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TIME PASSES 159This had been the nursery. Why, it was all dampin here; the plaster was falling. Whatever did theywant to hang a beast’s skull there? gone mouldy too.And rats in all the attics. The rain came in. Butthey never sent; never came. Some of the locks hadgone, so the doors banged. She didn’t like to be uphere at dusk alone neither. It was too much for onewoman, too much, too much. She creaked, shemoaned. She banged the door. She turned the keyin the lock, and left the house shut up, locked,



The house was left; the house was deserted. It

was left like a shell on a sandhill to fill with dry salt

grains now that life had left it. The long night

seemed to have set in; the trifling airs, nibbling,

the clammy breaths, fumbling, seemed to havetriumphed. The saucepan had rusted and the matdecayed. Toads had nosed their way in. Idly,aimlessly, the swaying shawl swung to and fro. Athistle thrust itself between the tiles in the larder.The swallows nested in the drawing-room; the floorwas strewn with straw; the plaster fell in shovelfuls;rafters were laid bare; rats carried off this and thatto gnaw behind the wainscots. Tortoise-shell butter-flies burst from the chrysalis and pattered their lifeout on the window-pane. Poppies sowed themselvesamong the dahlias; the lawn waved with long grass;giant artichokes towered among roses; a fringedcarnation flowered among the cabbages; while thegentle tapping of a weed at the window had become,