewey Dell.”

“What”

“If it’s not Christmas now, how will it be there?”

It goes round and round on the shining track. Then the track goes shining round and round.

“Will what be there?”

“That train. In the window.”

“You go to sleep. You can see tomorrow if it’s there.”

Maybe Santa Claus wont know they are town boys.

“Dewey Dell.”

“You go to sleep. He aint going to let none of them town boys have it”

It was behind the window, red on the track, the track shining round and round. It made my heart hurt And then it was pa and Jewel and Darl and Mr Gillespie’s boy. Mr Gillespie’s boy’s legs come down under his nightshirt When he goes into the moon, his legs fuzz. They go on around the house toward the apple tree.

“What are they going to do, Dewey Dell?”

They went around the house toward the apple tree.

1 can smell her,” I say. “Can you smell her, too?”

“Hush,” Dewey Dell says. “The wind’s changed. Go to sleep.”

And so I am going to know where they stay at night soon. They come around the house, going across the yard in the moon, carrying her on their shoulders.

they carry her down to the barn, the moon shining flat and quiet on her. Then they come back and go into the house again. While they were in the moon, Mr Gillespie’s boy’s legs fuzzed. And then I waited and I said Dewey Dell? and then I waited and then I went to find where they stay at night and I saw something that Dewey Dell told me not to tell nobody.

Darl

Against the dark doorway he seems to materialise out of darkness, lean as a race horse in his underclothes in the beginning of the glare. He leaps to the ground with on his face an expression of furious unbelief. He has seen me without even turning his head or his eyes in which the glare swims like two small torches. “Come on,” he says, leaping down the slope toward the barn.

For an instant longer he runs silver in the moonlight, then he springs out like a flat figure cut leanly from tin against an abrupt and soundless explosion as the whole loft of the barn takes fire at once, as though it had been stuffed with powder. The front, the conical facade with the square orifice of doorway broken only by the square squat shape of the coffin on the sawhorses like a cubistic bug, conies into relief. Behind me pa and Gillespie and Mack and Dewey Dell and Vardaman emerge from the house.

He pauses at the coffin, stooping, looking at me, his face furious. Overhead the flames sound like thunder; across us rushes a cool draft: there is no heat in it at all yet, and a handful of chaff lifts suddenly and sucks swiftly along the stalls where a horse is screaming. “Quick,” I say; “the horses.”

He glares a moment longer at me, then at the roof overhead, then he leaps toward the stall where the horse screams. It plunges and kicks, the sound of the crashing blows sucking up into the sound of the flames. They sound like an interminable train crossing an endless trestle. Gillespie and Mack pass me, in knee-length nightshirts, shouting, their voices thin and high and meaningless and at the same time profoundly wild and sad: “. . . cow . . . stall . . .” Gillespie’s nightshirt rushes ahead of him on the draft, ballooning about his hairy thighs.

The stall door has swung shut. Jewel thrusts it back with his buttocks and he appears, his back arched, the muscles ridged through his garment as he drags the horse out by its head. In the glare its eyes roll with soft, fleet, wild opaline fire; its muscles bunch and run as it flings its head about, lifting Jewel clear of the ground. He drags it on, slowly, terrifically; again he gives me across his shoulder a single glare furious and brief. Even when they are clear of the barn the horse continues to fight and lash backward toward the doorway until Gillespie passes me, stark-naked, his nightshirt wrapped about the mule’s head, and beats the maddened horse on out of the door.

Jewel returns, running; again he looks down at file coffin. But he comes on. “Where’s cow?” he cries, passing me. I follow him. In the stall Mack is struggling with the other mule. When its head turns into the glare I can see the wild rolling of its eye too, but it makes no sound. It just stands there, watching Mack over its shoulder, swinging its hind quarters toward him whenever he approaches. He looks back at us, his eyes and mouth three round holes in his face on which the freckles look like English peas on a plate. His voice is thin, high, faraway.

