Phase the Third: The Rally
21. CHAPTER XXI
There was a great stir in the milk-house just after
breakfast. The churn revolved as usual, but the butter
would not come. Whenever this happened the dairy was
paralyzed. Squish, squash, echoed the milk in the great
cylinder, but never arose the sound they waited for.
Dairyman Crick and his wife, the milkmaids Tess,
Marian, Retty Priddle, Izz Huett, and the married ones
from the cottages; also Mr Clare, Jonathan Kail, old
Deborah, and the rest, stood gazing hopelessly at the
churn; and the boy who kept the horse going outside put
on moon-like eyes to show his sense of the situation.
Even the melancholy horse himself seemed to look in at
the window in inquiring despair at each walk round.
"'Tis years since I went to Conjuror Trendle's son in
Egdon--years!" said the dairyman bitterly. "And he was
nothing to what his father had been. I have said fifty
times, if I have said once, that I DON'T believe in en;
though 'a do cast folks' waters very true. But I shall
have to go to 'n if he's alive. O yes, I shall have to
go to 'n, if this sort of thing continnys!"
Even Mr Clare began to feel tragical at the dairyman's
"Conjuror Fall, t'other side of Casterbridge, that they
used to call 'Wide-O', was a very good man when I was a
boy," said Jonathan Kail. "But he's rotten as
touchwood by now."
"My grandfather used to go to Conjuror Mynterne, out at
Owlscombe, and a clever man a' were, so I've heard
grandf'er say," continued Mr Crick. "But there's no
such genuine folk about nowadays!"
Mrs Crick's mind kept nearer to the matter in hand.
"Perhaps somebody in the house is in love," she said
tentatively. "I've heard tell in my younger days that
that will cause it. Why, Crick--that maid we had years
ago, do ye mind, and how the butter didn't come