(1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman

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<ul><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 1/142</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 2/142</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 3/142</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 4/142</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 5/142</p><p>THE WERE-WOLF</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 6/142</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 7/142</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 8/142</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 9/142</p><p>HE WE RE-WOLFBY CLEMENCE HOUSMANWITH SIX ILLUSTRATIONSBY LAURENCE HOUSMAN</p><p>LONDON: JOHN LANEAT THE BODLEY HEADCHICAGO: WAY ANDWILLIAMS 1896</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 10/142</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 11/142</p><p>TO THE DEAR MEMORY OFE. W. P.</p><p>YOU WILL THINK OF ME SOMETIMES,MY DEAR?"</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 12/142</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 13/142</p><p>LIST OF PLATESHoly Water . . FrontispieceRol's Worship . . Toface page 8White Fell's Escape ,, 60The Race . . ,, 80The Finish . . ,, 100Sweyn's Finding . ,, 116</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 14/142</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 15/142</p><p>THE WERE-WOLFHE great farm hall</p><p>was ablaze withthe fire-light, andnoisy with laughterand talk and many-sounding work.None could be idlebut the very youngand the very oldlittle Rol, who washugging a puppy, and old Trella, whose</p><p>palsied hand fumbled over her knitting.The early evening had closed in, andthe farm-servants, come from their out-door work, had assembled in the amplehall, which gave space for a score or moreof workers. Several of the men wereengaged in carving, and to these were</p><p>i A</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 16/142</p><p>The Were-Wolfyielded the best place and light ; othersmade or repaired fishing-tackle andharness, and a great seine net occupiedthree pairs of hands. Of the womenmost were sorting and mixing eiderfeather and chopping straw to addto it. Looms were there, though notin present use, but three wheels whirredemulously, and the finest and swiftestthread of the three ran between thefingers of the house-mistress. Near herwere some children, busy too, plaitingwicks for candles and lamps. Eachgroup of workers had a lamp in itscentre, and those farthest from the firehad live heat from two braziers filledwith glowing wood embers, replenishednow and again from the generous hearth.But the flicker of the great fire was mani-fest to remotest corners, and prevailedbeyond the limits of the weaker lights.</p><p>Little Rol grew tired of his puppy,dropped it incontinently, and made an</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 17/142</p><p>The Were-Wolfonslaught on Tyr, the old wolf-hound,who basked dozing, whimpering andtwitching in his hunting dreams.Prone went Rol beside Tyr, his youngarms round the shaggy neck, his curlsagainst the black jowl. Tyr gave aperfunctory lick, and stretched with asleepy sigh. Rol growled and rolledand shoved invitingly, but could onlygain from the old dog placid tolerationand a half- observant blink. " Takethat then!" said Rol, indignant atthis ignoring of his advances, and sentthe puppy sprawling against the dignitythat disdained him as playmate. The dogtook no notice, and the child wanderedoff to find amusement elsewhere.The baskets of white eider featherscaught his eye far off in a distant corner.He slipped under the table, and creptalong on all-fours, the ordinary common-place custom of walking down a roomupright not being to his fancy. When</p><p>3</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 18/142</p><p>The Were-Wolfclose to the women he lay still for amoment watching, with his elbows onthe floor and his chin in his palms.One of the women seeing him noddedand smiled, and presently he crept outbehind her skirts and passed, hardlynoticed, from one to another, till hefound opportunity to possess himself ofa large handful of feathers. With thesehe traversed the length of the room,under the table again, and emerged nearthe spinners. At the feet of theyoungest he curled himself round,sheltered by her knees from the ob-servation of the others, and disarmed herof interference by secretly displaying hishandful with a confiding smile. Adubious nod satisfied him, and pre-sently he started on the play he haddevised. He took a tuft of the whitedown, and gently shook /it free of hisfingers close to the whirl of the wheel.The wind of the swift motion took it,</p><p>4</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 19/142</p><p>The Were-Wolfspun it round and round in wideningcircles, till it floated above like a slowwhite moth. Little Rol's eyes danced,and the row of his small teeth shonein a silent laugh of delight. Anotherand another of the white tufts was sentwhirling round like a winged thing ina spider's web, and floating clear at last.Presently the handful