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      There was silence.But again she cut him off. "Self-interest is stupid," she said casually. "A child needs to learn. Schooling is in the best interest of that child. Agreed?"

      "Not at all, Miss Prude."But Ralph only sighedit was all very well for Anne to talk!

      And slavery is a necessity.

      "Yet it is freedom that kills them," I say.

      "Who fill their pockets at Scott's Float,



      However, as yet there were few misgivings. That faintness of spirit which had come over her during the last few months of her pregnancy, faded like a ghost in the first joyous days of her deliverance. Reuben's pride, delight, and humble gratitude were enough to make any woman happy, even without those two dear fat little babies which the doctor said were the finest twins he had ever seen. Naomi was one of those women who, even without very strong maternal instincts, cannot resist a baby. The soft limbs, the big downy heads, the groping wet mouths of her boys were a sheer physical delight to her. She even forgot to regret that one of them was not a girl.


      The odds were generally on Reuben. It was felt that a certain unscrupulousness was necessary to the job, and in that Backfield had the advantage. "Young Realf wudn't hurt a fly," his champions had to acknowledge. Though the money was with Reuben, the sympathy was mostly with Realf, for the former's dealings had scarcely made him popular. He was a hard man to his customers, he never let them owe him for grain or roots or fodder; his farm-hands, when drunk, spoke of him as a monster, and a not very tender-hearted peasantry worked itself sentimental over his treatment of his children.