too, and with that wild drowning horse and that wagon and that loose box, it was
going to be pretty bad, and there I was, standing knee-deep in the water,
yelling at Anse behind me: "See what you done now? See what you done now?"
The horse come up again. It was headed for the hank now, throwing its head
up, and then I saw one of them holding to the saddle on the downstream side, so
I started running along the bank, trying to catch sight of Cash because, he
couldn't swim, yelling at Jewel where Cash was like a durn fool, bad as that boy
that was on down the bank still hollering at Darl.
So I went down into the water so I could still keep some kind of a grip in
the mud, when I saw Jewel. He was middle deep, so I knew he was on the ford,
anyway, leaning hard upstream, and then I see the rope, and then I see the water
building up where he was holding the wagon snubbed just below the ford.
So it was Cash holding to the horse when it come splashing and scrambling
up the bank, moaning and groaning like a natural man. When I come to it it was
just kicking Cash loose from his holt on the saddle. His face turned up a second
when he was sliding back into the water. It was gray, with his eyes closed and a
long swipe of mud across his face. Then he let go and turned over in the water.
He looked just like a old bundle of clothes kind of washing up and down against
the bank. He looked like he was laying there in the water on his face, rocking
up and down a little, looking at something on the bottom.
We could watch the rope cutting down into the water, and we could feel the
weight of the wagon kind of blump and lunge lazy like, like it just as soon as
not, and that rope cutting down into the water hard as a iron bar. We could hear
the water hissing on it like it was red hot Like it was a straight iron bar
stuck into the bottom and us holding the end of it, and the wagon lazing up and
down, kind of pushing and prodding at us like it had come around and got behind
us, lazy like, like it just as soon as not when it made up its mind. There was a
shoat come by, blowed up hike a balloon: one of them spotted shoats of Lon
Quick's. It bumped against the rope like it was a iron bar and bumped off and
went on, and. us watching that rope slanting down into the water. We watched it.
Cash lies on his back on the earth, his head raised on a rolled garment. His
eyes are closed, his face is gray, his hair plastered in a smooth smear across
his forehead as though done with, a paint brush. His face appears sunken a
little, "sagging from the bony ridges of eye sockets, nose, gums, as though the
wetting had slacked the firmness which had held the skin full; his teeth, set in
pale gums, are parted a little as if he had been laughing quietly. He lies polethin
in his wet clothes, a little pool of vomit at his head and a thread of it
running from the corner of his mouth and down his cheek where he couldn't turn
his head quick or far enough, until Dewey Dell stoops and wipes it away with the
hem of her dress.
Jewel approaches. He has the plane. "Vernon just found the square," he
says. He looks down at Cash, dripping too. "Aint he talked none yet?"
"He had his saw and hammer and chalk-line and rule," I say. "I know that."
Jewel lays the square down. Pa watches him. "They cant be far away," pa
says. 'It all went together. Was there ere a such misfortunate man."
Jewel does not look at pa. "You better call Vardaman back here," he says.
He looks at Cash. Then he turns and goes away. "Get him to talk soon as he can,"
he says, "so he can tell us what else there was."
We return to the river. The wagon is hauled clear, the wheels chocked
(carefully: we all helped; it is as though upon the shabby, familiar, inert
shape of the wagon there lingered somehow, latent yet still immediate, that
violence which had slain the mules that drew it not an hour since) above the
edge of the flood. In the wagon bed it lies profoundly, the long pale planks
hushed a little with wetting yet still yellow, like gold seen through water,
save for two long muddy smears. We pass it and go on to the bank.
One end of the rope is made fast to a tree. At the edge of the stream,
knee-deep, Vardaman stands, bent forward a little, watching Vernon with rapt
absorption. He has stopped yelling and he is wet to the armpits. Vernon is at
the other end of the rope, shoulder-deep in the river, looking back at Vardaman,
"Further back than that," he says. "You git back by the tree and hold the rope
for me, so it cant slip."
Vardaman backs along the rope, to the tree, moving blindly, watching
Vernon. When we come up he looks at us once, his eyes round and a little dazed.
Then Be looks at Vernon again in that posture of rapt alertness.
"I got the hammer too," Vernon says. "Looks like we ought to done already
got that chalk-line. It ought to floated."
"Floated clean away," Jewel says. "We wont get it. We ought to find the
"I reckon so," Vernon says. He looks at the water. "That chalk-line, too.
What else did he have?"