failed.Rol sprawled forward to survey the</p><p>room, and contemplate another journeyunder the table. His shoulder, thrustingforward, checked the wheel for an in-stant; he shifted hastily. The wheelflew on with a jerk, and the threadsnapped. "Naughty Rol!" said thegirl. The swiftest wheel stopped also,and the house-mistress, Rol's aunt, leanedforward, and sighting the low curly head,gave a warning against mischief, and senthim off to old Trella's corner.Rol obeyed, and after a discreet period</p><p>of obedience, sidled out again down the5</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 20/142</p><p>The Were-Wolflength of the room farthest from hisaunt's eye. As he slipped in among themen, they looked up to see that theirtools might be, as far as possible, out ofreach of Rol's hands, and close to theirown. Nevertheless, before long he man-aged to secure a fine chisel and take offits point on the leg of the table. Thecarver's strong objections to this discon-certed Rol, who for five minutes there-after effaced himself under the table.During this seclusion he contemplated</p><p>the many pairs of legs that surroundedhim, and almost shut out the light ofthe fire. How very odd some of thelegs were : some were curved where theyshould be straight, some were straightwhere they should be curved, and, asRol said to himself, " they all seemedscrewed on differently." Some weretucked away modestly under the benches,others were thrust far out under thetable, encroaching on Rol's own par-</p><p>6</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 21/142</p><p>The Were-Wolfticular domain. He stretched out hisown short legs and regarded them critic-ally, and, after comparison, favourably.Why were not all legs made like his, orlike his}These legs approved by Rol were a</p><p>little apart from the rest. He crawledopposite and again made comparison.His face grew quite solemn as he thoughtof the innumerable days to come beforehis legs could be as long and strong. Hehoped they would be just like those, hismodels, as straight as to bone, as curvedas to muscle.A few moments later Sweyn of thelong legs felt a small hand caressing hisfoot, and looking down, met the upturnedeyes of his little cousin Rol. Lying onhis back, still softly patting and strokingthe young man's foot, the child was quietand happy for a good while. He watchedthe movement of the strong deft hands,and the shifting of the bright tools. Now</p><p>7</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 22/142</p><p>The Were-Wolfand then, minute chips of wood, puffedoff by Sweyn, fell down upon his face.At last he raised himself, very gently,lest a jog should wake impatience in thecarver, and crossing his own legs roundSweyn's ankle, clasping with his armstoo, laid his head against the knee. Suchact is evidence of a child's most wonder-ful hero-worship. Quite content wasRol, and more than content when Sweynpaused a minute to joke, and pat hishead and pull his curls. Quiet he re-mained, as long as quiescence is possibleto limbs young as his. Sweyn forgot hewas near, hardly noticed when his legwas gently released, and never saw thestealthy abstraction of one of his tools.Ten minutes thereafter was a lament-able wail from low on the floor, risingto the full pitch of Rol's healthy lungsfor his hand was gashed across, and thecopious bleeding terrified him. Then wasthere soothing and comforting, washing</p><p>8</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 23/142</p><p>ROLS WORSHIP</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 24/142</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 25/142</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 26/142</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 27/142</p><p>The Were-Wolfand binding, and a modicum of scolding,till the loud outcry sank into occasionalsobs, and the child, tear-stained and sub-dued, was returned to the chimney-cornersettle, where Trella nodded.</p><p>In the reaction after pain and fright,Rol found that the quiet of that fire-litcorner was to his mind. Tyr, too, dis-dained him no longer, but, roused by hissobs, showed all the concern and sym-pathy that a dog can by licking and wist-ful watching. A little shame weighedalso upon his spirits. He wished he hadnot cried quite so much. He remem-bered how once Sweyn had come homewith his arm torn down from the shoulder,and a dead bear ; and how he had neverwinced nor said a word, though his lipsturned white with pain. Poor little Rolgave another sighing sob over his ownfaint-hearted shortcomings.The light and motion of the great firebegan to tell strange stories to the child,</p><p>13</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 28/142</p><p>The Were-Wolfand the wind in the chimney roared acorroborative note now and then. Thegreat black mouth of the chimney,impending high over the hearth, re-ceived as into a mysterious gulf murkycoils of smoke and brightness of aspiringsparks ; and beyond, in the high darkness,were muttering and wailing and strangedoings, so that sometimes the smokerushed back in panic, and curled out andup to the roof, and condensed itself toinvisibility among the rafters. And thenthe wind would rage after its lost prey,and rush round the house, rattling andshrieking at window and door.