together they hoisted the victim on to the stool, legs upward, and while Jude held him Arabella bound him down, looping the cord over his legs to keep him from struggling.
The animal's note changed its quality. It was not now rage, but the cry of despair; long-drawn, slow and hopeless.
`Upon my soul I would sooner have gone without the pig than have had this to do!' said Jude. `A creature I have fed with my own hands.'
`Don't be such a tender-hearted fool! There's the sticking-knife - the one with the point. Now whatever you do, don't stick un too deep.'
`I'll stick him effectually, so as to make short work of it. That's the chief thing.'
`You must not!' she cried. `The meat must be well bled, and to do that he must die slow. We shall lose a shilling a score if the meat is red and bloody! Just touch the vein, that's all. I was brought up to it, and I know. Every good butcher keeps un bleeding long. He ought to be eight or ten minutes dying, at least.'
`He shall not be half a minute if I can help it, however the meat may look,' said Jude determinedly. Scraping the bristles from the pig's upturned throat, as he had seen the butchers do, he slit the fat; then plunged in the knife with all his might.
`'Od damn it all!' she cried, `that ever I should say it! You've over-stuck un! And I telling you all the time - - '
`Do be quiet, Arabella, and have a little pity on the creature!'
`Hold up the pail to catch the blood, and don't talk!'
However unworkmanlike the deed, it had been mercifully done. The blood flowed out in a torrent instead of in the trickling stream she had desired. The dying animal's cry assumed its third and final tone, the shriek of agony; his glazing eyes riveting themselves on Arabella with the eloquently keen reproach of a creature recognizing at last the treachery of those who had seemed his only friends.
`Make un stop that!' said Arabella. `Such a noise will bring somebody or other up here, and I don't want people to know we are doing it ourselves.' Picking up the knife from the ground whereon Jude had flung it, she slipped it into the gash, and slit the windpipe. The pig was instantly silent, his dying breath coming through the hole
`That's better,' she said.
`It is a hateful business!' said he.
`Pigs must be killed.'
The animal heaved in a final convulsion, and, despite the rope, kicked out with all his last strength. A tablespoonful of black clot came forth, the trickling of red blood having ceased for some seconds.
`That's it; now he'll go,' said she. `Artful creatures - they always keep back a drop like that as long as they can!'
The last plunge had come so unexpectedly as to make Jude stagger, and in recovering himself he kicked over the vessel in which the blood had been caught.
`There!' she cried, thoroughly in a passion. `Now I can't make any blackpot. There's a waste, all through you!'
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