"He aint talked yet," Jewel says, entering the water. He looks back at me.
"You go back and get him roused up to talk," he says.
"Pa's there," I say. I follow Jewel into the water, along the rope. It
feels alive in my hand, bellied faintly in a prolonged and resonant arc. Vernon
is watching me.
"You better go," he says. "You better be there."
"Let's see what else we can get before it washes on down," I say.
We hold to the rope, the current curling and dimpling about our shoulders.
But beneath that false blandness the true force of it leans against us lazily. I
had not thought that water in July could be so cold. It is like hands molding
and prodding at the very bones. Vernon is still looking back toward the bank.
"Reckon it'll hold us all?" he says. We too look back, following the rigid
bar of the rope as it rises from the water to the tree and Vardaman crouched a
little beside it, watching us. "Wish my mule wouldn't strike out for home."
"Come on," Jewel says. "Let's get outen here."
We submerge in turn, holding to the rope, Being clutched by one another
while the cold wall of the water sucks the slanting mud backward and upstream
from beneath our feet and we are suspended so, groping along the cold bottom.
Even the mud there is not still. It has a chill, scouring quality, as though the
earth under us were in motion too. We touch and fumble at one another's extended
arms, letting ourselves go cautiously against the rope; or, erect in turn, watch
the water suck and boil where one of the other two gropes beneath the surface.
Pa has come down to the shore, watching us.
Vernon comes up, streaming, his face sloped down into his pursed blowing
mouth. His mouth is bluish, like a circle of weathered rubber. He has the rule.
"He’ll be glad of that," I say. It's right new. He bought it just last
month out of the catalogue."
"If we just knowed for sho what else," Vernon says, looking over his
shoulder and then turning to face where Jewel had disappeared. "Didn't he go
down fore me?" Vernon says.
"I dont know," I say. "I think so. Yes. Yes, he did."
We watch the thick curling surface, streaming away from us in slow whorls.
"Give him a pull on the rope," Vernon says.
"He's on your end of it," I say.
"Aint nobody on my end of it," he says.
"Pull it in," I say. But he has already done that, holding the end above
the water; and then we see Jewel. He is ten yards away; he comes up, blowing,
and looks at us, tossing his long hair back with a jerk of his head, then he
looks toward the bank; we can see him filling his lungs.
"Jewel," Vernon says, not loud, but his voice going full and clear along
the water, peremptory yet tactful. "It'll be back here. Better come back."
Jewel dives again. We stand there, leaning back against the current,
watching the water where he disappeared, holding the dead rope between us like
two men holding the nozzle of a fire hose, waiting for the water. Suddenly Dewey
Dell is behind us in the water. "You make him come back," she says. "Jewel!" she
says. He comes up again, tossing his hair back from his eyes. He is swimming
now, toward the bank, the current sweeping him downstream quartering. "You,
Jewel!" Dewey Dell says. We stand holding the rope and see him gain the bank and
climb out. As he rises from the water, he stoops and picks up something. He
comes back along the bank. He has found the chalk-line. He comes opposite us and
stands there, looking about as if he were seeking something. Pa goes on down the
bank. He is going back to look at the mules again where their round bodies float
and rub quietly together in the slack water within the bend.
"What did you do with the hammer, Vernon?" Jewel says.
"I give it to him," Vernon says, jerking his head at Vardaman. Vardaman is
looking after pa. Then he looks at Jewel. "With the square." Vernon is watching
Jewel. He moves toward the bank, passing Dewey Dell and me.
"You get on out of here," I say. She says nothing, looking at Jewel and
"Where's the hammer?" Jewel says. Vardaman scuttles tip the bank and
"It's heavier than the saw," Vernon says. Jewel is tying the end of the
chalk-line about the hammer shaft.
"Hammer's got the most wood in it," Jewel says. He and Vernon face one
another, watching Jewel's hands.
"And flatter, too," Vernon says. 'It'd float three to one, almost. Try the
Jewel looks at Vernon. Vernon is tall, too; long and lean, eye to eye they
stand in their close wet clothes. Lon Quick could look even at a cloudy sky and
tell the time to ten minutes. Big Lon I mean, not little Lon.
"Why dont you get out of the water?" I say.
"It wont float like a saw," Jewel says.
"It'll float nigher to a saw than a hammer will," Vernon says.
"Bet you," Jewel says.
"I wont bet," Vernon says.
They stand there, watching Jewel's still hands.
"Hell," Jewel says. "Get the plane, then."