</p><p>In a lull, after one such loud gust, Rollifted his head in surprise and listened.A lull had also come on the babel of talk,and thus could be heard with strangedistinctness a sound outside the doorthe sound of a child's voice, a child'shands. " Open, open ; let me in ! "piped the little voice from low down,</p><p>14</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 29/142</p><p>The Were-Wolflower than the handle, and the latchrattled as though a tiptoe child reachedup to it, and soft small knocks werestruck. One near the door sprang up andopened it. " No one is here," he said.Tyr lifted his head and gave utterance toa howl, loud, prolonged, most dismal.</p><p>Sweyn, not able to believe that hisears had deceived him, got up and wentto the door. It was a dark night ; theclouds were heavy with snow, that hadfallen fitfully when the wind lulled.Untrodden snow lay up to the porch ;there was no sight nor sound of anyhuman being. Sweyn strained his eyesfar and near, only to see dark sky, puresnow, and a line of black fir trees on ahill brow, bowing down before the wind." It must have been the wind," he said,and closed the door.Many faces looked scared. The soundof a child's voice had been so distinctand the words " Open, open ; let me</p><p>is</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 30/142</p><p>The Were-Wolfin ! " The wind might creak the wood,or rattle the latch, but could not speakwith a child's voice, nor knock with thesoft plain blows that a plump fist gives.And the strange unusual howl of thewolf-hound was an omen to be feared, bethe rest what it might. Strange thingswere said by one and another, till therebuke ofthe house-mistress quelled theminto far-off whispers. For a time afterthere was uneasiness, constraint, and si-lence ; then the chill fear thawed bydegrees, and the babble of talk flowed onagain.</p><p>Yet half-an-hour later a very slightnoise outside the door sufficed to arrestevery hand, every tongue. Every headwas raised, every eye fixed in one direc-tion. " It is Christian ; he is late," saidSweyn.</p><p>No, no ; this is a feeble shuffle, not ayoung man's tread. With the sound ofuncertain feet came the hard tap-tap of</p><p>16</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 31/142</p><p>The Were-Wolfa stick against the door, and the high-pitched voice of eld, " Open, open ; letme in ! " Again Tyr flung up his headin a long doleful howl.</p><p>Before the echo of the tapping stickand the high voice had fairly died away,Sweyn had sprung across to the doorand flung it wide. " No one again," hesaid in a steady voice, though his eyeslooked startled as he stared out. He sawthe lonely expanse of snow, the cloudsswagging low, and between the two theline of dark fir-trees bowing in the wind.He closed the door without a word ofcomment, and re-crossed the room.A score of blanched faces were turnedto him as though he must be solver ofthe enigma. He could not be uncon-scious of this mute eye-questioning, andit disturbed his resolute air of composure.He hesitated, glanced towards his mother,the house - mistress, then back at thefrightened folk, and gravely, before them</p><p>17</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 32/142</p><p>The Were-Wolfall, made the sign of the cross. Therewas a flutter of hands as the sign wasrepeated by all, and the dead silence wasstirred as by a huge sigh, for the heldbreath of many was freed as though thesign gave magic relief.</p><p>Even the house-mistress was per-turbed. She left her wheel and crossedthe room to her son, and spoke withhim for a moment in a low tone thatnone could overhear. But a momentlater her voice was high-pitched andloud, so that all might benefit by herrebuke of the " heathen chatter " of oneof the girls. Perhaps she essayed tosilence thus her own misgivings andforebodings.No other voice dared speak now withits natural fulness. Low tones madeintermittent murmurs, and now andthen silence drifted over the wholeroom. The handling of tools was asnoiseless as might be, and suspended on</p><p>18</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman</p><p> 33/142</p><p>The Were-Wolfthe instant if the door rattled in a gustof wind. After a time Sweyn left hiswork, joined the group nearest the door,and loitered there on the pretence ofgiving advice and help to the unskilful.A man's tread was heard outside inthe porch. " Christian ! " said Sweynand his mother simultaneously, he con-fidently, she authoritatively, to set thechecked wheels going again. But Tyrflung up his head with an appalling howl.</p><p>" Open, open ; let me in ! "It was a man's voice, and the door</p><p>shook and rattled as a man's strengthbeat against it. Sweyn could feel theplanks quivering, as on the instant hishand was upon the door, flinging itopen, to face the blank porch, and be-yond only snow and sky, and firs aslantin the wind.He stood for a long minute with theopen door in his hand. The bitterwind swept in with its icy chill, but a</p><p>19</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 (1896) The Were-Wolf by Cle...</p></li></ul>