He became friendliness itself.
“I was sentry, and you always feel as the place is full of Boshes, and you think you see them and it isn’t them. Then one night after moon-up I thought I saw a Bosh over against the enemy wire, and I said to myself as he wasn’t a Bosh really, though my hair was all standing up on my head. Then he moved and I let fly with my rifle as I’ve done umpty times at nothing, and then he was still and I saw him hanging on the wire. Reckon he was dead, but I went on putting round after round into him I felt so queer—not scared only kind of enjoying it like as if you were shooting at the Fair, only I knew as I was killing something and it made me happy. But afterwards I got very cold and sick.”
We linger too long, no doubt, beside this paltry rivulet of life that flowed through the garden of the Pyncheon House. But we deem it pardonable to record these mean incidents and poor delights, because they proved so greatly to Clifford’s benefit. They had the earth-smell in them, and contributed to give him health and substance. Some of his occupations wrought less desirably upon him. He had a singular propensity, for example, to hang over Maule’s well, and look at the constantly shifting phantasmagoria of figures produced by the agitation of the water over the mosaic-work of colored pebbles at the bottom. He said that faces looked upward to him there — beautiful faces, arrayed in bewitching smiles — each momentary face so fair and rosy, and every smile so sunny, that he felt wronged at its departure, until the same flitting witchcraft made a new one. But sometimes he would suddenly cry out, “The dark face gazes at me!” and be miserable the whole day afterwards. Phoebe, when she hung over the fountain by Clifford’s side, could see nothing of all this — neither the beauty nor the ugliness — but only the colored pebbles, looking as if the gush of the waters shook and disarranged them. And the dark face, that so troubled Clifford, was no more than the shadow thrown from a branch of one of the damson-trees, and breaking the inner light of Maule’s well. The truth was, however, that his fancy — reviving faster than his will and judgment, and always stronger than they — created shapes of loveliness that were symbolic of his native character, and now and then a stern and dreadful shape that typified his fate.详情 ➢
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