Maria Chapdelaine

CHAPTER XVI

PLEDGED TO THE RACE

ESDRAS and Da'Be came down from the shanties in May, and their grieving brought freshly to the household the pain of bereavement. But the naked earth was lying ready for the seed, and mourning must not delay the season's labours.

Eutrope Gagnon was there one evening to pay them a visit, and a glance he stole at Maria's face perhaps told him of a change in her, for when, they were alone he put the question:—"Maria, do you still think of going away?"

Her eyes were lowered, as with a motion of her head she signified "No."

"Then ... I know well that this is no time to speak of such things, but if only you could say there would be a chance for me one day, then could I bear the waiting better."

And Maria answered him:—"Yes ... If you wish I will marry you as you asked me to ... In the spring—the spring after this spring now—when the men come back from the woods for the sowing."



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