Again there was a cautious pause. Then again the man shook his head, as if he would say nothing, but would think the more.
`I expect he's got to train the mare to stand to anything,' he replied. `A pure-bred Harab -- not the sort of breed as is used to round here -- different sort from our sort altogether. They say as he got her from Constantinople.'
`He would!' said Ursula. `He'd better have left her to the Turks, I'm sure they would have had more decency towards her.'
The man went in to drink his can of tea, the girls went on down the lane, that was deep in soft black dust. Gudrun was as if numbed in her mind by the sense of indomitable soft weight of the man, bearing down into the living body of the horse: the strong, indomitable thighs of the blond man clenching the palpitating body of the mare into pure control; a sort of soft white magnetic domination from the loins and thighs and calves, enclosing and encompassing the mare heavily into unutterable subordination, soft blood-subordination, terrible.
On the left, as the girls walked silently, the coal-mine lifted its great mounds and its patterned head- stocks, the black railway with the trucks at rest looked like a harbour just below, a large bay of railroad with anchored wagons.
Near the second level-crossing, that went over many bright rails, was a farm belonging to the collieries, and a great round globe of iron, a disused boiler, huge and rusty and perfectly round, stood silently in a paddock by the road. The hens were pecking round it, some chickens were balanced on the drinking trough, wagtails flew away in among trucks, from the water.
On the other side of the wide crossing, by the road-side, was a heap of pale-grey stones for mending the roads, and a cart standing, and a middle-aged man with whiskers round his face was leaning on his shovel, talking to a young man in gaiters, who stood by the horse's head. Both men were facing the crossing.
They saw the two girls appear, small, brilliant figures in the near distance, in the strong light of the late afternoon. Both wore light, gay summer dresses, Ursula had an orange-coloured knitted coat, Gudrun a pale yellow, Ursula wore canary yellow stockings, Gudrun bright rose, the figures of the two women seemed to glitter in progress over the wide bay of the railway crossing, white and orange and yellow and rose glittering in motion across a hot world silted with coal-dust.
The two men stood quite still in the heat, watching. The elder was a short, hard-faced energetic man of middle age, the younger a labourer of twenty-three or so. They stood in silence watching the advance of the sisters. They watched whilst the girls drew near, and whilst they passed, and whilst they receded down the dusty road, that had dwellings on one side, and dusty young corn on the other.
Then the elder man, with the whiskers round his face, said in a prurient manner to the young man:
`What price that, eh? She'll do, won't she?'
`Which?' asked the young man, eagerly, with laugh.
`Her with the red stockings. What d'you say? I'd give my week's wages for five minutes; what! -- just for five minutes.'
Again the young man laughed.
`Your missis 'ud have summat to say to you,' he replied.
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