The Devil in Clevely (Afternoon of an Autocrat)
all the way to Muchanger.
    But God had known, she replied--God knew everything; and if He intended her to be this much more severely punished, it would be wrong to try to wriggle out of it.
    By doing the sensible thing?
    All too often the apparently sensible thing was the wrong thing--like telling the lie this afternoon.
    Then, just as she reached the gateway, she thought of Jesus carrying the heavy cross--the cross to which she had added another nail--all the way up the slopes of Golgotha. And the other nail would stay in until God had forgiven her; and she couldn't be forgiven until she had proved her penitence.
    Without further parley or hesitation she turned towards the wooden bridge and stepped out briskly.
    It was very dark; but all her journeys back to Much-anger in winter were made in the dark; and the blackness itself did not alarm her. Immediately beyond the bridge one lighted window from Bridge Farm cast a cheering ray, and soon after that had fallen away behind her she could catch a glimpse of another lighted window at Wood Farm. After that the darkness thickened where Layer Wood loomed up and the wind changed its tone; it boomed and howled through the trees and the tormented branches creaked and clashed.
    Now she was coming to the bad part. Every story that she had ever heard about this stretch of road rushed back to add its modicum of terror; she could hear again the very voices which had told the tales, culminating in Mrs Hart's saying that she wouldn't walk this way for a thousand pounds.
    Nor would she, Damask Greenway I She was here for the only reason powerful enough to make her take the risk.
    The twenty-third psalm was an excellent thing to remember when one was frightened. She remembered it. 'Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.'
    Satan made himself heard again: You'd be more comforted if someone came along and walked with you, wouldn't you? Even Matt Juby and he a bit tipsy! It'd take more than a falling branch to make Bobby rear and shy--wasn't that what Mrs Hart said? And what about that night when Widow Hayward...Get thee behind me, Satan!
    She started the psalm again. 'I will fear no evil, no evil, no evil ...' What a dreadful word evil was, just by itself, when you came to think about it!
    But she was getting along; nearly to the place where the Lady's Ride--and that was an ominous name too--opened out into the road. It must have been just about here that Sir Charles...Don't think about that. Nothing has happened yet, and perhaps it is all superstition after all; a good Methodist shouldn't be superstitious. And perhaps she was to be spared the worst. Perhaps the terror which she had inflicted on herself was to be her punishment. 'The wicked flee when no man pursueth.. .
    But it isn't man you're afraid of, is it, Damask?
    It was then that she heard the sound of hoofs, coming quickly, coming towards her.
    Her heart gave a great jolt and then seemed to stop. She stood, paralysed with terror, stock still in the middle of the road.
    Nobody not already half-demented by fear could possibly have mistaken the hoofbeats of the Fullers' old carthorse for those of a spirited stallion, even though young Danny Fuller was driving hard, even though the rattle of the iron-rimmed wheels toned so exactly with the roar and moan of the wind as to be indistinguishable. But Damask was already half-demented. Fear had been moving within her when she rose from her knees in" the workroom and it had been rising ever since, pressing against the barriers of reason and determination and faith; now, as she realised her worst fears and knew that she was to be spared nothing, the barriers went down.
    She stood in the middle of the road and closed her eyes and thought, 'Deliver us from evil, deliver us from evil, evil, evil. Deliver us..."
    She could smell the horse; she could feel its breath. She dropped down, mercifully

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