1 Her husband hardly heard what she was saying.
2 He stopped short, not grasping what he heard.
3 As he stood there he heard a step behind him and she entered.
4 As they sat thus he heard a sound behind him and turned his head.
5 The night was so still that they heard the frozen snow crackle under their feet.
6 She answered "All right, Ethan," and he heard her singing over the dishes as he went.
7 Mattie lifted her hand with a quick gesture, and he heard his wife's step behind him.
8 Suddenly he heard the brisk play of sleigh-bells and a cutter passed him, drawn by a free-going horse.
9 As the shrill words shot out Ethan heard a tap on the door, which he had drawn shut when he turned back from the threshold.
10 His mother had been a talker in her day, but after her "trouble" the sound of her voice was seldom heard, though she had not lost the power of speech.
11 A moment later he heard the jingle of departing sleigh bells and discerned a figure advancing alone toward the empty expanse of snow before the church.
12 One cold winter morning, as he dressed in the dark, his candle flickering in the draught of the ill-fitting window, he had heard her speak from the bed behind him.
13 The earth lay dark under a muffled sky and the air was so still that now and then he heard a lump of snow come thumping down from a tree far off on the edge of the wood-lot.
14 It was only when she drew toward her last illness, and his cousin Zenobia Pierce came over from the next valley to help him nurse her, that human speech was heard again in the house.
15 Again he listened, fancying he heard a distant sound in the house; then he felt in his pocket for a match, and kneeling down, passed its light slowly over the rough edges of snow about the doorstep.
16 So strange was the precision with which the incidents of the previous evening were repeating themselves that he half expected, when he heard the key turn, to see his wife before him on the threshold; but the door opened, and Mattie faced him.
17 For the first time they would be alone together indoors, and they would sit there, one on each side of the stove, like a married couple, he in his stocking feet and smoking his pipe, she laughing and talking in that funny way she had, which was always as new to him as if he had never heard her before.
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