Shmuel counted his children and the traps. “No, nothing, Sarah!” he said.
Doletzke went to sleep, the other children sat quietly in their places. Sarah, too, fell into a doze, for she was tired out with the preparations for the excursion.
All went smoothly till they got some way up town, when Sarah gave ‘ a start.
“I don’t feel very well—my head is so dizzy,” she said to Shmuel.
“I don’t feel very well, either,” answered Shmuel. “I suppose the fresh air has upset us.”
“I suppose it has,” said his wife. “I’m afraid for the children.”
Scarcely had she spoken when Doletzke woke up, whimpering, and was sick. Yossele, who was looking at her, began to cry likewise. The mother scolded him, and this set the other children crying. The conductor cast a wrathful glance at poor Shmuel, who was so frightened that he dropped the hand-bag with the provisions, and then, conscious of the havoc he had certainly brought about inside the bag by so doing, he lost his head altogether, and sat there in a daze. Sarah was hushing the children, but the look in her eyes told Shmuel plainly enough what to expect once they had left the car. And no sooner had they all reached the ground in safety than Sarah shot out:
“So, nothing would content him but a picnic? Much good may it do him! You’re a workman, and workmen have no call to go gadding about!”
Shmuel was already weary of the whole thing, and said nothing, but he felt a tightening of the heart.
He took up Yossele on one arm and Resele on the other, and carried the bag with the presumably smashed-up contents besides.
“Hush, my dears! Hush, my babies!” he said. “Wait a little and mother will give you some bread and sugar. Hush, be quiet!” He went on, but still the children cried.
Sarah carried Doletzke, and rocked her as she walked, while Berele and Hannahle trotted alongside.
“He has shortened my days,” said Sarah, “may his be shortened likewise.”
Soon afterwards they turned into the park.
“Let us find a tree and sit down in the shade,” said Shmuel. “Come, Sarah!”
‘I haven’t the strength to drag myself a step further,” declared Sarah, and she sank down like a stone just inside the gate. Shmuel was about to speak, but a glance at Sarah’s face told him she was worn out, and he sat down beside his wife without a word. Sarah gave Doletzke the breast. The other children began to roll about in the grass, laughed and played, and Shmuel breathed easier.
Girls in holiday attire walked about the park, and there were groups under the trees. Here was a handsome girl surrounded by admiring boys, and there a handsome young man encircled by a bevy of girls.
Out of the leafy distance of the park came the melancholy song of u workman; near by stood a man playing on a fiddle. Sarah looked about her and listened, and by degrees her vexation vanished.
It is true that her heart was still sore, but it was not with the soreness of anger. She was taking her life to pieces and thinking it over, and it seemed a very hard and bitter one, and when she looked at her husband and thought of his life, she was near crying, and she laid her hands upon his knee. Shmuel also sat lost in thought. He was thinking about the trees and the roses and the grass, and listening to the fiddle. And he also was sad at heart.