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"'Rejoice that you are a woman, then, and are at liberty to pursue that which costs least labour and demands most skill. You see, though a man, I use your privilege, and prefer knitting yarn to threshing my brain with a book or the barn-floor with a flail. "'I wonder, said I, contemptuously, 'you do not put on the petticoat as well as handle the needle.

Within a fortnight the garden rows were hoed free from grass, the hops were gathered from the fence, and the weeds on the lawn vanished beneath small black fingers. Even the annual threshing of the harvest was accomplished under the overseeing eye of "Miss Chris," as she was called by the coloured population.

"You wud hae thocht that every meenut was an hour," said Jamie Soutar, who had been at the threshing, "an' a' 'll never forget the puir lad lyin' as white as deith on the floor o' the loft, wi' his head on a sheaf, and Burnbrae haudin' the bandage ticht an' prayin' a' the while, and the mither greetin' in the corner.

Dust was mixed with the black bursts of smoke rising from the conglomerate mass of buildings and streets thrown together by previous explosions. The effect suggested the regular spout of geysers from a desert rock crushed by charges of dynamite. Could anybody be alive in Beaumont-Hamel? Wasn't this bombardment threshing straw which had long since yielded its last kernel of grain?

Riders fought stirrup to stirrup with clubbed rifles and machetes; saddles were emptied and the terrified horses bolted. Some of them lunged up the banks, only to tumble down again, their threshing limbs and sharp-shod hoofs working more havoc than blows from old-time battle-hammers.

And in the face of disapproval a rather magnificent one too. For it gave to Molly Brandeis that precious quality, self-confidence, out of which is born success. By spring Mrs. Brandeis had the farmer women coming to her for their threshing dishes and kitchenware, and the West End Culture Club for their whist prizes.

At the head of ten thousand veteran troops, he would have charged on thrice their number without discipline, with the confident assurance of sweeping them from his path as the chaff of the threshing floor is swept before the blast; but, with an undisciplined mob, as he contemptuously called the masses, he would have moved not a step.

But they none of them resorted to tramping up and down, or stamping with their feet, or threshing themselves with their arms, or had recourse to movement of any kind to get a little warmth into their bodies, as Englishmen may be seen to do under similar circumstances. However cold it may be an Italian never does anything of this sort.

The foresail and fore-topsail, emptied of the wind by the manoeuvre, and with no one to bring in the sheet in time, were thundering into ribbons, the heavy boom threshing and splintering from rail to rail. The air was thick with flying wreckage, detached ropes and stays were hissing and coiling like snakes, and down through it all crashed the gaff of the foresail.

Reapers were at work in the wheat below, but already much of the corn had been carried, and the hum of a threshing engine came up from the ricks. A woodpecker called loudly in the beech wood; a "wish-wish" in the air overhead was caused by the swift motion of a wood-pigeon passing from "holt" to "hurst," from copse to copse.