To pursue truth with such astonishing lack ofconsideration for other people’s feelings, to rendthe thin veils of civilisation so wantonly, so bru-tally, was to her so horrible an outrage of humandecency that, without replying, dazed and blinded,she bent her head as if to let the pelt of jaggedhail, the drench of dirty water, bespatter her un-rebuked. There was nothing to be said.

He stood by her in silence. Very humbly, atlength, he said that he would step over and ask theCoastguards if she liked.

There was nobody whom she reverenced as shereverenced him.

She was quite ready to take his word for it, shesaid. Only then they need not cut sandwiches—that was all. They came to her, naturally, sinceshe was a woman, all day long with this and that;one wanting this, another that; the children weregrowing up; she often felt she was nothing but asponge sopped full of human emotions. Then hesaid, Damn you. He said, It must rain. He said, Itwon’t rain; and instantly a Heaven of securityopened before her. There was nobody she rever-enced more. She was not good enough to tie hisshoe strings, she felt.

Already ashamed of that petulance, of that gestic-ulation of the hands when charging at the head of51
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