The Trespasser (Chapter 10, page 2 of 3)


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Chapter 10

'Now put your stockings on,' he said.

'But my feet are wet.' She laughed.

He kneeled down and dried her feet on his handkerchief while she sat
tossing his hair with her finger-tips. The sunlight grew more and
more golden.

'I envy the savages their free feet,' she said.

'There is no broken glass in the wilderness--or there used not to be,'
he replied.

As they were crossing the sands, a whole family entered by the cliff
track. They descended in single file, unequally, like the theatre; two
boys, then a little girl, the father, another girl, then the mother.
Last of all trotted the dog, warily, suspicious of the descent. The boys
emerged into the bay with a shout; the dog rushed, barking, after them.
The little one waited for her father, calling shrilly: 'Tiss can't fall now, can she, dadda? Shall I put her down?' 'Ay, let her have a run,' said the father.

Very carefully she lowered the kitten which she had carried clasped to
her bosom. The mite was bewildered and scared. It turned round
pathetically.

'Go on, Tissie; you're all right,' said the child. 'Go on; have a run on
the sand.' The kitten stood dubious and unhappy. Then, perceiving the dog some
distance ahead, it scampered after him, a fluffy, scurrying mite. But
the dog had already raced into the water. The kitten walked a few steps,
turning its small face this way and that, and mewing piteously. It
looked extraordinarily tiny as it stood, a fluffy handful, staring away
from the noisy water, its thin cry floating over the plash of waves.

Helena glanced at Siegmund, and her eyes were shining with pity. He was
watching the kitten and smiling.

'Crying because things are too big, and it can't take them in,' he said.

'But look how frightened it is,' she said.

'So am I.' He laughed. 'And if there are any gods looking on and
laughing at me, at least they won't be kind enough to put me in their
pinafores....' She laughed very quickly.

'But why?' she exclaimed. 'Why should you want putting in a pinafore?' 'I don't,' he laughed.

On the top of the cliff they were between two bays, with darkening blue
water on the left, and on the right gold water smoothing to the sun.
Siegmund seemed to stand waist-deep in shadow, with his face bright and
glowing. He was watching earnestly.

'I want to absorb it all,' he said.

When at last they turned away: 'Yes,' said Helena slowly; 'one can recall the details, but never the
atmosphere.' He pondered a moment.

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