“I cant do nothing …” It is as though the sound had been swept from his lips and up and away, speaking back to us from an immense distance of exhaustion. Jewel slides past us; the mule whirls and lashes out, but he has already gained its head. I lean to Mack’s ear:

“Nightshirt. Around his head.” Mack stares at me. Then he rips the nightshirt off and flings it over the mule’s head, and it becomes docile at once. Jewel is yelling at him: “Cow? Cow?” “Back,” Mack cries. “Last stall.” The cow watches us as we enter. She is backed into the corner, head lowered, still chewing though rapidly. But she makes no move. Jewel has paused, looking up, and suddenly we watch the entire floor to the loft dissolve. It just turns to fire; a faint litter of sparks rains down. He glances about. Back under the trough is a three legged milking stool. He catches it up and swings it into the planking of the rear wall. He splinters a plank, then another, a third; we tear the fragments away. While we are stooping at the opening something charges into us from behind. It is the cow; with a single whistling breath she rushes between us and through the gap and into the outer glare, her tail erect and rigid as a broom nailed upright to the end of her spine.

Jewel turns back into the barn. “Here,” I say; “Jewel!” I grasp at him; he strikes my hand down. “You fool,” I say, “dont you see you cant make it hack yonder?” The hallway looks like a searchlight turned into rain. “Come on,” I say, “around this way.”

When we are through the gap he begins to run. “Jewel,” I say, running. He darts around the corner. When I reach it he has almost reached the next one, running against the glare like that figure cut from tin. Pa and Gillespie and Mack are some distance away, watching the barn, pink against the darkness where for the time the moonlight has been vanquished. “Catch him!” I cry; “stop him!”

When I reach the front, he is struggling with Gillespie; the one lean in underclothes, the other stark naked. They are like two figures in a Greek frieze, isolated out of all reality by the red glare. Before I can reach them he has struck Gillespie to the ground and turned and run back into the barn.

The sound of it has become quite peaceful now, like the sound of the river did. We watch through the dissolving proscenium of the doorway as Jewel runs crouching to the far end of the coffin and stoops to it. For an instant he looks up and out at us through the rain of burning hay like a portiere of flaming beads, and I can see his mouth shape as he calls my name.

“Jewel!” Dewey Dell cries; “Jewel!” It seems to me that I now hear the accumulation of her voice through the last five minutes, and I hear her scuffling and struggling as pa and Mack hold her, screaming “Jewell Jewel!” But he is no longer looking at us. We see his shoulders strain as he upends the coffin and slides it single-handed from the sawhorses. It looms unbelievably tall, hiding him: I would not have believed that Addie Bundren would have needed that much room to lie comfortable in; for another instant it stands upright while the sparks rain on it in scattering bursts as though they engendered other sparks from the contact. Then it topples forward, gaining momentum, revealing Jewel and the sparks raining on him too in engendering gusts, so that he appears to be enclosed in a thin nimbus of fire. Without stopping it overends and rears again, pauses, then crashes slowly forward and through the curtain. This time Jewel is riding upon it, clinging to it, until it crashes down and flings him forward and clear and Mack leaps forward into a thin smell of scorching meat and slaps at the widening crimson-edged holes that bloom like flowers in his undershirt.

Vardaman

“When I went to -find where they stay at night, I saw something They said, “Where is Darl? Where did Darl go?”

They carried her back under the apple tree.

The barn was still red, but it wasn’t a barn now. It was sunk down, and the red went swirling up. The barn went swirling up in little red pieces, against the sky and the stars so that the stars moved backward.

And then Cash was still awake. He turned his head from side to side, with sweat on his face.

“Do you want some more water on it, Cash?” Dewey Dell said.

Cash’s leg and foot turned black. We held the lamp and looked at Cash’s foot and leg where it was black.

“Your foot looks like a nigger’s foot, Cash,” I said. “I reckon well have to bust it off,” pa said. “What in the tarnation you put it on there for,” Mr Gillespie said.

“I thought it would steady it some,” pa said. “I just aimed to help him.”

They got the flat iron and the hammer. Dewey Dell held the lamp. They had to hit it hard. And then Cash went to sleep.

“He’s asleep now,” I said. “It cant hurt him while he’s asleep.”

It just cracked. It wouldn’t come off.