So they get the plane and tie it to the chalk-line and enter the water
again. Pa comes back along the bank. He stops for a while and looks at us,
hunched, mournful, like a failing steer or an old tall bird.
Vernon and Jewel return, leaning against the current. "Get out of the
way," Jewel says to Dewey Dell. "Get out of the water."
She crowds against me a little so they can pass, Jewel holding the plane
high as though it were perishable, the blue string trailing back over his
shoulder. They pass us and stop; they fall to arguing quietly about just where
the wagon went over.
"Darl ought to know," Vernon says. They look at me.
"I dont know," I says. "I wasn't there that long"
"Hell," Jewel says. They move on, gingerly, leaning against the current,
reading the ford with their feet.
"Have you got a holt of the rope?" Vernon says. Jewel does not answer. He
glances back at the shore, calculant, then at the water. He flings the plane
outward, letting the string run through his fingers, his fingers turning blue
where it runs over them. When the line stops, he hands it back to Vernon.
"Better let me go this time," Vernon says. Again Jewel does not answer; we
watch him duck beneath the surface.
"Jewel," Dewey Dell whimpers.
"It aint so deep there," Vernon says. He does not look back. He is
watching the water where Jewel went under.
When Jewel comes up he has the saw.
When we pass the wagon pa is standing beside it; scrubbing at the two mud
smears with a handful of leaves. Against the jungle Jewel's horse looks like a
patchwork quilt hung on a line.
Cash has not moved. We stand above him, holding the plane, the saw, the
hammer, the square, the rule, the chalk-line, while Dewey Dell squats and lifts
Cash's head. "Cash," she says; "Cash."
He opens his eyes, staring profoundly up at our inverted faces.
"If ever was such a misfortunate man," pa says.
"Look, Cash," we say, holding the tools up so he can see; "what else did
He tries to speak, rolling his head, shutting his eyes.
"Cash," we say; "Cash."
It is to vomit he is turning his head. Dewey Dell wipes his mouth on the
wet hem of her dress; then he can speak.
"It's his saw-set," Jewel says. "The new one he bought when he bought the
rule." He moves, turning away. Vernon looks tip after him, still squatting. Then
he rises and follows Jewel down to the water.
"If ever was such a misfortunate man," pa says. He looms tall above us as
we squat; he looks like a figure carved clumsily from tough wood by a drunken
caricaturist. "It's a trial." he says. "But I doat begrudge her it. No man can
say I begrudge her it" Dewey Dell-has kid Cash's head back on the folded coat
twisting his head a little to avoid the vomit Beside him his tools lie. "A
fellow might call ft lucky it was the same leg he broke when he fell offen that
church," pa says. "But I dont begrudge her it."
Jewel and Vernon are in the river again. From here they do not appear to
violate the surface at all; it is as though it had severed them both at a single
blow, the two torsos moving with infinitesimal and ludicrous care upon the
surface. It looks peaceful, like machinery does after you have watched it and
listened to it for a long time. As though the clotting which is you had
dissolved into the myriad original motion, and seeing and hearing in themselves
blind and deaf; fury in itself quiet with stagnation. Squatting, Dewey Dell's
wet dress shapes for the dead eyes of three blind men those mammalian
ludicrosities which are the horizons and the valleys of the earth.
It wasn't on a balance. I told them that if they wanted it to tote and ride on a
balance, they would have to
One day we were talking. She had never been pure religious, not even after that
summer at the camp meeting when Brother Whitfield wrestled with her spirit,
singled her out and strove with the vanity in her mortal heart, and I said to
her many a time, "God gave you children to comfort your hard human lot and for a
token of His own suffering and love, for in love you conceived and bore them." I
said that because she took God's love and her duty to Him too much as a matter
of course, and such conduct is not pleasing to Him. I said, "He gave us the gift
to raise our voices in His undying praise" because I said there is more
rejoicing in heaven over one sinner than over a hundred that never sinned. And
she said, "My daily life is an acknowledgment and expiation of my sin" and I
said "Who are you, to say what is sin and what is not sin? It is the Lord's part
to judge; ours to praise His mercy and His holy name in the hearing of our
fellow mortals" because He alone can see into the heart, and just because a
woman's Me is right in the sight of man, she cant know if there is no sin in her
heart without she opens her heart to the Lord and receives His grace. I said,
"Just because you have been a faithful wife is no sign that there is no sin in
your heart, and just because your Me is hard is no sign that the Lord's grace is
absolving you." And she said, "I know my own sin. I know that I deserve my
punishment. I do not begrudge it." And I said, 'It is out of your vanity that
you would judge sin and salvation in the Lord's place. It is our mortal lot to
suffer and to raise our voices in praise of Him who judges the sin and offers
the salvation through our trials and tribulations time out of mind amen. Not
even after Brother Whitfield, a godly man if ever one breathed God's breath,
prayed for you and strove as never a man could except him," I said.
