The Road (The Ten Commandments)

The Road (The Ten Commandments)

by Warwick Deeping

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Overview

Bonthorn closed the gate.

It was a little white gate set deep in the dark recess of a very
old holly hedge, and the opening in which it swung was like a
tunnel cut through a city wall. Bonthorn paused in the shadow, and
with his back to the gate looked at something which appeared to
please him. His one very deep-blue eye filled with the light of a
smile.

He saw a big cherry tree in bloom and under it a carpet of vivid
grass, and on the grass Rollo, his brown Cairn, playing with a
small black kitten. They were beautiful to watch on that beautiful
day in May, and to Nicholas Bonthorn the secret of life was beauty.
The soul of The Unknown Artist was the soul of his God.


2

Martha came out of the green porch carrying the wickerwork table
pressed against her stout bust. She was one of those solid women
who seem to absorb comfort and satisfaction from the inevitableness
of habit. Her black eyebrows were as decisive as her mouth. If
Mr. Bonthorn chose to be an oddity, she accepted his oddness
because it had a reasonable and sweet quality. She allowed him
genius of a sort, which was infinite and sympathetic condescension.
She allowed him tea in the garden on Sunday when the weather was as
reasonable as her workaday soul. She would have allowed him
anything that a sensible woman of five and fifty can allow a man
who can sprawl on the grass like a boy.

For Mr. Bonthorn was lying flat on his chest playing with those two
young animals. That was the sort of game that was pleasant to
watch, the six-foot man with his intense, brown face, and one very
blue eye balanced by the black patch over the other socket, rolling
those two furry little creatures over and over on the grass. Mrs.
Martha might wonder about things, but she did not ask bathotic
questions. She may have wondered why the ex-soldier had never
mounted a glass eye, but she had never asked him for reasons. He
was sufficiently himself to satisfy her.

Martha laid the table under the cherry tree. The kitten, in a
sudden access of energy and joy, shot up the trunk of the tree with
hair erect and all claws spread. The dog, as though comprehending
that joyous, furry fury, stood bearded and with ears erect, barking
applause. Mr. Bonthorn took his floppy old hat off and threw it to
the dog. Rollo commenced a furious conflict with the hat.

Martha regarded them with beneficence.

"You'll spoil that dog, sir."

The one blue eye rallied her.

"Never do it yourself, do you, Martha? What about that sacred
garment you let him whisk off into the currant bushes?"

"That was what--in a manner of speaking--might be called an act of
God, sir."

"Or an act of dog. I bet you sat up mending it."

"But hats, Mr. Bonthorn. It's the only decent one--"

"True. Here--you young devil, deliver up that hat."

To Bonthorn, tea out of doors somehow retained the spell of
adventure, especially with the bees busy in the cherry blossom and
the black kitten lapping milk. Martha gave him buttered scones and
homemade cake.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013668744
Publisher: WDS Publishing
Publication date: 01/20/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 279 KB

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