“It’ll take the hide, too,” Mr Gillespie said. “Why in the tarnation you put it on there. Didn’t none of you think to grease his leg first?”

“I just aimed to help him,” pa said. “It was Darl put it on.”

“Where is Darl?” they said.

“Didn’t none of you have more sense than that?” Mr Gillespie said. “I’d a thought he would, anyway.” Jewel was lying on his face. His back was red. Dewey Dell put the medicine on it. The medicine was made out of butter and soot, to draw out the fire. Then his back was black.

, “Does it hurt, Jewel?” I said. “Your back looks like a nigger’s, Jewel,” I said. Cash’s foot and leg looked like a nigger’s. Then they broke it off. Cash’s leg bled. “You go on back and lay down,” Dewey Dell said. “You ought to be asleep.” “Where is Darl?” they said.

He is out there under the apple tree with her, lying on her. He is there so the cat wont come back. I said, “Are you going to keep the cat away, Darl?”

The moonlight dappled on him too. On her it was Still, but on Darl it dappled up and down.

“You needn’t to cry,” I said. “Jewel got her out. You needn’t to cry, Darl.”

The barn is still red. It used to be redder than this. Then it went swirling, making the stars run backward without falling. It hurt my heart like the train did.

When I went to find where they stay at night, I saw something that Dewey Dell says I mustn’t never tell nobody

Darl

We have been passing the signs for some time now: the drugstores, the clothing stores, the patent medicine and the garages and cafes, and the mile-boards diminishing, becoming more starkly raccruent: 3 mi. 2 mi. From the crest of a hill, as we get into the wagon again, we can see the somke low and flat, seemingly unmoving in the unwinded afternoon.

“Is that Darl?” Vardaman says. “Is that Jefferson?” He too has lost flesh; like ours, his face has an expression strained, dreamy and gaunt.

“Yes,” I say. He lifts his head and looks at the sky.

High against it they hand in narrowing circles, like the smoke, with an outward semblance of from and purpose, but with no inference of motion, progress or retrograde, We mount the wagon again where Cash lies on the box, the Jagged shards of cement cracked about his leg. The shabby mules droop rattling and clanking down the hill.

‘We’ll have to take him to the doctor,” pa says. “I reckon it aint no way around it.” The back of Jewel’s shirt, where it touches him, stains slow and black with grease. Life was created in the valleys. It blew up onto the hills on the old terrors, the old lusts, the old ‘despairs. That’s why you must walk up the hills so you can ride down.

Dewey Dell sits on the seat, the newspaper package on her lap. When we reach the foot of the hill where the road flattens between close walls of trees, she begins to look about quietly from one side of the road to the other. At last she says, “I got to stop.”

Pa looks at her, his shabby profile that of anticipant and disgruntled annoyance. He does not check the team. “What for?”

“I got to go to the bushes,” Dewey Dell says. Pa does not check the team. “Cant you wait till we get to town? It aint over a mile now.” “Stop,” Dewey Dell says. “I got to go to the bushes.” Pa stops in the middle of the road and we watch Dewey Dell descend, carrying the package. She does not look back.

“Why not leave your cakes here?” I say. “Well watch them.”

She descends steadily, not looking at us.

“How would she know where to go if she waited till we get to town?” Vardaman says. “Where would you go to do it in town, Dewey Dell?”

She lifts the package down and turns and disappears among the trees and undergrowth.

“Dont ““be no longer than you can help,” pa says. “We aint got no time to waste.” She does not answer. After a while we cannot hear her even. “We ought to done like Armstid and Gillespie said and sent word to town and had it dug and ready,” he said.

“Why didn’t you?” I say. “You could have telephoned.”

“What for?” Jewel says. “Who the hell cant dig a hole in the ground?”

A car comes over the hill. It begins to sound the torn, slowing. It runs along the roadside in low gear, the outside wheels in the ditch, and passes us and goes on. Vardaman watches it until it is out of sight.

“How far is it now, Darl?” he says.

“Not far “I say.

“We ought to done it,” pa says. “I just never wanted to be beholden to none except her flesh and blood.”

“Who the hell cant dig a damn hole in the ground?” Jewel says.