Because it is not us that can judge our sins or know what is sin in the
Lord's eyes. She has had a hard Me, but so does every woman. But you'd think
from the way she talked that she knew more about sin and salvation than the Lord
God Himself, than them who have strove and labored with the sin in this human
world. When the only sin she ever committed was being partial to Jewel that
never loved her and was its own punishment, in preference to Darl that was
touched by God Himself and considered queer by us mortals and that did love her.
I said, "There is your sin. And your punishment too. Jewel is your punishment.
But where is your salvation? And life is short enough," I said, "to win eternal
grace in. And God is a jealous God. It is His to judge and to mete; not yours."
"I know," she said. I--" Then she stopped, and I said,
"Nothing," she said. He is my cross and he will be my salvation. He will
save me from, the water and from the fire. Even though I have laid down my life,
he will save me."
"How do you know, without you open your heart to Him and lift your voice
in His praise?" I said. Then I realised that she did not mean God. I realised
that out of the vanity of her heart she had spoken sacrilege. And I went down on
my knees right there. I begged her to kneel and open her heart and cast from ft
the devil of vanity and cast herself upon the mercy of the Lord. But she
wouldn't. She just sat there, lost in her vanity and her pride, that had closed
her heart to God and set that selfish mortal boy in His place. Kneeling there I
prayed for her. I prayed for that poor blind woman as I had never prayed for me
In the afternoon when school was out and the last one had left with his little
dirty snuffling nose, instead of going home I would go down the hill to the
spring where I could be quiet and hate them. It would he quiet there then, with
the water bubbling up and away and the sun slanting quiet in the trees and the
quiet smelling of damp and rotting leaves and new earth; especially in the early
spring, for it was worst then.
I could just remember how my father used to say that the reason for living
was to get ready to stay dead a long time And when I would have to look at them
day after day, "each with his and her secret and selfish thought, and blood
strange to each other blood and strange to mine, and think that this seemed to
be the only way I could get ready to stay dead, I would hate my father for
having ever planted me. I would look forward to the times when they faulted, so
I could whip them. When the switch fell I could feel it upon my flesh; when it
welted and ridged it was my blood that ran, and I would think with each blow of
the switch: Now you are aware of me Now I am something in your secret and
selfish life, who have marked your blood with my own for ever and ever.
And so I took Anse. I saw him pass the school house three or four times
before I learned that he was driving four miles out of his way to do it. I
noticed then how he was beginning to hump--a tall man and young --so that he
looked already like a tall bird hunched in the cold weather, on the wagon seat
He would pass the school house, the wagon creaking slow, his head turning slow
to watch the door of the school house as the wagon passed, until he went on
around the curve and out of sight. One day I went to the door and stood there
when he passed. When he saw me he looked quickly away and did not look back
In the early spring it was worst. Sometimes I thought that I could not
bear it, lying in bed at night, with the wild geese going north and their
honking coming faint and high and wild out of the wild darkness, and during the
day it would seem as though I couldn't wait for the last one to go so I could go
down to the spring. And so when I looked up that day and saw Anse standing there
in his Sunday clothes, turning his hat round and round in his hands, I said:
"If you've got any womenfolks, why in the world dont they make you get
your hair cut?"
"I aint got none," he said. Then he said suddenly, driving his eyes at me
like two hounds in a strange yard: "That's what I come to see you about,"
"And make you hold your shoulders up," I said. "You haven't got any? But
you've got a house. They tell me you've got a house and a good farm. And you
live there alone, doing for yourself, do you?" He just looked at me, turning the
hat in his hands. "A new house," I said. "Are you going to get married?"
And he said again, holding his eyes to mine: "That's what I come to see
Later he told me, "I aint got no people. So that wont be no worry to you.
I dont reckon you can say the same."
"No. I have people. In Jefferson."
His face fell a little. "Well, I got a little property. I'm forehanded; I
got a good honest name. I know how town folks are, but maybe when they talk to
me . . ."
