1 "It's like being in an exhausted receiver," he thought.
2 To him, who was never gay but in her presence, her gaiety seemed plain proof of indifference.
3 Seen thus, from the pure and frosty darkness in which he stood, it seemed to be seething in a mist of heat.
4 But hitherto the emotion had remained in him as a silent ache, veiling with sadness the beauty that evoked it.
5 As he stood in the darkness outside the church these memories came back with the poignancy of vanished things.
6 He stood there a moment, breathing quickly, and looking up and down the street, in which not another figure moved.
7 The leader of the reel, who looked as if he had Irish blood in his veins, danced well, and his partner caught his fire.
8 It was his wife who had suggested, when the girl came to live with them, that such opportunities should be put in her way.
9 His son seemed likely to follow in his steps, and was meanwhile applying the same arts to the conquest of the Starkfield maidenhood.
10 He did not even know whether any one else in the world felt as he did, or whether he was the sole victim of this mournful privilege.
11 As he strode along through the snow the sense of such meanings glowed in his brain and mingled with the bodily flush produced by his sharp tramp.
12 His unfinished studies had given form to this sensibility and even in his unhappiest moments field and sky spoke to him with a deep and powerful persuasion.
13 Now and then he turned his eyes from the girl's face to that of her partner, which, in the exhilaration of the dance, had taken on a look of almost impudent ownership.
14 Frome was in the habit of walking into Starkfield to fetch home his wife's cousin, Mattie Silver, on the rare evenings when some chance of amusement drew her to the village.
15 Mattie Silver had lived under his roof for a year, and from early morning till they met at supper he had frequent chances of seeing her; but no moments in her company were comparable to those when, her arm in his, and her light step flying to keep time with his long stride, they walked back through the night to the farm.
16 Four or five years earlier he had taken a year's course at a technological college at Worcester, and dabbled in the laboratory with a friendly professor of physics; and the images supplied by that experience still cropped up, at unexpected moments, through the totally different associations of thought in which he had since been living.
17 As she passed down the line, her light figure swinging from hand to hand in circles of increasing swiftness, the scarf flew off her head and stood out behind her shoulders, and Frome, at each turn, caught sight of her laughing panting lips, the cloud of dark hair about her forehead, and the dark eyes which seemed the only fixed points in a maze of flying lines.
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