Brownsmith's Boy A Romance in a Garden

Juvenile Fiction/
#Juvenile Fiction #Lifestyles
rating 0 (votes: 0)

Book's description:

Excerpt The Boy in the Garden. I always felt as if I should like to punch that boy’s head, and then directly after I used to feel as if I shouldn’t care to touch him, because he looked so dirty and ragged. It was not dirty dirt, if you know what I mean by that, but dirt that he gathered up in his work—bits of hay and straw, and dust off a shed floor; mud over his boots and on his toes, for you could see that the big boots he wore seemed to be like a kind of coarse rough shell with a great open mouth in front, and his toes used to seem as if they lived in there as hermit-crabs do in whelk shells. They used to play about in there and waggle this side and that side when he was standing still looking at you; and I used to think that some day they would come a little way out and wait for prey like the different molluscs I had read about in my books. But you should have seen his hands! I’ve seen them so coated with dirt that it hung on them in knobs, and at such times he used to hold them up to me with the thumbs and fingers spread out wide, and then down he would go again and continue his work, which, when he was in this state, would be pulling up the weeds from among the onions in the long beds. I didn’t want him to do it, but he used to see me at the window looking out; and I being one lonely boy in the big pond of life, and he being another lonely boy in the same big pond, and both floating about like bits of stick, he seemed as if he wanted to gravitate towards me as bits of stick do to each other, and in his uncouth way he would do all sorts of things to attract my attention. Sometimes it seemed as if it was to frighten me, at others to show how clever he was; but of course I know now that it was all out of the superabundant energy he had in him, and the natural longing of a boy for a companion. I’ll just tell you what he’d do. After showing me his muddy fingers, and crawling along and digging them as hard as he could into the soil to tear out the weeds, all at once he would kick his heels up in the air like a donkey. Then he would go on weeding again, look to see if I was watching him, and leave his basket and run down between two onion beds on all-fours like a dog, run back, and go on with his work. Every now and then he would pull up a young onion with the weeds and pick it out, give it a rub on his sleeve, put one end in his mouth, and eat it gradually, taking it in as I’ve seen a cow with a long strand of rye or grass. Another time he would fall to punching the ground with his doubled fist, make a basin-like depression, put his head in, support himself by setting his hands on each side of the depression, and then, as easily as could be, throw up his heels and stand upon his head. It seemed to be no trouble to him to keep his balance, and when up like that he would twist his legs about, open them wide, put them forwards and backwards, and end by insulting me with his feet, so it seemed to me, for he would spar at me with them and make believe to hit out. All at once he would see one of the labourers in the distance, and then down he would go and continue his weeding....
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