The holes were already dug, and they set to work. Winterborne's fingers were endowed with a gentle conjuror's touch in spreading the roots of each little tree, resulting in a sort of caress, under which the delicate fibres all laid themselves out in their proper directions for growth. He put most of these roots towards the south-west; for, he said, in forty years' time, when some great gale is blowing from that quarter, the trees will require the strongest holdfast on that side to stand against it and not fall.
"How they sigh directly we put 'em upright, though while they are lying down they don't sigh at all," said Marty.
"Do they?" said Giles. "I've never noticed it."
She erected one of the young pines into its hole, and held up her finger; the soft musical breathing instantly set in, which was not to cease night or day till the grown tree should be felled--probably long after the two planters should be felled themselves.
"It seems to me," the girl continued, "as if they sigh because they are very sorry to begin life in earnest--just as we be."
"Just as we be?" He looked critically at her. "You ought not to feel like that, Marty."
Her only reply was turning to take up the next tree; and they planted on through a great part of the day, almost without another word.
- The Woodlanders, Thomas Hardy