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The afternoon sky was full of thick, dark clouds, drifting ponderously grey over almost black violet: clouds so dark, heavy and thick that they seemed to creep laboriously upon the east wind, for all that it was blowing hard. In its breath the clouds now and again changed their watery outline, before their time came to pour down in heavy straight streaks of rain. The stiff pine-woods quivered, erect and anxious, along the road; and the tops of the trees lost themselves in a silver-grey air hardly lighter than the clouds and dissolving far and wide under all that massive grey-violet and purple-black which seemed so close and low. The road ran near and went winding past, lonely, deserted and sad. It was as though it came winding out of low horizons and went on towards low horizons, dipping humbly under very low skies, and only the pine-trees still stood up, pointed, proud and straight, when everything else was stooping. The modest villa-residence, the smaller poor dwellings here and there stooped under the heavy sky and the gusty wind; the shrubs dipped along the road-side; and the few people who went along—an old gentleman; a peasant-woman; two poor children carrying a basket and followed by a melancholy, big, rough-coated dog—seemed to hang their heads low under the solemn weight of the clouds and the fierce mastery of the wind, which had months ago blown the smile from the now humble, frowning, pensive landscape. The soul of that landscape appeared small and all forlorn in the watery mists of the dreary winter.
The wind came howling along, chill and cold, like an angry spite that was all mouth and breath; and Adeletje, hanging on her aunt's arm, huddled into herself, for the wind blew chill in her sleeves and on her back.