The bad part and the part that was worse were behind them now. Nick had climbed over many logs that were higher than his head and others that were up to his waist. He would take the rifle and lay it down on the top of the log and pull his sister up and then she would slide down on the far side or he would lower himself down and take the rifle and help the girl down. They went over and around piles of brush and it was hot in the slashing, and the pollen from the rag­weed and the fireweed dusted the girl’s hair and made her sneeze.

“Damn slashings,” she said to Nick. They were resting on top of a big log ringed where they sat by the cutting of the barkpeelers. The ring was gray in the rotting gray log and all around were other long gray trunks and gray brush and branches with the brilliant and worthless weeds growing.

“This is the last one,” Nick said.

“I hate them,” his sister said. “And the damn weeds are like flowers in a tree cemetery if nobody took care of it.”

“You see why I didn’t want to try to make it in the dark.”

“We couldn’t.”

“No. And nobody’s going to chase us through here. Now we come into the good part.”

They came from the hot sun of the slashings into the shade of the great trees. The slashings had run up to the top of a ridge and over and then the forest began. They were walking on the brown forest floor now and it was springy and cool under their feet. There was no underbrush and the trunks of the trees rose sixty feet high before there were any branches. It was cool in the shade of the trees and high up in them Nick could hear the breeze that was rising. No sun came through as they walked and Nick knew there would be no sun through the high top branches until nearly noon. His sister put her hand in his and walked close to him.

“I’m not scared, Nickie. But it makes me feel very strange.”

“Me, too,” Nick said. “Always.”

“I never was in woods like these.”

“This is all the virgin timber left around here.”

“Do we go through it very long?”

“Quite a way.”

“I’d be afraid if I were alone.”

“It makes me feel strange. But I’m not afraid.”

“I said that first.”

“I know. Maybe we say it because we are afraid.”

“No. I’m not afraid because I’m with you. But I know I’d be afraid alone. Did you ever come here with anyone else?”

“No. Only by myself.”

“And you weren’t afraid?”

“No. But I always feel strange. Like the way I ought to feel in church.”

“Nickie, where we’re going to live isn’t as solemn as this, is it?”

“No. Don’t you worry. There it’s cheerful. You must enjoy this, Littless. This is good for you. This is the way forests were in the olden days. This is about the last good country there is left. Nobody gets in here ever.”

“I love the olden days. But I wouldn’t want it all this solemn.”

“It wasn’t all solemn. But the hemlock forests were.”

“It’s wonderful walking. I thought behind our house was wonderful. But this is better. Nickie, do you believe in God? You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”

“I don’t know.”

“All right. You don’t have to say it. But you don’t mind if I say my prayers at night?”

“No. I’ll remind you if you forget.”

“Thank you. Because this kind of woods makes me feel awfully religious.”

“That’s why they build cathedrals to be like this.”

“You’ve never seen a cathedral, have you?”

“No. But I’ve read about them and I can imagine them. This is the best one we have around here.”

“Do you think we can go to Europe some time and see cathedrals?”

“Sure we will. But first I have to get out of this trouble and learn how to make some money.”

“Do you think you’ll ever make money writing?”

“If I get good enough.”

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98

Categories: Hemingway, Ernest