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life that she could be rational (she meant pose with comfort). So they
had turned into the woods and rode for half an hour with scarcely
a word, except when she whispered "Damn!" at a bothersome
branch--whispered it as no other girl was ever able to whisper it. Then
they started up Harper's Hill, walking their tired horses.
"Good Lord! It's quiet here!" whispered Eleanor; "much more lonesome
than the woods."
"I hate woods," Amory said, shuddering. "Any kind of foliage or
underbrush at night. Out here it's so broad and easy on the spirit."
"The long slope of a long hill."
"And the cold moon rolling moonlight down it."
"And thee and me, last and most important."
It was quiet that night--the straight road they followed up to the edge
of the cliff knew few footsteps at any time. Only an occasional negro
cabin, silver-gray in the rock-ribbed moonlight, broke the long line of
bare ground; behind lay the black edge of the woods like a dark frosting
on white cake, and ahead the sharp, high horizon. It was much colder--so
cold that it settled on them and drove all the warm nights from their
"The end of summer," said Eleanor softly. "Listen to the beat of our
horses' hoofs--'tump-tump-tump-a-tump.' Have you ever been feverish
and had all noises divide into 'tump-tump-tump' until you could swear
eternity was divisible into so many tumps? That's the way I feel--old
horses go tump-tump.... I guess that's the only thing that separates
horses and clocks from us. Human beings can't go 'tump-tump-tump'
without going crazy."
The breeze freshened and Eleanor pulled her cape around her and
"Are you very cold?" asked Amory.
"No, I'm thinking about myself--my black old inside self, the real one,
with the fundamental honesty that keeps me from being absolutely wicked
by making me realize my own sins."
They were riding up close by the cliff and Amory gazed over. Where the
fall met the ground a hundred feet below, a black stream made a sharp
line, broken by tiny glints in the swift water.
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