“It aint respectful, talking that way about her grave,” pa says. “You all dont know what it is. You never pure loved her, none of you.” Jewel does not answer. He sits a little stiffly erect, his body arched away from his shirt. His high-colored jaw juts.

Dewey Dell returns. We watch her emerge from the bushes, carrying the package, and climb into the wagon. She now wears her Sunday dress, her beads, her shoes and stockings.

“I thought I told you to leave them clothes to home,” pa says. She does not answer, does not look at us. She sets the package in the wagon and gets in. The wagon moves on.

“How many more hills now, Darl?” Vardaman says.

“Just one,” I say. “The next one goes right up into town.”

This hill is red sand, bordered on either hand by negro cabins; against the sky ahead the massed telephone lines run, and the clock on the courthouse lifts among the trees. In the sand the wheels whisper, as though the very earth would hush our entry. We descend as the hill commences to rise.

We follow the wagon, the whispering wheels, passing the cabins where faces come suddenly to the doors, white-eyed. We hear sudden voices, ejaculant. Jewel has been looking from side to side; now his head turns forward and I can see his ears taking on a still deeper tone of furious red. Three negroes walk beside the road ahead of us; ten feet ahead of them a white man walks. When we pass the negroes their heads turn suddenly with that expression of shock and instinctive outrage. “Great God,” one says; “what they got in that wagon?”

Jewel whirls. “Son of a bitches,” he says. As he does so he is abreast of the white man, who has paused. It is as though Jewel had gone blind for the moment, for it is the white man toward whom he whirls.

“Darl!” Cash says from the wagon. I grasp at Jewel. The white man has fallen back a pace, his face still slack-jawed; then his jaw tightens, claps to. Jewel leans above him, his jaw muscles gone white.

“What did you say?” he says.

“Here,” I say. “He dont mean anything, mister. Jewel,” I say. When I touch him he swings at the man. I grasp his arm; we struggle. Jewel has never looked at me. He is trying to free his arm. When I see the man again he has an open knife in his hand.

“Hold up, mister,” I say; “I’ve got him. Jewel,” I say.

Thinks because he’s a goddamn town fellow,” Jewel says, panting, wrenching at me. “Son of a bitch,” he says.

The man moves. He begins to edge around me, watching Jewel, the knife low against his flank. “Cant no man call me that,” he says. Pa has got down, and Dewey Dell is holding Jewel, pushing at him. I release him and face the man.

“Wait,” I say. “He dont mean nothing. He’s sick; got burned in a fire last night, and he aint himself.”

“Fire or no fire,” the man says, “cant no man call me that.”

“He thought you said something to him,” I say. “I never said nothing to him. I never see him before.”

“Fore God,” pa says; “fore God.”

“I know,” I say. “He never meant anything. He’ll take it back.”

“Let him take it back, then.”

‘Put up your knife, and he will.”

The man looks at me. He looks at Jewel. Jewel is quiet now.

‘Put up your knife,” I say. The man shuts the knife. “Fore God,” pa says. “Fore God.” “Tell him you didn’t mean anything, Jewel,” I say. “I thought he said something,” Jewel says. “Just because he’s–”

’ “Hush,” I say. “Tell him you didn’t mean it.” “I didn’t mean it,” Jewel says. “He better not,” the man says. “Calling me a–” “Do you think he’s afraid to call you that?” I say.

The man looks at me. “I never said that,” he said.

“Dont think it, neither,” Jewel says.

“Shut up,” I say. “Come on. Drive on, paw

The wagon moves. The man stands watching us. Jewel does not look Back. “Jewel would a whipped him,” Vardaman says.

We approach the crest, where the street runs, where cars go back and forth; the mules haul the wagon up and onto the crest and the street. Pa stops them. The street runs on ahead, where the square opens and the monument stands before the courthouse. We mount again while the heads turn with that expression which we know; save Jewel. He does not get on, even though the wagon has started again. “Get in, Jewel,” I say. “Come on. Let’s get away from here.” But he does not get in. Instead he sets his foot on the turning hub of the rear wheel, one hand grasping the stanchion, and with the hub turning smoothly under his sole he lifts the other foot and squats there, staring straight ahead, motionless, lean, wooden-backed, as though carved squatting out of the lean wood.

