1 Opposite the Varnum gate, where the road fell away toward the Corbury valley, the church reared its slim white steeple and narrow peristyle.
2 The hush of midnight lay on the village, and all its waking life was gathered behind the church windows, from which strains of dance-music flowed with the broad bands of yellow light.
3 All his life was lived in the sight and sound of Mattie Silver, and he could no longer conceive of its being otherwise.
4 As he lay there he could hear Mattie moving about in her room, and her candle, sending its small ray across the landing, drew a scarcely perceptible line of light under his door.
5 The cat, unnoticed, had crept up on muffled paws from Zeena's seat to the table, and was stealthily elongating its body in the direction of the milk-jug, which stood between Ethan and Mattie.
6 Now, in the warm lamplit room, with all its ancient implications of conformity and order, she seemed infinitely farther away from him and more unapproachable.
7 When he raised himself again he saw that she was dragging toward the stove the old soap-box lined with carpet in which the cat made its bed.
8 The table had been as carefully laid, a clear fire glowed in the stove, the cat dozed in its warmth, and Mattie came forward carrying a plate of doughnuts.
9 At first its weak flame made no impression on the shadows; then Zeena's face stood grimly out against the uncurtained pane, which had turned from grey to black.
10 Going into his cold dark "study" he placed the lantern on the table and, stooping to its light, read the message again and again.
11 He went about his task without knowing what force directed him, or whose hands and feet were fulfilling its orders.
12 Here the snow was so pure that the tiny tracks of wood-animals had left on it intricate lace-like patterns, and the bluish cones caught in its surface stood out like ornaments of bronze.
13 Across its frozen surface, from the farther bank, a single hill rising against the western sun threw the long conical shadow which gave the lake its name.
14 He bent down, feeling in the obscurity for the glassy slide worn by preceding coasters, and placed the runners carefully between its edges.
15 Under her shapeless dress her body kept its limp immobility, and her dark eyes had the bright witch-like stare that disease of the spine sometimes gives.