put up his hands, held him with one hand, hands and knees, fists

An Awakening, pp. 114. ” George Willard did not understand what happened to him that night on the hillside. Later, when he got to his own room, he wanted to weep and then grew half insane with anger and hate. He hated Belle Carpenter and was sure that all his life he would continue to hate her. On the hillside he had led the woman to one of the little open spaces among the bushes and had dropped to his knees beside her. As in the vacant lot, by the laborers’ houses, he had put up his hands in gratitude for the new power in himself and was waiting for the woman to speak when Ed Handby appeared.

The bartender did not want to beat the boy, who he thought had tried to take his woman away. He knew that beating was unnecessary, that he had power within himself to accomplish his purpose without using his fists. Gripping George by the shoulder and pulling him to his feet, he held him with one hand while he looked at Belle Carpenter seated on the grass. Then with a quick wide movement of his arm he sent the younger man sprawling away into the bushes and began to bully the woman, who had risen to her feet. ‘You’re no good,’ he said roughly. ‘I’ve half a mind not to bother with you. I’d let you alone if I didn’t want you so much.’

On his hands and knees in the bushes George Willard stared at the scene before him and tried hard to think. He prepared to spring at the man who had humiliated him. To be beaten seemed to be infinitely better than to be thus hurled ignominiously aside.

Three times the young reporter sprang at Ed Handby and each time the bartender, catching him by the shoulder, hurled him back into the bushes. The older man seemed prepared to keep the exercise going indefinitely but George Willard’s head struck the root of a tree and he lay still. Then Ed Handby took Belle Carpenter by the arm and marched her away.”

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What’s so surprising in this passage is the word ‘bully’, which we haven’t heard since the beginning of the chapter, and indeed occurs only twice in the book. It seems that the behavior Belle Carpenter will accept from a husband or lover the behavior she will not accept from her father, and she seems indeed another character in some part held captive by the spirit of her mother.

George Willard’s head struck the root of a tree … Elsewhere David Hardy trips on some roots (running from his grandfather) and strikes his head on something unnamed.

On hands and knees… only other occurrence of the phrase is an An Adventure (pp.67). George Willard begins this scene on his knees raising his hands “in gratitude”, ends it on hands and knees, humiliated.


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