PART III. Winter Memories
2. CHAPTER II (continued)
Most of Alexandra's happy memories were as impersonal as this one;
yet to her they were very personal. Her mind was a white book,
with clear writing about weather and beasts and growing things.
Not many people would have cared to read it; only a happy few.
She had never been in love, she had never indulged in sentimental
reveries. Even as a girl she had looked upon men as work-fellows.
She had grown up in serious times.
There was one fancy indeed, which persisted through her girlhood.
It most often came to her on Sunday mornings, the one day in
the week when she lay late abed listening to the familiar morning
sounds; the windmill singing in the brisk breeze, Emil whistling
as he blacked his boots down by the kitchen door. Sometimes, as
she lay thus luxuriously idle, her eyes closed, she used to have
an illusion of being lifted up bodily and carried lightly by some
one very strong. It was a man, certainly, who carried her, but
he was like no man she knew; he was much larger and stronger and
swifter, and he carried her as easily as if she were a sheaf of
wheat. She never saw him, but, with eyes closed, she could feel
that he was yellow like the sunlight, and there was the smell of
ripe cornfields about him. She could feel him approach, bend over
her and lift her, and then she could feel herself being carried
swiftly off across the fields. After such a reverie she would rise
hastily, angry with herself, and go down to the bath-house that
was partitioned off the kitchen shed. There she would stand in a
tin tub and prosecute her bath with vigor, finishing it by pouring
buckets of cold well-water over her gleaming white body which no
man on the Divide could have carried very far.
As she grew older, this fancy more often came to her when she was
tired than when she was fresh and strong. Sometimes, after she had
been in the open all day, overseeing the branding of the cattle or
the loading of the pigs, she would come in chilled, take a concoction
of spices and warm home-made wine, and go to bed with her body
actually aching with fatigue. Then, just before she went to sleep,
she had the old sensation of being lifted and carried by a strong
being who took from her all her bodily weariness.