"They might listen," I said. "But they'll be hard to talk to." He was
watching my face. "They're in the cemetery."
"But your living kin," he said. "They'll be different."
"Will they?" I said. 'I dont know. I never had any other kind.´
So I took Anse. And when I knew that I had Cash, I knew that living was
terrible and that this was the answer to it. That was when I learned that words
are no good; that words dont ever fit even what they are trying to say at. When
he was born I knew that motherhood was invented by someone who had to have a
word for it because the ones that had the children didn't care whether there was
a word for it or not. I knew that fear was invented by someone that had never
had the fear; pride, who never had the pride. I knew that it had been, not that
they had dirty noses, but that we had had to use one another by words like
spiders dangling by their mouths from a beam, swinging and twisting and never
touching, and that only through the blows of die switch could my blood and their
blood flow as one stream. I knew that it had. been, not that my aloneness had to
be violated over and over each day, but that it had never been violated until
Cash came. Not even by Anse in the nights.
He had a word, too. Love, he called it. But I had been used to words for a
long time. I knew that that word was like the others: just a shape to fill a
lack; that when the right time Came, you wouldn't need a word for that anymore
than for pride or fear. Cash did not need to say it to me nor I to him, and I
would say Let Anse use it, if he wants to. So that it was Anse or love; love or
Anse: it didn't matter.
I would think that even while I lay with him in the dark and Cash asleep
in the cradle within the swing of my hand. I would think that if he were to wake
and cry, I would suckle him, too. Anse or love: it .didn't matter. My aloneness
had been violated and then made whole again by the violation: time, Anse, love,
what you will, outside the circle.
Then I found that I had Darl. At first I would not believe it. Then I
believed that I would kill Anse. It was as though he had tricked me, hidden
within a word like within a paper screen and struck me in the back through it.
But then I realised that I had been tricked by words older than Anse or love,
and that the same word had tricked Anse too, and that my revenge would be that
he would never know I was taking revenge. And when Darl was born I asked Anse to
promise to take me back to Jefferson when I died, because I knew that father had
been right, even when he couldn't have known he was right anymore than I could
have known I was wrong.
"Nonsense," Anse said; "you and me aint nigh done chapping yet, with just
He did not know that he was dead, then. Sometimes I would lie by him in
the dark, hearing the land that was now of my blood and flesh, and I would
think: Anse. Why Anse. Why are you Anse. I would think about his name until
after a while I could see the word as a shape, a vessel, and I would watch him
liquefy and flow into it like cold molasses flowing out of the darkness into the
vessel, until the jar stood full and motionless: a significant shape profoundly
without Me like an empty door frame; and then I would find that I had forgotten
the name of the jar. I would think: The shape of my body where I used to be a
virgin is in the shape of a and I couldn't think Anse, couldn't remember
Anse. It was not that I could think of myself as no longer unvirgin, because I
was three now. And when I would think Cash and Darl that way until their names
would die and solidify into a shape and then fade away, I would say, All right.
It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what they call them.
And so when Cora Tull would tell me I was not a true mother, I would think
how words go straight up in a thin, line, quick and harmless, and how terribly
doing goes along the earth, clinging to it, so that after a while the two lines
are too far apart for the same person to straddle from one to the other and that
sin and love and fear are-just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor
feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words.
Like Cora, who could never even cook.
She would tell me what I owed to my children and to Anse and to God. I
gave Anse the children. I did not ask for them. I did not even ask him for what
he could have given me: not-Anse. That was my duty to him, to not ask that, and
that duty I fulfilled. I would be I; I would let him be the shape and echo of
his word. That was more than he asked, because he could not have asked for that
and been Anse, using himself so with a word.
And then he died. He did not know he was dead. I would lie by him in the
dark, hearing the dark land talking of Cod's love and His beauty and His sin;
hearing the dark voicelessness in which the words are the deeds, and the other
words that are not deeds, that are just the gaps in peoples' lacks, coming down
like the cries of the geese out of the wild darkness in the old terrible nights,
fumbling at the deeds like orphans to whom are pointed out in a crowd two faces
and told, That is your father, your mother.
I believed that I had found it. I believed that the reason was the duty to
the alive, to the terrible blood, the red bitter flood boiling through the land.
I would think of sin as I would think of the clothes we both wore in the world's
face, of the circumspection necessary because he was he and I was I; the sin the
more utter and terrible since he was the instrument ordained by God who created
the sin, to sanctify that sin He had created. While I waited for him in the
woods, waiting for him before he saw me, I would think of him as dressed in sin.