Cash

It wasn’t nothing else to do. It was either send him to Jackson, or have Gillespie sue us, because he knowed some way that Darl set fire to it. I dont know how he knowed, but he did. Vardaman see him do it, but he swore he never told nobody but Dewey Dell and that she told him not to tell nobody. But Gillespie knowed it. But he would a suspicioned it sooner or later. He could have done it that night just watching the way Darl acted.

And so pa said, “I reckon there aint nothing else to do,” and Jewel said,

“You want to fix him now?”

“Fix him?” pa said.

“Catch him and tie him up,” Jewel said. “Goddamn it; do you want to wait until he sets fire to the goddamn team and wagon?”

But there wasn’t no use in that. “There aint no use in that,” I said. “We can wait till she is underground.” A fellow that’s going to spend the rest of his life locked up, he ought to be let to have what pleasure he can have before he goes.

“I reckon he ought to be there,” pa says. “God knows, it’s a trial on me. Seems like it aint no end to bad luck when once it starts.”

Sometimes I aint so sho who’s got ere a right to say when a man is crazy and when he aint. Sometimes I think it aint none of us pure crazy and aint none of us pure sane until the balance of us talks him that-a-Way. It’s like it aint so much what a fellow does, but it’s the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it.

Because Jewel is too hard on him. Of course it was Jewel’s horse was traded to get her that nigh to town, and in a sense it was the value of his horse Darl tried to burn up. But I thought more than once before we crossed the river and after, how it would be God’s blessing if He did take her outen our hands and get shut of her in some clean way, and it seemed to me that when Jewel worked so to get her outen the river, he was going against God in a way, and then when Darl seen that it looked like one of us would have to do something, I can almost believe he done right in a way. But I dont reckon nothing excuses setting fire to a man’s barn and endangering his stock and destroying his property. That’s how I reckon a man is crazy. That’s how he cant see eye to eye with other folks. And I reckon they aint nothing else to do with him but what the most folks says is right.

But it’s a shame, in a way. Folks seems to get away from the olden right teaching that says to drive the nails down and trim the edges well always Like it was for your own use and comfort you were making it. It’s like some folks has the smooth, pretty boards to build a courthouse with and others dont have no more than rough lumber fitten to build a chicken coop. But it’s better to build a tight chicken coop than a shoddy courthouse, and when they both build shoddy or build well, neither because it’s one or toothier is going to make a man feel the better nor the worse.

So we went up the street, toward the square, and he said, “We better take Cash to the doctor first. We can leave him there and come back for him.” That’s it. It’s because me and him was born close together, and it nigh ten years before Jewel and Dewey Dell and Vardaman begun to come along. I feel kin to them, all right, but I dont know. And me being the oldest, and thinking already the very thing that he done: I dont know.

Pa was looking at me, then at him, mumbling his mouth.

“Go on,” I said. “Well get it done first.”

“She would want us all there,” pa says.

“Let’s take Cash to the doctor first,” Darl said. “She’ll Wait. She’s already waited nine days.”

“You all dont know,” pa says. “The somebody you was young with and you growed old in her and she growed old in you, seeing the old coming on and it was the one somebody you could hear say it dont matter and know it was the truth outen the hard world and all a man’s grief and trials. You all dont know.”

“We got the digging to do, too,” I said.

“Armstid and Gillespie both told you to send word ahead,” Darl said. “Dont you want to go to Peabody’s now, Cash?”

“Go on,” I said. “It feels right easy now. It’s best to get things done in the right place.”

“If it was just dug,” pa says. “We forgot our spade, too.”

“Yes,” Darl said. IT! go to the hardware store. We’ll have to buy one.”

“It’ll cost money,” pa says.

“Do you begrudge her it?” Darl says.

“Go on and get a spade,” Jewel said. “Here. Give me the money.”

But pa didn’t stop. “I reckon we can get a spade,” he said. “I reckon there are Christians here.” So Darl set still and we went on, with Jewel squatting on the tail-gate, watching the back of Darl’s head.

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