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Chapter 37: The Storm--the Two Together (continued)
She went down the ladder, and the work proceeded. Gabriel soon perceived a languor in the movements of his mistress up and down, and he said to her, gently as a mother--
"I think you had better go indoors now, you are tired. I can finish the rest alone. If the wind does not change the rain is likely to keep off."
"If I am useless I will go," said Bathsheba, in a flagging cadence. "But O, if your life should be lost!"
"You are not useless; but I would rather not tire you longer. You have done well."
"And you better!" she said, gratefully. "Thank you for your devotion, a thousand times, Gabriel! Goodnight--I know you are doing your very best for me."
She diminished in the gloom, and vanished, and he heard the latch of the gate fall as she passed through. He worked in a reverie now, musing upon her story, and upon the contradictoriness of that feminine heart which had caused her to speak more warmly to him to-night than she ever had done whilst unmarried and free to speak as warmly as she chose.
He was disturbed in his meditation by a grating noise from the coach-house. It was the vane on the roof turning round, and this change in the wind was the signal for a disastrous rain.
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