PART II. Neighboring Fields
8. CHAPTER VIII
On the evening of the day of Alexandra's call at the Shabatas',
a heavy rain set in. Frank sat up until a late hour reading the
Sunday newspapers. One of the Goulds was getting a divorce, and
Frank took it as a personal affront. In printing the story of the
young man's marital troubles, the knowing editor gave a sufficiently
colored account of his career, stating the amount of his income
and the manner in which he was supposed to spend it. Frank read
English slowly, and the more he read about this divorce case, the
angrier he grew. At last he threw down the page with a snort. He
turned to his farm-hand who was reading the other half of the paper.
"By God! if I have that young feller in de hayfield once, I show
him someting. Listen here what he do wit his money." And Frank
began the catalogue of the young man's reputed extravagances.
Marie sighed. She thought it hard that the Goulds, for whom she
had nothing but good will, should make her so much trouble. She
hated to see the Sunday newspapers come into the house. Frank was
always reading about the doings of rich people and feeling outraged.
He had an inexhaustible stock of stories about their crimes and
follies, how they bribed the courts and shot down their butlers
with impunity whenever they chose. Frank and Lou Bergson had very
similar ideas, and they were two of the political agitators of the
The next morning broke clear and brilliant, but Frank said the
ground was too wet to plough, so he took the cart and drove over to
Sainte-Agnes to spend the day at Moses Marcel's saloon. After he
was gone, Marie went out to the back porch to begin her butter-making.
A brisk wind had come up and was driving puffy white clouds across
the sky. The orchard was sparkling and rippling in the sun. Marie
stood looking toward it wistfully, her hand on the lid of the
churn, when she heard a sharp ring in the air, the merry sound of
the whetstone on the scythe. That invitation decided her. She ran
into the house, put on a short skirt and a pair of her husband's
boots, caught up a tin pail and started for the orchard. Emil
had already begun work and was mowing vigorously. When he saw her
coming, he stopped and wiped his brow. His yellow canvas leggings
and khaki trousers were splashed to the knees.