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(13)swayed. Through the short summer nights and the long summerdays when the empty rooms seemed to murmur with the echoes ofthe fields and the hum of flies the long streamer waved gently,swayed aimlessly; while the sun so striped and barred the roomsand filled them with yellow haze that Mrs. McNab when she brokein and lurched about looked like a tropical fish oaring its waythrough sun-lanced waters.

But slumber and sleep though it might there came later inthe summer ominous sounds like the measured blows of hammersdulled on felt, which, with their repeated shocks still furtherloosened the shawl and cracked the tea cups. Now and again someglass tinkled in the cupboard as if a giant voice had shriekedso loud in its agony that tumblers stood inside a cupboardvibrated too. Then again silence fell; and then, night afternight, and sometimes in plain midday when the roses were brightand light turned on the wall its shape clearly there seemed todrop into this silence and indifference and clarity the thud ofsomething falling.

At that season those who had gone down to pace the beach andask of the sea and sky what message they reported or what visionthey affirmed had to consider among the usual tokens of divinebounty - for instance the sunset on the sea, the pallor of dawn,the moon rising, fishing boats against the moon, somethingisolated, out of harmony with this serenity; the silentapparition of an ashen coloured ship for instance; a froth andstain upon the bland surface of the sea as if something hadseason