himself once or twice to talk about the cattle-sale and the township, and he listened when Hugh told him about the man who was going to the Circus. But these efforts at entertainment died away very quickly; and as soon as Father had finished—he did not eat much, in spite of being so hungry—he got up and walked out into the darkness.
Hugh cleared the table and washed up slowly. Then he stood on the veranda, listening to Father's slow footfalls, up and down, on the track to the shed. On an ordinary evening he would have run out to join him. But this was not an ordinary evening. There was something dreadful about it.
He went to bed, at last, as there seemed nothing else to do, and sleep might take away the dreadful feeling. Father came in after he was in bed. He saw the tall form in the doorway, and a wild hope sprang up within him that he had come to say that everything was really all right.
But Father couldn't: Hugh feit that. He said, "Hullo, old man—turned in?" and came to tuck him up and kiss him: and Hugh hugged him very hard, without saying anything.
Father lit the lamp in the living-room, and Hugh heard the scrape of his chair as he drew it up to the table. He lay for a long time watching the dim light that came into his room. Then he dropped off to sleep.
He woke with a start. It seemed much later, for he was cold, and he pulled up a blanket. The light was still show-