I would think of him as thinking of me as dressed also in sin, he the more
beautiful since the garment which he had exchanged for sin was sanctified. I
would think of the sin as garments which we would remove in order to shape and
coerce the terrible blood to the forlorn echo of the dead word high in the air.
Then I would lay with Anse again--I did not lie to him: I just refused, just as
I refused my breast to Cash, and Darl after their time was up--hearing the dark
land talking the voiceless speech.
I hid nothing. I tried to deceive no one. I would not have cared. I merely
took the precautions that he thought necessary for his sake, not for my safety,
but just as I wore clothes in the world's face. And I would think then when Cora
talked to me, of how the high dead words in time seemed to lose even the
significance of their dead sound.
Then it was over. Over in the sense that he was gone and I knew that, see
him again though I would, I would never again see him coming swift and secret to
me in the woods dressed in sin like a gallant garment already blowing aside with
the speed of his secret coming.
But for me it was not over. I mean, over in the sense of beginning and
ending, because to me there was no beginning nor ending to anything then. I even
held Anse refraining still, not that I was holding him recessional, but as
though nothing else had ever been. My children were of me alone, of the wild
blood boiling along the earth, of me and of all that lived; of none and of all.
Then I found that I had Jewel. When I waked to remember to discover it, he was
two months gone.
My father said that the reason for living is getting ready to stay dead. I
knew at last what he meant and that he could not have known what he meant
himself, because a man cannot know anything about cleaning up the house
afterward. And so I have cleaned my house. With Jewel--I lay by the lamp,
holding up my own head, watching him cap and suture it before he breathed--the
wild blood boiled away and the sound of it ceased. Then there was only the milk,
warm and calm, and I lying calm in the slow silence, getting ready to clean my
I gave Anse Dewey Dell to negative Jewel. Then I gave him Vardaman to
replace the child I had robbed him of. And now he has three children that are
his and not mine. And then I could get ready to die.
One day I was talking to Cora. She prayed for me because she believed I
was blind to sin, wanting me to kneel and pray too, because people to whom sin
is just a matter of words, to them salvation is just words too.
When they told me she was dying, all that night I wrestled with Satan, and I
emerged victorious. I woke to the enormity of my sin; I saw the true light at
last, and I fell on my knees and confessed to God and asked His guidance and
received it. "Rise," He said; "repair to that home in which you have put a
living lie, among those people with whom you have outraged My Word; confess your
sin aloud. It is for them, for that deceived husband, to forgive you: not I."
So I went. I heard that Tull's bridge was gone; I said "Thanks, O Lord, O Mighty
Ruler of all"; for by those dangers and difficulties which I should have to
surmount I saw that He had not abandoned me; that my reception again into His
holy peace and love would be the sweeter for it. "Just let me not perish before
I have begged the forgiveness of the man whom I betrayed," I prayed; "let me not
be too late; let not the tale of mine and her transgression come from her lips
instead of mine. She had sworn then that she would never tell it, but eternity
is a fearsome thing to face: have I not wrestled thigh to thigh with Satan
myself? let me not have also the sin of her broken vow upon my soul. Let not the
waters of Thy Mighty Wrath encompass me until I have cleansed my soul in the
presence of them whom I injured."
It was His hand that bore me safely above the flood, that fended from methe
dangers of the waters. My horse was frightened, and my own heart failed me
as the logs and the uprooted trees bore down upon my littleness. But not my
soul: time after time I saw them averted at destruction's final instant, and I
lifted my voice above the noise of the flood: "Praise to Thee, O Mighty Lord and
King. By this token shall I cleanse my soul and gain again into the fold of Thy
I knew then that forgiveness was mine. The flood, the danger, behind, and
as I rode on across the firm earth again and the scene of my Gethsemane drew
closer and closer, I framed the words which I should use. I would enter the
house; I would stop her before she had spoken; I would say to her husband:
"Anse, I have sinned. Do with me as you will."
It was already as though it were done. My soul felt freer, quieter than it
had in years; already I seemed to dwell in abiding peace again as I rode on. To
either side I saw His hand; in my heart I could hear His voice: "Courage. I am
Then I reached Tull's house. His youngest girl came out and called to me
as I was passing. She told me that she was already dead.
"I have sinned, O Lord. Thou knowest the extent of my remorse and the will
of my spirit. But He is merciful; He will accept the will for the deed, Who knew
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested